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Bin Laden Alive and Still Giving Orders, Per Informant

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« on: March 30, 2010, 11:22:42 am »

Nicholas Sabloff & Nico Pitney afpak@huffingtonpost.com |     
   
AT WAR: Karzai Increasingly Spurning US's Influence

First Posted: 03-30-10 09:16 AM   |   Updated: 03-30-10 10:17 AM



Why Karzai spurned the U.S Why did Karzai invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Kabul? According to the New York Times it was done as retaliation for the White House revoking Karzai's invitation to visit Washington, a move which reportedly left the Afghan leader "enraged." The reason for the rescinding, according to the Times, was Karzai's weakening of the independent panel that called attention to last year's widespread election fraud.

From the Times:

The red carpet treatment of Mr. Ahmadinejad is just one example of how Mr. Karzai is putting distance between himself and his American sponsors, prominent Afghans and American officials here said. Even as Mr. Obama pours tens of thousands of additional American troops into the country to help defend Mr. Karzai's government, Mr. Karzai now often voices the view that his interests and the United States' no longer coincide.
The U.S. is thus left facing the question -- or, as the Times puts it, the 'central dilemma' for the Obama administration -- of how to deal with increasingly unreliable partner in a way that won't ultimately prove self-defeating.

The Times piece has some great details on the tension between Kabul and Washington that are definitely worth reading.

10:00 AM ET -- Bin Laden doing just fine, suspect says. Osama Bin Laden is alive and well and still actively in control, according to an alleged Al Qaeda operative, Raja Lharsib Khan, who was arrested by federal authorities in Chicago last week on charges that he provided support to the terror organization. As Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported Monday, court documents made available following the arrest include revealing comments made by Khan on secret FBI recordings about the current state of the terrorist network. In the recordings Khan says that, contrary to reports in recent years that Bin Laden was ill, the Al Qaeda leader was in good health and also still "commanding everything." Yet as Isikoff notes, Khan's credibility is hard to assess, and he never actually met Bin Laden when visiting Pakistan. "Still," Isikoff writes, "it is rare for the bureau to obtain and make public even secondhand comments about bin Laden's activities in its investigations." Read the entire piece, which provides a thorough analysis of the tapes, here.


9:30 AM ET -- Obama praises, challenges Karzai. Fresh off a trip to the region last weekend in which he held a private meeting with the Afghan president, Obama told NBC's "Today" show that Karzai, despite having made strives in cracking down on corruption, still had a "long way to go" on
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 11:23:32 am »

""I think he's listening, but I think the progress is too slow. What we are trying to emphasize is the fierce urgency of now," Obama said. He stressed that when it came to improving life in Afghanistan, we "can't dilly-dally around."

As for why he didn't travel to the region around the time that he announced the troop surge last year. Obama said he wanted to avoid appearing to be ""parachuting in and changing the outcomes there."

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
9:00 AM ET -- Obama to ask Sarko for help. The AP reports that President Obama will reach out to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is currently visiting the States, for increased help in Afghanistan. While the two leaders agree on a number of pressing international issues, the AP questions whether the partnership can actually extend to the war.

Obama and Sarkozy agree on wanting new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities. They both want stalled Mideast talks to resume. They both say something should be done to better regulate the financial arena to prevent future crises, though they don't always agree on how far.

"France is an invaluable partner and ally of the United States," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Monday.

But will that translate into more forces for Afghanistan?

France has about 3,750 troops and trainers in Afghanistan, but Sarkozy resisted calls by Obama last year to send many more. Some other NATO allies have also been cautious, even as the U.S. is deploying 30,000 more troops to try to reverse gains made by the Taliban.

Two Western diplomats said Obama will ask Sarkozy for more military or police trainers. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.
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