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Afghanistan: After an Airstrike




Jason Motlagh has been reporting from Afghanistan for several months, first embedding with U.S. troops and more recently looking at the other side of the conflict -- the growing numbers of civilian casualties. Over webcam from Kabul, Motlagh tells iWitness what happened when a recent U.S. airstrike hit a village in Farah province, killing scores of civilians. Sharing dramatic footage and images in the wake of the bombings and interviewing victims and U.S. military, Motlagh reports conflicting accounts of what took place. The story he pieces together offers some measure of why the U.S. and NATO are reassessing how they fight the war in Afghanistan.

Motlagh's ongoing coverage from Afghanistan is funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and is part of a joint reporting venture between the center and FRONTLINE/World. Read his recent article in Time, "How Afghanistan's Little Tragedies Are Adding Up."

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Los Angeles, CA
The tribal areas of Pakistan North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) fully deserve President Barack Obama's description as the most dangerous place in the world. This remote and inhospitable region is only nominally under Pakistan's administration and its Pashtun tribesmen have a long history of opposing outside rule in their homeland. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have today become a haven for the most vicious and desperate elements of the Islamic insurgency. This includes Osama bin Laden, who is widely believed to be taking shelter in Waziristan under the protection of the Pashtun tribesmen, whose code of honor obliges them to protect anyone seeking refuge. This paper brings to light the experience of the British, who fought a desperate 100-year war to gain supremacy in the strategic tribal areas. Britain on the North-West Frontier: Strategy, Tactics and Lessons describes the Pashtun tribesmen and examines the military tactics used to deal with the insurgents, from butcher and bolt destruction of their villages to the later deployment of air power and even straightforward bribery, none of which were met with lasting success. In the end, the fatal flaw may well have been in treating this as a strictly military problem instead of an economic one.