Monday, October 20, 2008

Afghanistan - US General calls for more troops

Gen. Craddock: More troops were needed to defeat the Taleban [Sky]

The Taleban have said they targeted a British aid worker because she was “promoting Christianity” in the country. Gayle Williams, who worked for Serve Afghanistan, was shot six times in the back streets of Kabul by assassins riding on a motorcycle. She was the 6th aid worker to die this year in a country that has seen continued violence against foreign workers [BBC / Sky News / CNN]. In August another aid group, the International Rescue Committee, suspended operations after three of its foreign female staff, a British-Canadian, a Canadian and a Trinidadian-American, were shot along with their Afghan driver close to Kabul.

The Taleban have also claimed responsibility for a bomb blast targeted against a German patrol killing 2 German soldiers. Five Afghani children were also killed in the attack some 60 km from Kabul.

The latest attacks came as NATO General John Craddock warned there was a lack of political will to tackle the increasing violence [Sky News]. In an interview with Sky’s International Correspondent Tim Marshall he said "I do not think we are losing, we are not winning fast enough". He said that reconstruction of the country was also moving too slowly. While he refused to be specific, General Craddock said that a number of NATO countries were not forthcoming with the much needed manpower. He and other NATO leaders have said that more troops were needed, not only to defeat the Taleban but also to tackle the war on drugs. Craddock said the British role was extremely important as Helmand province was one of the main poppy growing areas. But, he said it was up to British politicians to make the right decision to deploy the much needed forces. Over 120 British servicemen and women have so far died in the conflict.

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