The road from Kabul to Torkham, on the Afghan-Pakistan border, is a journey of pleasure and peril. CNN's Jonathan Wald captures the incredible images on the dust track turned highway, with scenes of desolate beauty but also reminders of the area's violence. Everyone who makes this trip is taking a risk.
A round-up of news and commentaries from CNN as well as other media and Web sites.
On Tuesday night, President Obama will outline the new U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan. He reportedly will announce the decision to increase the number of the troops in the theater by more than 30,000.
News of the plan has already met skepticism with Obama's own party. "I think he has to make a speech that shows that all of our efforts are pointed to our reduced presence in Afghanistan, but I think he has to also indicate again and again how critical this is to our national security," Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a West Point graduate, told CNN's "State of the Union."
And questions are already arising on how to pay for the war. Time.com reports that Obama is facing increasing pressure from Congress to justify the cost of the Afghan war, now in its ninth year. FULL POST
(CNN) - As President Obama prepares to unveil his long-awaited strategy for Afghanistan, key members of his own party warn that he's facing a tough sell.
Democrats say Obama must strike a difficult balance, convincing the public that sending more troops is the right thing to do in order to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.
"I think he has to make a speech that shows that all of our efforts are pointed to our reduced presence in Afghanistan, but I think he has to also indicate again and again how critical this is to our national security," Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a West Point graduate, told CNN's "State of the Union."
Reed said he will support the president as long as he explains how adding more troops would allow the United States to eventually shift operations to the Afghan people.
CNN's Jill Dougherty reports that a civilian surge is part of the plan to rebuild Afghanistan and revitalize its economy.
London, England (CNN) - The United Kingdom will send an additional 500 troops to Afghanistan in early December, bringing the British contingent there to more than 9,500, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Monday.
"We must address the terrorist threat at its source," Brown told lawmakers, adding: "Our task is to prevent the Taliban from giving al Qaeda ... safe haven.
"Instability in Afghanistan can only increase the risk of conflagration where the rest of the world can least afford it."
Brown regularly links British security to events in Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying attacks on London and other British targets have been planned in South Asia. FULL POST
Washington (CNN) - President Obama has informed several top diplomatic and military officials about his decision regarding new U.S. strategy and troop levels in Afghanistan, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
Obama called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday to tell her about his decision, Gibbs said. The president later met in the Oval Office with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, top U.S. Middle East military commander Gen. David Petraeus, and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, among others.
Obama also informed his top military commander in Afghanistan - Gen. Stanley McChrystal - and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul.
Obama gave orders to implement the new strategy during the Oval Office meeting, Gibbs said.
On Tuesday, Obama will travel to West Point, New York, to announce his decision on a request by McChrystal for up to 40,000 additional troops.
President Obama is taking a huge step in his presidency. After weeks of careful deliberation, the president has sided with military officials who have been pushing for an escalation of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Explaining his objectives and exit strategy, Obama is expected to announce that he will be sending 30,000 troops, and possibly more, into the region.
With this decision, Obama inches closer to becoming a wartime president. Even though the White House insists that they will continue to work hard on their domestic agenda, historically, presidents who become involved in protracted ground wars find that their presidencies are defined by their military conflicts. The politics that surround a military operation play an enormous role in the political success or failure of an administration.
Read more from contributor Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.
Women demonstrate in the streets of Kabul on Monday, part of a 16-day campaign in Afghanistan to promote women's rights, especially related to health and education, according to United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The demonstrations culminate with Human Rights Day, observed on December 10.
Since 2003, the United States has steadily increase its military presence in Afghanistan. Check out the troop levels over the years, up to the current level of about 68,000 troops in November 2009.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is with U.S. troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and he reports that most soldiers he has been talking to agree with an expected strategy a troop increase. They say more boots on the ground are needed to help hold key areas in Afghanistan, especially in the southern part of the country.