In response to a report that the Obama administration may cut U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to below 10,000, senators Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and John McCain have released a statement. Read it below:
We hope a recent press report that the White House is considering a post-2014 force in Afghanistan well below the recommendations of our military commanders is incorrect.Read more
Media reports suggest that President Obama is looking to declare victory and withdraw from Afghanistan, as he did from Iraq. The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year.Read more
As the war in Afghanistan winds down, commanders face the question of what to do with all that equipment.Read more
With a presidential election less than two months away, all eyes in Afghanistan should be on the coming vote. It could be Afghanistan’s first-ever peaceful transfer of power, and 11 candidates are running. Instead, Kabul is buzzing over the actions of term-limited outgoing president Hamid Karzai, whose strange behavior confounds allies and enemies alike.Read more
In the summer of 2008, Barack Obama, senator and presidential candidate, toured the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama had endeared himself to the antiwar left by denouncing President Bush’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein and repeatedly claiming that the war in Iraq had diverted resources from defeating al Qaeda and its allies in South Asia. Obama did not tone down this criticism even as he spoke with CBS News from Kabul on July 20, shortly before proceeding to Saddam’s former abode. “We got distracted by Iraq,” Obama said.Read more
This is the year when the U.S. Military withdraws from Afghanistan. Entirely, if status-of-forces negotiations go badly. Not quite that severely if things can be worked out with the regime of President Karzai. Either way, the bases from which U.S.Read more
It is taken as a given that the Obama administration has lost interest in Afghanistan and cannot get out of that country soon enough. And that the Karzai regime is doing its part by dragging its feet on a status-of-forces agreement. But to have things come to this:
President Obama’s brain trust on Afghanistan does not know much the U.S. spends on the war each year or the American cost in lost lives on the battlefield.Read more
Back when he had not been in the White House very long, President Obama called the fight in Afghanistan as “a war of necessity.” That, to distinguish it from his predecessor’s “war of choice,” in Iraq and to justify the decisions he would make and the actions he would take to make sure that the conflict in Afghanistan went our way. Among these decisions was a troop “surge,” modeled after the one that had been successful in Iraq.Read more
In a November 8 letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) warned that a contractor that had been identified with the insurgency had been granted access to a Coalition facility last November, and that the threat of further access by such contractors remains. SIGAR uncovered the information while conducting an investigation of the structural defects at the Parwan Justice Center, a new courthouse being jointly constructed by the State and Defense Departments.Read more
The U.S. State Department announced today that it has designated a terrorist who has fought for the Taliban since the late 1990s and continues to support al Qaeda. Bahawal Khan is the leader of the Commander Nazir Group (CNG), which is “behind numerous attacks against international forces in Afghanistan,” as well as attacks inside Pakistan.Read more
Are we watching the demise of al Qaeda or its rebirth?
A bracing new piece in the Daily Beast makes a persuasive case that it’s the latter -- that recent developments in Iraq, across the greater Middle East and South Asia point to a resurgence of al Qaeda and a strengthening of its affiliates.Read more
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it was moving forward with its attempt to negotiate with the Taliban, which has opened a long-awaited political office in Doha, Qatar. The Taliban released a statement trumpeting its new political front. Within hours, Afghan president Hamid Karzai blasted the U.S. government, saying the talks will only advance “foreigners' strategies and goals” and are “completely in contradiction to the assurance that was given to Afghanistan by the United States of America.”Read more
On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden moderated a conference call with two unnamed senior administration officials to provide background for reporters on today's transition in Afghanistan handing over the lead on security in the country to the Afghan National Security Forces.Read more
In a speech at the National Defense University on May 23, Barack Obama declared an end to the global war on terror. The threat posed by al Qaeda, its affiliates, and those it inspires can be managed, he said. “As we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11. . . . [I]f dealt with smartly and proportionally, these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11.”Read more
Undisclosed location in Afghanistan
Meet Captain John (last name not allowed). He’s a bearded, thoughtful, and articulate young Army Green Beret. Since last summer, he’s lived in a tiny, rough compound in the remote village of Shagowlay, in the Qarah Bagh district of Ghazni Province. That’s Nowhere, Afghanistan.
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