Police Move Against Them, But Pakistan Protesters Slow NATO Supplies

KP Provincial Officials At Odds With Party Leadership

The Pakistani Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI), the ruling party of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah (KP) Province, is virtually synonymous with leader Imran Khan. So when their leader (and for years only seated MP) called on supporters to blockade NATO supplies traveling through KP to Afghanistan, many party organizers immediately took to the streets.

PakistanBut the PTI seems increasingly split on the blockade, with provincial officials giving police the okay to crack down on the demonstrators, sparking anti-PTI protests by PTI officials.

Police told the demonstrators they could protest alongside the highway where NATO supplies were crossing, but couldn’t stop the trucks. They also filed charges against 35 members of their own ruling party for involvement in the protests over the weekend.

Despite the police presence, reports suggested that NATO’s supplies have been slowed, and a number of trucks supposed to arrive in Afghanistan are still in Pakistan

US Troops Attack Afghan Civilian Bus, Killing One

Another Civilian Also Wounded in Herat Shooting

Details are still scarce, but officials are confirming that US troops attacked a civilian bus in the Herat Province, in the Adraskan District. The attack killed one civilian and wounded another.

AfghanistanSo far there have been no comments from US officials as to why the bus was attacked, but it was traveling on the same Kabul-Herat highway as the US convoy was, and it is not unusual for US troops to perceive anything else on the road as a “threat” and start attacking it.

This is the second report incident of civilians killed this year in Herat. In February, four civilians were killed in the cross-fire between a NATO and Taliban gunbattle in the province.

It is also the second incident of US troops killing civilians this week, with 11 children killed in a US air strike in Kunar Province, on the other side of the country, earlier this week.

by Jason Ditz

US Airstrikes Kills 11 Children in Afghan Border Village

Destroyed Several Houses, Killing Women and Children Within

US warplanes pounded the village of Shigal in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan today, destroying several houses in the course of a “support” operation that NATO officials bragged led to the deaths of two “senior Taliban leaders.” The village was just miles from the Pakistan border.

Kunar-provinceProvincial officials checked the houses, however, and found a grim consequence of the bombing campaign: a large number of women and children within were killed and injured beneath the rubble of their homes. 11 children in all were reported killed, and one woman. Several other women were badly wounded.

The official narrative surrounding the story is still nebulous, because while NATO insists that no NATO ground troops were involved in the raids, they also claimed it was NATO troops that had called in the strikes after “coming under attack.” A Kunar MP suggested there were no ground troops at all in the area, and that it was considered a “Taliban stronghold” which is why the attacks occurred.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly banned NATO air strikes against populated areas, and has also banned Afghan forces from requesting air support if they are attacked in an area where civilians might be impacted. The bans appear to be having little to no impact, however.

The US has yet to respond to the killings, while NATO says only that they are “aware” on the incident and will conduct some sort of assessment. Such assessments have rarely amounted to anything, however, with after the fact statements, if they come at all, insisting the Taliban are to blame for whoever the US bombs in the course of trying to kill Taliban fighters.

US Sending Missiles, Troops to Syrian Border

Officials: Turkey Deployments Aimed at ‘Defending’ Border

US troops and Patriot missile batteries will be deployed to southern Turkey, along the border with Syria, in a move US officials claim is aimed at defending against a possible Syrian attack on its much larger and vastly more powerful neighbor.

syria-lebanon-map1Of course there is no reason to believe Syria is considering an attack on Turkey in the first place, and indeed much of northern Syria is already in the hands of Turkish and NATO-backed rebel factions, making such a strike even less plausible.

The deployment is said to include two missile batteries and 400 US troops. This is not the only US deployment on the Syrian border, however, as additional US troops were sent to the Jordanian border to prepare a possible invasion of Syria.

Turkey has been seeking deployments of Patriot missiles for quite some time, and while they could be used to impose a no-fly zone in the region, NATO officials insist that this isn’t going to be the case, and that the deployment is rather meant to defend Turkey from a non-existent missile threat.

by Jason Ditz

Afghan Policeman Kills Two US Troops in Insider Attack

Officials Offer Few Details on Uruzgan Province Killings

A man in an Afghan police uniform attacked and killed two US soldiers today in the Uruzgan Province in the latest apparent “green-on-blue” attack in Afghanistan. Officials have yet to confirm the attacker’s identity, and don’t know if he was an actual policeman or just someone who stole a uniform.

The attacker approached the soldiers pre-dawn as they were returning from a patrol, then opened fire killing two before escaping into the countryside. There was no indication what caused the incident, as many such shootings have been retaliation for arguments.

If confirmed as an “insider” attack this would be 55 NATO soldiers killed so far this year in such attacks, by far the most of any single year in the 11+ year occupation of Afghanistan.

Taliban officials have regularly claimed credit for such attacks, though how many they are actually responsible for is a matter of some dispute. Taliban leader Mullah Omar released a statement yesterday urging his fighters to infiltrate the Afghan security forces to launch more such attacks.

by Jason Ditz

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