Wedding deaths in Afghanistan; a challenge for Obama?

November 5, 2008











The war in Afghanistan-Pakistan is really the central front in the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama kept saying throughout his campaign, and within hours of his famous victory, he seems to have been thrown a challenge.

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai said 40 people had been killed in a U.S. air strike in the southern province of Kandahar, most of whom were members of a wedding party, according to other officials. The Afghan leader, who is facing his own election next year, demanded that Obama stop the killings of civilians which this summer have mounted as overstretched U.S.-led coalition forces faced with a resurgent Taliban step up air strikes.

Among the wounded was the bride, this Reuters story  said, quoting her relative.

What is Obama going to do?  Is this going to come up at the intelligence briefing he is set to receive on Thursday, his first since winning the election?

During the campaign, Obama said that he favoured a “surge” in Afghanistan, so that the United States  does not have to rely on air power so much as an anti-insurgency tool. And he, as this columnist wrote in the The Los Angeles Times at the time, spoke of how civilian deaths were causing America enormous problems in Afghanistan. Those remarks triggered attacks from his rivals but the columnist argued the logic of his argument was unassailable.

Is this then one of his first reality checks?

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see