• Afghanistan

    Trump prepares to betray Afghan women and girls

    In the Trump administration’s haste to get US troops out of Afghanistan, is it going to leave millions of Afghans– especially women and girls– vulnerable to the tender mercies of the Taliban? It’s not looking promising. Former US ambassador Ryan Crocker writes: After the U.S. invasion in October 2001 ousted the Taliban for harboring the al-Qaeda planners of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the human toll from the Taliban rule is why the United States’ initial assistance efforts focused on people rather than things. I remember taking our first congressional visitor, Joe Biden (D-Del.), who was then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to visit a girls school that we…

  • Afghanistan,  UK Politics,  Vote 2016

    Sanders ≠ Corbyn (continued)

    Not only did Bernie Sanders vote as a congressman to authorize US military action in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, he approves of President Obama’s decision to keep thousands of troops in the country beyond 2016. “Well, yeah, I won’t give you the exact number. Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, and I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs,” he said. I suspect Sanders is aware that, as incompetent and corrupt as the Afghan government has been since the Taliban were ousted from control,…

  • Afghanistan,  Stateside

    Remembering Jared Monti

    On this Memorial Day in the US, I happened across the story of Jared Monti, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2009 for his heroism in trying to rescue a wounded fellow soldier in Afghanistan. Jared’s father told in a radio interview about driving his son’s pickup truck as a way of remembering him, and that turned out to be the inspiration for a hit country song: A good soldier and a good man: Jared suffered injuries from multiple parachute jumps in Kosovo, but declined a medical discharge and re-enlisted when he learned that his unit was being deployed to Afghanistan. While stationed at Fort Bragg, Monti…

  • Afghanistan

    Afghanistan according to Yvonne Ridley

    This is a cross-post from iramramzan (Yvonne Ridley. Photograph: Free Gaza Movement in 2005) On Monday, the last British soldiers were airlifted out of Camp Bastion,  a day after the end of Britain’s war in Afghanistan. This prompted many debates and discussions around the tumultuous thirteen years that have claimed the lives of many soldiers and civilians, British and Afghans alike. But according to Muslim convert and Respect party activist Yvonne Ridley, the war in Afghanistan was a total failure. On Twitter, she said: “So Taliban undefeated, no career women emerging from rubble & only success story is the rapid growth of opium in Afghanistan.” While the situation in Afghanistan…

  • Afghanistan

    Giving the Taliban the finger

    It’s a hopeful sign that Afghanistan is headed toward a peaceful, democratic transition of power, with turnout in Saturday’s election more than 50 percent higher than in the last presidential election in 2009. And I won’t miss Hamid Karzai much.

  • Afghanistan

    Member of Royal Family does something worthwhile

    CNN reports: Britain’s Prince Harry has acknowledged that he killed Taliban insurgents on his latest tour of duty in Afghanistan as a crew member of an Apache attack helicopter. Here are some of the reasons I approve. —Malala Yousafzai. —Fatwa opposing polio vaccinations. —Poisoning of hundreds of Afghan schoolgirls and their teachers. —Killing of the headteacher of a girls’ school near Kabul after he ignored warnings to stop teaching girls. Terry Glavin offers many more.

  • Afghanistan,  Vote 2012

    Credit to Eastwood

    I know I promised not to speak of Clint Eastwood’s remarkable performance Thursday at the Republican convention, but I do want to give him credit for one thing: he was, as far as I know, the only speaker to mention the war in Afghanistan. The renowned filmmaker suggested that invading Afghanistan was a foolhardy decision and teased Obama for it, even though it began under Bush. “You thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean, you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how they did there for 10 years,” Eastwood said to great laughter. Then, talking about Obama’s schedule…

  • Afghanistan

    Faces of hope

    This photo essay by Martin Middlebrook presents a more hopeful (though not blindly so) picture of Afghanistan’s present and possible future than we often get. Update: What a remarkable woman:

  • Afghanistan


    When David Cameron authorized the rescue operation for Linda Norgrove, there would have been awareness of the murder of previous British aid workers in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although there also would have been awareness of the inherent risk in any such action, it was ugly chance which led to her death. Thankfully, a similar rescue operation for British aid worker, Helen Johnson and her colleagues has reached a successful conclusion. Johnson had been abducted in north eastern Afghanistan at the end of May, and radio chatter had indicated that she and her colleagues were in imminent danger.