November 30th, 2009
12:26 PM ET

Civilians key to Afghan surge

CNN's Jill Dougherty reports that a civilian surge is part of the plan to rebuild Afghanistan and revitalize its economy.
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November 20th, 2009
12:02 AM ET

Analysis: From poppies to pomegranates in Afghanistan

We were at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul waiting for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to join a breakfast of 15 foreign ministers to discuss international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

But what Clinton really wanted to talk about was pomegranate juice.

“It’s fabulous,” she said to the reporters and cameramen hanging outside the room for her as she walked into the room of ministers. “You must try it.”

Turning to Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, she said “Karl must get these journalists some pomegranate juice!”

During a 30-second photo op, Clinton greeted her guests and talked about a “window of opportunity” to work with the government of Afghanistan to improve security and create a better life for the Afghan people.

As we were being ushered out, I heard Clinton raving once again about the pomegranate juice, explaining a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to make the pomegranate a major export crop in Afghanistan and press their tiny seeds into fresh juice.

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November 17th, 2009
06:26 PM ET

The Round-Up: Relief work getting more dangerous?

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

The work of aid agencies and relief workers is getting more dangerous, reports NPR’s Kevin Whitelaw. In places like Afghanistan and Somalia, they’re increasingly being targeted by insurgents.

“Overall, some 260 aid workers were killed, kidnapped or seriously injured in 2008, the highest annual toll in 12 years of data, according to a report by the Humanitarian Policy Group of the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute,” Whitelaw reports.

The future of Afghanistan may lie in its demographics, writes Richard Cincotta in a Foreign Policy magazine piece. The impoverished country has historically had a fast-growing population. But recent Census Bureau estimates show a decline, which could be a good thing, Cincotta writes.

Today more than half of the country's adults are 15- to 29-year-olds, compared with only 26 percent in the United States,” he writes. “So much competition in an opportunity-sparse society is bad news for young men seeking employment or land ownership - and good news for extremist recruiters.”

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