Tales from the Trail

from Afghan Journal:

Engaging the Afghan Taliban: a short history

March 17, 2010

(The niche that once held a giant Buddha, in Bamiyan. Picture by Omar Sobhani)

(The niche that once held a giant Buddha, in Bamiyan. Picture by Omar Sobhani)

For those pushing for high-level political negotiations with the Afghan Taliban to bring to an end to the eight-year war,  two U.S. scholars  in separate pieces are suggesting a walk through recent history  The United States has gone down the path of dialogue with the group before and suffered for it, believing against its own better judgement in the Taliban's promises until it ended up with the September 11, 2001 attacks, says  Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute in this article in Commentary.

Is Holbrooke’s “bulldozer” style working?

March 12, 2010

Dubbed the “bulldozer” for his tough guy tactics in Balkan negotiations, U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke has been making waves in South Asia recently.

Beyond the talk show fireworks, Cheney supported some Obama decisions

February 15, 2010

Former Vice President Dick Cheney swapped barbs with Vice President Joe Biden on the morning talk shows Sunday.

How Obama’s Nobel speech played in Washington

December 10, 2009

NOBEL-OBAMA/For a man who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, President Barack Obama didn’t look all that happy as he strode to the lectern in Oslo. He had that downturned smile that was almost an acknowledgement of all the critics who say the award is premature — especially for a commander-in-chief who has just vowed to send 30,000 more U.S. troops into harm’s way in Afghanistan.

What rift? Eikenberry, McChrystal take vows of unity

December 8, 2009

They smiled at each other and publicly said “I do.”

USAGeneral Stanley McChrystal and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, widely reported to have had a falling-out over sending  30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, on Tuesday pledged their support for President Barack Obama’s strategy and for each other.

What trumps a car bomb, a blizzard and a trip to Kabul?

December 8, 2009

GOLF-PGA/If you watched U.S. morning television or went online early today, you already know the answer to this media riddle. Top stories — a deadly car-bombing in Baghdad, a massive winter storm rolling across the United States and an unannounced flight to Afghanistan by Defense Secretary Robert Gates – took a back seat to a new development in the tabloid tale of Tiger Woods.

Public forecast for Afghan strategy – stalemate

December 7, 2009

Americans have doubts over whether President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy will ultimately result in victory, but a majority say the war is morally justified.

Rise and Fall, according to Murtha

December 2, 2009

Great powers rise and fall.

And a powerful member of the House of Representatives, mindful of this, fears the United States could be swamping itself in Afghanistan’s rugged terrain, a graveyard of foreign forces. USA/

The First Draft: Afghanistan inspires Freudian slips about that other battlefield – Iraq

December 2, 2009

President Barack Obama may have invoked Vietnam to banish that ugly specter of defeat from his shiny new Afghan strategy. But a day later, Iraq seems to be the wartime nightmare dogging two congressional veterans of the Bush wars.

Senator Leahy takes Obama to task over landmines

December 1, 2009

With President Barack Obama poised to order more U.S. troops into Afghanistan, a senior U.S. senator hammered the administration Tuesday for not joining an international treaty banning landmines.