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Oh well. You have to break a few eggs if you want to make a democratic omlet. Fox won’t be reporting this little miscalculation. I understand that Patreaus was heard to say off camera that what do you expect – all ragheads look alike. At least we only killed Afghans. They probably would have deserted to the Taliban anyway, so no great loss. I’m sure the Afghan Army is anxious to work with the US much more closely now.

This 9 year hell hole of a war is lost. We can’t win. We are just killing for the sake of Obama’s pride. The Fox neocons will tell you that everything would be better if we tell the world we are willing to stay another 9 years. These idiots should be sent on a night mission in Afghanistan with the Afghan Army. Monica Crowley can wheel Kruthamer out onto the battlefield. I’d love to see Hannity on the point leading the charge. These disgusting excuses for journalists make me want to puke.


NATO kills 5 Afghan troops in mistaken hit

By Laura King

Los Angeles Times

KABUL, Afghanistan – Gen. David H. Petraeus on Wednesday marked an early and unwelcome milestone in his tenure as commander of Western forces here: apologizing for his troops having accidentally killed five Afghan soldiers.

“Friendly fire” incidents are relatively rare, but they stir animosity among many in the Afghan military, whose partnership with the NATO force is central to President Obama’s hopes that American troops can begin drawing down a year from now.

Afghan and NATO officials said the incident was under investigation, but in the past such accidental deaths have been blamed on poor communication and coordination and often on nighttime confusion.

The five Afghan soldiers were killed by a NATO air strike as they prepared to launch a predawn attack Wednesday on insurgents in the Andar district of Ghazni province, in central Afghanistan. Western spotters apparently mistook the Afghan troops for armed militants.

Petraeus, who formally assumed command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force on Sunday, conveyed personal regrets to the Afghan government, said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz of Germany, an ISAF spokesman.

Afghan officials made clear that such occurrences carry a political cost. “We strongly condemn this incident,” said an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time it happened. . . . We hope at least this would be the last.”

Azimi said the 4 a.m. air strike occurred without warning. In addition to the five dead, two Afghan soldiers were wounded.

Western military officials also had losses of their own to report: the deaths of three American soldiers a day earlier in an explosion in the south.

Insurgents have been using massive IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, which can penetrate many of the armored vehicles used by NATO forces. As a result, it is not unusual for Western troops to die in “clusters” of three or more.

Newly arriving American troops – part of a 30,000-strong buildup ordered by Obama late last year that will bring U.S. force numbers to 100,000 by summer’s end – are mainly being deployed in the south, the scene of a major Western military campaign that is unfolding, somewhat behind schedule, around the city of Kandahar.

The south is the most lethal battlefield for Americans and the other national contingents serving there, primarily Canadian and British troops.

Britain said Wednesday that it would soon turn over one of the most dangerous districts of Helmand province in the south to American forces. About a third of the more than 300 deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan have occurred in the district, Sangin.

In London, Liam Fox, Britain’s new defense secretary, told Parliament that British forces in Helmand had long been “too thinly spread.” With the arrival of thousands more U.S. Marines, he said, British troops would redeploy elsewhere in the province.

In a video conference with Pentagon reporters, U.S. Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the deputy commander in Afghanistan, described the move as an effort to consolidate and better organize forces in Helmand. He played down suggestions that the move was in response to losses incurred by the 800-man British force in Sangin.

Rodriguez said the British forces would stay in the district through the peak fighting season this summer and until after elections scheduled for fall.

“The Brits have continued to make progress,” he said. “It is hard-earned, because it’s a tough place.”

The move will leave U.S. Marines in control of the northern Helmand River Valley, British forces toward the middle, and U.S. forces in the south. The move will concentrate British troops “where we need them most,” he said.