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October 21, 2012 | Maeve Reston
In the 16 months that he has been running for president, the thrust of Mitt Romney's policy toward Afghanistan has been this: He would hew to President Obama's timeline to withdraw U.S. troops by the end of 2014, but he would part ways with the president by giving greater deference to the judgment of military commanders. Beyond that, Romney has revealed little about what his guiding principles would be for committing U.S. troops in conflicts around the world or what elements have shaped his thinking about Afghanistan -- subjects likely to be broached in Monday's foreign policy debate.
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WORLD
April 26, 2014 | By Shashank Bengali
MUMBAI, India - Five NATO troops died in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan on Saturday in the deadliest incident so far this year for the international forces, officials said. The U.S.-led NATO coalition said it was investigating the incident and did not offer additional details. The nationalities of the soldiers weren't released. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends affected by this tragic event,” the coalition said in a statement. Deaths among international troops have declined sharply in Afghanistan as NATO transfers security responsibilities to Afghan soldiers and police and prepares to withdraw most of its forces by the end of the year.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
It seems as if Darrik Benson, 28, had always wanted to be a Navy SEAL. There was no real logic to it. His father was not a military man. His grandfather was, but he was a pilot, serving with the Army during World War II. Benson grew up inland in Angwin, a small community at the northern end of the Napa Valley. He also hated the water. His grandmother remembers seeing the boy standing beside her backyard pool when he was 4 years old. He just stared at the other kids, she said, unwilling to take a dip. "He didn't want to get in over his belly button," Claudia Benson said.
WORLD
April 26, 2014 | By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan - Five NATO troops died Saturday in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan in the deadliest incident so far this year for the international forces, officials said. The U.S.-led NATO coalition said it was investigating the incident and did not offer additional details. A secretary for Kandahar's police chief said that the helicopter was British and that five British soldiers were killed. There were no enemy activities in the area and the crash was believed to have been caused by mechanical problems, said the secretary, Esmatullah, who goes by one name.
WORLD
June 14, 2010 | By Paul Richter and Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times
A new Pentagon assessment released Monday says Afghanistan may hold a trillion dollars in mineral wealth, but the report ran into skepticism from miners and even other U.S. government officials. The Defense Department identified $908 billion in mineral reserves in Afghanistan, including iron, copper, cobalt and gold. It said the reserves may include up to $223 billion in oil and gas as well as lithium, used in rechargeable batteries and other consumer products. The study was intended to identify ways to reduce Afghanistan's dependence on donor nations, which now fund nearly all security operations and key government functions.
OPINION
August 23, 2009 | Malcolm Potts, Malcolm Potts is a UC Berkeley professor and the chairman of the university's Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability. His latest book is "Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safe World."
There are two wars going on in Afghanistan. One is to defeat the Taliban, and that war is not going well. The other is to liberate women, and that war has hardly begun. If the first war is won but the second is lost, Afghanistan will turn into a failed state -- a caldron of violence and misery, home to extremism and totally outside the Western orbit of influence. Last week's election, however imperfect, is welcome, but it means little as long as women remain enslaved in this patriarchal, tradition-bound culture.
OPINION
September 25, 2011 | By Sarah Chayes
The remarkable public confrontation between the Gandhi-like ascetic Anna Hazare and the government of India — which came to a triumphant end last month with a glass of orange juice and a government promise to create a strong, independent anti-corruption agency — is the latest manifestation of a worldwide explosion of outrage at what historians may someday come to deem humanity's latest form of tyranny: the capture of states by criminal syndicates....
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2011 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
Marine Lance Cpl. Jorge Ortiz is in pain. A combat photographer, Ortiz was taking pictures of a captured weapons cache in Sangin, Afghanistan, on Jan. 15 when he stepped on a buried explosive device. Photos: Rehabilitating injured vets The blast ripped off his legs above the knees and snapped off four fingers on his left hand and the thumb on his right hand. Classified as a triple amputee, Ortiz is now an inpatient at the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto — one of four VA centers nationwide staffed and equipped specifically to treat the most grievously wounded U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 2, 1998
Re "Ruling by Starvation," editorial, May 25: The major issue in Afghanistan is not as much ethnic rivalry between the Pushtuns and the Hazaras, as you have indicated, it is the rivalry among the regional powers, each of which is pursuing its narrow interest in Afghanistan and fueling the internal strife. In the 19th century the "Great Game" was played by two superpowers (Britain vs. Russia), which kept Afghanistan stable and independent as a buffer. Currently, the game is being played by several regional powers, creating an oligopoly, which by its inherent nature creates instability and chaos.
WORLD
April 26, 2014 | By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Afghan presidential race is set for a June runoff between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani, according to official results released Saturday. The preliminary tally showed Abdullah winning nearly 45% of the 6.9 million votes cast, and Ghani 31.5%. Election officials will examine hundreds of reports of voting irregularities before issuing final results on May 14, but the allegations didn't appear widespread enough to change the results substantially -- or to give Abdullah the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff.
WORLD
April 24, 2014 | By Shashank Bengali and Hashmat Baktash
KABUL, Afghanistan - The fatal shooting of three Americans in a charity hospital Thursday punctuated a dismal new trend that has emerged in the waning months of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan: Just as many foreign civilians are being killed as troops. The brazen attack by a police officer at the CURE International hospital in Kabul, which serves 37,000 Afghans a year, shocked even this war-weary city and seemed likely to diminish the already dwindling population of foreigners working in the capital.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- A Marine now stationed at Twentynine Palms has been awarded the Navy Cross for "courageous leadership, composure under fire and tactical expertise" during a five-hour firefight with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Gunnery Sgt. Richard Jibson, 34, of Muskegon, Mich., received the award Tuesday during a ceremony at the sprawling desert base. During the May 28, 2012, attack by Taliban fighters on Marines defusing a buried bomb in an Afghan village, Jibson "unhesitatingly placed himself between the Marines and the enemy, returning fire and allowing them to safely reach cover," according to the Navy Cross citation.
WORLD
April 16, 2014 | By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two security incidents within 24 hours involving Afghan government officials have taken some of the glimmer off of this month's generally successful presidential election and renewed concerns about safety in Kabul. Hours after unknown gunmen kidnapped a deputy minister in President Hamid Karzai's government, a police officer engaged in an argument with a female member of parliament opened fire and wounded the lawmaker in the leg, officials said Wednesday. The lawmaker, Maryam Koofi, was in stable condition at a local hospital, according to a statement from the Afghan Interior Ministry.
WORLD
April 13, 2014 | By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan on Sunday released the first preliminary results in its presidential election, which showed a close race between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani, with neither man close to an outright majority. Abdullah had 41.9% of the vote, Ghani had 37.6% and Zalmai Rassoul, a longtime advisor to outgoing President Hamid Karzai, was a distant third with 9.8%. The tally, based on 507,000 votes out of an estimated 7 million cast, matched preelection polls that suggested Abdullah and Ghani were the front-runners in the field of eight candidates.
WORLD
April 7, 2014 | By Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan - One year after a 25-year-old diplomat from the Chicago area was killed in a car bombing in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul remembered Anne Smedinghoff on Monday by reading poetry and releasing balloons in a courtyard that was named for her. “She was a truly remarkable young woman and friend,” U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham said in a solemn ceremony on a sun-splashed afternoon in Kabul. The River Forest, Ill., native is the only State Department diplomat to die in the 13-year war in Afghanistan.
WORLD
April 5, 2014 | By Shashank Bengali
MAIDAN SHAHR, Afghanistan - Afghanistan passed the first major test of the impending post-American era on Saturday with an election that featured a robust turnout, minimal violence and few glaring reports of cheating as voters began the process of selecting a successor to 13-year President Hamid Karzai. Next comes the counting of some 7 million ballots nationwide and the investigation of hundreds of claims of irregularities - from the serious to the superficial. The process is likely to take several weeks and none of the three presidential front-runners is expected to win an absolute majority, which would mean a runoff vote between the top two no earlier than the end of May. Still, voters stared down Taliban death threats and lingering memories of fraud-scarred elections, trekking through the deserted streets of Kabul and rain-swept fields in the provinces to polling places guarded by 195,000 Afghan soldiers and police.
WORLD
April 4, 2014 | By Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan police officer shot two Western journalists Friday, killing one and seriously wounding the other as they waited in a convoy of poll workers on the eve of the country's closely watched presidential election. The Associated Press said a veteran photographer, Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was killed instantly and that AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was wounded twice but was in stable condition. The shooting occurred in Khost, a violent province along the border with Pakistan, where the journalists were due to accompany election workers who were delivering ballots to outlying areas.
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