Afghanistan is suffering an unusually harsh winter, and the government has been unable to meet the needs of the poor who lack proper shelter. The deaths of at least two dozen children have been blamed on the weather.
Lt. Col. Daniel Davis ignited a controversy when he wrote that what he saw in Afghanistan "bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders." U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Ma), defense analyst Tom Donnelly and McClatchy Newspapers correspondent Johnathan Landay discuss the realities of the war in Afghanistan.
The U.S. and NATO have pledged to stay in Afghanistan through the end of 2014 and hand off responsibility for security to Afghan troops by then. How to get to that point, though, is not clear. And recent statements by key U.S. officials have only confused things more.
France's plan to withdraw from Afghanistan a year ahead of schedule is of particular concern in a small province near Kabul. Local authorities say the 3,900 French troops deployed there have held an important line against the Taliban, and that an early exit could plunge the area into crisis.
U.S. and Afghan officials have resumed talks on a deal that will determine how many American troops stay after the NATO mission ends. But until a deal is signed, it's hard for Afghans to know what's ahead, and the uncertainty may be helping the insurgents.
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