(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 4, 2010: Comprehensive daily news related to Afghanistanfor the world of TODAY.
*Comprehensive daily news related to Afghanistan Top Stories / Headlines Newsfor the world of TODAY
Confidential diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and released in December 2010 offered a fresh sense of the pervasive nature, overwhelming scale, and dispiriting challenge that corruption, fueled by a booming illicit narcotics industry, poses to American officials who have made shoring up support for the Afghan government a cornerstone of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.
Following months of secret talks between Afghan and Taliban leaders to end the war, a participant believed to be Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement, was unmasked as an impostor in November. The high-level discussions conducted with the assistance ofNATOappeared to have achieved little.
The Obama administration is increasingly emphasizing the idea that the United States will have forces in Afghanistan until at least the end of 2014, a change in tone aimed at persuading the Afghans and the Taliban that there will be no significant American troop withdrawals in the summer of 2011. The message shift is effectively a victory for the military, which has long said the July 2011 deadline undermined its mission by making Afghans reluctant to work with troops perceived to be leaving shortly.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country north and west of Pakistan and east of Iran. Its strategic location has long granted it a pivotal role in the region, while its terrain and population have stymied would-be conquerors for centuries. The country's population is 34 million. Its capital is Kabul.
The United States has been militarily involved in Afghanistan since 2001, when it led an invasion after the Sept. 11 attacks by Al Qaeda. The group had been given safe haven in the country by theTaliban, the extremist Islamic group that had seized control in 1996 after years of civil war. The 2001 invasion succeeded in dislodging Al Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power, but not in eradicating either group. Fueled by profits from the opium trade and dissatisfaction with the weak and often corrupt new Afghan government, the Taliban has made a steady comeback, particularly in the Pashtun regions of the south and east where the group originated.
By ALISSA J. RUBIN and ROD NORDLAND; REPORTING WAS CONTRIBUTED BY SANGAR RAHEMI and SHARIFULLAH SAHAK FROM KABUL, and AFGHAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NEW YORK TIMES FROM KUNDUZ, KHOST, NANGARHAR, HELMAND and KANDAHAR PROVINCES.
President Hamid Karzai’s government vowed to challenge parliamentary results endorsed by international officials.
NATO forces in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, have been blasting their way through homes and other structures booby-trapped by the retreating Taliban, in the wake of a troop surge by the American-led troops.
Even the poorest families in Afghanistan have matches and cooking fuel. The combination usually nourishes. But it also can be the makings of a combustible escape: from poverty, from forced marriages, from the abuse and despondency that can be the fate of Afghan women.