Issue

Governance

The balance of power between strong states was for decades the dominant issue in discussions of international security. But today, it is fragile states that are seen by many as posing potentially greater threats. Weak infrastructures, internal conflict, and lack of economic development provide fertile ground for trafficking, piracy, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, disease pandemics, regional tensions, and even genocide.

As a result, there is a growing movement in the international community to find comprehensive ways to promote stronger states, as well as more effective solutions to deal with those that are already on the brink of failure.

In Governance, you'll find reporting from around the world—from East Timor to Haiti, from Guinea Bissau to Afghanistan. The reporting demonstrates the dangers weak states pose—and also the international interventions that appear to be making a difference.

 

Governance

Somaliland's Mental Hospital: Stretched to the Limit

Somaliland has only one mental hospital in the entire country. Many patients in the hospital suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome from the civil war with southern Somalia, which eventually led to secession and, still after 18 years, de-facto independence. Overuse of khat, a narcotic leaf that is normally chewed throughout the day, has been said to lead to more cases schizophrenia. However, given Somaliland's unrecognized status, the state's coffers are stretched thin, with little available resources for social services such as health care.

Petraeus affirms Taliban targeted, killed in air raids

KABUL, Afghanistan | Video footage of a bombing raid by U.S. forces earlier this month on a village in western Afghanistan "very clearly" shows that Taliban militants were targeted and it accounts for most of those killed, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East and South Asia said Friday.

"What the video will prove is that the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban," Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of Central Command, told National Public Radio.

U.S.: Taliban 'very clearly' target of raid

KABUL, Afghanistan | Video footage of a bombing raid by U.S. forces earlier this month on a village in western Afghanistan "very clearly" shows that Taliban militants were targeted and it accounts for most of those killed, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East and South Asia said Friday.

"What the video will prove is that the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban," Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of Central Command, told National Public Radio.

Afghanistan: After an Airstrike

Jason Motlagh has been reporting from Afghanistan for several months, first embedding with U.S. troops and more recently looking at the other side of the conflict -- the growing numbers of civilian casualties. Over webcam from Kabul, Motlagh tells iWitness what happened when a recent U.S. airstrike hit a village in the province of Herat, killing scores of civilians. Sharing dramatic footage and images in the wake of the bombings and interviewing victims and U.S. military, Motlagh reports conflicting accounts of what took place.

Coalition Press Releases on Documented Civilian Casualties

Whether by force, by chance, or mistaken choice, there are sundry ways Afghans find themselves in harm's way. Some deaths make the news, but many more -- particularly in Taliban strongholds -- go to the ground unreported, known only to those closest to the victims, should they be survived.

Herewith, a sampling of coalition press releases on documented civilian casualties over the course of one month in the war:

One Afghan killed, one wounded in convoy incident