A round-up of news and commentaries from CNN as well as other media and Web sites.
The work of aid agencies and relief workers is getting more dangerous, reports NPR’s Kevin Whitelaw. In places like Afghanistan and Somalia, they’re increasingly being targeted by insurgents.
“Overall, some 260 aid workers were killed, kidnapped or seriously injured in 2008, the highest annual toll in 12 years of data, according to a report by the Humanitarian Policy Group of the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute,” Whitelaw reports.
The future of Afghanistan may lie in its demographics, writes Richard Cincotta in a Foreign Policy magazine piece. The impoverished country has historically had a fast-growing population. But recent Census Bureau estimates show a decline, which could be a good thing, Cincotta writes.
Today more than half of the country's adults are 15- to 29-year-olds, compared with only 26 percent in the United States,” he writes. “So much competition in an opportunity-sparse society is bad news for young men seeking employment or land ownership - and good news for extremist recruiters.”
In other news and commentary:
- A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that “most Americans say they think President Obama will come up with a strategy for Afghanistan that will succeed, but few are "very confident" he will do so.” The nation is nearly evenly split Obama’s handling of the war, according to the poll – 45 percent approve while 47 percent disapprove.
- The New York Times reports that the “British government has made an unflinching commitment to continue its role as the second-largest troop provider in the 43-nation coalition fighting the war.” The decision comes despite polls suggesting the British public does not support the war.
- Increased violence in Afghanistan has resulted in an uptick in the number of U.S. troops from that theater going to Army warrior transitions units, reports the Star and Stripes’ Seth Robson. However, the overall number of troops being sent to the specialized units has dropped because of together requirements for admittance, Robson writes.