By ZACH ROSENBERG
As you may know, WIB’s fearless commander, David Axe, is in Afghanistan
seducing the locals reporting on the front lines. He will doubtless return with some fascinating stories, posts and insights. In the meantime, how can us normal folk keep track of what’s going on? While your humble substitute blogger is slammed with deadlines, here are some things worth reading (or watching) on Afghanistan.
Frontline, one of the best media outlets in existence, proved their greatness again with last night’s program. The first half is spent following around a company of U.S. Marines during their Helmand province offensive in July, and the second meditates on Kabul and Pakistani support of the Taliban. The program is really worth watching in full, and all of the interviews are with the most reputable people in their field.
“The Taliban in Their Own Words,” a Newsweek interview with several Taliban soldiers. Newsweek, which can sometimes gloss over some of the subtleties of Afghanistan, take the tried-and-true approach to journalism: just let the guys talk. The result is a minimally-edited, self-described timeline of the Taliban, which makes for fascinating reading.
One of the Frontline interviewees is Andrew Exum, who runs the blog Abu Muqawama. The blog is a hub of population-centric counter insurgency thought. Exum, a former Army Ranger with experience in Afghanistan, writes cogently on issues from COIN theory to Wu-Tang. Even the comments can be interesting — among the many jackasses are serious, experienced professionals.
Foreign Policy magazine’s AfPak channel, a reservoir of thought from Foreign Policy and beyond, can be very useful in providing context to current events and airing views that are sometimes ignored.
Coincidentally, our illustrious commander David Axe and contributor Jason Reich recently co-authored a piece posted on AfPak with Cato’s Malou Innocent.
The Pakistani newspaper Dawn. For all its problems, Pakistan has a thriving and generally unmuzzled media. Dawn is the best Pakistani newspaper that I know of, including thoughtful analysis alongside its reliable current events coverage. Its Pakistan coverage is of course excellent, which is crucial given the increasing focus on that nation.
There are plenty of others worth looking at. Don’t be shy, post your favorite to the comments section.