Monday, February 22, 2010

FP morning post 2/22

More civilians killed in NATO airstrike as Afghan offensive continues

Top news: At least 27 civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike in Central Afghanistan, according to President Hamid Karzai's cabinet, an attack they call "unjustifiable." It is the third time that an airstrike has killed civilians since the start of the U.S.-led coalition's latest offensive against the Taliban in Marjah.

Aircraft reportedly fired on a convoy of vehicles they believed to be carrying insurgents on their way to attack U.S. and Afghan troops, but discovered later that civilians, including women and children, were in the vehicles. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan who has tighteted the rules of engagement in an effort to reduce civilian casualties, has apologized to the Afghan president for the latest incident.

A suicide bomber has reportedly killed at least 15 people, including an influential tribal leader, in Pakistan's Nangarhar province. The blast occurred at a meeting between government and tribal workers and Afghan refugees who had recently returned from Pakistan.

In neighboring Pakistan, another senior Afghan Taliban leader has reportedly been captured. Pakistani intelligence officials tell CNN that Mullah Abdul Kabir, a member of the Taliban's council of minister's and former governor of Afghanistan's Eastern Zone under Taliban rule, was apparently captured in the Northwest Frontier Province last week.

Toyota: The Japanese carmaker has hired influential Washington lobbyists as its chief executives prepare to testify on Capitol Hill this week.

Middle East
  • The collapse of Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's government means that Dutch troops will likely be out of Afghanistan before the end of the year.
  • The Polish government is, for the first time, providing data on flights related to the CIA's rendition program.
  • Flash floods and mudslides on the Portuguese island of Madeira killed at least 42 people.
-By Joshua Keating


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