Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Kyrgyzstan unrest: another headache for America’s AFPAK war

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(U.S. soldiers inside an aircraft waiting to take off from Manas - Shamil Zhumatov)

(U.S. soldiers inside an aircraft waiting to take off from Manas - Shamil Zhumatov)

Some 50,000 U.S., multinational and coalition troops moved through a U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan last month on their way to Afghanistan as part of the surge, along with millions of gallons of fuel for the war effort, according to the U.S. department of defence.

It tells you just how pivotal Manas, the last remaining U.S. base in Central Asia, is to U.S. operations in Afghanistan just as the coalition prepares to launch an offensive in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said U.S. operations at the base appeared unaffected by the political unrest in Bishkek.

The price of greater Indian involvement in Afghanistan

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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is heading to India, and one of the things Washington is looking at is how can regional players such as India do more in Afghanistan. “As we are doing more, of course we are looking at others to do more,” a U.S. official said, ahead of the trip referring to the troop surge.

But this is easier said than done, and in the case of India, a bit of a minefield. While America may expect more from India, Pakistan has had enough of its bitter rival’s already expanded role in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Indeed, Afghanistan is the new battleground on par with Kashmir, with many in Pakistan saying Indian involvement in Afghanistan was more than altruistic and aimed at destabilising Pakistan from the rear.  Many in India, on the other hand, point the finger at Pakistan for two deadly bomb attacks on its embassy in Kabul.

from Tales from the Trail:

Is Afghan war one of necessity for U.S.?

Disengaging from Afghanistan is the option President Barack Obama is the least likely to adopt as he closes in on a new strategy in the eight-year war he calls one of "necessity."

AFGHANISTANBut on Thursday, at one of the countless policy conferences in Washington to discuss the president's choices, some experts suggested withdrawal was the best route -- and they said it would not necessarily impact efforts to fight al Qaeda.

from Tales from the Trail:

Protest resignation over Afghan plans puts Obama team on edge

On Monday, the State Department sent out its no. 2 official to tout how it was managing to get U.S. civilians out into the field in Afghanistan, with nearly 1,000 expected to be in place by year-end.

A day later, it was in damage control mode after the resignation of one of its star employees was plastered on the front page of The Washington Post and on the Internet.

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