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April 5, 2013
Wounded children received treatment at a hospital Thursday, a day after Taliban gunmen killed dozens of people at a courthouse in Farah province, Afghanistan, officials said. Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images
"From 9 o’clock at night until 5 o’clock in the morning, our houses were under mortar attack. And this massacre you see is done by Afghans and Americans. This has been done by Americans."
— Faqir Mohammad, an afghan man who’s house was “under mortar attack” during a night raid by Afghan and international special forces in the eastern province of Logar. While the Afghan defense ministry claimed there were no civilian deaths, Reuters video showed heavily damaged houses and the bodies of at least three children. The attack was reportedly carried out to rescue two Afghan soldiers captured by the Taliban. Afghan police say five civilians, including four children, were killed.
"The Obama administration is reportedly now considering a keeping a “residual” force of between 3,000 to 9,000 troops in Afghanistan after the formal withdrawal date of 2014. The Wall Street Journal cited the new figures after previous reports suggested the United States was mulling a troop deployment of up to 20,000."
"At least four people have been killed and several wounded in a suicide car bombing at a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan. The victims were all believed to be Afghan nationals. The attack comes two days after an Afghan policewoman killed a U.S. official at police headquarters in the capital Kabul."
Afghan villagers stand around the bodies of girls who were killed by an explosion in Jalalabad December 17, 2012. A blast killed 10 Afghan girls, between nine and 11 years old, as they were collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, government officials said. REUTERS/Parwiz
"It’s important to note that incidents of violence against women still remain largely underreported due to cultural constraints, social norms and taboos, customary practices in discrimination against women. Also, prevailing insecurity and weak rule of law have hampered women’s access to formal justice institutions. We are calling on the Afghan authorities to take, of course, much greater steps to both facilitate reporting of incidents of violence against women and actually open investigations and take on prosecutions."
— Georgette Gagnon, the head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s Human Rights Unit, says Afghanistan has failed to address violence against women.
"The report, “Honour martyred women leaders, hold assassinator accountable”, said that although the National Directorate of Security, the nation’s spy agency, had foiled “numerous plots” to assassinate male officials, women often lack the “discretionary security arrangements” - armoured vehicles, blast-resistant offices, and intelligence alerts - afforded to their male counterparts."
"In news from Afghanistan, the U.S. military has detained more than 200 teenagers at a prison near the Bagram Airfield, accusing them of being “enemy combatants.” The U.S. report submitted to the United Nations says young people, most of them about 16, have been detained for average stays of a year in order to “prevent a combatant from returning to the battlefield.” Some critics say the alleged combatants are as young as 11 or 12 years old. When the last report was submitted in 2008, just 10 young people were being held at the prison. Under the George W. Bush administration, thousands of young people were detained, almost all of them in Iraq."
"In Afghanistan, a senior female official was shot to death by unidentified gunmen today just five months after her predecessor was killed in a bomb attack. Nadia Sediqi, acting head of the women’s affairs department in an eastern province, was killed on her way to work. Her son told Reuters authorities had repeatedly ignored her requests for protection, fueling concerns the government is disregarding the safety of female officials."
"A medical aid organization is accusing U.S.-led NATO and Afghan forces of attacking and occupying a clinic in Afghanistan. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan says NATO and Afghan soldiers raided the group’s Wardak province clinic in October and used it as a jail and command center. During the attack, the invading forces allegedly damaged the clinic’s building and equipment while preventing staffers from carrying out their duties. The Swedish Committee says it has raised the issue with NATO as a potential violation of the Geneva Conventions."
"A new report by Reuters has found the war in Afghanistan has had devastating psychological consequences on Afghan civilians, particularly children who have grown up amidst constant violence. One mental health worker at a hospital in Kabul said many children born around the time of the 2001 invasion suffer from nightmares, depression, anxiety and incontinence. The news comes as the United States opened talks Thursday with Afghanistan over its continued role in the country after most foreign troops withdraw in 2014."
"[Afghan President Hamid Karzai] has ordered the Minister of Defense, the Attorney General, and the chief commander of Bagram Prison to take serious and swift measures to ensure a full Afghanisation of the Bagram prison takes place, including its management."
Aimal Faizi, a Karzai spokesperson has accused the United States of breaching a March agreement on transferring the prison and its inmates over to Afghan control.
The Afghan government says the United States continues to hold dozens of prisoners in Bagram that have been cleared for release. More than 600 prisoners remain in U.S. custody.
"In Afghanistan, hundreds of students rallied Monday to demand the release of an Afghan soldier sentenced to death for killing five French servicemembers. Abdul Saboor was condemned to die by a military court for the January shooting, one of dozens of insider attacks that have killed more than 60 foreigners this year. On Monday, protesters expressed outrage that no Western troops have been executed for the deaths of hundreds of Afghan civilians in the more than decade-long war. Hundreds of university students blocked a major highway as part of a demonstration that also condemned Israel’s recent attacks in Gaza and Pakistan’s cross-border shelling in Afghanistan. The protests come as the United States is weighing plans to keep about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan beyond a 2014 deadline."