Today it was a deliberate act of terror by militants. At the weekend, a NATO blunder was to blame.
In both cases, Afghan civilians have paid the price, with peace still elusive after eight years of fighting.
A bomb attached to a bicycle claimed at least eight lives in Lashkar Gah, the capital of southern Helmand province.
This, as the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan appeared on television there to apologise for Sunday’s airstrike error in the south.
Translated into the Afghan languages of Dari and Pashto, General Stanley McChrystal said sorry for the mistake that killed at least 27 civilians. But it was just the latest in a number of costly NATO gaffes and regaining public trust will be far from easy.
“They have all this sophisticated equipment, so they should be using it whenever they carry out an operation and they should be very careful,” said Kabul resident Ahmad Fawad.
The incident was not part of Operation Mushtarak, aimed at clearing insurgents from their southern strongholds. But, faced with the Taliban’s tenacity and NATO’s cast-iron resolve to win the war, those caught in the middle often suffer the most.