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Tag: Taliban

USMC / Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz

Talking With the Taliban

After eight years of getting nowhere in Afghanistan, U.S. and British forces have decided to open negotiations with “second-tier” Taliban leaders. Those would be local bigwigs, as opposed to Mullah Omar and friends.

Posted on Jul 27, 2009 READ MORE


A New Type of Surge

U.S. government officials are conducting a new kind of “surge.” The DEA has started dispatching agents to Afghanistan to target opium trafficking networks that are believed to be funding the Taliban insurgency, a change from the Bush-era policy of poppy crop destruction.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE

U.S. Army / Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin R. Bond

Extreme Makeover: Bagram Prison Edition

The New York Times reports that a U.S. military review calls for “overhauling the troubled American-run prison [at Bagram Air Base] as well as the entire Afghan jail and judicial systems, a reaction to worries that abuses and militant recruiting within the prisons are helping to strengthen the Taliban.”

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE

Taliban Releases Video of U.S. Captive

The Pentagon is condemning the Taliban for releasing a video of a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan, identified as 23-year-old Bowe Bergdahl.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE

Kabul blast
AP photo

Explosives-Laden Truck Detonates, Kills 25 in Afghanistan

An overturned truck filled with timber and, it turned out, explosives blew up early Thursday morning in Logar province, Afghanistan, killing 25 people. Thirteen of the victims were children on their way to school, according to the Associated Press.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE

British Defense Minister

Real Talk on Afghanistan

At a time when many think of the current war in Afghanistan as something that can be fixed by a surge in troop levels, Britain’s new defense secretary drops some incredibly real talk to explain to the U.K. public that “more lives will be lost” and “the situation ... is not yet decided.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Rahim Faiez, Charles Krupa

2 Kidnapped Reporters Escape the Taliban

After being held captive by the Taliban for more than seven months, Tahir Ludin, an Afghan journalist, and David Rohde, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from The New York Times, escaped their kidnappers. The two reporters spoke to journalists on Sunday about their ordeal.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Ben Curtis

America’s Foreign Policy Phobias Are Overblown

Recent developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, from Iran’s raucous election to Pakistan’s tribal revolt against the Taliban, cast doubt once again on Washington’s basic assumptions and anxieties.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE

Paris mosque

War-Addicted U.S. Afflicted With Imperialist Hangover

There is an important current in conservative U.S. opinion that believes Western Europe to be under something like a siege, or a potential siege, by its large Muslim immigrant population. I should actually say that it’s not just American conservatives, although they write alarmed books about the impending Muslim domination of Europe, and the collapse of European Christianity and identity. They fear the Decline of the West.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE

Pakistani Official: No New Nukes

Responding to a recent assertion by Adm. Mike Mullen, current chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Pakistan is actively adding to its array of nuclear weapons, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira insisted on Monday that Mullen was in error.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Cambodia Déjà Vu: the Invasion of Pakistan

Last September, during the American presidential campaign, I wrote a column declaring that the United States had again invaded Cambodia, only this time “Cambodia” was Pakistan. President George W. Bush had ordered U.S. ground attacks on the Taliban inside Pakistan’s Tribal Territories, without Pakistan’s authorization.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE

Pakistan Conflict Map

Taliban Gain Ground, Color on Map

A new map produced by the BBC succinctly demonstrates the weakness of the Pakistan state in combating Taliban militants in the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The map shows only 38% of Pakistan’s NWFP to be under government control, while the balance of the region experiences either Taliban presence or control.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE

Gates and soldiers
AP photo / Jason Reed, pool

Becoming What We Seek to Destroy

The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war.

Posted on May 10, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistan’s Nukes Are Safe ... or Are They?

With Taliban insurgents only 70 miles away from the capital city of Islamabad, Jon Stewart asks: What’s happening in Pakistan? How can we avert nuclear disaster? And why are you still here, President Zardari?

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE

American soldiers

Democracy at Gunpoint Guarantees U.S. Defeat

An account from the Taliban side of the Afghanistan war, which was published in The New York Times on May 5, provides devastating evidence of the failure that almost certainly will eventually overtake the United States and NATO.

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE

U.S. Military Investigating Afghan Casualty Claims

Up to 70 civilians were reportedly killed in the Farah province of Afghanistan in a battle between Taliban insurgents and coalition forces on Tuesday, adding friction to already tense relations between the U.S. and Afghan governments.

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE

Pakistan missile
AP photo / B.K. Bangash

How Safe Are Pakistan’s Nukes?

President Barack Obama and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, will have a lot to talk about when Zardari visits the White House on Wednesday, what with al-Qaida and the Taliban stirring up trouble of late and sparking concerns over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Posted on May 4, 2009 READ MORE

Afghan Women Protest Against—and for—‘Rape’ Law

A group of determined Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul on Wednesday, suffering chants of “Dogs!” from a much larger crowd in order to challenge a law that essentially legalizes marital rape. The AP reports on a scene that underscores the complexities of that country—there were more women among the angry counterprotesters than in the women’s rights group.

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 READ MORE

Taliban, the Sequel

Ever since the Afghan war began, we assured ourselves that whatever else, we had one moral victory. We’d freed the women from Taliban rule. Now we know something very different to be true.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE

Obama: The Extremists’ Nightmare

In the struggle against the extremists and terrorists, the new president understands how to divide the enemy and neutralize their base—and is uniquely suited to accomplish the mission. He got elected in the United States of America, after all.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE

It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE

Lahore protest

Flogging of 17-Year-Old Pakistani Girl Raises Outrage

The public lashing of a 17-year-old girl named Chand in Pakistan’s Swat Valley became the catalyst for countrywide protests on Saturday after a video of the flogging made its way around the Internet. A spokesman for the local Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the video was fake and that the actual incident happened outside of Swat but defended the punishment as just.

Posted on Apr 4, 2009 READ MORE

America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s

The Thirty Years’ War occupies little space in the school texts of the English-speaking world, but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke speaks of the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE

Silence Meets Despair of Afghan Women

Afghanistan’s women are no longer in vogue. President Karzai has just signed a law that forces them to obey their husbands’ sexual demands and in general again consigns them to lives of brutal repression.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Zeroes In on Afghanistan

On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” President Obama did his best to convince CBS’ Bob Schieffer, and by extension the American people, that he knows what he’s doing in escalating U.S. military operations in Afghanistan—and that this won’t be his Vietnam.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE

What Is the Point of NATO?

NATO today, approaching its 60th birthday, faces the prospect of sending home all of its units not willing to fight in Afghanistan under the American flag. They will go home to “defend” Europe. From whom?

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE

Saudi Woman, 75, Faces Lashing for Letting In Delivery Men

For the crime of receiving two unrelated men in her home, a 75-year-old Saudi woman has been sentenced to 40 lashes and four months behind bars. Once again, a nation that is both one of America’s closest allies and brutally oppressive of women finds itself in an awkward light.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Virginia Mayo

Biden Talks Afghanistan in NATO Huddle

Vice President Joe Biden held forth at a NATO meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, reinforcing President Barack Obama’s message from last weekend about a slight shift in foreign policy with regard to Afghanistan and urging NATO to be vigilant about the threat of attacks from extremist groups harbored by Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE

U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini

Obama’s Troop Shuffle Leaves Us Dizzy

The president will withdraw 12,000 troops from Iraq over the next six months, but where will he send them? Back to America? Ski trip to Aspen? Or perhaps he’ll just airlift the veterans to Afghanistan, where a similar number of reinforcements has been promised over a similar period.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama met recently with the prime ministers of Canada and Britain, two NATO allies looking for a way out of Afghanistan even as the U.S. is talking escalation.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE

Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

It’s Obama’s War Now

Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, President Obama said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE

USAF / Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon

A War Fought in Ignorance

I have often asked for an explanation of why the United States should be at war with the Taliban. Of the several reasons given, none is satisfactory, and all fail to grasp the fundamental truth that peace is better than war.

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

A Choice Between Peace and Peril

Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran, but a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE

Good News for the Taliban

We seem to have spent our way—to the tune of $864 billion—into allowing our friends the Pakistanis to enter into a peace treaty, or something that looks like it, with the Taliban.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE

America’s Confused Cause in Central Asia

Exactly what do we think we are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Are we there to liberalize their forms of religious observance, or conduct a war over theology, or establish permanent NATO bases there, or are we searching for Osama bin Laden? It seems that we are doing all of these things at the same time. But why?

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE

Obama’s Afghan Trap

Have we learned nothing from the Iraq war? The Obama regime is gunning for more fighting in Afghanistan at a time when the U.S. should be seeking more talk.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE

America’s ‘Strong Commitment to Error’

John Kenneth Galbraith once warned that U.S. foreign policy suffers from institutional rigidity with a “strong commitment to error.” What better proof than the planned surge in Afghanistan?

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE

NATO: Dead Man Walking

NATO has no coherent overall purpose and has not had one since the end of the Cold War. Any number of redefinitions and reorganizations have been proposed or tried and have proved unsatisfactory because no one can explain what it is that NATO really does or is for, other than to clean up behind the United States.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Sebastian Scheiner

With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again

The assault on Gaza exposed not only Israel’s callous disregard for international law but the gutlessness of the American press. Nearly all reporters were, as during the buildup to the Iraq war, pliant stenographers and echo chambers.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Mike Wintroath

The Wrong Man for the Job

The United States needs to contract the services of a U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan who is capable of visionary thinking, one who possesses the political courage to stand up to a president and a secretary of state and argue against bad policy. I do not believe Richard Holbrooke is such a man.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Missile Strikes Kill 20 in Pakistan

At least 20 people were killed in Pakistan on Friday in two missile attacks that are being attributed to unmanned U.S. drones near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was the first such strike since Barack Obama took office as president.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE

Afghan lookout

The Afghan Scam

The vision of a reconstructed, peaceful, stable, democratically governed Afghanistan faded fast after the U.S.-led invasion. Most Afghans now believe that it was nothing but a cover story for the Bush administration’s real goal—to set up permanent bases in Afghanistan and occupy the country forever.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE

pakistan border
AP photo / Musa Khan

Amid Tensions, Pakistan Moves Troops

In a rebuke to U.S. interests in the region and amid growing tensions between two nuclear powers, Pakistan is moving its forces from its border with Afghanistan—where Pakistani troops are fighting against the Taliban—and restricting soldiers from going on leave, as fears of conflict with India continue to grow.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 READ MORE

Back to the Future: U.S. to Arm Afghan Militias

Because it worked out so well the last time, the U.S. plans to arm Afghan militias in an effort to police the country. The Pentagon is presenting this plan—and the media are reporting it—as a spinoff of a successful strategy in Iraq, not a revival of the secret war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE

White House / Eric Draper

From ‘Mission Accomplished’ to ‘So What?’

The history-be-my-judge interviews that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been giving recently help me understand their choices—but also reinforce my confident belief, and my fervent hope, that history will throw the book at them.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Khalil Hamra

Man Is a Cruel Animal

We fool ourselves into believing we are immune to the savagery and chaos of failed states. Take away the rigid social structure, let society continue to break down, and we become, like anyone else, brutes.

Posted on Dec 22, 2008 READ MORE

U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Michael Bracken

America’s Afghan Thugs

An American living in Kandahar writes in The Washington Post that the “corrupt gunslingers” the U.S. put in charge of Afghanistan are as much to blame for the resurgence of the Taliban as anyone. “Why,” after all, “would anyone defend officials who pillage them?”

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE

Afghan prisoner
AP photo / Xinhua, Xie Xiudong

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents?

Who exactly are the Afghan insurgents? Every suicide attack and kidnapping is usually attributed to “the Taliban.” In reality, however, the insurgency is far from monolithic.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE

Which Hillary Will We Get?

It was a moment bound to give anyone second thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state: Rush Limbaugh called it a “brilliant stroke.”

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE

Was There Any Point to the Bloodshed in Mumbai?

What is the message of a terrorist attack that fails to deliver a message? Threats and warnings are being exchanged by India and Pakistan over the attack on Mumbai, carried out by presumed Muslim extremists. But acting to what purpose, and under whose instructions?

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE

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