o The Guardian,
o Thursday August 21 2008
The war in Afghanistan is running out of control. The multiple attacks mounted by Taliban guerrillas on Nato occupation troops on Monday and Tuesday - in which 10 newly arrived French soldiers were killed near Kabul and a US base hit by suicide bombers - are the most daring since the US-led invasion of 2001. More than 100 people have been killed in fighting in the past three days, as the war against foreign occupation has spread from the south to the east and the area around the capital.
The assault on the French reinforcements follows the killing of nine US soldiers in a single attack last month, and the freeing of hundreds of Taliban prisoners from Kandahar's main jail in a night-time raid in June. As Afghanistan experiences its own Iraq-style surge of US and other Nato forces, the death toll is rising inexorably. The number of occupation troops killed in Afghanistan overtook the Iraqi level in May. Attacks on US-led forces are up by 50% on last year, Nato air attacks have increased 40%, and more than 2,500 have already reportedly lost their lives in the conflict since January - getting on for half of them civilians.
In a damning indictment of the impact of Nato's occupation on Afghanistan, aid agencies reported earlier this month that insecurity was spreading to previously stable areas and the killing of civilians by all sides rising sharply. The US air force seems to have developed a particular habit of attacking wedding parties - last month 47 civilians were killed in one strike - while British troops, who lost 13 soldiers in June alone, killed a woman and two children last weekend, which the high command naturally blamed on the Taliban.