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May 1, 2012
Afghan War: What is the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement?
It’s a document with a pretty intimidating name, that’s for sure. Obama’s trip to Afghanistan early Wednesday local time seemed loaded with mystery — few knew he was there until he was actually there. He was there to sign a document that many watching the news had no idea existed until today. And the document itself is the definition of how a long-standing war will finally end, thirteen years after it started — at least as far as combat troops go. This document, just eight pages, was so important that the White House had to release a fact sheet to explain it to the average joe. What does it mean to you, anyway? Here are three things you should take from the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement:
one The U.S. government will continue to help the Afghan government train its security forces even after combat troops leave the country in 2014, with the goal of giving the entire region stability.
two The U.S. will continue to fund security and development efforts in the country, but not by default — the president has to ask Congress for a new round of funding each year.
three This effort goes both ways — Afghanistan is on the hook to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the government, while respecting the civil rights of its people. source
» So what’s the end date? The end of the document says this clearly: “It shall remain in force until the end of 2024.” (It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time this end date has been bandied about.) Which means, at that rate, the events around the Afghan War will be completely said and done 23 years after it started, though combat troops should be long gone. Hopefully.
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It’s a document with a pretty intimidating name, that’s for sure. Obama’s trip to Afghanistan early Wednesday local time seemed loaded with mystery — few knew he was there until he was actually there. He was there to sign a document that many watching the news had no idea existed until today. And the document itself is the definition of how a long-standing war will finally end, thirteen years after it started — at least as far as combat troops go. This document, just eight pages, was so important that the White House had to release a fact sheet to explain it to the average joe. What does it mean to you, anyway? Here are three things you should take from the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement:

  • one The U.S. government will continue to help the Afghan government train its security forces even after combat troops leave the country in 2014, with the goal of giving the entire region stability.
  • two The U.S. will continue to fund security and development efforts in the country, but not by default — the president has to ask Congress for a new round of funding each year.
  • three This effort goes both ways — Afghanistan is on the hook to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the government, while respecting the civil rights of its people. source

» So what’s the end date? The end of the document says this clearly: “It shall remain in force until the end of 2024.” (It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time this end date has been bandied about.) Which means, at that rate, the events around the Afghan War will be completely said and done 23 years after it started, though combat troops should be long gone. Hopefully.

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21:02 // 2 years ago
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.
20:21 // 2 years ago
April 30, 2012
14:56 // 2 years ago
April 18, 2012

Afghan school workers questioned over suspected mass poisoning

  • 171 women and girls hospitalized in a suspected poisoning source

» 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.

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11:24 // 2 years ago
8:35 // 2 years ago
April 17, 2012
Taliban commander turns self in for reward money: Mid-level Taliban official Mohammad Ashan saw this poster with his face on it. Then he saw that there was a $100 finder’s fee. So he checked into a police checkpoint last week … demanding the finder’s fee. Officials confirmed it was him via biometric scan. “This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” a U.S. official says.

Taliban commander turns self in for reward money: Mid-level Taliban official Mohammad Ashan saw this poster with his face on it. Then he saw that there was a $100 finder’s fee. So he checked into a police checkpoint last week … demanding the finder’s fee. Officials confirmed it was him via biometric scan. “This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” a U.S. official says.

11:02 // 2 years ago
April 14, 2012
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.
21:44 // 2 years ago
April 8, 2012
12:02 // 2 years ago
March 26, 2012
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 BalesSpeaking 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.
9:24 // 2 years ago
March 25, 2012

Families of Afghanistan shooting victims receive money from U.S.

  • $850k the amount the U.S. government paid to victims’ families in the Afghanistan shooting
  • $50k the amount the family of each person killed received from the U.S. government
  • $10k the amount the family of each person injured received from the U.S. government source

» 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.

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10:22 // 2 years ago