FROM Paul Fishstein
The Taliban in Afghanistan: Back with a Vengeance Hundreds of escaped prisoners and other Taliban militants are said to be dug in a few miles from Afghanistan’s second largest city. Thousands of villagers have fled from orchards and vineyards, and today NATO forces and Afghan soldiers launched an effort to drive the insurgents out. Is this the predicted "Spring offensive," with Taliban forces better armed and more strategically savvy than ever before? Can they further damage the already shaky regime of President Hamid Karzai? Can they kill enough coalition soldiers to weaken support in NATO countries?
Islamabad, Kabul, Washington and International Politics At Camp David on Monday, Presidents Bush and Karzai were bullish on the upcoming meeting. Musharraf has been much in the news since U.S. intelligence reported that Al Qaeda is regrouping in his country, and the Democratic candidates for President have been trying to sound tough in case Musharraf fails to take action.
Poppies, Jihadis Stand in the Way of Progress in Afghanistan At Camp David on Monday, with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai by his side, President Bush warmly endorsed a "jirga ," a traditional meeting to resolve disputes. Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf , had agreed to attend tomorrow's meeting in Kabul, but today declined, saying the press of business will keep him at home in Islamabad. Musharraf says he hopes lower-ranking officials can resolve issues between the two countries, but his withdrawal is seen as a snub to the United States. Bush and Karzai say al Qaeda in Pakistan is helping the Taliban stage a bloody resurgence, which is also fueled by a record crop of opium poppies. Will Karzai have to go it alone? Would legalizing poppy-production help ease the pressure. Can the "jirga" make a difference, without either Musharraf or the Taliban?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
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.