2:09 PM, May 4, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Most American wouldn't know a donkey drop from a paddle scoop, but nevertheless, half a million taxpayer dollars will be going to support a cricket league in Afghanistan. The current grant opportunity looks to build on what was considered a successful 2014 program. The plan is for at least five regional cricket teams from throughout Afghanistan to compete in what is called the Sixers tournament in the fall of 2015.
The recently announced $500,000 grant by the State Department goes beyond simply organizing teams for a league. The State Department wishes the grant awardee to "organize, produce and TV broadcast the Sixers tournament," train Afghans in sports broadcasting, "develop positive messaging" to promote the games, and evaluate the program's impact.
According to the Afghan Cricket Board, British soldiers played cricket in Afghanistan as early as 1839, but not until the 1970s did interest in the sport begin to pick up among the native population. Afghanistan's national cricket team has even had some success in recently completed 2015 Cricket World Cup tournament, beating Scotland in a surprise victory.
The State Department says that this Sixers tournament is "essential to the further development of the cricket sector in Afghanistan" and even credits the country's participation in the World Cup for helping to unify the embattled nation:
Afghanistan’s 2015 World Cup participation unified the country and showed that Afghans can overcome the ethnic and regional barriers that fuel much of the country’s strife. In the last year the Men’s National team received glowing coverage in the international media, describing cricket as “an expression of hopes of national unity, national recognition, national achievement, and at the bottom of it all, peace.”
Cricket is often thought of as a British sport, but the game is popular throughout many other parts of the world. The International Cricket Council (headquartered in Dubai) lists Africa, Asia, Pacific East-Asia, the Americas and Europe as the regions covered by the council.
A better way forward in the Middle East.Apr 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 30 • By MAX BOOT and MICHAEL DORAN
The ouster of ISIS fighters from Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, has been widely celebrated. Although this victory was brought about in no small part by American airpower, it was a triumph for Iran more than for the United States. The vast majority of fighters on the front lines belonged to Shiite militias, many of them trained, equipped, and advised by the Iranians. Their de facto commander is Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, which is charged with exporting the Iranian revolution.
3:43 PM, Mar 25, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The United States Army has charged Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and "misbehavior before the enemy." Bergdahl allegedly abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by Taliban-aligned forces for nearly five years before the Obama administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban forces.
Show availability of Iran for al Qaeda training, plotting.12:27 PM, Feb 27, 2015 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.
7:01 AM, Feb 23, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
While answering questions from service members in Kandahar, Afghanistan, newly sworn-in Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter revealed that he is "open-minded" about transgendered individuals serving in the military, adding, "I don't think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them."
2:51 PM, Dec 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama released this statement, marking the end of America's "combat mission" in Afghanistan:
"Today's ceremony in Kabul marks a milestone for our country. For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.
6:57 AM, Dec 26, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking with troops in Hawaii on Christmas, President Obama repeated his pledge to end the "combat mission" in Afghanistan "next week."
“We’ve been in continuous war now for over 13 years. Next week we will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan,” Obama said at the military base, according to the White House pool reporter.
3:37 PM, Dec 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
For the U.S. and NATO, Afghanistan is about withdrawing troops and ending their role in the fighting. For the Taliban, it is a different story with Reuters reporting that: