The drone war in northwest Pakistan has brought attention to the attenuated al-Qaeda core that moved from Afghanistan in late 2001. But two events in December -- a failed Christmas Day bombing and an attack on CIA operatives in Afghanistan -- have led analysts to re-assess al-Qaeda's perceived decline. Worldfocus takes a look at the organization's evolution.
War in Afghanistan
Pakistani and American agents recently captured the second-in-command of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Hailed as a major victory in the war in Afghanistan, last week's raid was revealed today by the New York Times. Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera English has more on the latest news.
On the third day of the biggest allied military offensive in Afghanistan since 2001, U.S., British and Afghan troops have converged on Marjah, a Taliban stronghold and opium hub in Helmand province. Coalition forces are said to be engaged in numerous firefights throughout the city. Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, joins Daljit Dhaliwal for more.
This week, Pakistani Taliban finally confirmed what the Pakistani army had claimed many days ago -- that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed last month by U.S. drones. While there are conflicting reports about which strike dealt Mehsud the mortal blow, the Pakistani Taliban are leaderless for the second time in six months. Read how commentators are assessing the drone war.
Worldfocus contributing blogger Sana Saleem writes about the Pakistani reaction to the trial of Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill American soldiers while in custody in Afghanistan. She argues Aafia’s case highlights the underlying mistrust amongst the Pakistani people for the United States.
The idea of a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war gained new currency this week. In our weekly roundtable, James Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, and Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs magazine, join Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss the pitfalls and possibilities of negotiating with the Taliban.
Worldfocus' German partner Deutsche Welle reports on a successful effort by local groups to drive out the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. And, Nora Bensahel, senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss the likelihood of succeeding with this strategy.
As unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly central to America's wars, "drone porn" has taken the internet by storm with captivating aerial images of death and destruction. The Defense Department actually posts its drone attack footage on YouTube via public relations firm DVidsHub. Some of the videos have caught the attention of millions.
Ahmad Kamal, Pakistan's former Ambassador to the United Nations, and Hassan Abbas, a former Pakistani government official who is now with the Asia Society, join Edie Magnus for a roundtable on AfPak. They discuss power-sharing with the Taliban, drone strikes along the Afghan border in northwest Pakistan and American foreign policy challenges in the region.
As the U.S.-led coalition fights an increasingly tough war against the Taliban, there is new talk of reaching out to elements of the group. On Thursday, a conference in London will explore ways of bringing the Taliban into the government and how to transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces. There is growing hope that an agreement with the Taliban could end the war.