December 17th, 2010
11:15 AM ET

New guidelines for night raids in Afghanistan

Coalition troops in Afghanistan have been issued revised guidelines for conducting night raids, an official from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Friday.

The raids are considered effective tools to rout insurgents, but they have angered Afghan civilians and government officials.

The new directive is meant to underscore the need to coordinate raids with the Afghan government and inform civilians about the reasons for the operation, the ISAF official said.
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Mullen says AfPak review shows U.S. on 'right track'
December 17th, 2010
11:12 AM ET

Mullen says AfPak review shows U.S. on 'right track'

America's top military official said the U.S. review of strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan "shows us that we are on the right track," but more progress needs to be made, particularly in the area of government and the rule of law.

"I remain convinced that we have the right strategy, we have the right leadership and we now have the right resources in place to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, to reverse the momentum of the Taliban and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"We can take nothing for granted at this point. In fact, our review tells us that in order to fully cement the progress we've made, we must work harder with local government on the delivery of basic services and on accountability."

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Filed under: Mullen • Obama's Afghan review
December 17th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

U.S. must draw the line at pedophilia in Afghanistan


Editor's note: Amitai Etzioni is a sociologist and professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "Security First" and "New Common Ground." He was a senior adviser to the Carter administration and has taught at Columbia and Harvard universities and the University of California, Berkeley.

President Obama is reviewing, again, what we are doing in Afghanistan. He should order our diplomats and generals to stop turning a blind eye to the widespread sexual abuse of children.

At the time our troops helped liberate Afghanistan in 2001, pedophilia had been largely curbed by the Taliban. However, since then, some Pashtun men have have been abusing the new freedoms for which our young men and women are dying - to molest young boys.

This vile practice has been recently documented by an Afghan journalist who returned to his native country for public television's "Frontline."

The program starts with a flat statement: "In an Afghanistan ravaged by war and poverty, an ancient tradition has been secretly revived: Young boys sold by their families to wealthy merchants and warlords, taught to dance and entertain, and used for sex."

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Filed under: Obama • Opinion • Understanding Afghanistan