Uncertainty is gripping Afghanistan as the clock ticks toward the withdrawal of NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.
People and money are leaving the country. Housing prices are falling. Construction is slowing down. Many Afghans are trying to be hopeful, but even the most optimistic admit that a number of troubling variables could determine what post-2014 Afghanistan looks like.
The Panjshir Valley, some 60 miles north of Kabul, is one of the most scenic places in Afghanistan. The Panjshir River winds its way through barren mountains.
As NATO prepares to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014, Afghan forces are increasingly taking the lead against the Taliban and other insurgents. But the results are mixed.
In parts of Logar Province, just south of Kabul, Afghan troops are successfully leading security operations. In other parts of the same province, where insurgents are more active, U.S. troops are still taking the lead.
The Defense Department inspector general found that Adm. James Stavridis, the commander of all U.S. forces in Europe and the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces, violated travel regulations and accepted gifts from foreign governments without reporting them in a timely manner.
The AP reports that the IG found that "Stavridis never attempted to use his public office for private gain nor did he commit personal misconduct"
From the outside, this white metal container looks like all the other mobile structures at Forward Operating Base Shank, the main NATO base in Afghanistan's Logar province. But rather than housing soldiers, offices or latrines, the building contains a fully functioning — if spartan — radio studio.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce during a meeting of NATO defense leaders in Brussels Wednesday that Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford will be nominated to succeed Gen. John Allen as the top commander in Afghanistan, according to a defense official familiar with the decision.