Afghans protest US air-strikes

Hundreds of Afghans chanted anti-US slogans in Ghazni Jan. 24 to protest the deaths of nine police, including a district commander, who local officials said were killed the previous day in an anti-Taliban operation by coalition troops. The coalition denied the claims, saying four insurgents were killed and nine were detained on the mission. Faced with troop shortages, US and NATO-led forces rely increasingly on air-strikes. (AP, Jan. 24)

Meanwhile, the US protesting the death sentence handed down to journalist Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh for “insulting Islam.” Kaambakhsh, 23, who works for The New World newspaper in Mazar-i-Sharif, is accused of distributing an article copied from a website questioning why Muslim women cannot have multiple husbands as Afghan men can legally take four wives. (The Telegraph, Canadian Press, Jan. 24)

In open acknowledgment of a deteriorating human rights situation, Canada has announced it will no longer transfer battlefield prisoners to Afghan authorities. But human-rights lawyers are pushing for an official court order halting the transfers. Attorney Paul Champ of the BC Civil Liberties Association told a federal court hearing: “The government shouldn’t be making those decisions… Transfers could resume next week — or tomorrow — and no one would know. This is not a moot issue.” (Globe & Mail, Jan. 24)

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