Tag: Taliban

Pentagon Chief Makes Unannounced Visit to Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper traveled to Afghanistan on Sunday, in his first visit to the country since being confirmed as Pentagon chief amid uncertainty about the administration’s strategy following the collapse of peace talks with the Taliban. His unannounced trip came weeks after the lead American negotiator during the talks, Zalmay […]

Read More

U.S. Disputes Finding That Airstrikes on Afghan Drug Labs Killed 30 Civilians

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 30 civilians were killed by American airstrikes that targeted drug labs in western Afghanistan this spring, according to a United Nations report released on Wednesday, a figure that the United States-led mission in the country quickly disputed. The strikes, on May 5, targeted more than 60 sites in Farah Province […]

Read More

Taliban and U.S. Envoy Meet for First Time Since Peace Talks Collapsed

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban officials have met in Pakistan with the top American diplomat who recently led peace negotiations with the insurgent group, current and former members of the Taliban said on Saturday, the first time representatives from both sides had met since President Trump called off the talks last month. The meeting in recent […]

Read More

Afghan Town’s First Female Mayor Awaits Her Assassination

MAIDAN SHAR, Afghanistan — Zarifa Ghafari, who at 26 became one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors, has said that she fully expects to be assassinated. Not that she is keeping a low profile. After taking office in March in Maidan Shar, a town of 35,000 in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province, she had a banner hoisted with […]

Read More

The Taliban Made Sure Afghans Were Too Terrified to Vote on Election Day

WARDAK, Afghanistan — An armored Land Cruiser sped by, flanked front and rear by Afghan police Humvees with machine gunners in their turrets. They were the only vehicles on the typically chaotic 20-mile stretch of road that connects Kabul with Wardak’s capital city Maidan Shahr. It was Election Day, and motorists had heeded the Taliban’s […]

Read More

Afghans Vote in Presidential Election Under Threat of Violence

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans voted on Saturday to elect the president of a country suffering through one of the most violent periods in its recent history, with nearly two dozen of the country’s 34 provinces facing attacks on any given day and Taliban militants threatening all-out war on the democratic process. And the Taliban aren’t […]

Read More

Afghanistan Presidential Vote Presses On Despite Concerns About Legitimacy

KABUL, Afghanistan — Elections in Afghanistan have become increasingly chaotic spectacles since the country’s first presidential vote in 2004. Each has proved more corrupt and compromised than the last, calling into question whether ambitions for a Western-style democracy can survive in a country consumed by war. Now, Afghanistan is lurching again toward what is likely […]

Read More

A Desperate Battle, and a Victory for Now, at a Remote Afghan Outpost

CHAKARAN, Afghanistan — In one of the most remote places in Afghanistan, government forces this month managed to achieve something vanishingly rare these days: They clawed back not one but three districts from the Taliban’s grip. But the cost was high, and the victory was tenuous. Even as the Afghan forces turned their attention toward […]

Read More

The Graves of Afghanistan Speak

In Deh Naw — my parents’ home village in Logar Province of Afghanistan — makeshift graves and markers for the dead lay scattered amid orchards, in between fields, or atop hills, a testament to the decades of war. Sometimes, the graves are marked by small slabs of stone with a name or a prayer carved […]

Read More

U.S. Cuts $100 Million in Aid to Afghanistan, Citing Government Corruption

WASHINGTON — The State Department cut $100 million in aid for Afghanistan on Thursday as the Trump administration’s chief peace negotiator briefed House lawmakers on the failed efforts to strike a deal with the Taliban and wind down the 18-year war. The American funding was slated for a hydroelectric project to provide power to the […]

Read More

Taliban Blast Kills at Least 20 in Latest Spasm of Violence in Afghanistan

A Taliban truck bomb killed at least 20 people and injured 95 others when it exploded near a hospital in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, a provincial official said, with casualties expected to rise as rescuers searched the rubble from the blast. The Taliban, who have been carrying out nearly daily attacks since the collapse of […]

Read More

Trump Must Restart the Taliban Talks

KABUL — President Trump calling off the talks with Taliban insurgents on Sept. 7 has, at least for now, quashed hopes of imminent agreement between the United States and the Taliban. The two sides had appeared to be on the brink of a deal that might have paved the way for talks among the insurgents, […]

Read More

Blast at Rally for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Kills at Least 24

A bomb blast at a campaign rally for President Ashraf Ghani in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday narrowly missed the president, killing at least 24 people and wounding at least 31, officials said. Mr. Ghani, who officials said was not hurt, had mostly been campaigning ahead of the Sept. 28 presidential vote by video conference, but […]

Read More

‘Waiting for All of It to End’: A Marine’s Battlefield View of U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan

Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, served four years in the Marines and first deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, then again in 2009 at the beginning of the troop increase ordered by President Barack Obama. I don’t think there was ever a time when we thought we were winning or losing. […]

Read More

For Afghans Scarred by War, ‘Peace Can’t Bring My Love Back’

KABUL, Afghanistan — After nearly two decades of bloody fighting, the United States and the Taliban were on the verge of a provisional agreement that could help end the long war — then President Trump pulled the plug on negotiations. Many Afghans, who express an urgent need for ending the bloodshed, have remained skeptical of […]

Read More

Democrats’ Afghan Strategy Sounds Familiar. It’s a Lot Like Trump’s.

For 18 years and four presidential elections, Democrats running for president have felt compelled to lay out comprehensive plans for the future of Afghanistan, vowing to never again let the country become a breeding ground for terrorists who could strike the United States as they did on Sept. 11, 2001. Now, the candidates are racing […]

Read More

What John Bolton’s Ouster Says About Donald Trump

Of the questions surrounding the defenestration of John Bolton as President Trump’s third national security adviser — Did he jump? Was he shoved? — the least interesting is the question of who will succeed him on the parapet. It’s unlikely to matter much. Regardless of who has advised Mr. Trump on foreign affairs — generals […]

Read More

In Trump’s Taliban Snub, a Shift of Fortune for Afghanistan’s President

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, appeared increasingly trapped in recent months in a demoralizing swim against the political tides — until President Trump, inadvertently, tossed him a lifeline. Mr. Ghani, in pursuit of a second five-year term, had pushed for presidential elections later this month. But the only game in town that seemed […]

Read More

Elizabeth Warren Continues to Persist

Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. Did you read our friend Frank Bruni’s column this past weekend? It’s one of the most thought-provoking articles I’ve read in a while about the likely shape of the 2020 race, and it contains this fascinating nugget: “19 Republicans in Congress have already announced that they won’t seek another term in […]

Read More