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The run on Kabul Bank in Afghanistan raises a disturbing question: what if government corruption is more dangerous than the Taliban? Also, US Marines raid a hijacked ship off Somalia, and a small-time evangelical pastor becomes an international figure with a book-burning plan denounced all across the political and religious spectrum.

Banner image: Men stand before the main branch of the Kabul Bank on September 5, 2010. Branches of Afghanistan's biggest private bank were crowded with government employees queueing to be paid and customers wanting to withdraw their money following corruption allegations. Photo: Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Marines Raid Hijacked Ship off Somalia 7 MIN, 47 SEC

In an incident that could have been scripted in Hollywood, US Marines today rescued the crew of a hijacked ship in the Gulf of Aden, sneaking along side in small boats, climbing aboard on ladders and arresting nine pirates from Somalia. Peter Chalk is a senior security analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Peter Chalk, Senior Political Analyst, Rand Corporation

Main Topic Corruption and Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan 37 MIN, 36 SEC

After Somallia, Transparency International now ranks the government of Afghanistan as the most corrupt in the world. The latest evidence is the crisis involving Afghanistan's most important private financial institution. Friends and relatives of President Karzai borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Kabul Bank and invested in Dubai's risky real estate market. That revelation has caused a run on the Kabul Bank, which could pave the way to the country's financial collapse. As Karzai tries to limit investigations, will the corruption of his regime make the Taliban look good to ordinary Afghans? What would that mean for the counterinsurgency strategy of General Petraeus, which depends on a solid government supported by its own people?

Adam Ellick, Correspondent, New York Times
Alam Payind, Director, Ohio State University's Middle East Studies Center
Juan Cole, University of Michigan (@jricole)
Brian Katulis, Center for America Progress (@Katulis)

Reporter's Notebook How the Planned Koran Burning Caught Fire in the Media 5 MIN, 35 SEC

The Vatican calls it "outrageous," Hillary Clinton "disgraceful," Sarah Palin finds it an "unnecessary provocation," and Muslims are demonstrating all over the world. How did a Florida pastor with a congregation of 50 people, create an international incident? Terry Jones says he might reconsider burning copies of the Koran tomorrow if he hears directly from the White House or the Pentagon. Eric Alterman is media columnist for The Nation, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and Professor of Journalism at Brooklyn College.

Eric Alterman, The Nation

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