Foreign Policy Blogs

Death in the Morning

I woke up this morning, opened my laptop, and took a look at my Afghan feeder and found one theme in yesterday’s news, death. If anyone needed to be shown how troubled the conflict still was all they need to hear are these three troubling and sad stories:

  • Afghan officials are reporting that NATO airstrikes killed six civilians, including two children, in an attack on insurgents in the country’s mountainous eastern region. A NATO official stated that they believed only a group of insurgents, ones supposedly preparing an assault on a NATO base, were targeted and hit by the strike. Agence France-Presse spoke to an injured 14-year old boy whose home was reportedly hit in the attack: “We were asleep, and all of a sudden the roof collapsed. I don’t remember anything. I got to know here that my father, my mother, my brother and my younger sister have all been killed, and I am wounded.” NATO will begin an investigation into the matter. As the year has gone on the use of airstrikes by American and NATO forces have dwindled and this incident shows a major reason why.
  • Members of the Taliban arrested, convicted, and executed for moral misdeeds, a young Afghan couple who attempted to elope in Iran. The execution took place in the Khash Rud District of Nimruz Province and showcases the political and logistical strength of the Taliban inside of parts of Afghanistan. In this incident, members were not only able to institute, but also implement their rule of law. The couple was arrested, sentenced in court, and had the sentence carried out in rapid secession. This action was appalling and wrong, but it unfortunately portrays the growing presence and strength of Taliban elements inside of Afghanistan.
  • In a similar vein, this last ‘death in the morning’ story shows the deteriorating security situation in the country. Setara Achakzai, a female member of the provincial council of Kandahar, was assassinated by two motorcyclists on Sunday. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) ‘strongly condemned’ the murder, stating; “Setara Achakzai was a brave Afghan woman who severs her people and country in a restive province despite threat to her life. I strongly condemn this diabolical terrorist attack.” Government officials being killed undermines any government, especially a nascent, democratic one, and the insurgency obviously knows this. These officials need to be kept safe as the goal of the Taliban will be to make it so insecure to be in the Kabul-led government that the nation’s best and most qualified will choose not to serve. This cannot happen. Hopefully the surge in US troops can help provide a more secure environment in which all government workers, whether they be policemen, the President, or especially women, can go about their challenging, but crucial work in rebuilding the country.