World News Brief, Tuesday February 23

NATO airstrike hits women and children, McChrystal apologies (+ analysis); US envoy refused meeting with Suu Kyi; Iran to build ten more nuclear plants; Lufthansa pilot strikes ground 800 flights; and more

Top of the Agenda: Afghanistan Airstrike Kills Civilians

A NATO airstrike killed at least twenty-seven civilians (WSJ) in southern Afghanistan, as allied forces continue fighting the Taliban in Marja and attempting to win civilians' trust. The airstrike hit a group of minibuses carrying women and children near the border between Uruzgan and Daykundi provinces, hundreds of miles from Marja. NATO forces believed the minibuses were carrying insurgents preparing to attack Afghan and NATO troops but instead found women and children after the attack. The Taliban have long used civilian casualties to stoke anger among Afghans, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly criticized NATO for killing civilians.

U.S.-NATO commander General Stanley A. McChrystal apologized to Karzai (NYT) and ordered an investigation into what happened.

The real goals in Marja are to convince Americans that US-NATO forces have control over the Afghan Taliban and to show Afghans that US forces and the Afghan government can protect them from the Taliban, reports the Washington Post.


A Times of London editorial says NATO needs to show more commitment to Afghanistan, following news that Dutch troops will leave Afghanistan in August.

In this interview, CFR's Max Boot says the offensive in Marja is an important part of the "hold-and-build" strategy to extend Afghan government control into restive provinces.


Read the January 2010 U.S. State Department's Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy.


PACIFIC RIM: US-China Cyberdispute

US analysts believe they identified (FT) the Chinese author of the programming code used in the alleged state-sponsored cyberattacks on Google, after the spyware was traced to two Chinese educational institutions.

Burma: UN Envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana ended a five-day visit to Burma after pushing for more human rights (CSMonitor) and said he "deeply regretted" not being allowed to see famous detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.



Iran to Build More Nuclear Plants
Lufthansa Strikes Disrupt Global Travel

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