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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 07, 2008


By Eric Allie




By Ed Morrissey

Did you know that the US and Iraq will shortly conclude “one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror”?  You wouldn’t if you read American newspapers or watched American television.  The Times of London reports on the approaching end of al-Qaeda in Iraq as the forces of Nouri al-Maliki and the US close the trap on 1,200 AQ terrorists in Mosul:

After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul.

A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10.

Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.

How significant will victory in Mosul be?  The American commander in the region, Gen. Mark Hertling, calls it “the irreversible point”.  It will deprive AQ of an urban base and put them at the mercy of tribal leaders in the countryside.  For the terrorists, that means certain death — which will likely force them to find a way out of Iraq without further incident.

Maliki has declared that the terrorist siege of Baghdad and Iraq has collapsed.  He blamed unnamed foreign nations for funding the terrorist wave against his nation, and hailed the new Iraqi Army for its tenacity against the radicals of all stripes.  While he kept his praise to the Iraqis, the unspoken truth is that the IA could never have survived it without the Bush administration’s shift in strategy and tactics in January 2007, and without George Bush’s tenacity in insisting that we stay and finish the job in Iraq.

And what have we won?  AQ has sustained an unmitigated defeat in Iraq.  They have lost tens of thousands of recruits and fighters, men that would have otherwise volunteered for other missions in which they didn’t have to face the American military.  They have lost their supposedly divine endorsement; why would Allah have called them to action, just to see them destroyed by the infidels?  The sheer bloodthirstiness of their actions in Iraq have exposed them as drug-driven demons, not righteous jihadists.

The Times of London has this right: the victory in Mosul gives the West the most spectacular victory of the war.  Too bad the American media missed it.  (via InstapunditSunday, July 6, 2008




By Paul Mirengoff

Al Qaeda's crushing defeat in Iraq appears to be virtually complete, now that it has been routed in its last remaining urban outpost -- Mosul. The Times of London reports:

After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul. A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10. Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects. . . .Major-General Mark Hertling, American commander in the north, said: “I think we’re at the irreversible point.”

It's too bad, as Andy McCarthy notes, that you have to look to the foreign press to learn about this significant victory.  Sunday, July 6, 2008




By Michael Ramirez




By Charles Johnson

After using the radical left for his entire political career, Barack Obama is clumsily flip-flopping his way toward something resembling a “center.” His latest policy double-backflip caused so much rage in the Nutroots that he’s now trying to reassure them his plan to surrender and retreat hasn’t changed one bit: Obama ‘puzzled’ by Iraq comment frenzy.

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Saturday his plan to end the Iraq war was unchanged and he was puzzled by the sharp reaction to his statement this week that he might “refine” his timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat troops.

“For me to say that I’m going to refine my policies I don’t think in any way is inconsistent with prior statements and doesn’t change my strategic view that this war has to end and that I’m going to end it as president,” Obama told reporters on his campaign plane.

Change!  Sunday, July 6, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

The RNC has launched its first ad for the political season, a $3 million buy in four key states that focuses on energy policy.  It paints John McCain as an agent of change, while Barack Obama as a defender of the party line.  The Republicans want to start defining Obama as an obstructionist on energy, and in three of the four states, they may already have a head start:

Record gas prices, a climate in crisis. John McCain says solve it now, with a balanced plan — alternative energy, conservation, suspending the gas tax AND more production here at home. He’s pushing his own party to face climate change.

But Barack Obama? For conservation, but he just says no to lower gas taxes. No to nuclear. No to more production. No new solutions. Barack Obama: Just the party line.

The ad started running last night in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Obama lost in the first three states during the primaries, and with his refusal to produce more energy, the three Rust Belt states have little prospect of rebounding from economic turmoil from the loss of manufacturing. The kind of energy needed to create those kinds of jobs will be out of reach with continued obstruction of new energy production as well as the emissions caps that Obama envisions for his environmental policies.

That is just one aspect of this ad. It also targets Obama’s pose as a post-partisan figure who reaches across the aisle for solutions. Conservatives will gag on the “pushing his own party to face climate change”, and rightly so, but it makes the point that McCain’s the one with a track record of bipartisanship, while Obama gave a couple of speeches on the subject. It also signals that the RNC plans on highlighting Obama’s hard-Left instincts on policy, a welcome bit of hardball from the GOP, which leaves McCain free to stay positive.

Republicans lost Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in 2004, the latter by a hair.  If the GOP can take two of these three, it will almost certainly spell defeat for Obama in the fall.  Expect to see the RNC producing a lot more advertising in these states, and with their large money advantage over the DNC, they may make a lot of progress towards their eventual goal.  Sunday, July 6, 2008




By Charles Johnson

When modern society collides with powerful traditions from the Dark Ages, women die: Police: Arranged marriage led father to kill daughter.

A Clayton County man faces murder charges in the strangling death of his 25-year-old daughter early Sunday over her desire to end an arranged marriage.

Chaudhry Rashad, 54, apparently got mad during an argument in which the victim, Sandela Kanwal, told him she wanted out of the marriage, Clayton police officer Timothy Owens said.

Authorities were called to their Utah Drive home in Jonesboro just after 3 a.m. Sunday. Kanwal lived with her father when she was not with her husband, who is in Chicago, Owens said. She hadn’t seen the husband in three months, he said.

Both Rashad and Kanwal are of Pakistani descent.


By Charles Johnson

In Dubai, the Arab country that tried to buy a controlling interest in American seaports and a 20% interest in the NASDAQ stock exchange, slavery is alive and well.

To enter Dubai’s most notorious brothel, the Cyclone, I paid $16 for a ticket that the bursar stamped with the official seal of the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing. Prostitution is illegal in Dubai, whose laws are rooted in Islam, with penalties ranging up to death. But the stamp was only the first of several contradictions in a place of slavery for women that one well-travelled British monger referred to as “Disneyland for men.”

One sign read No Soliciting; another read No Camouflage in the Disco Area. In the club, no less than 500 prostitutes solicited a couple dozen prospective clients, some Western servicemen among them.

An Indian living in London owned the place, and had not updated the decor in a decade, as if taste would reduce the charm and thus deter tourists. I walked over to the bar, and two Korean girls, who looked no older than 15 and claimed to be sisters, approached me.

“Do you want massage?” one asked.

While the strobe lights, the loud music and the general whirlpool of anxious femininity lent an air of abject chaos, the place was carefully ordered by race. Stage left was a crush of Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean women; centre stage were sub-Saharan Africans; stage right were Eastern European and Central Asian women, who initially identified themselves as Russians, but later revealed specifically that they were Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Uzbek and Moldovan.

A young Chinese woman wore a childlike perfume. The club bathed her in black light, so that she appeared like a radioactive negative of herself. In broken English, she explained that she had arrived in Dubai 28 days earlier, having been promised a job as a maid. Instead, human smugglers known as snakeheads sold her to a madam who forced her to pay off a debt by selling sex here. She trembled as she said that she just wanted to go home.  Sunday, July 6, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

The woes of the DNC continue in Denver, and even the New York Times has taken notice.  In some ways, it provides an excellent manifestation of Democratic governance.  Underfunded, overspent, and chock-full of unrealistic mandates, the entire enterprise appears on the brink of failure — and Team Obama has six weeks to attempt a rescue:

Some of the Democratic missteps started soon after planning for the event began. The Democratic National Convention Committee decided not to take cheap office space and instead rented top-quality offices in downtown Denver at $100,000 a month, only to need less than half the space, which it then filled with rental furniture at $50,000 a month. And in a costly misstep, the Denver host committee, early on, told corporate donors that their contributions were not tax-deductible, rather than to encourage donations by saying that the tax-exempt application was pending and expected to be approved.

Overly ambitious environmental goals — to turn the event into a “green” convention — have backfired as only three states’ full delegations have so far agreed to participate in the program. Negotiations over where to locate demonstrators remain unsettled with members of the national news media concerned over proposals to locate the demonstrators — with their loud gatherings — next to the media tent.

And then there is the food: A 28-page contract requested by Denver organizers that caterers provide food in “at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white.” Garnishes could not be counted toward the colors. No fried foods would be allowed. Organic and locally grown foods were mandated, and each plate had to be 50 percent fruits and vegetables. As a result, caterers are shying away.

For the Democratic Party, the danger is that a poorly run convention, or one that misses the mark financially, will reflect badly on the party and raise questions about Democratic management skills. And more worrisome for the Obama campaign is that it will be left with the bill for overruns or fund-raising shortfalls, and that the candidate will have to compete in raising money against a convention effort desperate for cash.

On the last point, Barack Obama has only himself to blame.  He could have kept his word and accepted the public financing that every major-ticket presidential candidate has used since Watergate, including Obama’s opponent, John McCain.  Instead, Obama abandoned the key part of the political reform he says he supports — and now will have to compete against the DNC and Hillary Clinton for funds among Democrats.

As for the rest, who could have hoped for a better demonstration of Democratic mismanagement?  First, the host committee overspends while at the same time struggled to raise money for the convention.  For a party that rails about deficit spending, they certainly don’t have a problem running up bills they cannot pay. Next, they let the nanny-state extremists in the party dictate the available food, rather than let the delegates and the guests make their own decisions on their diet, driving off private enterprise.  They failed to reckon with the states when dictating environmental requirements, which sounds quite familiar indeed for those opposed to federalist principles.  Most notoriously, they issued eco-friendly specs for fanny packs that demanded a product that didn’t exist.

Best of all, they put the demonstrators next to the media.  Even for Howard Dean, that seems exceedingly stupid.  Did the DNC want the theme of unity to receive the most coverage, or did the committee want demonstrators to get the 24/7 coverage from the national media instead?   And did no one consider the annoyance factor and how it would affect media coverage of the convention?

The convention is shaping up to be a disaster.  They have already had to scale downwards on events, and now reports have the DNC considering a shortened schedule to shave a day off the event.  If the Democrats can’t pull together a four-day convention in two years, how can anyone expect them to run a federal government of infinitely more complexity?

Update: Howard Dean and DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry respond to the New York Times by denying practically everything in their report.  Read it all, but here are a couple of highlights:

The New York Times states that “overly ambitious environmental goals” from Convention organizers have backfired, citing a lack of interest from delegates in the effort. That is false. In fact, hundreds of delegates have already signed on to the “Green Delegate Challenge,” and we anticipate recently selected delegates to join in the weeks ahead.

I’m not sure how this rebuts the Times.  The article states that delegates from three states have adopted the pledge, and if those states are California, New York, and Oregon, for instance, that would be “hundreds of delegates”.  The Democrats have over 4400 delegates attending this convention, and having agreement from “hundreds” sounds pretty thin — and they have only seven weeks left to get more to sign the agreement.

The New York Times implies that the Convention has imposed eating restrictions on delegates to the Convention. That is false. Democrats at the Pepsi Center and other official Convention venues can have all the fried goodies they can stomach. Talk of anything to the contrary is just plain silly.

I imagine that the normal concessionaires at the Pepsi Center will sell whatever they want to the attendees, but the DNC doesn’t have any control over that anyway.  The issue is the mandates imposed on the food provided by the DNC during its functions, and the caterers have testified on the record to the DNC’s strange and costly demands.  Dean in his conclusion derides the concerns of Denver and the Times over the color of foods, but it was the DNC’s odd obsession with it that created the interest.

Dean and Daughtry also dispute the Times’ reporting on the costs and lack of funding reported in the article, but they don’t provide any substantiation for their rebuttals.  Nor do they dispute the cancellation of dozens of DNCC events, or explain the cancellation of the media walkthrough last month.  Instead, in somewhat of a non-sequitur, the two proclaim the importance of “prudent budgeting and financial management” in their goals, but never quite say they’ve succeeded at either — which doesn’t address the Times’ reporting on their alleged failure.

Finally, it seems a little ironic that the Democrats would be complaining about unfair reporting in the New York Times.  It’s certainly possible that they’re correct, but Dean and Daughtry do nothing but spin in this response, leaving the central reporting untouched.  Sunday, July 6, 2008




By Charles Johnson

You may have seen on the news that President Bush was heckled during his July 4th speech at Monticello by CodePink moonbats doing their usual “spoiled children on crack” routine.

Q: How do these lunatics get into these kinds of events?

A: They forge press passes, and brag about it at Daily Kos: Daily Kos: BREAKING: Bush heckled at Monticello by CodePink!

Early this morning I found an unusual email from Medea Benjamin waiting for me in my inbox. It seems that last week when she was arrested in Florida, they confiscated her Global Exchange press pass, and could I make her another one?

Ever since I figured out how to duplicate Medea’s press pass for other members of CodePink, I have been doing so with her blessing. Since Medea is the founding director and CEO of Global Exchange as well as one of the founders of CodePink, how I implemented it may be a bit of a hack; but it is quite legitimate insofar that yes, these are valid press passes for a news organization, created with the full knowledge and permission of the company director.

Now, ironically, I was going to have to whip out a copy of the document that served as the original.

Last summer, using photos of her own press pass and head shots of the various members, I created a template in Avery Designpro’s free edition, with a bit more assistance from a handy bit of freeware called Gadwin Printscreen.

I had a little fun with it, as you might imagine.

There was a bit of a delay producing the 2008 versions of the passes when the primary system I had the templates stored on crashed.

However, I had found a backup of the original template a few weeks ago and so this morning I was able to email her a copy within seconds.

(Hat tip: Shiplord Kirel.)  Saturday, July 5, 2008




By Paul Mirengoff

The Washington Post has a front-page story about Barack Obama’s religious faith. It goes on for 20 paragraphs without ever mentioning Trinity Church and its long-time pastor Jeremiah Wright. This doesn’t mean that Post reporter Jonathan Weisman and his editors at the Post are biased in favor of Obama. They probably just didn’t think that the church Obama attended for two decades (until earlier this year), and the minister who was Obama’s spiritual mentor, had any relevance to a story about his religious faith.

The Post’s story covers with great seriousness Obama’s recent “highly personal account of his spiritual journey” and how he “let Jesus Christ into [his] life.” The true nature of Obama’s spiritual journey (if any) is a bit different from the one he presents and the Post takes at face value. It is undisputed that Obama was a non-believer until the latter half of the 1980s. After that, it is undisputed that Jeremiah Wright (irrelevant though he may be) inspired Obama to join his church. Joining that church was a smart political move, given its influence in the community where Obama had set up shop as a community organizer.

From this point on, there are two possibilities. First, Obama may have joined Wright’s church, and remained in it, for purely pragmatic political reasons. In this scenario, Obama is still a non-believer, and the story of his “spiritual journey” is an invention. Second, Obama may actually have been a genuine convert to the version of Christianity preached at Wright’s church. In this scenario, Obama embraced black liberation theology and had a spiritual journey, though not quite the one he would like voters to imagine. Either way, Obama is distorting his religious views, either by pretending that he is a believer or by obscuring the radical nature of his religious beliefs.

On its face, it seems audacious for someone who has been revealed as the follower of a fanatical, hate-mongering minister to be touting his religious faith. But with powerful spin machines like the Washington Post to cover for him, Obama isn’t really being all that audacious as he reinvents himself on yet another frontt.


By John Hinderaker

The New York Times takes on the gasoline shortage today, and allocates responsibility just where you would expect:

Over the last 25 years, opportunities to head off the current crisis were ignored, missed or deliberately blocked, according to analysts, politicians and veterans of the oil and automobile industries.

Of course, when the Times talks about what was "blocked," it doesn't mean drilling offshore or in ANWR. Rather, the Times devotes its analysis mostly to CAFE standards. The paper seems to think the gas shortage could have been averted if only, years ago, the federal government had forced automakers to make cars that the American public didn't want to buy.

Of course, as the paper also notes, now that gas prices have risen dramatically, consumers are rushing to buy, and automakers to produce, more fuel-efficient vehicles. If automakers had foreseen $4 a gallon gasoline, they no doubt would have started the transition sooner. But they didn't see the current price spike coming any more than the federal government did.

What is striking about the Times' exposition of "missed" and "blocked" opportunities is that there is hardly any mention of the supply side of the equation. This is the lead paragraph on that topic:

Even as Congress idled when it came to tightening CAFE standards or substantially raising levies on gas, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 made offshore drilling yet another unpalatable option. “That caused a sea change and after that no one had any sympathy for the oil industry,” Mr. Becker says.

This is profoundly stupid. The Exxon Valdez spill had nothing to do with offshore drilling; the lesson of that accident is that lapsed alcoholics shouldn't be put in charge of oil tankers. The environmental soundness of offshore drilling was amply demonstrated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which, despite their on-shore devastation, caused no offshore spills. And we don't open up land for oil exploitation out of "sympathy for the oil industry," we do it because we need oil and gas.

Beyond that, the Times takes refuge in the claim that more drilling won't bring immediate relief at the pump. That's true, of course, although there are a number of areas where more oil could be produced in months, not years, if the Democrats weren't standing in the way. But note the paper's double standard: in talking about CAFE standards, the paper just laments "missed opportunities" and blames Congress and the auto companies. It doesn't kiss off CAFE standards by saying that changing them now won't do any good for years, as it does with drilling. The real missed and blocked opportunities were twenty to thirty years worth of oil refinery construction, offshore exploration and drilling, and development of oil and gas resources in the Rocky Mountains and Alaska.

The Times also fails to mention one of the key causes of the increased price of oil, as well as many other commodities: the declining dollar. The causes of the dollar's decline are multiple, but the most important one, I think, is the Federal Reserve's use of interest rate cuts to fend off economic slowdowns over the last twenty-plus years. The policy has worked and has contributed to our remarkable economic growth, but the inevitable price has been erosion in the dollar's value.

Finally, the Times reached back in history to blame Jesse Helms (among others) for blocking new CAFE standards. The print version of the paper says, embarrassingly, that Helms "did not return calls seeking comment." (An online correction explains that the paper's business section went to print on Thursday, before Helms's death on Friday.) It's too bad. Helms might have been able to explain a few things to the Times reporter.

PAUL adds: Congress "resisted" tightened CAFE standards primarily because there was little public support for being coerced into buying more expensive, less sturdy and safe automobiles. It was a rationale decision, and one that saved livesSunday, July 6, 2008




By Charles Johnson

I know I said I was boycotting the Associated Press, but their take on Independence Day has to be seen to be believed.

Americans’ unhappy birthday: ‘Too much wrong right now’.

The nation’s psyche is battered and bruised, the sense of pessimism palpable. Young or old, Republican or Democrat, economically stable or struggling, Americans are questioning where they are and where they are going. And they wonder who or what might ride to their rescue.  Sunday, July 6, 2008



Clashes broke out in the Sadr City district in northeastern Baghdad after Iraqi forces detained a senior Sadrist leader, an Iraqi news outlet reported.

Iraqi soldiers and police cordoned several neighborhoods in the Mahdi Army stronghold to contain the fighting that occurred after security forces detained Abbas Abdul Aal, who is a "senior Sadrist leader," Voices of Iraq reported. Aal's nephew was also detailed. "Security forces closed all of the city's outlets and prevented the movement of traffic and pedestrians," an eyewitness told the Iraqi newspaper.

The move in Sadr comes one day after Iraqi soldiers closed the Sadrist office in the neighborhood of Shula, where the Sadrist maintain a strong presence. This is the second Sadrist office to be closed in Shula since May.

Iraqi and US forces began operations in Shula in early May just as the fighting was winding down with the Mahdi Army in Sadr City. An Iraqi Army brigade moved into Shula in early May and took control of the headquarters of the Office of the Martyr Sadr. Iraqi troops occupied the Sadrist office because it was being used as a headquarters by "Special Group extremists." An operation to clear Shula was put on hold after Iraqi forces began concurrent operations in Basrah, Sadr City, Mosul, Dhi Qar, and Maysan.

Iraqi and US forces continue to target Mahdi Army leaders in Baghdad and the wider South. Coalition special operations forces captured "senior member of Iranian-trained Special Groups leadership" in the Karadah district in southeastern Baghdad. "The suspect has conducted rocket attacks on Coalition and Iraqi bases, facilitated weapons from Iran, and sent members of his evil militia to Iran for training<" Multinational Forces Iraq reported in a press release.

Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured a Mahdi Army company commander who led an estimated 250 fighters. "The suspect is believed to be responsible for IED and indirect fire attacks against Iraqi and Coalition forces," the US military reported.

Iraqi security forces also captured seven Mahdi Army fighters during targeted raids in Amarah. Five of the fighters were "accused of financing other Special Groups members and carrying out attacks in Amarah three months ago" and the other two were described as "Iranian surrogates." On July 4, the Iraqi military stated it detained 1120 "wanted persons" in Amarah.

The Mahdi Army struck back today with a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood in the northern Baghdad district of Adhamiyah. Six Iraqis were killed and 14 wounded in a car bomb attack that targeted a police patrol in the neighborhood.

The Arkan Hasnawi faction of the Mahdi Army operates in the Sha'ab neighborhood. The US military and Iraqi security forces fought pitched battles against the Hasnawi network in February, and killed a senior lieutenant of Hasnawi and scores of fighters in the organization.

Hasnawi was behind the kidnapping of Shia and Sunni tribal leaders in Diyala province in October 2007. His network was also behind the kidnapping of six Sons of Iraq from a checkpoint in Baghdad’s Ur neighborhood on Feb. 7. The US military killed Arkan Hasnawi during an artillery strike on a Mahdi Army command and control center in Sadr City on May 3.

background on the fighting with the Mahdi Army

The Iraqi security forces have stepped up operations against the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army in the southern provinces over the past several months. Operation Knights' Assault was launched against the Mahdi Army in Basrah on March 25. After six days of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army pushed for a cease-fire. The Iraqi security forces also dealt the Mahdi Army a heavy blow in the southern provinces of Najaf, Karbala, Qassadiyah, Maysan, and Wasit.

The Iraqi security forces and the US military also confronted the Mahdi Army in Sadr City in Baghdad. After six weeks of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army and the Iraqi government signed a cease-fire that allowed the military to enter Sadr City uncontested.

In May, the Iraqi security forces expanded operations throughout Basrah province in Az Zubayr, Al Qurnah, and Abu Al Khasib along the Iranian border. This week, an operation kicked off in Dhi Qhar province, which borders Maysan to the southeast.

The Mahdi Army suffered a significant blow during fighting against Iraqi and Coalition forces this year, according to an Iraq intelligence report. The heavy casualties suffered by the Mahdi Army have forced Muqtada al Sadr to change his tactics and disband the Mahdi Army in favor of a small, secretive fighting force.

Badghis provincial map. Click to view.

US forces killed 20 Taliban fighters during airstrikes in Nangarhar province today in the latest in a series of attacks along the Pakistani border.

The US military targeted “a large group of militants” with “precision airstrikes” in the mountains of the Deh Bala district in Nangarhar, a press release from Combined Joint Task Force – 101 reported. Intelligence report indicated the Taliban were operating in the area. Geo TV reported 20 Taliban were killed in the attack.

Nangarhar is home to Tora Bora, the location of the last major battle of US and Afghan allies aginst the Taliban and al Qaeda in the winter of 2002. Osama bin Laden and numerous senior al Qaeda leaders slipped the cordon and escaped into Pakistan.

The Deh Bala district borders the lawless Khyber tribal agency in Pakistan. Pakistani forces claim to be conducting an operation to root out extremists laying siege to Peshawar, but peace talks between the Lashkar-e-Islam and the government began just six days after the operation began.

The attack in Nangarhar is the latest in a series of engagements with company-sized Taliban forces in eastern Afghanistan. On July 4, the US military said it killed 16 Taliban fighters after an attack on a base in Kunar province, which borders Nangarhar to the north. The governor of Kunar claimed Afghan civilians were killed in the airstrike, and President Hamid Karzai has called for an investigation.

The Afghan Army and police and the US military have repelled a series of attacks in the border provinces of Paktia, Paktika, and Khost over the past three weeks. The Taliban are attempting to destabilize the eastern region and overrun Afghan government centers. Attacks in the east are up by more than 40 percent from last year, according to the US military. More than 200 Taliban fighters have been killed during the clashes. Many of the attacks have originated from Pakistan.  Sunday, July 6, 2008


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