Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra

wikileakIn many ways the documents released by WikiLeaks last night merely underscored the bleak assessment of the Afghan war which General Stanley McChrystal issued last August.

At the time McChrystal warned the overall situation was “deteriorating”, complained of “under-resourcing” and called for not just more resources but a “fundamentally new approach” from NATO forces if failure were to be avoided.

McChrystal, who had access to a whole lot more information than WikiLeaks, said the Taliban were aided by “elements of some intelligence agencies” -- meaning the Pakistanis -- something US officials have been saying for years. He talked of a popular “crisis of confidence” with the government of Afghanistan and warned that the steady stream of civilian casualties had to be stemmed.

The administration is arguing these documents, which date until December 2009, are merely an account of the failures of former President George W. Bush’s policy, and in many ways they have a point.

from Tales from the Trail:

McChrystal gets to keep his 4 stars

mcchrystalGeneral Stanley McChrystal will go out with all the benefits of a four-star general, even though he hasn't been in the position long enough to retire with that rank.

McChrystal was fired last week as the top U.S. commander  in Afghanistan. President Obama relieved McChrystal of his command after the general and his aides were quoted in a "Rolling Stone" article disparaging the president, vice president and top White House advisers involved in the war effort.

from Tales from the Trail:

U.S. officials seek to shelve Karzai tensions

Tensions, what tensions?

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew arrived back from Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday, touting the performance of several ministers in Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government.

OBAMA-AFGHANISTANHis visit came at a particularly tense time in U.S.-Afghan relations after Karzai made some corrosive statements in recent weeks against his donors, blaming the West for much of the corruption in his country and drawing critical comments from the White House.

from Tales from the Trail:

Will latest polls weigh on Obama?

President Barack Obama summoned his war council today for what may be a pivotal meeting as he decides what to do in Afghanistan. OBAMAWhile Obama weighs up his options on whether to send in more troops -- with most money on about 30,000 more -- he might also glance at the latest round of public opinion polls on Afghanistan.One by the Pew Research Center put Obama's favorable job rating on Afghanistan at 36 percent, sharply down from 49 percent in July.On troop levels in Afghanistan, 40 percent say there should be fewer U.S. soldiers, 32 percent approve of an increase while 19 percent say current troop levels are satisfactory.A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today found that 56 percent of respondents opposed sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan while 42 percent supported additional forces.Which way are you leaning? More troops, less, the same? Stay, go, the status quo? As commander-in-chief, will Obama go the way of Goldilocks and take the middle road, or will there be a surprise?Click here for more Reuters political coveragePhoto credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama making statement about Fort Hood shootings)

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