Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Hagel Trip Highlights Afghanistan Woes

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s trip to Afghanistan was marred by insurgent attacks and the cancellation of a joint press conference due to an unspecified security threat in Afghanistan’s capital city. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s insistent claim of collusion between the U.S. and the Taliban is causing a controversy, and some U.S. lawmakers are reportedly considering a faster drawdown.

From ASG
Afghanistan Reconstruction and Lessons Not Learned from Iraq
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, counterpart to the Iraq aid watchdog, continues to document examples of wasteful projects. SIGAR’s work generates sensational headlines and calls for reform. But reform has not happened.

Karzai ‘Histrionics’ Endanger U.S. Support in Congress

Bloomberg by Laura Litvan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s accusation that the U.S. is colluding with the Taliban may add to pressure from Congress for a faster U.S. troop withdrawal than President Barack Obama plans, lawmakers said.

Afghanistan again tops list of illegal drug producers

Washington Times by Guy Taylor

Afghanistan remains by far the world’s top producer of illegal opium poppy used to make heroin, according to the State Department’s annual report on global trends in the illicit narcotics trade, which also pinpoints Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela for having “failed demonstrably” to uphold international counternarcotics agreements.

Angry Afghan Villagers Want US Special Forces Out

Associated Press by Kathy Gannon

An Afghan policeman gunned down two U.S. special forces on Monday in Wardak province, less than 24 hours after President Hamid Karzai’s deadline expired for them to leave the area where residents have grown increasingly hostile toward the Americans.

How Would Thomas Jefferson Solve the Fiscal Crisis?

Some founding fathers were no strangers to the sort of fiscal woes that Congress, under increasing pressure to solve the ever-worsening financial crisis, faces today. Thomas Jefferson, elected in 1800, inherited $83 million dollars worth of federal debt. His plan to get the fledgling United States out of the hole? Government spending cuts!

US in Afghanistan: Why throw more good money after bad?

Christian Science Monitor by Dan Murphy

The news today of two more US soldiers killed by an Afghan soldier armed and trained with American resources is a reminder that the US war there has gone off the rails.

With aid to Afghanistan, past performance is a predictor of future returns

Christian Science Monitor by Dan Murphy

In Afghanistan, it’s not so much that the US is failing to learn from history. It’s that it also seems to be failing to learn from the present. During the past decade of war there, billions of dollars of US spending have been stolen, squandered, or have simply disappeared into well-intentioned projects that were inappropriate for Afghan needs.

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