June 30th, 2010
12:55 PM ET

Petraeus confirmed by Senate

The Senate has voted unanimously to confirm Gen. David Petraeus as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

Petraeus was tapped by President Obama to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his duties last week after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

Filed under: Petraeus
June 30th, 2010
10:51 AM ET

Your view: Success in Afghanistan

The situation in Afghanistan is intensifying. Record coalition troop deaths in June. Tumult and transition among the war's leadership. Another Taliban attack, this time on the Jalalabad airport.

Last week, Gen. David Petraeus told CNN that he supports President Barack Obama's July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a key point of contention between the president and many of his Republican critics in Congress.

What do you think? Will the U.S. meet the July 2011 date? How do you think the government should define success? How would you define success in Afghanistan?

Filed under: Your View
June 30th, 2010
10:27 AM ET

Taliban attacks airfield

Taliban insurgents attacked Jalalabad Airfield in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, hitting the entrance of the facility with a car bomb, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, said a statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force. FULL POST

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Filed under: Taliban
June 30th, 2010
10:13 AM ET

101 coalition casualties this month in Afghanistan

The June death toll for NATO-led forces reached 101 on Wednesday, the highest ever in a single month since the war began almost nine years ago. The deadliest month previously had been August, 2009, when 79 soldiers died.

A member of the international coalition fighting in Afghanistan died Wednesday of wounds sustained in an insurgent small arms attack in eastern Afghanistan, the military said. And U.S. Sgt. John M. Rogers, 26, of Scottsdale, Arizona, died Sunday of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.

The number of U.S. and coalition casualties in June has now climbed to 101, a CNN count shows.

Last week, June became the deadliest month of the nine-year Afghan war for coalition troops when the death toll hit 80.

The grim milestone comes amid tumult among the war's leadership, with top military commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal exiting over disparaging comments he made about civilian officials in a magazine interview. He will be replaced by Gen. David Petraeus, now head of U.S. Central Command and the architect of the surge strategy in the Iraq war.

MORE: Home and Away: Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq – explore the faces of the fallen and send your tributes

Photo at top: At a patrol base in Helmand province, British soldiers created a makeshift memorial to fellow troops killed in action on previous tours of Afghanistan.

Filed under: Troops
June 29th, 2010
03:24 PM ET

Success in Afghanistan? Not by 2011

One of the main themes of the counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy is a "population focus."  It is supposed to help install Afghan civil administration and security forces and leave them to maintain security and practically assist the population. To make this possible, Afghan security force numbers are to be raised to 400,000 and Afghan government legitimacy, responsiveness and accountability are to be boosted.

Unfortunately, none of this is going to happen by 2011. Success requires more time and political action than backers have been prepared to contemplate. Taliban fighters keep on popping up, making good their losses and adapting to the International Security Assistance Force campaign.

In the face of a resilient insurgency, U.S. and Afghan timelines do not match.

Read the full commentary from Michael Semple, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Taliban
June 29th, 2010
09:51 AM ET
June 29th, 2010
09:43 AM ET

Lawmaker threatens to cut aid over graft allegations

The leader of a powerful House subcommittee has said she will withhold billions of dollars in aid to Afghanistan because of allegations of corruption.

Rep. Nita Lowey of New York said she will quit approving aid in next year's spending bill. The bill, called Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations Act, is scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday.

"I do not intend to appropriate one more dime for assistance to Afghanistan until I have confidence that U.S. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords and terrorists," Lowey, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday. FULL POST

Filed under: Daily Developments
June 29th, 2010
09:38 AM ET

What to expect from Petraeus' confirmation hearings

[Update 3 p.m. ET] The Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday approved the nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the top commander in Afghanistan.  The nomination now heads to the full Senate.

(CNN) - The planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011, along with with concerns over the progress of the counterinsurgency plan in a country described as a place "where empires go to die," will be front and center at Gen. David Petraeus' confirmation hearings Tuesday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Petraeus • Troops
June 29th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Spokesman: McChrystal to retire

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, removed last week as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has told the Army he will retire, Army spokesman Gary Tallman said Monday.

No date was set for the retirement of McChrystal, a four-star general who assumed command of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan last year.

Meanwhile, a new USA Today/Gallup survey shows that a majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's decision to remove McChrystal.

June 28th, 2010
10:24 AM ET

The 'bleeding ulcer' of Marjah

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/06/27/sotu.marjah.afghanistan.cnn"%5D

When Gen. David Petraeus takes over command in Afghanistan, his first and most urgent problem may be what the ousted commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal famously called "a bleeding ulcer" - the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Helmand province. FULL POST

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Filed under: Marjah • Petraeus