9 Years in Afghanistan

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U.S. Army Spc. Jason Hebert provides security in the early dawn during an air assault mission above Tacome valley in Zabul province, Afghanistan, Oct. 14, 2009.
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On October 7th, 2001, less than a month after the attacks of September 11, American and British forces entered Afghanistan seeking to disrupt terrorist activities and capture members of al-Qaida. Nine years later we look back and reflect on one of the longest armed conflicts the U.S. has ever seen. Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs joins us for the hour.

Anonymous sources leaked information stating the Afghan government has begun secret high-level talks with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms over ending the war. However, some believe that this is just a government ploy to divert attention from the corruption and scandals of the Karzai administration.

Afghanistan receives billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. and many believe that the rampant corruption by Afghan officials seeks to keep that aid flowing in by falsly stating that progress is being made in negotiatiosn between President Hamid Karzai's government and Taliban representatives.

We discuss the possibility of this being true with our friend, Fotini Christia, Assistant Professor of Political Science at MIT.

Progress on improving the lives of Afghan women slowed and stopped some years ago, according to photographer and journalist Ann Jones, ("War is not Over When It's Over: Women Speak Out from the Ruins of War") who has lived in Kabul. She is not optimistic about women's situation in Afghanistan, even if the war does end soon.

Three weeks ago, American and Afghan troops began Operation Dragon Strike, a military offensive that could theoretically cause a dramatic shift the balance of power in the Afghan war and turn it in favor of coalition forces. To the military this is a pivotal moment in the direction of the war.  However, to the average Afghan citizen, Operation Dragon Strike doesn’t mean a thing.

Of far more importance to Afghan citizens is the ability to get to work alive, feed their children, and being able to depend on a government who will provide for, and support them. We discuss the details of this current military offensive with Rod Nordland, foreign correspondent for our partner, The New York Times, and scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marvin Weinbaum.

 Waheed Momand, president of the Afghan Coalition and a frequent traveler back to Afghanistan, share his impressions of daily life for Afghan citizens and the challenges in creating a functioning democracy in the midst of violence.

Gideon Rose, author of "How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle," looks at the history of how America ends wars and concludes that U.S. leaders tend to make some of the same mistakes in every conflict.