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AFGHANISTAN: 10 U.S. Soldiers Killed In 2 Days


A U.S. Marine, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, has a close call after Taliban fighters opened fire near Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan May 18, 2008. The Marine was not injured. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

WASHINGTON POST: The attack began in the early morning hours. Taliban-linked militiamen struck from the high ground using rifles, grenades and rockets against the outpost, a cluster of stone buildings set in a small Hindu Kush valley that has been manned by 140 U.S. and Afghan forces. By the end of a day-long siege, eight Americans and two Afghan security officers were dead, marking the highest toll for U.S. forces in over a year. The deaths brought into stark relief the dilemma the Obama administration faces in Afghanistan. Without more soldiers and supplies, the Taliban and allied insurgents are gaining ground, but committing more forces could sink the country deeper into an increasingly deadly and unpopular war. MORE

obamafusco_1.jpgASSOCIATED PRESS: Bombs killed two NATO troopers, including one American, following the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in more than a year, military officials said Monday. A NATO statement said a U.S. soldier died of wounds suffered in a bombing Sunday in southern Afghanistan. The statement said a second service member died of wounds in a roadside bombing Monday, also in the south, but the victim’s nationality was not released. At least 16 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this month — matching the American death toll for all of October in 2008. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: COUNTERINSURGENCY is only as good as the government it supports. NATO could do everything right — it isn’t — but will still fail unless Afghans trust their government. Without essential reform, merely making the government more efficient or extending its reach will just make things worse. Only a legitimately elected Afghan president can enact reforms, so at the very least we need to see a genuine run-off election or an emergency national council, called a loya jirga, before winter. Once a legitimate president emerges, we need to see immediate action from him on a publicly announced reform program, developed in consultation with Afghan society and enforced by international monitors. Reforms should include firing human rights abusers and drug traffickers, establishing an independent authority to investigate citizen complaints and requiring officials to live in the districts they are responsible for (fewer than half do). MORE

[Photo by JEFF FUSCO]

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