November 11, 2012 |
Looking gravely across a courtroom in Afghanistan, 7-year-old Zardana raised her hand Saturday and swore to testify truthfully about the night a man who prosecutors say was a U.S. soldier shot her in the head, shot her brother in the leg and killed her grandmother. “Yes I do, and I'm not going to lie,” said Zardana, wearing a lavender headscarf and fiddling with a juice box as her image was beamed by video to another courtroom in Washington state, where U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with 16 counts of murder.
August 31, 2012 |
This week, more than 60,000 souls will flock to the annual participatory-art festival of Burning Man. For first-time Burners, the weeklong "celebration of radical self-expression," which erects a weird, transient city in the Nevada desert, raises a host of issues. What to wear? What heat-resistant foodstuffs to pack? How do I find the giant three-dimensional Tetris blocks where my friends are camped? If the man registering me goes by Awesome Sauce and dresses as a bumblebee, do I really want to hang?
August 25, 2012 |
Late in his scalding and in-depth critique of U.S. policy and performance in Afghanistan, "Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan," Rajiv Chandrasekaran visits Garmser, a village in Helmand province near the border with Pakistan. Two dozen Marines had been killed as they pushed the Taliban out of the Garmser region. More than a hundred had been wounded. The U.S. had poured nearly $2 billion into the reconstruction effort, Chandrasekaran reports. To make sure that Garmser would not slip back into Taliban control, more time, more money and more body bags would be needed.
May 12, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - In many ways, the two young soldiers were not so different from each other. Each was tough-minded and physically powerful. Each worked hard to win a place in an elite military unit, and spoke with pride of serving his country. They were 25 years old, these two: one newly married, the other planning a wedding this year. Their upbringings were as disparate as their homelands were distant, but religious faith was entwined with the family lives of both.
April 28, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Turban bombs had become too obvious. So the two men who apparently set out Saturday to assassinate Kandahar's governor looked to their footwear instead. The assailants used the unusual tactic of concealing weapons and explosives in their boots to make their way past police checkpoints and into the governor's heavily guarded compound in the city of Kandahar, leading to a gun battle that left them and two Afghan police officers dead, a provincial spokesman said.
March 17, 2012 |
There are days here, in these war-haunted times, when it seems that death might come in any guise, and from any direction. From a bomb buried in the earth. From the sky. From a rusted motorbike haphazardly parked in a busy marketplace, with no one paying it and its deadly package any notice. Or from a soldier who breaks down doors in the dead of night, with murder in mind. Despite a shared sorrow and bewilderment, a jarring disparity has emerged in the way Americans and Afghans view the killings of 16 villagers in rural Kandahar province, allegedly at the hands of a lone U.S. Army staff sergeant named Robert Bales.
March 15, 2012 |
President Obama has long been criticized by Republicans for his purportedly inadequate zeal in pursuing the war in Afghanistan. He was criticized sharply from the right for his plan to draw down troops over three years; too fast, they said. So it's ironic that Obama now finds himself defending that timetable against GOP critics who want to pull out more quickly in the wake of news that a U.S. soldier allegedly massacred at least 16 civilians. "We're risking the lives of young men and women in a mission that may frankly not be doable," Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Sunday.
March 14, 2012 |
This has been one of the worst fortnights in the increasingly unhappy 10 1/2-year Afghan war for NATO and, above all, the United States and its ally, Britain. First there was the burning of the Korans at Bagram air base, which unleashed a wave of religious fury and revenge killings of U.S. troops. Then came the deaths of six British soldiers, incinerated by a giant Taliban bomb last week, which pushed the British death toll in the war over the symbolic 400 mark. Support in Britain for an increasingly unpopular war further deteriorated.
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 12, 2012 |
REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Prayers and muffled sobs filled the air Monday during remembrances by Afghan villagers for 16 of their neighbors, nine of them children, who were killed a day earlier during a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by an American soldier. In the capital, Kabul, parliament passed a resolution condemning the "brutal and inhuman" act by the accused assailant, identified by the U.S. military as a sergeant who acted alone in his attack on civilians near his base in Kandahar province.