Taliban attack Bagram, skateboarders

On Sept. 11, just one day after the prison at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul was officially handed over the Afghan forces, the air base came under insurgent fire, destroying a NATO Chinook CH-47 transport helicopter. Days earlier, four teen-age youths riding skateboards in Kabul were among six killed in a suicide bombing in central Kabul. The attack may have targeted the nearby NATO headquarters, but the youths were part of a nonprofit program that runs a skateboard school for Kabul kids, called Skateistan. (LAT, Sept. 12; NYT, CSM, Sept. 11; CBS, Sept. 10)

See our recent post on costs of the Afghan war.

  1. Skateistan
    No kids should ever die like that. I am, however, a little suspicious of the motives of one of the main backers of Skateistan, the Germans, and why they promote skating rather than cycling. It might just be because the former can be done indoors (as I have seen on their website), but also skating is a new thing. 

  2. Afghanistan: NATO wipes out more civilians
    In the latest civilian casualties of Western forces in Afghanistan, a NATO air-strike near Dilaram village, Alingar district, Laghman province, killed eight women who were out collecting firewood. NATO’s US-led International Security Assistance Force said it had targeted insurgents, but had been made aware of “possible ISAF-caused civilian casualties” numbering five to eight, and extended its sincerest condolences over the “tragic loss of life.” (AFP, Sept. 16)

  3. Hashish-smoking Taliban?
    From BBC News, Aug. 31:

    Taliban fighters changing sides in Herat
    Much of the recent history of Afghanistan can be told through the life of one commander in the western city of Herat – Abdullah, known as “Charsi”, which means “the hashish smoker”.

    In a city proud of having Afghanistan’s only museum to the jihad, the Islamist war against Soviet domination in the 1980s, Abdullah “Charsi” was one of the mujahideen fighters, led in the west by the legendary commander Ismail Khan.

    He lay low in the Taliban years in the late 1990s, but amid growing disorder when US-led troops came into the area, he joined the Taliban. Now he has brought his followers back from the mountains to rejoin the government side.

    Abdullah’s alliance with the Taliban was not ideological but practical. They offered security at a time of insecurity.

    Now, amid a general redrawing of forces ahead of the departure of foreign combat troops in less than two years’ time, he is switching to what he believes will be the stronger side. He says that as the foreigners leave, “we Afghans have to take the country for ourselves.”

    Who has a budget to send me to Afghanistan to interview Charsi? I am writing for High Times magazine again…

  4. Afghanistan: children killed in NATO attack

    Afghan officials said Oct. 15 that a NATO air strike killed three children in Nawa district of Helmand province the day before. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed an air strike in Nawa, saying that three insurgents were hit and that and it is investigating reports that children were also killed. (AFP via Digital Journal, Oct. 17)

  5. More suicide terror in Afghanistan
    An apparent Taliban suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives Nov. 23 in Maidan Shahr, the capital of eastern Afghanistan’s Wardak province, killing three civilians and wounding more than 90, including several Afghan and NATO troops. The explosion also destroyed or damaged several government offices and a local prison. (AP, Nov. 23)