Afghanistan: Canadians Replace U.S. Troops


March 1, 2006: The standoff at the Pul-i-Charkhi jail outside Kabul continues. The rebellion in the prison was led by Taliban and gangster leaders, some of them under sentence of death. The prisoners threaten to kill other prisoners if their demands are not met. The government will not let any prisoners go, but is allowing improvements in prison conditions. There are three American prisoners, men who were arrested in 2004 for running a private prison and security service.

February 28, 2006: For the third time in four months, armed men attacked an Indian construction camp in western Afghanistan. No one was injured this time, as the attackers used hand grenades.

Canadian troops took over, from the U.S., responsibility for anti-Taliban operations in southwestern Afghanistan. The Canadians are part of a NATO force.

Another 29 Taliban surrendered and pledged allegiance to the government. Over 1,100 Taliban have done this in the last nine months.

February 27, 2006: The riot at the Pul-i-Charkhi jail has, so far, left four prisoners dead and at least two dozen wounded.

President Karzai visited Pakistan and presented confessions of 13 Taliban, who gave details of their training in Pakistani camps. Karzai asked that Pakistan shut down these camps. Pakistan disagrees with some of the accusations, and is expected to drag its feet in going after any Taliban camps in Pakistani tribal territory.

February 26, 2006: Over the weekend, Canadian troops in the south defused a roadside bomb, and had one trooper wounded in an RPG attack.

February 25, 2006: Several hundred prisoners at the Pul-i-Charkhi jail, outside Kabul, took control of one wing of the prison. Improvised knives and spears were used as weapons. The riot began when the prisoners were told to wear new uniforms, that were intended to make it more difficult to escape. The riot came to involve some 1,500 prisoners.

February 24, 2006: The thousands of NGO workers got a scare when, on February 6th, a suicide bomber was caught using NGO identity documents. The bomber was trying to get to a provincial governor, and had gotten NGO documents by actually setting up an NGO and doing some relief work. The governors security personnel got suspicious and searched the bomber, finding the explosives, and preventing them from being detonated.


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