US to probe Taliban murder allegations
Brad Norington; 14/7/09; (4 Items)
Barack Obama has ordered his national security team to investigate allegations the US helped cover up the murder of about 2000 Taliban prisoners in the early stages of the Afghanistan war. The US President’s directive re-opens official US government interest in the circumstances behind a mass grave in northern Afghanistan that dates back to late 2001. The murders were allegedly carried out at the behest of a local warlord backed by the US-led Northern Alliance. According to the original reports of the incident just months after it happened, captured Taliban fighters were allegedly killed while being transported in cramped container trucks. Last week the allegations re-emerged when it was reported that the Bush administration had “repeatedly discouraged” efforts to inquire into killings.
See: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25776004-2703,00.html; http://www.theage.com.au/world/cia-program-was-bid-to-kill-or-capture-alqaeda-20090713-diqi.html; Afghan execution cover-up inquiry; 14/7/09; http://www.theage.com.au/world/afghan-execution-coverup-inquiry-20090713-diqn.html
US trapped in ‘bitter war’?
Clayton Swisher; 14/7/09
When Barack Obama, the US president, hosted Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the White House back in May, a sense of urgency hung over the meeting that may not have been appreciated until now. “US troops are serving courageously and capably in a vital mission in Afghanistan,” assured President Obama, “alongside our Afghan and international partners.”
Rising Afghanistan body count sparks fierce attacks on Gordon Brown
A surge in battlefield deaths in Afghanistan has left four US marines and eight British soldiers dead in recent days, sparking a furious political spat in London and stoking concern among allied forces as thousands of troops pour into the country. The mounting deaths have contributed to harsh criticism of the war in a handful of NATO countries that have lost soldiers in recent months, including Canada, Germany and France. It has been an especially divisive issue in Britain, which has lost 15 soldiers in the past 11 days, including the eight killed on Friday. Those deaths have brought Britain’s total losses to 184, a tally that exceeds the 179 British military personnel killed in Iraq. In London, the Tory opposition accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of “the ultimate dereliction of duty” in his handling of the war.
Deadly blast hits Pakistani school
At least nine people, including seven children, have been killed and scores more wounded after a cache of explosives apparently ignited in an Islamic school in Pakistan, police said. The blast on Monday destroyed the school and more than one dozen homes in a village near the city of Mian Channu in Punjab province, trapping several people under the rubble. The seminary was based in a house in which children were taught the Quran.