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…

Women Find a Place in Afghan Police

Women Find a Place in Afghan PoliceOn Jan.14, for the first time in Afghanistan’s history,  a woman -- 50-year-old Colonel Jamila Bayaz, a mother of five children -- was appointed the chief of a local police station.   This is a country where the separation of men and women -- purdah -- is so complete that some officers rushed to the men's…

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…