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Monday, April 07, 2008


And meanwhile, back in Afghanistan

At least 23 civilians were killed today and up to 50 others injured in US airstrikes in east Afghanistan. It's hard to keep track, but here are the staggering numbers that basically never make the broadcast news, and only rarely the print media: "More than 8,000 people were killed in Afghanistan last year, about one-fourth of them civilians."

Obviously, the definition of "civilians" is somewhat fluid, especially in a situation where even "regular civilians" are willing to take up arms and expel an occupying force. Indeed, it's arguable that most of those 8,000 people were probably "civilians" in the sense that if there weren't an occupation, they'd be busy tending fields (poppies, probably) or doing something other than holding a gun. Some, of course, would be part of local militias, but what the proportion is is impossible to know.

In either case, however, and however one defines any particular dead person, the fact that 6,000 people died supposedly taking up arms against the occupation, and yet the resistance continues as strongly as ever, should provide a pretty good indication of the extent and resilience of that resistance, and, by extension, a pretty good indication of how unwelcome the occupation is.

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