Suicide bomb kills 15 in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber is reported to have killed 15 people in eastern Afghanistan. The blast comes only a day after the Afghan government said 27 civilians were killed in a NATO air strike in the south of the country.

NATO has expressed regret over the attack, in which forces mistakenly believed a convoy of trucks was carrying militants.

Jake Deliberto from Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan says civilian causalities are hard to avoid while fighting the Taliban.

”There is no doubt the US forces are sitting in a hotbed of Taliban-controlled territory,” he said. “They are doing their best to secure the territory and to not harm civilians, but they have two problems: one, it is difficult to differentiate the enemy from the local population because you don’t have a uniformed enemy. The other problem you have is that you have got the Taliban hiding among the civilian population, so it is a real difficult task.”

Meanwhile, Brian Becker from the Answer Coalition says US actions in Afghanistan echo the situation during the Vietnam War.

“That is similar to what happened with Nixon and Kissinger during Vietnam – they knew victory was impossible and yet they continued the war because they did not want to take responsibility for the defeat,” he said.

Watch the interviews with Jake Deliberto and Brian Becker

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General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational force, only yesterday gave revised figures for how long he thinks it is going to take to subdue the insurgents: at least another 18 months.

But Jim Brann from the Stop the War coalition in London says there nothing from past experience to believe what Petraeus or other generals are saying.

“If you remember, it was four years ago almost to the day that the British Defense Secretary John Reid announced the massive British military build-up – precisely in Helmand Province – and said that he hoped that they would leave without firing a shot, and I can’t remember how many millions of rounds they fired ever since. So it’s that kind of statement that stands in complete contrast with reality on the ground,” Brann said.