Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Summary: The U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of the very people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade trying to defeat in Afghanistan: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 17, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Summary: The possibility that power brokers and warlords in Afghanistan might be what keeps the country from unraveling has had analysts concerned, but the recent assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai, one of the most powerful strongmen in Afghanistan, and the ensuing struggle in Kandahar for power, has brought the issue into sharp relief as the U.S. begins to draw down forces. Though much of the international effort in Afghanistan has focused on strengthening democratic institutions, foreign forces have often had to lean on strongmen. As a result, a new generation of warlords has risen to power, fueled by U.S. money. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 8, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Taliban insurgents gunned down ten members of a Christian medical team — six Americans, two Afghans, one German, and a Briton — in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan.

Dec 28th, 2008

Summary: The Taliban has long operated its own shadow government in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, but its power is now spreading north to the doorstep of Kabul. More than seven years after the U.S.-led invasion, the Islamic militia is attempting to reconstitute the government by which it ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s. … Grim statistic: 2008 has been the deadliest year yet for NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. … At least 22 people were killed and 50 wounded after a bomb tore through a busy square in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad.