FROM Omar Samad
President Trump and America's 'forever war' In the past, President Trump has called the War in Afghanistan "a disaster," and — like Barack Obama before him — he told primary rallies that he'd pull out at last. In his first prime time speech to the nation last night, he reversed last year's campaign pledges and conceded that he's learned a lesson. He endorsed a slight change from Obama Administration policies with a modest increase in US troop strength. He took ownership of America's longest war with the promise that "we will win" -- without saying what that would mean or how it might happen. We hear what he said — and what he left out — in his first prime-time speech to the nation.
America's Longest War Is Going to Continue With NATO troops pulling out of Afghanistan, attacks by the Taliban are increasing, and American soldiers will stay until the end of next year. The White House was divided, but President Obama approved an expanded mission, which will also include jets, bombers and drones. Newly elected President Ashraf Ghani wants the American presence, but he’s been unable to form a government. Yesterday he fired the entire cabinet. The Taliban is taking advantage of political instability. Today, police officers and others were killed in several incidents across the country.
US Combat Presence and Power Sharing in Afghanistan Afghanistan’s former president, Hamid Karzai, frustrated President Obama by refusing to allow US troops to stay in that country. Today, a new government—hammered together after a hotly contested election—signed the deal. The diplomatic nightmare is over but America’s longest war is not. Political rivals Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are now, respectively, President and Chief Executive of Afghanistan. Their first example of power sharing: today’s televised ceremony from the presidential palace, where they both oversaw a bilateral security agreement with the US. Omar Samad is Afghanistan’s former Ambassador to France and Canada, now a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.
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.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
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.