Afghan Interior Ministry: 151 killed in violence in the past week; Gen. McChrystal: Taliban strength in the western zone is increasing; G8 Foreign Ministers urge 'credible' elections in Afghanistan
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior stated that 151 people, including policemen, civilians and insurgents were killed and 209 others wounded in violent incidents across the country during the week1. The new commander of US-led coalition forces, Gen. Stanley McChrystal meanwhile has warned of an increase in Taliban strength in the western zone of Afghanistan2.

    The G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in the northern Italian city of Trieste called for the conduct of "credible" elections in Afghanistan and laid out an ambitious plan to improve agriculture and thereby undercut poppy cultivation, the Taliban’s main source of income3. The ministers expressed concerns at the prevailing corruption, drug trafficking and limited economic opportunities in the country and urged better cooperation among countries of the region to promote stability and development4. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the meeting, identified drug-trafficking, organised crime and terrorism as some of the inter-connected security challenges facing Afghanistan5.

    US National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones, addressing a joint news conference with Helmand Governor Muhammad Gulab Mangal, assured all possible support to Afghanistan to ensure security for presidential and provincial council elections due on August 20. Gen. James arrived in Kabul on June 23 and visited the volatile Helmand province to meet Afghan officials and American troops stationed there6.

    In other developments, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) commended Afghanistan's accession to the 1977 Additional Protocols of the Geneva Convention relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts. The ICRC in a statement noted that Afghanistan's accession was especially welcome in view of the extreme hardships faced by civilians faced in their country. Jacques de Maio, ICRC head of operations for Afghanistan stated that though the decision “will not stop the war, but it will help to improve the protection of all Afghans once the Protocols are implemented7.”