I think we're all rather well-acquainted with the minor little squabbles in Afghanistan. So let's just hop right in.
In Helmand Province, roadside bombs killed 23 people yesterday- 19 from a minibus and four from a tractor. The number was difficult to ascertain due to the damage to the minibus, and also because when security officials arrived on the scene for cleanup, they were attacked by Taliban forces.
This comes one day after an attack by suicide bombers in Uruzgan province that killed 19 people- 12 of them children- and wounded 35. Statistically, the current situation is the deadliest things have been for civilians since the war began a decade ago.
Things are also more deadly for donkeys. No. Really. Afghanistan is now seeing donkey-based IED's. The exact details have quickly fallen victim to urban legend and the telephone game, ranging from simply strapping bombs to them like you would any other suicide bomber to having "shoved explosives into a place no living donkey would ever tolerate," but one way or another, donkeys are being loaded up with bombs and sent on their merry way. The soldiers seeing them in action can do little but laugh, because it's really either that or go crazy worrying about it.
As far as soldiers returning home, according to the terms of a class-action lawsuit, over 1,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are set to receive PTSD benefits that were previously denied them. When you're diagnosed with PTSD, long story short, you're sent home. That happened with the veterans in the settlement. However, they were denied PTSD benefits because the military did not assign them at least a 50% disability rating. That was the basis of the class-action, which also affects several thousand more veterans who will now see their benefits go up. (Debt ceiling notwithstanding, of course.)
And finally, along those same lines, a press release from the Department of Defense announces $60 million in new grants designed to prevent veteran homelessness. The grants are being handed out to 85 organizations in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Among the grants:
*$600,000 to Housing First, Inc., Mobile, AL.
*$753,399 to Shelter Network, Burlingame, CA.
*$100,000 to PATH Achieve Glendale, Glendale, CA.
*$730,000 to Shelter, Inc., Martinez, CA.
*$610,000 to Catholic Charities Hawaii, Honolulu, HI.
*$639,000 to United Way of Central Indiana, Indianapolis, IN.
*$1 million to Veterans Inc., Worcester, MA.
*$999,559 to Southwest Counseling Solutions, Detroit, MI.
*$590,928 to Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, Wyandotte, MI.
*$1 million to Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, St. Paul, MN.
*$574,651 to Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
*$124,999 to St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, Eugene, OR.
*$1 million to Crisis Ministries, Charleston, SC.
*$684,000 to Opportunity Council, Bellingham, WA.
*$507,000 to Community Psychiatric Clinic of Seattle, Seattle, WA.
*$1 million to Center for Veterans Issues, Milwaukee, WI.