from Photographers' Blog:

Christmas in Afghanistan

December 21, 2012

Baghlan, Afghanistan

By Fabrizio Bensch

There are thousands of miles that separate the German soldiers in Afghanistan from home.  For up to one year, they may be stationed in Afghanistan, but for most of them no more than four to five months.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

At war’s end, ramping up drone strikes in Afghanistan

December 19, 2012

The United States carried out more drone strikes in Afghanistan this year than it has done in all the years put together in Pakistan since it launched the covert air war there eight years ago.  With all the attention and hand wringing  focused on the operations in Pakistan, it's remarkable that such a ramp-up just over the border has gone virtually unnoticed.

from The Human Impact:

Malala: An icon for millions of girls who want to learn

December 12, 2012

When it happened two months ago, it shocked the world. Masked Taliban gunmen stopped a school bus filled with children in northwestern Pakistan, boarded it and shot 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head and neck as she sat in the bus with her friends.

from The Great Debate:

Obama faces only hard choices in Mideast

By Aaron David Miller
December 6, 2012

The conventional wisdom in Washington these days is that a newly empowered president, freed from the political constraints of reelection, will have more discretion, drive and determination to take on the Middle East’s most intractable problems.

from Expert Zone:

Exit Afghanistan?

By Jaswant Singh
November 15, 2012

The opinions expressed are his own

In his victory speech to a rapturous crowd in Chicago following his re-election, President Barack Obama affirmed that America’s "decade-long conflict" in Afghanistan will now end. The line was greeted with prolonged applause -- and understandably so. In fact, this ill-advised war -- launched on the basis of a United Nations Security Council resolution -- has been grinding on for 11 years, making it the longest in American history.

from The Great Debate:

Petraeus: A loss of real military standards

By Thomas E. Ricks
November 12, 2012

 The sudden departure of General David Petraeus from the CIA probably tells us more about the state of our nation than it does about Petraeus. President Barack Obama should not have accepted his resignation.

from India Insight:

India stepping up to the challenge of post-2014 Afghanistan

November 12, 2012

Racing through the deserted streets of Kabul at nighttime, you are likely to be stopped at street corners by policemen once, twice or even more. If you are a South Asian, as I am, their guard is up even more. "Pakistani or Indian?" the cop barks out as you lower your window. When I answer "Indian", he wants me to produce a passport to prove that, and as it happens, I am not carrying one. So I am pulled out of the car in the freezing cold and given a full body search, with the policemen muttering under his breath in Dari that everyone goes around claiming to be an Indian, especially Pakistanis.

from The Great Debate:

Why ‘peace’ was catchphrase in presidential debate

By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
October 23, 2012

Foreign policy attempted to take center stage at the presidential debate Monday evening but failed resoundingly. For the candidates agreed to agree on a number of key issues -- the timeline for ending America’s longest war, support for Israel, and the importance of diplomacy and sanctions in Iran. Nation-building at home trumped nation-building abroad, and small business won as many mentions from the nominees as the death of Osama bin Laden. It was no accident that the contenders talked about teachers more than Libya.

from Ian Bremmer:

Four Debate Questions for Obama and Romney

By Ian Bremmer
October 22, 2012

There will always be a wide gap between what candidates promise and what they deliver once elected, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. After all, this is an area where U.S. presidents have less control than either candidate will ever admit near a microphone. But this year, there are contradictions that cut straight to the heart of debates over American power and how it should be used. With that in mind, here are the questions I would like to see each candidate answer.

from The Great Debate:

Can Romney put foreign policy in play?

By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
October 5, 2012

This piece was updated after GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s major foreign policy address on Monday. It reflects Romney’s remarks.