While America’s adversaries in Afghanistan and Iran cannot actually pull key strings to choose the next US president, election year politics ends up giving them some leverage.
If Western audiences are inspired by the film "Shawshank Redemption" about a solo prison escape, then Taliban sympathizers must surely be heartened by today's spectacular escape of some 500 inmates from a Kandahar prison through a 1,180-foot-long tunnel. But while character Andy Dufresne had to dig out of Shawshank prison without any assistance, the Taliban prisoners are suspected of having help from guards. This is not the first jail break that has set back the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor is it even the first escape from this specific prison. Here's a short list of recent prison breaks (and one near-escape) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many Afghans do not realize that US pastor Terry Jones, who held a Quran burning last month, heads a small church whose beliefs are not widely shared, thus fueling anti-foreigner sentiment that benefits the Taliban.
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman said the Christmas Day attack targeted the Salarzai tribe, which has allied itself with the government and formed an anti-Taliban militia.
Four militants attacked the United Nations compound in Herat, Afghanistan Saturday in the most serious incident on a UN facility since the Oct. 2009 attack on a Kabul guesthouse that killed several employees.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed that he's talking to the Taliban, seeking a political settlement with the group that harbored Al Qaeda prior to and just after 9/11.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bomb attack on a NATO tanker waiting at the Torkham border post, which Pakistan sealed six days ago.
The Al Qaeda plot was reportedly a coordinated Mumbai-style attack on major cities in Britain, France, Germany, and possibly the United States.
The Taliban have reportedly claimed responsibility for kidnapping a British aid worker Sunday. They are demanding a prisoner exchange for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman sentenced in New York last week for attacking US soldiers.