Friday, August 6, 2010

Zardari's trip to Europe fuels resentment as Pakistan reels from deadly floods

By Griff Witte
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- A politician with a 20 percent approval rating might not appear to have much to lose. (The Washington Post)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Taliban Exploit Openings in Neglected Province

Taliban Exploit Openings in Neglected Province

Deprived of jobs and government services, people in Baghlan Province are turning to the Taliban for speedy justice and work. (The New York Times)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pakistan Is Said to Pursue Role in Afghan Talks With U.S.

The offer, aimed at preserving Pakistan's influence once U.S. forces leave Afghanistan, is a departure from Pakistan's previous reluctance to approach the Taliban. (The New York Times)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Between the surge and the talks

By Dr Maleeha Lodhi
The writer is a former envoy to the US and the UK , and a former editor of The News

There were few surprises at the London conference on Afghanistan , except perhaps Iran 's decision to stay away on the grounds that the meeting's main purpose was to back the American troop surge.

Co-sponsored by Britain , Afghanistan and the UN, the conference aimed to launch a political track to accompany the military strategy announced last month by President Barack Obama. This was the sixth international conference since the military intervention of 2001 and took place against the backdrop of three strategy reviews by the Obama administration.

After a grim year in Afghanistan that saw record casualties, falling public support in America and Europe for the war and a tainted election that weakened President Karzai's authority, the conference was designed to inject momentum into the West's floundering Afghan project.

Attended by over 65 countries, the conference on Jan 28 sought as much to reassure Western publics that there was a way out of the war as to show international solidarity for Afghanistan .

The main consensus reached in London was around a plan for the transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces within five years and a pay-for-peace reintegration initiative to lure low- and mid-level Taliban out of the insurgency with jobs and other incentives to join the mainstream.

The dominant theme at the conference was reconciling with the Taliban. President Karzai announced plans for a process of reconciliation to include the Taliban leading to a peace jirga. The final communiqué, however, referred only to reintegration. This raised the question whether the outreach to the Taliban marked a change in course by the US-led coalition towards pursuing a political solution or just served as an appendage to a military strategy.

The strategy fashioned at the London conference to "align civilian and military resources" exposed several contradictions or inconsistencies:

* Between Western countries' need to tell their war-weary publics that they were seeking to wind down their military engagement and the conflicting message to the Taliban that US-NATO forces were not about to abandon the fight.

* Between a military surge and the planned acceleration in the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces.

* Between British prime minister Gordon Brown's five-year timeline to complete this transition and President Karzai's pronouncement that this could take 15 years.

* And, most significantly, between the military surge and political reconciliation. This raised the question whether the plan to escalate the war, instead of persuading the Taliban towards reconciliation, would give them an incentive to continue fighting – at a time when the movement is at its strongest since 2001.

Why would the Taliban switch allegiances if they felt their side was winning and give up fighting if they were being bombed?

The conference was unable to resolve these policy tensions. The muddled approach indicated uncertainty rather than a clear direction. It also reflected differences among coalition members, as also within the US administration itself. The latter was vividly illustrated by leaked cables from Washington 's envoy in Kabul , Karl Ikenberry, who questioned the wisdom of the surge and the inadequacy of Karzai as a strategic partner.

Significantly, no consensus has yet emerged on the issue of pursuing a negotiated settlement to dissipate the eight-year-old conflict by reaching an accommodation with the Taliban. This means that beyond the goal to reintegrate Taliban foot soldiers the international effort does not yet have a shared vision of a dialogue with Taliban leaders. Washington 's thinking on this issue has certainly been changing. Like the view of several coalition partners, notably President Karzai himself, many American officials believe that for the war to end, talks will ultimately have to take place with the insurgents for a political settlement. But the US has not reached the point where it is prepared to publicly acknowledge this or openly move in this direction.

This is evident from the stream of statements from US officials that followed the London conference, especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who sought repeatedly to distinguish between reintegration and reconciliation. She made it plain that the US "will be pursuing military action, going aggressively against the Taliban….but (supporting) an opportunity for those who choose to leave the fighting to re-enter society."

The US has also continued to press Pakistan to undertake kill-or-capture actions against the Afghan Taliban in North Waziristan and those belonging to the so-called "Quetta Shura."

Behind Washington 's public posture and its ramped up military effort is a policy debate that has been underway in the administration and with close NATO allies about the timing and modalities of talking to the senior commanders of the Taliban.

So far the view that has ascendancy in this debate is one that advocates an approach of surge now, talk later. This argues that until coalition forces are able to bolster their position militarily and talk from a position of strength, the Taliban will have no incentive to negotiate. Therefore, the surge and "reintegration" plan should first reverse the momentum, split the foot soldiers from the leadership and weaken and divide the Taliban before transitioning to "reconciliation."

Another view purportedly sees the present as the most propitious time to open negotiations. The Taliban have been confronted with the challenge of the surge, but with fighting yet to intensify. It is precisely because the Taliban feel that they are strong that they can be tempted to engage in the political process.

Similarly there are differing views on modalities: who to involve, what role to assign Pakistan and Saudi Arabia , and how to proceed. Internal debate on these questions in Washington is said to be informed by the consideration of wanting to stay firmly in the driver's seat whenever this process unfolds.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, it has already signalled that it can play a vital role in mediating with the Taliban once there is clarity about how and when to proceed. Interestingly, the debate within the government is how proactive Pakistan should be at a time when Washington 's thinking is still evolving and its decisions have yet to firm up on substance, timing and process.

The view that has prevailed for now is to wait until Washington has made up its mind and decided on a political framework for talks with the Taliban. The obvious question raised by this wait-and-see approach is how in the meantime Islamabad will deal with US expectations of cooperation with its military escalation strategy which will place it at odds with its potential role as an interlocutor with the Taliban.

While daunting challenges lie ahead in resolving the tensions in the US-led international effort in Afghanistan , there is an important aspect of the evolving situation that has attracted little attention in the media. This is India 's growing discomfiture over the emerging trend towards accommodation with the Taliban and the West's quest for an orderly exit from Afghanistan . Delhi 's worry over reconciliation – notwithstanding its foreign minister's feeble effort to signal conditional support – puts it at variance with the growing international consensus on the issue.

India could not have been pleased by the London Conference's failure to make headway in establishing the so-called regional stability council to coordinate efforts in Afghanistan . Pakistan 's insistence that only "immediate neighbours" should be included in such a framework, as well as Iran 's non-participation, meant that this part of the conference agenda fizzled out. Coming after Turkey agreed to Pakistan 's request to exclude India from the regional meeting it hosted, this development would also have left Delhi deeply worried.

India could react to this by trying to muddy the waters in Afghanistan once it sees that the reconciliation process could gather pace. This will only add to the many obstacles that lie ahead in stabilising the worn-torn country. The most pressing challenge, however, is to square the many circles that have persisted beyond the London conference and map out a viable – and agreed – strategy that offers Afghanistan a real chance of peace. (The News, Pakistan)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Indian officials fail to recognize the very existence of disputes: Dr. Maleeha Lodhi

ISLAMABAD: Eminent National Security expert and Pakistan’s distinguished diplomat Dr. Maleeha Lodhi has said that India sees a strong Pakistan as a constraint on India’s aspiration for great power status rivalling China. This drives India to make consistent efforts to undermine its neighbor. “Islamabad sees Delhi’s present interference in Balochisan is testimony of this. India also seeks to achieve the same objective by acquiring and asserting overwhelming military superiority over Pakistan. A critical part of this effort involves neutralizing Pakistan’s strategic deterrence capability.”

She has expressed the views in her rejoinder to Indian Prime Minister’s designate National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon appeared in the Harvard International Review magazine’s latest issue. The magazine also carried the write-up of Dr. Lodhi who has served Pakistan’s ambassador in the United States twice and high commissioner in the United Kingdom.

A journalist turned diplomat Dr. Maleeha Lodhi who is also fellow in Woodrow Wilson Centre has said in her rejoinder that Indian officials fail to recognize the very existence of disputes. According to Menon, there is no issue of contention between the two neighbors other than terrorism. Myths on both sides have complicated relations. But mythology often reflects a people’s collective recollection.

She said that Menon’s account glosses over harsh India-Pakistan realities, historical and current. The most significant historical reality is India’s military intervention in 1971, which culminated in Pakistan’s break-up. As for current realities, three-fourths of Indian forces are deployed against Pakistan. Indian military and political leaders regularly call for punitive military action against their nuclear neighbor. Naturally, such chauvinism finds a response in Pakistan.

“India’s rejection of Pakistan’s long-standing proposals for a South Asia strategic stability regime based on nuclear and conventional restraint highlights this, as do Indian efforts to deny Pakistan a similar civilian nuclear deal to that forged with the United States and actions that play up the danger and challenge the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

As for Kashmir, evidence suggests that most Kashmiris do not want Indian rule. Otherwise, Delhi would not have moved to brutalize Kashmir with over half a million troops,” she said.

Dr. Lodhi has posed a question that if India is confident of its democratic “soft power,” why not let the Kashmiris decide their own future as prescribed by UN Security Council Resolutions?

She said that terrorism challenges both countries. It would be easier for them to address these issues cooperatively if India would clarify that its counterterrorism policy is not designed to de-legitimize the Kashmiri freedom struggle and if root causes were addressed.

Finally, India’s offer to discuss Trade and other secondary issues seeks to deflect attention from the fundamental problems and achieve its aim of regional domination by other means. If Pakistan’s economic progress matters to India, then it should halt construction of various dams in violation of the Indus Water Treaty, which could turn parts of Pakistan into a desert. The path to a viable peace rests on addressing the underlying causes of tensions between these two neighbors.

She reminded that the neuralgic reactions in both India and Pakistan to the Sharm Al Sheikh joint statement of July 16, 2009 are a measure of the sensitivity and irrationality that dodge attempts to rework India-Pakistan relations, and of how fraught these relations are. I will offer an Indian perspective on why this is so.

“The usual explanation for the state of affairs between India and Pakistan is the complicated and unique circumstances that attended Pakistan’s birth. India-Pakistan relations are certainly sui generis. Unlike other states, Pakistan was born by partition, from India. To this fact is ascribed a host of ills, reflected in myths that prevail in each country. However, not all the problems between India and Pakistan can be attributed to historical events 60 years ago, events not experienced by the vast majority of the population of the two countries,” she said.

She said that instead, the decisions and choices made over time by both countries and the resultant changes in India, Pakistan, and the world influence their relationship today. As a result, the issues that divide the two countries have assumed a form that would be unrecognizable to the
generation that experienced partition.

She is of the view that the reality of India-Pakistan affairs is one of complicated state-to-state relations that obscure deep links, unfinished structural changes, and failed institutions in Pakistan’s polity, all within the most nuclear but least integrated neighborhood in the world. We must understand the basis for the troubled relations today, so that we can overcome contentious issues and look to a productive future.

Shiv Shankar Menon who retired as secretary external affairs of India July last and earlier served envoy of his country to Pakistan, China and Israel in his write-up stated in India certain inaccuracies about Pakistan purveyed. One is that Pakistan has a fundamental identity problem and therefore can define herself only in anti-Indian terms. Even if this were true 60 years ago, it is no longer so. Today, it is not difficult for others to tell Indians and Pakistanis apart. At the popular level there is little instinctive hostility or revulsion towards each other in Indian or Pakistani society. What one sees when Indians and Pakistanis are together is a common and spontaneous celebration of cultural affinities formed by a common history and geography rather than fear of the other. Many in India believe that the Pakistani army needs hostility towards India to justify its hold on power in Pakistan. This may have some validity, but the Pakistani army’s dominance over Pakistan’s internal political space has now lasted for so many years, and is so complete, that it should no longer need an external threat to justify its rule.

He said that the issue that Pakistan officially professes as the core of tensions is Jammu and Kashmir. However, Pakistani actions and the evolution of the Indian polity have transformed this contention. Pakistan’s attempt in 1999 to occupy and hold fresh territory and to ignite a popular uprising in Jammu and Kashmir effectively united the international community against a change in the status quo. The lack of any favorable popular response in Jammu and Kashmir confirmed the alienation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani cause as a result of Pakistani-sponsored militancy. Terrorism has given extremist groups a bad name and has marginalized local politicians who support them, as repeated successful elections to the state assembly and the Indian national parliament with ever increasing turnouts have shown. Elections also reveal the strength of a federal and plural democracy in dealing with separatism and militancy, even when emotive issues like religion are used as a pretext for political action.

Shiv Shankar Manon recalled that recognizing the changes in Jammu and Kashmir and its international context, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought to engage Pakistan in 2004 on the issue, making it clear that while no Indian government has a mandate to change borders, the lives of people on both sides of the line take priority. President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also agreed that confidence-building measures should be implemented, keeping in mind practical limitations. They agreed that possible options for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir be explored. Prime Minister Singh made it clear that while India is willing to look at various options, it would not agree to a redrawing of boundaries or to another partition of the country.

As a result of the bilateral dialogue begun in 2004, trade and travel began to cross Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since 1948. Intensive back-channel diplomacy also made considerable progress in charting a way forward that would enable the issue to be dealt with in humanitarian and
practical terms without affecting the territorial stance of each country or the legal validity of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India. The progress achieved in these discussions was considerable but not conclusive or formalized.

In a typical Indian way Shiv said that whether in the formal composite dialogue or back-channel diplomacy, Pakistan found it harder to think outside the box and to find creative solutions. On the Pakistani side these discussions were very closely monitored, conducted by a personal friend of President Musharraf who spoke for the President, but whose relationship with the rest of the Pakistani establishment was nebulous.

There were two Indian worries. One was whether future governments of Pakistan would respect agreements, since Pakistan is a country where orderly transfers of power from one government to the next are the exception rather than the rule. The other was whether the internally omnipotent Pakistan army was on board. The first question was never put to the test and remains unanswered.
All too soon the second was answered in the negative.

In March 2007, President Musharraf indicated that he could not operate on so many fronts at the same time and effectively put back-channel discussions with India on hold. Simultaneously cross-Line of Control (LOC) infiltration increased markedly, as did the number of ceasefire
violations by the Pakistan army under a new Chief. This was soon followed by the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7 and on Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

He contented that these attacks effectively put the dialogue process on hold, as India deals with the enhanced threat that it faces by seeking effective Pakistani action to both prevent future attacks and to punish the perpetrators of these attacks. Such action has yet to occur.
In retrospect, it would appear that the primary cause of the present standstill in formal India-Pakistan negotiations was domestic developments in Pakistan. Whether Pakistan is a failed or unfinished or fragmented state is a discussion for scholars. The practical problem for India and the world is how to deal with Pakistan are multiple centers of power and leadership. There has been some talk of the need for international involvement in the search for solutions to these issues. Such an attempt would neither help India-Pakistan relations, nor the people of Jammu and Kashmir. No outsiders can substitute for the absence of political will and agreement between India and Pakistan or overcome the domestic complications involved in this issue.

And experience shows that the first groups to welcome the prospect of such mediation are separatists and militants who lack a popular following. Foreign mediation would embolden militants and put at risk the progress that India and Pakistan have made bilaterally in the past, he added.
He is of the opinion that it would also help if both countries were to define their security in terms of their people’s welfare and not just in terms of the hard power of the state or in zero-sum military terms.

Every successful experience of overcoming differences and resolving problems in the rest of the world suggests that issues are easier to resolve when a cooperative atmosphere exists between the parties. Traditionally, India has sought to move forward on trade and other issues, but Pakistan has made progress on other questions conditional on a satisfactory resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue. The answer between 2004 and 2007 was to proceed simultaneously with both efforts, in the hope of building a cooperative atmosphere that would ease the solution of difficult political problems. Unfortunately, the hope for such an atmosphere generated by the composite dialogue from 2004 to 2007 is no longer evident, absent credible action by Pakistan on terrorism.

Shiv Shnkar Menon said that from an Indian perspective, foremost among the issues that divide India and Pakistan is terrorism. For Indians the dialogue with Pakistan, and the entire relationship, is predicated on an absence of violence against India from Pakistan, a sense that has hardened since cross-border terrorism began three decades ago. The 2004 resumption “Faced with a fragmented situation the logical answer would be to engage those elements in Pakistan that may share India’s interest in opposing extremism and terrorism and in promoting a peaceful democratic periphery.”

He alleged that despite the assurances, no state other than India has faced such a series of attacks from the territory of its neighbor, with complicity of official organs of that neighbor. In the last three years alone, since the multiple bombings on Mumbai suburban trains in July 2006, every major Indian city has been targeted in terrorist attacks linked to elements in Pakistan. The attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008 and on Mumbai on November 26-29, 2008 took the terrorist threat and capability to a new level. There can be no doubting the complicity of portions of the Pakistani establishment, namely the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and therefore the Pakistan army, in these attacks, and in the fact that the organizations and camps and other infrastructure continue to operate in Pakistan. Nor is there any sign that the Pakistan army’s recent actions against some Taliban groups in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) will be reflected in actions against terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, or others of their ilk, by whatever name, which target India.
At the same time no other state has responded to a sustained terrorist campaign of this nature with the sort of restraint and patience displayed by India, namely, without recourse to direct military options or retaliation.

He said that recognizing the nature of Pakistan’s polity, the Indian reaction to the Kabul and Mumbai attacks was to differentiate between the Pakistani people who are blameless, the democratic civilian government whom we expect to fulfill their responsibilities, and those responsible for orchestrating the attacks. And yet reports continue of fresh attacks being planned and mounted from Pakistan. Cross-LOC infiltration has reached levels unprecedented since the composite dialogue process resumed in 2004.

The policy challenge that this reality poses to India is therefore unique. As the international community is now discovering in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the absence of normal functioning state organs, and their association with sub-conventional terrorist threats, exposes the limits of the standard tools of state-to-state diplomacy and traditional coercive policies.
The utility of force, as states have presently configured it, is also an issue.
India has a broad congruence of goals with the present international coalition in Afghanistan, in terms of helping to build a moderate, democratic Afghanistan as a home for all her ethnic communities and citizens, and in isolating and eliminating the threat to global society from international terrorist groups based in Pakistan and Afghanistan. At the
same time, as Pakistan’s immediate neighbor, lacking the United States’ ties with the Pakistani army, India’s stakes and interests will necessarily is expressed uniquely. From our experience, it is the nexus between the Pakistani establishment and terrorist groups like the Taliban and Lashkare-
Taiba, that is the key to dealing with this menace.

He said that India’s experience also shows that the efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan will necessarily be a long haul, and that success requires action against the sponsors and safe havens used by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and their affiliates.

Segmentation, appeasement, or attempts to differentiate between groups that are ideologically and otherwise bound, or to reach local settlements as were tried in Swat, Waziristan, and Helmand, are bound to fail and embolden the enemy. The effect of such attempts has invariably been
to legitimize the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and their affiliates in the eyes of the ordinary people, who naturally feel that if the great powers are ready to accommodate such groups, they have no choice but to obey them?

Each of us has a tendency to project upon the other our own political experience and attitudes. For instance, Pakistani leaders speak about Indian intelligence agencies in terms of respect and awe that no Indian uses. We need to learn to recognize and factor in the differences in the Indian and Pakistani systems, and the effect that this has upon then relationship. No democratically elected Indian government can be insensitive to the very strong views of the Indian public on the need for real Pakistani action against terrorism from Pakistan. As another instance, we hear a great deal
from Pakistan of some form of India-Pakistan competition in Afghanistan, using outdated nineteenth century notions from the Great Game. These reflexive reactions fail to reflect the nature of India’s commitment to the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan, he said.

Shiv Menon said that the dilemma for Indian policy is to craft a credible and workable response to existing threats, including that of more Mumbai-like attacks from Pakistan, while attempting to work for a more normal relationship with Pakistan. And this is to be achieved when Pakistan’s internal condition appears increasingly fragile. There is a real risk of radical elements gaining ascendancy in Pakistan, and its army cannot remain perpetually insulated from the society around it. ISI links with jihadi groups and the Taliban continue to work in both directions. Democracy remains fragile and has led to the emergence of multiple centers of power, further weakening the formal organs of state authority.

To this volatile mix is added the fact of a nuclear weapons program that has already proliferated both horizontally and vertically. While a stable India-Pakistan relationship is in both countries’ interest, it is hard to see how that is possible in this atmosphere and while cross-border terrorism continues.

Faced with a fragmented situation the logical answer would be to engage those elements in Pakistan, such as the civilian democratic leadership, that may share India’s interest in opposing extremism and terrorism and in promoting a peaceful democratic periphery. This would require a controlled and limited dialogue focused on terrorism, as successive governments of India of all political hues have consistently attempted. The successes of the composite dialogue process and back-channel diplomacy have not yet been enough to guarantee an absence of terrorist violence from Pakistan. Nor have they brought India-Pakistan relations to an acceptable level.

At the same time, the alternatives to a controlled and limited dialogue, of war or isolation, are either worse or counterproductive and would leave the field open to terrorist and extremist groups and their sponsors.

The paradox is that while there is no alternative to dialogue, it is and cannot be the entire answer to India’s dilemma. At the same time, one should not exaggerate the significance of Pakistan to India. Often arguments about India-Pakistan tensions being dangerous because both are nuclear weapon states, or threats of a Taliban-controlled Pakistan, are just that, namely, arguments used to provoke the desired response. Besides, real solutions to such issues are hardly likely to be found in full public view. Furthermore, there is a larger asymmetry that operates between India and Pakistan which might be called the vision deficit.

India has been relatively clear and open since the 1940s in enunciating a grand strategy for her foreign policy that attempts primarily to develop her own society and economy and seeks to use foreign policy to maximize this welfare function, while building strategic autonomy.
With Pakistan as well, it has been the Indian practice to outline a broader vision of the relationship and to describe the sort of relationship that India wishes to enjoy with Pakistan.

I am not aware of a similar description by a Pakistani leader of a larger or longer-term vision for a relationship with India since Jinnah’s 1947 statement that Pakistan should be to India as Canada is to the United States.

The vision deficit matters because the issues that divide both countries would be easier to solve if they shared a common goal or purpose or vision of the sort of relationship to build in the future. In theory, one could envisage several futures for India and Pakistan, ranging from outright hostility to a cold peace to active cooperation to regional economic integration or even Lohia and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s idea of confederation. It would certainly be useful if India and Pakistan agreed on where we wish to be on that spectrum.

Pakistan has allowed an obsession with India and Afghanistan to destroy her own polity and internal balance.
India must not allow an obsession with Pakistan to do the same to her foreign and domestic policies. For India, (and, I dare say, for Pakistan as well though to a lesser extent), the real issues are elsewhere. India’s overriding task is her own domestic transformation, as is Pakistan’s. Pakistan thus represents a unique challenge to Indian statecraft. If our unsatisfactory experience is any guide, it requires the crafting of an Indian approach mixing traditional and new methods, the shape of which is still to emerge.

India and Pakistan each has its own wisdom for why the countries’ relations are unsatisfactory. To an outside observer, these ideas appear to be self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling myths, he concluded.
(Courtesy: Jang/The News, Pakistan)

A Look at America's New Hope: The Afghan Tribes

Afghanistan is built on its tribes. How they work. How power flows. Who matters most. (The New York Times)

Evidence grows that Pakistani Taliban leader is dead

By Haq Nawaz Khan and Pamela Constable
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN -- Evidence mounted Monday that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, an extremist Islamic militia with close links to al Qaeda and a record of major suicide bombings, has died of burns and other injuries he received during a recent U.S. missile strike in Pakistan's northwest tr... (The Washington Post)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pakistani Taliban Leader Is Reported Dead

A report on state-run TV that Hakimullah Mehsud had died in a drone strike set off a storm of speculation about the fate of Pakistan's chief domestic enemy. (The New York Times)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taliban denies it met with U.N. envoy

By Joshua Partlow
KABUL -- The Taliban on Saturday denied meeting with the United Nations' special representative in Afghanistan and vowed to persist in its war "against the invaders." (The Washington Post )

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Attacked CIA facility supported drone strikes

By Joby Warrick and Pamela Constable
The CIA base attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan this week was at the heart of a covert program overseeing strikes by the agency's remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, officials familiar with the installation said Thursday. (The Washington Post)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pakistani army eager to show progress in fight against Taliban

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pakistan: Militants attack 2 anti-Taliban figures

Saturday, November 14, 2009

High Costs Weigh on Troop Debate for Afghan War

The budget implications of President Obama's decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say. (The Washington Post)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Challenger poised to quit race

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bombings kill 8 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan