Five Americans troops were in southern Afghanistan in one of the worst friendly fire cases involving United States and coalition troops since the start of the nearly 14-year war.
The not so friendly fire incident took place on Monday night in Zabul province, where Afghan troops were conducting security operations. When the group was attacked by enemy forces, they called for air support. Instead they got ambushed by a different kind of enemy – Nato forces. The Nato aircraft accidentally struck the location of the U.S. soldiers, killing five of them and at least one Afghan soldier.
“Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved. The incident is under investigation,” a statement from international forces in Kabul said.
While friendly fire incidents are not as few and far between as they should be, Monday’s case is among the most serious in Afghanistan, where Nato-led troops have been battling Taliban and other various insurgents since 2001.
Since the war began, there have been more than a dozen instances of airstrikes or friendly fires on allies and fellow coalition troops. One of the worst friendly fire incidents came in April 2002 when four Canadian soldiers were killed by an American F-16 jet fighter which decided to drop a bomb on a group of troops during a night firing exercise in Kandahar. But the Americans have had their fair share of casualties too – perhaps the most famous resulting in the death of NFL player Pat Tillman in 2004.
Still, five in one strike is quite a lot – the U.S. must be pretty upset.
“Five American troops were killed yesterday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan. Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen,”
As for the Afghan casualty? Meh.
Afghanistan can’t seem to catch a break. First the Soviets, then the Taliban, then some other stuff… and now a monster landslide.
After a landslide swallowed hundreds of 体彩手机在线怎么下载s in the Argo district of Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, rescuers struggled to help dig out the buried residents, using shovels and bare hands to recover the missing. Then tragedy struck again. A second landslide hit, consuming the hundreds of rescuers from nearby villages. The governor’s office said at least 2,000 people died in the slides. As for those missing, they are presumed dead. “That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammed Karim Kahlili, one of Afghanistan’s two vice presidents. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.” President Hamid Karzai declared a national day of mourning, saying there was “no hope” for most of those buried and declaring the landslide a “human tragedy.” CNN
Republicans decided to stop hogging all the bad ideas for once and let Democrat Rep. Brett Hulsey have his day in the spotlight. The Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate announced Thursday that he will hand out Ku Klux Klan hoods – or what he calls “Republican Party hats” – at the state GOP convention on the weekend. The long-shot candidate (and even longer shot now) showed off his 体彩手机在线怎么下载made white hoods that he stitched together using $1 curtain material and his daughter’s sewing machine inside the press room at the state Capitol. Hulsey’s crazy antics were quickly denounced by both sides of the spectrum as “completely unacceptable and totally inappropriate.” But Husley says he was simply trying to call attention to what he says are “racist” policies by Republicans, such as ending record-keeping on racial profiling by police, cutting back on income eligibility limits for Medicaid, and voting changes. He has a point, but this is also the guy who he threatened to have someone dress up in a chicken suit and show up at one of the Democratic frontrunner’s events because, according to him, she’s afraid of facing him in a debate… so he’s a little out there. MSNBC
First they wanted gay marriage, now they want gay divorce! The world’s first openly gay bishop announced that he and his partner of over 25 years are getting divorced. Gene Robinson’s openly gay life ignited a controversy back in 2003 when he was elected as a bishop, prompting conservative Episcopalians in the US to break away and causing intense debate in the worldwide Anglican church. Now, after four years of legalized marriage and 21 years of fake marriage, the couple has called it quits. But they at least comforted by the fact that they can get divorced just like any old straight couple. “It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples.” Robinson said. And now Gene’s struggle with the church was all for nothing… except he’s still openly gay, just divorced… which might be worse? USA Today
Spring is finally here – the time when a young man’s fancy turns to … elections.
Over in Afghanistan voters are bidding goodbye to Hamid Karzai and hello to… well no one yet because apparently it will take a whole week to count the ballots. Votes from Afghanistan’s first democratic election are still being tallied after millions of voters braved threats of Taliban violence to cast their votes on Saturday. Some polling places ran out of ballots and some people stayed inside fearing death by Taliban, but about seven million out of 12 million eligible voters made it out, so not bad. Both President Obama and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Afghan officials and voters for the relatively smooth elections (by Afghan standards), but mostly Obama is just happy he won’t have to deal with President Hamid Karzai anymore, who is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term.
Meanwhile, in India, the nine-phase ballot process began on Monday and the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s marathon election/logistical nightmare makes the Afghan democratic process look like child’s play. More than 800 million Indians will begin trudging to polling booths on Monday, in an election that will last until May 12 (since the voting days are slowly rolled out state-by-state). Over the course of the month, the Hindu nationalist BJP will take on the incumbent Congress Party in an Indian electoral showdown over the country体彩手机在线怎么下载’s two biggest issues: the economy and corruption.
And then there’s Quebec. Practice France began their provincial elections on Monday, two years after the Parti Quebecois somehow won a minority government in 2012. After a revived debate over Quebec’s independence from Canada, a controversial push for Quebec’s Charter of “Values” (which would ban public employees from wearing religious articles) and a boost in language law policing, the PQ may not be so lucky this time around. PQ Leader Pauline Marois called this election because she believed she could win a majority government but now most pollsters are saying that the Liberals are poised to reclaim the National Assembly. Where did they go wrong? Well, if she had to do it all over again, the PQ Leader says she wouldn’t have spent a full week of the 2014 election campaign talking about separating from the rest of Canada. And the whole Charter of Values/portraying Quebec as a racist backwater probably didn’t help either…
The Afghan government has that the U.S. military believes are dangerous insurgents who were directly involved in attacks on American and allied troops.
The sixty-five detainees were released from Afghanistan’s high-security Bagram detention centre on Thursday morning and were taken away in vehicles belonging to the Afghan National Army’s military police. The police vehicles then took the prisoners to a small bazaar on a main road, where they were transferred to taxis – presumably on route to some kind of Taliban training camp…
The prisoners’ newfound freedom comes after months of failed negotiations by U.S. officials to stop their release. The U.S. pleaded with Afghan President Hamid Karzai not to go through with it, arguing that those freed are likely to rejoin Taliban ranks.
The American military expressed “strong concern about the potential threats these detainees pose to coalition forces and Afghan security forces and civilians”.
“We believe some of the individuals previously released have already returned to the fight,” an said. “Additional released detainees may continue to fill the ranks of the insurgency.”
But Karzai, a strong proponent of biting the hand that feeds you, said the releases were of “no concern to the U.S.” and insists there is not enough evidence against the detainees. Despite having referred to the prison as a , Karzai asserted that “Afghanistan is a sovereign country体彩手机在线怎么下载” and “the Afghan government bears responsibility for the results of its decision.”
Now America can only hope that the released detainees will wind up at the training camps where instructors use live explosives to demonstrate how to be a suicide bomber. Or that they were innocent in the first place and will just return to their civilian lives.
Meanwhile President Karzai continues to refuse to sign a security deal with Washington that would allow roughly 10,000 U.S. troops remain in the country体彩手机在线怎么下载 past 2014. If he doesn’t sign the deal, the US-led international military force in Afghanistan will be forced to pull out their troops and hand over all security duties to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Fine, but can we at least have back?
As the U.S and Afghanistan try to hammer out a new post-2014 security deal, President Hamid Karzai tells tribal leaders that he does not trust the United States.
Afghan elders, also known as the Loya Jirga, are currently debating the new security pact, which outlines a broad, long term relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan. If the deal is passed, it would commit the U.S. to training Afghan security forces, allowing 10,000 – 15,000 foreign troops – mostly U.S. – to remain in the country体彩手机在线怎么下载 post 2014. Under the proposed pact the remaining US troops would not operate in combat missions and would no longer be allowed to enter the 体彩手机在线怎么下载s of Afghans – with some exceptions.
Hamid Karzai urged the delegates to approve the new security deal, which he believes would provide the security Afghanistan needs. But Karzai also told the elders that there was a lack of trust between him and the Americans.
“My trust with America is not good,” Hamid Karzai said at a meeting of tribal elders and political leaders in Kabul. “I don’t trust them and they don’t trust me. During the past 10 years, I have fought with them and they have made propaganda against me.”
Despite his lack of trust, Karzai also stressed the importance of strategic ties with Washington.
“We need a good friend in the U.S. You cannot live in this global village without a friend – but you need to have a strong, faithful friend.”
Enough with the mixed messages Karzai!
Karzai said the pact would not be signed until after 2014 elections but the United States wants Afghanistan to hurry it up.
State department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We believe that signing sooner rather than later is essential to give Afghans certainty about their future before the upcoming elections, and enable the United States and other partners to plan for US presence after 2014.
“It is neither practical nor possible for us to further delay because of the uncertainty it would create.”
If the Loya Jirga delegates does accept the pact, it still needs to be approved by both the U.S. and Afghan administrations. But given the weak job Karzai is doing trying to sell this thing, speed might be the least of America’s problems.
Times are tough for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his Ford Nation.
Just one day after having his mayoral powers stripped by the Toronto City Council, Sun News Network cancelled his reality show Ford Nation after just one episode. Ford Nation’s debut episode (and I guess the series finale) aired on Monday night and featured the crack-smoking mayor and his brother Doug, who sits on the city council. The hour long show was basically just the Fords going back and forth about the media’s obsession with the mayor and his crack-smoking, p*ssy eating, drunk-driving ways. But even that was not enough to draw more than 155,000 viewers and Ford Nation was quickly sacked.
Taliban assailants gave U.S consulate staff a “herat attack” when they stormed the compound early Friday morning in the western Afghan city of Herat.
The attack started off in the usual way – a car bomb. The bomb was set off near the main entrance of the compound, which killed several guards and allowed the group of assailants, including suicide bombers, to enter the perimeter of the compound. The insurgents then sped towards the U.S consulate with their guns blazing, prompting a fierce gun battle between the attackers and Afghan security forces.
Heart, which sits close to the Iranian border, is a usually peaceful city (by Afghan standards…) compared to the more Taliban-infested regions in the East and the South, so the assault was a bit of surprise (by Afghan standards…).
Two Afghan police and one security guard were killed and seventeen civilians, including women and children, were injured in the Herat attack. But enough about that – what about the Americans!?! The State Department confirmed that no Americans were slain and all the U.S consulate staff are safe and accounted for. Phew!
The attackers, however, were not so fortunate. Of the seven attackers who took part in the assault, seven of them were killed. Cause of death? Herat Attack.
Taliban militants stormed Afghanistan’s presidential palace in Kabul early Tuesday while reporters were present for a press event with President Hamid Karzai.
A gun battle quickly broke out in the presidential palace that left eight attackers and three guards dead, and sent the journalists scrambling for cover. Explosions and gunfire reportedly shook the city center and debris could be seen flying everywhere. The gun battle began near the east gate leading to the palace next to the Afghan Ministry of Defence and the former Ariana Hotel, which houses a CIA center.
The presidential palace is one of the most-heavily guarded areas in Kabul and thought to be the most secure. The palace is in a large fortified area of downtown Kabul that also includes the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters for the NATO-led coalition forces. Hamid Karzai was in the palace at the time of the attack but remained unharmed.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility, saying “eight of our suicide bombers were able to reach the most secure area of Kabul.”
“The brave mujahedeen, with special tactics and help from inside, were able to reach their target with their weapons and cars.”
The attack ended after a two-hour showdown. The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said Afghan National Security Forces had led the response efforts. Last week, Afghan forces assumed security responsibility for the whole of the country体彩手机在线怎么下载 for the first time since the Taliban government was ousted in 2001. So far they’re not off to a great start… but they’ve certainly come a long way since 2007: