NEWS ABOUT: Afghanistan

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Afghans Defy Taliban in Huge Voter Turnout

Milestone election is largely peaceful despite threats

(Newser) - Afghans flocked to polling stations nationwide today, defying a threat of violence by the Taliban to cast ballots in what promises to be the nation's first democratic transfer of power. The turnout was so high that some polling centers ran out of ballots and others took the unprecedented step... More »

AP Photographer Killed by Afghan Cop

And AP reporter wounded in shooting

(Newser) - A veteran Associated Press photographer was killed and an AP reporter was wounded today when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. Anja Niedringhaus, 48, an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed instantly, according to an AP Television News freelancer who witnessed... More »

Rumsfeld: 'A Trained Ape' Could Do What Obama Can't

Rumsfeld savages president for declining relations with Afghanistan

(Newser) - Well, we're sure no one will take this the wrong way. Last night Donald Rumsfeld savaged the Obama administration's handling of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who yesterday came out in support of Russia's Crimea invasion. "Our relationship with Karzai and with Afghanistan was absolutely first rate... More »

Kabul Gunmen Sit at Table, Order Juice, Attack

9 killed, including 4 foreigners, at the heavily fortified Serena Hotel

(Newser) - One of the few places in Kabul where foreign officials are still permitted to dine was the target of a ferocious Taliban attack yesterday that left nine people dead, including foreigners from Canada, New Zealand, India, and Pakistan. NBC News reports they were largely killed execution-style. Officials say four gunmen,... More »

After 12 Years, Canada Ends Afghanistan Mission

Last personnel depart this week

(Newser) - After 12 years and 162 deaths, Canada formally ended its involvement in Afghanistan yesterday, hauling down the Canadian flag at NATO headquarters in a low-key ceremony journalists were ordered not to report on at the time because of security concerns. Canadian soldiers joined the hunt for Osama bin Laden in... More »

Afghan VP, Ex-Warlord Dead at 57

Mohammad Qasim Fahim, former warlord, apparently died of natural causes

(Newser) - Afghan vice president Field Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a leading commander in the alliance that fought the Taliban, died today at 57. Fahim was an ethnic Tajik who was an ally of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an al-Qaeda suicide bombing two days... More »

Marine Who Saved Pal From Grenade to Get Medal of Honor

William Carpenter credited with throwing himself on blast in Afghanistan

(Newser) - A Marine credited with throwing himself on a grenade to save a buddy, suffering devastating injuries in so doing will become the third US marine of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to receive the Medal of Honor, the Marine Corps Times reports. William Kyle Carpenter, now a 24-year-old medically retired... More »

How Dare We Rail on Russia for Foreign Intervention?

Eugene Robinson on the United States' shaky moral high-ground

(Newser) - Russia is way out of line. How dare a large military power cook up a pretext to invade a smaller, weaker nation? "Is it just me, or does the rhetoric about the crisis in Ukraine sound as if all of Washington is suffering from amnesia?" asks Eugene Robinson at... More »

Karzai: al-Qaeda Is a 'Myth'

Outgoing leader vents frustrations with US

(Newser) - Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai says he's "done enough; it’s time for me to move on." But ahead of April's elections to replace him, Karzai is reflecting on his time as president—and his anger at the US government—in a lengthy Washington Post interview. Furious... More »

Taliban Trick Frees Jailed Afghan Fighters

Prisoner release form was easy to alter

(Newser) - Getting out of prison was even easier than 1-2-3 for a group of Taliban fighters in Kandahar's heavily guarded Sarposa prison, embarrassed security officials say. The numbers 1 and 2 are very similar in the Pashto language, and the prisoners escaped after an official prisoner release form was altered... More »

Obama Warns Karzai US Ready to Pull All Troops Out

If Karzai won't sign security deal, plans for a contingency force may be scrapped

(Newser) - President Obama scolded Hamid Karzai by phone today and warned him that the US is preparing to bring home all its troops at the end of the year, instead of leaving a contingency force behind, reports Politico . Karzai refuses to sign a security deal that, among other things, would grant... More »

Afghanistan Thumbs Nose at US, Frees 65 Detainees

US fears 65 suspected militants will return to battlefield

(Newser) - Afghanistan released 65 accused militants from a former US prison today despite protests from the American military, which says the men are Taliban fighters who will likely return to the battlefield to kill coalition and Afghan forces. The release was ordered by President Hamid Karzai several weeks ago, after his... More »

US' New Afghanistan Plan: Forget Karzai

Military revising exit plan to give Obama room to negotiate with the next guy

(Newser) - The US military is changing its Afghan exit strategy to give President Obama a chance to negotiate a security deal with whoever succeeds Hamid Karzai, the Wall Street Journal reports. Obama is increasingly frustrated with Karzai, with whom he pointedly hasn't spoken since last summer. "If he's... More »

Afghanistan Hits Ominous New Polio Milestone

Capital sees first case since fall of Taliban

(Newser) - Health workers in Afghanistan are on high alert after a girl was diagnosed with polio in Kabul—the first case the capital has seen since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. An urgent vaccination campaign has been launched in the city, especially in the desperately poor community of former... More »

Taliban Captures Military Dog

New video shows service canine

(Newser) - A new Taliban video shows what might be the world's first canine POW. In the video, the militants claim to have captured a military service dog during a battle with American forces in Afghanistan's Laghman province in December, reports the Washington Post . Both ABC and Fox News quote... More »

Karzai Skirted West to Secretly Deal With Taliban

But officials say no peace deal with Taliban is forthcoming

(Newser) - The latest strain on the tenuous US-Afghanistan relationship: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been secretly negotiating with the Taliban. With no Western involvement, Karzai has been trying to hash out a peace agreement, which, officials say, explains a lot of his recent inexplicable and vexing actions (see: refusing to sign... More »

Afghanistan Exit Plans: Leave 10K Troops —or None

And, according to one report, pull out fast

(Newser) - The Pentagon has offered President Obama a stark choice: Leave 10,000 troops in Afghanistan at the end of the year, or yank them all. The military argues that dropping below that threshold will leave it unable to protect any remaining US personnel, the New York Times reports. The State... More »

2 US University Workers Killed in Afghan Attack

Gunmen, suicide bomber hit popular restaurant

(Newser) - The American University of Afghanistan says that two of its US employees were among those killed in a Taliban attack on a popular Kabul restaurant yesterday that left 21 people dead, including 13 foreigners. A spokesperson did not identify the employees out of respect for the families, but he said... More »

First Female Afghan Police Chief: I Am Not Afraid

'I am ready to serve' despite Taliban threat, she says

(Newser) - Kabul's District 1 has a new police chief—and the Taliban has a new target. Col. Jamila Bayaz has become the first Afghan policewoman to run an entire district, and she says she is ready to face the challenge despite the threat from militants, the AP reports. "I... More »

New Video Proves Captive US Soldier Is Alive

But Bowe Bergdahl looks to be in poor health

(Newser) - The US military has received fresh video of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl , who was captured by the Taliban in June 2009 and is the only US soldier currently held in captivity. The "proof of life" video, found on a thumb drive the US obtained last week, is the first glimpse... More »

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