Way Off The Mark

Two errant attacks kill 15 children in Afghanistan. Here's how American intelligence got things wrong

The day started out like so many others for U.S. counterinsurgency forces in Afghanistan: monitoring the airwaves for enemy communications. From the southeastern part of the country, the U.S. picked up a signal from the phone of a small-time Taliban commander, Mullah Wazir, whose band was suspected of ambushing road crews in an effort to halt reconstruction of the pitted Kabul-to-Kandahar highway. When Wazir's phone flickered to life, the U.S. traced it to a mud-walled fortress near the town of Ghazni. The U.S. command at Bagram air base outside Kabul quickly dispatched an A-10 Warthog fighter plane, able to lay down...

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