April 23rd, 2010
02:01 PM ET

CNN Reporter witnesses solemn 'ramp ceremony'

When you’re embedded with the military in a place like Afghanistan, you can spend a lot of time waiting.

And so it was last Thursday. We had been embedded with U.S. and Canadian forces inside Kandahar City for a week, and we were awaiting a military flight back to Kabul.

Our transport – a C-130 Hercules – was still two hours away from arriving, so we settled in at the rather basic “departure lounge” at the huge Kandahar Air Force base – known to the military as simply "KAF."

After 45 minutes or so, we noticed soldiers drifting from the waiting area to the outside gate, standing there, looking out.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Behind the Scenes • Kandahar • Troops
April 23rd, 2010
09:14 AM ET

7 Pakistani soldiers killed; 5 beheaded

Violence raged in Pakistan's tribal region as seven soldiers died in an ambush and five people accused of spying for the U.S. and Pakistan were found beheaded, authorities said Friday.

The incidents occurred in North Waziristan, one of seven districts in the Pakistan tribal region along the Afghan border and a longtime militant stronghold.

The seven soldiers died when militants ambushed a military convoy Thursday night. Sixteen soldiers were injured in the attack, which took place in the Datta Khel area, a military official and a local government official told CNN.

Militants wielding small arms and rocket launchers surrounded the 20-vehicle convoy and opened fire. The Pakistanis called in helicopter gunships to chase the militants away, said the officials, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Read more on the violence in Pakistan

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Filed under: Civilian deaths • Pakistan
April 23rd, 2010
09:10 AM ET

World's scariest airlines? Sign him up

In 2008, journalist Carl Hoffman embarked on a five-month trip using modes of transportation that most leisure travelers would avoid at all costs but that many people around the planet board every day, for his new book "The Lunatic Express."

Hoffman recently talked with CNN.com about his quest. The following is an excerpt of that interview.

CNN: Did you ever fear for your life?

Hoffman: Never directly. In Afghanistan, I was kind of nervous, [but] the longer I was there, the less scared of it I got, because you start to understand what the situation is.

CNN: How do you book a hotel in Kabul? Do you just go online? FULL POST

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Filed under: Life and Culture
April 23rd, 2010
08:57 AM ET

2 U.S. troops, 5 militants killed in Afghan fighting

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) - Two U.S. service members and five insurgents were killed in a firefight in Afghanistan, the NATO-led command said Friday.

The incident took place late Thursday in Logar province, southeast of Kabul, when international and Afghan troops went to a compound in the Pul-e Alam district where insurgent activity was suspected.

Troops received machine gun fire from different points of the location and shot back, trading fire with the people inside, NATO said. The two U.S. troops died of wounds sustained in the firefight.

A Taliban suicide attack commander was among the five insurgents killed, NATO said. The commander had ties to the Haqqani network, a militant operation with links to the Taliban.

The forces searched the compound and found weapons, including rifles and bomb materials.

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Taliban • Troops
April 23rd, 2010
08:45 AM ET

Nations well-represented at air base

CNN's Michael Holmes gives us a tour of the second biggest base in Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Behind the Scenes • Kandahar • Troops