Saturday, November 13, 2010

Afghanistan War: Bulldozing through Kandahar

Using explosives and bulldozers, the US military has leveled hundreds of homes and trees.
Ben Gilbert
By Ben GilbertGlobalPost, November 10, 2010

Afghanistan War
Army engineers blow up a grape hut near a newly established U.S. base near Sia Choy, Kandahar province, Oct. 22, 2010. (Ben Gilbert/GlobalPost) Click to enlarge photo

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WILSON, Afghanistan — The U.S. military has destroyed hundreds of Afghan civilian homes, farm houses, walls, trees and plowed through fields and buildings using explosives and bulldozers in war-torn Zhari district, a practice that has begun to anger Afghan villagers.

The much anticipated third phase of the Kandahar campaign, called Operation Dragon Strike, has U.S. troops from the 2nd brigade, 101st Airborne Division pushing into a dangerous swath of once-Taliban dominated territory from Highway 1 to the Arghandab River.

But it has come at much material cost to the Afghans, who complain that the troops are destroying their property, leaving some homeless and blocking their irrigation canals —potentially derailing the all-important counterinsurgency strategy that aims to win the hearts and minds of regular Afghans.

“You bulldozed some of my trees, they’re blocking the canal, now we can’t get water to the orchard,” Haji Jilal, a frail, weathered Afghan farmer with a white beard said to one of the U.S. military’s Afghan interpreters on a recent patrol here.

Continues >>
Post a Comment