When Will We Admit the War in Afghanistan isn’t Working?

When Will We Admit the War in Afghanistan isn’t Working?

Last Wednesday, President Obama once again delayed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Approximately 8,400 troops will remain in the country through the end of his presidency, he announced, rather than the 5,500 he committed to back in October 2015....
The Coming Drone Blowback

The Coming Drone Blowback

The targeted assassination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour last weekend wasn’t just another drone strike. First of all, it was conducted by the U.S. military, not the CIA, which has orchestrated nearly all drone strikes in Pakistan. Second, it didn’t...
How a Child is Made into a Suicide Bomber

How a Child is Made into a Suicide Bomber

In 1954, a single book destroyed the popular notion that children are innocent souls. In that book, a plane of such innocent souls crashes on a deserted island. There, in a paradise of coral and coconuts and wild pigs, the survivors soon revert to a state of nature....
The Middle East’s New Nakba

The Middle East’s New Nakba

After midnight on August 15, 1947, India and Pakistan became separate countries. What should have been a joyous occasion — a celebration of independence from three centuries of British colonial rule — quickly turned into one of the greatest tragedies in modern...
The Wars, Coups, Crises and Occasional Good News from the Middle East

The Wars, Coups, Crises and Occasional Good News from the Middle East

IN SYRIA… The civil war – and the four other regional, sectarian and global wars that have emerged from it – continues. Conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate – the UN has just reported that as many as 5,000 Syrians are being killed by the war every month,...
Emphasis Added: the Week in Pieces (7/5)

Emphasis Added: the Week in Pieces (7/5)

Total Surveillance Failed to Net Snowden Except that all the national security surveillance in the world didn’t catch him before he flew to Hong Kong to meet with reporters and turn over evidence of these secret slides that document an out-of-control surveillance...
Afghanistan: Is It Really the End Game?

Afghanistan: Is It Really the End Game?

Gunmen in Pakistan on Monday set ablaze five trucks carrying NATO equipment out of Afghanistan as the international military alliance winds down it combat mission there, officials said. —Agence-France Presse, 3/1/13 There is nothing that better sums up the utter...
Afghanistan’s Forgotten Refugees

Afghanistan’s Forgotten Refugees

In 2008, Seyed Hasan, a father of 6, fled his home in the Wardak province of eastern Afghanistan. Hasan and his family were targeted by the Taliban for resisting their demands. It had been seven years since the United States had intervened to oust the group, but the...
A Focal Points Roundtable: Is the Taliban Losing?

A Focal Points Roundtable: Is the Taliban Losing?

Recent coverage of Afghanistan by Newsweek-slash-the Daily Beast has been illuminating. On December 30 Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau wrote: “A shroud of anxiety hangs over the coming year in Afghanistan. It’s not only the country’s war-weary...

Pakistanis Pay Price for CIA Use of Doctor as Asset in bin Laden Raid

At the New York Times, Declan Walsh and Donald G. McNeil write about Islamist extremists targeting Pakistani women who work for the UN administering polio vaccines. After militants stalked and killed eight of them over the course of a three-day, nationwide vaccination...
Accountability and Insurgency in Afghanistan

Accountability and Insurgency in Afghanistan

Although the war in Afghanistan—with its tally of U.S. combat deaths now exceeding 2,000—has largely faded from the news, it is useful to consider why the conflict is so intractable. Why has a campaign that initially seemed so hopeful resulted in a country...

Taliban Vaccination Ban: Paranoia or Based in Fact?

Reports Declan Walsh for the New York Times on June 18: A Pakistani Taliban commander has banned polio vaccinations in North Waziristan in the tribal belt, days before 161,000 children were due to be vaccinated. He linked the ban to American drone strikes and fears...
Washington’s Dangerous New Military Strategy

Washington’s Dangerous New Military Strategy

The Iraq War was a disaster, so the United States needs a new foreign policy. Instead of invading foreign countries with tens of thousands of troops and trying to occupy and control the political process, President Barack Obama has embraced a new foreign military...
Review: The Unraveling

Review: The Unraveling

In mid-September, bomb blasts and gunfire hit the U.S. Embassy and the NATO headquarters in Kabul, killing seven people. According to subsequent intelligence reports, the perpetrators were from the Haqqani network, which has been funded and supported by the...