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Al Qaeda returns to Afghanistan

After years of apparent banishment, Al Qaeda has again been detected in Afghanistan. Joshua Foust asks: Why can’t the U.S. keep terrorists out?


Rolling Stone and the politics of war porn

A recent story about the U.S. “kill team” appears to be a serious exploration of war crime, writes Joshua Foust, but its gratuitous use of unrelated war photos belies its true motive.


The numbers game in Afghanistan

Proponents of the surge point to encouraging stats, but Joshua Foust asks, what do these numbers really mean?


Burying the lede

Joshua Foust: Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings had a story about how the military influences public opinion, but he buried it.


  Financial scandal in the California National Guard

As much as $100 million in taxpayer money may have been improperly or illegally paid out to undeserving Guard members in the form of cash bonuses or loan repayments.


Marjah one year on

Few reporters have visited Marjah, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, since a major offensive began there a year ago. And when they do, writes Joshua Foust, they’re not reporting on Marjah so much as peripheral issues like cross-dressing interpreters.


  Steve Brodner: A home in Afghanistan, but whose?

Need to Know’s resident editorial cartoonist looks at Afghanistan’s future through the eyes of all the power players envisioning a favorable outcome — for themselves.


Stand by your man

Siobhan Fallon, author of the short story collection “You Know When the Men Are Gone,” talks about writing and life as a military wife.


Photo: A red balloon and a toy gun

An Afghan refugee boy points his toy gun at the photographer while playing with other boys in a neighborhood of Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

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