November 1, 2004 |
In the 1990s, Afghanistan was allowed to fall to the Taliban and become the global center for the training, indoctrination and seeding of jihadists around the world - including the mass murderers of 9/11. Last week, just three years after a two-month war that destroyed the Taliban, Afghanistan completed its first free election, choosing as president a pro-American democrat enjoying legitimacy and wide popular support. This represents the single most astonishing geopolitical transformation of the last four years.
December 17, 1999 |
In this country's dusty, chilly, impoverished capital, people aren't thinking about Osama Bin Laden. The residents of this war-ravaged city are much too preoccupied with survival to care whether the Saudi-born terrorist will launch year-end attacks on Americans from his base inside Afghanistan. Men in full beards and ragged turbans clutch tattered shawls as they mill outside the compounds of Western aid agencies, waiting for food. Long queues of war widows line up silently for other food aid, shrowded in the all-enveloping burka required for females by the ruling Islamic militants known as the Taliban.
September 5, 2012
SINCE THE 2012 political conventions kicked off last week, you've heard all about a young mayor named Julian Castro, an old ex-mayor named Clint Eastwood, an empty chair named Imaginary Barack Obama - plus a lot of cross-talk about whether you did or didn't build that. You didn't hear anything about Christopher J. Birdwell, Mabry J. Anders, Jessica M. Wing, Jonathan P. Schmidt, Jeremie S. Border or Kyle R. Rookey. They are the six American soldiers who've died since the first gavel dropped in Tampa, Fla., while they were serving in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, at 11 years and counting.
February 18, 1987 |
Some people hear about the needs of victims of foreign wars and ask "why?" Charles von Wrangell wanted to help and asked "why not?" Fulfilling a dream to "do something worthwhile in this life," he chose Afghanistan as his battlefield and medical supplies as his weapons. A technical engineer at RCA Special Programs in Mount Laurel, von Wrangell, 60, left for Afghanistan on Labor Day weekend, 1983. He used his own money and went without a connection to any organization.
December 9, 2009
IT WAS NICE of Stu Bykofsky to invite me to his home to watch President Obama's Afghan speech. I'm glad I could help Stu figure out how he felt about escalating the 8-year-old war. He was a gracious host, and we had a fine time exchanging views. Unfortunately, I feel he used me a bit like a punching bag in his Dec. 3 column. I've been in and out of the journalism business in Philadelphia for 34 years, and I went to Stu's home fully aware of the risks. So I'm not complaining - in fact, I think Stu is a great guy. But living in such a dangerous world, it's easy to lose focus on exactly what Obama's West Point speech was about.
February 8, 1990 |
In the 10 bloody and barbaric years after Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, just about one-third of the country's 15 million people were killed or driven into refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran. And now the Afghans are blaming America. "Get away!" an old man in a place called Khost screamed at a New York Times reporter standing over two children who had been killed by a rocket supplied by the United States to mujaheddin trying to overthrow the communists in power in Kabul, the capital.
February 15, 2009 |
Staff Sgt. Marc J. Small, an Army Special Forces medic from Collegeville, died Thursday from combat wounds in Afghanistan, according to a statement yesterday by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C. Small, 29, was on a reconnaissance patrol when insurgents wielding small arms and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher attacked his unit. He was wounded by enemy fire, the Army said. "We cannot describe our grief," Small's family said in a statement. "But Marc would want everyone to know he died doing what he loved, fighting for his family and for his country.
September 6, 2006
If Afghanistan had a national motto, it could be: Democracy is dicey and poppies proliferate. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there was a clearly appropriate military response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001: the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The link to 9/11 was definite and direct. The attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, al-Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan. There, the ruling Taliban was an eager supporter of bin Laden. But nearly five years after that war and two years after Hamid Karzai was chosen Afghanistan's president in a landmark election, the country remains unstable.
June 5, 2011 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates appealed for patience with an unpopular war and said Saturday that only modest U.S. troop reductions would make sense this summer in a still unstable Afghanistan. On his 12th and final visit to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief, Gates held out the possibility of reaching a turning point in the war by year's end. But Gates, who is retiring June 30, said much depends on whether the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden creates an opening for peace negotiations with leaders of the Taliban insurgency.
October 15, 2008 |
U.S. military successes in Iraq have forced sophisticated and well-trained insurgents to pour into Afghanistan instead, part of the reason violence has spiked in Afghanistan, the Afghan defense minister said yesterday. In a demonstration of the increasingly deadly attacks, a roadside blast in the east where U.S. soldiers operate killed three NATO troops, while two separate roadside bombs in the south killed 16 Afghan civilians, officials said. The military did not further identify the NATO casualties.