September 25, 2010 |
One by one, each smartly uniformed member of the class stood at full attention, brandished a graduation certificate and uttered the ritual call-out: "I will serve Afghanistan!" But for the first time, the proud group of newly commissioned army officers was made up entirely of women. The 29 second lieutenants were the first female recruits to complete a 20-week officer-candidate program mentored by U.S. troops. Their graduation ceremony this week at a sprawling training facility on Kabul's eastern outskirts marked a milestone for Afghan security forces and spoke volumes about the complex interplay here of gender roles and security demands.
February 10, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. took over Sunday as the newest and probably last U.S. commander in Afghanistan, tasked with ending America's longest war even as insurgents continue to challenge the U.S.-backed Afghan government. Dunford, a four-star Marine officer, arrives as the U.S.-led NATO coalition has dismantled three-quarters of its 800 bases and watches to see whether the Afghan security forces it trained can keep the Taliban insurgency at bay. A ceremony inside the coalition's heavily guarded compound in Kabul marked the end of the 19-month tenure of Gen. John R. Allen, whose command was marred by a rash of deadly “insider” attacks by Afghan forces against their U.S. and NATO trainers and strained relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
April 28, 2011 |
Eight U.S. troops and an American contractor were killed early Wednesday when a veteran Afghan military pilot fired on trainers during a meeting in a military compound near Kabul International Airport. The Taliban claimed responsibility in what it said was the latest attack by an insurgent infiltrator. The pilot opened fire about 10 a.m. after an argument with a foreign colleague at a meeting in the operations room of the Afghan air force building, according to statements released by NATO and Afghan officials.
October 4, 2010 |
Moving to enforce a pledge that has rattled Afghanistan's foreign community, President Hamid Karzai has begun dissolving the Afghan operations of private security companies, including the firm formerly known as Blackwater, the government announced Sunday. Karzai caught Western officials by surprise in mid-August when he announced a ban on private security firms that would take effect by year's end. The U.S. Embassy at the time expressed support in principle but suggested the timetable was unrealistic.
September 28, 2009 |
During last year's campaign, Barack Obama stressed that while he wanted to withdraw from Iraq, he was no pacifist. "As president," he said on July 15, 2008, "I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win." He began to make good on his word on March 27 when he announced a "comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan" that included 21,000 additional troops. The goal, he said, was to "reverse the Taliban's gains" and "prevent Afghanistan from becoming the Al Qaeda safe haven that it was before 9/11."
August 17, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration plans to double the size of a rural police force in Afghanistan and arm it with heavier weapons to fight insurgents as U.S. troops withdraw, despite Pentagon and Afghan government concern about the village self-defense units becoming predatory criminal gangs or defecting to the Taliban. The danger was highlighted Friday when a new member of the Afghan Local Police shot and killed two U.S. special operations troops and wounded a third moments after they gave him his service weapon during a ceremony for new recruits in the western province of Farah.
December 2, 2009
President Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan pleased many military officials, who said they believe the bolstered forces will be able to execute a more robust counterinsurgency strategy. With two decisions to increase troop levels this year, Obama has nearly doubled American combat power in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials noted Tuesday. And while Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal did not get the 40,000 additional troops he reportedly requested, one Defense official said McChrystal would not have to scale back any of his plans to take on Taliban forces in eastern and southern Afghanistan.
August 23, 2010 |
Violence continued to flare in Afghanistan on Sunday, with four more American soldiers reported killed in three incidents. The buildup of American forces ordered last year by President Obama has brought more attacks from the Taliban against Western troops and efforts by the extremist group to exert its power in the country. Two U.S. troops were killed in insurgent attacks in the east and two others died in southern Afghanistan, the most dangerous areas of the country, where most of the new troops have been deployed.
February 24, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered U.S. special forces troops to leave a strategic eastern province, accusing the Americans and Afghans working for them of torturing and abducting civilians. Karzai's office charged that in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, a university student who was detained during a U.S. operation was later found with his head and fingers cut off. In another case, U.S. forces allegedly detained nine villagers who are still missing.
May 1, 2011 |
The Taliban on Saturday declared the start of a spring offensive in Afghanistan, warning that insurgents plan to attack foreign troops, Afghan security forces and government officials in coming days. In a statement, the Taliban warned civilians to avoid public gatherings, military bases and convoys, as well as government buildings. "All Afghan people should bear in mind to keep away from gatherings, convoys and centers of the enemy so that they will not become harmed during attacks of mujahedin against the enemy," the statement said.