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May 16, 2010 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
Even in a death-haunted city, Azizullah Yarmal's fate had the power to shock. As Kandahar's 61-year-old deputy mayor prostrated himself in prayer at a mosque a few steps from his family home, Taliban assailants pumped five bullets into his body, then made an easy escape along a street that was supposed to have been tightly secured by Afghan police. Yarmal was among the best-known figures to be gunned down in an intensifying wave of assassinations that many Kandaharis see as linked to much-touted American plans to drive the Taliban from the city the movement considers its spiritual home.
May 25, 2010 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
It was supposed to be a meeting about governance and development — two of the three pillars of the U.S. counterinsurgency effort in Kandahar province this summer. Instead, the shura, or assembly of local leaders, at a police station Monday turned into a gripe session about the third pillar: security. The elders complained bitterly about a U.S. military raid in their neighborhood, Kokaran, the night before, and about a big security sweep Saturday. Security defines daily existence here — for the military, for development workers and for Afghans.
August 2, 2010 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
When the Canadian government's international assistance agency looked into rebuilding a massive irrigation dam here in early 2007, the initial prospects weren't encouraging. The site appraisal team couldn't even get to the dam, 20 miles north of Kandahar in the Arghandab River Valley. A report by the Canadian International Development Agency called security "very fragile" and warned that the "environment will pose a significant challenge." It is even more treacherous now to tread in Arghandab district, the site of major Taliban infiltration routes into Kandahar and the most deadly area of Afghanistan for roadside bombs.
May 7, 2011 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
Insurgent gunmen and suicide bombers launched fierce simultaneous attacks Saturday against half a dozen government buildings in the troubled southern city of Kandahar, hours after the Taliban vowed to fight on in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death. At least eight people were killed, including six of the attackers, and dozens of others were injured in the daylong assault, provincial officials said. Gunfire and large explosions rattled through the city center for hours, witnesses said, as fighting raged outside the heavily fortified governor's compound, the mayor's office, the directorate of the main intelligence agency and several police installations.
February 8, 2011 | Alex Rodriguez and Hashmat Baktash
A suicide bomber killed at least one person and injured five Monday at a customs house in Kandahar, the third suicide attack in 10 days in the volatile southern city regarded as the Taliban's spiritual birthplace. The target may have been a group of NATO soldiers who were at or near the building at the time of the blast, Afghan officials said. A NATO spokesman said two of its soldiers, both Americans, were injured. No other details were immediately available. Although the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says it has been making major gains in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, the Taliban heartland, insurgents have been able to strike back with attacks such as Monday's and one Jan. 29 that killed Kandahar's deputy governor.
April 27, 2010 | By Laura King
Reflecting the sharply deteriorating security situation in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest metropolis, the United Nations on Monday pulled foreign staff out of the city and instructed hundreds of local employees not to come to work. The move came on the same day as a series of explosions in the city killed two civilians. North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces have set their sights on Kandahar with the aim of driving the Taliban out of the city this summer. Kandahar, home to about 1 million people, is the country's southern hub and the insurgency's spiritual home.
May 20, 2002 | From Times Wire Services
Citing increased security, authorities in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar lifted a nighttime curfew for the first time since the Soviet invasion in 1979, a U.S. military spokesman said Sunday. Maj. Bryan Hilferty, speaking to reporters at the allied headquarters in Bagram, north of the capital, Kabul, said lifting the curfew in the southern city was "an example of the continuing progress" toward stability in Afghanistan since the U.S.
March 14, 2011 | By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau
When Gen. David H. Petraeus appears before Congress on Tuesday to tout progress in Afghanistan, he will face a series of pessimistic assessments about the state of the war, including the intelligence community's conclusion that tactical gains achieved by a U.S. troop surge have failed to fundamentally weaken the Taliban. A year after the launch of a revamped counterinsurgency strategy, several major obstacles persist: The government of President Hamid Karzai is viewed as corrupt and ineffective, the Taliban exhibits a fierce will to fight, and the enemy enjoys safe havens in the tribal areas of Pakistan that drone strikes can disrupt but not eliminate, according to public U.S. intelligence assessments.
March 2, 2012 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
The desert's nighttime chill had taken hold at a small U.S.-Afghan base in the Taliban's heartland: the home village, in fact, of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the movement's founder and supreme commander. For the American troops manning the outpost, though, the danger came not from outside the wire, but from within. Hours before dawn Thursday, Afghan assailants, including a man hired to teach Afghan soldiers to read, shot and killed two U.S. troops and wounded a third, Afghan and American officials said.
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