It’s full battle time in Afghanistan. American troop levels surging. Daily firefights, roadside bombings, suicide attacks. Planes and helicopters going down. Poppy fields and opium stores ablaze.
Coalition forces are on the move, fighting, dying. Just three weeks in, this month, July, is already the deadliest for U.S. troops in nearly eight years of Afghan war.
A new top U.S. commander is armed with a new strategy: “clear, hold and build.” But the Taliban has strategies, too. And critics now call the war “Obama’s Vietnam.”
This hour, On Point: We’ll go to the heart of the fighting, and thinking, in Afghanistan.
You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:
Joining us from Kabul, Afghanistan, is Laura King, reporter for The Los Angeles Times. She’s recently been in the country’s far eastern region, near the Pakistan border, at Forward Operating Base Salerno. Her piece in today's LA Times reports on a new wave of coordinated Taliban attacks.
Also from Kabul we're joined by Pamela Constable, reporter for The Washington Post. She’s just back from Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, the focal point of the current coalition push. She’s also been in Faizabad recently, in the country’s remote northeast.
From Hardin, Montana, we're joined by Gretchen Peters, a journalist who has covered the Afghanistan-Pakistan region for more than decade with the Associated Press and ABC News. She is author of the new book, "Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda."
From Monterey, California, we're joined by Kalev Sepp, professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and special forces officer. From 2007 to January 2009, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Capabilities, helping to oversee global counterterrorism policy.
We've posted a roundup of videos and photo galleries on the recent fighting in Helmand and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
This program aired on July 22, 2009.