CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 4, 2011 |
Just as the world was opening up for Luke Watkins' generation, one man's face began to haunt it. Watkins was a sixth-grader when his mother called him to a television screen where smoke was pouring from the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Accompanying the carnage were grainy images of Osama bin Laden, the sudden embodiment of a terrorist network that seemed to be everywhere and nowhere. For Watkins, now a 20-year-old junior at UCLA, that was half a lifetime ago. It is hard to remember a time before the Al-Qaeda leader, and strange to think of a planet without him. Photos: Osama bin Laden dead "There's always been Osama bin Laden," said Watkins, of Orange.
August 11, 2011 |
A coordinated attack involving a remote-control bomb blast and a female suicide bomber killed seven people in Peshawar on Thursday, ending a stretch of relative calm in the volatile northwest city. The blasts occurred at a police checkpoint in the city of 1.4 million people perched on the edge of Pakistan's tribal belt along the Afghan border, where Taliban militants and their allies maintain strongholds. Plagued by scores of suicide bomb attacks in recent years, Peshawar has seen a lull in militant violence in the last few weeks.
November 22, 2010 |
The Taliban on Sunday scoffed at NATO plans to hand over most security responsibilities to Afghan forces in the coming three years while retaining an option to keep international troops in the country beyond that time if necessary. In a statement issued the day after the military alliance wrapped up a summit in Lisbon, the Islamist movement also denounced the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, saying it had no legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people. "In the past nine years, the invaders could not establish any system of governance in Kabul, and they will never be able to do so in the future," said the statement, which was e-mailed to journalists and posted on the group's website.
April 2, 2011 |
Violent repercussions of a Koran-burning at an obscure Florida evangelical church shook Afghanistan again Saturday, with authorities in the southern city of Kandahar reporting nine people killed in furious street protests a day after an attack on the U.N. headquarters in a northern city left seven foreigners dead. More than 80 people were injured in Saturday's daylong rioting in Kandahar, the city that the Taliban movement considers to be its spiritual home. Demonstrators torched cars, smashed windows and occupied a school building, a provincial spokesman said.
July 19, 2010 |
Amid sharply heightened security before a major international conference, a suicide bomber on Sunday killed at least three Afghan civilians and injured dozens of others on Kabul's eastern edge, Afghan officials said. The bombing came two days before a gathering of donor countries, expected to be the largest of its kind to take place in Afghanistan since the 1970s. The conference is due to bring together senior diplomats including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and officials from at least 60 nations.
July 29, 2010 |
A bomb blast tore through a crowded passenger bus Wednesday on a desert highway in southern Afghanistan, killing 25 of those on board and injuring about 20 others, some seriously, government officials said. All were said to be civilians. Afghan and Western officials quickly denounced the insurgency for the planting of homemade bombs along roads heavily used by noncombatants. So-called improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are usually aimed at Afghan and NATO forces, but often wind up maiming and killing civilians instead.
August 2, 2010 |
A suicide bomber who was apparently trying to assassinate a government official instead killed six children who were on their way to school Monday in volatile Kandahar province. The blast, in the Dand district west of Kandahar city, was in keeping with a pattern of insurgent attacks against Afghan government officials and tribal elders, particularly in the south. Many such assaults kill and wound bystanders instead. The explosion took place about 9 a.m., as people were on their way to work, including the bomber's apparent target, district government chief Hamadullah Nazak.
February 13, 2011 |
A team of Taliban gunmen and bombers struck provincial police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday, killing at least 19 people and demonstrating a continued ability to mount complex attacks in a metropolis that has been a principal focus of Western military efforts. The chaotic battle killed at least 15 Afghan policemen, two Afghan soldiers and two civilians, Kandahar Gov. Tooryalai Wesa told reporters. Civilians, including nine children, made up nearly half of the 49 injured.
October 12, 2010 |
U.S. and British officials are investigating whether a British aid worker kidnapped by Taliban militants in Afghanistan may have been inadvertently killed by American troops as they attempted to rescue her last week. British officials initially announced that Linda Norgrove, 36, had been killed by her Islamist captors Friday during a rescue attempt carried out by U.S. special forces. Norgrove was kidnapped along with three Afghan colleagues two weeks ago in eastern Kunar province while visiting a development project there.
July 5, 2010 |
It can be a split-second decision, or one that plays out over long and agonizing hours: to kill or not to kill. "Rules of engagement" is the dry, legalistic term for the visceral battlefield calculus of when and whether to use deadly force to counter threat, real or perceived. Across Afghanistan, these rules serve as the marching orders that govern Western troops' daily encounters with Taliban fighters and color dealings with Afghan civilians. U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who on Sunday formally took command of Western forces here, must decide in the coming weeks or months whether to recalibrate the stringent rules of engagement laid down last summer by his predecessor, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who recently resigned over remarks that laid bare a dysfunctional civilian-military relationship.