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Weekly News Roundup: Afghan Anniversary, Pakistan's Influence, and Still No Government in Iraq

written by Matt Elliott
on October 08, 2010

The war in Afghanistan entered its tenth year yesterday. This AP story looks at the current situation how and when it might end.

With some variety of U.S. withdrawal less than a year away, Pakistan reaches out to the Taliban leadership about a ceasefire, reports The Independent.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that many U.S. and Afghan officials believe Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, is urging the Taliban to continue the fight.

Further straining relations between the United States and Pakistan has been the fallout from last week's wayward NATO airstrike that killed three Pakistani soldiers. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the resulting border closure has not affected supplies getting to Afghanistan.

This AP story looks at the fighting in Marjah and the battle to secure the town that has been raging since February when NATO forces were able to take control of the area from the Taliban. "It's still a very tough fight," said Capt. Chuck Anklam, whose Marine company has lost three men since arriving in July. "We're in firefights all over, every day."

Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Wednesday. His parents accepted the award. Miller, 24, was the youngest member of his Special Forces unit. His brave actions on January 25, 2008 helped save 22 lives. At the ceremony, President Obama said, "Rob endures in the Afghans he trained and befriended. In valleys and villages half a world away, they remember him as an American who spoke their language, respected their culture and helped them defend their country."

The New York Times profiles a "female engagement team," part of a new experiment in Afghanistan that sends teams of female Marines out with all-male infantry patrols in Helmand Province to try to win over the rural Afghan women who are culturally off limits to outside men.

Regarding War - The Lens Blog, NYT; Tim Hetherington photo

The Lens blog of The New York Times features 19 photographs from Tim Hetherington and his new book, "Infidel." The book stands apart from "Restrepo," the film he made with Sebastian Junger, but focuses on the Second Platoon of Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade fighting in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.

Regarding War - Sgt Lance VogelerSgt Lance Vogeler was killed in Afghanistan, during his 12th tour. The 29-year-old Army Ranger served eight tours in Afghanistan and four in Iraq. His wife is pregnant with their first child. Learn how to contribute to a trust fund for the family.

While in Iraq, the news this week focused on the continuing efforts to form a working government, with deals being sought between the various political factions and reports of deepening divides preventing a coalition of Sunnis and Shiites.

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