Mission Failure: Afghanistan

Imagine for a moment that almost once a week for the last six months somebody somewhere in this country had burst, well-armed, into a movie theater showing a superhero film and fired into the audience. That would get your attention, wouldn’t it? James Holmes times 21? It would dominate the news. We would certainly be … Continue reading “Mission Failure: Afghanistan”

Soft Necks Will Not Be Slaughtered

July 29, 2012 Abdulhai remembers his father being killed by the Taliban. “Anyone who takes up a weapon in revenge, whether the Talib or any other, is acting like the Talibs who murdered my father,” he says, in a matter-of-fact way. “The solution does not lie in taking revenge, but in people coming together like … Continue reading “Soft Necks Will Not Be Slaughtered”

The Sky as It Falls

Kabul – For the Afghan Peace Volunteers, living in a working class area of Kabul’s “Karte Seh” district, daily problem-solving requires a triage process. Last week, upon arrival, I looked at the sagging ceilings over the kitchen, living room, and entryway and felt certain that shifting to new living quarters should be the top priority. … Continue reading “The Sky as It Falls”

Wars Have Unpredictable and Dangerous Collateral Effects

The recent bloodless (referring to American blood — the most important to U.S. policymakers) overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya has been touted as a low-cost model for future U.S. military interventions. The recent Libyan election is said to have vindicated America’s “leadership from the rear” strategy — supporting indigenous armies on the ground and … Continue reading “Wars Have Unpredictable and Dangerous Collateral Effects”

Experts See New US-Pakistan Supply Accord as Tenuous

As NATO supply convoys began crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan for the first time in more than seven months Thursday, analysts warned that the reopening of the key route does not necessarily signal a new dawn in the fraught relations between Washington and Islamabad. The agreement, which will save NATO countries, especially the U.S., hundreds … Continue reading “Experts See New US-Pakistan Supply Accord as Tenuous”

Till Death Do Us Part

“Do you do this in the United States? There is police action every day in the United States…. They don’t call in airplanes to bomb the place.” – Afghan President Hamid Karzai denouncing U.S. airstrikes on homes in his country, June 12, 2012 It was almost closing time when the siege began at a small … Continue reading “Till Death Do Us Part”

Did Anyone Ever Bother to Get the Pakistani Perspective?

The U.S. targeting of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the number-two man in al-Qaeda, continues the American quest to kill its way out of its terrorist problem using pilotless drones, Special Forces raids, and other secret methods. Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of the U.S. military’s central command and author of its counterinsurgency manual, used to believe … Continue reading “Did Anyone Ever Bother to Get the Pakistani Perspective?”

Ryan Crocker Slips Quietly Away

Washington’s foreign policy elite loves to mock the overuse of the cliché “graveyard of empires,” but it seems as though the last decade of our increasingly failed bid in Afghanistan is littered with lackluster epitaphs for American generals, envoys and diplomats. In other words, they come, they go, and Afghanistan still stands as a paradox … Continue reading “Ryan Crocker Slips Quietly Away”

No One Hears the Poor

Here in Kabul, Voices co-coordinator Buddy Bell and I are guests at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV), where we’ve gotten to know four young boys who are being tutored by the volunteers in the afternoons, having “retired” from their former work as street vendors in exchange for a chance to enter a … Continue reading “No One Hears the Poor”