Kabul Attack Continues Taliban Control of War Narrative

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Gareth Porter: This week’s Taliban attacks on multiple targets in Kabul, including the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-NATO headquarters, are the latest and most spectacular of a long series of operations that have given the insurgents the upper hand in establishing the narrative of the war as perceived by the Afghan population.

The Terrorism Issue That Wasn’t Discussed

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Gareth Porter: Absent from the torrent of opinion and analysis was any mention of how the U.S. military occupation of Muslim lands and wars that continue to kill Muslim civilians fuel jihadist sentiment that will keep the threat of terrorism high for many years to come.

CIA’s Push for Drone War Driven by Internal Needs

Gareth Porter: When David Petraeus walks into the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, he will be taking over an organisation whose mission has changed in recent years from gathering and analysing intelligence to waging military campaigns through drone strikes in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and Somalia.

Tribunal Concealed Evidence Al-Qaeda Cell Killed Hariri

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Gareth Porter: In focusing entirely on the alleged links between four Hezbollah activists and the 2005 bombing that killed Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the indictment issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon earlier this month has continued the practice of the U.N investigation before it of refusing to acknowledge the much stronger evidence that an Al-Qaeda cell was responsible for the assassination.

Hariri Bombing Indictment Based on Flawed Premise

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Gareth Porter: The indictment of four men linked to Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri made public by the Special Tribunal on Lebanon August 17 is questionable not because it is based on “circumstantial evidence”, but because that evidence is based on a flawed premise.

Why Pakistani Military Demands a Veto on Drone Strikes

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Gareth Porter: The new Pakistani demand for equal say over drone strikes marks the culmination of a long evolution in the Pakistani military’s attitude toward the drone war. Initially supportive of strikes that were targeting Al-Qaeda leaders, senior Pakistani military leaders soon came to realize that the drone war carried serious risks for Pakistan’s war against the Pakistani Taliban.

Despite Surge, Taliban Attacks, U.S. Casualties Soared

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Gareth Porter: Data on attacks by armed opposition forces and U.S. combat casualties since the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan was completed last summer provide clear evidence that the surge and the increase in targeted killings by Special Operations Forces have failed to break the momentum of the Taliban.

Obama Leaves Door Open to Long-Term U.S. Afghan Combat

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Gareth Porter: Obama’s speech announcing that the 33,000 “surge” troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by “summer” 2012 indicates that he has given priority to the interests of the military and the Pentagon over concerns by key officials in his administration over the impact of the war’s costs on domestic socioeconomic needs.

U.S. Uses Peace Talks to Divide Taliban from Pakistan

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Gareth Porter: Senior Obama administration officials hope to use the talks to sow suspicion between the Taliban and their main ally, thus weakening the Taliban resolve to negotiate on a peace settlement only if the United States offers a timetable for troop withdrawal.

Obama Troop Surge Decision Ignored Pak-Taliban Ties

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Gareth Porter: The unilateral U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden created a spike in mutual recriminations between U.S. and Pakistani politicians, but their fundamental conflict of interest over Afghanistan was already driving the two countries toward serious confrontation.

U.S. Refusal of 2001 Taliban Offer Gave bin Laden a Free Pass

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Gareth Porter: When George W. Bush rejected a Taliban offer to have Osama bin Laden tried by a moderate group of Islamic states in mid- October 2001, he gave up the only opportunity the United States would have to end bin Laden’s terrorist career for the next nine years.

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