New York - Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui was convicted Wednesday of attempting to kill Americans in Afghanistan in 2008. The jury found Siddiqui guilty of seven counts, including attempted murder and armed assault on U.S. officers. Prosecutors said Siddiqui shot at two FBI special agents, a U.S. Army warrant officer, an Army captain and military interpreters while she was being held unsecured at an Afghan facility on July 18, 2008.
A New York Times story on Wednesday describes the efforts to bolster the Afghan police force as “faltering.”
Rod Nordland of the Times writes: “The NATO general in charge of training the Afghan police has some tongue-in-cheek career advice for the country’s recruits.
‘It’s better to join the Taliban; they pay more money,’ said Brig. Gen. Carmelo Burgio, from Italy’s paramilitary Carabinieri force.
“That sardonic view reflects a sobering reality. The attempts to build a credible Afghan police force are faltering badly even as officials acknowledge that the force will be a crucial piece of the effort to have Afghans manage their own security so American forces can begin leaving next year.”
Editor's note: Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow at the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings, penned an opinion piece for CNN on the Pentagon's newly released strategy paper. Below he focuses on Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan mission is an important place to begin the discussion. This year and next, the United States will deploy up to 100,000 troops in that country for much if not most of the year. Not only does that translate into $100 billion a year in added defense costs, above and beyond those of simply maintaining the military, but it also requires a standing ground force of a given size in order to handle such burdens over time.
As Hassina Sherjan and I argue in a new book, "Toughing It Out in Afghanistan," we should know a lot later this year and certainly by 2011 about whether our basic strategy is working there, but it may not be until 2012 or 2013 when U.S. force levels return back to 50,000 or fewer. Not only that, but the United States still has 100,000 troops in Iraq and will perhaps still have 40,000 there at the end of 2010.
Read more on O'Hanion's take on the Pentagon's defense strategy
KABUL, Afghanistan - The next key U.S. military operation in Afghanistan will focus on Marjah, the last major Taliban stronghold in Helmand province, a Marine commander said Wednesday. Col. George Amland, the deputy commander of Task Force Leatherneck, gave no timeframe for its start.
Marjah, with a population of up to 100,000, is considered key to fracturing the Taliban's influence in southern Afghanistan. FULL POST
Islamabad, Pakistan - Three American soldiers were among at least seven people killed Wednesday when a roadside bomb struck a convoy on its way to a girls school opening in northwest Pakistan. The explosion took place in Lower Dir in the North West Frontier Province, which has repeatedly come under militant attack in recent months.
The American soldiers were in Pakistan to help train the country's security forces, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, spokesman for the Pakistani military. FULL POST