Afghanistan Weekly Reader: U.S. Considers Keeping 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan
Pentagon officials say a recommendation on post-2014 troop levels is coming within weeks, although the specific number of troops is still undecided. The administration reportedly favors keeping 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. Some political pundits are calling for a heavy military footprint of 30,000, while other experts ask why the U.S. still has 66,000 combat troops in the country.
Al Qaeda Decimated, but US Considers Heavy Military Footprint in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
Despite official U.S. assessments that al Qaeda leadership has been “decimated,” some experts are insisting that the U.S. maintain a heavy military footprint in Afghanistan — a strategy that will cost billions of dollars each year.
Pentagon: Discussion of troop numbers remaining in Afghanistan ‘premature’
Stars and Stripes by Chris Carroll
The Pentagon says it plans to tell the White House within weeks how many American troops military leaders believe will be needed in Afghanistan after 2014 to train local forces and continue to target al-Qaida.
Afghanistan Opium Fields Still Growing Despite Efforts
Wall Street Journal by Maria Abi-Habib
Land under opium cultivation in Afghanistan increased 18% this year, despite a decade of efforts by the international community to get Afghan farmers to switch to legal, though less lucrative, crops, a survey released Tuesday said.
Audit Says Kabul Bank Began as ‘Ponzi Scheme’
New York Times by Matthew Rosenberg
Kabul Bank became Afghanistan’s largest financial institution by offering the promise of modern banking to people who had never had a saving or checking account. What it really dealt in was modern theft: “From its very beginning,” according to a confidential forensic audit of Kabul Bank, “the bank was a well-concealed Ponzi scheme.”
For Obama, could 10,000 troops in Afghanistan be too many?
Reuters by Phil Stewart
President Barack Obama publicly scoffed at the idea of keeping 10,000 troops in Iraq. So could he really be persuaded to keep that many in Afghanistan after the war formally ends in 2014?
How Long Will it Take to Leave Afghanistan?
New York Times Editorial Blog by Andrew Rosenthal
Why not just start now? If all it takes is a year, then the United States could plausibly be out of Afghanistan by this time next year…it would mean one less year of American casualties on the battlefield – and one less year spent trying to make the Afghan army into a real fighting force.