Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" program on August 23, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said the situation in Afghanistan "is serious and it is deteriorating." Mullen added: "I've said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated. Their tactics just in my recent visits out there and talking with our troops certainly indicate that."
Citizens of Afghanistan — and the rest of the world — awaited the results of the nation's presidential election the day after the August 20 voting. Early voting results were initially expected on August 22, but Daoud Ali Najafi, the chief electoral officer, said that results won't be made public until the 25th.
Commentary from Myanmar's military junta appearing in three official newspapers on August 20 proposed that western nations end their economic sanctions of the Southeast Asian nation. The sanctions were levied in response to the many reported human rights violations committed by the regime in the nation also known as Burma.
Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, on August 19, U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) commented on his recent visit to Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly called Burma.
The candidates in Afghanistan's August 20 presidential election were making their final appeals to voters on Monday, the 17th, the last legal day of campaigning before voting starts. In the election, the incumbent, President Hamid Karzai, is facing more than 30 challengers, including two of his former ministers.
With Afghanistan's presidential election to be held on August 20, candidates held campaign rallies across the country. Afghan and foreign troops deployed in areas under Taliban control to provide security against threatened violent interruptions of voting. The al Jazeera network reported that the Afghan government claims to have struck a number of deals with Taliban commanders to ensure voter safety.
A joint U.S.-Afghan military assault began against Dahaneh, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province on August 12. Associated Press journalists traveling with the forces reported that militants fired small arms, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades after helicopters dropped the troops over Taliban lines. The forces were supported by British-made Harrier jets, which are used by both the British military and U.S. Marines.
The United States has placed 50 suspected Afghan drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban on a Pentagon target list of 367 insurgents to be captured or killed, the New York Times reported on August 10, citing a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report to be released this week.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told reporters in Islamabad on August 7, "According to my intelligence information, the news [that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud is dead] is correct.... And to be 100 percent sure we are going for ground verification and once the ground verification reconfirms, which I think is almost confirmed, then we will be 100 percent sure," Qureshi said.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term as Iran's president on August 5, as hundreds of opposition supporters demonstrated against his reelection.