Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Afghanistan: After a Tough Summer, Stanley McChrystal Will Report to Obama

The picture is of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah.

It's been a bad summer for the United States effort in Afghanistan. 47 soldiers were killed in August, which is the highest monthly total since the war started; almost as many were killed in July.

General Stanley McChrystal has called the situation "serious." He's reporting to Obama this week and is expected to call for an increase in troops -- possibly requesting 2-4 additional brigades.

Karen DeYoung
reports, in this morning's Post (here) that a reinvigorated Taliban is frequently targeting new Western-financed development projects (schools, roads, government buildings, etc.), which is seriously undermining Afghan support of the West.

In this morning's Times (here), Dexter Filkins reports that there are serious allegations of vote fraud by Hamid Karzai's team in the Shorabak district in southern Afghanistan. A tribe there -- the Bariz -- had decided to vote en masse for Abdullah (because Karzai's government was failing to improve living conditions), but Karzai's brother Ahmed Wali Karzai allegedly caused local police to stuff the ballot boxes so that every single vote from the district ended up being cast for Karzai.

292. Within the Obama administration, who is the most outspoken proponent of an early exit from Afghanistan? And who is the most hawkish supporter of the effort there?

293. Are US troops more or less supportive of the Afghan war as compared with the war in Iraq?

294. What percentage of Afghani's have internet access? This summer the media made a huge deal of the Iranian protesters communicating with each other via Twitter and the internet -- is there any similar phenomenon occuring in Afghanistan?

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