Foreign Policy Blogs

Afghanistan

On Obama's Troop Drawdown: An Analysis

The New York Times reported, less than five hours before a scheduled prime time nationally televised speech, that President Obama has indeed decided to drawdown the 30,000 surge troops out of Afghanistan.  10,000 are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of this year; the other 20,000 by ...

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President Obama Likely to Announce 30,000 Surge Troop Withdrawal

President Barack Obama is due to announce his plan to start pulling U.S troops out of Afghanistan during a televised speech to his American and international audience, his sixth since assuming office in January 2009. This rather militarily dicey and politically expedient move is being made right in the midst ...

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Gates, Pelosi and Obama on the July Troop Drawndown.

As was expected, during his farewell tour of bases in Afghanistan Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argued for maintaining the maximum number of combat troops feasible in Afghanistan well past the July drawdown. Just today, in Kandahar Province, Secretary Gates said that  he’d advise the Obama administration to keep as many ...

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NATO Mistakes Too Costly as July Drawdown Nears

The most difficult thing to countenance when one is an analyst-watcher-critic of Afghan politics and society is the nearly weekly news that some child or innocent woman has been killed in NATO airstrikes or nightly door to door counter-terrorist operations.  This, any time of the year, any year at all. But ...

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Afghanistan and President Obama's Articulated Foreign Policy

President Barack Obama today defended what he wants the young men on the street in far-flung countries to view as a new stripe of diplomacy, one that is informed by the value of self-determination and respect for those young millions hungry for it. One that does not contrast American interests ...

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Bin Laden, al Qaeda and Its Future on "Frontline"

Bin Laden, al Qaeda and Its Future on "Frontline"

The documentary program “Frontline” aired a comprehensive set of documentaries on the occasion of Osama bin Laden’s capture and death.  It is an excellent collection, a much better resource for this throbbing, restless time than most newspapers and broadcast journalism outlets. (Though the broadcast is not yet available in its ...

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Cheap Talk and Signal in Taliban Spring Thaw Strategy

The Taliban declared that, on Sunday April 31st, they would begin operations on their spring thaw military strategy against “the foreign invading forces“.  The Taliban, the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, promised to attack U.S and NATO assets and soldiers as well as businessmen who wish to work ...

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President Obama's New Pentagon, Afghanistan Team Signals New Direction

President Obama’s expected and whispered about Pentagon reshuffle heralds the likelihood of a rather more rapid draw down in Afghanistan than has been entertained so far.  The reshuffle also suggests that in one swift move, President Obama is looking to get the CIA and the Pentagon entire to cooperate on, ...

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"Three Cups of Tea" Story Bogus, Money Pilfered

"Three Cups of Tea" Story Bogus, Money Pilfered

There’s no dearth of coverage of well-known philanthropist, and professed education advocate Greg Mortenson’s alleged malfeasance with funding for his renowned Central Asia Institute.  The author of the popular volume, “Three Cups of Tea” and advisor to the U.S. military brass there has been accused of pilfering millions of dollars ...

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Tim Hetherington's Passing

Bringing war and conflict back to those watching in far away homes and offices is vital task. It is also a very dangerous one, and the deaths of Restrepo (my review) co-director Tim Hetherington and his fellow journalist Chris Hondros in Libya yesterday show why. The work of these ...

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'Talibanistan' Film Review

I urge all our Afghanistan readers to check out Sean Patrick Murphy’s review of the film ‘Talibanistan’ over at his FPA Global Film Review blog. I have not seen the film, but from Murphy’s description it sounds worthwhile. Here is his intro: Hearts and minds. That’s what narrator Peter Coyote says ...

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The Story of Lt. Gen. John Kelly and His Son

Though the piece is now over a month old, I really would like to recommend this incredible story by Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post on Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s family. Kelly lost one of his two sons to a land mine in Afghanistan and is now a close ...

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Where Does Blame for Violent Protests in Afghanistan Rest?

Blame for the outrageous protests, terrible acts and needless, heedless deaths over the last few days in Afghanistan rest in at least three quarters.  There’s the individual explanation, the sociological explanation, in short the mob mentality, spurred on by this partisan and that, and finally the political explanation, which I ...

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Mob Violence Spreads South to Taliban Heartland

The violence that began in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan has spread to southern Afghanistan in Kandahar, the Taliban’s home base.  The New York Times reports that 81 people have been injured while 9 more people have died of gunshot wounds, bringing the number of dead up to 21 ...

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12 People, 7 Foreign Staff at UN Office Killed in Mob Violence

There’s little to do but  quote Rod Nordland’s Times piece on this horrendous bit of breaking news: “Protesters angered by the burning of a Koran by a fringe American pastor in Florida mobbed offices of the United Nations in northern  Afghanistan on Friday, killing ten foreign staff members and beheading two of the ...

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