March 21, 2013 |
Some diversions invite comparison more readily than others. Take "The Sapphires," the most chipper film ever set in Vietnam. Already many have taken it, and liked it. If you enjoyed "Strictly Ballroom" or "The Commitments," which is to say if you fell for the slightly pushy charms of those show-business fables (one fantasy Australian, the other Irish, though directed by an Englishman), then chances are you'll go for this true-ish story of an Aborigine singing group entertaining the American troops, enemy fire be damned, in 1968 - like Bob Hope and Raquel Welch, New South Wales division.
February 14, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Over the last 25 days, something unusual has happened in Afghanistan: Not one U.S. service member has been killed. The lion's share of the fighting - and dying - is now being done by Afghans. The last American troop death, from injuries suffered in a December roadside bombing, occurred Jan. 20, marking the longest stretch without a fatality since 2008 and offering a glimmer of evidence that the United States' 11-year war is in its twilight. Deaths among U.S. troops in Afghanistan last year reached a four-year low as commanders hailed a tipping point in a conflict that has claimed more than 2,100 American lives.
February 3, 2013 |
Amid partisan questioning from both sides in former Sen. Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing last week, a major opportunity was lost. Hagel's fellow Republicans grilled the Defense secretary nominee on past statements about Israel and his opposition to President George W. Bush's 2007 surge in Iraq. Democrats, defending their president's choice, tossed him softballs. What Hagel wasn't asked about in any depth was Afghanistan, where about 66,000 U.S. troops are still risking their lives for a mission that no longer seems clear.
January 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Friday said he is moving up the deadline for Afghan forces to take the lead in securing their own country, a decision that could speed the withdrawal of U.S. forces in the coming months. After a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House, Obama said American troops would turn over the responsibility this spring rather than in the middle of 2013, the previous target. “What's going to happen this spring is that Afghans will be in the lead throughout the country,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Karzai.
December 15, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - In a second round of negotiations between the U.S. and Afghanistan here on the presence of U.S. forces beyond 2014, the two sides have held preliminary talks on legal jurisdiction over American troops, the lead American negotiator said Saturday. The U.S. has insisted that any troops serving in Afghanistan after combat forces withdraw at the end of 2014 be subject to the American, not Afghan, legal justice system, said James B. Warlick, the U.S. deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
December 11, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration plans on keeping 6,000 to 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014, fewer than previously reported, and will confine most of them to fortified garrisons near the capital, leaving Afghan troops largely without American advisors in the field to fight a still-powerful insurgency, U.S. officials said. Although it is not final, contours of the plan have become increasingly clear in the weeks since President Obama's reelection. Officials close to the discussions say the final U.S. presence will be substantially smaller than the 15,000 troops senior commanders have sought to keep after most of the 68,000 remaining American troops leave in the next two years.