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.
December 12, 2009 |
The top United Nations official in Afghanistan, under criticism that he was not being tough enough with President Hamid Karzai over corruption, will not seek reappointment when his contract expires in March, the U.N. said Friday. Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide is following through on his previous intention to leave when his two-year contract is finished, U.N. spokesman Dan McNorton said. "This is not a question of resigning," he said. "Kai Eide is sticking to the timetable." McNorton said the decision was unrelated to the public clash between Eide and Peter Galbraith, his U.S. deputy.
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.
November 28, 2009 |
The governor of a violent southern province in Afghanistan escaped assassination Friday, even as President Hamid Karzai renewed his calls to insurgents to lay down their weapons. Kandahar Gov. Tooryalai Wesa was on his way to prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha, the main Muslim holiday of the year, when a remote-controlled bomb exploded under his convoy. Wesa was uninjured, but a policeman helping guard him was hurt, the governor's office said. The province is home to Afghanistan's second-largest city, also called Kandahar, which is the country's southern hub and a key battleground.
February 13, 2012 |
Six months ago, in a moving ceremony during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Hamid Karzai went on Afghan television to pardon about two dozen young boys, the youngest only 8 years old, who had been caught trying to carry out suicide attacks. On Monday, authorities in Kandahar province reported that two of the children, 10-year-olds, had been rearrested last week, apparently intending again to carry out bombings. Provincial spokesman Zalmay Ayubi said the boys each had a vest full of explosives when they were detained along with three adults suspected of being militants, and that they told intelligence officers they had been recruited for suicide missions.
January 9, 2010 |
The supplicants had come from all over the north of Afghanistan. Bowing as they made their way to the front of the ornate reception room, they bent one by one to kiss the hand of power. Gov. Atta Mohammad Noor, the bushy beard of his days as a rough-hewn mujahedin commander long since replaced by fashionable stubble, had the satisfied look of a man receiving his due. Atta, whom some critics call the personification of Afghanistan's deeply entrenched warlord culture, represents a quandary for the nations that supply the country with tens of thousands of troops and billions of dollars in aid. The United States and its allies are considering ways to skirt the corruption-tainted central government and invest local and provincial officials with more authority.
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.
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.
April 6, 2010 |
President Hamid Karzai's latest anti-Western outburst has triggered unease and dismay among Afghan lawmakers and some in the diplomatic community in Afghanistan. On Saturday, the Afghan leader told members of parliament that Western meddling in Afghan political affairs was helping the Taliban movement, because it fueled a public perception that the insurgency is a legitimate struggle against foreign occupation. Karzai then added -- apparently speaking rhetorically, according to several lawmakers who were present at the closed-door talks -- that if that were the case, he would join the Taliban himself.