December 9th, 2009
08:22 PM ET

Inside look at the Afghan recruiting process

Every morning, the Afghan National Army heads to the streets of Kabul to look for potential soldiers. As correspondent Atia Abawi finds, some are willing, but others? Not so interested.

December 9th, 2009
06:34 PM ET

McChrystal on Taliban, insurgency and Pakistan

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, talked with with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the risk for a future resurgence of the Taliban, critics of Obama's timeline, Pakistan's strategic role and the troop strategy. Watch more from the interview or read a transcript of the interview.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Troops
December 9th, 2009
04:19 PM ET

Police: 5 arrested in Pakistan were reported missing in U.S.

UPDATE:U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday he envisioned "a series of investigations" into the arrest of five people in Pakistan whom a police official there described as American. Full Story

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - Five people arrested in Pakistan had been reported missing in the United States, and police are confident they were planning terrorist acts, a Pakistani police official told CNN.

It is too premature to link the men with any terrorist organizations, said Tahir Gujjrar, deputy superintendent of police in Sargodha, Pakistan, but preliminary investigations suggest they had sought to link up with the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Jamaat ud Dawa militant organizations. Neither group showed interest, however, Gujjrar said.

The five were from Virginia and their families had contacted the FBI soon after they went missing, he said. They include two Pakistani-Americans, two Yemeni-Americans and an Egyptian-American. FULL POST

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Filed under: Pakistan
December 9th, 2009
02:06 PM ET

Petraeus: Violence will ratchet up as troops arrive

Washington (CNN) - Coalition forces can attain "success" in Afghanistan, but violence will likely increase as the approved troop surge moves forward in stabilizing the war-torn country, a top U.S. commander told a Senate committee Wednesday.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, predicted increased violence in spring 2010 and turmoil within the Afghan government as corruption is rooted out. Despite that, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "success" is within reach but will be difficult to attain.

Petraeus' appearance before legislators was the latest by top U.S. officials on Capitol Hill this week. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, testified before the Senate and House counterparts of the Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, joined by Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul. Eikenberry and Jacob Lew, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, also testified Wednesday.

Read more on the Congressional hearings

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Decision: Afghanistan
December 9th, 2009
12:07 PM ET

Around the Web: McChrystal’s appearance before Congress

U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, testified before Congress Tuesday and sought to minimize reported differences between the two over the strategy in Afghanistan.

During the deliberations over the increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, reports surfaced of an Eikenberry cable advising the president that McChrystal's plans to send more troops would be ill advised because of a lack of confidence in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

In their opening statements, both said they were honored to testify together and each called the other a friend. Yet, more of those differences were seen when the men gave their predictions about the final outcome of the war. FULL POST

December 9th, 2009
10:08 AM ET

Taliban pay vs. Afghan forces pay

Two of the biggest goals for U.S. forces in Afghanistan are building up Afghan security forces and convincing Taliban members to lay down their arms. It seems some of both goals can be accomplished with some cash.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who arrived for an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Tuesday, said money is a key reason why the Afghans might be having recruiting and retention problems with its security forces.

"One of the eye openers for us was learning that the Taliban, for the most part, are better paid than the Afghan Security Forces, so that's something that we and the Afghans have already taken steps to correct," the DOD chief said.  "They're raising the pay of the police and they're putting in place a number of additional incentives and bonuses and so on for the army in terms of combat pay and various things like that so that clearly will help. I think, frankly, that's the biggest obstacle."

So how much money do you get if you fight for the Taliban? FULL POST

December 9th, 2009
10:07 AM ET

Behind the scenes of traveling with the military

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is traveling with the U.S. military all week in Afghanistan and today gives an inside look at the "logistics, logistics, logistics" of a news crew traveling with the military.

Starr talks with CNN Radio's John Lisk about the planes and helicopters, the privilege of meeting the service members and the stark terrain they are encountering in the southern region.