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WORLD
March 20, 2013 | By Alex Rodriguez and Hashmat Baktash
KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. military leaders reached a deal with Afghan officials that calls for a gradual transition of security responsibilities in a volatile eastern province from American special forces to Afghan troops, officials from both sides announced Wednesday. The arrangement aims to defuse a dispute triggered by accusations from President Hamid Karzai that U.S. troops were responsible for abductions and human rights abuses in Wardak province. Tense relations between Kabul and Washington became further strained by Karzai's recent claims that American special forces and U.S.-trained Afghan local police had kidnapped nine villagers from Nerkh district in Wardak , located just west of Kabul, the capital, and had mutilated the body of another villager from a different provincial district after killing him. U.S. military leaders vehemently denied the allegations, and in recent interviews local law enforcement and provincial officials in Wardak said there was no basis for Karzai's claims.
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WORLD
March 11, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - A man in a police uniform opened fire on U.S. and Afghan soldiers Monday at a base in eastern Afghanistan, killing two Americans in what may be the latest insider attack by Afghans against allied security forces. Afghan officials said three Afghan police officers also were killed in the shooting in Wardak, the strategically crucial province where President Hamid Karzai last month ordered U.S. special forces to cease operations. U.S. military officials said it wasn't immediately clear whether the gunman was an Afghan police officer or impostor.
WORLD
March 5, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali, Hashmat Baktash and David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
MAIDAN SHAHR, Afghanistan - The story was gruesome: A university student, captured in a U.S. special forces raid, was found decapitated and with his fingers sliced off. Amid a groundswell of public anger, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office cited that incident, as well as reports that nine villagers had been abducted from their homes, when he decided last week to bar the elite U.S. troops from a volatile province at the doorstep of Kabul, a...
WORLD
February 25, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan -- The U.S. military has determined that its forces weren't involved in the alleged abduction and killing of civilians in a troubled province in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday. "In recent months, a thorough review has confirmed that no coalition forces have been involved in the alleged misconduct in Wardak province," Lt. Col. Les Carroll, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said in a statement. A day earlier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused U.S. special forces troops and Afghans working for them of torturing civilians in Wardak, a strategic but violence-wracked province southwest of the capital, Kabul.
WORLD
February 24, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali and Hashmat Baktash, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered U.S. special forces troops to cease operations in a strategic eastern province, accusing the Americans and Afghans working for them of torturing and abducting civilians. Karzai's office charged that a university student who was detained during a U.S. operation in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, was later found with his head and fingers cut off. In another case, U.S. forces are accused of detaining nine villagers, who are still missing.
WORLD
February 24, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali and Hashmat Baktash
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered U.S. special forces troops to leave a strategic eastern province, accusing the Americans and Afghans working for them of torturing and abducting civilians. Karzai's office charged that in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, a university student who was detained during a U.S. operation was later found with his head and fingers cut off. In another case, U.S. forces allegedly detained nine villagers who are still missing.
SCIENCE
February 21, 2013 | By Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times
An intensive campaign to combat HIV/AIDS with costly antiretroviral drugs in rural South Africa has increased life expectancy by more than 11 years and significantly reduced the risk of infection for healthy individuals, according to new research. The two studies, published Thursday in the journal Science, come as wealthy Western nations are debating how best to stretch limited AIDS funding at a time of economic stress. With an annual price tag of $500 to $900 per patient, antiretroviral therapy programs have stirred frequent debate.
WORLD
January 12, 2013 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan - A shy boy with filthy hands and a shabby tunic approached the great man, bowed and tried to kiss his hand. Gen. Matiullah Khan was seated like a sultan on a cushion in his hojra , his airy receiving room. He barely looked at the boy. He nodded to an aide, who withdrew a thick wad of Pakistani rupees from his pocket and handed it to Matiullah. The most powerful man in Oruzgan province, a warlord and tribal leader turned police chief, glanced at the cash.
WORLD
January 11, 2013 | By Ned Parker and Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - After weeks of fighting, Syrian rebels said Friday that they had seized a strategic air base in northwestern Idlib province, depriving the government of its ability to carry out helicopter airstrikes in the area. The Taftanaz air base has been used by the government to stage helicopter attacks on rebels in the province, adjacent to the Turkish border. The campaign to seize it had been spearheaded by hard-line Islamic fighting groups, such as Al Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda.
WORLD
January 3, 2013 | By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - Rebel fighters and government forces on Thursday battled for control of two strategic airports in northern Syria, the loss of which would be a severe blow to President Bashar Assad's efforts to maintain a hold in the region. Fighting erupted around the international airport in Aleppo, Syria's commercial capital, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in London. The airport has been shut since Tuesday because it has been under attack by rebels seeking to cut off Assad's aerial supply route.
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