BAGRAM, Afghanistan — In March, ordnance exploded on a home in Kapisa province, in northeast Afghanistan. One child died. Another, 6-year-old Razia, was badly burned. When Aziz, her father, took her in his arms, Razia’s scalp came away in his hands. In early interviews, Aziz blamed the explosion on the U.S.-led coalition. U.S. Air Force officers said the ordnance might have been white phosphorous, a specialized incendiary that the Taliban is unlikely to possess. Later, Aziz claimed the Taliban had, in fact, fired rockets on his home. Regardless of who actually caused Razia’s injuries, it was the Americans that evacuated […]
If you ask Spc. Daniel McBroom of the Army National Guard, the hardest part of war was the wind. “Physically and mentally, the wind was the worst,” he recalls. “This endless hot wind, like 100-degree fans turned toward your body.” But McBroom, 23, who returned in June after serving a year in Iraq, says that the toll of war will be different for everyone. “There’s no doubt it will mark you, change your body. But I don’t think anyone can predict what that change will be.” McBroom is one of nearly 1.5 million Americans enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, […]
Charlie Rose interviewed the New York Times’ David Rohde who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan for seven months before escaping.
NEW DELHI — India has long seen a reconstruction role for itself in Afghanistan, despite its lack of direct military involvement in the country. Its interests there are obvious: A strong Kabul that keeps the Taliban — and by extension al-Qaida — in check also ensures that jihadi forces in Pakistan do not use Afghanistan as a backyard assembly line for militants who can then be turned against India, and the rest of the world. But New Delhi is not finding its Afghan sojourn easy. Earlier this month, the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked for the second time in […]
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The observation post near Route Georgia — the U.S. military’s codename for one of the roads running through this eastern province — had a power problem. In the rugged, breadbasket district of Baraki Barak, 50 miles south of Kabul, there are just a few hundred* American soldiers and a similar number of Afghan security forces to provide security for tens of thousands of farmers and their families. To keep watch over the district between foot and vehicle patrols, the U.S. Army’s 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry built observation posts atop mountain “spurs” — ridges, essentially — and […]
New York Times Columnist Roger Cohen says Israel needs to tone down their rhetoric in dealing with Iran. The seasoned journalist talks to Charlie Rose and says that it would be unlikely for Israel to take military action against Iran while President Obama is in office. He also discusses the contested definition of a war crime with regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new U.S.strategy toward Sudan Monday. The new strategy “is the result of anintensive review across the United States government,” Clinton said. A State Department press release characterized it as the “first comprehensive U.S. policy on Sudan that recognizes the linksbetween the Darfur crisisand implementation of the Comprehensive PeaceAgreement.” Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and Presidential Special Envoy to SudanGeneral Scott Gration joined Clinton at the announcement. Related from WPR: Lord’s Resistance Army Threatens South SudanPeacekeeping General’s Dangerous Darfur Pronouncement
Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation interviewed Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus. “Hamas has announced that it is ready to cooperate with the law and with any international or regional effort to reach real peace in the region,” said Khaled during the interview.
ABOARD USS DONALD COOK — The blue-painted fishing dhow with the suspicious hooks on its railings appeared as a low, curved shape on the destroyer U.S.S. Donald Cook’s high-powered security cameras. It was a day in mid-September, three months into the Virginia-based warship’s deployment to the Gulf of Aden as part of a five-ship NATO counterpiracy task force. With hijackings declining across East African waters, Donald Cook’s 250 crew had had little to do on most days. The appearance of the dhow and, on it, what looked like grappling hooks useful for boarding large vessels, raised the prospect of a […]
Interviewed on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb defendsPresident Obama’s deliberate approach to determining the direction ofU.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Webb says the war in Afghanistan cannotbe appropriately analogized to Iraq. Even if it could, Webb believesthat the lessons of Iraq don’t necessarily make the case for a surge oftroops in Afghanistan for a full-blown counterinsurgency. Clip 1 Clip 2
RAMALLAH, West Bank — On most days, Ramallah bustles with the sounds of commerce typical of Middle Eastern towns. The city, seat of power for the Palestinian Authority, is experiencing an economic boom that looks deceptively like normalcy. Pedestrians move along crowded sidewalks while traffic crawls along in the city center. In newer parts of town, bright new buildings give the city an air of prosperity reminiscent of the wealthiest areas of Jerusalem or Amman, the Jordanian capital. Underneath the visible progress, however, signs are growing that the months ahead could bring heightened tension and even violence in the Palestinian […]
Not long after the so-called “civilian surge” was announced as part of the troop buildup in Afghanistan, a veteran State Department foreign service officer I spoke with posed a simple question: “Where are they going to come from?” He had recently returned from a year serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and was grappling with the lack of civilian expertise that he said was so desperately needed for the state-building tasks there. “Is the new Secretary of Agriculture going to volunteer staff? The Secretary of the Treasury?” He suspected not. The diplomat’s insights get at a central challenge […]
On the morning of June 9, 2008, U.S. drug enforcement agents alongside NATO military personnel and Afghan commandos raided a suspected drug weigh-station in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province near the border with Pakistan. Code-named Operation Albatross, the counternarcotics mission was the result of a tip from a government official in Kandahar and led to a seizure of mind-blowing proportions: 262 metric tons of dried hashish, equivalent in size to 30 London-style double-decker buses. The raid was the world’s largest drug seizure ever conducted by law enforcement authorities. But there is little reason to celebrate. Afghanistan’s narcotics industry has become a […]