NEWS ABOUT: Afghanistan

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Afghan Suicide Bomber Waited 'Long Time' to Kill Troops

3 coalition soldiers dead in attack near US embassy

(Newser) - A suicide bomber in Kabul waited "a long time" for NATO troops to approach his explosives-packed car, says a Taliban spokesman; the eventual blast killed three coalition soldiers this morning, the Washington Post reports. Five others were wounded, the New York Times reports. The bomber targeted a two-vehicle convoy... More »

Watchdog: Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Was Illegal

Congress should have been told, GAO says

(Newser) - The Obama administration's release of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for captive soldier Bowe Bergdahl was illegal in more ways than one, according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The government watchdog says the decision violated federal law because Congress wasn't given 30 days' notice of the transfer... More »

US General's Killer Hid in Bathroom Before Attack

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene got shot in the back, reports NBC

(Newser) - When an Afghan soldier identified as Mohammad Rafiqullah returned from patrol yesterday, he didn’t turn in his NATO-issued machine gun like his fellow soldiers. Instead, Rafiqullah hid in a bathroom with it at Camp Qargha, then opened fire from a window when generals came into view, an Afghan official... More »

US General Is First Slain in Combat Since 1970

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was killed in Afghanistan

(Newser) - The US officer killed today in Afghanistan has been identified as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, reports ABC News . The two-star general was shot to death when a man believed to belong to the Afghan army opened fire on his supposed allies at a military base near Kabul. The AP says... More »

Man in Afghan Uniform Kills US General

He would be highest-ranking American officer killed since Vietnam

(Newser) - A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire today on NATO troops at a military base, killing a US two-star general and wounding some 15 people, among them a German brigadier general and a number of Americans troops, authorities said. The attack at Camp Qargha, a base west... More »

Karzai Cousin Killed: Bomber Shook His Hand, Detonated

Ashmat Khlil Karzai was also politician in his own right

(Newser) - Three years after Afghan President Hamid Karzai's half-brother was assassinated—and a weeping Karzai climbed into his grave —a suicide bomber has killed Karzai's cousin, an official says. According to a rep for Kandahar province's governor, the attacker shook hands with Ashmat Khlil Karzai near the... More »

Veteran Gets Medal of Honor for Facing 'Onslaught'

Ryan Pitts receives highest decoration for battlefield valor

(Newser) - President Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor today on a former Army staff sergeant who fought off enemy fighters during one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghanistan war. Ryan Pitts is the ninth living recipient of the nation's highest decoration for battlefield valor for actions in Iraq and... More »

Militants Launch Bold Attack on Kabul Airport

Taliban fighters seized building to fire at air traffic

(Newser) - Gunmen carried out an audacious pre-dawn rocket attack on Kabul International Airport today, temporarily shutting down the facility and setting off a gun battle with security forces in which four attackers were killed, officials say. The militants occupied two buildings which were under construction a few hundred yards north of... More »

Afghanistan Hit by Deadliest Blast Since 2001

Suicide car bomber kills 89 civilians

(Newser) - A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in a remote town in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least 89 people in the deadliest insurgent attack on civilians since the 2001 US-led invasion. The blast destroyed numerous mud-brick shops, flipped cars... More »

Shopkeeper: Here's What the Taliban Like to Buy

White undies, foreign perfumes, brand-name soaps, he says

(Newser) - Ever wonder what the Taliban buy when they go shopping? Neither did we, but apparently they like spending big bucks on nice perfumes and brand-name soaps and shampoos. Oh, and they prefer white underwear, either Y fronts or briefs, a former shopkeeper tells the BBC . The young man in his... More »

Apparent Loser of Afghan Election Claims Victory

Crisis could break country apart

(Newser) - Preliminary vote tallies show Abdullah Abdullah losing Afghanistan's presidential election to Ashraf Ghani by a pretty wide margin of 56.4% to 43.5%. But Abdullah declared victory anyway yesterday, and said he would decide in the next few days whether to form a "parallel government" competing with... More »

Afghan Election Chief Resigns

Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail says he wasn't involved in alleged fraud

(Newser) - Afghanistan's chief electoral officer resigned today in a bid to resolve a political crisis over allegations of massive fraud in the runoff presidential vote earlier this month. Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail told reporters that he denies any involvement in fraud but he is stepping down "for the national interest.... More »

Marine Who Wanted to Wear Uniform at Graduation Is Killed

Brandon Garabrant dies in Afghanistan at age 19

(Newser) - A 19-year-old Marine who wasn't allowed to wear his uniform at high school graduation was killed this week in Afghanistan, Fox News reports. Brandon Garabrant, 19, died along with two other Marines when a roadside bomb went off. "He absolutely loved doing what he was doing," said... More »

'Afghan Romeo' Freed From Jail, Returns to His Juliet

Charges dropped against Zakia and Mohammad Ali

(Newser) - An Afghan couple who married for love—and wound up getting arrested for it—reunited yesterday, after both were freed from custody, the New York Times reports. Mohammad Ali, 21, a Shiite Hazara, and Zakia, 18, a Sunni Tajik, eloped in March and went on the run from their families... More »

Taliban Cuts Fingers Off Voters

Attacks kill dozens as voters defy threats

(Newser) - Voting in this weekend's presidential run-off poll in Afghanistan was "relatively peaceful," the BBC reports—but in Afghanistan, "relatively peaceful" can include Taliban attacks that killed more than 50 voters and mutilated nearly a dozen more. To prevent fraud, Afghans are required to dip a finger... More »

The US Totally Blew $3M on Boats for Afghanistan

Afghanistan is landlocked, the boats were abnormally expensive, and more

(Newser) - The US has wasted money in many ways in the Afghan war, but the Washington Post highlights a particularly egregious one revealed by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction yesterday: The US spent $3 million in 2010 to buy the Afghan police eight patrol boats. That works out to... More »

US Accidentally Launches Airstrike on Own Troops

5 dead in one of deadliest friendly-fire incidents in Afghanistan

(Newser) - A coalition aircraft strike killed five American Special Ops troops and at least one Afghan soldier last night, US and Afghan officials tell the New York Times . The war in Afghanistan has seen more than a dozen instances of friendly-fire killings, but this was among the deadliest, the paper notes.... More »

Bergdahl Was Kept in Shark Cage for Weeks

US officials also say he's in decent shape physically; mentally still unready

(Newser) - Bowe Bergdahl tried in vain to escape his Taliban captors, US officials tell the New York Times , and as punishment, he says "they kept him in a shark cage in total darkness for weeks, possibly months," says one official; that's a drastically different scenario than the Taliban... More »

Taliban: Bergdahl Played Soccer, Read Books

Spokesman describes his 'good conditions'

(Newser) - So how did Bowe Bergdahl while away the five years he spent as a Taliban hostage in Afghanistan? Playing soccer with his captors and reading about Islam seem to be two pastimes, a Taliban spokesman tells the AP . "You can ask him in America about his life (in captivity),... More »

Taliban: We Found Bergdahl Alone, Cursing Americans

Commanders say they thought it was a trick

(Newser) - The Taliban were just as confused by Bowe Bergdahl as the Afghan villagers who first encountered him after he allegedly wandered off his base, two former commanders say. Fighters rushed to capture Bergdahl after villagers informed them of his presence, and he was found walking alone, acting strangely, and cursing... More »

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