NATO to stay in Afghanistan for another 10 to 15 years? The UK's former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, said that NATO could expect to stay in Afghanistan for another "another three or four years" for combat purposes, and it could expect to stay in the country for another to 10 to 15 years in a training capacity. The Guardian provides insight into Sedwill's views.
Who controls the Pakistani Taliban? Reports of the so-called resurrection--or merely survival--of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud are raising questions about who is really in charge of the Pakistani Taliban. According to the New York Times, the "Pakistani Taliban now consisted of several parts operating independently, and that the groups 'do not necessarily take orders from Hakimullah Mehsud." Pakistan's The News contends that Mehsud is indeed in control--a fact that perhaps explains the operational success and unity of the Pakistan Taliban. Analyst Mansur Khan Mahsud, on the other hand, writes in Foreign Policy that a man named Wali ur-Rehman is leading the Pakistan Taliban in South Waziristan.
Data on the Afghan war. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies provides useful data about the war in Afghanistan, including tables, maps, and charts. "The brief covers development in the scope of the war, the level of threat activity, and the ISAF and US response in implementing a 'shape, clear, hold, build, and transfer" population-centric strategy,'" states the summary.
Petraeus warns of "tough moments" in Afghanistan. General David Petraeus, U.S. Central Command chief, warned that "tough moments" faced NATO and Afghan troops in Kandahar, where a military offensive is planned for next week.
Here's Petraeus, via the AP:
"As we learned in Iraq, and as we have re-learned in Afghanistan, when you fight to take away the momentum and the sanctuaries and the safe havens of the enemy, the enemy fights back. And that can be difficult and tough to fight."
He described the Kandahar offensive as unlike a conventional military operation; "It is rather precise operations out, around the city," he said.
Dial 119 to report corruption. Afghans are dialing 119 not for life-threatening emergencies but to report another danger to Afghanistan--corruption, notes the Wall Street Journal. In order to lower the country's staggeringly high corruption levels, authorities have increased police salaries and blue dye to government gasoline (to prevent policemen from siphoning off gas). And now the 119 initiative has been introduced to as part of an anti-graft campaign.
From the Journal: