Afghanistan Weekly Reader

  1. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Commander Calls for Sustained Military Presence

    Published: January 31st, 2013

    General John Allen, the outgoing commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, recommended maintaining a substantial military presence in Afghanistan through the summer, according to a Wall Street Journal interview. The White House has yet to announce a plan for the drawdown of the 68,000 troops still in Afghanistan. Also undecided is the number of troops that will remain after 2014 for training, advising, and counterterrorism operations.

    From ASG
    Afghanistan War Takes A Toll On The U.S. Economy
    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    Is it too late to address the effect the Afghanistan war will have on the U.S. economy? Maybe, there are certainly some steps we can take. The first one is ending the war and developing a new strategy for more effective (and less costly) engagement with Afghanistan.

    General Seeks Sustained Afghan Role
    Wall Street Journal by Maria Abi-Habib

    The commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan said he has recommended that the White House maintain a substantial U.S. military presence through the summer fighting season, giving new details about commanders’ preferences as President Barack Obama weighs the pace of withdrawal.

    US blacklists Afghan airline accused of smuggling opium

    Afghanistan’s largest private airline, Kam Air, has been barred from receiving US military contracts amid allegations of drug smuggling, officials say.

    No US peace dividend after Afghanistan
    Financial Times by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

    Nearly 12 years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan began, a war-weary America is getting ready to leave. But there will be little in the way of a peace dividend for the US economy once the fighting stops.

    Money Pit: The Monstrous Failure of US Aid to Afghanistan
    World Affairs Journal by Joel Brinkley

    The total amount of nonmilitary funds Washington has appropriated since 2002 “is approximately $100 billion”—more than the US has ever spent to rebuild a country. That estimate came out in July. Since then, Congress has appropriated another $16.5 billion for “reconstruction.” And all of that has not bought the United States or the Afghans a single sustainable institution or program.

    How We Fight: Fred Kaplan’s ‘Insurgents,’ on David Petraeus
    New York Times by Thanassius Cambanis

    The counterinsurgency cult was more than a fad, Kaplan establishes. But it was much less than a revolution.

    Counting Down to 2014 in Afghanistan
    Huffington Post by Ann Jones

    Compromise, conflict, or collapse: ask an Afghan what to expect in 2014 and you’re likely to get a scenario that falls under one of those three headings.

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  2. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Insurgent Attacks in Afghan Capital

    Published: January 24th, 2013

    Last week’s suicide bomb attack on Afghanistan’s intelligence agency was followed by an attack on the headquarters of the Kabul traffic department a few days later. The coordinated assaults have raised questions about Afghanistan’s security forces and intelligence capabilities, and whether the billions the U.S. has spent on security assistance has been effective.

    From ASG
    Report: U.S. spent $6.8 million on nonexistent equipment

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    According to a new audit by the U.S. Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the U.S. spent $6.8 million on maintenance for vehicles that had not been seen in over a year, had never been seen, or had been destroyed.

    Taliban Stage Attack on Kabul

    Wall Street Journal by Maria Abi-Habib and Ziaulhaq Sultani

    Insurgents Monday stormed the traffic-department headquarters in Kabul, using the compound to target nearby Afghan police headquarters and setting off a gun battle that continued for hours.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill leaps hurdles to overhauling wartime contracting

    McClatchy by Lindsay Wise

    This month – after half a dozen years of hearings, reports, overseas fact-finding trips, painful compromises and some last-minute, round-the-clock negotiating – the first substantial overhaul of the federal government’s wartime contracting practices since World War II finally became law, with McCaskill as its chief architect.

    Time to Pull the Plug On Afghanistan War

    Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor

    We’ve already paid a huge price in lives, misery and money, including multiple deployments and suicides…Does anyone really believe that keeping large numbers of our military there will lead to a long-term, satisfactory outcome?

    Afghanistan’s colossal intelligence failure

    Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel by Candace Rondeaux

    [Perhaps] NATO and U.S. officials will finally sit down to hash out what to do next with America’s top partner in the fight against terrorism in South and Central Asia. The White House in particular, might want to consider whether it can continue to tie America’s fortunes to intelligence outfits like NDS without first figuring out how (and whether it’s possible) to help governments like Karzai’s to clean these agencies up.

    Deconstructing Afghanistan

    Foreign Policy by John Arquilla

    After more than a decade of nation-building in Afghanistan, with at best mixed results, perhaps it is time to take an opposite tack…This would mean challenging the guiding notion of democratization that has, thus far, cost us and our allies several thousand casualties and about a trillion dollars — to little effect.

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  3. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: U.S. Plan in Afghanistan Still Unclear

    Published: January 18th, 2013

    Last week’s announcement that U.S. and allied forces will transition more quickly from a combat role to training and advising left many of the big questions on next steps unanswered. Afghan president Hamid Karzai said negotiations on immunity for U.S. troops are ongoing, with a decision expected this year. The immunity question is a factor in whether U.S. forces remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

    From ASG
    $28 Million Per Day for Afghanistan Reconstruction

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    Regardless of the final decision on troop levels, the U.S. financial commitment to Afghanistan will likely continue. Unfortunately, over the past eleven years “commitment” meant a steady stream of money but no effective strategy for spending it.

    Military Hasn’t Pursued Afghan ‘Zero Option’

    Wall Street Journal by Stephen Fidler

    U.S. and NATO commanders have been asked to provide advice on what could be achieved with U.S. and allied troop numbers at various levels—but nothing on a complete drawdown, the officer said.

    Afghans want withdrawal of village police trainers

    Washington Post by Kevin Sieff

    Days after Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama seemed to agree on the future role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, a division has emerged over one of the American military’s most prized defense programs.

    Decision on immunity for U.S. troops by year-end: Karzai

    Reuters by Hamid Shalizi

    A decision on immunity for U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan after the 2014 planned withdrawal will be made by the end of the year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday.

    US pushes to finish Afghan dam as challenges mount

    AP by Heidi Vogt

    In the approaching twilight of its war in Afghanistan, the U.S. is forging ahead with a giant infrastructure project long criticized as too costly in both blood and money.

    Afghanistan in 2015

    LA Times Editorial

    [If] the U.S. is still able to mount an effective counter-terrorism effort without many boots on the ground, the light footprint strategy should be implemented.

    The Afghan pullout picks up

    SF Gate Editorial

    A costly war is coming to a close, just as the far larger Iraq conflict did. In Afghanistan’s case, the future remains uncertain and worrisome.

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  4. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Growing Support for Drawdown

    Published: January 9th, 2013

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for a meeting with President Obama that could determine the size of the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014. The meeting comes one week after Pentagon leaders presented options for post-2014 troop levels ranging from 6,000 to 20,000. In the U.S., support for reducing the large, costly military presence is growing, as policymakers and the public question the wisdom of spending billions on the war.

    From ASG
    $7 Billion for Each Month of War in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    The coming months will see many opportunities to develop a budget that eliminates wasteful programs. Policymakers need to take advantage of this opportunity now, rather than kicking the can down the road. Each month of delay means billions added to the national debt, billions of taxpayer dollars wasted, and billions spent on a war that most Americans no longer support.

    U.S. Is Open to Withdraw Afghan Force After 2014

    New York Times by Mark Landler and Michael R. Gordon

    On the eve of a visit by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, the Obama administration said Tuesday that it was open to a so-called zero option that would involve leaving no American troops in Afghanistan after 2014, when the NATO combat mission there comes to an end.

    A ‘Zero Option’ for Afghanistan

    Foreign Policy by David W. Barno

    Whether U.S. troops ultimately stay or leave Afghanistan after 2014 may now come down to just one week of tough bargaining. Each nation has a great deal at stake.

    The open question of Afghanistan

    Washington Post by Walter Pincus

    President Obama this week has a chance to explain to President Hamid Karzai, and hopefully to the American people, what will be our future role in Afghanistan…as the U.S. financial belt is being tightened, people want to know the financial cost, for how long and what will be accomplished.

    Some in administration push for only a few thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014

    Washington Post by Ernesto Londoño and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

    As the debate over the size and scope of the post-2014 coalition mission nears its end, some in the administration are pressing for a force that could be as small as 2,500, arguing that a light touch would be the most constructive way to cap the costly, unpopular war.

    Choices on Afghanistan
    New York Times Editorial

    If Mr. Obama cannot find a way to go to zero troops, he should approve only the minimum number needed, of mostly Special Operations commandos, to hunt down insurgents and serve as a deterrent against the Taliban retaking Kabul and Al Qaeda re-establishing a safe haven in Afghanistan.

    The Cost of a Post-2014 U.S. Force

    TIME by Douglas A. Ollivant

    Those promoting the extension of current force levels in Afghanistan talk about justification for these troops remaining here, here and here, but elide over the costs. And $60-ish billion is real money, even by DOD or Federal budget standards.

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  5. Afghanistan War Costs: the Year in Review

    Published: December 31st, 2012

    U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Parker patrols down a street during a civil affairs assessment patrol in Now Zad, Afghanistan, Feb. 22, 2011

    2012 saw some important milestones in the Afghanistan war. The last of the surge troops left Afghanistan in September. U.S. and Afghan officials met twice to discuss post-2014 plans. The international community emphasized its continued commitment to Afghanistan by pledging billions in economic aid.

    But the past year also brought more questions about whether the billions the U.S. has spent in Afghanistan were an effective use of taxpayer money.

    Below is a roundup of the top reports in 2012 that uncovered examples of wasteful spending and an ineffective strategy in Afghanistan:

    Afghanistan’s National Power Utility
    : $12.8 million in DOD-purchased equipment sits unused, and USAID paid a contractor for work not done. (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, December 2012)

    Pentagon Says Afghan Forces Still Need Assistance
    (The New York Times on the Department of Defense annual Afghanistan assessment, December 2012)

    • “A bleak new Pentagon report has found that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently without air or other military support from the United States and NATO partners”

    DOD Decision Makers Need Additional Analyses to Determine Costs and Benefits of Returning Excess Equipment (The Government Accountability Office, December 2012)

    • “[The military’s equipment in Afghanistan] estimated to be worth more than $36 billion, has accumulated during a 10-year period. DOD officials also estimate that it could cost $5.7 billion to return or transfer equipment from Afghanistan.

    Fiscal Year Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund Projects are behind schedule and lack adequate sustainment plans (SIGAR, July 2012)

    • “Five of seven fiscal year 2011 AIF [Afghanistan infrastructure] projects are 6-15 months behind schedule, and most projects may not achieve desired COIN benefits for several years”

    Afghan National Security Forces Facilities: Concerns with Funding, Oversight, and Sustainability for Operation and Maintenance (SIGAR, October 2012)

    • “The Afghan government will likely be incapable of fully sustaining ANSF [Afghan National Security] facilities after the transition in 2014 and the expected decrease in U.S. and coalition support.”
    • “The ANSF lacks personnel with the technical skills required to operate and maintain critical facilities, such as water supply, waste water treatment, and power generation.”
    • “The Ministry of Defense’s procurement process is unable to provide the Afghan army with O&M supplies in a timely manner.”

    U.S. probes reported record-shredding of fuel buys for Afghan army (Reuters on SIGAR letter, Interim Report on Afghan National Army Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, September 2012)

    • “Investigators are probing reports of record-shredding by officials in the U.S.-led NATO command that trains the Afghan army after learning that records of fuel purchases for the Afghans totaling nearly $475 million are gone.”

    Military’s Own Report Card Gives Afghan Surge an F (Wired on ISAF report on Enemy Initiated Attacks, September 2012)

    • “The U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan ended last week. Conditions in Afghanistan are mostly worse than before it began. That conclusion doesn’t come from anti-war advocates. It relies on data recently released by the NATO command in Afghanistan.”

    USAID has disbursed $9.5 billion for reconstruction and funded some financial audits as required, but many audits face significant delays, accountability limitations, and lack of resources (SIGAR, April 2012)

    USAID spent almost $400 Million on an Afghan stabilization project despite uncertain results, but has taken steps to better assess similar Efforts (SIGAR, April 2012)

    GAO: Military lowering bar to evaluate Afghan troop progress (CNN on GAO report, Long-standing Challenges May Affect Progress and Sustainment of Afghan National Security Forces)

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  6. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Millions Wasted in Afghanistan Reconstruction Project

    Published: December 27th, 2012

    New reports released last week raise further questions about the costs of the Afghanistan war. An U.S. government watchdog audit finds that $13 million worth of electrical equipment “to meet urgent needs in support of the counterinsurgency strategy is sitting unused in storage…without a clear plan for installation.” A report by the Government Accountability Office questions the Pentagon’s plan to spend $5.7 billion transporting equipment from Afghanistan.

    From ASG
    Wasteful War Strategy Persists

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    An accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops would be good first step, but it falls short of what is needed: a reevaluation of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

    Millions in DOD-funded electric equipment for Afghanistan collecting dust

    Foreign Policy’s E-Ring by Kevin Baron

    The United states hires a private contractor to complete a major infrastructure reconstruction project in a war zone, yet when the equipment goes unused and the project unfinished, the contractor is paid millions – in full – anyway.

    Bringing it all back home

    Delaware Online by Bill McMichael

    More than $36 billion worth of U.S. equipment has accumulated during the past decade in Afghanistan. With the administration currently planning to withdraw all combat troops by December 2014 and turn Afghanistan’s security completely over to its own forces, decisions have to be made. Does the U.S. bring the gear back, give it away or destroy it in place?

    No guarantee of troops in Afghanistan past 2014

    Navy Times by Andrew Tilghman

    A third option – a complete withdrawal leaving no troops – is also a potential outcome, as U.S. decision-makers consider legal protections for American forces, domestic budget pressures and mounting threats elsewhere, some experts say.

    Nearly half of UK forces to leave Afghanistan in 2013

    Reuters by Peter Griffiths and Matt Falloon

    Britain will withdraw nearly half its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, the government said on Wednesday, as part of a security handover to Afghan forces more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion.

    US uniforms, like those used in attacks on bases, still found in Kabul shops

    Stars and Stripes by Heath Druzin

    When a shopkeeper at a Kabul market was asked if he had any U.S. military uniforms for sale, he answered, “Which unit?”

    No end in sight for Afghanistan war

    World News Australia by Ian Bickerton

    The main purpose of the attack on the Taliban and Afghanistan was to destroy the al-Qaeda network responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the US. Eleven years later it is still not clear how successful this war has been.

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  7. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Officials Evade U.S. Anti-Corruption Efforts

    Published: December 13th, 2012

    Two U.S. government reports released this week paint a grim picture of security and anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. An investigation by the U.S. agency that oversees Afghanistan reconstruction found that Afghan officials are resisting efforts to track the billions of dollars in cash flown out of Afghanistan each year. Meanwhile, a Pentagon report determined that only one of the Afghan Army’s 23 brigades can operate without assistance from U.S. and allied troops. Congress has allocated over $50 billion in security aid to Afghanistan since 2001.

    From ASG
    Growing Momentum for Ending the War in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    The momentum in Congress for ending the war is a good first step toward a more effective strategy in Afghanistan, and a better plan for spending taxpayer dollars.

    Despite U.S. aid, little progress in monitoring Kabul airport cash flow

    Reuters by Susan Cornwell

    Afghan officials are stonewalling U.S. efforts to help regulate the billions of dollars in cash being flown out of Kabul airport every year, a U.S. watchdog said in a report on Tuesday.

    Pentagon Says Afghan Forces Still Need Assistance

    New York Times by Elisabeth Bumiller

    As President Obama considers how quickly to withdraw the remaining 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan and turn over the war to Afghan security forces, a bleak new Pentagon report has found that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently without air or other military support from the United States and NATO partners.

    Taliban Popular Where U.S. Fought Biggest Battle

    AP by Kathy Gannon

    Nearly three years after U.S.-led forces launched the biggest operation of the war to clear insurgents, foster economic growth and set a model for the rest of Afghanistan, angry residents of Helmand province say they are too afraid to go out after dark because of marauding bands of thieves.

    Panetta Visits Afghanistan to Discuss Troop Levels
    New York Times by Thom Shanker

    The president has made no decision, and a range of options are being prepared, officials said. The American counterterrorism force might number fewer than 1,000, part of an American military mission that would probably total no more than 10,000 troops, despite the desire of some officers for a larger force.

    How Pentagon Employees Are Picking America’s Pocket – In Afghanistan

    Politico’s The Arena by Michael Shank

    We cannot forget, amid fiscal cliff fecklessness, that as taxpayers of this debt-funded fight we are sending nearly $10 billion every month to Afghanistan for the war (aka deconstruction) and post-war reconstruction efforts. Last year alone, American taxpayers accumulated well over $113.9 billion worth of debt so that this war could continue.

    In Afghanistan, fewer resources can be better

    Washington Post Letter to the Editor by Adam Cohen

    That the United States has neither the interest nor the funds for a large-footprint approach to diplomacy and development in Afghanistan need not be cause for alarm. Fewer resources do not necessarily spell disaster, and they might make such outreach more effective.

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  8. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Senate Votes for Accelerated Drawdown

    Published: December 5th, 2012

    The U.S Senate approved a non-binding resolution calling for an accelerated transition to local security forces Afghanistan, withdrawing U.S combat forces earlier than the planned 2014 deadline. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan will require an “enduring presence” post-2014.

    From ASG
    The Outpost: No Strategic Purpose for U.S. Efforts in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    The story of Combat Outpost Keating is perhaps one of the most tragic of the Afghanistan war. The U.S. camp was located in a remote area of Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border, at the base of three mountains – a nearly indefensible position – defend the position, at great expense by U.S. forces, for over three years.

    Majority in U.S. Senate Support Accelerated Afghanistan Transition Pace

    Defense News by John Bennett

    In a bipartisan vote of 62-33, the upper chamber approved what’s called a “sense of Congress” measure offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., that formally stamps Senate approval on an “accelerated transition of United States combat and military and security operations to the government of Afghanistan,” according to a Senate summary of the provision.

    Panetta: Post-2014 Afghan Effort To Be Substantial

    Associated Press

    The U.S. intends to wage a counterterrorism campaign inside Afghanistan even after the main U.S. combat force leaves in 2014 in order to prevent al-Qaida from fulfilling its ambition to re-establish a sanctuary there, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.

    New commander faces challenge of winding down Afghanistan war

    Reuters by David Alexander

    Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, who takes over as head of international forces in Afghanistan next year, faces the challenge of winding down a war in a country where he has little experience using a strategy he did not devise.

    Differing Afghan, U.S. priorities could sabotage proposed security agreement

    Washington Post by Pamela Constable and Craig Whitlock

    When the two sides meet again this month for more substantive discussions, each will begin to lay out a competing set of military concerns, political constraints and legal priorities that could severely test their fledgling postwar partnership, possibly to the point of failure.

    How to fight in Afghanistan with fewer U.S. troops

    Washington Post by David Barno and Matthew Irvine

    Protecting these [vital national security] interests after 2014 will require the United States to be able to launch precision military strikes from this region. But it will not require tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

    The Pace of Leaving Afghanistan

    New York Times Editorial

    [The drawdown] should start now and should not take more than a year. We strongly supported the war in Afghanistan following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but after more than a decade of fighting and a cost upward of $500 billion it is time for a safe and orderly departure.

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  9. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: U.S. Considers Keeping 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan

    Published: November 28th, 2012

    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.

    From ASG
    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.

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  10. Afghanistan Weekly Reader: New Commander Sees U.S. Role Extending Past 2014

    Published: November 21st, 2012

    In Afghanistan this week, proceedings began in the long-stalled trial of some two dozen people accused of corruption leading to the collapse of the Kabul Bank in 2010. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress confirmed Gen. Joseph Dunford as the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Asked about the post-2014 U.S. presence in Afghanistan at his confirmation hearing, Gen. Dunford indicated his belief “that advise-and-assist role is an enduring role and would extend past December 2014,” and that a force of 1,000 would be insufficient for this mission.

    From ASG
    U.S. Taxpayers Pay the Price for Wasteful War Strategy

    Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

    With so much attention on the Petraeus scandal and Benghazi investigation, the war in Afghanistan will likely continue to go unnoticed. Overlooking the war in Afghanistan is a mistake, and one that will cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars.

    Obama pick for Afghanistan commander describes US role beyond 2014

    Associated Press

    President Barack Obama’s choice to be the top commander in Afghanistan said Thursday he envisions a U.S. presence in the country after American combat forces leave at the end of 2014, despite a national war-weariness reflected in Congress.

    Fraud Trial Begins in Multimillion-Dollar Afghan Bank Scandal

    New York Times by Alissa J. Rubin

    A major step toward resolving the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from Kabul Bank began last week with the trial of nearly two dozen people, including the bank’s former chairman and former chief executive, who are accused of being the main architects of a colossal fraud.

    France ends combat mission in Afghanistan

    AFP by Joris Fioriti

    France ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on Tuesday, withdrawing troops from a strategic province northeast of Kabul as part of a quickened departure from the war-torn country.

    Get out of Afghanistan now

    The Augusta Chronicle by Timothy Monroe Bledsoe

    I am not angry at the U.S. troops who fought in this war – but then, as now, I am angry and frustrated by the ignorance that pervades Washington, D.C., to continue, yet again, to put U.S. troops in harm’s way for absolutely nothing!

    Obama should now adjust foreign policy

    Times Leader by Sarah Chayes

    Obama should use this one to reverse one of the most dysfunctional elements of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade: an infatuation with military solutions to problems that are fundamentally political.

    Focus on the Tragedy of the Afghan War, Not on the Farce

    Huffington Post by William Astore

    The real story is not the farce but the ongoing military tragedy of Afghanistan. The United States still has 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, with plans for a sizable training force to remain well past the troop withdrawal deadline set for the end of 2014.

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