Afghanistan and Iraq dominate the headlines

Once again, as once was in 2003, Afghanistan and Iraq dominate today’s headlines. First to Afghanistan, where the United States Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has asked Germany to contribute more combat troops for the battle in Afghanistan. The BBC cites a German newspaper which describes Secretary Gates’ letter to German Federal Minister of Defence Franz Josef Jung as being “unusually stern”, with Mr Jung’s (negative) response “equally blunt”.

ISAF forces in Afghanistan (Image: BBC News)
(Location of ISAF forces in Afghanistan. Image: BBC News)

To be fair to Secretary Gates, Germany, as a full-fledged member of NATO, should contribute its fair share. But I take on board the German Parliament has not given its troops the right to be stationed outside of Kabul.

Also today, news that a senior al-Qaeda commander who trained Taleban militants, Abu Laith al-Libi, was killed in an attack on Tuesday in Pakistan. al-Libi was blamed for an attack on Bagram Air Base last year while United States Vice-President Dick Cheney was visiting. A very devastating blow to al-Qaeda, and a victory, however minor or temporary, for the U.S. in its war on terror.

In Baghdad, Iraq, twin suicide bombings killed at least 60 people today, in the worst-ever attack in Baghdad since the surge policy was put in place. According to the BBC, it is the worst attack ever since a triple car bombing killed 80 people on 1 August last year – exactly six months ago. One hopes that today’s scenes won’t be repeated soon. This will hopefully/no doubt bring an increase to the security presence in Baghdad, which will be good.

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