If the Korean War, which began 60 years ago this past weekend, was America's forgotten war, Afghanistan has been America's ignored war.
Since President Obama authorized a surge of troops in Afghanistan in December 2009, there has been a notable absence of public debate or interest about this conflict.
Friday was another deadly day in what has become the deadliest month for international troops in Afghanistan.
Three service members were killed on Friday in attacks in the east and south, the NATO-led command reported. A fourth died in a bombing on Thursday.
All four casualties were Americans, it said.
Khalil Nouri is the co-founder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native Afghan think tank for nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan. The statements and opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Khalil Nouri.
There is no doubt that the controversy around and resulting exit of Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a huge distraction to the impending campaign in Kandahar. The fallout could alter the course of the difficult war by significantly redefining the shape, form and function of the entire effort in Afghanistan.
The replacement of McChrystal is a major blow to the already slow-moving counterinsurgency operation in Kandahar, where the prospect for success throughout Afghanistan hinges upon success in the Pashtun heartland city that cradled the Taliban more than a decade ago.
McChrystal enjoyed the closest relationship of any American official with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai was in support of McChrystal’s continued service as the top general to lead the NATO operation in his country.
The recent change in commanders in Afghanistan is proof the U.S and its allies have lost the war, statements posted on two Islamist websites said Thursday.
Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi said in one statement President Barack Obama wanted to save face by firing Gen. Stanley McChrystal and bringing in Gen. David Petraeus. McChrystal was relieved of duty - although he technically resigned - Wednesday after he and his staff made comments in a Rolling Stone magazine article that appear to mock top civilian officials, including the vice president.
"History is evident of more powerful and experienced generals than General McChrystal and empires mightier than the United States of America being surrendered and bowed down before the Afghans," Ahmadi said, according to the website statement.
Gen. David Petraeus told CNN on Thursday that he supports President Barack Obama's July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a key point of contention between the president and many of his Republican critics in Congress.
Petraeus - tapped to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan - expressed his respect and appreciation for McChrystal's work and said the circumstances surrounding the change in command are "sad."
Kabul, Afghanistan - Twenty-one people at a girls' school in northern Afghanistan fell sick on Wednesday and authorities there suspect they were poisoned. FULL POST
June has now become the deadliest month of the Afghan war for coalition troops, a grave milestone in the nearly nine-year-old conflict. FULL POST
[Updated at 3:07 p.m.] Earlier today, President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal "with considerable regret" and nominated Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command.
Here's some early reaction to Obama's decision:
“I thought Obama's talk was rhetorically perfect, hitting all the right notes in explaining why McChrystal had to go, while paying tribute to McChrystal's service. The only big question he left hanging in just what happens to Central Command. Will Petraeus try to have both commands? Will someone else take over? With Pakistan, Iran and other Middle Eastern issues bubbling out there, this is a question that needs to be addressed ASAP.” (Thomas Ricks, Foreign Policy)