January 18th, 2010
08:52 AM ET

Around the Web: What's behind the attack in Kabul

At least five people were killed during a militant attack in downtown Kabul Monday morning.  (Watch bomb explode behind correspondent in Iranian Press TV video)

Ben Arnoldy of the Christrian Science Monitor  has some early analysis of the possible motives behind the attack.

“The insurgency has felt pressure from several angles in recent weeks. The United States doubled down with more troops, and is signaling a major new offensive in the south,” Arnoldy writes.

 “The Afghan government, meanwhile, has begun talking up lavish new incentives of jobs and training for defectors. As for the Afghan people, which provide the oxygen for any insurgency, a poll last week found public support rebounding for Mr. Karzai.”

On Sunday, Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press reported that the U.S. is supporting an Afghan plan to lure militants away from the insurgency.

 “[U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan] said he talked with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday about a plan the government is crafting to offer jobs, vocational training and other economic incentives to tens of thousands of Taliban foot soldiers willing to switch sides after eight years of war,” Riechmann reports.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal’s Alistair MacDonald reports that the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has made it clear that the conference on Afghanistan planned for later this month will “will focus on directing international support based on priorities set by the Afghans themselves, and won't be a platform to lobby for increases in troops and aid for the country.”

 "The conference is not a pledging conference," Miliband is quoted as saying. "The test of the conference is whether or not it can fulfil its mission, which is to mobilize and coordinate international efforts for the priorities set out by the Afghan people.”  

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times): “All aboard – or discord – on Afghanistan?"

- Thomas Friedman (New York Times): “What’s our Sputnik?"

- Simon Koschut (Der Spiegel): “How to get out without forsaking Afghanistan’s stability"

- Nick Grono and Candace Rondeaux: “Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake

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