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  • Originally published 08/30/2017

    Afghanistan: The Empire Stopper

    Foreign powers have tried to control Afghanistan for three centuries. It has not gone well for them. Now the U.S. is digging back in.

  • Originally published 10/18/2016

    The $5 trillion wars

    Linda J. Bilmes

    Yet the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives expended in these wars have rated barely a mention in the presidential campaign.

  • Originally published 05/23/2016

    The Afghan Game of Thrones

    Matt Archibald

    It’s just as fascinating and sometimes as horrifying, but this game’s no show. It’s for real.

  • Originally published 06/29/2014

    The long, hard slog out of military occupation

    Alan McPherson

    Much like George W. Bush and his administration did in the Middle East, privately Wilson and his aides shared a vision of a Caribbean area remade in their own image.

  • Originally published 05/28/2014

    How Americans View the Afghan War

    Concern about instability in the wake of a withdrawal may be driving support for keeping some United States forces there.

  • Originally published 12/28/2013

    Why Are We Still in Afghanistan?

    Stanley Kutler

    It's unclear what, if any, benefit an American presence post-2014 will have on U.S. national security.

  • Originally published 11/18/2013

    The Problem with "Extraterritoriality"

    Alan McPherson

    U.S. soldiers accused of crimes in Afghanistan are tried in U.S. courts. That's been a problem before during the occupation of the Dominican Republic.

  • Originally published 10/29/2013

    The Age of the Drone

    Lloyd C. Gardner

    President Obama has made it clear: even after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, there will still be drone strikes.

  • Originally published 10/28/2013

    Before Malala

    William Dalrymple

    The Pashtun tribes of Central Asia have a history of strong women.

  • Originally published 06/28/2013

    William Dalrymple: Indo-Pakistani relations at heart of Afghan war

    WASHINGTON - Arguing that hostility between India and Pakistan lies at the heart of the current war in Afghanistan, a British historian has stressed that realisation of peace can be possible if the two South Asian nuclear powers see Afghan instability as a common challenge to deal with.William Dalrymple, who has authored nine books on historical subjects including on India and the Muslim world, analyses reasons and implications of the 'deadly India-Pakistan-Afghanistan triangle' in an essay posted by Washington’s Brookings Institution.In the light of the three-way tension and the many incidents that have sparked this continuing conflict between New Delhi, Islamabad and Kabul, the historian looks to the future of Afghanistan after the US withdraws from the longest war in its history....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    William Dalrymple briefs the White House on Afghanistan

    William Dalrymple goes to Washington. The lively historian was invited last Friday to give a briefing to the White House on the history of Afghanistan in the mid-19th century, the subject of his best-selling book Return Of A King.“It was a briefing with National Security, the CIA and Defense,” says Dalrymple, though he was too discreet to name the individuals. “They were incredibly well briefed about the current situation in Afghanistan but people in those positions don’t necessarily have the cultural and history background.”...

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Frank Snepp: The Vietnam Syndrome

    Frank Snepp is a Peabody-award winning investigative journalist and the author of two CIA memoirs.Thirty-eight years ago last week, I was among the last CIA officers to be choppered off the U.S. Embassy roof in Saigon as the North Vietnamese took the country. Just two years before that chaotic rush for the exits, the Nixon administration had withdrawn the last American troops from the war zone and had declared indigenous forces strong enough, and the government reliable enough, to withstand whatever the enemy might throw into the fray after U.S. forces were gone.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    William Dalrymple: The Last Days of the Americans in Afghanistan

    William Dalrymple is the author of eight acclaimed works of history and travel, including, most recently, Return of the King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42, currently a No.1 bestseller in India. He divides his time between New Delhi and London, and is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The Guardian.On my extended visits to Afghanistan to research Return of a King, I was keen to see as many of the places and landscapes associated with the First Anglo-Afghan War as was possible. I particularly wanted to retrace the route of the British forces’ catastrophic retreat and get to Gandamak, the site of the British last stand.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Louis René Beres: What's to Blame for America's Senseless Wars?

    Louis Rene Beres is a professor of International Law at Purdue University. Born in Zurich, Switzerland at the end of World War II, he is the author of many major books and articles dealing with world politics, law, literature, and philosophy.Where there were great military actions, there lies whitening now the jawbone of an ass.–Saint-John PerseI am in Vietnam, wondering just how any U.S. president could ever have imagined a purposeful American war in this part of the world. My considerable wonderment has as much to do with the obvious vacancy of 1960s and 1970s-era conceptual justifications (Vietnam as a threatened "domino" was the preferred metaphor) as with patently overwhelming operational difficulties. Notwithstanding the carefully cultivated and contrived images of an indispensable conflict, this was a war that never had a single defensible raison d'etre, and that never displayed any conceivable way of being won.Never.Lately, it was Iraq, although now already officially ended, at least for us. In Afghanistan, a war is still ongoing, even for us. Allegedly, at least for us, the Afghan war will soon be over. For the Afghans, however, it will be status quo ante bellum.At best.

  • Originally published 04/14/2013

    William Dalrymple: The Ghosts of Afghanistan’s Past

    William Dalrymple is the author, most recently, of “Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42.”...And although few in the West are aware of it, as the United States prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, history is repeating itself. We may have forgotten the details of the colonial history that did so much to mold Afghans’ hatred of foreign rule, but the Afghans have not.

  • Originally published 04/02/2013

    Dilip Hiro: How the Pentagon Corrupted Afghanistan

    Dilip Hiro, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of 33 books, the most recent being Apocalyptic Realm: Jihadists in South Asia (Yale University Press, New Haven and London).Washington has vociferously denounced Afghan corruption as a major obstacle to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. This has been widely reported. Only one crucial element is missing from this routine censure: a credible explanation of why American nation-building failed there. No wonder. To do so, the U.S. would have to denounce itself.Corruption in Afghanistan today is acute and permeates all sectors of society. In recent years, anecdotal evidence on the subject has been superseded by the studies of researchers, surveys by NGOs, and periodic reports by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). There is also the Corruption Perceptions Index of the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI). Last year, it bracketed Afghanistan with two other countries as the most corrupt on Earth.

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    American Anniversaries from Hell

    Tom Engelhardt

    Still frame from video of the July 12, 2007 air strike in Baghdad, leaked to the public by WikiLeaks in 2010.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Afghanistan moves to salvage ancient Buddhist city

    It had the potential to be another Afghanistan Buddha disaster, recalling the Taliban’s destruction of two ancient statues that had stood for centuries in this country’s west: A buried Buddhist city lost to time was about to be obliterated by what promised to be one of the largest copper mines in the world.Now, however, thanks to delays in construction of the massive mine and a hefty influx of cash from the World Bank, the 1.5-square-mile Mes Aynak complex is an archaeological triumph – though bittersweet.An international team of archaeologists and more than 550 local laborers are now frantically excavating what turns out to be a unique window into Afghanistan’s role on the ancient Silk Road connecting China and India with the Mediterranean.With its Buddhist city, a ring of perhaps a half-dozen monasteries and a striking complex of workshops and mine shafts built into a high mountain ridgeline at an altitude of 8,200 feet, the site shows the interplay of Buddhism, mining and trade during the years it was in operation, now thought to be from the fifth to the late eighth centuries....

  • Originally published 03/06/2013

    Soviet Afghan MIA found

    A former Red Army soldier who went missing in action (MIA) in 1980 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has been found alive almost 33 years after he was rescued by Afghan tribesmen.Now living under the name of Sheikh Abdullah and working as a traditional healer in the Shinand District of Afghanistan, the former Soviet soldier Bakhredtin Khakimov, an ethnic Uzbek, was tracked down by a team from Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee, a nonprofit, Moscow-based organization that leads the search for the former Soviet Union's MIAs in Afghanistan....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Ann Jones: Counting Down to 2014 in Afghanistan

    Ann Jones is the author of Kabul in Winter: Life without Peace in Afghanistan (Metropolitan 2006) and more recently War Is Not Over When It’s Over (Metropolitan 2010).  She wants to acknowledge the courage and determination of all her friends in Afghanistan, especially the women, and the men who stand beside them.

  • Originally published 05/03/2011

    Afghan Expert Thomas Barfield on Bin Laden's Death

    David Austin Walsh

    Thomas Barfield is professor of anthropology at Boston University and the author of Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. I spoke to Professor Barfield by phone about the death of Osama bin Laden.

  • Originally published 07/04/2016

    When Elie Wiesel Confronted Ronald Reagan

    Gil Troy

    Time and again, the Holocaust survivor showed great courage, but in his last years he was saddened by how little the world had changed.

  • Originally published 03/18/2016

    People are Polygynous

    (R)evolutionary Biology

    Here is some of the evidence (btw, we’re also polyandrous).

  • Originally published 06/14/2014

    The Disaster That Is U.S. Foreign Policy

    Liberty and Power

    We live in angry times. For evidence, turn on any news program. An awful lot of people, led by right-wing politicians and radio and TV entertainers, are angry at Barack Obama for trading five Taliban officials, who have been held for years without charge in the Guantánamo prison, for an American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who apparently walked away from his outpost after having a change of heart about the Afghan war. The Right is apoplectic.