FROM Carlotta Gall
Kosovo, from a Budding Democracy to a Hotbed of Extremism Kosovo, in the Balkans, is a nation transformed in just eight years — and not all for the better. US Marines from the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion set up a road block to check for weapons near the village of Koretin, Kosovo, on June 16, 1999 Photo: Sgt. Craig J. Shell, US Marine Corps After the breakup of Yugoslavia, Kosovo gained independence from Serbia, and it was one of most pro-American nations in the Muslim world. Now, it’s a hotbed of extremism and fertile ground for ISIS. That’s according to a lengthy investigation by Carlotta Gall, foreign correspondent for the New York Times .
Inside U.S.-Afghanistan Election Negotiations The peace is fragile in Afghanistan. The recent presidential runoff there was riddled with fraud and threatened to break up the country. We take a look inside the frantic maneuvering that led to a last-minute deal brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry, announced over the weekend.
Fake Taliban Leader Exposed in Afghanistan A month ago, General David Petraeus said secret talks with a "senior Taliban leader" showed that the US-led offensive was generating enough pressure that peace might be possible. The man who called himself the Taliban's number-two leader had been flown to Kabul on a NATO plane, ushered into Hamid Karzai's presidential palace and paid enough money to show up three times. Now it turns out he was not Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour after all. Carlotta Gall co-wrote the story for the New York Times .
President Musharraf Leaves Pakistani Army Post Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, said today that "the army has been like a family to me." But, under heavy domestic and international pressure, he gave up his uniform, resigning as chief of staff . Carlotta Gall reports from Lahore, Pakistan, for the New York Times .
Securing Afghanistan's Hydroelectric Jewel Helmand Province is the toughest place in Afghanistan, full of drug lords, smugglers and the insurgent Taliban. That's why the US Agency for International Development is there—building its fifth largest project in the entire world. USAID is developing Helmand Province as if it were a country. The centerpiece is a hydroelectric project called the Kajaki Dam . The US will invest some $500 million to restore the dam, but for the moment nearby villages are empty and access roads have been cut off by the Taliban. Carlotta Gall reports from Afghanistan for the New York Times .
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?
Bomb Attack in Afghan Capital Day after NATO Troop Request In Kabul, Afghanistan, today, a suicide bomber killed at least 18 Afghans and two American Soldiers. Many more were wounded. The attack, which struck downtown near the several diplomatic missions, comes as NATO commanders are asking for 2000 more troops to fight the resurgent Taliban.
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?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?