Archive for the ‘civilians’ Category

Many Nations Sign Cluster Bomb Ban; U.S. and Russia Refrain

December 3, 2008

The United States and Russia were absent Wednesday as representatives from countries from around the world gathered to sign a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs.

Some 111 countries were due to adopt the Convention on Cluster Munitions at an all-day signing ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

But four of the biggest cluster bomb makers — Russia, China, Israel and the United States, which claims the devices are a vital part of its defense strategy, stayed away.

Cluster Munition Coalition activists behind the agreement expressed disappointment at the absence of the big four, but insisted it wouldn’t undermine the treaty as it passes into international law.

“Obviously it’s very disappointing that those countries aren’t here, but at the same time, the strong message that this treaty sends will make it very clear to those countries that these are unacceptable weapons and inappropriate in future conflicts,” CMC Co-Chair Richard Moyes told CNN from Oslo.

French troops examine cluster bombs collected after the Lebanon conflict of 2006.

Above: French troops examine cluster bombs collected after the Lebanon conflict of 2006.

“The treaty and the stigma that it builds will make it practically and politically much more difficult for them to use these weapons again in the future,” Moyes added about the absent countries.

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U.S. vows to back off if fighters use Afghan civilians as cover

November 9, 2008

U.S. forces in Afghanistan will “back off” from firing at insurgents if the fighters are using civilian buildings as cover, the U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan told CNN.


“I’ve given direct guidance, and so has my boss to me, that if there’s any doubt at all that the enemy is firing from a house or building where there might be women and children, that we’ll just back off,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, the commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, told CNN’s Barbara Starr.

“That potentially is something that we did not do before, but now because of this increased emphasis, we are doing,” he said in an interview at an outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika province near the Pakistani border.

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Nearly 190,000 flee fighting in Pakistan

October 15, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Nearly 190,000 people have reportedly fled fighting between Pakistani troops and extremists near the border with Afghanistan, the United Nations said yesterday as fresh clashes in the area killed 17 extremists.

A Pakistani police commando leads a convoy of armed Pakistani ...

A Pakistani police commando leads a convoy of armed Pakistani people on patrol against Islamic militants in Mamoon Khataki Shabqader on the border of the tribal district of Mohmand Agency on October 9, 2008. A Polish engineer kidnapped two weeks ago in Pakistan by suspected Taliban militants appeared in a video address Tuesday urging the release of jailed Taliban fighters.(AFP/File/Tariq Mahmood)

Fighting is spreading across Pakistan’s rugged northwest as the government cracks down on insurgents blamed for attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and a campaign of suicide bombings against military and Western targets within Pakistan.

Most of the clashes are taking place in Bajur, where the Pakistani military launched a big offensive in early August.

The U.N. refugee agency said 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans had fled Bajur into eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province since the fighting began.

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