Afghanistan War News Digest - Archive

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Afghanistan War News Digest - October 11, 2011

Afghanistan MapAs the war in Afghanistan enters its second decade, one theme of recent news coverage has been that the situation there has not improved overall in the past 10 years. There have been reports of increased opium demand and production, high rates of maternal mortality, and continuing disputes over parliamentary election results. One particularly disturbing report has been the UN’s investigation revealing systematic torture among Afghan security and police officials; the US involvement in these incidents was not officially looked into, but is inconclusive and the subject of debates. Finally, there were several reminders of the fact that the US has been at war with Afghanistan for 10 years.

U.N. Finds ‘Systematic’ Torture in Afghanistan
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/world/asia/un-report-finds-routine-abuse-of-afghan-detainees.html
A detailed UN report found systematic torture by Afghan intelligence and police officials. The report did not assess the level of US military involvement or knowledge in these abuses, but questions have been raised about US support for Afghan intelligence and police forces.

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Afghanistan War News Digest - September 12, 2011

Afghanistan MapThe 10th anniversary of 9/11 is behind us, and the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan is quickly approaching. Most of the news coverage relating to Afghanistan in the past couple of weeks has referenced these milestones in one way or another. The 10-year mark coincided with increased analysis of the relationship between 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. There were reports of corruption and abuses among Afghan police and security forces, but even more striking was the report that the majority of Afghan farmers in Helmand province had not heard of 9/11.

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Afghanistan War Weekly - August 22, 2011

Afghanistan MapLevels of violence in Afghanistan remained high this week. Also of note is the possibility that US troops and air power might remain in Afghanistan past 2024.

US troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8712701/US-troops-may-stay-in-Afghanistan-until-2024.html

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Afghanistan War Weekly - July 25, 2011

This week, there were several reports of corruption and mismanagement of government funds, including the discovery that the Taliban was indirectly receiving US funds intended for transportation contracts. There were also conflicting reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar, who the Taliban also said was alive. As the drawdown took effect, violence continued in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

Afghanistan News & Opinion

Taliban spokesman disputes claim that leader Mullah Omar is dead
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/20/afghanistan.mullah.omar/

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Afghanistan War Weekly - July 11, 2011

This past week saw a high level of violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, attacks were reported against mine removal workers, while Pakistan’s use of rockets and artillery shells against Afghan militants complicated the conflict further. This week’s headlines also included a great deal of attention focused on the effect of the conflict on women in Afghanistan, along with other issues facing women in the region, such as domestic violence. Also of note was the recently passed 2012 defense spending bill in Congress, which includes $119 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Efforts to defund combat in Afghanistan were defeated. 

Thank you for reading.

Sharon Miller 

Afghanistan News

US general: Afghan fight continues outside cities

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Afghanistan War Weekly - July 5, 2011

This week, the violence continued in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with targets ranging from security checkpoints to a minibus carrying a family of refugees. Several stories mentioned the use of unmanned drones in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is expected to increase as a substitute for troops being withdrawn from the region as part of the drawdown. Despite Obama’s assertions to the contrary, many in the US and elsewhere see the war in Afghanistan as unsuccessful. This is evident in many of this week’s opinion pieces, as well as articles detailing people’s reactions to the war.

Thank you for reading.

Sharon Miller

Violence in Afghanistan

Roadside bomb kills 11 Afghan family members

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Afghanistan War Weekly - June 27, 2011

This week, Obama’s troop drawdown announcement continued to spark debate around the world. Even though many people see the drawdown as a sign that the war is starting to wind down, the threat of violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains, with violent attacks continuing in both countries. Meanwhile, public antiwar sentiment continued to grow in the US and elsewhere. The idea of an end to the war also coincided with some media stories about the effect of the war on US veterans. This week’s AWW also contains links to some interesting (and hopefully useful) interactive online maps and charts relating to the war in Afghanistan. 

Thank you for reading.

Sharon Miller

Afghanistan/Pakistan News


Hospital blast unprecedented in Afghan war

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Afghanistan War Weekly - June 21, 2011

Perhaps not surprisingly, this week’s headlines have been dominated by stories relating to President Obama’s upcoming announcement on Wednesday of a troop drawdown in Afghanistan. Also of interest this week was the focus on the financial cost of the war, including the antiwar resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore. Additional stories focused on the physical and psychological cost of war, and the increasing numbers of Americans across the political spectrum who are growing impatient with the war. 

Thank you for reading. I welcome your feedback.

Sharon Miller

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Afghanistan War Weekly - June 13, 2011

As the fighting season continues in Afghanistan, the level of violence remained very high this past week. Meanwhile, debates continue worldwide about reducing the number of foreign troops in Afghanistan, concerning both the time frame and the specifics of withdrawing troops. These debates have increased the urgency of the Obama administration’s upcoming decisions about troop level reduction. Antiwar sentiment continues to rise in the US due to the cost of the war and the continuing economic crisis.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments and feedback.

--Sharon Miller 

AFGHANISTAN: FIGHTING SEASON VIOLENCE


Afghan Taliban Cede Ground in the South, but Fears Linger
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/world/asia/12helmand.html

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Afghanistan War Weekly - June 6, 2011

This week saw continuing violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the killing of top Pakistani militant Ilyas Kashmiri in a drone strike. American officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (touring Afghanistan before his retirement), and Afghan officials warned against pulling out US and NATO forces too quickly, but opposition to the war in general was evident not only among civilians, but among many in government positions, including a number of US Republicans. 

Thank you for reading. I welcome your feedback.

Sharon Miller

Afghanistan Violence

Taliban plan to tunnel into UK bases discovered 

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Afghanistan War Weekly - May 31, 2011

This past Monday, the United States observed Memorial Day, and there were many articles related to the holiday this week. There were also stories of continuing violence in Afghanistan and of the strain in US-Pakistan relations, as well as of soldiers facing trial for murders of civilians during the war in Afghanistan. Finally, the combination of the proposed Defense budget and the Memorial Day holiday led to many US politicians and others voicing opposition to the war. 

Thank you for reading. I welcome your feedback.

Sharon Miller

Violence in Afghanistan

"Twin suicide blasts in western Afghanistan kill 4"
http://channel6newsonline.com/2011/05/twin-suicide-blasts-in-western-afghanistan-kill-4/

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Afghanistan War Weekly - May 23, 2011

This week, violence was on the rise in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with insurgent attacks on a hospital, a police bus, and a road crew; forces firing on protesters in Taloqan; and a planned sit-in in Karachi to block supplies to NATO forces. Also in the news were developments relating to the status of women in Afghanistan and to low morale and health hazards facing US and NATO troops in the region. However, the most contentious story this week has been the controversy over whether Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been killed, or whether he is still alive in a different location. 

I look forward to your comments and suggestions on these stories. Please feel free to email me.

--Sharon Miller 

CONFLICTING REPORTS ON MULLAH OMAR


Taliban's Mullah Omar reported dead

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Matthew Hoh: The Afghanistan War in Washington

When President Obama announced in December 2009 that he would escalate the Afghanistan war by sending 30,000 additional troops, he promised the American people that troop withdrawals would start in July 2011.   More recently, he said in Lisbon in November 2010 that the war will be turned over to Afghans by the end of 2014.    

It will soon be time for the President to follow through on his commitment and start drawing down troops to reduce the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan.   How large a withdrawal will Obama announce?

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Afghanistan War Weekly - May 16, 2011

In this week’s news roundup, the effects of the killing of Osama bin Laden are still unfolding. The strain the raid put on US-Pakistan relations is apparent. Whatever the effects of the raid that killed bin Laden on Afghanistan, violence is on the increase there, with the Taliban’s previously announced spring offensive against Afghan and US/NATO forces. With retaliatory attacks already occurring in Pakistan, it remains to be seen how revenge for the killing of bin Laden will play out in the future and in other regions.

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Afghanistan War Weekly - May 9, 2011

 

OSAMA BIN LADEN AFTERMATH


“U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan predicts little short-term change”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us_commander_in_eastern_afghanistan_predicts_little_short_term_change/2011/05/09/AFDWsxZG_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage

Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, the US commander in charge of eastern Afghanistan, said that although al-Qaeda was hurt by bin Laden’s death, levels of fighting have not decreased, and an increase in violence is predicted.

 

“Osama bin Laden mission agreed in secret 10 years ago by US and Pakistan”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/09/osama-bin-laden-us-pakistan-deal

George W. Bush and Pervez Musharraf secretly struck a deal almost 10 years ago which permitted a unilateral US raid in Pakistan to kill bin Laden, similar to the one that was carried out last week. Although the possibility of Pakistani protest against such an operation was predicted, it was understood that Pakistan would not stop the US from carrying it out. However, a few days ago, Musharraf came out in opposition of the raid.

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Afghanistan War Weekly - May 2, 2011

OSAMA BIN LADEN

"Transcript: Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden"

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/02/bin.laden.announcement/index.html?section=cnn_latest

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Afghanistan War Weekly - April 25, 2011

DEVELOPMENTS IN AFGHANISTAN

Hundreds of Taliban Escape from Kandahar Jail

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8472419/Hundreds-of-Taliban-escape-from-Kandahar-jail.html

Hundreds of Taliban prisoners escaped through an underground tunnel from Sarpoza Prison in Kandahar. The escape calls the discipline and training of prison staff into question, and also raised new fears of increased violence.

Some prisoners recaptured after mass Afghan breakout

http://www.canada.com/news/Some+prisoners+recaptured+after+mass+Afghan+breakout/4669680/story.html#ixzz1KZmkTC6X

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UFPJ Afghanistan War Weekly - April 17, 2011 - Final issue?

This is the final issue of the Afghanistan War Weekly put out by Frank Brodhead (though a new editor may perhaps step forward).  Many people have given help and encouragement along the way.  I would like to thank especially Rusti Eisenberg, Cole Harrison, Siri Margerin, David Swanson, Janet Weil, and Marilyn Young.  I hope readers have found the AWW useful.

 

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Afghanistan War Weekly - April 4, 2011

The news media’s focus remained on North Africa and the Middle East this week, with some Afghanistan reporters even being redeployed to that region.  Despite the lack of media coverage, there are two stories from last week that I think are important.

 

The first is the apparently very successful US tour of Malalai Joya, the Afghan former parliamentarian who has endangered her life by speaking out against both the US war and the Karzai/warlord regime.  In the article immediately below, she speaks about the US “rogue killers’” photos of their victims, now appearing in media worldwide.  After an initial refusal to grant her a US visa, a strong protest from peace activists, the ACLU, etc. finally allowed her to enter the US, though some of her speaking dates had already gone by. Videos from Democracy Now! give a good indication of her ability to deliver a strong message.

 

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Afghanistan War Weekly - March 27, 2011

From what we know of US decision-making in the run-up to the UN/US/NATO intervention in Libya, it is clear that the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan have limited or shaped US options.  Opinion polls showing Democrats opposing the US actions in Afghanistan by 75-25 were one likely speed bump.  Another may have been the anticipated cost of even a “small” war, already nearing the $1 billion mark.  The fact that the United States was already at war in two Moslem countries played a strong role in its Libya-war public diplomacy, pushing the Organization of Arab States to the foreground and finding the Obama people frantically looking for an exit from a public “leadership” role.  In other words, it seems to me that the US over-extension in its military operations made a strong contribution to the apparently chaotic decision-making process among the former colonial powers that are doing the actual bombing.

 

Prior to the UN resolution authorizing a “No-Fly Zone” and “all other necessary measures,” public opinion in the United States was strongly against US involvement in Libya [http://www.pollingreport.com/libya.htm]. But, as usual, once it was bombs-away, public opinion turned on a dime.  What effect this may have on congressional discussions about Afghanistan is an unknown, but it may be significant that a recent poll found respondents saying that the Afghanistan war was going “very well” or “well” at the highest level in several years [see below].

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