Five more NATO soldiers were killed today across Afghanistan, along with another 11 Afghans as an extremely ugly July, filled with massive civilian death tolls, comes to an unceremonious end.
A bad month, to be sure, and just one of many bad months for the war in Afghanistan. And as with most bad months, NATO followed it up with high profile comments, this time by Admiral Michael Mullen, claiming that the month represented “significant” and “undeniable” progress.
“Violence and intimidation are generally down,” insisted Mullen. The fact that dozens have been killed just in the past few days and several top figures were assassinated this month don’t appear to have entered into the assessment.
NATO saw several incidents over the month in which warplanes or ground troops were involved in killing civilians. This came after a UN report showed the first six months of 2011 were the worst yet in the decade-long war. July suggests that the second half of 2011 may be even worse.