Thanks to Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama’s ramped up offensive in Afghanistan, Afghan civilian casualties are on the rise. While a bulk of the recent casualties have not been at the hands of America and the NATO coalition, one would have to believe that young boys and girls would not be stepping on bombs if there weren’t a foreign, invading force in the country.
Insurgents routinely seed roads and pathways with IEDs, or improvised explosive devices — their favored weapon against Western troops. But most often, those killed and injured by the hidden bombs are civilians.
Buried bombs killed 30 Afghans in a 48-hour span, in the latest grim illustration of the dangers faced by civilians as the season’s fighting heats up.
The latest casualties came Saturday in Zabul province, in southern Afghanistan, when a van filled with travelers struck a roadside bomb. Thirteen people were killed, including four children and four women, said a spokesman for the provincial government.
On Friday evening, two bombs planted close together killed four people in the rural Maruf district of volatile Kandahar province. One was apparently triggered by a donkey, and two people riding or leading the animal died in the explosion. Then two more people who rushed to the rescue were killed by the second bomb, police said.
The Taliban and other insurgents often plant bombs close together, in hopes of killing troops and those who try to help victims.
With the recent increases in combatant and noncombatant deaths, and a realization that the Taliban will have to take part in any meaningful reconciliation efforts, the time has come for Obama to immediately withdraw all troops from the volatile region. Neither the Taliban nor Afghanistan’s rigidly conservative brand of Islam are going anywhere anytime soon. Talk of democracy and central authority are downright antithetical to the culture and history of Afghanistan. How much more blood and treasure will Obama squander until the realization is made that this is a hopelessly futile war? We should find out by 2014, and even that’s a farfetched hope.