Pakistan










Abbottabad Hideout of Osama Bin LadenJames Ball writes in the Guardian:

US forces were stationed just a few hundred yards from Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in October 2008, according to reports within the WikiLeaks embassy cables.

The revelation that US forces were so close to the world’s most wanted man in 2008 comes after material from the Guantánamo files suggested the US may have received the intelligence that led them to Bin Laden as early as 2008.

The US soldiers were due to perform a routine posting “training the trainers” of Pakistan’s 70,000-strong federal military unit, the Frontier Corps.

Abbottabad is home to the Pakistan Military Academy, the country’s version of Sandhurst in Britain, and trains officers from across the nation. The academy is streets away from where Bin Laden was tracked down and killed.


Bin Laden was discovered not in the godforsaken, lawless borderlands but living in a million-dollar mansion in a touristy suburb nearby Pakistan’s top military academy. Steve Coll of the New Yorker writes…






A fascinating profile of Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, once (and in his own mind always) a CIA spy, by Mark Mazzetti in the New York Times:

Duane R. Clarridge parted company with the Central Intelligence Agency more than two decades ago, but from poolside at his home near San Diego, he still runs a network of spies.

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.

Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,”…




Richard HolbrookeJason Ditz writes on Antiwar.com:

Family members are reporting that the late Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died yesterday following heart surgery, gave as his last words “you’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

The dying words stand in stark contrast to Holbrooke’s living words, which were almost uniformly supportive of President Obama’s repeated escalations of the Afghan War. They’re also a major inconvenience to the president at a time when he’s trying to spin the ever worsening war as a runaway success.

Indeed, President Obama has already released a statement praising Holbrooke and saying he deserves much of the credit for the “progress” in the disastrous conflict, and reiterated that “he understood” how important the war is. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement on Holbrooke, and it too centered on how important the escalation of the war was.


It’s no great surprise to learn that bin Laden isn’t hiding in a mountain cave, considering that he’s probably been receiving kidney dialysis and other medical treatment for years. Barbara Starr reports for CNN:

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said. “Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.

Rather, al Qaeda’s top leadership is believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and some members of the Pakistani intelligence services, the official said…



Which country around the world loves conspiracy theories the most? I always thought Italy, with its long history of Machiavellian plotting, might win that award, but the New York Times makes a…


So says author Stephen Tanner in an interview with CNN’s Afghanistan Crossroads:

Osama bin Laden – remember him? Where is he, and is the U.S. getting closer to killing or capturing him?

Those are the questions hovering over several recent developments in the Afghanistan war: the capture of Afghan Taliban military leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the killing of two key Taliban commanders and an increase in drone attacks.

But several authorities on the eight-year Afghanistan war say no one should expect to see bin Laden in handcuffs anytime soon.

“No, I don’t think we’re getting any closer,” says Stephen Tanner, author of Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban.

Tanner says the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, knows where bin Laden is hiding, but is not ready to say…