Afghanistan: Brits kill children —again

However ugly the Taliban may be, there is a truly perverse sense of deja vu in watching British troops battle Pashtun insurgents. This would actually be “fourth time as farce,” given that there were three Anglo-Afghan Wars in the “Great Game” period (which is manifestly back on again). At least 12 insurgents—and, oh yeah, two children—are reported dead in British-led airstrikes by international forces on Musa Qala, a town in Helmand province which was taken by the Taliban earlier this year. One British solider was also killed in the battle for Musa Qala. The campaign to re-take the stronghold is dubbed “Operation Mar Karadad,” and also includes US, Dutch, Danish and Estonian forces. (Radio Netherlands, AFP, Dec. 9; DPA, Dec. 8)

This is not the first time British troops have been accused of killing Afghan children. When Britain announced it would begin withdrawing troops from Iraq earlier this year, it simultaneously announced it was sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Is this the Fourth Anglo-Afghan War? And, as we’ve asked before, does Hamid Karzai grasp the irony? If he knows his history, he knows that Afghan leaders who connive with the Brits generally wind up getting overthrown and/or assassinated (Shah Shuja, 1839; Amir Habibullah, 1919)…

See our last posts on Afghanistan, civilian casualties, and the UK.