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May 2nd, 2012
11:06 AM ET

Defining success in Afghanistan – RAND's Seth Jones on what President Obama should have said in his speech

President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan yesterday, declaring the country is no longer a safe haven for terrorists and Al Qaeda's defeat is now within reach.

The trip included an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai outlining the strategic partnership between the two countries after 2014.

But the speech didn't please everyone, including the New York Times. In an editorial this morning they wrote,

"The White house set it up as a big moment, but the President squandered the chance to fully explain his exit strategy from a war Americans are desperate to see brought to an end."

Seth Jones, senior political scientist for the RAND Corporation and former senior adviser for U.S. Special Operations command in Afghanistan, explains the important details President Obama needed to include in his speech.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama
May 2nd, 2012
09:28 AM ET

Fmr. Minn. Governor Tim Pawlenty says President Obama is a 'disaster,' says announcing Afghan timetable is a bad idea

In an interview “Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien this morning, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty rejected President Barack Obama’s public announcement of a specific timetable for the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “What we don’t like is the President putting these arbitrary deadlines rather than conditions on ground,” he said.

During an unannounced trip to Afghanistan Tuesday, Obama said he remains committed to pulling 23,000 troops out of the country by the end of summer and sticking to a 2014 deadline to turn security fully over to the Afghan government.

“Let’s not announce it ahead of time for those who don’t have America’s interest at heart can plan around it,” Pawlenty, who has endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney and Romney campaign surrogate, said of the timetable. “Governor Romney would have taken a different approach and planned and executed those plans in private.”

Pawlenty also spoke about Obama’s handling of the economy, calling the president a “disaster,” and his health care plan. “He’s been somebody who has disappointed us with all of these broken promises,” Pawlenty said.

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Filed under: 2012 Race • Afghanistan • Politics
April 18th, 2012
12:46 PM ET

Details in controversial photos of U.S. troops posing with suspected Afghan bombers' bodies

CNN's Barbara Starr on photos release by the Los Angeles Times of U.S. troops posing with suicide bombers. Read more on the story here.


Filed under: Afghanistan
April 11th, 2012
01:32 PM ET

Australian journalist talks with survivors of Afghan shooting spree

The U.S. Army is now putting together a sanity board to look into what happened when a soldier allegedly went on a deadly killing spree in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with murdering 17 Afghan villagers, including nine children, in the middle of the night last month.

Yalda Hakim of Australia's SBS network was the first Western journalist to visit the village to and speak to the survivors who described in detail what happened.


Filed under: Afghanistan
March 26th, 2012
10:15 AM ET

Military wives Eckhart and Johnson: 'We can see ourselves' in Karilyn Bales

Military wives Jacey Eckhart and Vicki Johnson discuss their support of Sargent Bales' wife Karilyn and explain that there is an "important distinction is between deployment and combat" when it comes to the impact that war has on families.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
March 16th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Could U.S. soldier accused in Afghan rampage face death penalty? A former JAG officer explains

More details continue to emerge in the case of a U.S. soldier accused of going on a shooting spree in Afghanistan, killing 16 civilians. He has now hired a high-powered lawyer: Seattle attorney John Henry Browne, who once represented serial killer Ted Bundy and the "Barefoot Bandit."

Some reports say the soldier just "snapped," while others say it was stress, alcohol and personal issues at home. But this morning on NBC's "Today" show, Brown shot down those reports.

Soledad talks this morning with former JAG officer Thoams Kenniff, who talks about the details of a military trial, whether the soldier will face the death penalty and if the soldier will be returned to Afghanistan for trial.

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Could U.S. soldier face death penalty?

Fmr. JAG officer Thomas Kenniff on possible order of prosecution for a U.S. soldier accused in a rampage in Afghanistan.

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Stress a defense for accused soldier?

Fmr. JAG officer Thomas Kenniff on defense strategies for a U.S. soldier accused in a rampage in Afghanistan.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
March 15th, 2012
09:07 AM ET

Former CIA commander discusses the future of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan

Gary Bernsten, former CIA field commander who headed the CIA's Bin Laden unit in Afghanistan, discusses the transfer of the suspect in the Afghan killings to Kuwait and weighs in on how recent violence in Afghanistan will influence American policy in the country.

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Afghan shooting suspect transferred

Gary Berntsen, former CIA commander, discusses the potential fallout of the U.S. moving the Afghanistan shooter to Kuwait.

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The future of the Afghanistan mission

In light of recent violence, Gary Berntsen, former CIA commander, weighs in on America's future strategy in Afghanistan.


Filed under: Afghanistan
March 13th, 2012
09:18 AM ET

Could the Afghanistan shooting rampage be related to the suspect's head injury? Psychiatrist weighs in

Dr. Paul Newhouse explains why he doesn't think that the Afghan shooting suspect's head injury was related to the killing spree and discusses the psychological toll on soldiers who have served multiple tours of duty.


Filed under: Afghanistan
March 12th, 2012
10:39 AM ET

Questions linger on soldier's rampage

TIME's Jim Frederick on what could have led a U.S. soldier to allegedly go on a killing rampage in Afghanistan.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
March 12th, 2012
07:58 AM ET

Solis: Heavy strain on U.S. soldiers

Gary Solis, former U.S. Marine and law professor, on the physical and mental strain endured by soldiers in Afghanistan.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
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