FROM Matthew Rosenberg
How Long Can the Islamic State Stay in Business? The richest terrorist group in history is financed not just by smuggling oil and selling looted antiquities. It may get as much as a billion dollars a year from taxation on individuals and businesses subject to a system of brutal enforcement. While increased bombing may deplete oil revenues, beatings and even beheadings are taking a toll on formerly middle class people. We hear about a model of governance that could threaten the sustainability of the Islamic State from the inside.
Obama Reverses Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan President Obama announced today he will not fulfill one of the central promises of his years in the White House. Instead of withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, the current force of 9,800 troops will be down-sized to about 5,500. "We've made an enormous investment in a stable Afghanistan. Afghans are making difficult but genuine progress. This modest but meaningful extension of our presence, while sticking to our current narrow missions, can make a real difference." Matthew Rosenberg, national security reporter for the New York Times , says that the President believes it's "the right thing to do."
How Covert CIA Cash Flowed to al Qaeda In the past 10 years, the US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan — some in the form of bags full of American money. Sometimes, that cash has been used — inadvertently -- to finance the very militants the US has been fighting. In 2010, CIA drone strikes were decimating al Qaeda's high-level structure in Pakistan. At the same time, Osama bin Laden received $5 million to replenish his coffers — including one million from a surprising source, the CIA. That's according to documents and interviews reported by Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times . Photo: World Economic Forum
Afghanistan Expels NYT Correspondent Matt Rosenberg Matthew Rosenberg, expelled yesterday from Afghanistan as a “spy” accused of trying to “create panic and disruption.” His article began: “A coterie of powerful Afghan government ministers and officials with strong ties to the security forces are threatening to seize power if an election impasse that has paralyzed the country is not resolved soon.” President Karzai’s office calls the work “meant to create panic and disruption in peoples’ minds, and provide the basis for other spying purposes.” Matt Rosenberg joined us from Dubai.
U.S. General Killed in Afghanistan An American major general was killed today in Afghanistan. He’s the highest-ranking American officer to die in hostilities since the Vietnam War. A German general was wounded, along with other soldiers, by a man described by Afghan authorities as “wearing the Afghan National Army uniform.” Matthew Rosenberg is reporting from Kabul for the New York Times.
Leaving Afghanistan: For Better or Worse? The search for Osama bin Laden turned into America's longest war and a vastly expensive exercise in trying to build one of the world's poorest nations. But critics say much of the country has been left out, while US dollars have fueled corruption that's even now raising the cost of American withdrawal. Meantime, the Taliban reportedly are divided, as one faction talks peace while the other waits to wage more war when Afghan forces are on their own. After twelve years of US involvement, what does Afghanistan look like now? What's in store for the future?
Developing Threats to US and NATO Plans in Afghanistan In Washington yesterday, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron promised to stay the course in Afghanistan. Today, Afghan President Karzai told US Defense Secretary Panetta he wants NATO to end its combat mission next year instead of 2014. He also said that troops now deployed in the countryside should be garrisoned only in large bases.
Developing Threats to US and NATO Plans in Afghanistan There were two major setbacks today for US efforts to wage war and negotiate peace in Afghanistan. President Karzai said NATO troops should leave the countryside and return to large bases, ending their combat mission next year instead of 2014, and the Taliban suspended conversations with the United States. The troop movement will put security for civilian developers in the hands of Afghan forces, with private aid companies already in fear for their safety . Many are already so worried they have plans to pull out, with the prospect of suing the US Agency for International Development for material breach of contract. We hear about growing threats to the scenario outlined by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron this week in Washington.
Clinton Warns Pakistan that Relations Are at a 'Turning Point' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the highest-ranking US official to visit Pakistan since the killing of Osama bin Laden. She warned Pakistani leaders today that, "relations have reached a turning point." Matthew Rosenberg, South Asia correspondent for the Wall Street Journal , joins us from Islamabad.
In Afghanistan, Is the Endgame Beginning? In what has been the deadliest part of Afghanistan for American forces there are " signs of change ," as another season of fighting gets under way. That's according to Rajiv Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent and associate editor of the Washington Post, just back from the region. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Americans tell pollsters this country's longest war is no longer worth fighting, at the cost of many casualties and billions of dollars. We look at the shaky start of the so-called "endgame" in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, Is the Endgame Beginning? The draw-down of troops is scheduled to start in July, with a final pullout set for 2014, but another summer of deadly fighting is already under way. In Southern Afghanistan, progress against the Taliban is described as "profound," but has come at the cost of moving troops out of the Northeast. There, the Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda seems to be too. The Obama Administration wants peace talks, but the other side may not be at the table. We update combat and diplomacy between the US, the Taliban, Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including Pakistan.
US Strategy in South Asia: Is It Really Working? It's been reported that remote-controlled US drones have devastated the top leadership of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan. But yesterday, the US consulate in Peshawar was hit with guns, bombs and rocket-propelled grenades , the first such direct assault in that country since 2006.
US Strategy in South Asia: Is It Really Working? In Pakistan, the attack on the US consulate in Peshawar with guns, bombs and rocket-propelled grenades — the first such direct assault in that country since 2006 -- is being called a "message” that the Taliban can still cause havoc whenever they want to, despite the devastation caused by American drones and Pakistani soldiers. In Afghanistan, President Karzai's attack on " foreign meddling ” has raised questions about the role of US troops and money. Will the much-touted " victory ” by the Marines in Marjah be sustainable? What about plans to attack the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar? We get conflicting assessments.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.