FROM Peter Tomsen
Can Diplomatic Fanfare Translate to Long-Term Security in Afghanistan? Ashraf Ghani has completed his first visit to the United States as Afghanistan's President, cutting a very different figure from his predecessor, Hamid Karzai. But public diplomacy is one thing. Security in a corrupt home country is another. After President Obama agreed to extend the US presence in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani addressed a joint meeting of Congress . He used words America never heard from his predecessor — despite all the dollars spent and the lives lost in his country.
Preliminary Results Reveal an Afghan President - But Will He Be Accepted? Preliminary results from Afghanistan’s runoff presidential election were released today. Some 1900 polling paces have been audited after charges of widespread ballot stuffing and audio tapes purporting to show election officials engaging in voter fraud. The Independent Election Commission says President Karzai’s hand-picked candidate, Ashraf Ghani is the winner with 56% of the vote, but the opposition, led by Abdullah Abdullah, says it won’t accept that outcome.
US Turns over Security to Afghan Forces, Plans Talks with Taliban The NATO coalition formally turned over authority to the Afghan government today, as the US and the Taliban announced that direct talks will begin next week. Today's transfer of authority has been long anticipated. Talks with the Taliban are a surprise. Peter Tomsen, who was US special envoy and ambassador to Afghanistan from 1989 until 1992, is author of The Wars in Afghanistan : Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers.
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.
Nationalism's appeal on both sides of the Atlantic Nationalism, Populism, concerns about immigration and outright racism are part of election campaigns from the US to Europe. We hear how today's election in Holland reflects the recent past and may forecast the future.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
Further revelations into Russian involvement in 2016 election Last week's failure to "repeal and replace" Obamacare was an early setback for the Trump Administration. There may be long-term danger of a different kind in multiple investigations into ties with Russia among campaign workers, the White House staff and the Chief Executive himself. We look as some of the threads they're following.
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.