Norine MacDonald talks to CNN's John King about why most Afghan people don't understand the American military presence.
When the president decided to send more troops to a distant country during an unpopular war, one powerful senator had enough.
He warned that the U.S. military could not create stability in a country "where there is chaos ... democracy where there is no tradition of it, and honest government where corruption is almost a way of life."
"It's unnatural and unhealthy for a nation to be engaged in global crusades for some principle or idea while neglecting the needs of its own people," said Sen. J. William Fulbright, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in 1966 as the Vietnam War escalated.
Fulbright's warning is being applied by some to Afghanistan today. The U.S. is still fighting dubious wars abroad while ignoring needs at home, says Andrew J. Bacevich, who tells Fulbright's story in his new book, "Washington Rules: America's Path To Permanent War."
As the Afghanistan war enters its ninth year, Bacevich and other commentators are asking: When does it end? They say the nation's national security leaders have put the U.S. on an unsustainable path to perpetual war and that President Obama is doing little to stop them.
A new report claims Afghanistan leadership may have been conducting negotiations with a "fake" Taliban leader.
A new Defense Department report on Afghanistan says dramatic increases in fighting against the Taliban have failed to convince the local population that the Afghan government and coalition forces will succeed.
"The Taliban's strength lies in the Afghan population's perception that Coalition forces will soon leave, giving credence to the belief that a Taliban victory is inevitable," the report says. FULL POST
NATO leaders stuck to an upbeat script at their Lisbon summit during the weekend of Nov. 19-21, announcing a formal timetable aimed at ending combat operations in Afghanistan and leaving security duties in local hands by the end of 2014 — provided, of course, that the Afghans are up to the task.
The target date pushes the endgame a couple of more years away, but it remains a goal, not a deadline, very much as Barack Obama's summer 2011 promise was. It does not mask the widening cracks in the alliance — specifically, between U.S. military officials, on the one hand, who insist that the current counterinsurgency campaign needs more time to have an impact, and European troop contributors, on the other, who are skeptical of the strategy and looking for a face-saving way out. The Afghans are themselves divided, debating whether the presence of foreign troops is driving the conflict or the only thing keeping the Kabul government from total collapse.
A total of 119 candidates for the Afghan Parliament have been disqualified for different reasons since the September 18 elections for the lower house, an election commission spokesman told CNN.
Ahmad Zia Rafhat, spokesman for the Electoral Complaints Commission, said 94 candidates had been disqualified before the preliminary results were announced in October, and 25 candidates who successfully locked in their seats are now disqualified.
Rafhat said the candidates were disqualified for suspicion of involvement in fraud during the elections. FULL POST
An upcoming military review of the war in Afghanistan is not expected to result in any major changes in U.S. strategy, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday.
In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" program, Mullen said the U.S.-led international force has "started to make progress" in its mission to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorist groups.
However, Mullen described the progress so far as "fragile." He cited the training of Afghanistan forces to take over security responsibilities as an area in which progress has occurred but challenges remain.
The military review is due in December, a year after President Barack Obama ordered additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan as part of a strategy that would see some forces coming home as soon as July 2011. FULL POST
The U.S. and NATO allies are looking to turn two or three Afghanistan provinces over to Afghan control by June of next year, with "several more" in the in the summer or fall, according to a senior NATO
While the plan is still a rough estimate of transition, the picture of how Afghans will begin to take over security by as early as March 2011 in some areas is beginning to emerge as NATO leaders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai
meet in Lisbon for meetings on the war.
Officials say there is no set goal to define "success," but the expectation is that some provinces would be handed over even before the U.S. deadline to begin removing some troops from Afghanistan.
A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's
tribal region Friday killed three suspected militants, Pakistani intelligence
officials told CNN.
Two intelligence officials said the drone fired two missiles at a
suspected militant vehicle in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, one of the
seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
The officials asked to not be named because they were not authorized to
speak to the media on the record.
North Waziristan is one of the seven districts of Pakistan's often
ungoverned tribal region and is widely believed to be a haven for al
Qaeda-linked groups fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan.
Based on a count by CNN's Islamabad bureau, Friday's suspected drone
strike was the 93rd this year, compared with 52 strikes in all of 2009.