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links & readings

Links to articles, collections, and commentary on Operation Enduring Freedom,the U.S.-led campaign against terror.

Fighting the War
Bravery and Breakdowns in a Ridgetop Battle

This two-part series looks at the March 4 Operation Anaconda battle in which seven U.S. soldiers were killed. "How the operation was conducted revealed serious shortcomings in U.S. military coordination and communication in Afghanistan. How it unfolded highlighted the extraordinary commitment of American soldiers to not leave fallen comrades behind..." [Washington Post, May 24, 2002]

Trouble at High Levels

"Mountain warfare is not the only thing slowing down the U.S. Army." [The American Prospect, April 8, 2002]

Behavior Modification

"Soon after the Afghan war began, the Air Force dramatically altered its tactics. What lay behind the change?" [The Atlantic Monthly, April 2002]

Strategy and Weaponry

This site, maintained by the Federation of American Scientists, contains a list of weapons used in the war on terrorism by U.S. forces and the Taliban. [Federation of American Scientists, Last updated: Jan. 10, 2002]

A Winning Strategy

"How the Bush administration changed course and won the war in Afghanistan." [The Weekly Standard, Nov. 26, 2001]

Escape and Evasion

"In the wake of a near-disaster during the assault on Mullah Omar's complex, the Pentagon was rethinking future Special Forces operations inside Afghanistan." [The New Yorker, Nov. 12, 2001]

The Warlord

"On the anti-Taliban front lines with Mamur Hassan, who has been at war for over twenty years." [The New Yorker, Oct. 22, 2001]

How to Win the Peace in Afghanistan

"Winning the peace in Afghanistan is not optional. It is a national necessity. Early American military victories, the current low level of fighting, and the recent completion of the loya jirga, or council of elders, all have contributed to a false sense of progress evident both in official U.S. statements and in the media. There is also, however, a growing discomfort, an as yet unarticulated perception that all is not well on the Afghan front." [The Weekly Standard, July 1, 2002]

Finishing the Job

"The United States is entering an era of reluctant imperialism. That era will be neither a clash of civilizations nor the end of history, but will contain elements of both." [National Review, Feb. 12, 2002]

After the Revolution

"The city of Kandahar, post-Taliban, is full of reminders that the Taliban were not always what they seemed to be." [The New Yorker, Jan. 28, 2002]

The Coalition Against Terrorism
Diplomatic Gulf Between U.S., Its Allies Widens

"The starkly different perspectives -- the overseas view that the United States has disengaged from the world and the American insistence that it has never been more engaged -- demonstrate how the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that left more than 3,000 people dead have actually served to widen the gulf between the United States and the rest of the globe. This is the picture that emerged from extensive interviews with foreign officials and experts by correspondents in seven key countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, along with interviews with administration officials, experts and diplomats in Washington." [The Washington Post, Sept. 1, 2002]

An Army of One?

General Wesley Clark, who served as NATO supreme allied commander in Europe during the war in Kosovo, writes in The Washington Monthly, "In the war on terrorism, alliances are not an obstacle to victory. They're the key to it." [The Washington Monthly, September 2002]

The Geopolitical Implications of the War on Terrorism

In July 2002, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University released the report of a task force to study the broader geopolitical consequences of the war on terrorism. Members of the task force included: Samuel Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Wesley Clark, Robert Gates, Sam Nunn and Brent Scowcroft. Their recommendations for U.S. policy included: supporting the expansion of NATO and the European Union; forging a coalition through the U.N. Security Council to pressure Iraq to adhere to a "robust" weapons inspection program; and "attaching the highest priority to serving as a catalyst to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace." [Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 10, 2002]

Coalition Management: A Preliminary Report Card

"Nine months after the attacks, it seems clear that managing the coalition will be even more challenging than putting it together." [Brookings Review, June 22, 2002]

The Future of International Coalitions: How Useful? How Manageable?

"The events that led to the brokering of the coalition must be examined, as well as the performance of the coalition's military, diplomatic, and financial coordination. Finally, what are the risks for the future of the coalition, especially if the war widens? What are the limits of the international coalition against terrorism?" [The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2002 -- Note: this article is in PDF format]

The Coalition Delusion

Reuel Marc Gerecht argues in The Weekly Standard, "Friends aren't necessary to gain respect in the Middle East. Power is." [The Weekly Standard, Oct. 1, 2001]

New Afghan Cabinet Configuration Source of Discontent for Many Pashtuns

Journalist Ahmed Rashid writes, "Karzai's appointments have created widespread disappointment amongst many Afghans and Western and U.N. diplomats who believed that after the massive endorsement he received at the mid-June loya jirga and the widespread criticism of the warlords, he would be strong enough to distance himself from them." [Eurasia Insight, June 24, 2002]

The Assassins

"Who was involved in the murder of Ahmed Shah Massoud?" [The New Yorker, June 10, 2002]

The Pashtun Code

"Roughly half in Pakistan, half in Afghanistan, the Pashtun are as troublesome today to anyone in search of a neat political order as they were when the British contended with this last unsubdued corner of the empire. Their loyalties have never been more in doubt or more important." [The New Yorker, Dec. 3, 2001]

Afghanistan Maps from University of Texas

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin maintains a plethora of maps of Afghanistan, including current political maps, maps of the war on terrorism, and historical maps.

Institute for Afghan Studies

The Web site of the Institute for Afghan Studies contains articles and analysis on recreating Afghanistan in light of the war on terrorism.

Who's Who at the Loya Jirga?

The Guardian profiles some of the key leaders at the loya jirga and their backgrounds.

Key Posts in the Afghan Cabinet

A list of ministers in the Afghan transitional authority from Eurasianet.

Atrocities and Civilian Casualties
The Death Convoy of Afghanistan

"Witness reports and the probing of a mass grave point to war crimes. Does the United States have any responsibility for the atrocities of its allies? A NEWSWEEK investigation." [Newsweek, August 26, 2002]

Military Assistance to the Afghan Opposition

This backgrounder from Human Rights Watch details alleged human rights abuses by the Northern Alliance from 1993 to 2000, and questions whether its alliance with the anti-terror coalition will encourage further abuses. [Human Rights Watch, October 2001]

Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead

"The American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm's-way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians." [The New York Times, July 21, 2002]
[Note: Registration is required to read this article]

Blacked Out

"Welcome to the war on terrorism story, where journalists have faced two options: travel solo into a region so lawless and dangerous that eight journalists were killed over the course of 17 days in November (more fatalities than the U.S. military had suffered up to that point), or play by the rules of a Pentagon determined to delay and limit access to the conflict. Mostly, journalists must resort to filling in back details of a U.S. military venture that led to the fall of the Afghan Taliban regime--and the escape of bin Laden, leader of the deadly al Qaeda terrorist network and accused mastermind behind the September 11 terrorist attacks." [American Journalism Review]

The Role of the Press in the War

Transcript of a Foreign Policy Association interview with Stephen Hess, a media expert and Senior Fellow of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., who is currently researching the role of the press in the war on terror.

The Role of the Press in the Anti-Terrorism Campaign

The Brookings Institution and the Shorenstein Center of Harvard University have designed a discussion series on news media issues growing out of the current anti-terrorism campaign. The project's Web site contains transcripts of sessions with journalists and policymakers in which they discuss their sometimes conflicting interests.

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