November 30th, 2009
09:10 AM ET

Congressmen's take on war tax, Obama speech

Rep. John Larson talks to CNN about the proposed war tax, which calls for a 1 percent surtax to help pay for the war in Afghanistan. Watch now

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Price outlines what Republicans expect to hear from President Obama during his speech on Tuesday night. Watch now

November 29th, 2009
06:01 PM ET

Report: 'Bin Laden was within our grasp'

President Obama got some political cover Sunday for his upcoming announcement on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

A report released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee blamed the Bush administration for failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden when the al Qaeda leader was cornered in Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountain region in December 2001. The report, released Sunday, said the situation in Afghanistan presented greater problems today because of the failure to nab bin Laden eight years ago.

Bin Laden had written his will, apparently sensing he was trapped, but the lack of sufficient forces to close in for the kill allowed him to escape to tribal areas in Pakistan, according to the report.

It said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top U.S. commander Gen. Tommy Franks held back the necessary forces for a "classic sweep-and-block maneuver" that could have prevented bin Laden's escape.

Read the full story

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Daily Developments • Decision: Afghanistan
November 27th, 2009
10:58 AM ET

IED challenges in Afghanistan

Revisiting the 4th Engineer Battalion, a U.S. unit deployed to Afghanistan six months ago, CNN's Frede Pleitgen reports on their changes and challenges. The unit has lost 11 men in Afghanistan, most of them to IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.

Watch the report from CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Afghanistan

November 26th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

Festival of Sacrifice

This year, the American Thanksgiving holiday falls on the same evening as the Muslim Eid-ul-Adha. The festive occassion celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for his God. In Kabul, a man visits the market in preparation for the days of prayers, visits with family and friends and meals with special dishes, including the traditional slaughter of a sheep or goat.

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Filed under: Life and Culture • Photo Spotlight
November 26th, 2009
04:15 PM ET

NATO chief hopes allies 'step up to the plate'

Berlin, Germany (CNN) - NATO's secretary-general is confident that "all allies will step up to the plate" and provide more soldiers to the fight in Afghanistan after President Barack Obama announces his decision next week on an extra U.S. troop deployment.

"We are right now in the final phase of consultation and we all know that the Americans are the biggest troop contributors so it's quite natural that we wait for an American decision," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN.

"I think it's of utmost importance for the alliance and certainly for our operation in Afghanistan that the allies follow suit once the Americans have made their decision."

Read the full story

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Decision: Afghanistan
November 26th, 2009
03:34 PM ET

Obama calls troops

On Thursday, President Obama placed a phone call to 10 U.S. service members in Iraq and Afghanistan to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Two members in each of the five military branches got the call from the commander-in-chief.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Photo Spotlight • Troops
November 26th, 2009
11:05 AM ET

Thanksgiving turkeys for the troops

In Afghanistan, turkeys and other food – wrapped and secured in large green containers – wait in Chinook helicopters for the "turkey drop." It's a way the U.S. military makes sure troops on the battlefield get a Thanksgiving dinner.

Check out more photos from Thanksgiving with the troops in Afghanistan and watch as CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins a helicopter crew delivering meals.

November 26th, 2009
10:55 AM ET

U.S. troops abroad get taste of home on Thanksgiving

By CNN's Elaine Quijano

WASHINGTON (CNN) - On a day when Americans sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with family members and friends, the Pentagon is trying to provide a taste of home to thousands of U.S. service members who are far away from loved ones this year.

The Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency has made plans to ship Thanksgiving meals to roughly 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, according to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell. In order to accommodate military personnel working different shifts, the meals are to be served around the clock today at many of the larger military dining facilities in both countries, Morrell said.

Providing those Thanksgiving feasts requires huge quantities of food, including 63,000 pounds of potatoes, 8,700 cans of cranberry sauce, 61,000 pounds of stuffing and more than 465,000 pounds of turkey, according to Morrell.

And for dessert, there will be 67,000 pies and cakes.

Morrell says the men and women of the armed forces deserve America's thanks.

"With this we send to our troops a small reminder of our immeasurable gratitude for all they do to serve our country. We also, of course, convey our hopes for their safe return home."

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Pentagon
November 26th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

German army chief quits over airstrike claims

Berlin, Germany (CNN) - The head of the German army has resigned after a news report that he knew civilians could be killed in a September airstrike in Afghanistan, Germany's defense minister told Parliament Thursday.

Gen. Wolfgang Schneiderhan, the army's chief of staff, asked to be relieved of his duties following the report in Germany's Bild newspaper, said German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

The Sept. 4 NATO airstrike in the northern province of Kunduz killed at least 90 people. The German commander in the area called in the strike after Afghans tried to siphon fuel from two tankers hijacked by the Taliban a day earlier. FULL POST


Filed under: Daily Developments
November 25th, 2009
05:22 PM ET

Getting the troops to Afghanistan

Officials say it will take months to get more troops into Afghanistan because of the lack of roads and other infrastructure, CNN's Elaine Quijano reports.

"I anticipate that as soon as the president makes his decision, we can probably begin flowing in some forces pretty quickly after that," U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said. "But it is a bigger challenge than certainly was the case in Iraq."

Watch the full report from CNN's Elaine Quijano.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan