A U.S. Senate hearing on Thursday offered a grim assessment of the state of Marjah, almost three months after the major NATO offensive Operation Moshtarak began in the southern region.
Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Marjah does not appear to be a turning point in the overall mission in Afghanistan.
"A recent survey conducted by the International Council on Security and Development showed that a vast majority of villagers felt negatively about foreign troops and that more young Afghans had joined the Taliban over the last year," he said at the hearing. "Worse still were the reasons they had signed up with the Taliban: they said they joined because they had no jobs, because they had no money to get married or buy land, because they had no other future. In short, the coalition and their own government have not provided promising alternatives." FULL POST
Improvised explosive devices — or IEDs — are the No. 1 killer of NATO troops in Afghanistan. And although more than 40 nations are fighting in the ISAF coalition there, none of them have the kind of experience and resources the U.S. has in finding and eliminating these deadly bombs by insurgents.
The U.S. military put that expertise to use at a recent conference at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Germany to show dozens of its NATO partners the latest methods of combating IEDs as well as try to standardize the training and gear. FULL POST
The ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee says "there probably is a strong link" between Times Square car bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad and the Taliban in Pakistan.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra told CNN's American Morning on Thursday that he has drawn that conclusion from a number of sources.
"If this is accurate, it would be a game-changer," Hoekstra said.
"We're going to get much more aggressive and perhaps more creative in terms of how we gather intelligence to find the plots and find individuals to stop them," he said.