With its columns and colonnades, the U.S. Treasury is one of the grandest buildings in Washington. But a handful of its staff are currently working in less salubrious surroundings. They’ve been dispatched to Kabul in an effort to stifle the Afghan Taliban’s cash-flow. Their mission: to detect money laundering schemes, investigate offshore accounts and cell-phone transfer, and try to rein in Afghanistan’s huge “informal” banking sector. FULL POST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, visiting the grave sites of Afghan war veterans buried there. He was joined by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The group visited Section 60 of the cemetery, the burial ground for personnel killed Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 500 veterans are buried there. FULL POST
U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan could someday be awarded medals for restraint that prevents civilian casualties in combat.
The possibility is under consideration by the staff of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, according to Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, McChrystal's spokesman.
The idea of rewarding battlefield restraint was proposed by British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, who is in charge of the international forces in southern Afghanistan. Sholtis said the idea is still in its "conceptual stage." FULL POST
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan and international security forces have killed more than two dozen suspected Taliban militants and captured several others in northern Afghanistan's Kunduz province, NATO's International Security Assistance Force reported Thursday.
ISAF said the security forces were pursuing a senior Taliban leader into the village of Kharid-e Olya Wednesday night, when they engaged insurgents in a firefight. There were no civilian casualties, according to ISAF. FULL POST
While Afghan President Hamid Karzai makes his rounds in Washington, D.C., this week, some residents of Kabul are urging the Afghan leader to uphold his promises to reduce corruption and provide work and educational opportunities. That can only be achieved through an end to the war, they say. While some support reconciliation with the Taliban, others are not sure that the militant group can integrate back into society without erasing some progress, such as in women's rights.
Read some of the voices in Kabul and what they hope Karzai accomplishes on his trip to the U.S. FULL POST