The international community has 'much to lose if the country again becomes a source of terrorism and instability,' said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As senior US officials head to a major meeting on Afghanistan this coming week, underlying their talks will be a simple question: what can Washington hope to accomplish there with fewer troops, less money, and less time?
On Dec. 5, leaders from Afghanistan, NATO, and neighboring countries will meet in Bonn, Germany, to discuss the future of Afghanistan after US troops withdraw. The second conference comes 10 years after the first Bonn Conference, which took place months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. Here’s a look at what it is, what’s at stake, and why it matters.
In the wake of the latest Afghanistan 'loya jirga,' the challenge will be finding a way to make a strategic bilateral partnership mutually agreeable to both Afghans and the US.
A recent Afghanistan poll finds progress on several fronts but some worrisome signs, including a jump in the number who say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Security is still a major issue.
A loya jirga, or grand assembly, is really just a traditional meeting that serves to bring local leaders from all over the country together to discuss a critical issue during a time of instability. While the meetings are seen as a critical part of Afghan political life, they are a relatively rare occurrence. In the past 300 years, Afghanistan has had fewer than 20 loya jirgas, about a quarter of which have taken place in the past decade. But as the Afghan political system grows stronger and develops democratic institutions such as the parliament, many now question their value altogether. Here are the four most pivotal jirgas of the past decade and what came out of the meetings:
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai kicked of this week's loya jirga by pointing out both the need for international and US help and the need to make sure Afghans are setting the rules in their own country.
Thousands of Afghan mercenaries are believed to be helping America battle Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies. But they're accused of flagrant human rights abuses.
Pakistan’s duplicity further weakens the decaying US-Pakistan relationship. It also lessens chances for a successful outcome in Afghanistan and erodes the internal security of both the US and Pakistan. Fortunately, the US does have a few options.
Herman Cain is learning that off-the-cuff remarks and demonstrated ignorance – even from a candidate who touts his lack of political experience – goes only so far. For social conservatives, that means abortion.