In what is considered a good-faith gesture, Pakistan last week released at least nine Afghan Taliban prisoners. The move is seen as part of a new strategy by Pakistan as it eyes the looming drawdown of U.S. and Western troops in Afghanistan — and a small but potentially important breakthrough in the peace process.
Many Afghans are wondering about the timing and motive of Pakistan's release last week of at least nine Taliban prisoners. They say mistrust born of decades of duplicity won't vanish with a few declarations or small gestures.
If you've seen the film The Hurt Locker, you probably remember a scene where a bomb defuser in an 80-pound Kevlar suit takes the long walk to extinguish an unexploded bomb. Brian Castner spent years as an explosive ordinance disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force, and knows that long walk well.
For the first time in eight years of doing surveys of Afghans, the Asia Foundations reports that more than half say the country is headed in the right direction. But some respondents might have been saying what they thought pollsters wanted to hear.
In eight days of hearings, Army prosecutors in Washington State laid out the case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He's the U.S. soldier charged with killing and wounding 23 Afghan civilians in a rampage this past March. Bales' pretrial hearing concluded Tuesday. Now the Army will decide whether the evidence supports a full court martial.
Pakistan is growing increasingly worried about the threat of civil war in Afghanistan when U.S. and other Western forces withdraw in 2014. In recent decades, Pakistan has seen an influx of refugees and turmoil as a result of war in Afghanistan and hopes to avoid that outcome this time.
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