Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Afghanistan, Pakistan Commit to Talks with Taliban

At a meeting in London this week, Afghan and Pakistani leaders agreed to a six-month timeline to reach a agreement with the Taliban. However, ongoing violence in Afghanistan, including a recent bombing in that left five dead, indicates that peace negotiations will be difficult. In the U.S., new reports by a government watchdog suggest billions of dollars have been wasted on unsustainable reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

From ASG
Billions Of Dollars At Risk In U.S. Reconstruction Efforts In Afghanistan
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

Congress has appropriated close to $90 billion for Afghanistan reconstruction projects, but the U.S. has yet to see a return on the investment. The latest report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found “delays, cost overruns, and poor construction of infrastructure projects…[that] resulted in lost opportunities and in incalculable waste.”

Afghan Peace Deal Sought in 6 Months
Wall Street Journal by Maria Abi Habib

Afghan and Pakistani leaders agreed to seek a six-month timeline to reach a peace settlement with the Taliban, the first concrete target set for the long-sputtering reconciliation process.

Pentagon Expects U.S. to Retain Presence in Afghanistan
New York Times by Thom Shanker

The Pentagon’s top civilian and military officials on Sunday expressed an expectation, even a desire, that American troops would remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in December 2014, although they emphasized that no decision had been made.

Inspector general for Afghan reconstruction: Problems remain
Stars and Stripes by Heath Druzin

More than 11 years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, Wednesday’s quarterly report from a key government oversight agency paints a grim picture of reconstruction efforts in the country as military operations wind down ahead of the 2014 deadline for international combat troops to head home.

Wasting Away Again in Afghanistan
Washington Free Beacon by Adam Kredo

American inspectors have found that a $7.3 million security facility in Afghanistan remains largely unused and unkempt months after being turned over to Afghan security forces, raising further concerns about United States taxpayer waste in post-war Afghanistan.

U.S. Military Suspends Ban on Afghan Airline
New York Times by Alissa J. Rubin

The American military on Monday lifted at least for now a recent decision to blacklist one of Afghanistan’s main airlines, Kam Air, on suspicion of drug smuggling, and it agreed to share details of its accusations with the Afghan government

What’s the Afghanistan mission?
LA Times by Doyle McManus

At this point, deciding on a number is less important than deciding on a mission. We shouldn’t ask American troops — or our Afghan allies — to risk their lives for a cause that can’t be won.

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