Afghanistan: April 27, 2004


Fighting increased in south and eastern Afghanistan, but at the usual low level. On the 22nd, another American army ranger was killed in combat (the 39th since October, 2001.) US troops are more likely to die in accidents, as 71 died that way in the same time period. The 2,000 US Marines moved into the country are already patrolling, and have encountered armed groups of Taliban. With Spring arriving, the raids by small groups of Taliban (often just a bunch riding round in an SUV or truck) increase. Government offices and aid organizations are primary targets (because they won't shoot back like American troops will.) The atmosphere is more like "Wild West" than "combat zone." Afghanistan has always been an edgy place, so the locals don't notice much difference. There are also bandits, and groups of tribesmen pursuing ancient feuds, wandering about in the hills with their weapons and grudges.  


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