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The war without end is a war with hardly any news coverage

By John Hanrahan

The United States is bogged down in a 10-year-old war in Afghanistan in which 100,000 American troops and 40,000 other NATO personnel are fighting at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $2 billion a week in a country beset by grinding poverty and ever-increasing civilian and military casualties. There is no shortage of news to be covered, all of it with serious ramifications for the Afghan people and for American foreign policy and military spending, decision-making and the ravages of war.

Yet, other than in its early stages in 2001-2002, the American press has greatly under-reported this war. Only handfuls of reporters are stationed there for more than brief periods. They often do remarkable reporting but face numerous problems that can affect coverage: roadside bombs; the threat of kidnapping if they stray too far from Kabul on their own; language barriers; strict constraints when they are embedded with the military; having to cope with the military’s spin on particular battle actions or policies; budget issues that can limit a reporter’s support personnel, etc. And when they overcome such problems the reporting is still sparse: There are just too few reporters to describe the war and life in Afghanistan.



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