Saturday, October 6, 2007

Civilians dead in Paktika, Paktia and Kunar; Brits to bring in special forces and mercs

A clash involving US-led troops of Operation Enduring freedom, operating in Paktika province, resulted in several civilians being killed. According to the Associated Press:

The joint force came under attack during a raid on compounds suspected of housing militants in Waza Khwa district, in Paktika province. In the ensuing battle, several Taliban fighters, but also civilians — including a woman and a child — were killed, a coalition statement said. (link)
Pajhwok Afghan News puts the number of dead civilians at seven (see here).

In two other incidents, three more civilians were killed by NATO troops:

In Kunar, two civilians were shot dead and three others wounded when their vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint. According to the BBC:
It said the truck was given several signals to stop but failed to do so and was, in Isaf's words, "engaged by the Isaf checkpoint"...
In Paktia, meanwhile, another civilian was shot at a checkpoint. The BBC continues:
Isaf said the second incident happened further south in Paktia province when a man approached one of its convoys behaving suspiciously.

It said he ignored signs and shouts to stop and, on trying to evade capture, was shot dead by Isaf personnel.
UK to send elite forces
Last week, we reported how British military brass do not expect their troops will be able to hold some recently captured territory. Trying to regain the upper hand, London has decided on its own version of a troops surge:
London is to send 3000 paratroopers, including the entire Parachute Regiment, to southern Afghanistan in the northern spring, as well as [tripling] the number of special forces in the country.

It will be the first time in the regiment's history that all four para battalions, including its reservists, have fought together on the same battlefield.

... It has also emerged that the Ministry of Defence is considering ways in which private security companies could bolster frontline troops in war zones such as Afghanistan. ...

The plan will involve the force of 7000 British troops returning from Afghanistan and a total of 8000 being sent out, bringing together the army's most battle-hardened elite. (link)
The move comes as the number of UK forces in Iraq is about to be reduced from 5,250 to 4,500.

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