WASHINGTON – Just days after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he would review allegations of misconduct in Afghanistan by the company formerly known as Blackwater, the Department of Defense announced the company had won another multi-million dollar contract to operate in Afghanistan. FULL POST
The Globe and Mail reports that “Canadian soldiers are pushing deep into Taliban territory ahead of a major offensive in Kandahar this spring."
The report says:
The commanding officer of Canada's battle group in Afghanistan says the troops are moving southwest into the Panjwaii district.
Lt.-Col. Jerry Walsh says the move is meant to cut off Taliban supply routes and movement into Kandahar city.
The push into Panjwaii is part of Operation Cerberus, the first in a series aimed at securing the areas around Kandahar city.
Coalition forces have made no secret they plan to follow up last month's major assault in neighbouring Helmand province with an attack on a similar scale in Kandahar. FULL POST
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A suspected U.S. drone strike killed four people in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, three officials told CNN. A drone fired five missiles at a vehicle in the village of Khadarkhel in North Waziristan, a local government official and two intelligence officials said.
That's an area near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan that has been a haven for Islamic extremists. The officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
- Journalist Nasir Dawar contributed to this report
A school built by Americans in 1950s is being used as a base by the U.S. military in their operation in Marjah. But now Afghanistan's government is taking the building back in order to make it a school again, which would make it one of the few in the area.
KABUL, Afghanistan - Two Afghan children were killed and two others were injured when a mine device exploded in northern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
The incident happened Tuesday in Farybab province, which borders Turkmenistan, the U.S. military said.
"This is a tragedy, especially since innocent children were killed and injured," Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said in a U.S. military statement. "Accidents involving unexploded ordnance or mines planted by the insurgents hurt and kill innocent civilians, and we will continue our efforts to educate civilians about mines and help to prevent these accidents." FULL POST
KABUL, Afghanistan - After surveying training camps in eastern Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates hinted Wednesday that U.S. troops could be leaving earlier than the announced July 2011 troop withdrawal date.
Without giving details, Gates said that any early pullout and hand over of control to Afghan forces "would have to be conditions-based."
"We will begin that transition no later than July 2011, but the pace will depend also on conditions on the ground," Gates said after watching training exercises at Camp Blackhorse, where Afghan soldiers are trained by U.S. and British forces. FULL POST