February 1, 2012 |
The U.S. and its military allies in Afghanistan intend to hand the lead combat role to Afghan forces next year, according to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, shifting to a training and advising mission as they press ahead with their withdrawal after more than a decade of fighting. By announcing a specific timetable, U.S. officials are hoping to head off a push by allies to pull out their forces more quickly. Public support for the war is falling in many countries, and with their economies struggling, governments are under pressure to trim their defense budgets.
January 29, 2012 |
After France, the deluge? The announcement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that his troops would sharply accelerate their departure from Afghanistan cast a harsh light on potential cracks in the U.S.-led military coalition in the country. Although the Obama administration and the NATO force sought to portray Friday's declaration in Paris as neither surprising nor unilateral, it marked not only an effective end to France's combat role in Afghanistan, but a breaking of Western ranks as an unpopular war drags into a second decade.
December 13, 2011 |
The top commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that U.S. forces would begin a major shift next year to an advisory role, in hope of building up the Afghan army's fighting skills and gradually extricating American and allied units from a combat role. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told reporters in Kabul that, starting in 2012, small teams of U.S. advisors would be sent to Afghanistan to live and fight with Afghan army units, with the aim of enabling large U.S. combat units to gradually step back from the lead role in providing security and to withdraw completely by the end of 2014.
November 26, 2011 |
Allegations that a NATO attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border Saturday dealt a serious blow to already tense relations between Washington and Islamabad at a time when the U.S. needs Pakistan's cooperation in engineering a peaceful resolution to the 10-year war in Afghanistan. If confirmed, the NATO helicopter and fighter jet attack would be the deadliest ever involving Pakistani security forces. In response, Pakistan shut down crucial border crossings used by convoys delivering supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan and gave the U.S. 15 days to vacate an air base in southern Pakistan that in the past had been suspected as a launchpad for CIA drone attacks.
November 25, 2011 |
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan has prepared a request for more troops to serve as advisors for Afghan military units, a sign that Washington and its allies are trying to speed up the hand-over of combat operations to the Afghans as they prepare to withdraw, U.S. and NATO officials said. The stronger emphasis on training may keep more U.S. troops on bases next year and help reduce U.S. military casualties before presidential elections next November. President Obama's Afghan policy is already an issue.
November 6, 2011 |
The most important holiday of the Muslim calendar got off to a violent start in Afghanistan on Sunday when suspected insurgents staged a bombing outside a mosque in the north, killing at least seven worshipers and injuring more than a dozen other people, Afghan officials said. The attack in Baghlan province, which came on the first day of the three-day Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, was condemned by Afghan officials as un-Islamic. Gen. John Allen, the U.S. Marine who commands all Western forces in the country, called the bombing "despicable.
October 29, 2011 |
At least 13 Americans were killed Saturday when a suicide bomber struck an armored military bus in Kabul, in the single deadliest attack on U.S. citizens in the Afghan capital since the war began a decade ago. The attack represents a propaganda coup for the Taliban, which claimed responsibility in text messages to news organizations, saying it packed a four-wheel-drive vehicle with at least 700 pounds of explosives. The Kabul car bombing took place near the American University on Darulaman Road, among the capital's busiest, which runs past parliament and the decaying Darulaman Palace -?
October 3, 2011 |
After 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan, Western forces and their Afghan allies are finding no simple answer to a seemingly straightforward question: Who, exactly, is the enemy? The pattern of recent insurgent attacks on prominent targets, even as Afghan forces gradually assume more responsibility for security, highlights long-standing confusion over the nature and motives of an often unseen foe. To frontline soldiers — about 90,000 Americans, plus their Western and Afghan allies — the battle with the Taliban and other insurgents is a grimly visceral affair that plays out daily, one roadside bombing, nighttime raid or dangerous foot patrol at a time.
September 25, 2011 |
When the shooting started, the lunchtime crowd at Musa Burger scattered. The tea-seller abandoned his burning brazier. The kitchen worker dropped a half-peeled onion. The beggar woman in a faded blue burka scooped up her few tattered bank notes and ran. Insurgents armed with rockets and heavy machine guns had taken over a half-finished high-rise on Kabul's busy Abdul Haq traffic circle, beginning a siege of the U.S. Embassy that would continue for 20 hours. Scarcely a week later, this same small slice of urban landscape — which includes a gaudy wedding hall, a dimly lighted snooker parlor and a run-down car wash shadowed by a billboard for an energy drink called Hell — was already caught up in the next convulsion of violence.
September 13, 2011 |
Insurgents staged a brazen attack in the heart of the Afghan capital on Tuesday, firing rockets apparently aimed at the U.S. Embassy or the nearby headquarters of the NATO force. Heavy explosions echoed near a central square, as terrified Afghans fled the sound of fighting. "Again, again!" said an elderly shopkeeper as he hastily rolled down the metal shutter protecting his carpet store and prepared to flee. Insurgents appeared to have seized a tall building under construction as a staging ground for the attack with rockets and automatic weapons -- a tactic used previously in similar strikes elsewhere in the country.