Resistance to the US troop surge in Afghanistan, and continued bombing
The UN’s representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, appears to be resisting the idea that the fundamental policies of the US in Afghanistan need to be changed. This resistance may well be in regards to Obama’s plan to vastly increase US military presence as well as greatly expand the Afghan national army and police. Eide argues that the focus should not be on policy framework but rather on implementation of policy. The Associated Press reports:
“My appeal is not grand strategy discussion, my appeal is concrete implementation effort,” Eide told The Associated Press.
…”Our problem is not that we need a new strategy. … What happens very often is that we agree on something, we do not implement it and we say something must therefore be wrong with the strategy,” Eide said. “That is not the case. The problem is in the implementation.”
The Washington Post reports that Afghan resistance to the US troop surge of as much as 30,000 more soldiers may delay its implementation. The Afghan public has increasingly become resentful of international military presence as many civilians have been killed by air strikes. Civilian deaths by air strikes have generally been denied by US officials until insurmountable evidence is presented. In most cases, the US still resists apologizing for obvious civilian deaths as a result of air strikes. The reason for this may partially be that apologizing for the deaths would demand a clear review of the policy around air strikes and require a massive reduction in their use in order to avoid civilian deaths.
From a UPI article:
The Pentagon’s investigation into deadly airstrikes in Afghanistan in August 2008 was flawed, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the rights organization was critical of the investigation by Brig. Gen. Michael Callan, who probed the Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 airstrikes on the village of Azizabad.
The Callan report summary concluded 33 civilians had been killed in the Azizabad airstrikes. Human Rights Watch said separate investigations by the United Nations, the government of Afghanistan, and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission concluded that 78 to 92 civilians were killed in the airstrikes.
“The weaknesses in the Callan investigation call into question the Defense Department’s commitment to avoid civilian casualties,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
The US military announced that one of its Black Hawk helicopters crashed near Kabul. The military didn’t say what was the cause of the incident. All passengers survived.