May 7, 2013 |
In the unforgiving Afghan landscape, we have learned that you can't buy a warlord. You can only rent one. We owe this education to our man in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai. For more than a decade, it has been confirmed, U.S. dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks, and plastic shopping bags have been delivered every month or so to Karzai's office. In the theory of imperialism, we would venture into the Hindu Kush and reform its ways. It would, instead, be the other way around.
May 5, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Seven U.S. service members were killed Saturday in one of the deadliest days for Americans in Afghanistan in recent months and the latest of attacks against international troops since the Taliban announced the start of its spring offensive. The U.S.-led coalition reported that five international troops were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, and a coalition spokesman, Capt. Luca Carniel, confirmed that all five were American. The coalition did not disclose the location of the roadside bombing.
May 4, 2013 |
CHALDOVAR, Kyrgyzstan - An American military refueling plane carrying three crew members crashed Friday in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian nation where the United States operates an air base key to the war in Afghanistan. There was no immediate word on the fate of the KC-135 crew. Officials at the U.S. base said they had no information yet on the cause of the crash. The plane crashed in the afternoon near Chaldovar, a village about 100 miles west of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas base, which is outside the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.
May 4, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan border policeman was killed in an exchange of fire with Pakistani troops along the country's contested eastern border, an Afghan security official said Thursday, in an incident that threatens to further inflame tensions. Pakistani forces fired artillery rounds late Wednesday at Afghan border police in the Goshta district of Nangarhar province, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. In an ensuing five-hour firefight, one border policeman was killed, he said.
April 30, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai said Monday that his national security team has been receiving payments from the U.S. government for 10 years. Karzai confirmed the payments when he was asked about an article published in the New York Times saying the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks, and plastic shopping bags. During a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, where he was on an official visit, Karzai said the welcome monthly payments were not a "big amount" but were a "small amount," although he did not disclose the sums.
April 29, 2013 |
Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that "a great man is one sentence. " Presidents, in particular. The most common "one sentence" for George W. Bush (whose legacy is being reassessed as his presidential library opens) is: "He kept us safe. " Not quite right. He did not just keep us safe. He created the entire antiterror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe. That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush's antiterror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced - until he found it indispensable.
April 17, 2013 |
CHICAGO - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stopped in Chicago on Monday to visit the parents of the young U.S. diplomat who was killed while delivering textbooks in southern Afghanistan earlier this month. Kerry made the detour on his way back from Japan, the final leg of a 10-day overseas tour that started with tragedy when he learned of Anne Smedinghoff's death while readying to depart for Turkey on April 6. At the time, a clearly affected Kerry contacted Smedinghoff's parents, Tom and Mary Beth, from Andrews Air Force Base.
April 10, 2013
The new novel from Inquirer columnist Lisa Scottoline, "Don't Go" (St. Martin's Press), is in bookstores now. This is the third of three excerpts. Chapter Three Mike climbed the jetway at Philadelphia International Airport in a sort of trance, numb. His backpack hung off his shoulder, and his iPod buds were plugged into his ears, though he played no music. He'd turned off his phone in Afghanistan to avoid the condolence e-mails and calls from his former partners and friends.
April 7, 2013 |
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Extremists killed six people - five Americans, including a young female diplomat, as well as an Afghan doctor – in a pair of attacks Saturday. It was the deadliest day for the United States in the war in Afghanistan in eight months. The violence, which erupted hours after the U.S. military's top officer arrived for consultations with Afghan and U.S.-led coalition officials, illustrates the instability plaguing the nation as foreign forces work to pull nearly all their combat troops out by the end of 2014.