The Long War


KABUL, Afghanistan — A U.S. senator leading a bipartisan delegation to Afghanistan called on President Barack Obama Saturday to announce a decision on his plans for future troop levels in the country on the assumption a much-delayed security pact eventually will eventually be signed with Kabul.

During a visit to Afghanistan, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire stressed no American forces would remain in the country without a bilateral security agreement, but she also said Obama shouldn’t wait for that to give an idea of what the U.S. presence would look like after the NATO-led combat mission ends at the end of this year.

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“The Grinning Generals” by Rob Crllly is a recent London Telegraph story all about the above photo of two generals, one Afghan, one American. Noting the identity of the pair — Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the new ISAF commander, and Maj. Gen. Abdul Raziq, the police chief of Kandahar “accused of corruption, drug running and, most extraordinarily of all, mass murder,” Crilly is incredulous that this unseemly embrace was not secretly snapped and smuggled to news media. On the contrary,it is an official US government handout.

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan released 65 accused militants from a former US prison on Thursday despite protests from the American military, which says the men are Taliban fighters who will likely return to the battlefield to kill coalition and Afghan forces. Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six U.S. service members were killed Tuesday when a helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, U.S. and NATO officials said.

One person on board the Black Hawk UH-60 was injured and survived, two U.S. defense officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record. The aircraft was an Army helicopter from an Army unit, but officials have not yet confirmed the identities nor the service branches of the individuals, a third official said.

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (or Levant) used eight suicide bombers in a complex assault today that targeted police and local government officials in western Iraq. The Iraqi al Qaeda branch has deployed at least 22 suicide bombers in Iraq so far this month.

Today’s complex attack took place in the western Iraqi town of Rawa in Anbar province. Three members of Rawa’s local council and three policemen were killed in the attack, AFP reported.
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, American and Afghan officials said. They were the latest casualties in a 12-year conflict that shows no signs of slowing down despite a draw down in foreign forces.

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(Reuters) – An Afghan wearing a security forces uniform shot dead three foreign special forces personnel on Saturday and wounded another, Afghan and Western military officials said, in the first apparent “insider attack” in several months.

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And: Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner

It’s hard to get our minds around the dimensions of the slaughter underway in the Middle East and Africa, and harder still to see that the battlefields of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria and Mali are pieces in a global war in which we are targeted.  For the most part, the deep thinkers zero in on the single battlefields.  What if anything should we do about the big fight in Egypt?  Should we assist the Syrian opposition?  What to do in Lebanon or Jordan? Should we respond positively to the Iraqi government’s request for security assistance?  Is anyone thinking hard about Tunisia, likely to be the scene of the next explosions?

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Nearly buried beneath the mid-summer hullabaloo over Anthony Weiner, the Zimmerman trial, the Snowden leaks and A-Rod’s drug woes was news that American support for the war in Afghanistan has hit an all-time low.

Moreover, and perhaps more astonishing in these days of hyper political polarization, Afghanistan is one area where there is remarkable bipartisan agreement:
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is considering speeding up its planned withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, including a possible “zero option” that would result in no U.S. forces in that country after 2014, the New York Times reported on Monday.

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