Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Canadians fire on civilians; UK forces may lose ground

Canadians kill Afghan civilian, wound child
The Canadian Press
October 2, 2007

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — An Afghan civilian was killed and a child injured Tuesday in what a military spokesman said was an accidental shooting by Canadian troops.

A Canadian combat logistics patrol was on a resupply mission to Canada's forward operating base at Ma'sum Ghar when a motorcycle approached the convoy in downtown Kandahar.

The driver of the motorcycle was shot and the passenger, an eight-year-old child, was injured, a military spokeswoman said.
The circumstances seem a bit strange:
... a motorcycle carrying a 35-year-old man and his young son were driving towards the convoy," Chao told CTV Newsnet, reporting from Kandahar.

"They did not heed the warnings by the soldiers to stay back. Unfortunately an accidental discharge of a weapon happened. These are the words the military is using to describe it: an accidental discharge." (CTV)

[...] 'Canadians are acting like enemies ... they are not here to help. They are destroying us,' the injured boy's uncle told CTV News from the boy's hospital bedside at Mirwais Hospital.
NATO admits weakness
The Guardian reports that NATO's commander acknowledges the likelihood that territory which British troops currently hold could fall to Taliban forces in coming months:
General Dan McNeill, an American, said British soldiers had made "significant progress" in Helmand province but were facing difficulties securing gains and it was "likely" some of the ground would have to be taken again if the Taliban regrouped over the winter.
Recall that Canadian Forces operating in Kandahar province, next door to Helmand, recently retook area that they had won in Operation Medusa last year. The area had fallen to Taliban insurgents.

Barnett Rubin interview (video)
Watch as Rubin, the leading academic specialist on Afghanistan, answers a question about Iran's influence on the Taliban and its role in Afghanistan. (link)

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