This story from CBS News captures the bizarre sense of distance between a home in the USA and a far-off soldier in Afghanistan:
"We're just so excited that we survived our first year," said Jennifer McIver, wife of soldier Nicholas McIver. "And I'm sure we'll have many more to go, but it's nice to know that there was an end of it. There was an end.""A heavy spring" - it sounds like a Napoleonic campaign, doesn't it? And maybe it is.
But these families had not yet been told.
A brigade of the division — about 3,500 soldiers — is having its one year tour of duty extended, and some of these soldiers will have to go back to Afghanistan.
The Taliban is staging a comeback and more troops are needed for what is expected to be a spring of heavy fighting.
Afghanistan is sounding a whole lot like Iraq these days:
But more troops in Afghanistan will not solve what U.S. officials say is the larger problem: the ability of the Taliban and al Qaeda to operate in the tribal areas of Pakistan, recruiting, training and planning cross- border operations.If and when the USA ever leaves Iraq, very similar problems will be long overdue for scrutiny in Afghanistan.
"The attacks at this time of the year are up about 200 percent," says Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, commander of the Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan.
Former CIA analyst Lisa Curtis says there is a growing frustration on Washington over the failure of Pakistan's President Musharraf to crack down on the tribal areas.