As we all obsess over the chaos in the markets and the impending economic armageddon, few politicians or journalists have time to discuss the ongoing chaos out in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, Navy Seals from the unit responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden were among 30 Americans, seven Afghans and an interpreter killed when their helicopter was shot down by insurgents in the mountainous Wardak province of Afghanistan.
No member of the Bin Laden raid team was among the dead but it was the largest number of American troops killed in a single day in the war — and the deadliest incident for the Seal team in any war. (See here for an Associated Press list of some of the deadliest military air crashes in Afghanistan since the US invasion on 7 October 2001).
As the Los Angeles Times notes:
The episode could embolden the insurgency at a time when western and Afghan officials have been hoping a weakened Taliban movement can be lured to the bargaining table. Like the assassination last month of Karzai’s powerful half brother, it will be viewed by many as a sign of the insurgents’ reach and power.
Is anyone here paying any attention?
Oh, and let’s not forget the plight of ordinary Afghan civilians. From the AFP news agency:
Afghan civilians may have been caught up in a Nato air strike against suspected Taliban insurgents, a foreign military spokesman said Saturday, amid claims up to eight civilians died.
A local official said that an imam, his wife and their six children were killed by an air strike in Nad Ali district in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province Friday.
The incident appears to be the latest in which Afghan civilians have been accidentally killed by Nato military operations. The issue is highly sensitive in Afghanistan after nearly ten years of war.
“Highly sensitive”? That’s the understatement of the month.