December 2016

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For the Afghan government to gain the upper hand, however, the foreign money needs to continue flowing. If salaries aren’t paid, local police could turn into insurgents or bandits. Problems with the pay structure would also threaten the integrity of the Afghan military, possibly breaking a key national institution into feuding factions. Donors have promised […]

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Modern terrorists have rarely killed more than a few thousand people in any given year. Many times in Afghanistan, when my boots were stained with human gristle, I asked myself if the bloody effort could be justified by the hunt for small bands of madmen. Defeating terrorism was never described as NATO’s main goal in […]

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Karzai suffered criticism for his statement [that security in Afghanistan was better between 2002 and 2006 than in 2012], but he was correct. The NATO surges into the south will almost certainly be remembered as a spectacular mistake. Many of the aims were noble: peace, democracy, rule of law. We thought that a sweeping program […]

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I told the UN chief about my recent conversations with disgruntled tribesmen, and their complaints about the Afghan police behaving like robbers. “Yes, this is a case of bad governance,” Mr. Masadykov replied. “I can say now, when we’re talking about Taliban, maybe half of these so-called anti-government elements acting here in this area of […]

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It was easy to guess why the American had been selected to deliver the message: other countries in the NATO alliance were describing their presence as a humanitarian gesture. A British minister infamously predicted the military surge would happen without a shot fired, and the Canadian military was pushing journalists to write about medical programs. […]

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Over the course of the term since September, I have noticed myself progressively gaining weight and am now at the point that I am the heaviest I can recall being at around 200 lbs. This was happening at the same time as I was doing Judo twice a week, but I suspect only a fairly […]

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