October 6th, 2010
04:09 PM ET

Green Beret who died saving comrades awarded Medal of Honor

President Barack Obama on Wednesday awarded the Medal of Honor - the nation's highest military decoration - to Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, a Green Beret who died after willingly taking fire to protect U.S. and Afghan soldiers.

The citation read at a solemn White House ceremony in Washington, D.C., honored Miller for "conspicuous gallantry ... at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty" and "extraordinary acts of heroism" on January 25, 2008, when a patrol he led was ambushed in Afghanistan.

Miller killed at least 10 insurgents and wounded dozens more in repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire "in keeping with the highest traditions of military service," the citation said.

Miller is the seventh service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read the full story from CNN's John Couwels


Filed under: Troops
October 6th, 2010
02:41 PM ET

Woodward on Afghanistan

CNN's John King interviews journalist Bob Woodward on the president's management of the war in Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Obama • Understanding Afghanistan
October 6th, 2010
02:20 PM ET

White House report critical of Pakistan's activity against militants

Despite repeated Obama administration claims in public that
Pakistan is working hard to crack down on militants, a private White House
review uses unusually tough language to suggest the ally is not doing nearly
enough to confront the Taliban and al Qaeda, according to a copy of the report
to Congress obtained by CNN.

The report notes that from March to June, the Pakistani military
"continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict
with Afghan Taliban or [al Qaeda] forces in North Waziristan. This is as much a
political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military
prioritizing its targets."
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October 6th, 2010
01:31 PM ET

'Better coordination' could have averted Pakistani deaths, panel says

The deaths of two Pakistani border guards, victims of gunfire from a coalition helicopter last week, could have been averted with better communication, a NATO and Pakistani team determined.

"We believe the Pakistani border guard was simply firing warning shots after hearing the nearby engagement and hearing the helicopters flying nearby," said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Tim Zadalis, the assessment team leader for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
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Filed under: Afghan security forces • NATO • Pakistan
October 6th, 2010
11:28 AM ET

Airstrike kills Taliban leader in northwestern Afghanistan

An airstrike in northwestern Afghanistan killed a Taliban leader, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Wednesday.

Qari Ziauddin, the Taliban's shadow governor in Faryab province, was slain on Tuesday. He was "directly associated with and took direct operational orders from a Pakistan-based leader of the northern front," according to ISAF.

When coalition forces went to the site of the strike in Faryab province, armed people threatened them, authorities said.

"The security force engaged and killed four insurgents and confirmed Qari Ziauddin was killed during the airstrike," ISAF said.

20 oil tankers hauling fuel for NATO set ablaze; 1 dead
October 6th, 2010
11:24 AM ET

20 oil tankers hauling fuel for NATO set ablaze; 1 dead

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for another attack on oil tankers carrying fuel for NATO, a spokesman for the militant group told CNN by phone Wednesday.

Azam Tariq, the central spokesman for Pakistani Taliban, said a special squad designated to strike NATO supply efforts made the attack near Quetta, Pakistan.

Quetta police said 20 oil tankers parked near that city were set ablaze Wednesday, and one person died in the attack.

Shah Nawaz, a senior Quetta police official, said more than 12 gunmen in three vehicles opened fire on the tanker trucks. He said the person who died was killed in the shooting.

Fuel convoys are generally operated by contracting Pakistani logistics firms, using local trucks and drivers.
FULL POST


Filed under: NATO • Pakistan • Taliban
October 6th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Afghans find tons of explosive devices transferred from Iran

Authorities in southwestern Afghanistan have seized 19 tons of explosive devices that had been transferred across the border from Iran, police said.

Nimruz Police Chief Abdul Jabar Purdel said a suspect was detained. Nimruz province, in Afghanistan's southwestern corner, borders Iran and Pakistan

The devices had been placed in 337 boxes inside a 40-foot shipping container transferred from Iran over a bridge linking Afghanistan and Iran, he said.

Earlier this year, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said that new U.S. military intelligence suggests Iran planned to smuggle new shipments of weapons into Afghanistan as part of an increased effort to interfere with coalition operations.

The information came from an "Iranian source" whose tips on past shipments have been verified by the United States, the official said in April.

The official also noted that Iran - a majority Shiite country - and the Sunni Taliban almost went to war with one another in the late 1990s, so it's not really in their interest to be a major source of top-shelf arms to the Taliban.

Tehran has consistently denied supporting groups opposed to the Afghan government. U.S. and coalition troops have found evidence of some Iranian weapons inside Afghanistan in seized caches or in the aftermath of attacks.

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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Iran • Taliban
October 6th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

In Afghanistan, a dialogue paving the way to peace

Political figures from Pakistan and Afghanistan are sitting down this week in Kabul for a dialogue aimed at ending the nine-year-old Afghan war, in what one Afghan official called a "new phase" in building bridges and making peace with the Taliban.

Former Pakistani government officials and political party leaders met Afghan leaders at the Serena Hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday, Farouq Wardak, Afghanistan's education minister, told CNN in an exclusive interview.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Kabul • Karzai • Life and Culture • Pakistan • Taliban
October 6th, 2010
11:15 AM ET

Drone strike kills 3 in Pakistan

Three suspected militants were killed in a suspected a U.S. drone strike targeting a militant hideout in Pakistan's tribal region Wednesday, intelligence officials tell CNN.

Two intelligence officials say two missiles were fired on the hideout in the Darpa Khel area of North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The officials asked to not be named because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

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Filed under: Drone strikes • Pakistan
Sources: Senior al Qaeda leader directed Europe plot
October 6th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Sources: Senior al Qaeda leader directed Europe plot

The man at the center of an alleged al Qaeda plot to bomb cities in Europe has told investigators the conspiracy was directed by one of the organization's most senior figures, according to European intelligence officials.

Ahmed Sidiqi, an Afghan German, was detained in Kabul in July and has since been questioned at the United States' Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, the officials say. They say he has told interrogators that while in the tribal areas of Pakistan he met with a senior Al Qaeda leader, Younis al Mauretani, who was planning multiple attacks on European countries that would be similar to the attack on Mumbai, India, in 2008.

Read the full story