Who are the Hazaras and why are they marked for annihilation in Pakistan? Two frightful terror bombings, taking 185 lives and wounding hundreds more, were reported from the city of Quetta, near the border with Afghanistan, and the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, in the first two months of 2013. They were followed by a similar massacre in Karachi, Pakistan’s main port, in March. Prominent Hazara individuals have been assassinated in Karachi and Lahore. And the ordeal of the Hazaras is hardly new.
As conservatives wrestle with the question of their movement’s commitment to national security, one young war veteran made the case for a strong national defense and Ronald Reagan’s entreaty that America pursue “peace through strength.” Speaking Thursday morning at CPAC, freshman congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas tried directly to appeal to those conservatives wary and weary of American wars against radical Islamic terrorists.
President Obama’s decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise. It greatly increases the risk of mission failure in that important conflict, jeopardizing gains already made in the Taliban heartland in the south and compromising the ability of Afghan and coalition forces to finish the fight against the Haqqani Network in the east. It also increases the risk that al Qaeda will be able to reestablish itself in limited safe havens in Afghanistan over time.
In Germany for the Munich Security Conference, Vice President Joe Biden sounded relieved. "It’s a delight to be back in Germany," he said. "I -- the President, since I’m the Vice President, sends me mostly to Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s a pleasure to be back in Germany. And it’s a pleasure to see you again."
President Barack Obama gave a shout out last night at an Inaugural ball to our "comrades in arms" in Afghanistan. After hearing from troops in Afghanistan through a video a satellite, the commander in chief said, "I can tell you that you've got a room full of patriots here. And although I've got to admit that they're a little spiffied up right now -- their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty is at one with every single one of the folks who are in Kandahar right now."
In remarks with Afghan president Hamid Karzai at the White House this afternoon, President Barack Obama said the U.S. has fallen "short of the ideal" in Afghanistan:
"So, you know, I think that, have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios? Probably not. You know, there's a human enterprise, and you know, you fall short of the ideal," said Obama.
When Senator Barack Obama was running for president back in 2008, he accused the Bush administration, his opponent Senator John McCain, and their supporters of taking their eyes off the ball by fighting a war in Iraq and ignoring the “necessary war”—the war in Afghanistan. Well, four short years later, by Obama’s lights, Afghanistan is no longer the necessary war but a war to be ignored, a war to be “ended” regardless of the strategic consequences of doing so precipitously.
ABC’s White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, is known in some circles as a contentious or even difficult reporter. In others, he’s hailed as perhaps the most objective journalist covering the president, more willing than most of his colleagues to push Obama and his aides with questions that are likely to make the administration uncomfortable. His new book is far from the White House, situated in a U.S. military base in a deep valley in Afghanistan close to the Pakistani border where American troops have been dispatched—or as it appears, stranded—to take on the Taliban.