Pre-dawn attacks on Kabul this morning ushered in a sixth day of raids against Afghanistan. US war planes attacked targets around Kabul and the Taliban’s main stronghold of Kandahar. US officials said that B-52 and B-1 bombers had targeted Taliban troops with cluster bombs.
Last night, a huge fireball lit up the sky over the eastern part of Kabul in the direction of a training base of Bin Laden’s al-Qaida terror network. Huge detonations could be heard from miles away.
The Taliban claimed today that at least 200 people had been killed on Wednesday in an air strike on the remote village of Karam, about 125km (80 miles) east of Kabul.
The United States has said repeatedly that its bombing raids are not targeting civilians, but there has been little analysis of what happens to civilian populations subjected to bombing, even under what military officials say are the best of circumstances. The experience of Iraq and Yugoslavia suggests that debates over smart and not so smart bombs and the targeting of civilians may be beside the point entirely.
- William Arkin is an independent writer, investigator, and consultant specializing in national security affairs. Arkin has written extensively about targeting and airpower and conducted independent field work and research to investigate the effects of weapons and warfare on civilian populations in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon and Yugoslavia, most recently in August 1999 after Operation Allied Force.