Monday, February 26, 2007

Town’s Elders Plead for Help With Taliban

NYT reported Taliban fighters who seized control of a remote town in southern Afghanistan three weeks ago have started a campaign of arrests and reprisals against tribal elders and townspeople, according to tribal elders. The elders called on NATO forces and the government to move against the insurgents, even if it means bombing the town.

Things must be bad, if people are asking for their own town to be bombed.
Five elders from the town, Musa Qala, including a member of its tribal council, traveled to Kabul this week to plead for help, expressing bitterness that neither Afghan forces nor NATO troops responded when Taliban forces overran the town on Feb. 2.
That is what you get when you make a deal asking for Nato to withdraw.
In October, in a controversial deal brokered by the town’s 50-member tribal council, both British NATO troops and the Taliban withdrew, and the town enjoyed three months of calm. But the Taliban remained at large in the district, and when NATO forces killed eight of their members in an airstrike last month, their leader seized control of the town, putting elders who did not flee under house arrest and issuing death threats.
Did the deal say they would not bomb outside of the town?
Hundreds of families fled, anticipating NATO bombing. NATO airstrikes have continued in the region and have killed several local insurgent leaders, but the elders said that had made the situation harder for the townspeople. “Mullah Ghafoor was killed in an airstrike, and the Taliban started to blame the elders and people for spying for NATO troops,” said the main spokesman for the group that came to Kabul, identifying one insurgent leader. Another leader, Mullah Manan, was killed, and the house where his body was taken was bombed, he said.

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