Killing Children in Afghanistan…As Americans Say Enough is Enough

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Maintaining support for the war in Afghanistan, both in the United States and in the war-torn country, is getting tougher all the time.
Afghans have increasingly questioned the reliability of American and NATO forces when attacks on civilians continue, such as those that took place this week and earlier this month.
On Monday, two children who were working in their family’s fields in Kunar province were killed in a NATO airstrike. The deaths came on the heels of those of nine other youths, age 8 to 15, also in Kunar, who were killed on March 1 after a helicopter crew mistook them for insurgents. The boys, from the village of Nangalam near the Pakistani border, were out collecting firewood at the time of the attack. The latter tragedy led to a personal apology by U.S. General David Petraeus.
Patience was already running out last year on Western killings of local citizens, which contributed to a 15% jump in non-combatant deaths in 2010. That year was said to be the worst for civilian deaths since the Taliban lost power 2001.
Americans also are growing tired of the war, according to a new poll. Only 31% of respondents said the conflict has been worth fighting, a new low, while 64% categorized it as not worth fighting. More than 70% said the U.S. should begin pulling out troops this summer, although a majority doubted that this will happen.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Nine Afghan Boys Collecting Firewood Killed by NATO Helicopters (by Alissa Rubin and Sangar Rahimi, New York Times)
Economy, Gas, Partisanship and War Gang Up on Confidence in Government (ABC News/Washington Post) (pages 2 and 11-12, question 24) (pdf)


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