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A member of the 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Currahee, patrols a street in Afghanistan in July 2011.
October 28th, 2011
01:10 PM ET
October 26th, 2010
01:06 PM ET

Opinion: Talking about talking with the Taliban

Editor’s Note: Abbas Daiyar began his blog, Kabul Perspective, last year to look at issues in Kabul and around the world. He has worked with newspapers in Pakistan and reported for news agencies in the past and is now a member of the editorial board of the independent Daily Outlook Afghanistan newspaper in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Abbas Daiyar.

Once again the talks about talks with Taliban are gaining momentum. It got hyped when President Hamid Karzai announced a Peace Council to talk with the insurgents. This is apparently the most serious attempt, but the process is a complex one, as shown by the contradicting media reports.

It was a U-turn when the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus said NATO has let at least one Taliban commander come to Kabul. Some reports even suggested Taliban commanders were flown to Kabul in a NATO aircraft. It’s more of a political statement rather than a policy, or a green signal for the insurgents, showing a change in the U.S. reluctance over talks with Taliban. But it’s just propaganda when military commanders in Afghanistan say Taliban are under pressure, therefore more are forced to talks. The fact is that 2010 has been the deadliest year for U.S. forces since the start of war. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • NATO • Taliban • Voices • Your View
October 19th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

Opinion: Restoring the tribal balance the only path to peace

Editor's note: Khalil Nouri is the co-founder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native Afghan think tank for political, economic and cultural solutions for Afghanistan. Michael Hughes is a journalist and blogger for The Huffington Post and He is also a strategist for the New World Strategies Coalition.  The statements and opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of the authors. 

By Khalil Nouri and Michael Hughes, Special to CNN

President Barack Obama doesn’t have a viable Afghanistan exit strategy due to a fatal flaw in America’s policy development process: a complete lack of input from native Afghans. It is time for the U.S.-led coalition to realize there is only one solution for peace in Afghanistan – and that is an Afghan solution.

The alternatives bandied about to date are formulas for state collapse – a nearly 10-year-old failed counterinsurgency effort; a power-sharing arrangement that would divvy up Afghanistan between corrupt government officials, Islamic fundamentalists and mujahideen warlords; and a partition strategy guaranteed to yield perpetual civil war.

However, as paradoxical as this might seem, the U.S. cannot withdraw until an indigenous political solution is in place, because abandoning the field to the Taliban would create dire consequences that make the present military occupation look good by comparison. FULL POST

Filed under: Peace jirga • Taliban • Voices • Your View
October 7th, 2010
08:24 AM ET

Your view: Talking with the Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday launched a council to help negotiate with the Taliban and find a way for peace. Karzai told the group, made up of about 68 Afghan clerics and elders, that it can help establish peace in Afghanistan.

The peace council meeting is one of several addressing the war in recent days. Political figures from Pakistan and Afghanistan were also sitting down this week in Kabul for a dialogue aimed at ending the nine-year-old Afghan war, in what one Afghan official called a "new phase" in building bridges and making peace with the Taliban.

But a Taliban spokesman told CNN that the group was not interested in peace talks. Zabiuhullah Mujahed, the spokesman, said they had no representative in the alleged negotiations in Kabul. Peace negotiations would not happen until the Afghan government met the Taliban's precondition to withdraw foreign forces in the country, the spokesman said.

What do you think? Is negotiating with the Taliban a good idea? Can a peace ever be met with the Taliban? Can lower level Taliban leaders be brought into the political and social fabric of Afghanistan?

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Filed under: Taliban • Your View
September 17th, 2010
07:51 AM ET

Opinion: Wild Wild West in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: Farah is an Afghan-American businesswoman in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Farah.

Afghanistan has been the graveyard and battlefield of empires for centuries. Now I see the slow tortuous death of my ancestral nation and people. Sacrifice of the lambs - that is what I feel our people have become.

In September 2002, I remember my grandmother and I boarded the old Ariana Airlines plane for Afghanistan. Afghanistan: the myth for me and Afghanistan the motherland for my grandmother. We landed and were both so overcome with emotion – with tears for different reasons. For me it was the fact that I had landed somewhere I had never known and for my grandmother it was the return to a home destroyed. FULL POST

Filed under: Voices • Your View
September 9th, 2010
02:01 PM ET

Your views: Is the war worth it?

CNN International held a live special report on the future of Afghanistan on Thursday. There was also a live online discussion at the Connect the World blog link here so please continue to share your comments. We have two topics that we want you to voice your opinion on: 1) Was the war in Afghanistan worth it in the first place and 2) what does the future for Afghanistan hold – can the war ever be won?

Join the discussion now!

Filed under: Your View
Your view: Why haven’t we found bin Laden yet?
September 9th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

Your view: Why haven’t we found bin Laden yet?

Osama bin Laden: remember him? Where is he, and why hasn't anyone captured him?

Nearly nine years after the September 11 terror attacks, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that a record number of Americans believe the United States is unlikely ever to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Today, 30 percent of Americans now believe it is likely the U.S. government will ever capture or kill bin Laden. Sixty-seven percent believe it is unlikely. In 2001, one in five Americans believed the government would be unlikely to catch bin Laden.

And there is still a $25 million dollar reward for his capture by the FBI.  Late last year, the U.S. government admitted a "lack of intelligence" on bin Laden's whereabouts, noting he could be in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

What do you think? Why hasn't bin Laden been found? Is he still alive? Where is he hiding? Share your thoughts FULL POST

Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Your View
Turning the war's tide: What some Afghans think
September 9th, 2010
10:53 AM ET

Turning the war's tide: What some Afghans think

NATO is six months into an 18-month counterinsurgency plan aimed at turning the tide of the nearly 9-year war in Afghanistan.

In the coming months, the focus of both ground operations and the rebuilding mission will be on the southern province of Kandahar - the spiritual home of the Taliban. Success here is perhaps one of the last chances to keep support for the war alive among Afghans.

"Failure in Afghanistan is not an option," says Haroun Mir, an Afghan analyst and parliamentary candidate. "Certainly the United States can abandon Afghanistan. But the problem is, al Qaeda and the Taliban will not abandon their fight against the United States." FULL POST

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Filed under: Voices • Your View
August 12th, 2010
09:26 AM ET

Opinion: Petraeus faces mission impossible

Many hope that Gen. David Petraeus will save the day in Afghanistan, following what they see as his great success in Iraq. His appointment has been met with nearly unqualified praise. ...

When you meet him, it is easy to see why he is so popular. He is well-educated, West Point and Princeton doctorates; politically savvy, no nasty quotes in Rolling Stone or anywhere else; and very personable.

So it distresses me, but I feel feel honor-bound to point out that the Iraq he left behind is in shambles; that he is not applying what worked in Iraq to Afghanistan; and that the challenges there are much more daunting than in Iraq.

Read the full Opinion from Amitai Etzioni, a professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "Security First" and "New Common Ground."

Filed under: Petraeus • Voices • Your View
August 11th, 2010
10:20 AM ET

Opinion: Federal system only option for Taliban, U.S.

Editor’s Note: Abbas Daiyar began his blog, Kabul Perspective, last year to look at issues in Kabul and around the world. He has worked with newspapers in Pakistan and reported for news agencies in the past and is now a member of the editorial board of the independent Daily Outlook Afghanistan newspaper in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Abbas Daiyar.

Why is it that every policy change is doomed to failure in Afghanistan? From the community-security and reach-out policy to the fight against drugs, all have shown little success so far. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • Taliban • Voices • Your View