On the morning of September 26, Linda Norgrove was in an unmarked Toyota Corolla traveling from Asadabad to Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, a spectacular route with towering mountains to the right and a broad river to the left. Spectacular but also very dangerous - ambush country in a part of Afghanistan where many different groups, including criminal gangs, the Taliban and al Qaeda, have a presence.
Thirteen days after she was led off into the steep mountains above, Norgrove was killed during a rescue attempt by U.S. Navy Seals.
Today, her parents have started a charity in her name. FULL STORY
U.S. and Russian authorities seized nearly $56 million worth of high-quality heroin in Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province this week, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. It was the first time Russia deployed military personnel to work with U.S. troops in Afghanistan. FULL STORY
An audit has found that the U.S. government is doing a poor job of accounting for billions of dollars spent by the contractors rebuilding Afghanistan. This comes as the Afghan government is starting to phase out private security contractors in Afghanistan that are not involved in protecting diplomats and embassies. FULL STORY
The Afghan government will start planning how it will phase out of private security contractors without endangering development projects, it said Wednesday. The move is seen as a bow to international pressure to delay implementation of a ban on contractors that was scheduled to take effect by the end of the year. The United States had previously expressed concern about the ban, saying that if implemented the move would leave critical aid personnel unprotected and unable to continue their work. FULL STORY
A man purporting to be Osama Bin Laden warned France to get its troops out of Afghanistan in a tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network Wednesday. France has 3,750 troops in Afghanistan, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force. FULL STORY
Editor’s Note: Abbas Daiyar began his blog, Kabul Perspective, last year to look at issues in Kabul and around the world. He has worked with newspapers in Pakistan and reported for news agencies in the past and is now a member of the editorial board of the independent Daily Outlook Afghanistan newspaper in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Abbas Daiyar.
Once again the talks about talks with Taliban are gaining momentum. It got hyped when President Hamid Karzai announced a Peace Council to talk with the insurgents. This is apparently the most serious attempt, but the process is a complex one, as shown by the contradicting media reports.
It was a U-turn when the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus said NATO has let at least one Taliban commander come to Kabul. Some reports even suggested Taliban commanders were flown to Kabul in a NATO aircraft. It’s more of a political statement rather than a policy, or a green signal for the insurgents, showing a change in the U.S. reluctance over talks with Taliban. But it’s just propaganda when military commanders in Afghanistan say Taliban are under pressure, therefore more are forced to talks. The fact is that 2010 has been the deadliest year for U.S. forces since the start of war. FULL POST
In the wake of the deadly attack at one of its bases in Afghanistan, there is disagreement among CIA veterans about what went wrong.
Intelligence officials, both current and former, all agree that mistakes were made. But what that says about the broader problems in the CIA is a matter of debate. Ask some and it is a matter of communication. Others, a problem of a lack of experience.
In a report finalized this week, CIA Director Leon Panetta concluded it was a systemic failure within the agency and not the actions of one person or group that enabled a Jordanian informant to blow himself up along with nine other people at the remote CIA post. FULL POST
Five American soldiers have been charged with killing Afghan civilians for sport and staging the slayings to look like legitimate war casualties. The youngest of those five - a now 20-year-old private from Idaho - came home a changed man, his mother says.
And, said Dana Holmes, the Army not only should have known something had gone dreadfully wrong, but commanding officers should be held responsible.
"The man that came home was not my son," said Holmes. "He was very thin. He'd lost about 50 pounds. He said the Army told him he had a parasite. I made him his favorite sandwich, and it took him two days to eat the whole sandwich. Just couldn't eat, he didn't sleep."