I recognize that many Americans are tired of war. I will not keep Americans in harm’s way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security. But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly.President Barack Obama • Speaking in a televised speech in Afghanistan, hours after landing at a military base near Kabul in a surprise visit. While emphasizing the need to end the war — the last combat troops are expected to leave in 2014 — he spoke of the importance of seeing the mission through. “The goal that I set, to defeat Al Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild, is now within our reach,” he said. While in Afghanistan, the president signed a document with Afghan president Hamid Karzai “Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement,” meant to clarify the American role in the country after the war.
» Officials suspect extremists against education for women: Tuesday’s incident, which sickened women and girls between the ages of 14 and 30, left many of them dizzy and many others unconscious. “Looking at the health condition of these girls, I can definitely say that their water was contaminated by some sort of poison,” said Dr. Hafizullah Safi. ”But we don’t know yet what was the water exactly contaminated with.” Afghanistan has long faced issues with violence against women — in fact, a similar incident to this one took place in 2010.
Here’s a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof • In an opinion piece on the death of soldiers after they return home. A few other key stats — more former soldiers have committed suicide after returning home than died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, being a veteran doubles the risk of suicide, and being a veteran between ages 17 and 24 quadruples the risk. Yikes. Read up on this disturbing trend.
He loves children, he’s like a big kid himself. I have no idea what happened, but he would not … he loves children, and he would not do that.Karilyn Bales, wife of Afghan shooting suspect Robert Bales • Speaking on “The Today Show” about the allegations against her husband. Bales, whose husband went into the military in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, says her husband is “very brave, very courageous,” but admits that he did not tell her everything about his work. For example, she did not learn he suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq until he returned home. Robert Bales is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from which he and his wife shared a phone call last week.
» Meant as compensation? According to Afghan official Haji Nyamat Khan (a Kandahar provincial council member), he U.S. government offered the money as a way to help the families, not solely as compensation. But a NATO official disputed that, specifically saying it was meant as compensation. Whether or not this is the case could be significant, as “blood money” can be used as a way to replace a trial in Afghanistan. The suspect in the shooting, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, is currently getting tried in the U.S., but many Afghan want him to be tried there.