Top of the Morning: Afghanistan Attacks; Rice Says Libya Consulate Attack was Spontaneous

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

Afghan Security Forces Once Again Turn Their Guns on International Forces as Problems for NATO Mount

To date, 51 international troops have been killed by their erstwhile allies in the Afghan army or police forces. “Afghan police killed four American soldiers coming to their aid after a checkpoint attack Sunday, the third assault by government forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms in as many days. The escalating violence — including a NATO airstrike that killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood — is straining the military partnership between Kabul and NATO as the U.S. begins to withdraw thousands of troops sent three years ago to route the Taliban from southern strongholds. The attacks drew unusually strong criticism Sunday from the U.S. military’s top officer, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who called the problem of rogue Afghan soldiers and police turning their guns on allied troops “a very serious threat” to the war effort.” (Bloomberg

Also, a separate attack on a US base in Southern Afghanistan by teams of Taliban–some wearing American uniforms–was the single most damaging attack against American military materiel. More than 8 fighter jets were severely damaged or destroyed. (NYT The Taliban claimed to stage the attack in retaliation for the YouTube film and because Prince Harry was deployed there. (BBC

Libya Arrests Scores in Connection to US Consulate Attack. USA and Libya Disagree on Nature of Attack

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said sSunday that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to the awful film. Libyan authorities, who disagree, arrested nearly 50 people in connection to the violence. “Rice’s depiction of the chain of events contrasted with one offered by Libya’s Interim President Mohammed el-Megarif, who said Sunday there was no doubt the perpetrators had predetermined the date of the attack. ‘It was planned, definitely. It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago,’’ el-Megarif said. ‘’And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.’ Brushing aside el-Megarif’s assessment, Rice said it wouldn’t be the first time that Western works critical of Islam have triggered spontaneous unrest throughout the Middle East. She pointed to Salman Rushdie’s novel ‘‘Satanic Verses’’ and cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper in 2006. But Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chair, said it was premature to rule out a premeditated attack.” (Boston Globe