Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
As Americans usher in a new year and new decade they find themselves confronted with old problems, war and terror. The epicenter of these problems has shifted from Iraq to Central Asia - Afghanistan/Pakistan.
According to the web site iCasualties.org 953 American troops have died in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion began in 2001; more than one-third of those killed (319) died in 2009. The NY Times reports that on December 30, a suicide bomber killed at least 8 C.I.A. officers in the Khost Province in Afghanistan. On January 2, four American troops were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated while they were on foot patrol in Southern Afghanistan. With the President’s escalation of troops, these numbers should dramatically increase before they decline.
Political uncertainty continues to control the Afghan parliament and President Hamid Karzai’s ability to form a new and stable government. The Afghan parliament rejected 17 of the 24 new cabinet recommendations of President Karzai on the grounds that the nominations were not based upon the qualifications of the individuals, but founded on either bribery or ethnicity. In this New Year, it looks like more of the same.