US Sells Only Illusions of Success in Afghanistan

US Sells Only Illusions of Success in AfghanistanDespite reports in major US newspapers regarding a successful phase of the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the country’s future continues to hang in uncertainty as do the prospects of a negotiated end to the war.   More than anything else, the war continues due to confused US strategy, ever-changing plans with regard to…

Food prices rise sharply after fighting disrupts Afghan harvest

Food prices rise sharply after fighting disrupts Afghan harvestFood prices are shooting up in Afghanistan as the harvest has been halted in the country’s breadbasket in the northern province of Kunduz, where farmers have fled fighting and fields are infested with explosives. The war between pro-government forces and the Taliban has been intensifying in the north. Insurgents briefly took over Kunduz City at…

The World’s Strangest Land Grab?

The World’s Strangest Land Grab?Uzbekistan has a perhaps unusual ally in its territorial claims over neighboring Afghanistan: the mighty and ever-wandering Amu Darya river. And no one knows it better than the children of Arigh Ayagh School, just inside Afghanistan. Built in 2007 about 3km from the Amu Darya - which runs along the border between the two central…

Russia Resets its Foot in Afghanistan

Russia Resets its Foot in AfghanistanMore than two decades since a humiliating departure from Afghanistan after a misguided adventure that helped to wreck the Soviet Union, Russia has been gradually making a cautious return, particularly since the drawdown of western troops began in 2012. Since at least 2007, when Russia re-established its embassy, Moscow has been trying to regain its…

Critical Year Ahead for Afghanistan

Critical Year Ahead for AfghanistanIn less than four weeks, on April 5, Afghanistan’s 12 million voters will get the chance to elect one of 11 candidates to replace President Hamid Karzai, in what observers hope will be the country’s first ever peaceful and democratic handover of power. It will be one of the biggest challenges in a vital year…

Women’s Rights Endangered in Afghanistan

Women’s Rights Endangered in AfghanistanEven before the drawdown of NATO troops is expected to begin in 2014, there are increasing concerns that the hard-won political, economic and social gains attained by women in Afghanistan are already being eroded, according to a report issued today by the International Crisis Group. It is abundantly clear that women face threats not just…

Lessons From Negotiating With the Taliban

Pakistan's recent release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's second in command, in an effort to catalyze a peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban has not brought an end - or even pause - to the Taliban's violent attacks on Afghans, Americans, or friends and allies. During my tenure as…

Facing up to an Afghan Debacle

The United States-backed Karzai government in Afghanistan has miserably failed in delivering, with serious implications for future security and the political situation because it is basically a failure of the US Counter Insurgency Strategy (COIN). So far, the 12-year war has taken the lives of nearly 3,300 coalition troops and wounded 23,500. Another 1,114 "contractors"…

How to End the Forever War

From both the left and the right, three common misperceptions have emerged about US foreign policy: First, that the Global War on Terror has become a perpetual state of affairs; second, that no strategy is available to end this conflict in the near future; and third, that "the Obama approach to that conflict is just…

To Lift Afghan Women, Educate All

As NATO troops plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, the world worries about the country's stability and especially for Afghan women. On his first trip to Afghanistan in March as US secretary of state, John Kerry pointedly met with Afghan businesswomen at the US embassy in Kabul, fielding questions about security. Given the brutal…
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