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Afghanistan War Weekly: July 25, 2011

This week, there were several reports of corruption and mismanagement of government funds, including the discovery that the Taliban was indirectly receiving US funds intended for transportation contracts. There were also conflicting reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar, who the Taliban also said was alive. As the drawdown took effect, violence continued in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Afghanistan News & Opinion

Taliban spokesman disputes claim that leader Mullah Omar is dead
There have been conflicting reports from various Taliban sources about whether Mullah Omar is dead or alive. Members of the media received text messages claiming that Mullah Omar is dead, but a Taliban spokesman told the media that Mullah Omar is still alive and that the text messages were the result of hacking.

In southern Afghanistan, a modest transition
Even though foreign troops in Lashkar Gah have officially turned over security operations to Afghan forces, their presence in the region is still evident.

At least 1,560 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001
Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, at least 1,560 US troops have been killed and 12,593 have been wounded, according to the Associated Press.

NATO operation kills 50 militants in Afghanistan
An Afghan and foreign-led operation against the Haqqani network, lasting 48 hours, killed over 50 militants in Paktika province.

AFGHANISTAN: Urgent need to tackle human trafficking
Women and children in Afghanistan are often vulnerable to human trafficking, leading to forced labor, prostitution, the drug trade, and other illegal activities.

Pakistan News

At least 27 militants 'killed' in NW Pakistan
In northwest Pakistan, gunfights have killed 27 militants and 4 tribesmen.

Supply to Afghanistan through Pakistan reduced to 35 per cent
The US has reduced its reliance on Pakistani supply routes to Afghanistan because of increased attacks on NATO suppliers in the area.

Drawdown Updates

New US Ambassador: No Rush For Exit From Afghanistan
Even as other countries begin withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan, the new US ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, has said that the US will take its time leaving Afghanistan, but also mentioned that that US has no interest in establishing permanent bases there.

NATO Drawdown in Afghanistan Poses Challenges for Afghan Military
NATO forces prepare to transfer security operations to Afghan troops,  particularly in areas that have been considered relatively safe, but the threat of insurgent attacks continues  to be a challenge.

Afghan conspiracy theories as US drawdown begins
There are many theories about the motives behind the drawdown in Afghanistan, including the theory that the US plans to keep troops in the country indefinitely, and the argument that there is a conspiracy to rob Afghanistan of its enormous untapped mineral wealth, among others.

Reports of Corruption

U.S. wastes $34 billion in Afghan and Iraq contracting
An analysis by the congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting found that $34 billion was wasted on contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The report shows that there are more contractors on the ground in the region than there are US troops, among other findings.

U.S. trucking funds reach Taliban, military-led investigation concludes
According to a year-long military investigation, US taxpayer money has indirectly wound up in the hands of the Taliban, via a $2.6 billion transportation contract intended for Afghan businesses. However, the 8 trucking firms involved continue to receive government funds, and the Pentagon has extended the contract for another 6 months.

War on Drugs in Afghanistan Complicates War on Terror
When profits from the drug trade in Afghanistan go to the Taliban, the US and NATO try to clamp down on the drug trade, but what happens when drug money funds US and NATO allies?

Other News & Opinion

Petraeus, Pentagon Repeating the Mistakes of Vietnam
Petraeus and a number of top military officials are guilty of “Vietnam revisionism,” the belief that the Vietnam war would have been winnable with better execution and civilian resolve. This belief is being played out in Afghanistan as well. Commentary by Stephen Glain.

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