At Least 70 Killed Across Afghanistan

First Day of Spring Portends a Rough Year in Afghanistan

by Jason Ditz, March 20, 2009

Winter tends to be the least violent season in Afghanistan, as the rugged, mountainous terrain becomes impassable at times. This year’s winter was quite a bit worse than normal, which officials attributed to “really good weather.” Yet on just the first day of spring, Afghanistan is already experiencing a marked surge in unrest and an ominous spike in death tolls that may portend yet another record year of violence in the war-torn nation.

Reports on the ground indicate that the situation is increasingly spiraling out of control. At least 70 people were killed just today, in a spate of attacks and clashes across the nation that started at dawn and continued throughout the day. 18 police and four Canadian soldiers were among the dead, according to officials.

The largest single incident was in the Helmand Province, where US troops claimed to have killed 30 insurgents in an air strike. No civilians were reported killed in the strike, and it marks the single largest reported clash in months. Such is springtime in Afghanistan.

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