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US bombing raids in Afghanistan wiping out development efforts

Jay GW
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US bombing raids in Afghanistan wiping out development efforts

Post by Jay GW » Sun May 13, 2007 6:45 pm

BRITAIN will step up its presence in Afghanistan this week with the deployment of a high-profile new ambassador as concern mounts that the toll of civilians killed in the war is setting back the coalition’s efforts to win Afghan “hearts and minds”.

There is growing alarm over a wave of US bombing raids in which 110 civilians have died in the past two weeks. Twenty-one people were killed last week after US special forces called in airstrikes on the town of Sangin in Helmand province. “Sometimes you wonder whose side the Americans are on,” said a British official.

US officials claimed that Taliban militants had sheltered in villagers’ homes, using women and children as shields. But local anger was so strong that the Afghan Senate passed a draft law calling for a halt to military offensives by international forces unless they were under attack or had consulted with the Afghan government.

“One mishandled bombing raid wipes out the benefits of months of development work,” said Matt Waldman, head of Afghanistan policy for Oxfam.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 782039.ece