March 13, 2012 |
Suspected insurgents fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades Tuesday at a government delegation offering condolences to villagers in a district of Kandahar province where a U.S. soldier is accused of going on a shooting rampage. No one in the delegation, which included two brothers of President Hamid Karzai and a number of high-level officials, was injured, but a member of the Afghan security forces was killed and another was wounded, witnesses and officials said. Members of the delegation, which also included the Afghan army chief of staff, a Cabinet minister and the Kandahar governor, had just emerged from a mosque in Panjwayi district when gunfire erupted, officials said.
March 8, 2012 |
Britain, the United States' staunchest ally in Afghanistan, has suffered its worst single battlefield loss in six years, testing a strained coalition's commitment to ensure that Afghan security forces can take over the task of fighting the Taliban. Six British troops were presumed dead after a massive blast destroyed their heavily armored vehicle in Helmand province, Western military officials said Wednesday. The fatalities mark a grim milestone, pushing British deaths in the course of the 10-year war above 400, a toll second only to American losses of more than 1,900 troops.
February 24, 2012 |
What is the logic behind the Obama administration's policy toward Afghanistan? On its face, it makes no sense. In 2009, President Obama ordered a major buildup of forces to counter alarming gains by the Taliban and the Haqqani network. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased from 34,000 when he took office to nearly 100,000 in 2010. To oversee the buildup he sent two top Army generals, Stanley A. McChrystal and then David H. Petraeus, to design and implement a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan that the president signed off on. In June of last year, however, Obama announced that 32,000 "surge" troops would come home by September 2012 - earlier than Petraeus and his superiors judged prudent.
December 6, 2011 |
The former Taliban commander was furious, chain-smoking, scowling and scattering ashes on a plastic mat spread on the dusty ground. He deeply regretted, he said, that he had defected to the Afghan government side this year with nearly two dozen of his men, one of whom has already been hunted down and killed in revenge. And he did not believe that his former comrades in arms in the insurgency were ready to give up the fight for their traditional heartland. With this year's fighting season drawing to a close as the harsh Afghan winter sets in, U.S. commanders have declared that the "surge" ordered by President Obama two years ago achieved its aims.
November 28, 2011 |
The wartime alliance between Afghanistan and the United States in the last decade has been fraught with suspicions over sharply differing goals and tactics. It is becoming clear that any postwar partnership to prevent a Taliban comeback is likely to be just as problematic. Despite compelling common interests, stark differences already have emerged between Washington and the Afghan government about the military landscape after 2014, when most U.S. combat troops are gone and Afghan security forces are in charge of keeping the country safe.
November 17, 2011 |
Imperial soldiers once patrolled its battlements. Treasure lay heaped in vaulted storerooms. Prisoners languished in its depths; princes plotted the course of empires. But by late in the last century, the mighty fortress overlooking this western Afghan city had fallen into ruin. Built on a plateau thought to have been a redoubt of Alexander the Great, the Citadel of Herat has been brought back to life. Reopened last month as a museum and cultural center after a painstaking refurbishment, the 15th century structure serves as a poignant reminder of past glories in a country beaten down by decades of war and deprivation.
November 12, 2011 |
The young U.S. Army sergeant had lost nearly all the blood in his body by the time he was rushed into a military field clinic at this dusty base in eastern Afghanistan. As his distraught unit mates converged on the surgical suite, some of them weeping, the entire camp pitched in for an emergency blood drive. But military doctors' frantic efforts were futile, and Sgt. John A. Lyons, a 26-year-old from New Jersey who had studied Latin in college, died of the wounds he had suffered in a Taliban ambush.
October 29, 2011 |
As many as 13 Americans were killed Saturday when a suicide bomber struck their armored military bus in Kabul, in what may be the single deadliest attack on U.S. citizens in the Afghan capital since the war began a decade ago. A U.S. official said the death toll was believed to be 13 U.S. citizens: five service members and eight civilian contractors. But, the official said, a Canadian and at least one British national could also be among the dead. The full extent of the casualties was unclear, he said, because the massive explosion had made identifying the dead difficult.
October 27, 2011 |
Insurgents with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades launched a sustained attack Thursday against a U.S. base in Kandahar. No coalition casualties were reported, but the hours-long confrontation demonstrated the Taliban's continuing ability to strike in the heart of Afghanistan's main southern city. The attack, which began in midafternoon and stretched into the evening, targeted a joint civilian-military installation housing what is known as a provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, mainly devoted to development projects.
September 14, 2011 |
A sophisticated and wide-ranging assault against the principal symbols of Western power in Afghanistan's capital on Tuesday demonstrated the insurgency's ability to strike with impunity at even the country's most heavily fortified areas. At least six Afghans were reported killed in attacks that skittered across the city, police said, in one of the most high-profile series of strikes in Kabul in the course of the nearly decade-old war. The daytime barrage of rockets and gunfire aimed primarily at the "green zone" — a fortress-like area containing the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, among other facilities — came just two days after the 10th anniversary of the Sept.