Afghanistan

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Taliban: Our Spring Offensive Starts Friday

Announcement made via an emailed statement to media

(Newser) - The Taliban said today they will start their spring offensive this week, an annual campaign in their war against the Afghan government. In an emailed statement, the group said the offensive—dubbed "Azm" or perseverance in Dari and Arabic—will begin on Friday. The Taliban said their Islamic Emirate... More »

US Soldier Killed in Afghan Insider Attack

He is first US service member killed this year

(Newser) - In the first so-called "insider attack" to target NATO troops since they ended their combat mission at the start of the year, an Afghan soldier shot and killed a US soldier and wounded several others yesterday before being shot dead. The shooting happened after Afghan provincial leaders met a... More »

Iraq, Afghanistan Deployments Don't Raise Suicide Risk

But further research needed to analyze combat exposure: scientists

(Newser) - Don't blame the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq just yet for the growing number of military suicides. That's the conclusion of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry that finds the suicide rate of troops deployed there was only a bit higher than that of troops who've... More »

Ex-Blackwater Firm Makes Millions in Futile Fight on Afghan Drugs

Guardian: Academi pulled in $569M to kill Afghan narcotics industry, which is thriving

(Newser) - The company formerly known as Blackwater has pulled in a pretty penny from US taxpayers in its Pentagon-supported drive to flush out the Afghan narcotics industry: Nearly $570 million from fiscal 2002 to September 2013 was funneled to the firm now known as Academi—about 32% of the $1.8... More »

US Slows Withdrawal of Troops From Afghanistan

About 10,000 will be there at year's end, not 5,500

(Newser) - Afghan's new president gets along much better with the US than did predecessor Hamid Karzai, and today that paid off for him: President Obama agreed to Ashraf Ghani's request to slow down the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Under the original plan, nearly half of the... More »

US, Afghan Leaders Make Nice Again

John Kerry talks with Ashraf Ghani at Camp David

(Newser) - In a show of unity, US and Afghan officials laid the groundwork for new relations between the two countries today, including plans to seek American funding to maintain an Afghan security force of 352,000 and long-term counterterrorism efforts. Discussions over future US troop levels continue as the war winds... More »

Afghan Women Bury One of Own Killed by Mob

Farkhunda 'completely innocent' of burning Koran: Official

(Newser) - Afghanistan today laid to rest the 27-year-old woman horrifically beaten to death by a male mob , and in a departure from tradition the BBC notes that Farkhunda's coffin was carried by all women. "She is a sister to you all, and it is your duty to bury her,... More »

Afghan Woman Mocks 'Men' Who Stood By Amid Assault

She tearfully berates bystanders after mob murder of mentally ill woman

(Newser) - The attack was brutal—a mob of men in Kabul beat and burned to death a 27-year-old mentally ill woman accused of burning pages of the Koran. No actual evidence existed she did so, only a fast-spreading rumor, but it didn't seem to matter, and police were unable to... More »

How al-Qaeda Used CIA Money to Fight US

NY Times: Agency gave cash to Afghan government, which gave it to terrorists

(Newser) - Even Osama bin Laden thought it was too good to be true: CIA money bankrolling al-Qaeda operations? The New York Times explains how it sometimes came to be, and it's not all that complicated. For years, the agency delivered bags of cash monthly to the Afghan presidential palace. When... More »

At Least 108 Dead in Afghanistan Avalanches

Heavy snow storm triggers deadly series of avalanches north of Kabul

(Newser) - Avalanches caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 108 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said today, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath. The avalanches buried homes across four northeast provinces, killing those beneath, says Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy... More »

US Eyes Slow Afghan Exit

And Afghanistan readies for new Taliban talks

(Newser) - The US is considering slowing its military exit from Afghanistan by keeping a larger-than-planned troop presence this year and next because the new Afghan government is proving to be a more reliable partner, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said yesterday. Carter, on his first overseas trip since starting the Pentagon... More »

Afghan Civilian Casualties Have Jumped 22%: UN

Taliban responsible for 72% of them, report says

(Newser) - The number of civilians killed or wounded in fighting in Afghanistan climbed by 22% in 2014 to reach the highest level in five years as foreign troops concluded their combat mission, the UN says in an annual report released today. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in 2014 documented 10,... More »

Seized al-Qaeda Laptop Yields Intelligence Goldmine

New York Times reports it's led to a surge in special ops raids

(Newser) - 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... More »

Drone Strike Kills Afghan ISIS Leader

Disaffected mullah quit Taliban last month

(Newser) - A disaffected Taliban commander has been killed less than a month after he pledged allegiance to ISIS. Mullah Abdul Rauf was killed yesterday in Helmand province in a strike that tribal elders say hit a car traveling across the desert and killed around six people, the BBC reports. Rauf—who... More »

3 US Contractors Shot Dead at Kabul Airport

Gunman may have been an Afghan soldier

(Newser) - Another insider attack ? A gunman at an airport in Kabul killed three American contractors today, reports the AP . Reuters reports that the shooter was an Afghan soldier, though that has not been confirmed. ABC News quotes a US official as saying that the gunman was at least wearing the... More »

US, NATO Formally End Afghanistan War

Afghan forces set to take over as Taliban remains deadly as ever

(Newser) - The United States and NATO formally ended their war in Afghanistan today with a ceremony at military headquarters in Kabul as the insurgency they fought for 13 years remains as ferocious and deadly as at any time since the 2001 invasion that unseated the Taliban. The symbolic ceremony marked the... More »

With US Gone, Afghans Struggle to Keep Taliban at Bay

1.3K killed between June and November in Helmand province: report

(Newser) - Following the departure of most US forces from Afghanistan, clashes between its security forces and the Taliban have been renewed, with brutal fighting returning to areas that had been comparatively quiet, the New York Times reports. From June to November, some 1,300 members of Afghan security forces were killed... More »

US Sends 4 Guantanamo Prisoners Back to Afghanistan

That leaves 132 detainees at Gitmo

(Newser) - The US has returned four Afghans from Guantanamo Bay back to their home country. US officials say the transfer—which drops the number of detainees at the facility to 132—is a sign of confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Defense Department identities them as Mohammed Zahir, Shawali... More »

Taliban Attack Kills 12 Demining Workers

2 US soldiers shot dead elsewhere in Afghanistan

(Newser) - Taliban fighters shot dead at least 12 workers clearing mines today in southern Afghanistan, authorities said, part of a series of attacks that saw two US troops killed and a top Afghan court official gunned down. Security in the capital, Kabul, has been stepped up amid Taliban warnings that attacks... More »

Suicide Bomber Hits Anti-Suicide-Bomber Play

At least one killed in Taliban attack in Kabul

(Newser) - The Taliban pulled off a deadly suicide bombing in Kabul yesterday with a cruel twist: The blast took place during a play condemning suicide bombers, reports CNN . Authorities say the teenaged bomber set off his explosives during a performance of Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion at the French Cultural Centre,... More »

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