Monday, May 29, 2006

News from "liberated" Afghanistan. "An early morning traffic accident in Kabul involving a US military vehicle rapidly degenerated yesterday into the worst upheaval in the Afghan capital since the fall of the Taliban, as angry protesters burned vehicles and buildings, ransacked shops and aid agencies and hurled rocks and invective at American soldiers. By the time the authorities imposed a rare night-time curfew in the normally peaceable capital, eight people had been killed and more than 100 injured. The upheaval was a shock to a city long considered an oasis of security, and a serious blow to the authority of the president, Hamid Karzai, who is struggling to contain an escalating insurgency in the south."... Yesterday the US-led coalition said it killed up to 50 Taliban fighters in a bombing raid on a village in Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops are deploying. The air strikes took the death toll from the past two weeks to more than 350, according to the highest estimates.... After four years and $12bn, £6.5bn, in foreign aid, the majority of Afghans still scrape through life without electricity or clean water. More than seven million people are chronically hungry, according to the UN, and 53% live on less than a dollar, or 54p, a day. The sight of foreigners earning large salaries and driving large vehicles protected by private security companies has focused frustrations. More recently, a spate of civilian deaths in US anti-Taliban bombing has aroused public anger in a country with a history of violently ejecting foreign occupiers." (I can imagine Bernard Lewis reading this and advising: "they only undertand the language of force." I am sure that there are many who will advise more bombing of Afghanistan. I mean more "liberation.")