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Trump's Taliban News Seems to Startle the Taliban

'We are ready to talk,' the Sunni group says

(Newser) - President Trump's visit to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving turned out to be a surprise in more ways than one, the Washington Post reports. In big news, he told US troops that Taliban talks are on again—but the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani seemed just as surprised when they... More »

Trump's Trip to Kabul Involved Plane With Portable Toilet

Pre-scheduled tweets were part of the planning

(Newser) - President Trump's surprise Thanksgiving Day trip to Afghanistan , his second to a war zone, was carried out in secrecy, and just how that came to pass is now being revealed. CNN reports Trump sneaked out of Mar-a-Lago and boarded "a bare-bones military plane" with "just four blue... More »

Trump Surprises US Troops With News About the Taliban

The president arrives at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan

(Newser) - President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to spend time with US troops on Thanksgiving, the AP reports. Trump arrived at Bagram Air Field shortly after 8:30pm local time and spent more than two-and-a-half hours on the ground. Reporters were under strict instructions to keep the trip... More »

In These Schools, Rape of Boys Is Systemic: Report

Advocacy group turns up 546 cases in 6 schools

(Newser) - The New York Times is out with a disturbing report from a child advocacy group in Afghanistan suggesting that the rape of boys by teachers and other figures of authority is exceedingly common. The story cites 165 reports gathered from just three schools by the Logar Youth, Social and Civil... More »

2 US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan Chopper Crash

Taliban claims responsibility

(Newser) - Two US service members were killed on Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, the US military said. The statement said the cause of the crash is under investigation but that preliminary reports do not indicate it was caused by enemy fire. However, the Taliban promptly claimed to have shot... More »

Taliban Releases Last American Hostage

Kevin King, Australian Timothy Weeks flown to US air base in Afghanistan

(Newser) - The last known American to be held by the Taliban is free. Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, professors kidnapped at gunpoint while leaving the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in August 2016, were released to US forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday in exchange for three Taliban commanders who... More »

US Taliban Hostage to Go Free

3 Taliban commanders released in Afghan prisoner swap

(Newser) - Two American University of Afghanistan professors kidnapped by the Taliban three years after they were kidnapped at gunpoint may finally go free. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday that American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks would be freed in exchange for the release of three Taliban commanders, including the... More »

Pentagon Trying to Plan for Trump's Next Sudden Move

If president suddenly decides to pull troops out of Afghanistan, DOD officials want to be ready

(Newser) - There's no current instruction from the White House to yank troops out of Afghanistan. But amid recent developments in Syria , the Pentagon is taking no chances and has been setting up a contingency plan in anticipation of any surprise directives from President Trump on Afghanistan. Current and former Defense... More »

Day After UN Warning, a Deadly Mosque Bombing

Dozens killed in mosque explosion in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province

(Newser) - An explosion rocked a mosque in eastern Afghanistan as dozens of people gathered to offer Friday players, causing the roof to collapse and killing at least 60 worshippers, provincial officials said, per the AP and New York Times . Dozens of others were said to be injured. Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for... More »

Soldier Shot in Search for Bergdahl Dies 10 Years Later

Master Sgt. Mark Allen never recovered from injury

(Newser) - A soldier shot in the head while searching for Bowe Bergdahl a decade ago has died. Master Sgt. Mark Allen was left paralyzed in much of his body and unable to speak after he was shot during a 2009 insurgent ambush in Afghanistan, CNN reports. The 46-year-old from Loganville, Ga.... More »

Raid Mistakenly Kills Dozens of Civilians at Wedding

Officials in Afghanistan say at least 40 civilians were killed

(Newser) - At least 40 civilians at a wedding party were killed Sunday night during a raid conducted by Afghan special forces and supported by US airstrikes on Taliban hideouts in the southern Helmand province, Afghan officials said. The violence has further rattled Afghanistan, which is facing an upsurge in violence after... More »

White House: Son of Osama bin Laden Has Been Killed

Details are still unclear on what exactly happened to Hamza bin Laden and when

(Newser) - The White House says Hamza bin Laden, the son of the late al-Qaeda leader who'd become an increasingly prominent figure in the terrorist organization, has been killed in a US counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. A White House statement gives no further details, such as when Hamza bin... More »

Top US Envoy Says Peace Deal With Taliban Agreed

He says troop pullout deal still needs Trump's approval

(Newser) - After almost 18 years of war, a peace deal between the US and the Taliban has been agreed to "in principle," according to Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief American negotiator. Khalilzad said Monday that as part of the deal, some 5,400 American troops out of around 14,000... More »

Bolton: On the Outs?

The hard-talking national security adviser disagrees with the President, yet again

(Newser) - John Bolton doesn't seem like a sidelines kind of guy—but the hard-talking national security adviser appears headed that way as he opposes his boss yet again, the Washington Post reports. Their latest conflict? Afghanistan, where President Trump is considering a reduction in US troops if the Taliban will... More »

The Bride and Groom Survived. 63 Others Didn't

Afghanistan vows to crush ISIS after wedding attack

(Newser) - Afghanistan's president on Monday vowed to "eliminate" all safe havens of the Islamic State group as the country marked a subdued 100th Independence Day after a horrific wedding attack claimed by the local ISIS affiliate. President Ashraf Ghani's comments came as Afghanistan mourns at least 63 people,... More »

Afghanistan Civilians See Grim, New Low

July has worst civilian casualties since 2017

(Newser) - July saw the highest number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in a single month since 2017, the UN mission said Saturday, per the AP . Its preliminary findings indicate more than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded, mainly due to a spike in casualties from insurgent attacks. It did not... More »

Man With 'Despicable Goal' Is Arrested Before Boarding

Delowar Mohammad Hossain wanted to join the Taliban, prosecutors say

(Newser) - A Bronx man was arrested at JFK airport on Friday for allegedly planning to join the Taliban and kill US soldiers, CBS News reports. According to investigators, Delowar Mohammad Hossain was about to fly to Thailand, then Afghanistan, to fulfill his dream of killing Americans there. "I just want... More »

Afghanistan Wants Clarification About Trump's Comments

US president said he could wipe Afghanistan off the Earth if it came to that

(Newser) - President Trump's matter-of-fact statement about destroying Afghanistan isn't sitting well in that country. "I could win that war in a week, I just don't want to kill 10 million people," Trump said Monday as he met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval... More »

Trump: Afghanistan Could Be 'Wiped Off' the Planet in Days

Says he could 'win that war' in 10 days

(Newser) - The commander-in-chief made a bold pronouncement Monday: "If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in, literally in 10 days ... I don’t want to go that route." The comments came... More »

Official: ISIS Is 'Most Near-Term' Threat to US From Afghanistan

Kabul attacks seen as 'practice runs'

(Newser) - ISIS has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, the group is expanding its footprint, recruiting new fighters, and plotting attacks on the United States and other Western countries, according to US and Afghan security officials. Nearly two decades after the US-led... More »

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