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Archive for the category “Afghanistan”

Erik Prince Has His Eye On Afghanistan’s Rare Metals

Controversial private security tycoon Erik Prince has famously pitched an audacious plan to the Trump administration: Hire him to privatise the war in Afghanistan using squads of “security contractors.” Prince, who founded the Blackwater security firm and testified last week to the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia investigation, has deep connections into the current White House: He’s friends with former presidential adviser Stephen Bannon, and he’s the brother of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary.

Read Here – Buzzfeed

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America Can’t Win The Drug War In Afghanistan

Indeed, the drug trade is a crucial part of Afghanistan’s economy, both in regions that the Afghan government controls and in Taliban-dominated regions. The Kabul government estimates that at least three million farmers make their living from that crop. In a desperately poor country, such income is often the difference between a decent lifestyle and destitution. U.S. leaders face a hopeless dilemma. If they press the government of President Ashraf Ghani to increase eradication efforts, then that move will alienate beleaguered farmers and drive them into the arms of the Taliban.

Read Here – The National Interest

‘Ghost Soldiers’: Too Many U.S.-Trained Afghans Are Going AWOL

When Afghan pilots begin training on Black Hawk helicopters at Fort Rucker, Alabama, this year, the U.S. military will have two concerns: that they can fly and that they don’t fly the coop. More than 1 in 10 Afghan military personnel training in the United States last year went absent without leave, according to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Read Here – Foreign Policy

How Many US Troops in Afghanistan? Pentagon Changes How It Counts Them

If you’d asked Pentagon officials on Wednesday morning, “How many U.S. troops are deployed to Afghanistan?” they’d have told you “about 8,400.” If you ask them now, they’ll tell you “approximately 11,000” — maybe a thousand troops less than the actual best estimate.

Read Here – Defense One

The ‘Blackwater 2.0’ Plan For Afghanistan

Here’s a crazy idea floating around Washington these days, outlandish even by today’s outlandish standards: The United States should hire a mercenary army to “fix” Afghanistan, a country where we’ve been at war since 2001, spending billions along the way. The big idea here is that they could extricate U.S. soldiers from this quagmire, and somehow solve it.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Afghanistan And The Next US President

It now appears that — barring some truly exceptional circumstances — Barack Obama has made his last decision regarding Afghanistan as president of the United States. The current force of about 10,000 U.S. service members will remain through the end of 2016, when it will quickly draw down to a force of about 5,500. The next president will take office with a force in Kabul and relatively small detachments on the airfields at Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar.

Read Here – Al Jazeera

Leaving Afghanistan

The longest war in American history is technically over. It ended when the U.S. and its NATO allies marked the official conclusion of their combat mission in Afghanistan as 2014 came to a close. But with the goal of stabilizing the country unachieved, plans for a U.S. exit are up in the air.

Read Here – Bloomberg

On The Streets Of Kabul, Despair And Hope

While a secure Kabul rarely means a stable Afghanistan, an insecure Kabul inevitably signals a deeply unstable nation. Kabul’s violent summer pales compared to the surrounding provinces, especially in the south. As Western nations increasingly focus elsewhere, the battle for Afghanistan rages on.

Read Here – Quartz

The Legend of Mullah Omar

Touting the title Commander of the Faithful and ruling Afghanistan from 1996–2001, Omar commanded more authority and legitimacy in the Taliban than any other leader. Notoriously reclusive and unhurried in his deliberations, his style played to his image as a pious man who reluctantly rose to the occasion to combat post-Soviet instability. He was not, the Taliban and Islamabad tried to show, yet another warlord campaigning with Pakistani backing.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

Forgetting Afghanistan

Afghanistan was once the good war. Seeking righteous vengeance for 9/11, nearly 90 percent of the American public initially backed a crusade to topple the Taliban regime in Kabul and purge the country of al-Qaeda. For years, Barack Obama described Afghanistan as the center of gravity in the struggle against international terrorism. In 2009, Obama surged U.S. forces in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000 troops. With money no object, U.S. officials tried to win over Afghans through initiatives like an Afghan version of Sesame Street called Sesame Garden (unfortunately, the Count character had to be cut because Afghan kids weren’t familiar with Dracula and were confused by his fangs). And then the good war turned bad.

Read Here – The Atlantic

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