Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Today marks a decade since the United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, told a CFR audience Thursday evening that NATO is "a little better" than halfway to achieving its military goals. McChrystal acknowledged that that United States had a "frighteningly simplistic" (Politico) understanding of Afghan culture and society when it launched the war.
The anniversary comes on the heels of a wave of fresh attacks launched by the Taliban- and al-Qaeda-allied Haqqani network on NATO targets in the capital of Kabul. The last several weeks also saw the murder of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who had been negotiating with Taliban leaders; and a thwarted assassination attempt (LAT) on current Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
NATO troops acknowledged the anniversary with little fanfare. Over 2,700 soldiers (CNN) have died in the war.
After a decade of fighting, U.S. goals remain unclear in Afghanistan, says this CFR Analysis Brief. With the 2014 deadline to end the combat mission, experts remain divided on hopes for a political settlement, and stress political and governance reforms.
With the United States eager to withdraw from Afghanistan and reconciliation with the Taliban considered key to any peace process, Afghan women's rights are once again in question, writes CFR's Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
The short war has become a long war, which even now, on the tenth anniversary, we do not know how to end, argues this Guardian editorial.
Foreign Policy offers a photographic retrospective of the Afghan war.
This CFR Timeline examines the events that precipitated the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the history of the war.
MIDDLE EAST: UN Raises Syria Death Toll
The United Nations raised the death toll in Syria, now saying that 2,900 Syrians (al-Jazeera) have been killed in seven months of anti-government demonstrations.
Syria's upheaval has entered a new, perilous phase. Tougher regime crackdowns risk splintering the country into sectarian war, while debate over international action intensifies, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.
Libya: Ousted leader Muammar al-Qaddafi released a recorded message urging his followers to "rise up" (NYT) against the Libyan National Transitional Council and NATO. The announcement came as NTC troops moved in on the city of Sirte, Qaddafi's birthplace.
PACIFIC RIM: U.S. Pressures China on Currency
The U.S. Senate passed a bill to tax Chinese imports as a way to sanction China for devaluing it currency (WSJ) U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk called on China to disclose details of its government subsidies to the World Trade Organization in order to ensure it is complying with global trade rules.
Sizeable trade and currency imbalances between China and the United States have fueled tensions over China's exchange-rate policies vis-à-vis the dollar and intensified debate over the proposed remedies to the problem.
Tuvalu: Australia and New Zealand will airlift desalination equipment to the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu to help it combat a water shortage crisis (BBC).
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA: Karzai Acknowledges 'Security Failure'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government and NATO have failed to secure Afghanistan ten years after the overthrow of the Taliban. Karzai said he would step down (BBC) in 2014.
AFRICA: Liberia's President Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female president (NYT) on the African continent, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting peace, democracy, and gender equality. Sirleaf won alongside fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Yemen's Tawakul Karman.
Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe's coalition government–formed two years ago with rival Morgan Tsvangirai–was illegitimate (Reuters) and called for fresh elections.
AMERICAS: Wall Street Protests Spread to Washington
The "Occupy Wall Street" protests of downtown Manhattan spread to Washington, D.C. on Thursday, as hundreds demonstrated (LAT) at the capital's Freedom Plaza.
Chile: Violent clashes between student protesters (MercoPress) and police erupted in the capital of Santiago a day after education-reform negotiations with the government collapsed.
EUROPE: ECB to Provide Liquidity to Continent's Banks
The European Central Bank announced it will buy up to €40 billion in bank-covered bonds (DeutscheWelle), while offering unlimited one-year loans to European banks through 2013.
As Greece inches closer to defaulting on its pile of sovereign debt, European leaders must move quickly to recapitalize the continent's exposed banking sector, says EU economics expert Jacob Funk Kirkegaard in this CFR Interview.
United Kingdom: The Bank of England expanded its quantitative easing program (DailyTelegraph) by £75 billion. The announcement came as credit rating agency Moody's downgraded British banks, including Lloyds and RBS.