August 19, 2011
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This article first appeared at AntiWar.com
At least 26 people were killed in a series of violent attacks on Thursday in eastern and western Afghanistan, illustrating once again the continuing mayhem in the war torn country despite Washington characterizing the war as winding down.
A minibus filled with Afghan civilians in western Herat province ran over a roadside bomb, killing 22 and wounding many others. About half the victims were children under five years old. Another bomb hit a truck about the same time in the Kotal Turkistan area of the same district, injuring thirteen civilians. Meanwhile, two Afghan security guards were killed in the same area when a suicide bomber targeted a US Army base, blowing up a truck.
The violence also continued into Friday, as a pair of bombings reportedly struck the British Embassy in Kabul early Friday, killing at least 10 and sparking a gunbattle in the area.
Roadside bombs have been one of the primary weapons of insurgents in Afghanistan, exacting a heavy toll on civilians throughout the decade-long war. An ever more common NATO tactic has been airstrikes, for which civilians are paying an increasingly high price, human rights groups have warned.
A recent report found that the rate of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has reached a record high, with 1,462 killed from January to June this year. With the surge still around its peak of troop levels, the kind of security improvements the Obama administration was hoping for has not been forthcoming. This could mean a much longer presence of high levels of troops and a war without a foreseeable end, or a perceivable strategy.