A native Charlottean and former broadcaster, Snepp has started a nonprofit called Silk Road Leadership to help many resettle in the United States. “From my perspective, a nation has a responsibility to take care of those who risked their lives for our country,” says Snepp, 53. “Giving them a visa is not enough. We’re trying to provide a softer landing … to help them become more productive citizens here in the U.S.”
A linchpin of the American counterinsurgency strategy in southern Afghanistan is maintaining electrical service in Kandahar City, and even that modest goal appears to be slipping away with the ongoing troop withdrawal. That is because the long-overdue upgrade of Kajaki Dam, slated to provide power to Kandahar, now appears unlikely to ever be finished.
Bringing a stable source of electricity to Kandahar, the cradle of the hardline Islamist movement and once a base for its leader Mullah Omar, was a top U.S. "counter-insurgency priority" as Washington pursued its policy of winning "hearts and minds". But regular power in the city is still years away, and when the United States finally ends subsidies - currently running at just over $1 million a month - in September 2015, Kandahar could lose around half its severely limited electricity supplies, Afghan power officials and U.S. inspectors say.
What do the U.S., Argentina, Afghanistan, and Myanmar have in common? This summer, two opportunities enabled me to explore this question from my perspective as an American violinist who recently moved to Argentina from Afghanistan.
In the months leading up to the first round of presidential elections April 5, and again now in the run-up to the runoff vote, tens of thousands of Afghans have been meeting up in schools, police stations, homes, public parks, women’s prisons, shelters and other communal spaces in villages throughout the country to watch and participate in these mobile theater performances. They're aimed at encouraging Afghans to believe in the power of their vote — in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan after 30 years of war — and to stand up to the Taliban.
India shares traditionally warm ties with Afghanistan. After shunning Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, India become a friend and a strategic partner to the Afghan government. Indian culture, including Bollywood, as its film industry is known, is hugely popular in Afghanistan and India sees an opportunity to win economic influence, boost security, and gain a trade link to Central Asia through Afghanistan.
A deal struck with Taliban militants in Afghanistan to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only remaining U.S. prisoner of war, could revive efforts to broker peace talks between the insurgency and the Afghan government, officials in Kabul said.