War in Afghanistan

Now six years after U.S.-led military forces removed the Taliban and its Qaeda support network from power, major challenges are seriously undermining popular support and trust in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

A growing sense of insecurity throughout the country, including Kabul; rampant corruption, ineffective law enforcement and a weak judicial system; a failure to provide social services, lagging reconstruction and high unemployment; a booming drug trade and too many warlords.

Now another problem is rising to the top of that list, the increasing civilian death toll. Last year more than a thousand Afghans died. Three quarters were killed in the allied forces attack, many deliberately aimed at civilians. Also some 30 innocent Afghans also died as a result of air strikes and ground operations by U.S. military and NATO forces. This year those numbers are on the rise at a very rapid rate.

Since March there have been at least six incidents in which Western troops, mainly those under American command, have been accused of killing Afghan civilians, with more than 3 deaths reported and many more wounded. According to their Red Cross, bombing by U.S. forces in western Afghanistan couple of months ago destroyed or badly damaged some 170 houses and left almost 2,000 people in four villages homeless.

Mounting civilian casualties are turning Afghans against the nearly 45,000 U.S. and NATO troops in their country, provoking demonstrations and a motion in the upper house of Parliament to set a date for their withdrawal. It is clear that the patience of Afghan people is wearing thin. The aggressive, arbitrary searches of people’s houses have reached an unacceptable level, and it is clear that brave and dignified Afghan people cannot put up with it any longer.

It is high time that U.S. recognize the pulse rate of the area, and prepare for an early withdrawal.

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