July 4, 2010 |
The Obama administration's official position on the impact Gen. David H. Petraeus will have on the war in Afghanistan is minimalist. His appointment doesn't mean a change in strategy, officials say — just more "unity of effort" in the struggle to make counterinsurgency work. After all, Petraeus was a coauthor of the strategy his predecessor, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, was pursuing. But that doesn't mean there won't be real change. In a war that hasn't been going notably well, there ought to be. And Petraeus is a different general from McChrystal — not merely more practiced at politics and diplomacy but also more likely to focus on those aspects of the war. For an unofficial forecast, I turned to David Kilcullen, a former Australian army officer who has been an advisor to Petraeus since 2005.
May 10, 2010 |
The Obama administration moved with some unease Monday to recalibrate its relationship with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who not long ago likened the U.S.-led coalition in his country to an invading force. Karzai is visiting Washington this week with two dozen or more senior members of his government in tow, and the two sides are struggling to forgive, if not forget, mutual hard feelings. He was invited to take part in a working dinner Monday night with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at Blair House, the official state guest house.
January 17, 2010 |
The Afghan parliament Saturday once again rejected the majority of President Hamid Karzai's choices for his Cabinet, a rebuke likely to unnerve an international community that desperately wants the Afghan leader to forge ahead with reform plans. The rejection of 10 of the 17 nominees means that Karzai will have to go back to parliament a third time to gain approval for his Cabinet choices, and raises questions about his political strength. After he presented his initial slate of 24 nominees Jan. 2, lawmakers rejected 17 of them.
January 10, 2010 |
President Hamid Karzai snubbed two prominent warlord figures in a new Cabinet lineup unveiled Saturday but unexpectedly offered a ministerial spot to the leader of a party linked to a Pakistan-based insurgent commander. The list of 16 Cabinet nominees also includes three women, one of them a prominent activist chosen as minister of women's affairs. Karzai had been sharply criticized when his previous lineup had only one woman. The Afghan parliament on Jan. 2 rejected 17 of the 23 prospective ministers that Karzai initially put forth, including former militia commander Ismail Khan and three nominees associated with another former commander, Rashid Dostum.
December 10, 2009 |
Several hundred women, many holding aloft pictures of relatives killed by drug lords or Taliban militants, held a loud but nonviolent street protest today, demanding that President Hamid Karzai purge from his government anyone connected to corruption, war crimes or the Taliban. "These women are being very brave," said the protest leader, her face hidden by a burka. "To be a woman in Afghanistan and an activist can mean death. We want justice for our loved ones!" Afghan police, in riot gear, monitored the rally as it worked its way slowly through muddy streets to the United Nations building here, but they did nothing to disrupt the event.
July 17, 2010 |
The sunbaked, shell-pocked ruins of west Kabul stand as silent testament to what happened the last time Afghanistan splintered along ethnic lines. The country's disastrous civil war in the early 1990s — a conflict that killed at least 100,000 people and helped set the stage for the Taliban's rise to power — reduced whole swaths of the capital to rubble, leaving scars on the landscape that reconstruction efforts have yet to erase....