The other war

The US killed one of the top Al Qaeda guys.

Abu Laith al-Libi, a wanted al Qaeda terrorist, was killed in Pakistan by a CIA airstrike, three U.S. officials told CNN Thursday.

Al-Libi was described as a senior al Qaeda leader believed to have plotted and executed attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, including a February 2007 bombing at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney.

But not all news is good.

The Taliban is now setting off more bombs — including one in Kabul's fanciest hotel on January 14 that killed eight people — and fueling its insurgency with profits from the opium trade. (Last year, the country produced 93% of the world's supply.) The declining security situation saw foreign investment in Afghanistan fall by 50% last year.

The Taliban is also killing more Americans: From 2002 to 2004, an average of one U.S. soldier was killed per week in Afghanistan; by 2007, that figure had more than doubled. Indeed, nearly 500 U.S. troops have perished in America's "forgotten war." Despite the presence of 50,000 foreign troops, including 28,000 Americans, arrayed against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has just ordered another 3,200 Marines into the fight. And the reluctance of other NATO members to send additional troops is threatening the future of the alliance. "Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan," said a study by the Atlantic Council released Wednesday. "Unless this reality is understood, and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak, with regional and global impact."

It's hard for me to get a read on exactly how well the US's efforts in Afghanistan are going. 

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