Pakistan: Nuclear Road Rage

Fascinating peek inside the latest Atlantic (in a cover story shared with sister pub National Journal) on the perilous security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Payoff grafs:

…instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the [Pakistani government] prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style

A Toast…

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is going to have some fine vino come New Year’s Eve. The $10,000 bottle is a payoff on an offer made by a California restaurateur. It seems Panetta, then CIA director, dined last New Year’s Eve at the tony Sardine Factory owned by pal Ted Balestreri in Panetta’s hometown of Monterey:

“I was talking

Good Riddance x 2

First, Iraq makes it clear it doesn’t want U.S. troops hanging around. Then, over the weekend, Afghan President Hamid Karzai says:

If fighting starts between Pakistan and the U.S., we are beside Pakistan. If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you.

Sure, he was …

“Is the U.S. Readying to Strike More Often Inside Pakistan?”

Relations between Washington and Islamabad may be at an all-time low. Was the daring SEAL raid into Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden nearly six months ago a one-off event? Or, if the U.S. is serious about Afghanistan, does it have to begin routinely attacking the Haqqani network and other trouble-makers inside their Pakistan …

“Are U.S. Troops Leaving Afghanistan Prematurely?”

Or is it about time? That all depends, of course, on what you think the U.S. mission in Afghanistan — now a decade old — actually is. We have booted the Taliban from power, and recently killed Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks from inside Afghanistan in a sanctuary the Taliban provided. Now President Obama has …

“Allied” Ambush?

The New York Times front-pages a story Tuesday on a 2007 attack on U.S. troops — in which an Army major was killed — as a deliberate blow designed to show the Americans that the Pakistani military can’t be pushed around. It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire, given Adm. Mike Mullen’s declaration last week — long overdue, according …

On Turbanicide

Interesting take on last week’s assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani in Afghanistan, relayed by someone calling himself KabulHipster, via U.S. Army Capt. Crispin Burke:

After Rabbani’s assassination, CJCS Mike Mullen testified before the Senate for the last time, and pretty much threw the ISI and their Haqqani connections under

Of Stupid Answers and Arms Sales


We don’t dip our toes into domestic politics too much here on Battleland — that’s why TIME has Swampland. But sometimes we just can’t resist. In Thursday night’s debate, a questioner asked Texas Governor Rick Perry what he would do if he got a 3 a.m. phone call saying Pakistan’s …

The Party’s Over

It was only two years ago that Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was praising Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistan army’s chief of staff, in the pages of TIME. “Here is a man with a plan, a leader who knows where he wants to go,” the top U.S. military officer said of his initial meeting with his Pakistani …

Spoils of War, 21st Century-Style

A Predator drone killed three Taliban and a Pakistani soldier recently. Or rather three Taliban and a Pakistani soldier reportedly died fighting over the wreckage of a downed Predator. Kind of makes you glad there wasn’t a pilot aboard.

Another Afghan War Expert Weighs In, Tet-a-Tet

Tony Cordesman, the resident military èminence grise at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, starts out riffing more optimistically than ex-DIA analyst John McCreary on what the Kabul attack means for Afghanistan. But then he details a daunting laundry list of things going wrong that must be reversed — soon — if …

Afghanistan 2.0

Some old-timers speak of deja vu all over again: just as Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, it could also become America’s. Tuesday’s complex attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul — reputed to be a safer place — raises anew questions about the scope of the decade-old U.S. war in Afghanistan, and its chances for success.

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