September 17th, 2010
07:51 AM ET

Opinion: Wild Wild West in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: Farah is an Afghan-American businesswoman in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Farah.

Afghanistan has been the graveyard and battlefield of empires for centuries. Now I see the slow tortuous death of my ancestral nation and people. Sacrifice of the lambs - that is what I feel our people have become.

In September 2002, I remember my grandmother and I boarded the old Ariana Airlines plane for Afghanistan. Afghanistan: the myth for me and Afghanistan the motherland for my grandmother. We landed and were both so overcome with emotion – with tears for different reasons. For me it was the fact that I had landed somewhere I had never known and for my grandmother it was the return to a home destroyed. FULL POST


Filed under: Voices • Your View
Turning the war's tide: What some Afghans think
September 9th, 2010
10:53 AM ET

Turning the war's tide: What some Afghans think

NATO is six months into an 18-month counterinsurgency plan aimed at turning the tide of the nearly 9-year war in Afghanistan.

In the coming months, the focus of both ground operations and the rebuilding mission will be on the southern province of Kandahar - the spiritual home of the Taliban. Success here is perhaps one of the last chances to keep support for the war alive among Afghans.

"Failure in Afghanistan is not an option," says Haroun Mir, an Afghan analyst and parliamentary candidate. "Certainly the United States can abandon Afghanistan. But the problem is, al Qaeda and the Taliban will not abandon their fight against the United States." FULL POST

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Filed under: Voices • Your View
August 12th, 2010
09:26 AM ET

Opinion: Petraeus faces mission impossible

Many hope that Gen. David Petraeus will save the day in Afghanistan, following what they see as his great success in Iraq. His appointment has been met with nearly unqualified praise. ...

When you meet him, it is easy to see why he is so popular. He is well-educated, West Point and Princeton doctorates; politically savvy, no nasty quotes in Rolling Stone or anywhere else; and very personable.

So it distresses me, but I feel feel honor-bound to point out that the Iraq he left behind is in shambles; that he is not applying what worked in Iraq to Afghanistan; and that the challenges there are much more daunting than in Iraq.

Read the full Opinion from Amitai Etzioni, a professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "Security First" and "New Common Ground."


Filed under: Petraeus • Voices • Your View
August 11th, 2010
10:20 AM ET

Opinion: Federal system only option for Taliban, U.S.

Editor’s Note: Abbas Daiyar began his blog, Kabul Perspective, last year to look at issues in Kabul and around the world. He has worked with newspapers in Pakistan and reported for news agencies in the past and is now a member of the editorial board of the independent Daily Outlook Afghanistan newspaper in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Abbas Daiyar.

Why is it that every policy change is doomed to failure in Afghanistan? From the community-security and reach-out policy to the fight against drugs, all have shown little success so far. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • Taliban • Voices • Your View
August 3rd, 2010
09:14 AM ET

Opinion: Don't give Obama blank check on war

Princeton, New Jersey — Despite all the questions surrounding the war in Afghanistan, congressional Democrats have not challenged the administration's policies since President Obama announced a surge of troops in 2009.

The release of classified documents about the war by the website WikiLeaks seemed to have no impact on Capitol Hill. The same week that the documents were released, the House approved legislation with almost no debate that will provide tens of billions of dollars for the war effort. ...

But Democrats who have doubts about the war can't afford to be silent. When Congress doesn't publicly ask tough questions of the White House, poor decisions have often ensued.

The decision over funding Afghanistan came one week before the the 46th anniversary of the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964.

Read more from Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, who says a look back at the Gulf of Tonkin incident provides a cautionary tale for today's Afghan war, and that Congress must closely scrutinize a president's decisions on war strategy.

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Filed under: Obama • Voices • Your View
July 29th, 2010
12:15 PM ET

Ex-homeland security advisor on WikiLeaks 'big picture'

Frances Fragos Townsend, CNN contributor and former homeland security advisor to President Bush, gives insight to the “big picture” of the internal military document leak by WikiLeaks.org. Townsend says the intelligence community wants answers but they need to finally learn the lesson that history has repeatedly taught. FULL POST

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Filed under: Voices • WikiLeaks
July 27th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

From the Afghan media: Documents show gap in war's media coverage

Take a look at some of the top stories and editorials in Afghan media related to the WikiLeaks documents coverage, especially the alleged role of Pakistan's ISI. Excerpts are compiled from a U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan report.

Erada Daily (state media editorial): The release of thousands of U.S. classified documents related to the Afghan war shows Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan’s affairs and its support for the Taliban. The documents also show the huge gap between the portrayal of the conflict in Afghan and in international medias. FULL POST

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Filed under: Pakistan • Voices • WikiLeaks
July 27th, 2010
07:43 AM ET

Opinion: Afghanistan needs more than conferences

Editor’s Note: Abbas Daiyar began his blog, Kabul Perspective, last year to look at issues in Kabul and around the world. He has worked with newspapers in Pakistan and reported for news agencies in the past and is now a member of the editorial board of the independent Daily Outlook Afghanistan newspaper in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Abbas Daiyar.

The one-day Kabul Conference concluded last week with reiteration of promises made by the international community. There was nothing very new - except the fact that insurgents could not succeed in firing any rockets that day in Kabul, contrary to previous such events. Though the conference was given much coverage in the international media, Kabulis didn’t have any expectations about the meeting. Heavy security prevented any untoward incident and foiled some plans by those arrested a day before the conference. FULL POST

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Filed under: Kabul conference • Karzai • Voices • Your View
July 26th, 2010
03:34 PM ET

Opinion: WikiLeaks files will complicate war

The mother lode of ground-level raw intelligence from the Afghan war disseminated by WikiLeaks may ultimately bring about some good. In the short term, however, it will almost surely further undermine the U.S.-led search for stability.

Sifting through some of the 92,000 records is likely to strike an informed reader that there is nothing here that fundamentally alters his judgment about the war so much as it provides a level of granularity often missing from daily news reports.

Indeed, almost every issue has been previously reported in major news outlets, albeit with perhaps less authority than is permitted by these electronic records.

Read the full Opinion from Patrick Cronin, a senior adviser and senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.


Filed under: Voices • WikiLeaks • Your View
July 21st, 2010
07:14 AM ET

Opinion: Don't let obstacles block Afghan peace

Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, has called for labeling the leaders of the insurgent Haqqani network as terrorists.

I've met Gen. Petraeus only briefly, and I am convinced that he is not trying to pull another McChrystal, to push the White House to become even more deeply mired in the war in Afghanistan. Hence the only way one can interpret the troubling news that he wants to brand the insurgent group with the terrorist label is that he has the support of his civilian superiors for such a move.

Read more of the opinion of Amitai Etzioni, a professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "Security First" and "New Common Ground."


Filed under: Voices • Your View