Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, plans to unleash a withering attack Wednesday on private contractors working for the company formerly known as Blackwater in Afghanistan, accusing them of flouting regulations and endangering the U.S. mission. Full story
A new classified directive to coalition forces in Afghanistan puts restrictions on nighttime raids of Afghan homes and compounds, according to a senior U.S. official who has seen the document. The official declined to be identified because a declassified version of the document has not been made public. The directive is signed by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, the official said. Full story
Another senior Afghan Taliban leader has been arrested in Pakistan, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.
Security forces arrested Mullah Abdul Kabir last week from a religious school in the district of Nowshera, 54 miles (88 km) northwest of Islamabad, the officials said.
Mullah Kabir served on the Taliban's Council of Ministers and governed the eastern zone of Afghanistan during the Taliban rule of the 1990s, said Imtiaz Gul, head of the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies.
Kabir is the fourth Afghan Taliban leader to be arrested by Pakistani security forces in the past several weeks.
In a statement to CNN, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied that Mullah Kabir had been arrested.
The Netherlands' coalition government collapsed this past weekend over disagreement about its role in Afghanistan. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's office said in a statement that the Labor Party had withdrawn from the government following days of talks over whether the troops should be brought home.
Robert Marquand of the Christian Science Monitor writes that the development “threatens to undermine the NATO mission in the central Asian nation.”
“The Dutch collapse brings concern of a domino effect: Can European leaders, who have been out in front of their publics on Afghanistan, continue anteing up – or will this withdrawal further sap a flagging political will across Europe for the mission?” Marquand writes.
With a loud "whoosh" and a blast of hot air, the pile of tires, wood and 2.5 tons of raw opium burst into flames.
It's a government-sponsored "drug burn" in the western Afghan city of Herat, an event intended to reinforce the government’s claim that it is moving aggressively against the opium trade.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has expressed regret after a NATO airstrike killed more than two dozen civilians. Ground forces at the scene found women and children among the casualties, the Afghan government and NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a joint statement. FULL STORY
As coalition forces and insurgents battle each other in Marjah, some NATO and Afghan officials are talking about integration and reconciliation. CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour spoke with Taliban expert and journalist Ahmed Rashid, who's written many books on the subject, including the best-selling "Taliban." They discuss how Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar's capture could be a Catch-22, the likelihood of Taliban reconciliation and if there have already been secret meetings between the Taliban and Afghan government to discuss this. FULL POST