US soldiers pursue militants in Helmand province. The shadowy Task Force 373 meanwhile focuses its efforts on more than 2,000 senior Taliban figures on a target
US soldiers pursue militants in Helmand province. The shadowy Task Force 373 meanwhile focuses its efforts on more than 2,000 senior Taliban figures on a target list. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters
Barack Obama had tired of Afghanistan. What will his successor do?
Hello, I'm Mary Marshall with the BBC News. The number of people killed in the Taliban bomb attack in the Afghan capital Kabul has risen to 95. A further 158 others were injured. The Red Cross in Afghanistan has condemned the use of an ambulance to carry out an attack,saying it could be illegal under International Humanitarian Law. Our South Asia editor Joemy Giverin reports. The ambulance packed with explosives blew up close to a fortified area of the city near a hospital, but also offices used by the government, security forces and foreign missions. The street was crowded and most of the dead were local civilians. It's the Taliban second major attack in Kabul in a week. The current 【1】surgent violence comes as the US increases its support for Afghan forces, including more air strikes on militant targets and made government claims that it's finally winning the war against the Taliban and other militant groups.
It maybe America’s longest war, but during his election campaign Donald Trump barely mentioned Afghanistan. When he did, it was somewhat baffling: at one point, he said that America could not pull all its troops out because neighbouring Pakistan had nuclear weapons. As the insurgents of the Taliban prepare for a spring offensive against the American-backed government, there is still no indication of what the new administration’s approach will be.
The Nato coalition in Afghanistan has been using an undisclosed "black" unit of special forces, Task Force 373, to hunt down targets for death or detention without trial. Details of more than 2,000 senior figures from the Taliban and al-Qaida are held on a "kill or capture" list, known as Jpel, the joint prioritised effects list.
The multibillionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is the latest high-profile figure to be released in Saudi Arabia after a major anti-corruption drive was launched in November. He is reported to have been freed this morning from detention in a luxury hotel in Riyadh. With more details, here is our Middle East analyst Sebastian Usher. In hot cash terms【流动资金上看】, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has been the biggest catch of all in the Saudi purge with an extraodinary array of business interests across the world. He is estimated to be worth some 17 billion dollars. He denied any charge has been made against him and expressed his total support forthe efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman towards a new Saudi Arabia. He 【2】vehemently dismissed a report, but he had been asked to hand over six billion dollars as the price ofhis release as well as rumors that he been tortured.
For once, Mr Trump’s refrain that Barack Obama left a terrible mess for him to deal with has merit. Mr Obama’s policy on Afghanistan seemed driven more by politics at home than by conditions on the ground. He ordered a timely “surge” in American forces when warned by General Stanley McChrystal in 2009 of imminent “mission failure”. But he then squandered hard-won gains by reducing troop levels faster than his generals advised, hoping to be able to declare victory and leave in time for congressional elections in 2014. When NATO prematurely called time on combat operations at the end of that year, Afghan forces, far from ready to take full responsibility for the country’s security, were left exposed.
阿富汗的北约联军一直在通过一支名为特遣部队373的秘密特种部队搜捕一些目标人物，这些目标人物在被抓捕以后不经审判就被处决或拘留起来，约有2000多名塔利班和基地组织的中坚成员已经被列入了这个“捕杀”名单之中，该名单的正式称谓是Jpel，即共同优先效应名单（joint prioritised effects list）。
2【|ˈvi:əmənt| ① (ADJ-GRADED) 激情的;激烈的;暴烈的 If a person or their actions or comments are vehement, the person has very strong feelings or opinions and expresses them forcefully.】
a vehement denial/attack/protest, etc. 强烈的否认、攻击、抗议等
In many cases, the unit has set out to seize a target for internment, but in others it has simply killed them without attempting to capture. The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path.
The military in Mali says at least 14 soldiers have been killed in an attack in the northof the country. Nearly 20 others were injured. The suspected Islamic militants overran a military base in Soumpi 100 kilometers southwest of Timbuktu. Islamic attacks have increased in recent months. Earlier this week, 26 civilians were killed when their vehicle hit a land mine【地雷】 in central Mali. World news from the BBC.
Mr Obama further encouraged a resurgent Taliban by suggesting he wanted to end even America’s modest training mission before leaving office. However, faced with the possibility that the government might fall to the insurgency if he exercised this so-called “zero option”, Mr Obama relented, doing just enough to preserve what has become a miserable stalemate.
The United Nations' special rapporteur for human rights, Professor Philip Alston, went to Afghanistan in May 2008 to investigate rumours of extrajudicial killings. He warned that international forces were neither transparent nor accountable and that Afghans who attempted to find out who had killed their loved ones "often come away empty-handed, frustrated and bitter".
An international force of 12,600 remains in Afghanistan, of whom 8,400 are Americans. About 2,500 are special forces who carry out raids against terrorist targets, such as al-Qaeda and the local branch of Islamic State, but not the Taliban. The rest are there to “train, advise and assist” the Afghan security forces, including the police. Under rules of engagement first laid down by Mr Obama and only slightly relaxed last summer, the NATO troops could only come to the aid of their Afghan allies when they were facing a defeat that might have “strategic” implications—a criterion that commanders in the field had difficulty interpreting.
国际部队有12,600人驻扎在阿富汗，其中8,400人来自美国。 约2,500人是特种部队，他们执行打击恐怖目标的任务，比如基地组织（Al-Qaeda）和IS的地方分支机构，而不是对塔利班进行袭击。 其余人员留在那里目的则是“训练，指导和帮助”阿富汗安全部队，包括警察。 奥巴马总统制定了交战规则，这个规则在去年夏天时稍稍放宽了些。在此规则下，北约部队只有在阿富汗盟军面临具有“战略”影响的失败时才能支援他们
Now, for the first time, the leaked war logs reveal details of deadly missions by TF 373 and other units hunting down Jpel targets that were previously hidden behind a screen of misinformation. They raise fundamental questions about the legality of the killings and of the long-term imprisonment without trial, and also pragmatically about the impact of a tactic which is inherently likely to kill, injure and alienate the innocent bystanders whose support the coalition craves.
Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, an author of many critical reports on the conduct of the war, says that too little of the training takes place with forward combat units, where it would be of most use. Close air support, which was vital for NATO, has dwindled. In 2011 nearly 35,000 combat sorties were flown; in the first ten months of 2016 that had fallen to 4,500. The number of missions to evacuate casualties has dropped from nearly 3,000 in 2011 to none.
On the night of Monday 11 June 2007, the leaked logs reveal, the taskforce set out with Afghan special forces to capture or kill a Taliban commander named Qarl Ur-Rahman in a valley near Jalalabad. As they approached the target in the darkness, somebody shone a torch on them. A firefight developed, and the taskforce called in an AC-130 gunship, which strafed the area with cannon fire: "The original mission was aborted and TF 373 broke contact and returned to base. Follow-up Report: 7 x ANP KIA, 4 x WIA." In plain language: they discovered that the people they had been shooting in the dark were Afghan police officers, seven of whom were now dead and four wounded.
战略和国际研究中心的安东尼·科德斯曼（Anthony Cordesman）以作者身份写了很多关于战争行为的批评报告。他说，前线作战部队接受的训练太少，那里本来应该是训练最多的地方。对北约至关重要的抵近空中支援也已经减少。 2011年，飞机出击了近35,000架次;而在2016年的头十个月出击已经降至4,500架次。撤离伤员的行动数量已从2011年的近3 000次降为零。
日志显示，2007年6月11日的夜里，373部队联合阿富汗特种部队在贾拉拉巴德附近的一处山谷中准备对一名名为奎阿尔·乌-拉赫曼的塔利班指挥官进行俘虏或暗杀，当他们在一片漆黑中快接近目标时，有人用火把照亮了他们，随后交火开始了，特遣队召来了一架AC-130重型攻击机，用机关炮对这一区域实施了狂轰滥炸：“既定任务中止，373特遣部队在失去目标后返回基地。后续报告：7xANP KIA, 4xWIA。”用通俗语言表示即为：事后发现，在黑暗中他们射击的目标是阿富汗警务人员，结果是7人死亡，4人受伤。
The consequences have been dire. In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, the American commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, warned that current American troop levels are inadequate to prevent the Taliban from continuing to retake territory, especially in Helmand province, the heartland of the insurgency, and Kunduz. SIGAR (the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a post created by Congress) reckons that the proportion of the country under uncontested government control fell during the 12 months to November 2016 from 72% to 57%, although about 64% of Afghans still live in uncontested areas and only 8% in areas fully under the Taliban’s control (see map).
The coalition put out a press release which referred to the firefight and the air support and then failed entirely to record that they had just killed or wounded 11 police officers. But, evidently fearing that the truth might leak, it added: "There was nothing during the firefight to indicate the opposing force was friendly. The individuals who fired on coalition forces were not in uniform." The involvement of TF 373 was not mentioned, and the story didn't get out.
后果很严重。在2月份提交给参议院军事委员会的证词中，驻阿富汗美国指挥官，将军约翰·尼科尔森（John Nicholson）警告说，目前的美军数量不足以阻止塔利班继续恢复领土，特别是位于叛乱中心地带的赫尔曼德省（Helmand）和昆都士（Kunduz）。 SIGAR（阿富汗重建特别监察长-由国会设立的职位）认为，截止到2016年11月的12个月内，由无可争议的政府控制的国土比例从72％下降到了57％，即便约64％的阿富汗人仍然生活在无争议区域内；只有8％的区域完全落入塔利班的控制之下。
The 360,000-strong Afghan security forces are taking a lot of casualties, says General Nicholson. In the year to November, 6,785 were killed and another 11,777 wounded. In 2015 and 2016 combined, 19 Americans were killed in action.
However, the incident immediately rebounded into the fragile links which other elements of the coalition had been trying to build with local communities. An internal report shows that the next day Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Phillips, commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, took senior officers to meet the provincial governor, Gul Agha Sherzai, who accepted that this was "an unfortunate incident that occurred among friends". They agreed to pay compensation to the bereaved families, and Phillips "reiterated our support to prevent these types of events from occurring again".
尽管如此，事故的发生还是让人们联想起联军其他机构一直尝试与地方社区所建立起的那种脆弱联系。一份内部报告显示，惨案发生后的第二天，省级重建队（Provincial Reconstruction Team）的指挥官中校戈登·菲利普斯就领着一批高级军官会见了楠格哈尔省的省长古尔·阿迦·舍载，省长接受了这是“发生在朋友之间的一次不幸事故”的说法。联军同意对死伤者家属进行赔偿，菲利普斯“反复强调要防止类似事件的再次发生”。
Just to maintain the current deadlock, General Nicholson has asked for “a few thousand” more troops, some of whom he would expect to come from other members of NATO. A further loosening of the rules of engagement and an increase in the air-power available to him would also help. John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told General Nicholson that instead of playing “not to lose”, America needed a strategy to defeat the Taliban.
Yet, later that week, on Sunday 17 June, as Sherzai hosted a "shura" council at which he attempted to reassure tribal leaders about the safety of coalition operations, TF 373 launched another mission, hundreds of miles south in Paktika province. The target was a notorious Libyan fighter, Abu Laith al-Libi. The unit was armed with a new weapon, known as Himars – High Mobility Artillery Rocket System – a pod of six missiles on the back of a small truck.
一个星期以后的6月17日，为消除地方领导对于联军行动安全性的顾虑，省长舍载特意主持召开了一次“舒拉”会议。然而，就在会议召开的同时，373特遣部队在数百公里之外的帕克蒂卡省南部又发动了一次搜捕任务，任务目标是臭名昭着的利比亚好战分子阿布·来斯·阿尔-利比。该作战小组装配了一项新式武器，即所谓的高机动性火箭炮系统（High Mobility Artillery Rocket System），简称Himars，它的主体部分是在一辆小卡车后部装上的六发导弹。
What will Mr Trump do? In keeping with his mantra of “America first”, he might conclude that Afghanistan is a hopeless case, with its divided, dysfunctional government and a thriving insurgency that still draws support from Pakistan, a supposed American ally. He could leave the bickering regional powers—Pakistan, India, Iran, China and Russia—to sort it out.
The plan was to launch five rockets at targets in the village of Nangar Khel where TF 373 believed Libi was hiding and then to send in ground troops. The result was that they failed to find Libi but killed six Taliban fighters and then, when they approached the rubble of a madrasa, they found "initial assessment of 7 x NC KIA" which translates as seven non-combatants killed in action. All of them were children. One of them was still alive in the rubble: "The Med TM immediately cleared debris from the mouth and performed CPR." After 20 minutes, the child died.
373特遣部队认为利比藏身于一处名为楠加凯尔的村庄，他们计划先向村庄里的目标发射5枚火箭弹，然后再派出地面部队进行攻击。等攻击完毕以后，他们却发现利比并不存在，只是杀死了五名塔利班武装人员，而后当他们走到一处清真寺的残砖瓦砾时，又意外发现“初步评估：7 x NC KIA”，即有7名非战斗人员在行动中被误杀。这些误杀对象都是孩子，其中一人尚在废墟中奄奄一息：“医疗小组迅速清理了他口中的泥土碎屑，并进行了心肺复苏术。”20分钟以后，孩子因为伤势过重还是死掉了。
The coalition made a press statement which owned up to the death of the children and claimed that troops "had surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside the building". That claim is consistent with the leaked log. A press release also claimed that Taliban fighters, who undoubtedly were in the compound, had used the children as a shield.
On balance, that seems unlikely. An administration that sees countering “radical Islamic extremism” as its overriding strategic priority would find it hard to justify leaving Afghanistan to its fate. The defence secretary, Jim Mattis, is reviewing plans “for a path forward”. He and the national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, both served in Afghanistan. Their instinct will be to recommend that Mr Trump set a bolder objective than Mr Obama was willing to endorse and refrain from setting timetables that ignore military reality.
整体而言，这似乎不太可能发生。一个把“激进的伊斯兰极端主义”视为首要战略优先考虑对象的政府很难证明放任阿富汗随波逐流是正当的。 国防部长吉姆·马蒂斯正在审查“为了前进道路”的计划。 他和国家安全顾问H.R. McMaster将军都在阿富汗服过役。 出于本能，他们将建议特朗普设定比奥巴马愿意支持的一个更大胆的目标，同时避免不顾军事现实去设定时间表。