This should be a quiet time for US troops in Afghanistan: Not only is the US winding down its mission, but winter traditionally brings a lull in activity. But all that goes out the window when an al-Qaeda laptop turns up. The New York Times reports that the intelligence gleaned from the laptop has "helped fuel a significant increase in night raids" by US special ops forces and Afghan commandos in recent months. That includes some high-profile strikes like this one earlier in the week.
The laptop belonged to an al-Qaeda leader named Abu Bara al-Kuwaiti, who was killed in a raid near the Afghan-Pakistan border in October. The newspaper quotes military officials who say the intelligence it contains is on par with info discovered in Osama bin Laden's possession when he was killed. As for that reduced US military presence: "The official war for the Americans—the part of the war that you could go see—that’s over," a former Afghan security official tells the Times. "It’s only the secret war that’s still going. But it’s going hard.” (Read more Afghanistan stories.)