* Troops kill ‘scores of Taleban’ *
Nato-led forces and Afghan troops kill 136 Taleban fighters in Herat province, a coalition statement says.
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Does it occur to any of us that this report indicates that we are killing a considerable number of people defending their own land?

Afghanistan has been a battleground now for decades with shifting power alliances among its five tribal groups and outside interests — Soviets, U.S., what next?  The country is torn apart and its people live in the grimmest conditions.  The U.S. only (relatively) maintains peace as the defender of its selected governmental head, President Hamid Karzai, in a green zone in Kabul where — despite our security efforts — Vice President Cheney experienced a near hit a few weeks ago.

By all reports the rest of Afghanistan remains out of control and an on-going war zone.  How miserable for its people — particularly the women and children — some of whom were reported by residents to have been killed in this assault in which we cited only enemy Taleban deaths.

One has to expect a bloodbath to follow this summer, as the BBC report concludes:

“Across Afghanistan, bloodshed has returned to levels not seen since the fall of the Taleban regime in 2001. Some 4,000 people are believed to have died last year in the insurgency – about a quarter of them civilians.”

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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