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On 9/10, Clinton Said He Could Have Killed bin Laden

He decided against strike that would have killed civilians

(Newser) - On the day before the 9/11 attacks, Bill Clinton spoke openly about having passed up a chance to kill Osama bin Laden, according to a tape unearthed by Sky News Australia . "I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden—he's a very smart guy,... 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 »

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 »

Accused Soldier Flown Out of Afghanistan

Massacre suspect moved to 'appropriate detention facilities' in Kuwait

(Newser) - The American soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians in a pre-dawn shooting spree has been flown to Kuwait, angering Afghans who want him to stand trial in their country. He was whisked out of Afghanistan because of "our own policies and regulations, and for his own safety and... More »

'They Let Americans Kill Us'

Tribal elder reacts to death of his family

(Newser) - Abdul Samad used to believe in the campaign against the Taliban. When he moved his family back to the village of Panjwai, he settled in a house close to an American military base, believing that there, he would be safe from militants. But all that changed Sunday, when he returned... More »

In Afghan Killings, a Nagging 'What If'

Afghan base learned solider had left, but search party was too late

(Newser) - As more details emerge in Sunday's slaughter of 16 Afghan civilians, the Wall Street Journal reports on an unfortunate "what if." It turns out that the small base where the accused Army staff sergeant was stationed was aware he left around 3am, thanks to an Afghan soldier... More »

Afghan Soldier Killed at Service for Rampage Victims

Taliban, meanwhile, threatens to behead US soldiers

(Newser) - Militants opened fire on a prayer service for the 16 people killed in a US soldier's shooting rampage this weekend, targeting a visiting government delegation that included two of Hamid Karzai's brothers, along with senior defense, intelligence, and interior ministry officials. The militants fired from a distance, killing... More »

US Only Got bin Laden Because It's in Afghanistan

This proves we can't count on Pakistan, Bruce Riedel points out

(Newser) - Happy that Osama bin Laden is dead? Well, remember that the raid that killed him “was possible only because America and NATO are engaged in Afghanistan,” writes Bruce Riedel of the Daily Beast . “Simply put, we can’t put pressure on al-Qaeda without Afghanistan forward operating bases,... More »

Afghan Prison Break Looks Like Inside Job: Karzai

So far, just 65 convicts have been recaptured, and two killed

(Newser) - Hundreds of prisoners are still at large the day after a massive jailbreak in Afghanistan , but officials say Afghan and international forces have caught 65 of them and killed two. The justice minister acknowledged in a letter to President Hamid Karzai that the Taliban, which has claimed to have orchestrated... More »

Taliban Bust Hundreds Out of Afghan Prison

Taliban spokesman says 100 are commanders

(Newser) - Hundreds of prisoners, most of them Taliban fighters, escaped from an Afghanistan prison last night, and so far only 13 have been recaptured. Taliban militants staged the escape by digging a 1,050-foot underground tunnel into Kandahar's main prison and leading about 475 prisoners out, the AP reports. Al... More »

Deadly Protests Continue Against Koran Burning

At least 8 people are killed in Kandahar

(Newser) - Pastor Terry Jones' Koran-burning stunt continues to reverberate across the world. At least eight people were killed in a riot in Kandahar today while protesting Jones' actions last month , reports al-Jazeera and CNN . The unrest follows the death of a dozen people yesterday, including seven UN workers, during a riot... More »

US Blows Up Booby-Trapped Afghan Homes

Taliban left hundreds of surprises in Kandahar

(Newser) - US forces are systematically destroying hundreds or, by some estimates, even thousands of homes in newly-captured parts of Kandahar, after finding that they’d been booby-trapped by the Taliban, the New York Times reports. NATO has been attempting to compensate the homeowners, but the effort still isn’t going over... More »

Taliban Retreats in Kandahar: NATO

Coalition thinks they've made big progress

(Newser) - NATO and Afghan forces have been wiping the floor with the Taliban in Kandahar in recent weeks, using new high-precision mobile rockets to rout insurgents from their long-held strongholds, NATO commanders, Afghan officials and local residents tell the New York Times . Western officials believe the Taliban has been dealt a... More »

US Soldiers in Afghanistan Took Home 'Finger Trophies'

'Kill team' murdered Afghan civilians for sport, say investigators

(Newser) - A secret "kill team" of US soldiers in Afghanistan murdered civilians for sport and kept their fingers as trophies, according to Army investigators. Prosecutors have charged members of an American infantry brigade with some of the most serious war crimes to surface in the Afghanistan war. Five of the... More »

Roadside Bomb Brings US Afghan Toll to 21 in 5 Days

Petraeus: US withdrawal will be 'thinning out,' not abrupt departure

(Newser) - Four US troops were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan today, bringing the American death toll to 21 since Friday. The US death toll for August now stands at 53, almost all of whom were killed in southern and eastern Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency is strongest, the... More »

Troops Forced to Play Diplomat in Kandahar

Forces represent Afghan government where it fears to go

(Newser) - After the less-than-successful military offensive in Marjah, NATO forces are taking a different tack in the villages surrounding Kandahar: They’re acting as representatives of the distant, oft-distrusted government. In “Operation Hamkari” (“cooperation”), soldiers are attempting to drive out the Taliban simply by improving government services and... More »

McChrystal Was Doomed From 1st Words of 'Runaway'

Obama thought keeping general would undermine civilian command

(Newser) - One paragraph into “the Runaway General,” Barack Obama was pretty sure he’d fire Stanley McChrystal. An hour after the president got the Rolling Stone article, aides were summoned to discuss the possibility. “There was a basic meeting of the minds,” Rahm Emanuel tells the New ... More »

We Can't Take Kandahar Yet: McChrystal

NATO delays operation because locals don't want them there

(Newser) - The military push to secure Kandahar is being delayed, because the hearts-and-minds part of the operation isn’t going so well, General Stanley McChrystal revealed at a NATO meeting in Brussels today. The massive operation to take back the birthplace of the Taliban was supposed to begin this month, the... More »

Suicide Attack Kills 40 at Afghan Wedding Party

Taliban blamed for Kandahar blast

(Newser) - Officials in Kandahar say they have no doubt that the Taliban was behind a suicide attack that killed at least 40 people at a wedding party last night. Dozens more were injured, although the bride and groom survived. The groom's brother and two of his cousins were police officers, and... More »

Taliban Attack NATO's Bagram Base

Military: Bagram security 'not breached'

(Newser) - Seven US soldiers were wounded this morning as the Taliban staged a bold pre-dawn attack at one of the largest US bases in Afghanistan that also killed 10 insurgents. Though details are still murky, an American official told the New York Times that as many as 30 insurgents fought their... More »

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