Monday, February 18, 2008

Kandahar's Governor Blasts the Canadian Military After Suicide Bombing

On the heels of the second suicide bombing in Afghanistan in two days, the death tolls from both attacks currently standing at 136, the notorious governor of Kandahar accused the Canadian military of ignoring 6 warnings that such an attack might happen in the area, concluding it had put Afghan civilians in danger.

The military's response was this:

...a military spokesman said the Canadian Forces make the decisions on where its soldiers will patrol.

"We regularly receive threat warnings and obviously we go where we want to, when we want to in our area of operation," said Lt.-Cmdr. Pierre Babinsky.

"We obviously take notice of these warnings but our aim is to operate freely within our area of operation despite those."

Shorter Babinsky: you're not the boss of me.

Fine. But at what cost?

NATO troops have repeatedly been slammed by Karzai over civilian deaths and in a country where our soldiers are supposed to be winning hearts and minds as part of the counter-insurgency tactics, that arrogant statement by Babinsky certainly won't help the mission. There's a difference between being in charge of military maneuvers and writing off Afghan intel efforts that another suicide bombing is being planned. 4 of our soldiers were also wounded as a result. Was it absolutely necessary that Canadian troops be in Spin Boldak on Monday to the point where the commanders decided to move through despite the warnings?

Meanwhile, our utterly clueless defence minister, Peter MacKay, said these bombings don't signal an "escalation" in violence. Well, when 136 people are killed in 2 days, I certainly don't know what else you can call it. Just how many more people have to die in record numbers before MacKay acknowledges reality?

Update: The death toll from today's bombing has reached 38, with 30 Afghans critically wounded.

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