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Afghanistan War Weekly, June 21, 2011

Perhaps not surprisingly, this week’s headlines have been dominated by stories relating to President Obama’s upcoming announcement on Wednesday of a troop drawdown in Afghanistan. Also of interest this week was the focus on the financial cost of the war, including the antiwar resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore. Additional stories focused on the physical and psychological cost of war, and the increasing numbers of Americans across the political spectrum who are growing impatient with the war.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your feedback.

Sharon Miller

Obama Troop Withdrawal Announcement

Gates: War fatigue a factor in Obama's Afghanistan troop withdrawal plans
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that President Obama will take US opposition to the war into consideration when announcing the troop drawdown on Wednesday.

Obama likely to cut 10K troops from Afghanistan
Obama is expected to announce that he is cutting 10,000 troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Gates says Afghanistan is not ‘war without end’ while senators push for troop withdrawal
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee that the war will end in 2014, citing security concerns.

Feinstein gets box of toy soldiers, as Obama prepares to announce troop draw down
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has not called for a significant drawdown in US troops in Afghanistan, received a box with thousands of toy soldiers, accompanied by petitions demanding the swift withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan News

Eight troops die in a day in Afghanistan: military
Eight foreign troops died in Afghanistan on June 18. Four died in a vehicle accident in southern Afghanistan. Four more were killed in insurgent attacks: three in southern Afghanistan and one in the east. Additionally, three Afghan civilians were killed and eleven more were wounded in a suicide car bombing in Kunduz.

Taliban Evoke a Vietnam Flashback
The war in Afghanistan is reminding many military officials of the Vietnam war. Some have noted similarities between the Tet Offensive and the Taliban’s stated motives for carrying out attacks on foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Is Afghanistan the worst place for women?
Human rights activist Wazima Frogh believes that although Afghan women have many challenges, it is inaccurate to refer to Afghanistan as the worst place for women. She blames war and conflict for the problems women face in Afghanistan.

Russian Envoy Sees Role Rebuilding Afghanistan
Russia’s envoy to Afghanistan wishes to strengthen Russia’s influence in Afghanistan through development projects, which is seen as a way to improve the security situation in Russia.

US Ambassador Eikenberry blasts Afghan leader
The US ambassador to Afghanistan expresses frustration that Hamid Karzai is not adequately acknowledging the sacrifices the American people have made for Afghanistan’s future.

Afghanistan Opinion

Afghan aid in a dire state
US foreign aid to Afghanistan often winds up in very problematic places, due in large part to widespread corruption. Column by Joel Brinkley.

Only an aid rethink can save Afghanistan
The only way to improve the situation in Afghanistan is to increase transparency at the local government level. Column by Dennis deTray.

Afghanistan's war on 'agriterror'
Legalizing and regulating the sale of narcotics would have profound impacts on poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. Commentary by Helen Redmond.

Other News

Mayors approve end-the-wars resolution
The US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore passed a resolution to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and spend the money on domestic priorities instead.

Fighting intensifies during Afghan troop surge
The number of US troops wounded in Afghanistan more than doubled after Obama’s troop surge. Injured Marines at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD discuss the situation.

PTSD incorrectly calculated among soldiers: Veteran's Administration
Although the military has officially diagnosed 78,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, the VA estimates the true number of PTSD cases among veterans to be approximately 800,000.

Kucinich asks for crimes probe
Congressman Dennis Kucinich asked the UN and the International Criminal Court to investigate NATO war crimes in Afghanistan and Libya.

War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs
Unmanned drones, both large and small, are changing the way the US fights wars. Some spy drones under development are as small as insects. The Pentagon requested $5 billion from Congress for drones for 2012.

Afghanistan Emerging as Issue for US Republican Presidential Hopefuls
One of the focuses for many Republican presidential candidates is the war in Afghanistan.

The Hill Poll: Majority says military involved in too many places
72% of Americans polled believe the US is fighting too many wars and needs to withdraw troops.


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