On Saturday, Afghans will go to the polls to elect a new president, marking a critical turning point in Afghanistan’s history and our role in the country.
The Great Debate
The coverage on the impending Afghan presidential elections has been filled with death and chaos — the tragic shooting at the Serena hotel where an international election monitor was killed, the shocking attack on the Afghan Election Commission’s headquarters, the killing of a provincial council candidate and the news that several international monitoring groups are pulling out.
All war-torn countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, share a common characteristic — the absence or destruction of economic infrastructure. The lack of opportunity fuels frustration and unrest, giving violent actors an opening to destabilize fragile institutions.
Key parties to the conflict in Syria are meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday. The participants have been downplaying expectations that the “Geneva II” peace conference — which will bring together for the first time representatives from the Assad government and various rebel groups along with major international players — will resolve the conflict, or even bring about a ceasefire.
Twelve years ago this month, President George W. Bush issued an order authorizing the U.S. military to detain non-U.S. citizen “international terrorists” indefinitely, and try some of them in military commissions. Within two months, those seized in the “war on terror” following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan were being sent to Guantanamo Bay.
This is an excerpt from Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror, by Erik Prince, published this month by Portfolio.
Adding to an unenviable list of challenges that already includes earthquakes, sectarian violence and an economy teetering near collapse, Pakistan’s leaders are attempting to open a new round of high-stakes peace negotiations with homegrown insurgents, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
from David Rohde:
President Barack Obama will have to deliver one of the finest speeches of his presidency next Tuesday if he hopes to win Congressional support for a strike against Syria. Out of nowhere, the Syria vote has emerged as one of the defining moments of Obama’s second term.
In the week in which America opened the door for negotiations with the Taliban, three bloody massacres of school children — shot down simply because they wanted to go to school — raise grave questions about what kind of peace the Taliban offer.