Afghanistan

  The EOD—explosive ordnance disposal—community is tight-knit, and when one of their own is hurt, an alarm goes out. When Brian Castner, an Iraq War vet, learns that his friend and EOD brother Matt has been killed by an IED in Afghanistan, he goes to console Matt's widow, but he also begins a personal investigation. Is the bomb maker who killed Matt the same man American forces have been hunting since Iraq, known as the Engineer?

In this All the Ways We Kill and Die: An Elegy for a Fallen Comrade, and the Hunt for His Killer, Castner takes us inside the manhunt for this elusive figure, meeting maimed survivors, interviewing the forensics teams who gather post-blast evidence, the wonks who collect intelligence, the drone pilots and contractors tasked to kill. His investigation reveals how warfare has changed since Iraq, becoming individualized even as it has become hi-tech, with our drones, bomb disposal robots, and CSI-like techniques.

  From Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan, there are trouble spots in much of the Islamic world.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Representative Elizabeth Esty tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about what she learned on a recent trip to Afghanistan. 

  Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she got the call to return and cover the American invasion.

Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.

She writes about her experiences in her memoir, It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War.

 Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick and author of The Triple Agent has a new book, Black Flags: The Rise of Isis. Which is a dramatic account explaining how the strain of militant Islam behind the Islamic State first arose in a remote a Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American Presidents. 

  

  In The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism--From al Qa'ida to ISIS, recently retired Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Morrell uses his talents to offer an unblinking and insightful assessment of CIA's counterterrorism successes and failures of the past twenty years.

Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler embarked on an adventure that lasted more than a half-century. Shortly after arriving in Afghanistan with her Afghan bridegroom, the authorities took away her American passport, and she became the property of her husband’s family.

3/25/15 Panel

Mar 25, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Associate Editor of The Times Union, Mike Spain, and WAMC newsman Ray Graf.

Scheduled topics include: Afghanistan Pullout; No Survivors in French Alps Crash; Tunisian Attack Aftermath; Boston Vote on Olympics; Bill Cosby Tour.

2/13/15 - Panel

Feb 13, 2015

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, WAMC's Joe Donahue, WAMC's Ray Graf and UAlbany journalism professor Rosemary Armao. They discuss the death of journalist David Carr, Afghanistan and ISIS, and FBI Director James Comey's report on race.

  Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently visited Afghanistan.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Chris Gibson — a Republican from the 19th district — discusses the trip with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

9/29/14 Panel

Sep 29, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Obama Underestimated ISIS
Ferguson Officer Shot
Oklahoma Beheading
Cuomo in Afghanistan
Secret Service Stumble

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo spent the weekend in Afghanistan, as part of a contingent of four US governors on a trip to learn about counter terrorism measures.

wikipedia.org

An Army paratrooper who grew up in Massachusetts has been killed in Afghanistan.

7/8/14 Panel

Jul 8, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain and Political Consultant Libby Post.

Topics include:
Pope meets with Abused
Afghan Vote Fraud
Pot Legalization
Abortion Buffer Zones
Chicago Killings
TU Stories

6/30/14 Panel

Jun 30, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Newsman Ray Graf and Times Union Associate Editor, Mike Spain.

Topics include:
New Vet Head Announced
Afghan Elections
Border Control
Alaska Postal Costs
ISIS name change

    In No Good Men Among The Living: America, The Taliban, And The War Through Afghan Eyes acclaimed journalist Anand Gopal traces in vivid detail the lives of three Afghans caught in America’s war on terror. He follows a Taliban commander, who rises from scrawny teenager to leading insurgent; a US-backed warlord, who uses the American military to gain personal wealth and power; and a village housewife trapped between the two sides, who discovers the devastating cost of neutrality.

Through their dramatic stories, Gopal shows that the Afghan war, so often regarded as a hopeless quagmire, could in fact have gone very differently. Top Taliban leaders actually tried to surrender within months of the US invasion, renouncing all political activity and submitting to the new government. Effectively, the Taliban ceased to exist—yet the Americans were unwilling to accept such a turnaround. Instead, driven by false intelligence from their allies and an unyielding mandate to fight terrorism, American forces continued to press the conflict, resurrecting the insurgency that persists to this day.

NY Army National Guard Unit Deploys

May 1, 2014
NYS Division of Military & Naval Affairs

A New York Army National Guard unit from the Hudson Valley has been deployed to Afghanistan.

More than 100 soldiers of the New York Army National Guard's 1569th Transportation Company left Fort Hood Tuesday for their deployment in Afghanistan. The company, which specializes in moving supplies, is based at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in New Windsor, in Orange County. The soldiers went on active duty March 9. The unit is expected to be in Afghanistan for 10 months.

    Carlotta Gall covers Afghanistan for the New York Times. Her new book is called The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014.

Highly critical of Pakistan, it offers new information about how Islamabad has helped the Taliban in Afghanistan, and how Pakistan's intelligence agency may have helped Osama bin Laden hide out in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

4/21/14 Panel

Apr 21, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, newsman Ray Graf, and political consultant, Libby Post.

Topics include:
Afghan Runoff
Ukraine Fatal Clash
Boston Marathon
Sherpa Strike
Army Hairstyle Ban

4/7/14 Panel

Apr 7, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao and political consultant Libby Post.

Topics include:
China on Cyberattacks
Afghan Voting
Missing Airline
Jeb Bush Strategy
U.S. House Budget Proposal Dismisses Role of IMLS
Mickey Rooney

   Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.

Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in the stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

Malalai Joya

Oct 9, 2013

Malalai Joya was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2010. An extraordinary young woman raised in the refugee camps of Iran and Pakistan, Joya became a teacher in secret girls’ schools, hiding her books under her burqa so the Taliban couldn’t find them.

She helped establish a free medical clinic and orphanage in her impoverished home province; and at a constitutional assembly in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003, she stood up and denounced her country’s powerful NATO-backed warlords. She was twenty-five years old.

Two years later, she became the youngest person elected to Afghanistan’s new Parliament. In 2007, she was suspended from Parliament for her persistent criticism of the warlords and drug barons.

Malalai Joya has a pair of events in our region today. She will be speaking tonight at 7:00 pm at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany on Washington Avenue and at 1:00 pm at the Bush Memorial Auditorium at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

One of Afghanistan's most notable freedom fighters, women’s rights advocate Malalai Joya, is back in the US this fall for a national tour coinciding with the 12th anniversary of the start of the US war in Afghanistan.    The lecture series  includes several stops across the WAMC listening area. Joya’s tour is sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and Afghan Women’s Mission (AWM).

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The body of a Berkshire County native killed in Afghanistan earlier this month was welcomed home by supporters who lined the streets of downtown Pittsfield.

The body of 24-year old U.S. Army Specialist Mitchell Daehling arrived Wednesday morning at Barens Air National Guard Airport in Westfield, and shortly after 10:30 was transported through downtown Pittsfield to the Dery Funeral Home.

A long line of supporters gathered along South Street and North Street, many holding American flags.

    In Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Rohde distills eleven years of expert reporting into a call for change.

An incisive look at the evolving nature of war, Rohde exposes how a dysfunctional Washington squandered billions on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, neglected its true allies in the war on terror and failed to employ its most potent nonmilitary weapons.

      The author of the acclaimed bestseller and National Book Award finalist, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, tells the startling, behind-the-scenes story of the US’s political and military misadventure in Afghanistan in his new book, Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.

In this meticulously reported and illuminating book, Rajiv Chandrasekaran focuses on southern Afghanistan in the year of President Obama’s surge, and reveals the epic tug of war that occurred between the president and a military that increasingly went its own way.

An American drone strike Thursday in Pakistan reportedly killed a militant commander who had directed attacks on U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.  The U.S. military for several years has waged a campaign of drone attacks in Pakistan.  Recently, a peace activist from Northampton Massachusetts, Paki Wieland traveled to Pakistan, and the region of Waziristan, where most of the drone strikes occur, to protest American policy.   She spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

In a remote, enemy-held valley in Afghanistan, a Special Forces team planned to scale a steep mountain to surprise and capture a terrorist leader. But before they found the target, the target found them…

Military officials say three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from upstate New York have been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense has identified the soldiers as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Dain Venne of Port Henry, 22-year-old Spc. Ryan Jayne of Campbell and 27-year-old Spc. Brett Gornewicz of Alden.
 
The Pentagon says they died of wounds suffered Saturday when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device in Paktia province.

When the most recent Iraq war began, I was serving as student rabbi at a wonderful little synagogue in New England.  One of the regulars at our monthly Torah study was a World War II veteran – let’s call him Sam.  Sam would always bring consideration and deep insight to text study.  But more than that, Sam was – and is – a mensh.