December 4th, 2009
02:03 PM ET

White House OKs expanding CIA drone program in Pakistan

      WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House has authorized an expansion of the CIA's program to attack suspected al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border with missiles shot from pilotless planes, a U.S. official confirms. 

      The covert effort is part of the Obama administration's plan to increase the number of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and crack down on suspected terrorists in the region.  FULL POST

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Filed under: Pakistan
December 4th, 2009
02:02 PM ET

Photo Spotlight: The Hindu Kush mountains

For thousands of years, the Hindu Kush mountains have played an important role in history - Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and others have traversed the mountain passes. This year, CNN photojournalist Todd Baxter got a birds-eye view of the range, which runs through the middle of Afghanistan.

December 4th, 2009
12:15 PM ET

CNN Poll: U.S. support for Obama plan fairly high

Support for President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy is fairly high, but that hasn't stopped his approval rating from dropping below 50 percent for the first time in a CNN poll.  According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Friday, six in ten Americans questioned say they favor Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops to that country. Read more about the CNN Poll and the complete results at the CNN Political Ticker

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Obama
December 4th, 2009
11:57 AM ET

Around the Web: Behind the 2011 date

A round-up of news and commentaries from CNN as well as other media and Web sites.

How did President Obama and his advisers arrive at the July 2011 date? Christi Parsons and Julian E. Barnes of the Los Angeles Times take a look at question

“It started out as a projection from the military, intended only for the ears of the president and his top advisors. But in a war council meeting at the White House less than a month ago, Obama proposed making it public," they write.

The White House has authorized an expansion of the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan, reports Scott Shane of the New York Times. FULL POST

December 4th, 2009
09:48 AM ET

Russia wants U.S. surge on Afghan drugs

Some say the vast poppy fields are the real killers from Afghanistan. U.S. forces patrol some of them, but these days the fields are rarely destroyed - it's seen as counterproductive, driving farmers into the arms of the Taliban.

But to many, the carnage caused by the heroin from these crops - which has increased dramatically since the Taliban were overthrown - is far worse than any roadside bomb.

And one country feels it's bearing the brunt - Russia. FULL POST

December 4th, 2009
09:47 AM ET

'Charlie Wilson' redux?

Some on Capitol Hill are voicing concern of a repeat of the late 1980s, when the United States helped the Mujahadeen get rid of the Soviets, but failed to "hold" Afghanistan by staying to help it rebuild, depicted in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War." This allowed the Taliban to fill the vacuum and seize power.

December 4th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

'Cobra's Anger' takes aim at militants

More than 1,000 troops have started a big push against insurgents in a militant stronghold of southern Afghanistan, the U.S. Marines said Friday. Around 900 American and British troops and more than 150 Afghan soldiers and police are working to clear militants from the Now Zad Valley of northern Helmand province in an operation called Khareh Cobra, or Cobra's Anger.

Maj. William Pelletier at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province said helicopter and ground operations began around 3 a.m. local time Friday to take hold of "key terrain."

Read more from CNN's Joe Sterling

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Troops