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Showing posts from January, 2014

Afghanistan After the Drawdown - CFR Report

Afghanistan After the Drawdown
Council Special Report, Council on Foreign Relations, November 2013

Overview

Following the recent endorsement of the U.S.-Afghanistan bilateral security agreement by Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, a new CFR report outlines the composition, role, and rationale for the roughly ten thousand U.S. troops that will possibly remain in the country after the 2014 drawdown. RAND Corporation's Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane explain in a new Council Special Report how the United States should manage the complex political, security, and economic challenges that will accompany the reduction in U.S. and allied forces. They argue for a force of eight to twelve thousand troops to assist Afghan national security forces and prevent a resurgence of al-Qaeda.

"The United States has made an enormous expenditure of blood and treasure in Afghanistan since 9/11. Though not readily apparent to an American public weary of more than a decade of fighting, important gains have …

Mysteries of the China - Pakistan Border

Murder on the Roof of the World
My travels along the China-Pakistan border
ZIAD HAIDER, DEC 20 2013

On June 22, 2013, murder occurred on the “roof of the world.” Ten mountaineers were killed at the foot of Nanga Parbat—the world’s ninth-tallest peak, located in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region on the border with China where some of the world’s tallest mountain ranges converge. The victims included American, Chinese, Lithuanian, Nepali, Pakistani, Slovakian, and Ukrainian nationals, and the audacious attack shattered a rare sense of calm in Pakistan’s northernmost corner, bewildering locals. Members of the Pakistani Taliban doggedly scaled the heights to the mountaineers’ camp at an altitude of 15,000 feet and stormed the tents in the dead of night dressed as paramilitary police. One media outlet’s coverage flashed a haunting image of vulnerability: an orange tent on the mountain slopes bathed in moonlight.

Five days later, I boarded a plane to Gilgit-Baltistan.

I had set out to complete …