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"Friendly Fire" Fatalities

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchorHarry Smith.

Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan?

More than 20,000 American troops are still there fighting, along with more than 10,000 NATO forces.

Bumper poppy crops and heroin sales have helped put the Taliban back in business in Afghanistan, so U.S. and NATO forces are aggressively pursuing them.

However, the Taliban often place themselves near civilians.

As a result, when the Taliban get attacked, innocent people get hurt. More Afghan civilians have been killed by NATO and American forces this year than by the Taliban, a situation Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls difficult to accept and understand.

Relief agencies there are pleading for restraint, and while Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace assured reporters that targeting is done with exceptional care, the fact remains that winning a peace is more difficult when you end up hurting the very people you're trying to protect.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith

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