Sue's Feed
Aug 5, 2010

Pentagon tells WikiLeaks: “Do right thing”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon demanded on Thursday that whistle-blower web site WikiLeaks immediately hand over about 15,000 secret Afghan war records it had not yet published and erase material it had already put online.

“We are asking them to do the right thing,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell in asking WikiLeaks to hand over the U.S. documents and delete material it had put on the Internet.

Aug 4, 2010

U.S. uses Pakistan disaster to show commitment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States pledged on Wednesday a major effort to help millions hit by epic floods in Pakistan while also hoping to boost Washington’s image there as the country’s fragile government struggles with the crisis.

Experts said the disaster gave the Obama administration a rare chance to help reverse negative opinion of the U.S. role in the region, and also was an effort to counter extremist attempts to take advantage of the chaos caused by the floods.

Jul 29, 2010

Biden says no plans to nation-build in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday the United States was not in Afghanistan to “nation-build” but for the sole purpose of defeating al Qaeda in the border areas with Pakistan.

Under growing pressure over the unpopular and costly nine-year war, the Obama administration is grappling with how to measure success in Afghanistan for a review due in December of how President Barack Obama’s new strategy is working.

Jul 28, 2010

Holbrooke tries to ease lawmakers’ Afghan war fears

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – Richard Holbrooke, the top
U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, sought on Wednesday to
allay growing concerns in Congress over the course of the war,
saying the task is difficult but can succeed.

At a hearing on oversight of billions of taxpayer dollars
spent in Afghanistan, lawmakers listed concerns from specific
cases of corruption to the most basic question of whether the
nine-year-old war can be won.

Jul 26, 2010

Analysis: WikiLeaks fuels negative war debate for Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaked documents on the Afghanistan conflict, including accusations that U.S. ally Pakistan is helping the Taliban, further complicate President Barack Obama’s strategy at a time of mounting doubt over the war effort.

While Pakistan’s covert support for the Taliban has been reported for years, experts say that revelations about this support contained in documents made available by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks add to existing skepticism over the efficacy of the U.S. engagement with Pakistan.

Jun 21, 2010

U.S. report ties militancy to Pakistan school woes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pakistan’s poor public education system helps stoke militancy, while the religious schools often cited as a cause of extremism appear not to be a major risk factor, says a report by a Washington think tank.

The report, set to be released by the Brookings Institution on Wednesday, examined a raft of studies to assess links between militancy and education, a priority area for the Obama administration as it boosts development aid to Islamabad.

Jun 18, 2010

Afghan mineral gloss seeks to shift war narrative

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. defence officials this week breathlessly touted Afghanistan’s untapped mineral wealth as a rare good news story in what may be an attempt to reverse pessimism over the war and its outcome.

If the timing of the story is aimed at changing a negative tone in media reports of the nine-year conflict, experts questioned how Pentagon estimates of mineral riches worth more than a trillion dollars could be a game-changer anyway.

Jun 17, 2010

Afghan mining road show set for London on June 25

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan will promote its mining wealth at a “road show” in London on June 25, aiming to boost interest in its major iron ore deposit and other minerals, Kabul’s envoy to Washington said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Said Jawad said about 200 companies were expected to attend the London meeting where the Afghan Mines Ministry will give details of a tender due to be relaunched later this year for the Hajigak iron ore deposit west of Kabul and to drum up foreign interest in the nascent mining sector.

Jun 16, 2010

New survey points to major water problems in Kabul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s capital Kabul could face water shortages in the next 50 years, with wells likely to dry up due to rising temperatures associated with climate change, said a U.S. study released on Wednesday.

The U.S. Geological Survey study estimated drinking water needs in the Kabul basin area could rise sixfold in the next five decades because of rising population as refugees return and an increase in per capital water usage.

Jun 11, 2010

Slow Afghan gains weigh on Obama strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The slower pace of U.S. military advances in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar may weigh heavily on President Barack Obama’s efforts to sustain public support for the war in Afghanistan.

Obama has ordered a review of U.S. strategy in December and had been counting on progress in Kandahar, the Taliban’s birthplace, to show momentum is shifting and troops can start to pull out in July 2011 as planned.

    • About Sue

      "Sue Pleming covers foreign policy, with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. She joined Reuters in London in 1990 and was based in Brussels before moving to Washington, where her most recent post was covering the State Department. She started her journalism career in southern Africa and has also done reporting stints in Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi."
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