October 6, 2009
As President Obama weighs the military's request for up to 40,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, election officials in the capital city of Kabul are combing through a sampling of more than 350 suspect ballot boxes for signs of fraud significant enough to have given President Hamid Karzai the majority he needed to win reelection without a runoff. The two issues cannot and should not be separated. No matter how many additional troops the United States and NATO send to Afghanistan, or which strategy Obama decides to employ against the Taliban and its Al Qaeda allies, it cannot succeed without an Afghan government that is seen as legitimate by the people.
April 8, 2010 |
In an apparent capitulation to international pressure, the government of President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday announced the removal of two top election officials who were implicated in widespread fraud in last summer's balloting for president. The legal framework for coming parliamentary elections has been a key point of contention between Karzai and Western governments. Karzai has resisted demands for what diplomats called "root-and-branch" reform of Afghanistan's electoral system before the vote, which is set for September.
April 26, 2012
Weary as Americans are of the war in Afghanistan, it has been obvious for some time that the United States would continue to play a role in that country after Afghan forces assume full control of security in 2014. So it isn't surprising that Washington and Kabul have reached a draft "strategic partnership" agreement under which the U.S. will continue providing military, economic and other aid to Afghanistan for another decade. In principle, a continuing relationship is perfectly defensible, but it needs to be circumscribed to prevent a re-escalation ofU.S.
April 22, 2013 |
BRUSSELS -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry is to host a meeting of top Afghan and Pakistani leaders here this week in hopes of breathing new life into flagging Afghan peace efforts. The meeting set for Wednesday is to bring together Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his defense minister, Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, with Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. A State Department official described the encounter as part of a series of three-way meetings that occur regularly at a lower level.
March 17, 2011
Testifying before two congressional committees this week, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus offered a familiar assessment of the war in Afghanistan: Progress has been made in the effort to defeat the Taliban, but the gains are tentative and can be undone. Petraeus' comments also cast doubt on the size of the partial withdrawal promised for July, and suggested that U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at significant levels until the NATO-set deadline of 2014, and perhaps beyond. It's a disquieting prospect for those of us who question whether the war is winnable even with another three years of combat, assassinations and nation-building.
October 27, 2009
Tons of explosives, suicide bombers in coordinated attacks and triple-digit death tolls. The wreckage at the Iraqi Justice Ministry and Baghdad's provincial council headquarters this week, like the devastation at the Foreign and Finance ministries in August, is a reminder that foreign powers cannot impose peace on a divided nation. Two years after a U.S. troop "surge" helped tamp down Iraq's sectarian war, the bloodletting illustrates why military advances must be accompanied by a steady march of political progress.
June 23, 2010
It's out with the new and in with the old in Afghanistan. President Obama jettisoned Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan for disparaging the civilian leadership of the country and war effort, turning instead to Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia. In Petraeus, the president has a known quantity, a seasoned military leader who sharpened his counterinsurgency teeth in the Iraq war and has a proven record of working with Washington.
January 9, 2010 |
Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai snubbed two prominent warlord figures in a new Cabinet lineup unveiled today but unexpectedly offered a ministerial spot to the leader of a political party founded by a key Pakistan-based insurgent commander. The list of Cabinet nominees also included three female ministers, including a prominent women's-rights activist chosen as minister of women's affairs. Karazai had been sharply criticized when a previous lineup, most of whom were rejected by lawmakers last week, included only one woman.
December 20, 2009 |
The Cabinet nominees announced by President Hamid Karzai on Saturday underscore the competing demands the Afghan leader confronts as he embarks on a troubled second term in office. Karzai, inaugurated last month after a fraud-tainted election, is trying to simultaneously placate restive Western backers, woo his disillusioned public and pacify powerful warlords who have helped keep him in power. The Cabinet list, leaked by presidential aides a day before being presented to lawmakers Saturday, retained some well-regarded ministers in posts considered crucial to rebuilding Afghanistan and fighting the Taliban.
July 3, 2010
Gen. David H. Petraeus' arrival in Kabul this week, after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate as the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is a good time to revisit the goals and challenges confronting nearly 100,000 American troops there. The strategic goal as defined by the Obama administration is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base by Al Qaeda or other groups that seek to attack the United States and its allies, as it was during the Taliban's rule and 9/11 strikes.