Destroying booby-trapped Afghan towns to save them (AP) – 862th Edition

** CORRECTS DATE OF AIRSTRIKES TO OCTOBER 2010 ** In this Friday April 1, 2011 picture, U.S. soldiers guard a gate at Combat Outpost Stout in Tarok Kolache, Afghanistan, named after a soldier killed in fighting in the Arghandab River Valley. U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, called in airstrikes to level Tarok Kolache in October 2010 after spending 100 days fighting for control of the Arghandab River Valley, a fertile farming area and Taliban bastion. The village was deserted at the time of the bombing, but criticism of the strikes was intense. Afghan government officials said destroying the village was excessive. Human rights activists compared the strike with Vietnam-era carpet bombings and said it smacked of collective punishment. At best, it deviated from classic counterinsurgency doctrine, which emphasizes politics and development aid, rather than spectacular violence. (AP Photo/Solomom Moore)AP – Two aerial photos tell the story of this tiny village in the southern province of Kandahar. One shows a deceptively bucolic collection of mud huts amid pomegranate orchards. The second shows a field of dirt and shorn tree stumps — the same hamlet after being pulverized by 25 tons of explosives.

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