Yet More Airstrikes in Afghanistan

Another NATO attack, this time on a pair of trucks hijacked by the Taliban, another public relations disaster:

The Taliban had stolen the trucks and were driving them across Char Dara district, an insurgent stronghold, when the vehicles got stuck on a bridge, officials and locals said.

….Local Afghan security forces alerted the international NATO-led command, known as the International Security Assistance Force, who then called in an airstrike. The bomb struck the tankers, causing a huge blast that immediately killed those in the vicinity and burned many others in the area, locals said.

The NATO-led command, in a statement, said it had “observed insurgent activity and assessed civilians were not in the area” before ordering the strike.

Unfortunately, it turned out the when the truck got stuck on the bridge, villagers flocked out to start siphoning fuel away.  So when the trucks were attacked and exploded, lots of villagers were killed along with lots of insurgents.

And our man Hamid Karzai?  Naturally he stepped right up and thundered that “targeting civilian men and women is not acceptable.”  Thanks, Hamid.  That should help keep things calm.

More troops aren’t likely to help with this sort of thing.  Maybe there was an Afghan screwup, maybe there was a NATO screwup, maybe no one screwed up and it’s just impossible to ever be 100% sure that civilians aren’t around.  So it’s going to happen again.  And apparently, when it does, Karzai will make our position even worse and more dangerous than it already is by making the most inflammatory possible suggestion about how it happened.  Does this really sound like a country we should be sending more troops to?

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate