Thursday, April 02, 2009

Overshadowed

While we are appropriately outraged and transfixed by the Afghan government's offensive marital rape law and are now watching the Afghan government react to our protests, there was a major and "brazen" Taliban attack in Kandahar yesterday: "Militants Storm Government Office in Afghanistan, Killing 13." It is being compared to the embarrassing prison escape that occurred in Kandahar at the end of this past summer:
The attack, in daylight in the center of the city, was the second in the past year in which Taliban fighters infiltrated Kandahar, an important city in the south, in such a brazen manner. Armed insurgents assaulted the main prison in Kandahar in June, detonating a truck bomb and overrunning the prison, killing 15 guards and freeing hundreds of prisoners.

The dead on Wednesday included a provincial health official and an education official who had been attending a seminar by an American group, as well as police and council workers, said Ahmed Wali Karzai, the leader of the provincial council. Mr. Karzai, a brother of President Hamid Karzai, was not at the office during the attack.

The seminar was being conducted by the National Democratic Institute, a group that promotes democracy. No one from the group was injured, said Kathy Gest, the director of public affairs for the institute in Washington. A number of groups were holding meetings in the compound on Wednesday, officials said.
The attack didn't seem to come up in either the CBC or Canwest interview reports with Lt.-General Michel Gauthier today.

A report in the NY Times this afternoon is worth a look as a follow-up on this incident, as it conveys the tension, for lack of a better word, between the approaches within NATO to move forward in light of such attacks. There's the coming increased American military presence (albeit in a more "comprehensive" and "regional" approach to include Pakistan) and the European desire to focus on more comprehensive police and army training. The new NATO secretary general, to be decided this weekend (MacKay?), will have plenty to grapple with, that's for sure...