Asymmetric Actors
May 19, 2011

Pakistan’s long conflict with India shapes its national security worldview. Far smaller and weaker than its neighbor, Pakistan compensates with far higher military spending and a larger Army than it can afford, creating a national security state.

Enemy of the State
May 19, 2011

In the stash of hard drives, thumb drives, and personal papers discovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound, one especially revealing find was his personal diary. According to an analyst privy to the frequent updates of translated material being posted to the intelligence community’s classified internet, the late Al Qaeda leader periodically recorded his amusement that U.S. drones were searching for him in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan while he was living comfortably less than a quarter of a mile from a Pakistani military academy.

‘Liberty Oaks’
May 17, 2011

As we headed toward the Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden so that we could take in one of the great joys of spring in New York—cherry trees in full, glorious bloom—we entered a path between a double row of youngish oak trees that were now beginning to attain the height and fullness that will eventually give them the stately architectural elegance of an allée. I was asking my husband if he remembered how forlorn they had looked as saplings when we noticed a bronze plaque at the foot of a tree just filling in with deep green leaves.

Ready to Stand?
May 16, 2011

In his December 2009 speech to cadets at West Point, President Obama committed to sending 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan, while laying out the closest thing to a war strategy that we’ve had since 2001. “We must deny al-Qaida a safe haven,” he said, and “we must reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government.

Afghanistan Dispatch: Osama bin Who?
May 13, 2011

Oqa, Afghanistan—“Never heard of him,” says Mirza the tumbleweed-gatherer. “Was he an Arab? Someone who helped the Taliban?” asks Nazar the hunter. Aman Bai, a former mujahedin commander, squints at the wasteland that clenches his village in a menacing, infertile grip. After a rainless winter, the spare blades of hard, thorny greens that have poked at last through the clay soil are not enough to graze Oqa’s washboard-ribbed livestock.

TNR on the Death of Osama bin Laden
May 11, 2011

On Sunday May 1, 2011 at 11:35 p.m., speaking to a larger audience than at any other time during his presidency, Obama stated that Osama bin Laden was dead. Earlier that day, in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs had descended on bin Laden’s compound and, after a 40-minute firefight, shot and killed the leader of Al Qaeda. Over the course of the week that followed, The New Republic unpacked the implications, symbolic and substantive, of bin Laden’s death.

Choose Leverage
May 10, 2011

Within minutes of last Sunday’s announcement that the United States had killed Osama bin Laden at his conspicuous compound in Pakistan, accusations regarding the role played by his adopted country-of-residence began to fly. Had Pakistan’s notorious intelligence service (the ISI) known about bin Laden’s whereabouts all along? Or was a glaring oversight simply a sign of the agency’s incompetence?

The Immediate Question
May 05, 2011

David Rieff writes about America’s futile war in Afghanistan.

Local Boy Makes Good
May 04, 2011

First Read reports: Ayman al Zawahiri is by no means a shoo-in as al Qaeda's next leader. He is not liked by many in the organization, and he faces competition from at least two others, one of them an American, a senior U.S. official tells NBC News. In addition to having a face for radio, and not at all charismatic, he is not nearly as popular as bin Laden internally. He has a reputation as being arrogant," said the official.

The Crossroads
May 04, 2011

The death of Osama bin Laden will raise the inevitable question: What are we still doing in Afghanistan? The answer, of course, is that the mission in Afghanistan is about something bigger and more ambitious than eliminating Al Qaeda’s leaders—most of whom, in any event, are probably living in Pakistan, as bin Laden was when the United States finally tracked him down. No, the mission in Afghanistan isn’t about killing Al Qaeda members.