Monday, August 31, 2009

Seven Days That Shook Afghanistan

At the end of a violent week, doubts about the legitimacy of the election may cost more than battle losses. Troops can't replace faith in the government. (The New York Times)

Many Women Stayed Away From the Polls In Afghanistan

By Pamela Constable
KABUL, Aug. 30 -- Five years ago, with the country at peace, traditional taboos easing and Western donors pushing for women to participate in democracy, millions of Afghan women eagerly registered and then voted for a presidential candidate. In a few districts, female turnout was even higher than... (The Washington Post)

U.S. General Calls for New Strategy Against Taliban

KABUL -- The commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan said Monday in an assessment of the war that a new strategy was needed to fight the Taliban, while NATO officials disclosed he is expected to separately request more troops. (The Washington Post)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Increasing Accounts of Fraud Cloud Afghan Vote

International election observers who have been working for months in Afghanistan said the problem was systemic and institutional corruption.(The New York Times)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Karzai Using Rift With U.S. to Gain Favor With Afghans

As American concerns mount about reports of widespread electoral fraud, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is portraying himself as the one candidate willing to stand up to the United States. (The New York Times)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Message to Muslim World Gets a Critique

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a military journal that government efforts to counter Islamist ideology "lack credibility." (The New York Times)

Accusations Of Vote Fraud Multiply in Afghanistan

By Joshua Partlow and Pamela Constable
MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan -- One week after Afghanistan's presidential election, with the winner still undeclared, increasing accusations of fraud and voter coercion threaten to undermine the validity of the results, deepen dangerous regional divisions and hamper the Obama administration's goal... (The Washington Post)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Alleged Drug Ties of Top Afghan Official Worry U.S.

The dilemma of how to grapple with Gen. Mohammad Qasim Fahim, President Hamid Karzai's running mate, says much about the struggle the U.S. has had in dealing with corruption in Afghanistan. (The New York Times)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Afghanistan, Political Test for Obama

By Scott Wilson and Joshua Partlow
President Obama is caught between two important constituencies as he recalibrates his policy in Afghanistan -- the generals who want more troops, and the base of his own party, whose tolerance for a worsening conflict is quickly evaporating. (The Washington Post)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mullen: Afghan Fight 'Serious and Deteriorating'

By Karen DeYoung
The situation in Afghanistan is "serious and deteriorating," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen said Sunday, as the Obama administration awaits an assessment by the new U.S. commander there and a possible request for more troops. (The Washington Post)

Friday, August 21, 2009

U.S. Fears Rifts if Afghanistan Vote Goes to Runoff

Rather than demonstrate stability justifying an expanded American commitment in Afghanistan, the election underscored the challenges that the country faces. (The New York Times)

U.S. drone strike kills 12 in Pakistan

By Haji Mujtaba
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles into Pakistan's North Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Friday, killing at least a dozen people, Pakistani intelligence agency officials said. (The Washington Post)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Afghans Vote, Against Backdrop of Threats

By Pamela Constable and Joshua Partlow
KABUL, Aug. 20 -- Defying Taliban threats to bomb polling stations and maim voters, millions of Afghans cast ballots Thursday in a presidential election that was relatively peaceful and orderly despite widespread predictions of violence and fraud. (The Washington Post)

Biography claims Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto were romantically involved

A new biography of Imran Khan has claimed the former international cricketer and Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated former Prime Minister of Pakistan, were romantically involved while they were both students at Oxford University.(The Telegraph )

Search for the real villain of Partition divides India again

In Pakistan he is known as Quaid-e-Azam or "Great leader". But in India, and beyond, there are those who have considered Mohammad Ali Jinnah as little more than a criminal, a man whose unyielding insistence on a separate country for Muslims led to the brutal division of a nation and... (The Independent)

Going Jinnah’s way

The expulsion of former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh from the Bharatiya Janata Party could not have come as a surprise to him. He had said last week that having written an adulatory account of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his seminal book on the Quaid-i-Azam, he was ‘prepared for the noose.’ (Dawn)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'We Don't Have Any Alternative to Karzai'

By Joshua Partlow
BATI KOT, Afghanistan, Aug. 18 -- From the gravel lot where he repairs cars, Babarak Shinwari can see the spot where the suicide bomber killed three of his cousins last year. At his home nearby, where his four children live without electricity, he says he prays to God for a president who can bring... ('The Washington Post)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Threats by Taliban May Sway Vote in Afghanistan

The insurgents' campaign against this week's election may cost President Hamid Karzai vital support from his fellow Pashtuns. (The New York Times)

Pentagon Worries Led to Command Change

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
In mid-March, as a White House assessment of the war in Afghanistan was nearing completion, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met in a secure Pentagon room for their fortnightly video conference with Gen. David D. McKiernan, the top... (The Washington Post)

Ahead of Vote, Afghans in U.S. Backing Candidates From Afar

By Tara Bahrampour
Late at night, after he gets home from his job managing an Afghan restaurant in Alexandria, Mir Farid Hashimi makes long-distance calls, trying to convince relatives in Afghanistan that despite the hard times there, Hamid Karzai should keep leading the country. (The Washington Post)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pre-Vote Blast in Kabul Signals Taliban Intent

By Joshua Partlow
KABUL, Aug. 15 -- A suicide car bombing outside the U.S. military headquarters in Afghanistan's capital Saturday was the most serious indication yet of the Taliban's designs to disrupt Thursday's presidential election through violence. (The Washington Post)

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Helmand, Caught Between U.S., Taliban

By Ann Scott Tyson
MIANPOSHTEH, Afghanistan -- U.S. Marines pushing into Afghanistan's southern Helmand province are running up against a skeptical Afghan population heavily influenced by Taliban insurgents, signaling a long campaign ahead. (The Washington Post)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

U.S. Ambassador Seeks More Money for Afghanistan

By Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe
The United States will not meet its goals in Afghanistan without a major increase in planned spending on development and civilian reconstruction next year, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul has told the State Department. (The Washington Post)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Afghanistan's story is like a Greek tragedy: Riaz M Khan

Analysts Expect Long-Term, Costly U.S. Campaign in Afghanistan

By Walter Pincus
As the Obama administration expands U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, military experts are warning that the United States is taking on security and political commitments that will last at least a decade and a cost that will probably eclipse that of the Iraq war. (The Washington Post)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pakistan's No. 1 Enemy: Ex-Ally Bent by Al Qaeda

The terrorist reportedly killed in a missile strike on Wednesday is perhaps the most prominent example of a Taliban fighter who turned against his country. (The New York Times)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pakistan Taliban Chief May Have Been Killed

By Joby Warrick
Baitullah Mehsud, the al-Qaeda-allied Taliban commander who rose to become one of Pakistan's most feared terrorists, may have been killed in a U.S. airstrike inside Pakistan this week, U.S. officials said Thursday. (The Washington Post)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Officials: Taliban chief's wife killed by missile

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan -- A suspected U.S. missile strike killed a wife of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud at his father-in-law's house Wednesday, Pakistani intelligence and military officials said. (The Washington Post)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pakistan Christians shut schools to mourn killings

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani Christians have closed their schools and colleges across the country for three days starting Monday to mourn and protest the killings of eight of their religious brethren, leaders of the minority community said. (The Washington Post)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pakistan Valley Tries to Heal, and Fears Dark Battles Ahead

Since residents returned to the Swat Valley after the army fought the Taliban, there are signs that a new insidious conflict may be afoot and that it could take months to play out. (The New York Times)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

'You Have to Learn This Now'

By Pamela Constable
KABUL -- On a bleak and sweltering plain littered with rusty Soviet tanks, pairs of grimacing military recruits crawled beneath a barbed-wire net one recent morning, dragging their rifles through the dust. Two trainers followed, shouting at them to move faster and stooping to correct their moveme... (The Washington Post)