Per the last post, a new UN report out states that the US airstrikes in Afghanistan have killed 90 civilians.
Now a HUGE CAVEAT: The UN based the number on interviews–no photographic evidence apparently (I would quote the passage but its AP–see the link for the reference to my paraphrase). As a good guess it usually always turns out to be more than the US army officially reports and less than UN type groups say.
But whatever the exact number it has been clear that Karzai has repeatedly called out NATO/US for the use of air strikes in the country killing civilians. He wants the US to use planes to bomb Pakistani targets–yikes.
Again, I have deep reservations (a la Juan Cole, Rory Stewart, and possibly even Jim Webb) about a ground force increase in Afghanistan. The alternative however is either A)continued use of air power which will mean more civilian deaths only increasing the hatred of the presence of foreign troops and/or B)the Taliban taking over and destroying the Karzai government. Unless they can massively train up an Afghan Army double quick time that could actually fight which doesn’t seem particularly likely then they are serious problems in this part of the world.
It is not just as China Hand said, that Pakistan is not Iran to Afghanistan’s Iraq (true) but also the Taliban are not the Sunni tribes of Iraq. They deal with al-Qaeda are not going to turn on them and can’t be bought off.
Iraq, since I obliquely am on the subject, is gearing up for Civil War 2.0, so even Iraq itself is headed back towards chaos so maybe there is no hope for any of them.