January 6th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Around the Web: More details emerge about suicide bomber

The brother of the suicide bomber who killed eight people at a U.S. base in Afghanistan last week told CNN his sibling's actions were "out of character" and that the man was "under pressure."

Greg Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports that the suicide bomber “had never been to the compound or met with agency operatives before the attacks.”

The absence of any previous encounter adds to the confusion over how the attacker - posing as an informant with valuable information on Al Qaeda - was able to make it past security with a bomb apparently strapped to his body and lure seasoned CIA operatives to their deaths last week.”

Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times reports that the bomber “was considered by American spy agencies to be the most promising informant in years about the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s top leaders.”

“American intelligence officials said Tuesday they had been so hopeful about what the Jordanian might deliver during a meeting with C.I.A. officials last Wednesday at a remote base in Khost that top officials at the agency and the White House had been informed that the gathering would take place.”

The New York Times’ Eric Schmitt reports Wednesday that “the military’s effort to build a seasoned corps of expert officers for the Afghan war, one of the highest priorities of top commanders, is off to a slow start.”

 The groundbreaking program is meant to address concerns that the fight in Afghanistan has been hampered by a lack of continuity and expertise in the region among military personnel.”

Schmitt reports that officers have been reluctant to join the program out of fears that it could hurt their hopes to advance through the ranks of the military.

Kai Eide, the United Nations representative in Afghanistan, expressed fears about the Taliban and “negative trends,” in the country, the BBC reported. Eide’s term ends in March and the comments were made in his final address to the UN.

I am worried about increasing frustration in the Afghan public over what they see as expectations that have not been met, Eide said, according to the BBC. “And I'm worried about the difficulties of the international and Afghan forces in putting the insurgency on the defensive.”

"If these negative trends are not reversed - and reversed soon - then there is a risk that they will... become unmanageable."

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- Anthony Cordesman (Center for Strategic and International Studies): “Why the war is at a crisis stage

- The Economist: “Afghanistan: Deeper in the mire

- CBS News: “How the ‘hungry’ CIA let down its guard"

 - Nathan Hodge (Wired): "Spies Like Us: Top U.S. Intel Officer Says Spooks Could Learn From Journos"

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