January 25th, 2010
04:06 PM ET

Around the Web: Leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan hold talks

Ahead of the conference in London, England on Thursday, the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan are in Turkey for talks on handling the militant threat within their countries, the BBC reports.

“This is the fourth such meeting initiated by Turkey, which has offered to broker talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” the BBC report says.

“Both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, will attend an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday.”

U.S. Gen. Stanley McChyrstal, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, in an interview with the Financial Times, said the increase of U.S. troops there could help broker peace with the Taliban.


January 25th, 2010
12:39 PM ET

Shattered palace mirrors efforts to rebuild Kabul

Kabul, Afghanistan - It's name means "Abode of Peace," but the Darul-Aman Palace outside Kabul symbolizes the years of war and strife that have ravaged this city.

A massive monument built in the 1920's by King Amunullah Khan, who tried and failed to reform Afghanistan, it was left empty for years, before being successively destroyed by fire, turned into a museum, used as a defence ministry and shelled by the Mujahideen after the Soviets left.

Now it is a spectacular vacant behemoth, which emerges from the dust and smog as you drive out of the capital. Commuters cycle past in the morning mist, without giving the place a second glance. I was transfixed, though, and saddened that such a magnificent building could be left to rot. FULL POST

January 25th, 2010
09:11 AM ET

U.S. briefing: Taliban increasingly effective

A briefing, prepared by the top U.S. intelligence official in Afghanistan and obtained by CNN, maps out the strategy and strength of the Taliban and its allies in Afghanistan, and concludes that the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is increasingly effective.

The briefing, which warns that the "situation is serious," was prepared by Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn last month. His assessment is that the Taliban's "organizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding" and the group is capable of much greater frequency of attacks and varied locations of attacks.

Read more about the briefing