Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Tactical, not terminal

March 23, 2012

The predominant media narrative was pretty straightforward:  U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians, the Taliban respond by suspending participation in U.S.-sponsored Afghan peace talks. Game over.

Washington Extra – Talking with the Taliban

December 20, 2011

For most Americans and for many here in Washington, the idea that the United States could broker successful talks with the Taliban that lead to the end of the Afghan war is mind-bending. And yet, that is what senior U.S. officials have allowed themselves to entertain as 10 months of secret dialogue reach the point of breakthrough or collapse. It’s a small glimmer of hope where there once was none.

Petraeus says budget delays not affecting Afghan war… yet

March 18, 2011

The commander of international forces in Afghanistan is keeping a wary eye on budget battles in Congress these days.

A ‘critical moment’ in Afghanistan

July 5, 2010

U.S. General David Petraeus made no mention of July 2011 as he formally took command of international troops in Afghanistan fighting a growing Taliban insurgency.petraeus1

Obama’s approval rating dips in CBS poll

January 12, 2010

President Barack Obama, about to mark his one-year anniversary at the White House, has seen his job approval rating drop to 46 percent in a new CBS News poll, the lowest recorded in this particular poll. USA/

Afghan hearings takeaway: Charlie Wilson, swimming pools

December 2, 2009

They weren’t the most “important” words said today at congressional hearings on President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan war strategy, but the following snippets were memorable.

Obama uses V-word in Afghan speech, and we don’t mean victory

December 2, 2009

President Barack Obama uttered it four times in his speech at West Point about the way forward in Afghanistan.

The First Draft: Return from Dover

October 29, 2009

President Barack Obama returned in the early hours from a trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where he saluted the flag-draped caskets of 18 soldiers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed in Afghanistan this week. OBAMA/

Plan B for Afghanistan: cut and run?

September 22, 2009

In Monday’s blog, I looked at McChrystal’s recommendation for a significantly stepped up effort to stabilize Afghanistan, and a major shift in strategy to win over the Afghan people.

McChrystal report hits Obama with tough choices in Afghanistan

September 21, 2009

The general picked by Barack Obama to finish up the war in Afghanistan has presented the U.S. president with some hard choices.