Tag: afghanistan (last 300)

Karzai ka Ghosla

(NPR) Karzai’s brother illegally grabbing land and taking bags of money to Dubai — $52M in one trip.

The midnight kite of Abdul Revere

(NYT) Taliban use kites, pigeons, smoke to warn each other of Marine movements.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Tar Baby Kabul

(Rollingstone) OBL’s son: ‘Even Bush’s own mother says he is the biggest idiot boy of his family... As soon as America went to Afghanistan, [Osama’s] plan worked. He has already won.’

Karzai’s gonna love this

(NYT) Afghan tribe comes out vs. Taliban in exchange for $1M aid *bypassing Karzai.* ‘We have absolutely no faith in the Afghan government to do anything for us. We don’t trust them at all.’

U.S. diplomat: Afghanistan war a waste

(NYT) U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan: the war’s pointless. Adding troops delays exit, Karzai’s people ‘are only too happy to see us invest further... They assume we covet their territory...’

Just 5% legitimate use

(WSJ) Up to 95% of a fertilizer in Afghanistan is used for IEDs, now banned by Karzai.

Repelling the Taliban

(Economist) Kabul handled fidayeen-style attack better than Bombay handled 11/26.

Big Afghanistan lie in Mass. special election

(NYT) GOP meme: Dem Sen. candidate ‘wrong’ when she said no terrorists in Afghanistan. But Coakley’s right: AQ has largely moved to Pakistan, and Taliban haven’t created international plots vs. U.S.

The red station wagon

(WaPo) The Jordanian doctor came directly from Pakistan and sped through CIA checkpoints. A brief flash, and 8 were dead. (via @AnandWrites)
Previously: cia, terrorism, afghanistann

CIA bomber went to Pakistan

(NYT) CIA base bomber claimed to be in Pakistan for medical studies, became double agent for AQ.

Doctor a double agent

(WSJ) Afghanistan CIA base bomber was a Jordanian doctor and AQ double agent.
Previously: al qaeda, afghanistan, cia

Afghanistan nicks Pakistan military’s biz model

(Nybooks) Afghanistan: ‘We must be the number one terrorist threat [or] we won’t get any money’... Bush’s surge increased troops 20%, Obama’s doubling troops but using much more moderate language.
Previously: afghanistan

U.S. fatalities doubled in Afghanistan

(LAT) U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan doubled in ’09 due to giant fertilizer bombs which flip armored vehicles like toys.
Previously: afghanistan

Sect-ual intercourse

(Wiki) Afghanistan’s sole Jew feuded with another Jew over custody of a tiny Kabul synagogue.
Previously: jews, afghanistan

The mines of more-ore

(NYT) China won massive Afghanistan mining contract. Similar Pakistan deal ran into problems. India, China bidding for next such deal. U.S. footing security bill.
Previously: afghanistan

Poisoned fruit of Wilson’s war

(Guardian) CIA didn’t care that Zia hanged Bhutto or wanted nukes and a ‘pure Islamic order.’ The Afghanistan victory is a blunder in hindsight.

Waste of a war

(ABC) Richard Clarke: Yemen is the new Afghanistan, the new al Qaeda training base. [The war is fairly pointless now.]
Previously: afghanistan, yemen

‘Sherlock Holmes,’ the Afghanistan flick

(New Yorker) Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes cheers up Watson, a tired soldier back from the Afghanistan war.

Former expat Afghans still avenging tribal slights

(NYT) Home invasion and execution of Afghan teen re: child arranged marriage slight. Girl refused the betrothal and settled in the U.S. Two blood murders over this, one by guy who worked at VA Toyota dealer.
Previously: afghanistan

‘Fighting’ in Afghanistan

(Stripes) U.S. troops hit by 70 IEDs while Afghan troops got zero. U.S. thinks they’re paying off the Taliban.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

Are you the Keymaster?

(Wiki) Taliban tried bombing vault containing Afghanistan’s Bactrian Hoard, an ancient treasure. 7 keys distributed to anonymous tawaldars. (via khoof)

Afghan heritage perserved

(TO Globe) When the taliban were destroying artifacts from the Kabul museum, a few brave peeps secreted the treasures and deliberately lost the keys. 15 years later the safes were sawed open and the treasure was brought out — now on display in Quebec City

Pakistani military sides with Taliban

(NYT) Pakistan refused U.S. demand to turn over Haqqani Jr., who’s attacking U.S. in Afghanistan. Haqqanis accused of assassinating Benazir Bhutto.

‘Stenography services’

(Salon) The U.S. excels at finding Urgent Reasons to continue wars once the originals are inoperative. No more AQ in Afghanistan? Have to stay, otherwise India and Pakistan will fight.
Previously: afghanistan, joe klein

Reaction to Obama’s Nobel speech

(Sullivan·C) Karzai’s stolen election didn’t change Obama’s decision, which he’s incoherently framing as a traditional ground war vs. terrorists.

Mercenary force

(NYT) Blackwater participated in clandestine CIA raids in Afghanistan, Iraq vs. AQ suspects, sometimes killing them. More: [via]

Looks like a winner

(WaPo) McChrystal: Afganistan war fails if Afghan gov’t underperforms or Pakistan keeps sheltering Taliban. [Both of which are pretty much guaranteed.] U.S. ambassador forced to walk back war critique.

Yup, it was political

(New Yorker) Afghanistan withdrawal would spark Pentagon revolt, ally anger and lethal scapegoating in the event of a terrorist attack in the U.S. Thus the escalation.

Yup, it’s a quagmire

(NYT) Psych: July ’11 Afghanistan pullout is a very gradual reduction, not an exit, said officials.

A snowball’s chance in Afghanistan

(NYT) Friedman: For Obama to succeed, Pakistan would have to become a new country and we’d have to nation build, which Obama claims we won’t be doing at all.

Crashers at the gates

(NYT) Rich: Obama never showed why escalating Afghanistan will vanquish the terrorists in Pakistan.

How Obama decided on Afghanistan

(NYT) Obama: as long as Pakistan gives Taliban sanctuary, escalation will do nothing. Sticker shock at $1 trillion 10-year cost, seeing his domestic agenda disappear before him.

The mushy middle

(Dailybeast) Reihan: Obama’s Afghanistan strategy pleases neither Dems who see it as a Pathan civil war nor Republicans who believe in war as killing, not nation building.

Back to the stone age

(CBS) Obama: Afghanistan withdrawal will start in July ’11. It’s etched in stone. Gibbs said he even had the chisel. [But no commitment on pace or how many come home.]

The Crawfordian Candidate

(Daily Show) Daily Show: Obama’s Afghanistan speech sounded remarkably like Dubya’s.
Previously: daily show, afghanistan

Cold, hilly and sparse

(Daily Show Vid) Jon Stewart, Tom Friedman in highly skeptical discussion on Afghanistan war’s ‘magical thinking.’

A mature speech

(TPM·L) Text of Obama’s speech escalating Afghanistan, Pakistan mentioned 25 times. ‘In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly. Those days are over.’

Domino theory redux

(TNR·L) Afghanistan war backers argue domino theory like Vietnam, claiming Pakistan could be lost and conflating AQ with Taliban.

Obama escalates

(WSJ) The eventual model for Afghan policy is Pakistan [facepalm], where the U.S. has not put in scores of ground troops [ok, that sounds better].

Heads up, Mr. Singh

(NYT) Obama called Manmohan Singh, Brown, Medvedev, Rudd re: Afghanistan troop decision.

Thumbs down on Afghanistan

(Sullivan·C) Obama’s Afghan policy sounds like conventional strategic drift — Dubya redux with a more intelligent discussion beforehand.
Previously: afghanistan

U.S. displacing India

(NYT) Obama’s slow Afghanistan exit designed to tell Pakistan that India will not fill the vacuum.
Previously: afghanistan

Less carrot, more stick

(WaPo) Obama: if Pakistan doesn’t act vs. LeT, Haqqani, AQ, Taliban, U.S. may use any means to rout jihadis in AfPak.

Another president without an exit schedule

(Atlantic) On Tue, Obama will justify Afghanistan war via Pakistan stability. No exit timetable or conditions on Karzai.

Memories of the Soviets in Afghanistan

(WSJ) Gates skeptical of Obama’s plan because he was defsec during CIA’s jihad vs. Soviets, and their surge didn’t work.

Take the gun, leave the canoli

(NYT) ‘Americans with beards’ [special forces] are giving Afghan militias ammo and flour. Are the militias community organizing or potential future warlords?
Previously: afghanistan

Obama doubling down in Afghanistan

(McClatchy) Obama sending another 34K troops to Afghanistan, doubling Dubya’s deployment including the 17K he sent earlier. Claims off-ramps in 6 months [not credible IMO because deploying alone can take that much time].
Previously: afghanistan

Wali walla

(Doonesbury) ‘Doonesbury’ on Karzai’s brother, the druglord who’s reportedly on the CIA payroll.

HRC an unlikely Karzai ally

(NYT) HRC and Karzai bonded over their bitter primary experiences, with Hillary advising him to look at the long game.

If this is what winning looks like...

(New Yorker) Coll: if U.S. loses Afghanistan, more attacks vs. India = Indian domestic pressure for military response.

Mullahs with laptops

(NYT) The Afghan mullah’s wife shushed an aid worker. ‘I really need those [birth control] pills.’ One woman who’d already carried 17 children took a pill before she even left the workshop.

Afghanistan war photos

(Denverpost) Stunning Afghanistan pics: split-second chopper crash, kite flying atop hills, American soldiers, lunar landscape.
Previously: afghanistan

Cutting out the middlethief

(NYT) An Afghanistan village skirted corruption and built a piped water system by cutting out middlemen. ‘You don’t steal from yourself.’
Previously: afghanistan

Working at cross-purposes

(Nation·L) U.S. convoys pay protection $ to Taliban to move ammo to soldiers in Afghanistan. Big protection racket run by Karzai relatives.

Karzai getting stroppy

(WaPo) U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan opposes more troops because Karzai’s corrupt. Karzai: ‘Afghanistan was troubled like hell before [9/11]... Nobody bothered about us... [The UN] may or may not return. I don’t think Afghanistan will notice it.’

Obama shy of Pakistan’s double game

(NYT) Obama: Pakistan’s not hitting Taliban who attack U.S. in Afghanistan, only those who attack the Pakistan gov’t. So why send more toops?

Afghanistan by the numbers

(Tomdispatch) Afghan gov’t budget: $600M. U.S. combat troops there: $60B, 100x larger. [Literally cheaper to buy off all the combatants.]
Previously: afghanistan

Nabob of caution to act as expected

(McClatchy) Obama’s poised to add 34K troops in Afghanistan, to be announced after a visit by Manmohan Singh. But the army counterinsurgency manual says full CI requires 600K troops.

Culture clash in Afghanistan barracks

(NYT) Afghan soldiers ripped sinks from barrack walls to wash feet before azan and built cooking/heating fires on barrack floors despite furnaces and kitchens.
Previously: afghanistan

The Mirpuri vector

(NYT) 3/4 of UK terrorism plots linked to AfPak. ‘If Afghanistan is not secure, then Pakistan is not secure, and... Britain is not secure.’
Previously: uk, terrorism, afghanistan

McChrystal lied about Tillman death

(HuffPo·L) After Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, McChrystal covered it up with a Silver Star rec. Woth friendly fire, there’s no valor medal.

Schools vs. soldiers

(NYT) Kristof: For 1 U.S. soldier in Afghanistan/yr, we could build 20 schools. Why are Wahhabis funding education there and not the U.S.?
Previously: afghanistan, wahhabis

Asylum star

(BBC) Former ‘Afghan Star’ anchor Daoud Sediqi sought asylum at Sundance because the Taliban had threatened the show. He was hired by VoA Afghan.

True believer

(NYT) Dead-ender Tom Friedman: Iraq war critical, Afghanistan isn’t.

Afghan druglord using CIA like own private army

(NYT) Ahmed Karzai, Hamid’s bro and alleged druglord, has been on CIA payroll for 8 yrs. He uses U.S. to knock off rivals. CIA paramilitary shot gov’t official to spring a member of their force.

No hypocrisy, no peace

(Economist) If not for Karzai’s election backdown, Western soldiers would be fighting for a rogue who steals elections [unlike Bush v. Gore].

Why Afghanistan matters

(FP) Coll: It’s not true that all AQ sanctuaries are of the same importance. The Haqqanis have never betrayed their Arab guests.

No troop increase

(NYT) Kristof: If Punjabi Pakistani troops anger Pathans, why would Texans be any better?
Previously: pathans, afghanistan

Mano a mano with Hamid

(ABC) John Kerry shuttled between Kabul and Islamabad to convince a balky Karzai to accept the runoff election.

With or without a seatbelt

(FT Jul) Afghanistan policy: They say, I’m going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I wear a seatbelt?’ And you say, I don’t think you should drive your car off the cliff. And they say, No, no, that bit’s already been decided.’
Previously: afghanistan

We’ve entered the future

(Xkcd Comic) Forget ‘Terminator’ — robot assassins already prowl the world. They’re called UAVs.
Previously: predators, afghanistan

Peaceful transfers of power

(Telegraph) Of 10 Afghanistan presidents in last 30 yrs, 4 murdered — 1 strung from a lamppost and hacked to death.
Previously: afghanistan

Panjshir pastoral

(NYT Pics) Peaceful Afghanistan before the Soviets.
Previously: afghanistan

Which side of the road?

(NYT) Kidnapped NYT journie: If he drove on the left, we were in Pakistan; if right, Afghanistan. Traffic signs appeared in Urdu. We’re in Pakistan. We’re dead.

Taliban makes most $ from donations

(NYT) ISI and individuals from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and the Persian Gulf likely donate to the Taliban, who aren’t entirely reliant on opium. (ht: @kerim)
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

‘When Kabul was the Paris of Central Asia’

(NYT) Elizabeth Bumiller shows why Afghanistan as an ‘ungovernable’ ‘graveyard of empires’ is largely myth. ‘Afghanistan is less tribal than New York.’ ‘Women attended Kabul U in miniskirts, ca. 1970’ Musicians in public parks. Fantastic slide show. Gobama!

Major coalition forces scandal in Afghanistan

(ToL) French soldiers mutilated in Afghanistan, under-armed in area they believed quiet. The earlier Italian force was bribing warlords and never told them. [Bad, murderous handoff — but bribe sanctimony? U.S. does this in Iraq now.]

Time to GTFO of Afghanistan

(NYT) As Western occupation grew, suicide attacks and IEDs escalated in parallel. There were no recorded suicide attacks in Afghanistan before ’01.
Previously: afghanistan

Interview with a terrorist

(Atimes) AQ guerrilla warfare chief claims Indian road construction co’s in Afgh. are RAW fronts, threatens attacks bigger than 11/26. (via @yesnosorry)

No escalation until we kick Karzai out

(NYT) Friedman: normal gov’t raises taxes and dispenses to institutions; Afghanistan raises $ from people who buy gov’t positions or protection.

Mullah: ‘Afghanistan’s Salman Rushdie’

(Dailybeast) Dr. Sima Samar to Taliban jefe: ‘You bombed my clinic. Return my things. I have your mother’... She says burqa wearing = bone fragility.
Previously: sima samar, afghanistan

McCain hyping another unnecessary war

(NYT) Frank Rich: McCain’s hyping the Afghanistan war after AQ has moved to Pakistan, after he and other Iraq war mongers let it fall apart in the first place.

Taliban similar to Hezbollah?

(WaPo) Obama strategy review: Taliban cannot be eradicated, they’re locals who don’t target U.S. (like Hezbollah) and should be coopted. ‘Most insurgents are Afghans... directed by a small number of Afghan senior leaders based in Pakistan.’

Toronto 18 member pleads guilty

(NYT) Zakaria Amara pled guilty to plotting to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange on 9/11/06, supposedly to get Canada to withdraw from Afghanistan. More: [via]

You said how many troops?

(WaPo) Chandrasekaran: Military doubled Afgh. COIN troop estimate since March, Obama’s got sticker shock.

Afghanistan troop request includes higher-end option

(WSJ) Afgh. war: MRAPs don’t work off-road. Short on choppers. Troop request includes platinum 60K new soldiers option.

Splitting Arabs from Afghans

(SF Chron) Obama strategy leak: the U.S. would fight only to keep the Taliban from controlling the central gov’t in Afghanistan and sheltering AQ. Would rehabilitate Taliban.

Kabul Indian embassy bombed again

(Reuters) Indian embassy in Kabul attacked again. This time, 17 dead as bomb was across street from fortified compound.
Previously: afghanistan, terrorism

To the neighbors, the spoils

(NYT) The Afghanistan war benefits India and China more than the U.S. China wins either way: with stability it mines resources, without India is distracted from economic growth.
Previously: afghanistan, china, economy

Logan’s heroes

(Colbertnation Vid) CBS foreign chief Lara Logan on Afghanistan war. [She’s a S. African who resembles Scarlett Jo.]
Previously: afghanistan, lara logan

Obama: no cut in Afghanistan troops

(NYT) Cautious Barry said he won’t reduce troops in Afghanistan but might not raise them either, leaning more on drone strikes like in Pakistan.

Obama raps McChrystal’s knuckles

(AJC) Obama, Jones tell McChrystal not to lobby for Afghanistan war via speech; McChrystal summoned to Copenhagen to meet president.

The battle of Wanat

(NYT) In the ‘Black Hawk Down’ of the Afghanistan war, automatic rifles turned white hot and mortars and antitank missiles were ignited inside the American outpost. A small U.S. and Afghan force was outnumbered 3-1.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

Propaganda can kill

(ABC) A young Afghan girl died after a box of leaflets dropped by the RAF landed on her, having failed to open.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan looks more and more like Vietnam

(NYT) How would winning Afghanistan stop Zazi, trained in Pakistan, from attacking from Denver and Queens?

Dictator’s top 5 list

(FP) The upgraded Kabul airport proves nothing. Every dictator wants nice airport, airport road, palace, mobiles, beer brewery.
Previously: afghanistan

The war is a sidebar

(New Yorker) Coll: Who will modernize next? South Asia. Why? India — like Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines before her. The Afghanistan war is but a sidebar to this transformation.

Karzai the thorn

(New Yorker) McChrystal report: U.S. now says the Afghan government is just as much a threat to success as the Taliban.

Nonviolent Pathans for independence

(Wiki) Khudai Khidmatgar: nonviolent NWFP independence movement vs. Brits which allied with Gandhi. ‘The British used to torture us... but even then Badshah Khan told his followers... nothing can conquer nonviolence.’

Fund Haqqani, now there’s a brilliant idea

(AFP) Several cheaper Afghanistan war plans focusing on drone strikes are circulating in DC. Worst idea: paying off warlords again.

Afghanistan war now pointless

(WaPo) AQ leadership is not even in Afghanistan, having decamped to Pakistan years ago. Terrorists can choose several unstable countries. And the Net makes all this fairly irrelevant.
Previously: afghanistan, al qaeda

Politics ain’t beanball

(Sullivan·C) Sullivan wants to threaten McChrystal with torture investigation after his Afghanistan report leaking and Obama arm-twisting.

The flypaper theory back west

(Acorn) If the U.S. won’t dismantle the military-jihadi complex in Pakistan, it is in India’s interest that they at least stay in Afghanistan, keeping Kashmir relatively quiet.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan and empire

(Daily Show) John Oliver explains Afghanistan as a videogame which even Genghis Khan lost.

Read McChrystal report

(WaPo) Detailed Afghanistan policy recs by McChrystal, with some redactions. As PDF: [via]

Military waiting... and waiting... and waiting for Afghanistan report feedback

(WaPo) Mil wants McChrystal feedback quicker: ‘Either accept the assessment or correct it, or let’s have a discussion. Will you read it and tell us what you think?’ It’s been 3 weeks.

McChrystal: U.S. must tackle sanctuaries in Pakistan

(Sullivan·C) McChrystal leak analysis: We must tackle the real source of the terror — in Pakistan. The logic of McChrystal is that the US should be occupying Pakistan, Somalia, and anywhere else al Qaeda seeks refuge.

McChrystal Afghanistan report leaked

(WaPo) McChrystal report: Taliban plan attacks and recruit from within Bagram prison. Counterinsurgency not force protection: U.S. can’t operate behind blast walls and still win over locals. Need more troops. ISI helps Taliban.

Heavy insurgent activity in 80% of Afghanistan

(BBC) The Taliban now have a presence in more than 80% of Afghanistan, up from 54% 2 years ago.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Three R’s: reading, rounds and RPGs

(FP) Americans think illiterate Afghan soldiers are stupid, but they aren’t. Gurkhas became feared in the British military. We must learn to train soldiers across cultures, not to be imitation Americans.
Previously: afghanistan, gurkhas


(NYT) State Dep’t couldn’t fire Afgh guard co which hired Gurkhas who spoke poor English and Anglos who fondled or urinated each other in lewd hazing ritual.

Moonlighting as terrorists

(BBC) Many Afghanistan gov’t workers moonlight for the Taliban. Others have brothers in the Taliban.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

The fixer always dies

(New Yorker) In recent reporter kidnappings in Afghanistan and Iraq, the local fixer is always the first guy to get shot, just like in Hollywood.
Previously: afghanistan

McChrystal’s edict takes effect

(McClatchy) Citing rules re: not killing civvies, U.S. commanders refused to fire artillery at dug-in Afghanistan attackers while a reporter was pinned down with troops. Several U.S. soldiers died.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan airstrikes cut in half

(USA Today) After McChrystal’s directive to reduce civ casualties, coalition airstrikes are down by half in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan war squandered

(NYT) Critics say we can hold off AQ in Afghanistan remotely, on the cheap. [We shouldn’t still be there 8 yrs after 9/11. The real problem is Dubya squandered the political will on Iraq.]
Previously: afghanistan, dubya, iraq war

McChrystal’s report leaked in advance

(FP) McChrystal’s ass-covering report says either resource up the Afghanistan war or scale the back the aims.

McChrystal bans alcohol at Afghanistan base

(ToL) When McChrystal tried to learn of an airstrike which killed civvies, many soldiers were too drunk or hungover to respond. Now alcohol’s been banned at ISAF HQ, which has 7 bars in half a square mile.

Karzai vote massively stuffed

(NYT) In some provinces, the pro-Karzai ballots may exceed the people who actually voted by a factor of 10.

It’s just like dentistry

(Doonesbury Comic) ‘Doonesbury’: Afghanistan is unwinnable as long as Pakistan provides Taliban sanctuaries.

How Afghanistan is like Vietnam

(Doonesbury Pic) ‘Doonesbury’: Taliban are fighting a corrupt U.S.-backed gov’t, like Vietnam.

Shedding blood for India

(Democracyarsenal) I doubt Americans back the Afghanistan war to prevent an India-Pakistan one. [Response to essay arguing India-Pakistan conflict outweighs Taliban trying to seize nukes.]
Previously: afghanistan

Blackwater kidnap squads

(Spiegel) The CIA hired Blackwater to kidnap terrorism suspects and ferry them to black prisons in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Also to assassinate suspects. Full story out tomorrow.

The cinnamon puller’s strife

(Vid) Granta interviews Kabul candy maker who pulls sugar mix into hard sugar candy.
Previously: candy, kabul, afghanistan

Blackwater loads Predator missiles

(NYT) CIA uses Blackwater to load Hellfires onto drones in Shamsi, Pakistan, and Jalalabad, Afghanistan. When a bomb fell off before the target, the CIA accused the contractor of poor assembly.

Are we the Soviets now?

(ThinkProgress·L) How come we aren’t winning in Afghanistan if the mujahedeen had superpower backing and the Taliban don’t?
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

Carville advising in Afghanistan election

(Colbertnation Vid) James Carville, adviser to Afghan candidate Ashraf Ghani, says Ghani gave up his American passport when he became finance minister earlier.

Opium addiction swallowing Afghan villages

(WaPo) Entire Afghan villages lost to opium: ‘In America people go and get high in the park. In Afghanistan, they do it in the home, the family stove.’
Previously: afghanistan, opium

Afghanistan troops see more action

(NYT) Obama’s clearly shifted U.S. focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, where it’s belonged after 9/11 all along.
Previously: afghanistan, iraq war

Winning hearts and graves

(WaPo) After Gen. McChrystal issued guidelines to reduce civilian casualties, the Taliban has followed suit in Afghanistan as a propaganda measure.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Footloose: Kabul

(Globalpost) It is considered risque in for Afghan women to dance — one went into hiding after ‘Afghan Star.’ ‘Young people ask for Iranian, Indian, Turkish, Arabic or Western songs.’
Previously: afghanistan, bollywood

Afghan jewels, but not in Afghanistan

(New Yorker) Because of security, the Bactrian hoard can’t be displayed in Afghanistan. A philanthropist wishes Afghanistan hadn’t been ‘so thoroughly abandoned’ for the Iraq war.

Why Taliban destroy schools

(NYT) Friedman: the Taliban recruit among the poor and illiterate, which is why they destroy girls’ schools. Educated moms are less likely to allow their sons to join.

Islam in the Afghan army

(WSJ) A U.S. soldier wants the Afghanistan army to become more overtly religious to counter the Taliban. [Dangerous territory — see Zia.]
Previously: muslims, afghanistan

Poppy palaces

(Trueslant Pics) The narcotecture of Kabul drug barons look much like garish Delhi houses and shops.
Previously: kabul, afghanistan, heroin

You can’t handle the truth

(Bsalert ‘06) Of 4 regional editions of ‘Newsweek,’ only the U.S. cover ditched Afghanistan for a fluff story.
Previously: afghanistan, newsweek

Karzai ally committed war crimes

(NYT) A U.S.-backed Afghanistan warlord allegedly suffocated or shot 1,500 Taliban prisoners in shipping containers and buried them in a mass grave, but the DoD covered it up. [Cowardly NYT headline, as if died on own, and no mention of U.S. backing.]

Eagle eye

(WaPo) The Gorgon Stare is a new video sensor which covers 2.5 mi of Afghanistan at a time and requires 2,500 new Air Force analysts to interpret the data.

Zeb and Helmand

(WaPo) The only radio station in Helmand gets requests for Indian, Iranian and Pakistani Pashto pop. The DJs, who broadcast from a British mil base, get love poems from girls.

Siddiqui forced into court

(WaPo) The U.S. claims ex-neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, accused of firing at U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, is faking mental illness.

Give them an inch

(Politico) After pronouncing Pakistan, Taliban, Muslim, Koran and Chile right, Obama’s being asked by Afghans to say Afghanistan correctly.

Now you try it

(NYT) Obama signs blockbuster deal for Russia overflight rights to supply Afghanistan troops. Putin still carrying grudge from Charlie Wilson’s war?

Camp Delhi

(AFP) U.S. Marine commander goes shopping for melons outside Camp Delhi mil base in Afghanistan.
Previously: afghanistan, camp delhi

Marines laying down with the lambs

(WaPo) New Afghanistan strategy: ‘Restraint. Drink lots of tea, eat lots of goat,’ not measured on ‘how many times your ammo is resupplied.’
Previously: afghanistan

Wiki war

(NYT) Wikipedia’s admins got into an edit war to keep news of a NYT reporter’s abduction in Afghanistan off his Wiki page and thus lower his ransom value. (ht: Ennis)

New details in journie’s Afghanistan escape

(NY Mag) The NYT was ready to pay $2M in ransom for Rohde, and guards were bribed to look the other way as they escaped.

Two journies escape captors in Afghanistan

(NYT) An NYT reporter and a local journie escaped after 7 months of being held captive in Afghanistan. Their Afghan driver is still imprisoned. David Rohde had been held for 10 days prior in Bosnia.

Aid wasted in Afghanistan

(WaPo) Chandrasekaran: USAID allocated $40M for a strawberry farm in Afghanistan which was too salty to grow crops. Many other stories: ‘We were recruiting Taliban with our tax dollars.’

Hillary prevailed on Afghanistan

(USA Today) Biden opposed sending 21K more troops to Afghanistan. ‘It turned into Biden vs. Hillary, and she crushed him.’

‘Afghan Star’

(Daily Show) A documentary is coming out on Afghanistan’s version of ‘Idol.’ Fascinating interview.

‘Seeds of Terror’

(Daily Show) Karzai’s brother is a major opium trafficker as is the counter-narcotics minister. The $4B in Afghan opium funds the Taliban’s ops... Journie Gretchen Peters is 6’ tall and couldn’t blend in even in a burkha.

Chai boys

(NYT) Afghan army units still use chai boys, unpaid teen apprentices, valets and concubines for their comanders.
Previously: afghanistan

‘Muslim flamingos’

(MoJo·L) -In ‘Splendid Suns,’ the Taliban say that flamingos in a painting have to wear pants. Hosseini: -Yeah, the Muslim flamingos.

Training day

(NYT) A Baltimore cop serving in Afghanistan was told to back off when he learned most U.S. detainees are innocent and lobbied for one’s release.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

Riverdale plot: ringleader’s father an Afghan

(Guardian) Petty criminals plotting a synagogue bombing in NY were mostly Islamic converts. Ringleader’s father an Afghan immigrant. Informant passed himself off as member of a radical Pakistani group.
Previously: terrorism, afghanistan

You’re paying for Taliban bullets

(NYT) Ammo and rifles supplied by the U.S. to Afghan forces are turning up in Taliban hands and Pakistani arms marts.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

Bob’s Afghanistan Supply

(WaPo) SecDef Gates has micromanaged mil.bureaucracy for more Predators and MRAPs for Afghanistan.

Owning the coverup

(Sullivan·C) Obama is now refusing to release additional Afghanistan + Iraq prisoner abuse photos. [Who this avoids embarrassing: Gen. McChrystal, involved in torture; Dem lawmakers briefed; Pakistan, where suspects were caught.]

The enemy of my enemy

(NYT) Iran sees Afghan Taliban as a major threat and cooperated with the U.S. on ops in ’01.
Previously: iran, taliban, afghanistan

A half-marathon a day

(NYT) New Afghanistan commander Gen. McChrystal used to jog 12 miles in the morning to work at the CFR. He now eats one meal a day and jogs to work listening to audiobooks. [His blood is acid and his sweat made from jihadi tears.]

Third Possible Afghan Schoolgirl Poisoning

(CBC) For the third time in less than three weeks, Afghan officials are investigating a possible mass gas poisoning of schoolgirls. Tuesday morning a strange odor filled their school yard; one collapsed; 98 hospitalized, including the Principal.

Obama hires a hunter

(Slate) SecDef Gates went over to Afghanistan last week for the sole purpose of firing Gen. McKiernan face-to-face. Gen. McChrystal’s units found Saddam and al-Zarqawi. Tortured suspects: ‘If they don’t bleed, they can’t prosecute.’ More: [via]

Guerrilla vs. guerrilla

(WSJ) Gen. McChrystal will likely do more commando raids against Taliban and AQ. Sec defense Gates wants to limit the # of troops in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan commander fired

(NYT) The general running the U.S. war in Afghanistan was fired and will be replaced by someone from special forces, not the army.
Previously: afghanistan

Biden walked out of Karzai meeting

(WaPo) U.S.: ‘Hamid Karzai has plateaued as a leader’ but will win reelection. Obama intends to keep him at arm’s length. When Karzai refused to acknowledge the opium problem, Biden stood up and threw his napkin on the table. ‘This dinner is over.’

Afghanistan’s only pig quarantined

(Reuters) Muslim Afghanistan’s only known pig has been quarantined over swine flu. Mujahideen ate many of the Kabul zoo’s animals. One was killed by a lion; his brother threw a hand grenade, leaving the lion toothless and blind.

Aid agencies living like Kabul kings

(Indep) The Taliban pay $4 per police attack, but foreign consultants pull in $250-500K/yr. Aid agencies insist every bedroom should have an en-suite bathroom.
Previously: afghanistan

More money to Pakistan, faster

(WaPo) The DoD wants the same freedom to shovel money to the Pakistani military that it has to send $ to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than funneling it through the State Dep’t.

Training Afghans in combat

(NYT) The Marines in a remote Afghanistan base have no running water and shit in a rusty barrel. They slaughtered a cow to celebrate a new trainee. In the town mosque, Taliban pray with regular Afghans.

He stepped outside the lakshman rekha

(AP) An Afghan tribal leader tricked into coming to the U.S. was sentenced to life in prison for heroin distribution.
Previously: heroin, afghanistan

U.S. to go after opium trade

(NYT) The U.S. will go after the poppy crop in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s $300M opium haul bankrolls their operations in southern Afghanistan for an entire year.
Previously: opium, afghanistan, taliban

Lincoln in Afghanistan

(BoGlobe) A naval blockade was crucial to Lincoln’s Ciivil War strategy. But Afghanistan can’t be blockaded from Pakistan, which is nominally an ally, so Petraeus’ new anaconda plan is unworkable.

Delhi’s Afghanistan play

(LRB) Delhi has 4 consulates in Afghanistan and has given $1.2B in aid: a remarkable sum for a country that’s 99% Muslim and with which it has no common border.
Previously: afghanistan

U.S. finally focusing on Al Qaeda

(AP) Some U.S. soldier are preparing to go directly from Iraq to Afghanistan [reversing Dubya’s misguided priorities].
Previously: afghanistan

U.S. troops ambush Taliban with infra lasers

(NYT) He tried to cut away a Taliban fighter’s ammunition pouches with a four-inch blade. The fighter had only been pretending to be dead, the soldiers said. He lunged for Sergeant Reese, who stabbed him in the left eye. (ht: Abhi)
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Pinned down in an Afghanistan ravine

(NYT) In the morning they disassembled and cleaned their weapons and recalled their friend as they played his favorite song: ‘Nothing Else Matters,’� by Metallica. A heap of their bloody clothes burned in a small fire. (ht: Abhi)
Previously: afghanistan

Karzai backs off on marital rape

(CNN) Karzai will change a law that legalizes marital rape for Shias.
Previously: muslims, shias, rape, afghanistan

Afghan women march before hardline madrassa

(BoGlobe) ‘Whenever a man wants sex, we cannot refuse,’� said Fatima Husseini, 26, one of the marchers. ‘It means a woman is a kind of property, to be used by the man in any way that he wants.’� (ht: MV)
Previously: afghanistan, sexism

The U.S. in Afghanistan

(Time) He had a bruise on his shoulder from carrying AK-47s. He said he was an illiterate shepherd, but he had a notebook full of writing. He claimed never to have visited Pakistan, but his mobile phone was filled with Pakistani numbers.
Previously: afghanistan

U.S. advisor: Pakistan is the greater risk

(SMH) U.S. advisor Kilcullen: Afghanistan doesn’t worry me, Pakistan does. Pakistan has 173M pop, 100 nukes, bigger army than U.S., AQ HQ in 2/3rds of nation which gov’t doesn’t control.
Previously: afghanistan

Sitara shot

(TO Globe) Sitara Achikzai was working for women’s rights in Afghanistan. she was shot dead. The Taliban claim responsibility. These are her photos from happier times.

A life of violence

(Wiki) Navy SEAL was sole survivor of anti-Taliban op went awry in Afghanistan. Goat herders betrayed them, village saved him. Back in America, he chased down men who shot his dog dead at 100 mph speeds and held them with 2 handguns until cops arrived.

Corruption undercuts U.S. in Afghanistan

(NYT) ‘We don’t have any presence with the civilians. Taliban live with them 24 hours a day.’ Residents take complaints to local Taliban leaders, not the police. ‘They have a judge and prosecutor. The Taliban is active at the bazaar in each village.’
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Enlightened Afghanistan

(NYT) Proposed Afghanistan law on hold after U.S. objections: wives must wear makeup, have sex every 4 days and may not leave the house without permission.
Previously: afghanistan, sexism, rape

Price gouging for lack of ice

(CNN) Afghan farmers cannot refrigerate their produce because of lack of electricity. In the east, they sell immediately to Pakistani wholesalers who triple the price for Afghan consumers.
Previously: afghanistan, economy

Baba went off-message

(Sullivan·C) Neocon Douglas Feith quoted Afghan poet but left out these lines: You look at everyone with hungry eyes / But you will be first to become mere dirt. / Humans are all one body, / Whoever tortures another, wounds himself.

Like Afghanistan, Mexico in grips of drug war

(NYT) Mexican cops corrupted by narcos: ‘Imagine Bush sending a military infiltrated with Taliban to Afghanistan.’ [He did, sent them to catch bin Laden!]

Afghanistan’s not a graveyard of empire

(NYT) In the early 13th century, Genghis Khan ravaged Afghanistan. Babur easily took the throne in Kabul. The Brits won the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War.
Previously: afghanistan

Obama doubles down in Afghanistan

(WaPo) Obama will boost Afghanistan war spending by 60% this year. ‘The president has decided he is going to resource this war properly’ vs. Dubya’s directionless and under-resourced conflict. 82nd Airborne, not Nat’l Guard, to train Afghans.

Jihadis launch competitive response

(NYT) In response to the additional 17K U.S. troops, the Taliban plan to divert their focus from attacks within Pakistan to those within Afghanistan.

Afghanistan without an inferiority complex

(NYT) They are, as Lord Byron put it, one of the few people in the region without an inferiority complex. They think they did us a big favor by destroying the Soviet Union and we repaid them with abandonment. They think we owe them all this.

Obama conditioning AfPak aid

(NYT) In imposing benchmarks on Afghans and Pakistanis, Obama will prod the governments to deliver. ‘The era of the blank check is over.’

Greater focus in Afghanistan

(Bloomberg) Draft Obama Afghanistan plan: condition Pakistan aid on actually fighting jihadis. Impose chief minister on corrupt Karzai. Narrow goals to preventing another 9/11.
Previously: afghanistan

Obama calls out Cheney

(CBS) Obama on ’60 Min’: ‘Iraq was easier than Afghanistan: easier terrain. better educated, infrastructure... How many convictions actually came out of Guantanamo? How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under Cheney?’

Afghanistan calls out ISI terrorist factory

(NYT) Afghanistan accused ISI of planning 11/26-style attack in Kabul which was put down far more quickly than in Bombay. Handler used Pakistani phone, also planned attack on Indian embassy in Kabul. U.S. intel confirms the latter.

Doing the Ashwatthama

(TO Globe) Giesbrecht converted to Islam and traveled to Afghanistan as a news reporter. Now she is held hostage by abu Jindal and threatened with a beheading.

Obama wavers on Armenian genocide

(LAT) Wanting Turkey’s help on Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama seema to be breaking his much-repeated campaign pledge to declare the massacre of 1-1.5M Armenians by Turks as genocide.
Previously: turkey, armenia, afghanistan

Quetta may see Predators

(NYT) Obama may expand drone strikes into Quetta in Baluchistan, where Taliban prep attacks into Afghanistan. The risk of civilian casualties is higher than in the tribal areas.

Afghan plan involves cash

(NYT) Obama advisors think 70% of AfPak militants can be bought off and only 5% — up to 1,000 men — are hardcore terrorists.
Previously: afghanistan

‘Ranger school tougher than Afghanistan’

(NYT) Craig Mullaney was on the Daily Show last night: West Point, Rangers, Rhodes. Married doc Meena Seshamani, whom he met at Oxford. ‘I learned to speak basic Hindi and cook Indian food.’ Vid: [via]

Lessons for Afghanistan

(NYT) Laos lessons for U.S. surge in Afghanistan: Keep your footprint small. Don’t use trainers who don’t know the language or culture. Don’t let the locals become dependant on American airpower.
Previously: afghanistan, laos

Pudding without a theme

(WaPo) The disfigurement of schoolgirls by Taliban zealots after Obama negotiates will be sickening. No one can be surprised by what the Taliban will do — they’re already doing it... Churchill once had his wife remove a pudding because ‘it has no theme.’

Professor killed in Afghanistan

(IHT) In May ’08, 32-year-old Michael Vinay Bhatia becane one of the first social scientists to die as an academic embed with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. More: [via]

The Taliban runner

(NYT) Obama: U.S. not winning in Afghanistan, open to negotiating with [paying off?] moderate Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

‘You can’t commute to an insurgency’

(WSJ) Gen. Petraeus has put troops in dozens of small, isolated Afghanistan bases... The village doctor routinely treated wounded Taliban fighters and helped them escape before U.S. forces arrived.
Previously: afghanistan

U.S. opens new Afghanistan supply route

(NYT) A new supply route for U.S. troops in Afghanistan will go from ports in Latvia and Georgia through Uzbekistan, circumventing Pakistan.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan war could be Obama’s Vietnam

(NYT) LBJ: ‘If I left the woman I really loved — the Great Society — in order to get involved with that bitch of a war on the other side of the world, then I would lose everything at home.’ Obama should heed the lesson.

Whistlin’ Wood

(Time) Afghanistan ambassador William Wood has been a dismal failure compared to Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American who herded Karzai toward responsibility. Bush’s lack of interest in Afghanistan in recent years has been astonishing.

Afghan giant

(Blogger) An Afghanistan man, presumably with acromegaly, poses with his hand atop a coalition soldier’s helmet.
Previously: afghanistan

Obama’s AfPak plan flawed

(WSJ) Chellaney: Obama is tripling nonmilitary aid to Pakistan to $1.5B and maintaining military $ without reining in the ISI — bad idea... He should abandon the militia-arming plan in Afghanistan. It needs a better national army, fewer private militias.

Preferably underground

(Rall·L) Planning an Afghanistan wedding in a time of Predators.

Karzai too close to Taliban

(WaPo) Karzai vehemently denounced coalition bombings that killed civilians but has been far less outspoken in criticizing Taliban attacks. He often refers to the Taliban as brothers... Sec def Gates: Swat deal is ok, model for Afghanistan.

Obama bans ledger-demain

(NYT) Rather than funding the Afghanistan and Iraq wars through supplemental appropriations bills like Dubya, Obama is moving them into the actual budget.

Swat deal voids Afghanistan war

(Slate) If Islamist terrorists have an officially sanctioned haven inside Pakistan itself, does the fate of Afghanistan matter very much? How much blood and treasure is a sideshow worth?
Previously: afghanistan, taliban, swat

Troops, not airstrikes

(ThinkProgress·L) To remain effective in Afghanistan, we desperately need to reduce the civilian death toll. That means less airstrikes. Which probably means more boots on the ground, and less death-by-Taliban.
Previously: afghanistan

Losing Afghan hearts and minds

(New Yorker) An ABC/BBC poll of Afghans found 47% view the U.S. favorably, vs. 83% in ’05, largely due to civilian casualties from air attacks.
Previously: afghanistan

‘English-drawn blood geyser’

(Time) The ‘solution’ to Afghanistan, if there is one, will lie on both sides of the border--yet another, English-drawn blood-geyser... Canadian: Our soldiers kept even when your own gov’t took half your army off to a different country for no reason.

Obama sending more soldiers to Afghanistan

(AP) Obama will send at least one additional Army brigade and an unknown number of Marines to Afghanistan this spring, about 17,000 troops, as a down payment on a larger buildup.

A rolled joint gathers no Moss

(Yahoo) The judge of a new modeling TV show in Afghanistan says it promotes fitness and is the best way to eradicate narcotics. [Kate Moss might disagree.]
Previously: afghanistan

Another moronic WSJ op/ed

(WSJ op/ed) Obama should prevent Afghanistan from being a terrorism staging ground. Sounds good to us — and sounds a lot like the Bush strategy. [Except the part where he pulled out key resources and put them in Iraq.]
Previously: afghanistan

Holbrooke meeting Indian leaders

(WSJ) More than 3,000 Indians are in Afghanistan building roads, dams, electric power lines, setting up hospitals and, symbolically, Afghanistan’s new Parliament building... ‘The Pakistani military is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.’

Soviet vets warn Obama on Afghanistan

(Reuters) The Soviets never came to terms with the difficulties of fighting a native force in barren mountains where temperatures could dive from 40 Celsius to freezing within hours. [And they were fighting $1B of Charlie Wilson’s weaponry.]
Previously: afghanistan

The Poppy Policy

(TO Globe) Opium, the potent fuel to the Afghan conflict, has jumped its production... 2000%! since the days of Taliban. In order for the US to make headway, it has to align on the incentives, the militarization and the chain of command.


(Digitalnpq) Chellaney: A surge-bribe-and-run strategy can hardly work in mountainous Afghanistan, a largely tribal society without the literacy level and middle class of Iraq. The Durand Line has effectively disappeared in a de facto Pashtunistan.

Afghans: 11/26 response sucked

(Yahoo) 3 synchronized Taliban attacks on Afghanistan gov’t offices seemed an 11/26 copy, but Afghan forces killed them quickly. ‘Indian forces (in Mumbai) wasted a lot of time just deciding whether to enter or not.’

Afghanistan attack has Pakistan links

(AP) Taliban militants killed 20 people in a coordinated assault on three government buildings. The head of Afghanistan’s intelligence service said the attackers sent text messages to a militant leader in Pakistan before the attack.

Quetta is head of Taliban beast

(NYT) From Quetta, Taliban leaders raise money from Persian Gulf donors and resupply Afghanistan. Pakistan claims it can’t find them, yet most arrests have coincided with visits by American officials. Obama will threaten aid cutoff.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban, quetta

What happens in Kabul stays in Kabul

(BBC) 20-year-old Afghan Sabra Ahmadzai flew to India to confront the man she says is her missing husband — a doctor in the Indian army who was already married.
Previously: afghanistan, kabul

The diplomatic H-bomb

(NYT) Obama’s AfPak wrangler Richard Holbrooke ‘is the diplomatic equivalent of a hydrogen bomb,’ focused on his own legend. ‘He sees power the way an artist sees color.’ In Khost, he poured tea for ex-Taliban to convey respect.

The government runner

(NYT) Obama said he regarded Karzai as unreliable and ineffective. HRC said he presided over a narco-state. U.S. policymakers want to bypass him and deal directly with governors in the countryside.

Misery finds company

(NYT) Russia will let the U.S. ship nonlethal equipment across Russian territory to Afghanistan after paying off Kyrgyzstan to close a U.S. base. [Given their bloody history in Afghanistan, they must be chortling.]
Previously: russia, afghanistan

Main Afghanistan supply line cut

(AP) Militants blew up a bridge 15 mi from Peshawar, cutting the major supply line for coalition troops in Afghanistan.
Previously: afghanistan

Accidental guerrillas

(Newsweek) The U.S.-Taliban battle was the most momentous thing that had happened in their valley for years. As men, they couldn’t stand by and watch. As Afghans, they couldn’t fight with foreigners.

Golden hour in poppy fields

(NYT) DefSec Gates wants to get medevac times for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan down from 2 hours to the 1 hour standard in Iraq.
Previously: afghanistan, iraq war

Out of Iraq, into the frying pan

(IHT) Afghanistan now the U.S.’ ‘top overseas military priority,’ says defsec Gates, and troop levels will double to 60K.
Previously: afghanistan, iraq

Kickflips in Kabul

(NYT) A 34-year-old from Melbourne plans to open Afghanistan’s first skateboarding school, Skateistan, this spring.
Previously: afghanistan, skaters

Afghans protest civilian casualties

(NYT) Afghanistan villages keep security through neighborhood watch. ‘Whoever came out with a weapon was shot because the American forces have night vision.’ The U.S. claims they were Taliban sentries.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

South Asian Sundance

(Stfdocs) At Sundance: ‘Tibet in Song,’ dir imprisoned for 6 years. ‘Afghan Star,’ about the host of the Afghan version of ‘American Idol.’ ‘Burma VJ,’ clandestinely shot footage of Burma protests. (ht: Shashwati)

Obama the war prez

(Politico) If Obama really intends to win in Afghanistan, he is not going to be a peacemaker, rather just as much a war president as Dubya.

India hands over highway to Afghanistan

(Hindu) Built at a cost of Rs.600 crore, the 215-km long Afghanistan highway, which cuts travel time from 12 to 2 hrs, was handed over to the Afghan authorities by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Previously: afghanistan

Clear and hold

(NYT) Of the 20,000 British, American and other troops here, only roughly 300 — a group of British Royal Marines — can be moved around the region to strike the Taliban.
Previously: afghanistan

Watching Obama in Kabul

(BoGlobe Photos) People watch Obama inauguration in Islamabad, Kabul, Iraq.

Khyber bypass

(WSJ) Petraeus stopped in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan to negotiate Afghanistan supply routes which bypass Pakistan. One possible route is through Russia (!).
Previously: afghanistan


(WaPo) Obama criticized Bush for treating Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as discrete problems. Under his watch, Obama said, policy in that region will be treated as a single, unified one.

A chronicle of confusion

(Colbertnation) Colbert plays clips of Dubya not knowing Musharraf’s name and confusing the Taliban with Iraq.

Afghanistan adrift

(WaPo) ‘We have no strategic plan for Afghanistan. We never had one’... Obama set a limited objective of ensuring that Afghanistan ‘cannot be used as a base to launch attacks against the U.S.’

Take a restful vacation in Afghanistan

(Typepad) U.S. soldiers prefer Afghanistan over Iraq: Afghan forces are eager to jump into the fight. They don’t always have battle plan, but they are ready to go. And the Taliban take fewer cheap shots by military standards.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan corruption strengthens Taliban

(WaPo) Corrupt Afghanistan officials build mahals and roar around in SUV convoys, spattering burqa-covered widow beggars and donkey-cart scavengers. The poor’s resentment plays into the Taliban’s hands.
Previously: afghanistan, taliban

U.S.-funded joint intel center ignored in Khyber

(WaPo) None of the U.S. officers at the Khyber joint intel center speaks Dari, Pashto or Urdu. The Pakistani military ignores requests for information about Taliban.
Previously: afghanistan

Taliban have no problem with hot pursuit

(NYT) A large number of Taliban from Afghanistan attacked a paramilitary base in Pakistan while a separate force attacked village Shias.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Afghanistan surge puts cart before horse

(WSJ) Chellaney: The U.S. must break Pakistan’s support of terrorism to win Afghanistan, not vice versa... It’s India that is bearing the brunt of the blowback from failed U.S. policies, so maybe Biden should stop by next trip.

Clarke turned down CIA chief job

(LAT) A number of candidates, including former U.S. counter-terrorism official Richard A. Clarke [famous for going apeshit over Al Qaeda before 9/11], declined the CIA chief job when asked by Obama.

Afghanistan warms to Zardari

(WaPo) After Zardari became president, the hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan began to thaw.

Outsourcing torture to Egypt

(NYT) A Pakistani arrested for boasting about bombs, later found to be a Walter Mitty, was tortured by Egyptians and held by Americans for 7 years. At Gitmo, he was shunned by prisoners as a wanna-be.

Karzai ka ghosla

(NYT) From the lowliest traffic policeman to the family of Karzai, the Afghanistan gov’t seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it. Even Karzai’s brother is involved in the opium trade.

Taliban fighting through winter

(WSJ) To pre-empt Obama’s Afghanistan buildup, the Taliban has said it will, for the first time, fight offensively through winter to demoralize NATO forces.

Dubya lacked even basic understanding of Pakistan

(VF) CIA: Dubya didn’t get that the Pakistani Border Force was a Taliban ally and would let OBL go... Mahbubani: China played Dubya on Iraq. Clarke: It was disgusting, Rumsfeld was talking Iraq while bodies were still burning in the Pentagon and WTC.

Khyber reopened

(NYT) Khyber Pass was reopened for 6 hrs during an operation in which 45 Taliban-related homes were bulldozed.
Previously: afghanistan

Routing around Khyber

(NYT) The U.S. is negotiating to movve Afghanistan war supplies through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, routing around the Khyber route the Taliban have taken over.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan supply shut down

(NYT) Pakistan shut down a crucial supply line for NATO in Afghanistan as they launched an offensive against Taliban militants in Khyber Pass.
Previously: afghanistan

7 years in Afghanistan

(Denverpost) Photos from 7 year war in Afghanistan.
Previously: afghanistan

From honey traps to blue pills

(WaPo) During the Cold War, Soviets used honey traps, Americans medical care. In Afghanistan, the U.S. offers pocketknives, medical care, visas or, for old chieftains with 4 wives, Viagra.
Previously: viagra, afghanistan

Peshawar spiraling down

(NYT) Peshawar: After assuring the overmatched guards they would not be killed — if they agreed never to work there again — the militants shouted ‘God is great’ through bullhorns. They then grabbed jerrycans and burned NATO supplies.
Previously: peshawar, afghanistan

30K new troops for Afghanistan

(AFP) Obama may add up to 30K troops on top of the 70K coalition forces already in Afghanistan, but pumping in numbers beyond that may turn the population against the U.S.
Previously: afghanistan

Afghanistan supply lines threatened

(WaPo) Provincial police have threatened to close NATO transport depots in Peshawar within a week if private transport companies fail to beef up security.
Previously: afghanistan

Training the Afghani police

(Time) You sit them in a room and try to teach them about police procedures — they start gabbing and knocking about. You talk to them about the rights of women, and they just laugh.
Previously: afghanistan

Never get involved in a land war in Central Asia

(AP) Pakistani truckers are refusing to haul supplies to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan because of mounting attacks along the main route.
Previously: afghanistan

The bitches of war

(TO Star) Canadian soldiers posted to Afghanistan recall the pedophilia that was condoned within the army base out of a policy of non-interference in cultural matters.
Previously: afghanistan

China comes to ISI’s aid

(McClatchy) China has blocked UN blacklisting of ex-ISI chief Hamid Gul... LeT sent jihadis to attack U.S. troops in Iraq... If there’s an India-Pakistan war over 11/26, the worry is over the Afghanistan war. [Never mind the 1.2 billion in the subcontinent.]

Blimps with frickin’ laser beams

(LAT) Some U.S. army officers want a small blimp with a remotely-operated sniper rifle that could provide air support for platoons in Afghanistan.
Previously: afghanistan, blimps

Wanted: armored ATVs

(AP) The U.S. military says it needs off-road versions of the IED-resistant MRAPs used in Iraq for its campaign in Afghanistan.
Previously: afghanistan

Fabulous Taliban

(SeattlePI) Kandahar has a tradition of men in high-heeled sandals, kohl and painted nails. They like to have their pictures taken and need passports. Here are the results. (ht: Louiecypher)
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Taliban again attack U.S. supply chain

(NYT) In Peshawar, 200 Taliban destroyed over 100 trucks of supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Minority patrol

(New Yorker) Afghanistan’s Hazaras, who have Asian features and are Shia, patrol the Sunni Pathans alongsite NATO forces.
Previously: afghanistan

PBS Frontline update on the Af-Pak mess

(PBS) From 10/28/08. Includes ISI’s nurturing Taliban for fear of India (ISI source:"keeping Taliban for a rainy day"), blowback into Pak (Marriot bombing), and rise of Pak Taleban leader Baithullah Massood after his predecessor was killed by drone.

Afghan acid assault arrests

(TO Globe) Afghan police have arrested 10 for the acid attack on schoolgirls earlier this month. They claim being paid $2000 by the Taliban to carry out the attack.
Previously: afghanistan

Al Qaeda tries to cleave Muslims from Obama

(Newsweek) Worried that Obama will come after them in AfPak, AQ called him a ‘house Negro.’ The attempt to divide will fail. Muslims like Obama because he’s black, comes from a minority and is named Hussein.

The golden hoard

(WSJ) The golden hoard of Afghanistan’s Tillya Tepe (Golden Hill) is on display at the S.F. Asian Art Museum, along with ‘erotically carved ivory from India.’
Previously: afghanistan, art

Hello, I’ll be your raider today

(WaPo) The U.S. is scrambling for new Afghanistan supply lines, including a tortuous overland journey from Europe. Taliban death threats arrive almost daily, and Taliban give receipts to drivers when they steal their cargo.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Afghanistan supply resumes

(AP) Pakistan sent paramilitaries to escort trucks along a major supply route for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Previously: afghanistan

Pakistan flexes muscle on Afghanistan

(WaPo) Pakistan temporarily barred oil tankers and container trucks from a supply route to Afghanistan, threatening U.S. and NATO troops.
Previously: pakistan, afghanistan


(Walrus) At least 40% of all aid to Afghanistan flows back to the donors. Consultants are paid 10x the locals and live in total disconnect with the locals. Yet the mission hires foreigners at 10x the local rates. We arent fighting. We’re funding mercenaries.
Previously: afghanistan


(CBC) Teenage schoolgirls in Afghanistan were squirted with acid on their way to school. The ones in the group wearing a burqa were spared. We know what we fight for.
Previously: afghanistan

Taliban hijack American military convoy

(NYT) 60 masked Taliban hijacked 13 trucks carrying Humvees and other supplies for American-led troops in Afghanistan.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Unannounced war gets own airbases

(USA Today) The U.S. is building bases in E. Afghanistan to cut UAVs’ flying time to battlefields in Pakistan.
Previously: afghanistan, predators

G.I.’s in the line of fire

(NYT) A small stone castle used as a U.S. base in Afghanistan acts as a Taliban magnet. It’s badly supplied because of its remoteness. Troops have little water, electricity or Net.
Previously: afghanistan

Karzai: ground troops, not airstrikes

(ToL) Karzai to Obama: ‘This is my first demand of the new President of the United States — to put an end to civilian casualties.’

‘Family Guy’ breaks it down for you

(Hulu) The Griffins visit Ground Zero. -Peter, Iraq had nothing to do with it. It was Saudis, Lebanese and Egyptians in Afghanistan, sheltered by Pakistanis. -So... you’re saying we need to invade Iran? [via]

Taliban’s new super-bombs

(Usnews) A UAV discovered a 9-man team planting IEDs near a U.S. base in Afghanistan. After an airstrike, troops found bodies with watches set to Pakistan time and pockets full of Pakistani money.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

A campaign promise to keep

(TO Star) The one campaign promise I hope will be carried through is Gitmo’s closure. Both candidates have committed to that. The challenge for Canada — how to receive Khadr, after we’ve left him to rot in jail for seven years.

Campaigns briefed on Afghanistan

(NYT) Dubya and NATO Afghanistan experts briefed the Obama and McCain campaigns on the deteriorating Afghanistan war, saying they couldn’t take 3 months to decide on policy.
Previously: afghanistan

‘Economist’ endorses Obama

(Economist) Obama’s determination to focus American power on Afghanistan, Pakistan and proliferation was prescient. On the great issue of the campaign, the financial crisis, McCain has seemed all at sea, emitting panic and indecision.

Abandoned post office

(Sullivan·C) Because of the difficulty in taking letters to remote outposts, mail for American soldiers killed in Afghanistan often arrives months after they died.
Previously: afghanistan

Pakistan warns U.S. on ground ops

(WaPo) Most supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan are delivered to Karachi and trucked over. Early last month, trucks seeking to cross the border were stopped, a warning if the U.S. continued ground ops in Pakistan.
Previously: afghanistan

A harrowing tale

(TO Globe) The sole survivor of a recent bus massacre tells his story of his capture by the Taliban, the accusations of being government soldiers, the killings and his escape. The travellers were just laborers trying to get to Iran for work.
Previously: taliban, afghanistan

Remote-controlled exploding asses

(AFP) A donkey loaded with explosives was remotely blown up close to a police vehicle in Afghanistan, killing a policeman and wounding 3 others.
Previously: afghanistan

SNL on Chandrayaan

(NBC) SNL: India did a moon launch, Afghanistan let a kid fly a kite.

Deep thoughts

(Walrus) What do men really think about when they have time to think and can take a load off — literally? This photoessay on latrine graffiti from Afghanistan and Kuwait tells you what.
Previously: afghanistan

Al Qaeda chatter backs McCain

(WaPo) Al Qaeda nudged its affiliates on a jihadi site to attack the U.S. before the election. The chatter said it might ensure a McCain win, as he would be more likely to continue the Afghanistan and Iraq wars which are draining the treasury.

Blasphemy still crime in Afghanistan

(NYT) A 23-year-old Afghan journalist was sentenced to 20 years for printing out an article about Islam and women’s rights and commenting on Muhammad’s failings on the issue.