Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Afghanistan Debates, Costs Continue
U.S. and Afghan officials reached a deal over the presence of U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan’s Wardak province this week, though other disputes continue. Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin criticized the slow pace of the drawdown planned by the administration, and the intelligence community’s assessment of progress in Afghanistan is at odds with the Pentagon’s portrayal of the war.
Afghanistan War Costs to Continue for Decades
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
One of the big drivers of future war costs is medical and disability benefits for war veterans. These costs will continue for decades. According to new analysis by the Associated Press, the U.S. is still making payments to care for the veterans of the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War.
Levin: Remove U.S. Troops From Afghanistan Faster
Defense News by John T. Bennett
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., on Monday criticized President Barack Obama for opting to halt a “steady” removal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Cyclical nature of Afghan fighting may mask deeper trends, experts warn
McClatchy by Jay Price
For more than 11 years, U.S. and NATO troops have followed an odd annual rhythm, a pattern so obvious – whether measured in casualty figures or the number of insurgent attacks – that Pentagon officials, the soldiers on the ground and journalists alike casually refer to the annual “fighting season.”
Kabul drivers endure 900 miles of bad roads
Washington Post by Richard Leiby
Although the United States and its international partners shoveled billions of dollars into Kabul’s coffers for 11 years, Shah Bobo Jan Street is unpaved — just one small stretch of more than 900 miles of city roads and alleys that remain largely dirt. That’s the equivalent of a straightaway running from Washington to Des Moines.
US spy agencies more pessimistic on Afghan war
The US military habitually issues positive assessments of its progress in pushing back the Taliban and building up Afghan forces, but an annual report to Congress from the intelligence community was downbeat.
Spy Chiefs Point to a Much, Much Weaker Al-Qaida
Wired by Spencer Ackerman
Don’t ever expect the heads of the U.S.’ 16-agency spy apparatus to say it outright. But the testimony they provided Tuesday morning to a Senate panel described al-Qaida, the scourge of the U.S. for 12 years, as a threat that’s on the verge of becoming a spent force, if they’re not already.
Iraq’s lessons are there for the heeding
Washington Post by Walter Pincus
What many forget is that Iraq and Afghanistan also mark the first U.S. wars in which a president, first Bush and now President Obama, has not sought a war tax. The result: nearly $2 trillion in war expenditures put on the nation’s credit card.
U.S. should speed Afghan pullout
Baltimore Sun Letter to the Editor
Mr. President, may I strongly suggest that you accelerate your 2014 plans for evacuating our troops from Afghanistan and the surrounding areas which would provide for us Americans to happily witness our U.S.-led military coalition begin bringing home most of our 100,000 troops and tens of billions of dollars in equipment which would finally end this horrible 12-year-old war.