In Afghanistan, at least 50 people have been killed in Paktika province after a car bomb exploded in a crowded market. All the dead are believed to be civilians. The blast came hours after a roadside bomb killed two employees of outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the capital Kabul. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.
Unfortunately, civilian casualties in Afghanistan armed conflict increased by 14 percent in 2013, and we, UNAMA, documented 8,615 civilian casualties. Out of that, 2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 injured in 2013, marking a 7 percent increase in deaths and a 17 percent increase in injuries compared to 2012.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says U.S. troops killed eight civilians, including seven children, during an operation in Parwan Province. Afghan officials say the deaths resulted from air strikes after a gun battle erupted when U.S. Special Forces tried to enter a home early Wednesday morning. U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan acknowledged two civilians had been killed in what they called an Afghan-led mission to “disrupt insurgent activity.”
This attack shows that American forces do not respect the lives and security of the people of Afghanistan and the loya jirga decision. For years, our people are being killed and their houses are being destroyed under the pretext of the war on terror.
A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan has killed up to 16 people, including as many as 12 civilians. The attack came in the province of Kunar on Saturday. The U.S.-led NATO occupation force reportedly bombed a truck carrying women and children after it picked up three suspected militants. In other violence, four Afghan officers were killed and dozens of civilians were wounded Sunday when Taliban fighters hit an intelligence compound in Wardak Province.
A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan has killed at least six people. Unverified reports say the victims included a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban who had just returned from fighting the U.S.-led occupation in Afghanistan. It was at least the 17th CIA drone attack in Pakistan this year. The Associated Press reported last week the United States has scaled back drone strikes in response to Pakistani objections. Citing anonymous U.S. officials, the AP says the White House has dropped the practice of “signature strikes,” in which attacks can be launched based on circumstantial patterns, such as a large gathering of military-age males.
Without an agreement on our presence in Afghanistan, we would not remain. But we do not believe that that’s the likely outcome of these negotiations. Unlike Iraq, to which comparisons are often made, the Afghans actually need us to stay.
The Obama administration is reportedly considering a speedier withdrawal from Afghanistan that would remove all troops after next year. The New York Times reports President Obama is weighing proposals to scrap plans for a “residual force” in Afghanistan after the withdrawal date of 2014. The report cites Obama’s apparent frustrations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Obama and Karzai’s ties apparently reached a “new low” after Karzai objected to peace talks last month between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar.
A new study is refuting claims that pilot-less drones carry out more precise attacks than conventional aircraft. Speaking to The Guardian, Larry Lewis of the Center for Naval Analyses says he found that remote-controlled drones caused 10 times more civilian casualties than piloted warplanes over the course of one year in Afghanistan. Lewis says his findings are based on classified military files covering mid-2010 to mid-2011, the most intense period for U.S. air strikes during the Afghan war.