Afghanistan: no-go zones grow

An unpublished UN map leaked to the London Times in Kabul illustrates risk levels across the country for staff and aid workers with color shadings, revealing a sharp deterioration in security over the last two years. A similar map from March 2005 indicated only a strip along the Pakistan border and areas of mountainous Zabul and Uruzgan provinces in the south as too dangerous for aid workers. Now nearly all the ethnic Pashtun south and east is a no-go zone deemed “high” or “extreme” risk, and such pockets are also emerging in the north. (London Times, Dec. 5)

At least six Afgahn soldiers and seven civilians were killed in a suicide car-bomb attack on a bus carrying Afghan troops in Kabul Dec. 5. (BBC, Dec. 5) ON Dec. 4, the same day US Defense Secretary Robert Gates was scheduled to meet with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, a suicide car-bomb attack on a NATO convoy in the city wounded 10 civilians. (AP, Dec. 4)

On Dec. 3, the US claimed to have killed a senior Taliban commander in air strikes in the hotly contested Musa Qala district of Helmand province, but failed to reveal his name. The commander was said to be responsible for the abduction earlier this year of Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo. (, Dec. 3)

See our last post on Afghanistan.