5 Ways the Afghan Election Should End (But Won’t)

Panjshir Security Transition Ceremony held to mark newest step in Afghan solidarity

As I’m drafting this, journalists are waiting on a joint Kerry/Abdullah/Ghani press conference. All goes as planned, the latest example of American non-intervention in a totes transparent process will yield some kind of way forward in the deadlocked election deciding the next Afghan president. Thanks to Hollywood, here’s at least five better ways to decide this election.  Continue reading

What Dead Afghans Tell Us About COIN: the UNAMA Report

Swarm of Afghan Kids

The happy fun time factory that is the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afhghanistan (UNAMA) released its mid-year report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and the news was even worse than usual. Not quite OMG-they-canceled-Firefly bad. Maybe they’re-rebooting-the-Teddy-Ruxpin-videos bad. Either way, the report does tell us one thing: how well this COINerific interventiongasm’s really going. Spoiler: not well. Continue reading

Afghan Elections Explained, in GIFs and in Song

Afghan Elections 2009

If you’re the kind of person who wants to love Foreign Policy but can’t get past the popups…or the content…or the editorial direction it’s taken…this post is for you. If you worry more about Mynamar than Miley, then you’re my target audience, reader. But if you think connecting pop culture to foreign affairs is a bad idea and only slight less childish than an episode of Basketball Wives, then stop reading now. Because it’s time for a long-overdue pop culture binge to explain what’s going on with the Afghan elections. Which, of course, means GIFs. And music. Continue reading

1st Amendment, Afghan Style

Farm Street Church, Mayfair

Because the site was down last night, and sometimes I just want to post something, I put this up over at the collection at Medium. I like Medium a lot as a place to write/post. Still figuring out how to do things there vs. here. Much of what I like about WordPress (having my own site, etc.) is sometimes overshadowed by how painful it can be to post things. But I digress. Continue reading

CODEL’s Longform Mother’s Day Card for Afghan Women

Congressional delegation visits Bagram Air Field

If it weren’t for congressional delegations (CODELs) and all the good they do, we’d never know that, according to this piece in Time, “Afghanistan’s Success Will Be Measured By Women’s Progress.” Which is true. Except for concerns about security, the possible collapse of the artificial economy, the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the international community’s willingness to support that economy, and the corruption giving said international community pause.

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ANA Deliver Volleyballs: What Happens Next Should Surprise No One

ANA bolster residents' confidence with humanitarian aid

It seemed simple enough: if the Americans could just bring enough footballs, volleyballs, and bookbags to Afghan kids, their parents would love them some foreigners. And if the Americans built enough schools, health clinics, and roads, then all the parents would love all the foreigners all the time. Unfortunately none of the Afghans got a copy of the Petraeus Bible. So that didn’t go quite like anyone had planned.  Continue reading

RAND: Still Genius After All These Years

‘Academics Week’ brings Special Operators from across the country

In case you’ve been missing the soulful stylings of Seth G. Jones on Afghanistan, and you’re longing for the halcyon days when RAND was spewing forth adept assessments of Afghanistan like a rusted out panel van dropping off the free candy, we’ve got a fix for that. Writing last week for US News and World Report Rebecca Zimmerman gives us all hope that RAND et al is nothing if not consistent when it comes to assessing the conditions here in the graveyard of common sense. So let’s tighten those pith helmets and get our well-thought analysis on. Continue reading

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