Afghanistan & Pakistan

Son's death in Quran burning protest haunts Afghan family

Habibullah remembers the last time he saw his 18-year-old son. It was a Friday morning, the first day of April, and his son, a high school student, wanted to go to the city to buy some clothes and a cellphone. | 04/15/11 15:52:46 By - Hashim Shukoor

Suicide attacks target Afghan police, killing 3

Another suspected Taliban suicide attacker struck in Afghanistan's eastern provinces Thursday, this time claiming the lives of three police officers at a training center that U.S. and Afghan officials set up in hopes of providing police support to isolated villages. | 04/14/11 10:44:58 By - Hashim Shukoor

Karzai blasts 'foreign agents' for Afghan suicide attack

Afghan President Hamid Karzai offered a scarcely veiled condemnation of Pakistan for a suicide bombing that killed at least 10 government-allied tribal leaders and wounded seven. No group claimed the attack, which struck the leaders as they emerged from a meeting on local issues. | 04/13/11 07:48:20 By - Hashim Shukoor

Misconduct ignored in Afghan Stryker killings

Lt. Roman Ligsay already was feeling pressure to keep a close eye on his platoon in southern Afghanistan. Then a superior officer questioned why Ligsay’s soldiers had shot and killed a seemingly unarmed Afghan walking toward them along a highway. | 04/11/11 15:29:24 By - Adam Ashton

U.S. troops repel Taliban attack at eastern Afghan airport

An insurgent attack at the airport in the eastern city of Jalalabad late Tuesday left at least seven militants dead in the latest sign that the Taliban are stepping up assaults as the weather warms. The attack came shortly before midnight as the provincial governor met with other officials at the airport to discuss security. U.S. troops are based at the airport. | 04/06/11 09:19:54 By - Hashim Shukoor

Former Afghan lawmaker Joya says U.S. soldiers disregard lives

A former Afghan lawmaker told an audience of Tacoma, Washington, peace activists Tuesday that photos of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers grinning over the corpse of a boy they allegedly murdered revealed a disregard for civilian lives among U.S. forces fighting in her country. | 04/06/11 07:41:20 By - Adam Ashton

California soldier honored for saving Afghan girl's life

Pvt. Marcus Montez's first patrol during his inaugural tour as a combat medic in Afghanistan wasn't your typical first day. While on foot patrol through Kandahar City, his unit heard an Afghan woman wailing in distress and rushed to investigate. His four-person unit found a woman clutching an apparently lifeless toddler. Montez, of Sacramento, stepped in and began performing CPR on the little girl. For this, Montez was awarded the Soldier's Medal, the highest award a soldier can receive for actions unrelated to combat. | 04/06/11 06:45:30 By - Ed Fletcher

White House: Pakistan is failing to defeat militants

In a grim assessment of the war on terror inside Pakistan, the Obama administration said Tuesday that Pakistan lacks a "clear path toward defeating" Islamic insurgents in the country's tribal region despite committing tens of thousands of troops to the effort. | 04/05/11 20:58:29 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Afghans complain about NATO-led raid that killed 6

A night raid by NATO-led forces killed six civilians in the relatively peaceful northern Afghan province of Sar-e-Pul, local officials said Tuesday, but a statement from the U.S.-led coalition said the dead were Taliban insurgents armed with AK-47 assault rifles. | 04/05/11 16:13:58 By - Hashim Shukoor

Nine killed in Afghan protest over Quran burning

A second day of deadly violence over the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor left at least nine people dead and more than 80 injured Saturday in Afghanistan. | 04/04/11 06:22:31 By - Hashim Shukoor

Truck bomb kills 20, injures dozens in eastern Afghanistan

A truck filled with explosives targeted a road construction compound in Afghanistan's eastern province of Paktika, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens more Sunday, according to a statement Monday by the Afghan Interior Mministry. | 03/28/11 06:35:47 By - Hashim Shukoor

Taliban insurgents abduct police recruits in eastern Afghanistan

Taliban militants have abducted about 50 young men who were planning to join the national police in the eastern province of Kunar, security officials said Sunday. | 03/27/11 18:36:12 By - Hashim Shukoor

Stryker soldier Morlock gets 24-year sentence for Afghan killings

Spc. Jeremy Morlock said Wednesday he lost his “moral compass” when he joined schemes to murder three Afghan civilians last year during a deployment with a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade. | 03/24/11 07:04:58 By - Adam Ashton

Stryker soldier, Morlock, pleads guilty to Afghan murders

Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to three counts of murdering unarmed Afghans and other wrongdoing in an important juncture in a U.S. Army war-crimes investigation. | 03/23/11 15:05:05 By - Hal Bernton

Start of Afghan 'fighting season' will test U.S. strategy

After the most violent winter since U.S. soldiers arrived in Afghanistan, the spring thaw has come, ushering in a new "fighting season" in which, intelligence suggests, the Taliban leadership believes they will storm back into their former strongholds in the south and reverse the much-trumpeted gains of U.S.-led coalition forces. | 03/23/11 07:43:07 By - Saeed Shah

Karzai lays out plan for Afghan security handover

The Afghan government announced Tuesday that U.S.-led international forces will hand over security responsibility in three provinces to Afghan forces beginning this summer. | 03/22/11 19:11:31 By - Hashim Shukoor

Rep. Walter Jones pushes for Afghanistan exit

Again last Saturday, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones slipped into his office for the penance he has served nearly each weekend since 2005. Again on Thursday, the House of Representatives turned its attention to the conflict in Afghanistan, and whether it is the time for U.S. troops to leave. | 03/18/11 06:38:53 By - Barbara Barrett

Pakistan condemns U.S. over drone strike that killed 36

Just one day after a CIA contractor was absolved by a Pakistani court of a double murder charge, Pakistan and U.S. relations were plunged into a new crisis Thursday over a CIA-directed drone missile strike that Pakistan said killed at least 36 civilians. | 03/17/11 17:56:30 By - Saeed Shah

Lawyer: 'Blood money' bought CIA contractor's freedom

A murder case against an American CIA contractor that had threatened already troubled U.S.-Pakistani relations came to an abrupt end Wednesday after $1.4 million in "blood money" was paid to the families of the two men he was accused of killing. | 03/16/11 09:12:04 By - Saeed Shah and Jonathan S. Landay

Suicide attacker targets recruiting center in Kunduz province

A suicide attacker blew himself up in an army recruiting center in the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz, killing at least 30 and injured 40 others on Monday officials said. | 03/14/11 08:53:35 By - Hashim Shukoor

Coalition raid kills Afghan President Karzai's cousin

A cousin of President Hamid Karzai was killed Thursday in southern Afghanistan during a raid by coalition forces, just after the president had said civilian casualties from the war were damaging relations with the United States. | 03/10/11 17:09:41 By - Saeed Shah

U.N.: U.S.-led forces killed fewer Afghan civilians last year

The number of civilians killed by U.S.-led forces and their Afghan allies dropped 26 percent last year, the United Nations reported Wednesday. | 03/09/11 15:46:51 By - Saeed Shah

Afghans rely heavily on foreign advisers as transition looms

Nearly 300 foreign advisers, most of them Americans, work at Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, and hundreds more work in other government departments, a reliance on foreign expertise that raises doubts about the viability of the West's exit strategy. | 03/08/11 17:27:02 By - Saeed Shah

Afghan government asks U.N. to ease limits on 5 ex-Taliban

The Afghan government has asked the United Nations to remove the names of five former senior Taliban members from its terrorist blacklist, including the man who ran the extremist regime's feared religious police, McClatchy has learned. | 03/07/11 17:13:14 By - Saeed Shah

Relations worsen as Karzai rejects U.S. apology over deaths of 9 Afghan boys

Afghan president Hamid Karzai Sunday rebuffed an apology by the American general running the military campaign in his country for the recent deaths of nine boys in a helicopter attack, sending already tense relations with Washington to a new low. | 03/06/11 16:42:48 By - Saeed Shah

5th soldier convicted in Afghan Stryker trials

The Army won its fifth conviction Wednesday in its Afghanistan war crimes investigation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but defense attorneys launched an aggressive offensive against key prosecution witnesses that likely will be repeated as the case unfolds. | 03/03/11 12:56:20 By - Adam Ashton

Obama statement on assassination of Pakistan minister

I am deeply saddened by the assassination of Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti today in Islamabad, and condemn in the strongest possible terms this horrific act of violence. We offer our profound condolences to his family, loved ones and all who knew and worked with him. | 03/02/11 18:00:58 By -

U.S.-led coalition admits it killed 9 Afghan boys in error

Troops in attack helicopters that belong to the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan mistakenly killed nine boys Tuesday with machine-gun and rocket fire as they collected firewood, thinking that the children were Taliban insurgents, the international forces acknowledged Wednesday. | 03/02/11 16:54:14 By - Hashim Shukoor

Another top Pakistan politician slain over blasphemy law

only Christian in Pakistan's cabinet was assassinated Wednesday by militants linked to al Qaida after he called for the country's controversial laws on blasphemy to be amended. | 03/02/11 05:49:43 By - Saeed Shah

New militia brings security, and worries, to Marjah, Afghanistan

Namatullah, a 19-year-old volunteer for a new armed "neighborhood watch" militia now patrolling alongside Marines in northeast Marjah, simply drew his finger across his throat when asked why he and other residents hadn't banded together to protect their districts until the arrival of the U.S. soldiers. | 03/01/11 17:17:19 By - Saeed Shah

Suicide bomber kills three at Afghan sporting event

A suicide bomber detonated Saturday in a crowd in northern Afghanistan gathered for a traditional sporting event, killing three and injuring 40. | 02/27/11 20:29:39 By - Hashim Shukoor

Karzai succeeds in getting weak parliament speaker elected

President Hamid Karzai managed Sunday to avoid the election of a strong opposition politician to the post of speaker of Afghanistan's parliament, after his supporters and critics had wrangled over the position for a month. | 02/27/11 20:28:26 By - Saeed Shah

Stryker soldier discharged, sentenced for assault on comrade

A Stryker soldier from Montesano was discharged from the Army and sentenced to 60 days of hard labor Wednesday after he was convicted of assaulting a comrade who blew the whistle on drug use in their platoon during a deployment to Afghanistan last year. | 02/24/11 12:05:08 By - Adam Ashton

Taliban bomber kills dozens at Afghan government office

A suicide attacker blew himself up at a government office Monday in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 32 and wounding 31 people, mostly those in line to get identity cards, local officials said. | 02/21/11 18:45:15 By - Hashim Shukoor

Taliban claims attack on Afghan bank that kills 9, injures 70

The attack was aimed at police officers who were collecting their salaries from a branch of Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, the biggest city in the eastern section of the country and capital of Nangahar province, which borders Pakistan. | 02/19/11 16:00:43 By - Hashim Shukoor

Tailor shops displace opium bazaar in Afghan town

Nothing better illustrates the transformation of this southern Afghan town than the central Koru Chareh market, where an entire street functioned as a drug bazaar when the Taliban were in control. Today tailors have set up business at one end, and legitimate enterprises have started filling the empty shops. | 02/18/11 17:49:24 By - Saeed Shah

Taliban marginalized in former stronghold, U.S. general says

The Taliban insurgents in the key Afghan province of Helmand have been driven out of the towns and marginalized, while U.S. forces are making "very steady progress" even in the most violent areas of the province, said the Marine Corps general who's in charge of the region. | 02/18/11 17:42:32 By - Saeed Shah

U.S. gave firm low rating for Afghan work — and more business

A U.S. contractor who's continued to receive government contracts despite criticism of its work in Afghanistan got low ratings for its performance on two more high-profile projects in the war-torn country than had been disclosed previously. McClatchy has learned that the U.S. government criticized Black & Veatch for poor oversight and delays on a Kabul power plant project and for a study of the viability of developing a natural gas field in the Sheberghan region in northern Afghanistan. | 02/14/11 09:30:00 By - Marisa Taylor

Suicide attack at Kabul shopping mall kills 2 guards

A suicide attacker blew himself up at the entrance of a shopping mall Monday in downtown Kabul, killing two guards and injuring two others, according to security officials. | 02/14/11 07:53:28 By - Hashim Shukoor

Military deploys acupuncture to treat soldiers' concussions

The U.S. military is applying an ancient Chinese healing technique to the top modern battlefield injury for American soldiers, with results that doctors here say are "off the charts." | 02/07/11 17:09:48 By - Saeed Shah

Bombing of supermarket ends peaceful period in Kabul

A bomb blast Friday at a Kabul supermarket that's popular with foreigners killed at least eight people, including three foreign nationals, police and witnesses said. The attack shattered a period of calm in the Afghan capital over the last few months. | 01/28/11 07:41:11 By - Hashim Shukoor and Saeed Shah

Karzai's pick for parliament speaker accused of atrocities

An Afghan warlord who's accused of gross human rights violations and was once close to Osama bin Laden has received the backing of President Hamid Karzai for the important post of speaker of the new parliament, which was inaugurated Wednesday. | 01/26/11 18:59:39 By - Saeed Shah

Watchdog faults Obama's Afghan security strategy

The Obama administration's $11.4 billion plan to bolster Afghanistan's security forces is "at risk" because of poor planning, a government watchdog agency concluded in a report released Wednesday. | 01/26/11 15:19:16 By - Marisa Taylor

Federal inquiry under way of no-bid contract in Afghanistan

The government watchdog of U.S. contracting in Afghanistan is scrutinizing a sole-source contract that was awarded to a firm even though it was widely criticized for its construction of a power plant project in Kabul. | 01/24/11 18:22:24 By - Marisa Taylor

Karzai yields on opening parliament, but still fights for court

Afghan President Hamid Karzai bowed Monday to domestic and international pressure to convene parliament, but he continued his battle with lawmakers over a special court he'd sought to investigate voting fraud allegations against members of parliament. | 01/24/11 15:51:22 By - Saeed Shah

U.N. envoy scrambles to save deal over Afghanistan's parliament

The United Nations representative in Afghanistan held an unscheduled meeting with Afghanistan lawmakers holed up at an upscale hotel here Sunday in an effort to rescue a deal that Western diplomats say is critical to instilling democracy in this war torn country. Legislators on Saturday thought they had a deal with Karzai that would allow the new parliament to begin work on Wednesday. | 01/23/11 17:01:33 By - Saeed Shah

Combat kills another female soldier in Afghanistan

Pfc. Renee Sinkler, 23, of Chadbourn, N.C., was the second woman soldier to die in combat since the 109th Transportation Co., known as the "Rough Riders" was deployed to Afghanistan in July. A gunner, she was in the exposed turret of an armored MRAP vehicle when it was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, the Army said. | 01/22/11 17:06:40 By - Richard Mauer

Kabul showdown: Afghan lawmakers threaten to defy Karzai

President Hamid Karzai will meet with Afghan lawmakers Saturday in a last-ditch attempt to resolve their differences over a disputed election and avert a clash that could spiral into constitutional chaos. Many of those elected in last year's parliamentary elections have vowed to inaugurate the new parliament on Sunday in defiance of Karzai's order to delay the opening by another month. | 01/21/11 17:11:44 By - Saeed Shah

Karzai, Afghan parliament set for clash in constitutional crisis

President Hamid Karzai and Afghan lawmakers appear headed for a major clash after Karzai postponed the inauguration of the new parliament and politicians elected in the controversial vote said they'd start their work unilaterally. | 01/20/11 15:13:30 By - Saeed Shah

Key evidence in Stryker war crimes case remains secret

A few key documents and images remain under wraps as legal proceedings unfold for the soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division accused of murdering three civilians last year for fun. Defense attorneys say the hidden files would help clear their clients. | 01/16/11 11:21:58 By - Adam Ashton

Citing traditional values, Afghans censor article on artist

Afghan government censors have ordered Kabul's largest English-language magazine to excise an article on an Afghan-American artist whose works they view as an offense to the nation's traditional values. | 01/15/11 10:51:24 By - Dion Nissenbaum

U.S. keeps funneling money to troubled Afghan projects

McClatchy found that U.S. government funding for at least 15 large-scale programs and projects grew from just over $1 billion to nearly $3 billion despite the government's questions about their effectiveness or cost. Welcome to Afghan aid, American-style. | 01/12/11 17:12:58 By - Marisa Taylor and Dion Nissenbaum

U.S. watchdog for Afghanistan contracting resigns

The embattled top watchdog of U.S. contracting in Afghanistan announced Monday that he's resigning days after vowing to resist congressional demands to step down. Four senators demanded the resignation in a letter to President Barack Obama late last year, saying Arnold Fields has done a poor job of scrutinizing how $56 billion in reconstruction money is being spent in Afghanistan. | 01/10/11 18:02:56 By - Marisa Taylor

Pakistan government holds together, but problems widen

Pakistan's shaky government was thrown a lifeline Friday when it regained its parliamentary majority by enticing back a political party that had previously quit the ruling coalition. Nonetheless, the deal, which was brokered around rescinding a recent increase in gasoline prices, further damages state finances for a nation already on the verge of bankruptcy. | 01/07/11 15:47:52 By - Saeed Shah

Stryker soldier's charges of murdering Afghan civilians should be dropped, investigator says

An investigating officer has recommended that the Army drop most of its case against one of the five Stryker soldiers accused of murdering civilians in southern Afghanistan last year. Spc. Michael Wagnon, 30, has maintained his innocence since he was confined at Joint Base Lewis-McChord amid accusations that he was part of a “kill team” in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division that murdered civilians for sport. | 01/07/11 12:11:16 By - Adam Ashton

Military bans 2 U.S. firms from Afghan contracting

Nearly a year after two American construction companies abruptly shuttered their operations in Afghanistan and left the country allegedly owing their Afghan partners more than $2 million, the U.S. military announced Wednesday that it's temporarily blacklisting the firms. | 01/05/11 16:51:22 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Stryker soldier pleads guilty to misconduct in Afghanistan

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier this morning pleaded guilty to five charges of misconduct, giving the Army its second conviction in its investigation into war crimes committed by Stryker soldiers on a recent deployment to Afghanistan. Spc. Emmitt Quintal is one of 12 soldiers from the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division accused of wrongdoing at Forward Operating Base Ramrod. Five are accused of murdering Afghan civilians and are awaiting trials at Lewis-McChord. | 01/05/11 14:59:44 By - Adam Ashton

Stung by Senate criticism, auditor of Afghan spending sacks aides

The top auditor of U.S. contracting in Afghanistan announced Tuesday that he had fired two of his deputies in a shake-up aimed at improving his investigations of waste and corruption. | 01/04/11 18:13:28 By - Marisa Taylor

Pakistan provincial governor assassinated by own guard

A senior Pakistani official was assassinated Tuesday in the middle of Islamabad by one of his own guards, apparently to protest the official's call for reform in the country's harsh laws against blasphemy. | 01/04/11 11:07:02 By - Saeed Shah and Jonathan S. Landay

U.S. Marines report peace deal with tribe in Afghan hot spot

The top U.S. Marine commander in southern Afghanistan said Monday that an influential Afghan tribe had agreed to put a stop to Taliban attacks in a highly contested part of Helmand province sometimes called "Afghanistan's Fallujah." | 01/03/11 17:53:20 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

War crimes trial against Stryker soldiers has flaws

In hearings this fall, Army prosecutors, armed with sworn statements about plots to kill innocent civilians, have laid out their cases against soldiers accused of murder, conspiracy and other wrongdoing while serving in Afghanistan. But the hearings inside an aging brick building at Joint Base Lewis-McChord also have brought out some vulnerabilities in the government's case. | 12/29/10 11:18:36 By - Hal Bernton

Aid groups in Afghanistan question U.S. claim of Taliban setbacks

Citing evidence that Taliban insurgents have expanded their reach across Afghanistan, aid groups and security analysts in the country are challenging as misleading the Obama administration's recent claim that insurgents now control less territory than they did a year ago. | 12/28/10 18:03:30 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Charge that soldier killed Afghan civilians takes toll on his family

While his family plods through the holidays, Pfc. Andrew Holmes sits in a detention block on a Washington state Army base, one of five soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord charged in the deaths of three civilians in Kandahar province this year. His parents, sisters, brother and new baby niece are waiting at home as complicated legal wrangling plays out to determine whether he’ll face a court martial. | 12/26/10 22:08:07 By - Kathleen Kreller

NATO challenged over Kabul raid that killed two guards

The NATO military team that targeted a Kabul office complex on Christmas Eve thought they were thwarting a holiday season plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy. But the pre-dawn raid that left two security guards dead found no explosives, no plot and no evidence. Instead, the operation brought the issue of night raids directly into the Afghan capital. | 12/26/10 17:27:08 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Suicide bomber in Pakistan kills at least 42 at food center

The attack in the town of Khar, the administrative center of the Bajaur tribal area, came amid ongoing fighting between Pakistan security forces and insurgents in the region bordering Afghanistan. A major clash in the neighboring Mohmand tribal area about 24 hours earlier had left 11 troops and about two dozen militants dead. | 12/25/10 21:30:28 By - Zulfiqar Ali and Laura King

Al Qaida-allied Afghan fighters seek new Pakistan haven

The Haqqani network, an extremist group close to Al Qaida that has mounted devastating attacks in Afghanistan, is attempting to move into a new safe haven in Pakistan's tribal region in hopes of escaping U.S. drone attacks and the possibility of a Pakistani military offensive. So far, local tribes have refused to let them. | 12/24/10 16:12:13 By - Saeed Shah

Air Force officials overturn Osprey crash findings

Senior Air Force generals overturned the findings of their own investigation team and ruled that the fatal crash of a CV-22 Osprey in Afghanistan in April was largely due to flight crew mistakes and not a mechanical problem. | 12/17/10 07:31:55 By - Bob Cox

Afghanistan progress report warns of continued al Qaida threat

President Barack Obama and his aides released a strategy assessment of the war in Afghanistan on Thursday that asserts U.S. troops are making gains but acknowledges serious threats to the effort and lays out a timeline that promises several more years of U.S. involvement. | 12/16/10 19:14:22 By - Nancy A. Youssef, Warren P. Strobel and Margaret Talev

Afghanistan report finds progress 'fragile,' offers few details

The long anticipated Obama administration assessment of its strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan found that progress in the region so far is fragile and could easily unravel. A five-page unclassified summary of the full report released late Wednesday was noticeably lacking in detail, with no hard facts and no specifics on withdrawal of U.S. troops. | 12/16/10 06:01:00 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Army striking deals for testimony against Stryker squad leader

The Army's case against a Stryker squad leader who allegedly plotted to kill civilians in Afghanistan is shaping up with deals that require some of his former platoon mates to testify against him. | 12/12/10 10:42:25 By - Adam Ashton

Afghan official calls for election to be tossed out

Afghanistan's deputy attorney general on Saturday urged the country's highest court to throw out the contested results of recent legislative elections, a move that could hobble the new parliament and increase tensions between President Hamid Karzai and his international allies, who've warned him not to try to overturn the resuls of the elections. | 12/11/10 15:14:51 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Pakistanis protest civilian deaths in U.S. drone attacks

Victims of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan took to the streets for the first time here Friday, as a new report claims that there are significant numbers of civilian casualties from the strikes and a lawsuit seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the CIA for those mistakenly injured or killed. | 12/10/10 17:19:41 By - Saeed Shah

Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan late Friday night amid renewed concerns about his administration’s plans to stabilize the country and bring American troops home. | 12/03/10 12:08:26 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Margaret Talev

Pakistanis: WikiLeaks proves leaders are U.S. puppets

A deluge of U.S. diplomatic cables has tarnished the reputation of Pakistan's political and military leadership with the country's public, adding to anti-American sentiments in Pakistan, analysts and politicians said Thursday. | 12/03/10 07:54:09 By - Saeed Shah

Court thwarts pardon of Pakistani facing death in blasphemy case

A surprise court intervention Monday in Pakistan could delay for years, or even scuttle, the chances of a presidential pardon for a Christian woman who's been condemned to death for blasphemy, lawyers and activists said. | 11/29/10 17:31:36 By - Saeed Shah

Afghan in border police uniform kills 6 U.S. soldiers

A man dressed in an Afghan Border Police uniform turned his weapon on American troops in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, killing six soldiers before being killed in a gun battle, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said. | 11/29/10 09:33:37 By - Warren P. Strobel and Hashim Shukoor

Witness in Afghan civilian killings trial says slain man was Taliban scout

A member of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord infantry platoon voiced doubts in a military courtroom Tuesday that the shooting of an Afghan man could have been a premeditated murder staged to look like a combat death, as the Army alleges. | 11/24/10 07:42:23 By - Mike Archbold

Stryker Afghan war crimes probe now looking at officers' role

A brigadier general has been assigned to investigate whether officers should have known sooner about the alleged murders of Afghan civilians by members of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and whether the officers create a climate where such crimes would occur. | 11/22/10 19:58:44 By - Adam Ashton

Army faces growing steroid use problem

Just weeks before his battalion of some 700 soldiers departed for Afghanistan in summer 2009, Lt. Col. Burton Shields had a disconcerting visit from an Army investigator. The agent said several soldiers under Shields' command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord had admitted to illegal use of steroids. One of the suspected users was a battalion captain. | 11/22/10 17:09:16 By - Hal Bernton

Unresolved Afghan election could undercut U.S. efforts

Ghazni province had half an election in September. Ethnic Pashtuns stayed home, thanks to intimidation by the Taliban insurgency. A rival group, the Hazara, went to the polls in droves, seeking political power as an antidote to their historical repression. | 11/22/10 16:32:40 By - Warren P. Strobel and Habib Zohori

Pakistani facing death in blasphemy case may be freed

Hopes were raised Monday that a Pakistani Christian woman, convicted of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad this month and sentenced to death, will be pardoned soon, after government officials said they expected her to be freed. | 11/22/10 15:38:00 By - Saeed Shah

Whistleblower details bribes, fraud in Afghanistan

A corporate whistleblower whose evidence of fraud led to one of the largest fines ever against a war-zone contractor said that he was ordered to facilitate bribes, keep information from government auditors and inflate overhead rates. Former Louis Berger Group employee Harold Salomon outlined what he saw of the contractor's business practices in his first interview since the case was settled earlier this month. | 11/21/10 22:27:01 By - Warren P. Strobel

U.S. could be in Afghanistan beyond 2015, NATO official says

A top NATO official said Wednesday that a complete handover of security to Afghan forces by 2014 was "realistic, but not guaranteed," and the transition could last into 2015 "or beyond." | 11/17/10 18:39:58 By - Warren P. Strobel

In 'safe' Afghan province, few want NATO forces to depart

Poverty is endemic in Bamiyan and the infrastructure barely past medieval, but this peaceful province is about as good as it gets in Afghanistan today. | 11/17/10 17:53:27 By - Warren P. Strobel

Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, on edge of gang-led civil war

At Karachi's giant Shershah automobile parts market, customers are scarce nowadays, fearing more violence of the sort that left 13 dead last month. The gunmen arrived by motorbike and rampaged through the narrow alleys of the bazaar, executing shopkeepers. | 11/17/10 16:41:22 By - Saeed Shah

NATO: Afghan turnover could last into 2015 'or beyond'

A top NATO official said Wednesday that a complete handover of security to Afghan forces by 2014 was "realistic, but not guaranteed," and the transition could last into 2015 "or beyond." | 11/17/10 14:17:28 By - Warren P. Strobel

Under new plan, U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan till 2014

The White House on Tuesday unveiled a plan for Afghanistan that foresees U.S. troops remaining there until at least the end of 2014, more than three years past when President Barack Obama promised he'd begin withdrawing troops from the war-torn country. | 11/16/10 19:44:18 By - Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. hires firms with questionable pasts for Afghan jobs

McClatchy found nearly $4.5 billion in contracts that were awarded to companies even though they violated laws or had high-profile disputes over previous projects. Such legal or financial troubles could indicate that a company isn't prepared to finish a project or is prone to wasting taxpayer money. | 11/14/10 00:01:00 By - Marisa Taylor

Factory, coal mine show connections matter most in Afghan business

The Ghori Cement Factory and the nearby Karkar Coal Mine have become symbols of the corruption, nepotism and mismanagement that pervade President Hamid Karzai's government, hobble the U.S. effort to rebuild Afghanistan, and fuel the Taliban-led insurgency that now threatens both sites. | 11/14/10 00:01:00 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Contractor leaves Afghan police stations half-complete

The failure of a construction company to finish six police stations in northern Afghanistan has created a swath of political and economic wreckage, undermining a central pillar of President Barack Obama's plans for extracting America from a decade of war. | 11/14/10 00:01:00 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Flawed projects prove costly for Afghanistan, U.S.

The U.S. is spending billions of dollars to build facilities for Afghanistan's expanding national police and new garrisons for its army. The ambitious program is a linchpin of President Barack Obama's strategy to strengthen Afghan security forces so 100,000 U.S. troops can come home. However, like much of the wider Afghan reconstruction effort, it's faltering. | 11/14/10 00:01:00 By - Dion Nissenbaum, Warren P. Strobel, Marisa Taylor and Jonathan S. Landay

McCain, Lieberman urge Obama to drop 2011 Afghan date

A delegation of four U.S. senators, asserting that the U.S. counterinsurgency is making headway in Afghanistan, heightened pressure Wednesday on President Barack Obama to abandon his pledge that the United States would begin withdrawing troops in July 2011, a deadline that seems increasingly wobbly. | 11/10/10 17:21:19 By - Warren P. Strobel

Obama officials moving away from 2011 Afghan date

The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama's pledge that he'd begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011, administration and military officials have told McClatchy. | 11/09/10 18:49:32 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Obama: Pakistan's terror fight 'not as quick as we'd like'

President Barack Obama on Sunday defended the U.S. alliance with India's bitter rival Pakistan, but acknowledged that Pakistan's slow progress in rooting out terrorists "is not as quick as we'd like." But he implored Indians to trust Pakistan. | 11/07/10 20:44:11 By - Margaret Talev

Bragging about killing Afghan civilians was met with disbelief

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs' big talk about killing Afghan civilians and getting away with it made him stand out when he joined a new platoon at an Army base in southern Afghanistan a year ago, according to written statements from his comrades. Some thought he had to be kidding. On Tuesday, Gibbs will appeared in a military court in Washington state where the evidence against him will be detailed. | 11/07/10 20:42:45 By - Adam Ashton

Obama tells India Pakistan making slow progress on terror

President Barack Obama on Sunday touched on the sensitive topic of Pakistan during a question-and-answer session with Indian students, defending the U.S. alliance with India's bitter rival and saying Pakistan is making slow progress in rooting out terrorists. | 11/07/10 07:15:20 By - Margaret Talev

Afghan soldier turns weapon on American troops, kills 2

A soldier from the U.S.-trained Afghan army apparently turned his weapon on American troops in volatile southern Afghanistan, killing at least two U.S. soldiers, NATO officials said Saturday. The incident is the latest that calls into question the allegiances of at least some members of the Afghan security forces. | 11/06/10 17:40:55 By - Warren P. Strobel and Habib Zohori

Candidates protest Afghanistan's September elections

A group of parliamentary candidates from across Afghanistan, saying they’d been wrongfully disqualified, on Saturday demanded a re-run of September’s elections and promised new rallies to protest electoral fraud. The move by a dozen candidates drawn from provinces in northern and central Afghanistan appears unlikely to change the outcome of the deeply flawed Sept. 18 election, whose final results have yet to be announced. | 11/06/10 09:57:54 By - Warren P. Strobel and Habib Zohori

$69.3 million Afghan-contracting fine may be a record

A nearly $70 million fine announced Friday against one of the U.S. government's largest Afghanistan contractors is an apparent record war-zone settlement, and it grew from a classic David vs. Goliath confrontation. | 11/05/10 17:21:09 By - Warren P. Strobel and Marisa Taylor

Contractor Louis Berger settles in Afghan overbilling probe

One of the government’s highest profile American contractors in Afghanistan has agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars to settle allegations that it overbilled the U.S. government. In return, the Justice Department will end its investigation into allegations that Louis Berger was intentionally over charging American taxpayers, individuals close to the investigation told McClatchy Thursday. | 11/04/10 15:04:32 By - Warren P. Strobel and Marisa Taylor

Soldier accused of leading Afghan civilian killings to top hearings schedule

Two of the 12 soldiers awaiting hearings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for crimes they are accused of committing in Afghanistan had their court dates postponed last week. Seven others have had their hearings delayed in recent weeks. One result of the postponements is that most of the soldiers are now scheduled to appear in court for their Article 32 hearings after Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who allegedly devised schemes to kill Afghan civilians. | 11/01/10 07:43:00 By - Adam Ashton

Iraqis gather plant samples to replace destroyed collection

On this mountainside in Iraqi Kurdistan, botanists are gathering hundreds of plant samples in an effort to protect their country's diverse environment, ranging from northern mountain ranges to the marshes of southern Iraq. | 10/28/10 15:52:08 By - Jane Arraf

U.S.-employed Afghan security firms often benefit Taliban insurgents

In a wood-paneled office here in the dusty fringes of Kabul, Hajji Shirin Dil feverishly works the phones. He could be a Wall Street day trader, if not for the sleepy gunmen by his side. Instead, Dil owns a profitable logistics company and is cutting deals with various warlords, whose private security companies protect his trucks carrying vital provisions to the foreign troops. | 10/28/10 15:27:46 By - Anand Gopal

U.S. can't untangle billions in Bush-era Afghan spending

The U.S. government knows it's awarded nearly $18 billion in contracts for rebuilding Afghanistan over the last three years, but it can't account for spending before 2007. The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction found it too difficult to untangle how billions have been spent because of the U.S. agencies' poor recordkeeping | 10/27/10 18:28:27 By - Marisa Taylor

U.S. officials, experts: No high-level Afghan peace talks under way

Despite news reports of high-level talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, no significant peace negotiations are under way in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and Afghanistan experts said Thursday. These same experts said the reports, which appeared in a number of U.S. media outlets, could be part of a U.S. "information strategy" to divide and weaken the Taliban leadership. | 10/22/10 11:09:57 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel

U.S. soldier held in probe of Taliban detainee's death

The U.S. military detained an American soldier and launched a criminal investigation Tuesday after Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly accused U.S. forces of shooting and killing a Taliban leader in his southern Afghanistan jail cell. | 10/19/10 19:16:21 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Family of soldier accused of killing Afghan civilians is skeptical of charges

Soldiers who fought in Iraq alongside Spc. Michael Wagnon don’t recognize their friend when they read reports of his alleged role in a plot to kill civilians while deployed in Afghanistan this year with a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade. | 10/18/10 07:45:43 By - Adam Ashton

Soldier accused in Afghan killings will face court martial

Spc. Jeremy Morlock, the first accused Afghanistan civilian killer to face charges in a military courtroom so far, will go to a full court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma and could face life in prison without possibility of parole. | 10/15/10 19:01:51 By - Matt Misterek

Risky Pakistan route imperils Afghanistan bound U.S. supplies

The proportion of supplies for American troops in Afghanistan passing through Pakistan has dropped by half in the past two years, as attacks and bureaucratic delays have forced Pakistani transport companies and individual truck drivers to reconsider the job. | 10/15/10 16:52:11 By - Saeed Shah

Senators question reconstruction oversight in Afghanistan

For the third time in less than two years, a bipartisan group of senators has raised alarms about oversight of the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan and why President Barack Obama has been slow to do something about it. | 10/15/10 15:09:47 By - David Goldstein

U.S. forces may have killed aid worker accidentally

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of the international military coalition in Afghanistan, launched an investigation into the failed weekend rescue attempt of British aid worker Linda Norgrove after British Prime Minister David Cameron said she may have been killed by the U.S. special forces who staged the raid. | 10/11/10 08:50:09 By - Dion Nissenbaum

British aid worker held in Afghanistan killed in rescue attempt

A U.S.-led military rescue operation ended in failure Friday when a Taliban militant set off explosives that killed a British aid worker kidnapped two weeks ago in eastern Afghanistan. | 10/09/10 16:08:08 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Pakistan orders probe of video showing civilian executions

The Pakistani military on Friday ordered an investigation into a video that appears to show soldiers executing six civilians, following the recording’s exposure in the international media and U.S. pressure. The gruesome video was posted on the internet last month. | 10/08/10 07:08:06 By - Saeed Shah

Have floods pushed Pakistan to get its act together? Not yet

The U.S. and other foreign donors are voicing alarm that Pakistan's civilian government, having failed to organize rescue and relief during the floods that devastated a fifth of the country this past summer, still hasn't produced a reconstruction plan for the 20 million people affected. | 10/07/10 18:10:02 By - Saeed Shah

Pakistan blocks NATO convoys, but Taliban get free passage

For more than a week since a confused U.S. helicopter strike killed two Pakistan paramilitary soldiers, Pakistan has blocked scores of Western supply convoys on the vital route that supports the U.S-led military campaign in Afghanistan. | 10/07/10 16:45:03 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Officer: Army has evidence to try soldier in Afghans' deaths

An Army investigating officer this week recommended that a Stryker soldier accused of killing three civilians in Afghanistan should go to trial to face the charges. Col. Thomas Molloy found that that Spc. Jeremy Morlock's statements provided enough evidence to put him on trial for participating in the killings. A decision is expected within a few weeks. | 10/06/10 21:35:36 By - Adam Ashton

U.S. apologizes to Pakistan for troop deaths in airstrike

The U.S. apologized Wednesday for the deaths of two Pakistani paramilitary troops and the wounding of four others in a cross-border airstrike by U.S. helicopters that prompted Islamabad to close two vital supply routes used by the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan. | 10/06/10 18:43:26 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Soldier who blew whistle on Afghan killings moved for his safety

Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, became a whistle-blower in the case when he told Army investigators that he alerted his father about the crimes being committed by his Stryker brigade squad early this year and also shared with him that he feared for his own life. He's been moved to solitary confinement for his own protection. | 10/05/10 19:52:54 By - Matt Misterek

Afghan wrestles with protecting NATO supply routes

With a government-imposed deadline looming to shutter Afghanistan's private security companies, Afghanistan officials are pushing for the creation of a new state-run military brigade equipped with its own trucks and thousands of soldiers to ferry essential NATO supplies around the country. Protecting routes has emerged as a central issue in recent days because of attacks along the network of roads from Karachi, Pakistan, through the fabled Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan. | 10/03/10 19:59:38 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Afghan war crimes case reopens scrutiny of Iraq killings

Staff. Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, a central figure in the Afghanistan war-crimes case against Western Washington-based soldiers, talked about killing a family while he served in Iraq, according to a sworn statement from a fellow soldier obtained by The Seattle Times. | 09/30/10 21:02:26 By - Hal Bernton

Pakistan cuts key route to Afghanistan over deadly U.S. raid

Pakistan brought a critical NATO supply route for U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan to an abrupt halt on Thursday after NATO aircraft crossed into Pakistan in a confused attack that killed three Pakistani paramilitary troops. Hundreds of trucks bound for the Torkham crossing, the main crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan, were halted as NATO said it was investigating the incident. | 09/30/10 11:42:05 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Karzai near tears as he launches Afghan peace commission

Choking back tears and showing signs of stress, Afghan President Hamid Karzai made an emotional appeal for unity Tuesday before unveiling a peacemaking commission that includes longtime Taliban rivals, former warlords and suspected drug barons. | 09/28/10 17:47:51 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Jonathan S. Landay

Stryker soldier accused of murdering Afghans has hearing

A Stryker brigade soldier accused of murdering Afghan civilians made regular use of narcotics during his deployment and was fearful of his squad leader who persuaded others to participate in schemes to kill people in combat-like situations, his attorney argued in a pre-trial hearing Monday. | 09/28/10 13:00:04 By - Adam Ashton

Prosecutors: Soldier was 'eager participant' in Afghan killings

A Stryker brigade soldier accused of murdering Afghan civilians made regular use of narcotics during his deployment and was fearful of his squad leader who persuaded others to participate in schemes to kill people in combat-like situations, his attorney argued in a pre-trial hearing Monday. Army prosecutors countered that the soldier was a "right-hand man" and an "eager participant." | 09/28/10 07:54:24 By - Adam Ashton

U.S. defends Pakistan incursion as 'self-defense'

Pakistan protested angrily Monday after the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan confirmed that its helicopters staged cross-border air strikes last week against Pakistan-based Afghan militants "in self defense." | 09/27/10 18:25:31 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Saeed Shah

Videos raise new voter fraud questions in Afghanistan

As Afghan election officials sorted through thousands of voter complaints from the recent parliamentary election, new evidence emerged Monday of apparent vote rigging in southern Afghanistan. | 09/27/10 18:20:21 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Alaska soldier's drug use an issue in war crimes hearing

Spc. Jeremy Morlock on Monday will become the first soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to face a hearing on allegations he and other soldiers killed civilians in Afghanistan in what could be a high-profile prosecution of U.S. war crimes in the Afghan war. Murlock's attorney will argue that his statements should be discounted, because he was taking at least 10 prescription drugs. | 09/26/10 19:03:18 By - Hal Bernton

First hearing for Stryker soldiers in Afghan slayings Monday

The charges stacked up against five soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord sound as if they rank among the worst war crimes in the past nine years of combat in the Middle East: killing Afghan civilians and keeping gruesome souvenirs from the attacks. | 09/26/10 09:40:36 By - Adam Ashton

Afghan election panel reports new evidence of serious fraud

Internal reports Tuesday from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission provided new evidence of serious fraud in Afghanistan's parliamentary elections, including turnouts that exceeded 100 percent in many southeastern districts under the control of the Taliban or other militants. | 09/21/10 17:11:59 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Dion Nissenbaum

Firm gets new federal contract despite overbilling probe

Ignoring calls to scrutinize troubled contractors, the U.S. military has awarded a portion of a $490 million contract to an American corporation that's under investigation for possible fraud. | 09/20/10 18:47:51 By - Marisa Taylor

Fraud, violence tarnished Afghan vote, watchdog says

Afghanistan's leading election watchdog group accused the nation's warlords, powerbrokers and Taliban insurgents on Monday of tarnishing the closely watched parliamentary elections by stuffing ballots, attacking polling places and using fake voter cards. | 09/20/10 11:10:37 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Afghan election watchdog amasses evidence of fraud

Afghanistan's leading election watchdog expressed deepening alarm Sunday at reports it was amassing of vote-rigging and bloodshed that claimed at least two dozen lives in the nation's second legislative election since the 2001 U.S. invasion. | 09/19/10 17:44:12 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Saeed Shah

Government has let Blackwater, KBR off the hook, too

The Obama administration's dilemma in deciding how to punish contractors for contract violations and other infractions isn't confined to the Louis Berger Group or to Afghanistan. The administration decided last month not to bring criminal charges against the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater, now named Xe Services, after a nearly four-year investigation found sanctions violations, illegal exports and bribery, as McClatchy first reported in June. | 09/19/10 00:01:00 By - Marisa Taylor and Warren P. Strobel

U.S. contractor accused of fraud still winning big Afghan projects

On July 31, 2006, an employee of the Louis Berger Group, a contractor handling some of the most important U.S. rebuilding projects in Afghanistan, handed federal investigators explosive evidence that the company was intentionally and systematically overbilling American taxpayers. | 09/19/10 00:01:00 By - Marisa Taylor and Warren P. Strobel

Low turnout, Taliban intimidation plague Afghan elections

Deep-seated voter discontent, calculated attempts to rig the vote and widespread Taliban intimidation Saturday marred Afghanistan's parliamentary election, which was considered a bellwether for America's troubled campaign to stabilize the war-weary nation. | 09/18/10 15:30:49 By - Jonathan S. Landay, Saeed Shah and Dion Nissenbaum

Mother, daughter defy violence to run in Afghan elections

When Hawa Alam Nuristani ran for a seat in the Afghan parliament five years ago, gunmen ambushed her on a campaign visit to remote mountain villages and she survived a five-hour rescue on donkeys and her supporters' shoulders with blood oozing from a leg wound. Now she's not only seeking re-election from Nuristan province in parliamentary elections Saturday, but her daughter has followed her mother into the cutthroat arena of Afghan politics. | 09/17/10 19:16:54 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Election campaigning in Kandahar? Don't leave the house

The specter of violence hangs over Saturday's parliamentary election in Afghanistan — and no place moreso than in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city. There, candidates don't hold rallies. They don't even leave their homes or hotel rooms. In the face of Taliban assassinations, it's just too dangerous for them to venture out. | 09/16/10 20:13:17 By - Saeed Shah

Another kind of Afghan mission: Organizing a roping contest

Of all of Arnold Norman's missions as an agricultural adviser at a remote outpost in Afghanistan, organizing a roping competition would not have appeared anywhere. But Norman, 59, an avid team roper on weekends in Texas, discovered dozens of young American soldiers, and a few Afghans, who found swinging a rope at a dummy steer to be an unexpected salve for the stresses of combat and loneliness. | 09/15/10 21:09:44 By - Chris Vaughn

U.S.-led forces meet little initial resistance in Kandahar operation

U.S.-led forces began a key operation Wednesday in the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan, meeting surprisingly little initial resistance in the district in the south of the country that gave birth to the Taliban. | 09/15/10 18:49:38 By - Saeed Shah

U.S. begins long-awaited assault on Taliban stronghold

Three battalions of the 101st Airborne, bolstered by Army rangers and special forces, stormed into the Zhari district west of Kandahar city before dawn on Wednesday in an area U.S. troops call "the heart of darkness." Zhari has been at the forefront of Afghanistan's wars for the last 30 years, an area that Soviet invaders never pacified in the 1980s and that gave rise to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader who controlled Afghanistan when al Qaida launched the 9/11 terrorist attacks. | 09/15/10 02:23:29 By - Saeed Shah

Warlords and killers seek re-election to Afghan parliament

Hundreds of minority Hazara civilians were killed in Afshar in February 1993 in one of the bloodiest chapters of the battle for Kabul, between rival U.S.-armed guerrilla factions that had ousted the Soviet-backed regime the previous year. The man who directed the onslaught, according to residents and human rights groups, was Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, an Islamist member of parliament's lower house who's close to U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai. He's running for re-election from Kabul, and analysts say he could be the next speaker of the lower house. | 09/14/10 16:46:31 By - Jonathan S. Landay

45-year-old U.S. infantryman does heavy lifting in Afghanistan

Jeffery Williamson was so angered by the 9/11 attacks that he decided to join the military, only to be told that at 36, he was a year too old to enlist. Five years later, on the day the Army raised the age limit to 42, he joined at 41. He's served in Iraq, and now he's back on the front lines, this time in Afghanistan. | 09/13/10 16:02:18 By - Saeed Shah

Patron of Afghan school is local warlord, U.S. ally

There's only one functioning school in all of Zhari district in insurgency-plagued southern Afghanistan, and it's named for an anti-Taliban local strongman who uses his own private militia to protect it. | 09/10/10 16:50:30 By - Saeed Shah

Afghan police often find themselves in combat

The Obama administration's plans to begin withdrawing some U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July, as well as allied NATO countries' eagerness to get their forces out, depend on handing over security to the Afghan army and police. However, the Afghan National Police, not the army, are often in the frontlines of the military campaign. | 09/09/10 19:43:57 By - Saeed Shah

In Afghanistan, vital information is sometimes lost in translation

American soldiers in Afghanistan are relying on civilian interpreters who in some cases don't know the languages they were hired to speak, resulting in dangerous military mistakes. | 09/09/10 19:08:29 By - Ben Arnoldy, The Christian Science Monitor

Stryker brigade soldiers allegedly kept 'trophy' body parts

New details in Army charge sheets paint a disturbing picture of depravity of 12 Stryker soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord during their recent deployment to Afghanistan. Six of the men kept trophy body parts from Afghan corpses, including a skull and fingers, the charge sheets say. | 09/09/10 13:11:41 By - Mike Archbold

More Stryker Brigade soldiers charged with assault on Afghans

Five soldiers from a Western Washington-based infantry brigade have been charged with aggravated assault for firing on three Afghan men, expanding the scope of the alleged crimes committed by a troubled group in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. | 09/03/10 18:09:26 By - Hal Bernton

Taliban tries to stop the music in Afghanistan — again

Farouq Pacha's shop was one in a string of music stores to become a new target for militants many suspect are Taliban enforcers looking for new ways to re-impose their conservative views — even in once-stable havens such as Jalalabad. | 09/03/10 17:30:09 By - Hashim Shukoor

Officials: Afghan corruption undermines anti-Taliban campaign

As the last of the 30,000 additional troops that President Barack Obama dispatched to Afghanistan arrived, top American military leaders here conceded Friday that the country's pervasive corruption threatens to undermine the effort to clear communities of insurgents and hand them over to governments that Afghans consider legitimate. | 09/03/10 17:29:29 By - Nancy A. Youssef

From one Afghan setback, U.S. strategy finds success

Chris Harich was catching up on e-mails at his cramped southern Afghanistan office in mid-June when a colleague popped his head in to deliver the news: The Arghandab district governor, America's main political point man in the volatile valley, had just been assassinated. | 09/02/10 18:54:45 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Washington Democrat sees progress during Afghan trip

Since he last visited Afghanistan, Rep. Rick Larsen said, the lights are on in Kabul 24/7, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has opened a chapter in the Afghan capital, and the market there is so jammed with traffic that he and the three other congressmen he was with couldn't get in. | 09/02/10 18:54:27 By - Les Blumenthal

U.S. vehicles destroy Afghan bombs by rolling over them

Spc. Joshua Joe drives a "Husky," a giant vehicle built to find and withstand the blast of a roadside bomb, putting him in the front line of the U.S.-led coalition's battle against the Taliban's most effective weapon in Afghanistan. | 09/02/10 18:52:26 By - Saeed Shah

Karzai, NATO at odds over another Afghan airstrike

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO disagreed Thursday over whether an airstrike in northern Afghanistan killed the top member of re-emerging insurgent group or 10 election workers. | 09/02/10 18:27:17 By - Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. toll rising in Afghanistan: 22 soldiers killed since Friday

U.S. forces lost 22 soldiers in Afghanistan, mostly to roadside bombs, since Friday, marking a bloody step-up in the insurgency as a major U.S.-led offensive seeks to capture the spiritual homeland of the Taliban movement in Kandahar. | 09/01/10 08:10:53 By - Saeed Shah

Lawmaker: July 2011 too soon to start leaving Afghanistan

Just back from a nine-day trip to the world's trouble spots, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., said Tuesday that despite progress, plans to start reducing U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan next summer are probably unrealistic. | 08/31/10 15:58:46 By - Les Blumenthal

U.S. soldiers face murder charges in deaths of Afghan civilians

In one of the most serious war crimes cases to emerge from the nine-year war in Afghanistan, five U.S. soldiers from a Stryker brigade in the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division have been charged with murder for allegedly killing three Afghan civilians. | 08/25/10 10:59:11 By - Hal Bernton

Afghanistan's new war crimes museum punts on still-powerful warlords

He was a very tall man who wore outsized shoes and blue clothes. Sayed Husain taught history and prayed at the mosque, and for that he was thrown into jail in 1979. Educated people like him were the first to be rounded up when the Communists came to power in 1978, kicking off Afghanistan's three decades of turmoil. | 08/24/10 16:22:04 By - Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor

Pakistan president claims criticism is sign of his popularity

In an interview with a small group of foreign reporters, President Asif Ali Zardari warned that Taliban extremists and "rightist forces" could take advantage of the country's floods crisis. At least one prominent political figure in exile over the weekend all but called for a military coup. | 08/23/10 15:06:51 By - Saeed Shah

Family, U.S. offer differing versions of deadly Afghan raid

When Ismail Nemeti set out from Kabul last week to join his family in nearby Wardak province for the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, friends said, his biggest fear was running into Taliban forces who might question his allegiances. Before sunrise the next day, Aman lay bleeding in his family guest room, alongside two of his brothers, all shot dead by U.S. special forces who were on the hunt for a Taliban leader. | 08/20/10 15:02:37 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Under pressure, Karzai agrees to back anti-graft efforts

Under pressure from Washington, Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly agreed Friday to back the independence of two American-backed anti-corruption groups that the Afghan president had threatened to rein in amid an ongoing investigation that's targeted one of his trusted palace aides. | 08/20/10 15:01:27 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Winning in Afghanistan may hinge on power of persuasion

The American Army had arrived. Taliban fighters had been pushed on the defensive with surprising ease. With U.S. attack helicopters zipping by overhead, Babur elders gathered alongside swaths of red grapes drying in the southern Afghanistan dirt to hear from the new village rulers. | 08/19/10 19:03:31 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Top Senate Democrat Kerry presses Karzai on corruption

U.S. Sen. John Kerry arrived in Kabul on Tuesday for another tough diplomatic mission to smooth over newly strained relations between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration. | 08/17/10 13:33:00 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Meeting with Karzai opponents highlights U.S. policy dispute

Four members of the House of Representatives held talks last month in Europe with leaders of Afghanistan's ethnic minorities opposed to President Hamid Karzai and his U.S.-backed initiative to open political negotiations with the Taliban. | 08/16/10 19:03:45 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel

Fired Afghan commander McChrystal will teach at Yale in fall

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be a senior fellow at Yale's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs for the fall semester and will teach a graduate level course that will examine how globalization has increased the complexity of modern leadership. | 08/16/10 18:46:06 By - David Owens

Karzai to ban private security companies in Afghanistan

The abrupt announcement Monday that all private companies providing security services must close by the end of the year places a new burden on NATO and U.S. forces, which employ the companies to provide security along key transport routes. | 08/16/10 15:35:20 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Pakistan flood crisis raises fears of country's collapse

The humanitarian and economic disaster caused by the worst floods in Pakistan's history could spark political unrest that could destabilize the government, dealing a major blow to the Obama administration's efforts to fight violent Islamic extremism. The government's shambling response could force President Asif Ali Zardari from office. | 08/13/10 19:06:38 By - Saeed Shah and Jonathan S. Landay

U.S. soldiers' mission shows Afghan war's uncertainties

After months of deadly and often demoralizing fighting alongside mediocre Afghan forces in one of the Taliban's most intractable strongholds outside Kandahar city, the Americans in one Army company are asking themselves if it had been worth it. Amid growing U.S. concerns about the war, no one is feeling the pressure to demonstrate progress more than the Americans working on the rustic, isolated bases in southern Afghanistan. | 08/13/10 17:22:14 By - Dion Nissenbaum

U.N. appeals for Pakistan aid as flood threat continues

The United Nations appealed Wednesday for $459 million in emergency aid for Pakistan as fresh monsoon rains raised fears that new flooding could drive more people from their homes, deepening the humanitarian catastrophe. It's affected some 14 million people, of whom an estimated 1,600 have been killed and about 2 million left homeless. | 08/11/10 17:54:44 By - Saeed Shah

In small rubber boat, Pakistani navy searches for flood victims

The craft was part of an operation to rescue people around Sukkur, the city in Sindh province where the wall of water unleashed by the worst flooding in Pakistan's history was cresting Tuesday as it moved south down the Indus River toward the Arabian Sea. | 08/10/10 18:42:51 By - Saeed Shah

U.N.: Taliban attacks drive up Afghan civilian casualties

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan surged by 31 percent during the first six months of this year over the same period in 2009, driven by increased bombings and assassinations by the Taliban-led insurgency, the United Nations reported Tuesday. | 08/10/10 16:38:20 By - Hashim Shukoor

When troops' belongings stolen, North Carolina comes to the rescue

Army Maj. Jeff Leopold packed photos of family, uniforms, and his faithful iPod, dropping everything into a Milvan headed for Afghanistan. The Milvan was shipped three months ago, so it would be waiting for the troops. Yet two weeks ago, when they went to get their stuff at Bagram Air Base, the box had been cleaned out. Everything had been stolen. | 08/09/10 12:50:38 By - David Perlmutt

U.S. dentist slain in Afghanistan wouldn't proselytize, brother says

The twin brother of one of the 10 medical volunteers killed in Afghanistan last week spoke out Sunday about the nature of his brother's work, saying there was no element of Christian proselytizing. | 08/09/10 06:41:12 By - Lisa Demer

Ten medical aid workers robbed, killed in Afghanistan

Ten members of an international medical mission, including six Americans, were robbed and killed while returning from a two-week trek through risky parts of eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials and organizers of the aid mission said Saturday. | 08/07/10 13:23:32 By - By Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Pakistani floods threaten lives, crops and government

The wall of floodwater that's rushing through Pakistan devastated new areas Thursday, reaching the most heavily populated parts of the country, officials and aid workers said. | 08/05/10 17:08:22 By - Saeed Shah

Ex-Guantanamo detainee now campaigning in Afghanistan

In a country whose young parliament is filled with warlords, suspected drug barons, one-time mujahedeen fighters and religious zealots, Izatullah Nasrat Yar can still make history. Yar has set out to become the first "enemy combatant" once held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay to become an elected Afghan lawmaker. | 08/04/10 19:00:38 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Petraeus renews limits on airstrikes in Afghanistan

Afghanistan commander Army Gen. David Petraeus has renewed orders to American troops to refrain from calling in artillery or air power when battling Taliban forces unless they're certain that no civilians are present. | 08/04/10 18:57:12 By - Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. PR offensive highlights insurgent attacks on Afghan civilians

In one of his first major initiatives since he took command of the international force in Afghanistan a month ago, Army Gen. David Petraeus has launched a public relations offensive to focus attention on the Taliban-led insurgency's killings and abuse of Afghan civilians. | 08/04/10 17:54:02 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Dion Nissenbaum

U.N.-listed 'terror front' group leads flood relief in Pakistan

A militant Islamist group linked to the 2008 terrorist assault on Mumbai, India, is openly distributing aid to victims of the floods in northwest Pakistan, according to members of the group. | 08/03/10 19:21:51 By - Saeed Shah

As Pakistani government falters after flooding, Islamists fill void

Amid wide complaints about an inadequate government response, private charities, including some linked to Islamic extremists, are stepping in to help victims of the worst flooding in Pakistan in decades, which has claimed some 1,500 lives. | 08/02/10 18:37:27 By - Saeed Shah

Critical U.S. battle begins in Afghanistan amid many doubts

As the U.S.-led coalition launches its most critical military operation of the nine-year war in Afghanistan, doubts are growing about whether the United States and its allies can contain the surging Taliban-led insurgency and prevent the country from reverting to an al Qaida sanctuary or erupting in civil war. | 07/30/10 21:10:52 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Jonathan S. Landay

Body of second missing sailor found in Afghanistan

The body of the second of two U.S. sailors who went missing after driving into an ambush has been found outside of Kabul, Pentagon officials said Thursday, but the circumstances that led the men to drive alone into one of Afghanistan's most dangerous regions remained unclear. | 07/29/10 19:01:51 By - Nancy A. Youssef and Hashim Shukoor

Search continues for missing sailor in Afghanistan

The body of a sailor who was killed in a Taliban ambush arrived home in the United States Tuesday as the military continued a massive search for his comrade, whom the Taliban claimed it kidnapped last week in eastern Afghanistan. | 07/27/10 20:44:46 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Pentagon identifies sailor missing in Afghanistan

The Defense Department on Tuesday identified a missing U.S. serviceman in Afghanistan as Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a West Seattle sailor who is the target of a massive search by Afghan and international forces. A second sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley, was killed. His body has been recovered. | 07/27/10 18:29:55 By - Hal Bernton and Steve Miletich

Officials: WikiLeaks release could hurt Afghan war effort

The publication of some 92,000 classified U.S. military reports on the Afghanistan war could complicate the Obama administration's strategy for ending the Taliban-led insurgency by hurting cooperation with Pakistan and throttling the flow of vital ground intelligence, current and former U.S. officials said Monday. | 07/26/10 19:54:57 By - Jonathan S. Landay, Saeed Shah and Nancy A. Youssef

New checkpoints are key to coming Afghan military operation

When the U.S. and Afghan militaries launch their long-awaited Kandahar operation as early as this weekend, the key to its success may lie in some obscure mountain roads that connect the dusty heartland of the Taliban insurgency with a fertile valley nearby. | 07/23/10 18:57:55 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Pakistan extends powerful army chief's term for 3 years

The Pakistani government on Thursday gave the country's top military official, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, another three years in his post, a move that analysts said would bolster Pakistan's anti-terrorism fight and cement its role in neighboring Afghanistan. | 07/22/10 18:51:37 By - Saeed Shah

Afghan president agrees to U.S. withdrawal plan

Joined by leaders from Iran to America, President Hamid Karzai embraced plans Tuesday for Afghan forces to begin taking control of their country by next summer as another bleak assessment of the war raised new questions about the timing of the hand-over. | 07/20/10 19:28:19 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

As Afghanistan's future unfolds, concerns turn to women's health

Just hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated her commitment to protecting Afghan women's rights at an international conference in Kabul, members of women's advocacy groups met Tuesday on Capitol Hill to discuss progress and issues concerning Afghan women's health. | 07/20/10 19:24:16 By - Reid Davenport

Clinton unveils $500 million in aid projects for Pakistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday unveiled $500 million worth of civilian aid projects for key ally Pakistan, in an attempt to counter rampant anti-Americanism in the country by reaching out to the population with tangible help. | 07/19/10 18:24:27 By - Saeed Shah

Taliban's Mullah Omar orders attacks on women, U.S. says

NATO officials said the new order comes one year after Mullah Omar issued a detailed code of conduct that called on Taliban fighters to protect Afghan civilians.A Taliban spokesman dismissed the report as American propaganda and some Afghan analysts expressed doubts that the Taliban leader would specifically single out Afghan women as targets. | 07/17/10 18:27:00 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Saeed Shah

Failed Pakistan-India talks could hurt Afghanistan efforts

Recriminations flew between India and Pakistan on Friday, a day after failed peace talks that could have negative fallout for the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan. | 07/16/10 16:41:07 By - Saeed Shah

Yoga, blast walls and life in the Afghan 'Kabubble'

If you're thinking about taking a yoga class at Kabul's Fig Health Centre, you'll be relieved to know that the yoga studio windows are packed with tilting stacks of green sandbags. That way, if a car bomb goes off during yoga class, the sandbags and anti-blast glass will offer a little extra protection from flying shrapnel. | 07/15/10 13:48:49 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Georgia's Isakson slaps Steele on Afghan war comments

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., sharply criticized recent comments by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday. Isakson, in remarks at a news conference outside of Robins Air Force Base, said Steele's criticism of the war in Afghanistan "was totally unacceptable." | 07/06/10 16:27:40 By - Thomas L. Day

Lawmaker: White House, military not on same page on Afghanistan

Though he acknowledged the top general in Afghanistan had to go after making controversial remarks, Rep. Adam Smith said that Gen. Stanley McChrystal received only tepid support from the White House for his strategy and civilian and military leaders apparently aren't on the same wavelength. | 07/04/10 06:56:55 By - Les Blumenthal

Britain warns against 'premature' Afghanistan withdrawal

Britain warned Wednesday against a "premature" withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan as the U.S.-led international force suffered its highest monthly death toll of the nearly nine-year-old war. | 06/30/10 19:10:14 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Petraeus' political skills on display before Senate panel

Army Gen. David Petraeus' reputation as a political operator was on display during his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, deflecting worries that the administration's Afghanistan strategy was off course and marked by divisiveness. | 06/29/10 18:53:06 By - Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. military changes won't affect Kabul hospital, Fresno doctor says

The founder of a Fresno-based humanitarian project that provides medical care for Afghan civilians says his project shouldn't be endangered by a recent shakeup in the U.S. military leadership in that country. | 06/29/10 18:13:49 By - Andrew Seidman

Watchdog: Afghan forces won't be ready for U.S. withdrawal

Afghanistan's military and police aren't on track to meet President Barack Obama's 18-month timetable for starting to withdraw U.S. troops, according to a report released on Monday by an independent watchdog group. | 06/28/10 23:00:00 By - Reid Davenport

Obama, officials don't plan more changes in Afghanistan

Amid calls for the Obama administration to make more changes to its strategy and leadership in Afghanistan, top U.S. officials said Thursday that while their strategy may be troubled, they think it's salvageable. | 06/24/10 19:27:00 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Obama's Afghan strategy remains plagued by problems

President Barack Obama's decision to accept Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation and draft his superior, Gen. David Petraeus, to lead the war in Afghanistan eliminates a source of friction, but it doesn't address the problems plaguing U.S. policy there. | 06/23/10 19:45:01 By - Nancy A. Youssef, Saeed Shah and Jonathan S. Landay

Sen. Graham: Gen. McChrystal crossed lines 'you can't cross'

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal left President Barack Obama no choice but to accept his resignation, but Graham criticized Obama for sticking to his plans to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan next year | 06/23/10 18:38:53 By - James Rosen

Obama ousts Gen. McChrystal, nominates Petraeus

President Barack Obama on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal as commander of the war in Afghanistan. "It is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military and for our country," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. | 06/23/10 12:30:08 By - Margaret Talev and Nancy A. Youssef

Afghan President Karzai voices support for Gen. McChrystal

Karzai fears that if Gen. Stanley McChrystal leaves, a dangerous gap will open up in the war's leadership, a spokesman said. Privately, some senior Afghan officials said they it would be a "disaster" if McChrystal is removed, seeing the campaign and the U.S. general as synonymous. | 06/23/10 08:55:36 By - Saeed Shah

Two Fort Richardson soldiers awarded Silver Stars for bravery

The U.S. Army awarded the Silver Star, its third-highest medal, to Spc. Ryan. S. Chester and Spc. Robert E. Parson for combat in Afghanistan. Chester fought to protect his platoon after being wounded in an ambush. In a different action, Parson fought to protect the evacuation of his wounded squad leader. | 06/23/10 07:45:22 By - Blaire Maloney

McChrystal recall culminates months of tensions with White House

The White House decision to order Afghanistan commander Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Tuesday to leave a flailing war and answer to President Barack Obama about comments he and aides made in a forthcoming magazine article culminates months of tension between the military and political leadership over how to conduct the war and who's in charge | 06/22/10 10:41:21 By - Nancy A. Youssef

McChrystal recalled to Washington over Rolling Stone article

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan was recalled to Washington on Tuesday after he was forced to make a "sincerest apology" over a magazine article in which he and unnamed aides criticized and lampooned senior Obama administration officials. | 06/22/10 08:45:50 By - Saeed Shah

Report finds U.S. tax money may be funding Afghan insurgents

Private security contractors protecting the convoys that supply U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are paying millions of dollars a week in "passage bribes" to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to travel along Afghan roads, a congressional investigation released Monday has found. | 06/22/10 08:02:45 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Report finds U.S. tax money may be funding Taliban

Private security contractors protecting convoys supplying U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are paying millions of dollars a week in "passage bribes" to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to travel along Afghan roads, a congressional investigation released Monday has found. | 06/21/10 20:04:06 By - Nancy Youseff

Afghan parliamentary vote will test security conditions

voters in the Afghan capital elect a new parliament later this year, they'll face a bewildering choice of more than 700 candidates that threatens to turn the election into a lottery. | 06/21/10 18:51:35 By - Saeed Shah

New Afghan commission is setting Taliban suspects free

Afghanistan's controversial new commission formed to release suspected Taliban prisoners has set free 14 detainees already, primarily from U.S. custody, and over two dozen more releases are imminent, Afghan officials told McClatchy on Sunday. The commission was a concession to get the Taliban to join peace talks. | 06/20/10 16:51:28 By - Saeed Shah

5 U.S. soldiers accused in Afghan civilian deaths

Three more soldiers from Tacoma's Joint Base Lewis-McChord have been charged in the alleged premeditated murders of three Afghan civilians this year crimes committed using grenades and rifles, according to military authorities. | 06/17/10 12:58:48 By - Mike Archibold

Experts: U.S. has no long-term political strategy for Afghanistan

The Obama administration is focused on meeting its July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but it has no political strategy to help stabilize the country, current and former U.S. officials and other experts are warning. | 06/16/10 19:40:36 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Nancy A. Youssef

Obama besieged by worsening problems on many fronts

As a candidate for president, Barack Obama saw President George W. Bush's missteps in the Gulf Coast, war policy and the economy as easy targets for criticism. Now Obama is being dogged by variations on the same themes, his judgment under the microscope of public scrutiny and his options for action limited. | 06/15/10 21:17:29 By - Margaret Talev, Jonathan S. Landay and David Lightman

Petraeus recovers after collapsing at Senate hearing

Gen. David Petraeus collapsed Tuesday during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, halting the hearing and raising renewed questions about the key military commanders' health. | 06/15/10 10:55:45 By - Nancy Youssef and David Lightman

McChrystal: Kandahar operation 'will happen more slowly'

Amid a spike in Afghan and American deaths in southern Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top NATO commander in the country, conceded Thursday that the military push to secure the Taliban's spiritual capital will take longer than anticipated. | 06/10/10 19:53:16 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Sprawling Karachi becomes an Islamic extremist melting pot

The jihadist recruiter, seated in an office attached to a lavish mosque in an affluent residential area of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, said volunteers who came to join the fight in Afghanistan these days were modern, educated Pakistanis. | 06/09/10 18:57:24 By - Saeed Shah

Afghan president Karzai ousts 2 top pro-Western ministers

Afghanistan's top intelligence chief and interior minister abruptly resigned on Sunday after President Hamid Karzai criticized the pair for failing to stop last week's attack on a nationwide peace conference as the president was addressing the gathering. | 06/06/10 17:54:23 By - By Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Afghan delegates back peace talks with Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai got a modest political boost Friday when a national peace conference backed his efforts to launch substantive talks with the Taliban and other Afghan insurgent forces. | 06/04/10 16:42:45 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Taliban attack Afghan peace conference as Karzai speaks

Standing before the country's power brokers and tribal elite Wednesday morning, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was about 10 minutes into his nationally televised appeal for peace when the Taliban responded with a rocket that slammed into a nearby hillside. | 06/02/10 06:35:42 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Afghan president Karzai to open assembly on peace

Thousands of police have fanned out across Kabul as the Afghanistan capital prepares for Wednesday's opening of a national assembly that President Hamid Karzai hopes will give him a mandate to pursue talks with the Taliban. He's hoping the gathering, known as a jirga, provides a psychological boost. | 06/01/10 16:26:06 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Taliban seize border town as Afghan forces retreat

As U.S. forces mounts an offensive in southern Afghanistan, hundreds of Taliban fighters overwhelmed local government forces in a remote town near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan Saturday. | 05/29/10 17:30:05 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

'Cup of Joe' gives troops a jolt of caffeine and a thank you

Under the "Cup of Joe" program, anyone with $2 to spare can buy a cup of super-premium, organic coffee for a soldier deployed on or near a U.S. military base in support of Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. | 05/29/10 14:37:53 By - Allison Kennedy

Extremists assault religious minority in Pakistan, killing 70

Extremists stormed two mosques belonging to a religious minority in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore Friday, killing at least 70 people in the worst-ever assault on the country's Ahmadi community. | 05/28/10 07:27:43 By - Saeed Shah

U.S. military criticizes McClatchy story on McChrystal in Marjah

The NATO International Security Assistance Force has criticized the headline on McClatchy's report Monday from Marjah, Afghanistan, "McChrystal calls Marjah a 'bleeding ulcer' in Afghan campaign," as mischaracterizing the remarks of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of ISAF forces in Afghanistan. | 05/26/10 18:48:00 By -

McChrystal calls Marjah a 'bleeding ulcer' in Afghan campaign

Gen. Stanley McChrystal sat gazing at maps of Marjah as a Marine battalion commander asked him for more time to oust Taliban fighters from a longtime stronghold. "How many days do you think we have before we run out of support by the international community?" McChrystal replied. | 05/24/10 17:26:33 By - Dion Nissenbaum

U.S. soldiers face probe into Afghan civilian deaths

The U.S. military is investigating allegations that a small group of American soldiers deliberately killed three Afghan civilians in a series of shootings earlier this year, Western officials familiar with the case said Friday. | 05/21/10 17:32:34 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Times Square bomber: Pakistani novels shed light on why

Americans who are searching for an explanation for the attempted bombing of New York's Times Square this month should pick up two recent and critically acclaimed novels by Pakistani authors, which tell how the events that followed 9/11 made Pakistani New Yorkers feel alienated and angry. The heroes of the books were integrated, happy immigrants who found that New York and the U.S. turned ugly after 9/11, which led to their inner journeys away from the America they'd come to love. | 05/21/10 15:07:58 By - Saeed Shah

Court: Bagram prisoners don't have Guantanamo habeas rights

A key appellate court on Friday concluded that prisoners held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan do not have the right to challenge their captivity in U.S. courts as detainees at Guantanamo can. Citing geographic and other differences between the air base in Afghanistan and the naval base in Cuba, the three-judge panel overturned a trial court's conclusion that the Bagram detainees were constitutionally similar to those held in Guantanmo. | 05/21/10 13:01:24 By - Michael Doyle

U.S. pressure on Pakistan may risk terrorist backlash

As the U.S. turns up the pressure on Pakistan to launch a new military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal area following the Times Square bombing attempt, analysts warn that a frontal assault could lead to a terrible terrorist backlash. | 05/18/10 19:34:51 By - Saeed Shah

Suicide bomber hits NATO convoy in Afghanistan; 18 dead

— As Afghan President Hamid Karzai was preparing Tuesday to trumpet the success of his recent meetings in Washington, a suicide bomber in Kabul killed 18 people — including five U.S. troops — a grim reminder that the capital is still a prime target for Taliban insurgents. | 05/18/10 04:27:03 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

Afghan report links president's brother to illegal land grabs

Afghan military investigators have accused Ahmed Wali Karzai, U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai's controversial half-brother, of intervening to protect powerful allies who are squatting illegally on government property in southern Afghanistan. | 05/17/10 23:10:34 By - Dion Nissenbaum

U.S. releases Afghan prisoners in bid to mend relations

So far this year, U.S. officials have freed nearly 200 men as part of the program that enlists tribal elders, lawmakers and local leaders called upon to make sure the detainees don't use their freedom to fight U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. | 05/15/10 16:21:13 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Hashim Shukoor

U.S. efforts in Kandahar, barely begun, already are faltering

Key military operations have been delayed until fall, efforts to improve local government are having little impact, a Taliban assassination campaign has brought a sense of dread to Kandahar and a turning point may not come until November, and perhaps later. | 05/13/10 21:05:11 By - Dion Nissenbaum and Jonathan S. Landay

Pentagon rethinking value of major counterinsurgencies

Nearly a decade after the United States began to focus its military training and equipment purchases almost exclusively on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military strategists are quietly shifting gears, saying that large-scale counterinsurgency efforts cost too much and last too long. | 05/12/10 19:05:39 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Obama, Karzai try to project unity as new reports raise doubts

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought Wednesday to project a unified front on defeating the Taliban-led insurgency, acknowledging past differences but insisting that reports of tensions over corruption in Karzai's government and civilian deaths from U.S. military operations were overblown. | 05/12/10 13:43:03 By - Jonathan S. Landay

N.C. Sen. Hagan wants Pakistani Taliban declared terrorists

North Carolina U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and four other Democrats have called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare a Pakistani Taliban group a foreign terrorist organization, saying its atrocities — until now contained within the Pakistani borders — have reached U.S. soil with the attempted Times Square car bombing. | 05/12/10 07:35:04 By - Barbara Barrett

Pakistan can't link N.Y. bombing suspect to extremist groups

Pakistani investigators have been unable to find evidence linking Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bombing suspect, with the Pakistani Taliban or other extremist groups, Pakistani security officials said Tuesday. Investigators also have been unable to substantiate Shahzad's reported confession that he received bomb-making training in the country's wild Waziristan region, officials said. | 05/11/10 17:29:51 By - Saeed Shah

Corruption, incompetence charges plague new Afghan police force

Although the members of Afghanistan's elite new police force have been touted as the country's best and brightest, U.S. military strategists find that they're plagued by the same problems as Afghanistan's conventional police, who are widely considered corrupt, ineffective and inept. | 05/10/10 17:33:30 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Interrogator says Khadr was told he'd likely be raped in U.S.

Interrogators told a wounded Canadian teenager, held at the U.S. detention center at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, that another Afghan detainee had been gang raped in a U.S. prison after he'd been sent there for not telling the truth, a former Army interrogator told a military court at Guantanamo Thursday. The story was fictitious, but intended to frighten Khadr. | 05/06/10 13:35:04 By - Carol Rosenberg

Would-be New York bomber's Pakistan neighbors in disbelief

Friends and relatives of accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad expressed shock Wednesday at his involvement in the failed attack, as a picture emerged of a respected, self-made family with no known links to extremism. | 05/05/10 18:51:14 By - Saeed Shah

Guantanamo hearing: Ex interrogator felt sorry for Khadr

A former U.S. Army interrogator known to captives at a lockup in Afghanistan as "The Monster'' testified Wednesday that he felt sorry for a gravely wounded, recently captured Omar Khadr because "he was probably in one of the worst places on Earth.'' | 05/05/10 15:31:05 By - Carol Rosenberg

Officials doubt Pakistani Taliban behind New York bomb attempt

U.S. counterterrorism officials and South Asian analysts said Monday they doubted the Pakistani Taliban's claims of responsibility for Saturday's attempted bombing in Midtown Manhattan, but the claims nonetheless underscored the group's soaring ambitions as a flag-bearer for al Qaida. | 05/03/10 19:29:21 By - Saeed Shah and Warren P. Strobel

Changes to key Guantanamo evidence innocent, officer says

An Army Special Forces officer testified Saturday that he altered a field report to directly implicate a Canadian detainee now being held at Guantanamo in a fatal grenade attack in Afghanistan years later because he realized that he got it wrong and wanted to fix the historical record. The officer denied suggestions that he changed the report at prosecutors' urging. | 05/01/10 17:31:58 By - Carol Rosenberg

Afghans protest after U.S. military kills parliamentarian's kin

Irate demonstrators burned tires and blocked traffic in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday after U.S.-led forces killed an armed relative of an Afghan lawmaker during a night raid on her home, according to military and Afghan officials. | 04/29/10 20:16:41 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Pakistan's Punjab heartland alive with extremist groups

Even the Pakistan army conducts military operations against Taliban guerrillas in northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, banned al Qaida-linked groups are operating openly in the Pakistani heartland of Punjab, which itself has been the target of dozens of terror attacks. | 04/29/10 20:08:52 By - Saeed Shah

U.S. plan to arm Afghan militia founders on tribal rivalries

The detritus of tribal war litters the road that leads into this quiet mountain hamlet in eastern Afghanistan. The charred bodies of vehicles and the skeletal remains of destroyed houses fill the desert that flanks the road. Most of the shops in the main bazaar are shuttered, and some residents have packed up and left. | 04/27/10 16:30:54 By - Anand Gopal

As power shortages spread, Pakistan switches off the lights

Amid fears that severe energy shortages could touch off riots, Pakistan will announce drastic measures this week to save electricity, including a shorter workweek and restrictions on nighttime wedding celebrations, government officials said Wednesday. | 04/21/10 17:28:01 By - Saeed Shah

Iceland volcano delays evac for U.S. wounded in Afghanistan

Rather than flying from Germanys Ramstein Air Force base, which has been grounded by the ash cloud, soldiers are now being transported to the naval base in Rota, Spain. The resulting re-routing to get troops to Rota means an additional eight hours of flight back to the United States, the Pentagon said. | 04/19/10 15:42:40 By - Nancy A. Youssef

U.N. report: Pakistan failed to protect Bhutto from threats

The former military regime of Pakistan failed to protect the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto despite its knowledge of the numerous threats she faced, and Pakistani intelligence agencies and government officials "severely hampered" an official investigation into her 2007 assassination, investigators charged Thursday. | 04/16/10 12:36:12 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Civilian casualties pose growing threat to war on terrorism

At least 71 villagers were killed by a misdirected air strike against suspected extremists in Pakistan's tribal zone, locals claimed Tuesday. The strike underscored the difficulties that the U.S. and its allies face in fighting militants who intermingle with innocent civilians, while grappling with poor intelligence and trying to win popular and political support. | 04/13/10 10:42:47 By - Saeed Shah and Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. military aims to save more civilian lives in Afghanistan

Amid renewed outrage over the conduct of American forces overseas, the U.S. military is preparing to broaden the scope of battlefield rules in another attempt to better protect innocent Afghan lives. | 04/09/10 18:43:13 By - Dion Nissenbaum

Idaho representative calls for prisoner exchange for captured soldier in Afghanistan

The U.S. government should work out a prisoner trade with the terrorist group holding Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey hostage, Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, said Thursday. | 04/09/10 16:11:32 By - Kathleen Kreller

Despite reports of progress, Afghan women still struggle

The numbers tell an upbeat story about efforts to empower and protect women in Afghanistan. However, the reality is much grimmer. | 04/06/10 17:01:54 By - Sananda Sahoo

Pakistani chief justice's battle with Zardari threatens stability

As a far-reaching constitutional measure aimed at bolstering democracy was tabled in Pakistan's Parliament Friday, an escalating battle between U.S.-backed President Asif Ali Zardari and the country's chief justice threatens the political stability of a key American ally in the war on Islamic extremism. | 04/02/10 17:22:24 By - Saeed Shah

For Marines, Marjah market is battleground for Afghans' trust

If Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's strategy for winning the eight-year-old war by regaining the trust of wary Afghans is going to be a success, the 150 stalls around the market in Marjah is one place where it must take root.In the weeks since the Marines seized control of Marjah from the Taliban, the Marines have focused on winning the goodwill of the merchants at the ragtag Koru market outside their Marine outpost. | 04/01/10 18:18:12 By - Dion Nissenbaum

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unfinished police station

The U.S. is spending billions of dollars to build facilities for Afghanistan's expanding national police and new garrisons for its army. The program, like much of the wider Afghan reconstruction effort, is faltering.

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