After the 9/11 attacks, narrow “counterterrorism” operations gave way to the blunderbuss “war on terror,” opening the way to more traditional practices of war including prisoner exchanges, like the one for Sgt. Bergdahl, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
For years, the Afghan Taliban have said they would negotiate with the U.S. once it was clear the Americans were committed to leaving, making their sudden commitment to talk less “surprising.” But Official Washington could learn other important lessons from the long Afghan War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Many of the U.S. problems in Afghanistan stem from a misguided relationship with pro-Islamist elements of Pakistani intelligence dating back to the 1980s. But Pakistan’s recent election offers new hope if Official Washington can step back and see the bigger picture, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The U.S. government and media are outraged over the Taliban assassination of the Afghan High Peace Council’s chairman, but the attack should have been expected once the Obama administration and the Afghan government signaled a U.S. occupation extending more than a decade, reports Gareth Porter.
Holdovers from the Bush administration helped sell President Barack Obama on a “surge” for Afghanistan, arguing that a counterinsurgency strategy could still work. However, two years later, the Taliban continues high-profile attacks almost anywhere in the country, reports Gareth Porter.
In a little-noticed policy shift, the Obama administration renounced “permanent” U.S. bases in Afghanistan, addressing a central demand of the Taliban. Its leaders have signaled that peace talks are possible if the United States agrees to pull out its troops, as Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service.
As chief commander in the Afghan War, Gen. David Petraeus has been desperate to show evidence that his latest “surge” succeeded in degrading the Taliban fighting strength. However, recently compiled figures show more attacks by the Taliban and higher U.S. casualties, Gareth Porter reports for Inter Press Service.
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan who is seen as a shoo-in to become the next CIA director, appears to have wildly exaggerated the number of Taliban fighters captured last year by padding the totals with Afghans released after being cleared of Taliban ties, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.