Tuesday, August 10, 2010
By Anuj Chopra
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- This volatile city in southern Afghanistan, known as the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, isn't unfamiliar with the staccato rattle of gunfire and the thunder of explosions. But last week's bomb attack — the deadliest in years — has deepened the anguish of war-weary Kandaharis living in the shadow of rising violence. A cluster of vehicle bombs ripped through a central area of Kandahar, killing 43 and injuring 65, nearly all of them civilians. The ear-piercing explosions sent shock waves through the city, smashing windows miles away from the bombing site and leaving broken shards of glass and mangled remains of cars strewn on the streets. Heaps of rubble and smoldering debris lay amid dozens of damaged buildings, now resembling more the ruins of an ancient civilization.
U.S. Hopes To Prompt Afghan Awakening
By Anuj Chopra
SANGLAKH, AFGHANISTAN -- Gen Stanley McCrystal, the top Nato commander in Afghanistan, began deliberations last weekend on a critical question: can a new initiative in Afghanistan restore security in the country’s restive provinces? “I want to understand it,” he told local Afghan officials sitting on a grassy knoll and gorging freshly plucked apricots. “The more you teach me, the better I will perform at meetings with ministers in Kabul.” The initiative, begun in March, is the Afghan Police Protection Programme, or AP3, an anti-Taliban militia known colloquially as the Guardians. “Before the Guardians came, this district was 80 per cent insecure. The Taliban were everywhere,” said Sayad Jawad Bahunar, the sub-governor of the district. “But now people feel much safer.”...