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NATO says its troops shot dead two Afghan boys

NATO troopsNATO said on Saturday its forces had accidentally shot dead two Afghan boys, in the latest of a series of reports of civilian deaths at the hands of international troops.

The shooting in the southern province of Uruzgan could further strain the relationship between the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has demanded U.S. special forces leave another province over allegations of torture.

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Most charges dismissed against ex-Blackwater execs

blackwaterThe federal prosecution of five former employees of the private security firm Blackwater has crumbled after the defendants said they were acting at the behest of the CIA by providing five guns as gifts to King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Federal prosecutors indicted former Blackwater president Gary Jackson and four others in 2010 on a long list of felony firearms violations involving dozens of weapons, including 17 M-4 military assault rifles and 17 Romanian-made AK-47s.

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The lonely soldier and the moral scars of war

Lonely soldierVeterans of Iraq and Afghanistan find little ethical defence in the 'just war'. Each of us struggles to make peace with our actions.

In trying to understand the ongoing suicide epidemic among soldiers and veterans a third factor in addition to physical injuries and PTSD is now being discussed: the moral injuries they bring back.

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John Brennan and the truth about drones

Truth about dronesWhen I read the news that John Brennan was set to appear before the Senate in hopes of becoming of the C.I.A. director, I thought of the group of villagers I met at a seaside hotel in Yemen two years ago. They had driven many miles to see me, coming from the Yemen countryside in a pair of battered taxis, and they were waiting in the hotel parking lot.

There were about a dozen of them in all. It was a beautiful hotel, called the Mercure, with panoramic views of Aden harbor. The villagers, dressed in robes and rags, looked out of place, but they’d come to talk.

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Afghan Children Deaths: Hundreds Killed By U.S. In Last Five Years, UN 'Alarmed' By Civilian Casualties

Afghan childrenA UN committee has expressed "alarm" over reports that hundreds of children have been killed by US military forces in Afghanistan in the past five years.

US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), which leads the NATO fight against Taliban insurgents, dismissed the committee's concerns as "categorically unfounded".

The Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the deaths were "due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force". It gave no precise statistics.

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Support grows for U.S. "drone court" to review lethal strikes

Drone court consideredDuring a fresh round of debate this week over President Barack Obama's claim that he can unilaterally order lethal strikes by unmanned aircraft against U.S. citizens, some lawmakers proposed a middle ground: a special federal "drone court" that would approve suspected militants for targeting.

While the idea of a judicial review of such operations may be gaining political currency, multiple U.S. officials said on Friday that imminent action by the U.S. Congress or the White House to create one is unlikely. The idea is being actively considered, however, according to a White House official.

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Afghan corruption, opium, and the strange case of Kam Air

Kam AirKam Air, an airline owned by a politically-connected Afghan businessman, was blacklisted by the US military in Afghanistan for opium smuggling. Then the Afghan government complained.

In late January, the US military blacklisted Afghanistan's Kam Air from winning contracts with the US in Afghanistan, with the head of a US military anticorruption unit asserting that the airline was involved in bulk opium smuggling on commercial flights to Tajikistan.

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