Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that local security forces will take over control in the provinces of Bamiyan, Panjshir, and much of Kabul, from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beginning in July.
As the war in Afghanistan drags into its tenth year, the United States doesn't need more martyrs. It does need to do a much better job of winning regional support for its mission. Sending innocent prisoners home would be a good start.
It was the religious elders of the Reis Shura Ulema in Afghanistan who initially apprised me of the practice of Bacha Bazi, where young boys are made to dance and then exploited sexually by the police.
Contrary to mass assumption, the U.S. goal is not to achieve stability in Afghanistan as much as it is to maintain control -- control via a client regime that can best serve Western economic and security concerns.
President Karzai recently threatened that he may join the Taliban. I think he badly needs to do that because his corrupt and inefficient government has already been helping in strengthening the Taliban.
Couple the lack of security with the media coverage of the war on terror, and it becomes difficult to connect to the real Afghanistan today. That mkes connecting communities and cultures more important than ever.