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.
At least two people were killed and four were injured in Afghanistan Sunday in protests against the pastor who had planned to burn the Quran in Florida, a local official said.
On Saturday the pastor of the Florida church said the planned burning of the Quran had been canceled.
"We will definitely not burn the Quran," the Rev. Terry Jones told NBC's "Today." "Not today, not ever."
Demonstrations against the plan began in Afghanistan before Jones made his announcement.
About 600 people were at the protest which turned deadly Sunday, a spokesman for the governor of Logar province said.
Video: Media coverage of Quran burning plan
Video: Chopra on Quran controversy
Afghan security forces opened fire to prevent demonstrators from entering the offices of the governor of Baraki Barak district, Din Mohammad Darwish said.
This is the second time we've seen this little urchin girl. The first time I saw her was near the ruins of the bombed-out Darul-Aman Palace outside Kabul. Totally alone. Filthy. Bereft of everything. Sadly there are so many children like her on the streets of Kabul.
According to UNICEF, there are over 2 million orphans in Afghanistan and twenty-five percent of Afghan children die before reaching their fifth birthday.
A woman in a burqa and gloves sells gum on the streets of Kabul. Under Taliban rule women were not allowed to leave their homes without being escorted by a male relative and were required to wear a burqa which covered their bodies from head to toe. Though women have more freedom now than under Taliban rule, some still wear the burqa.
Photo by CNN's Jill Dougherty
Scores of people rioted in Kabul on Friday after a vehicle carrying four U.S. contractors was involved in an accident with a car carrying four Afghans.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said it had been informed of deaths and serious injuries among the Afghans in the accident. After the accident, people burned the American vehicle and another going with it and they threw rocks at Americans. FULL POST
Former British army officer William Shaw is serving a two-year sentence in Kabul’s infamous Pul-e-Charki jail for bribery. This week, his wife and daughter were allowed to visit him. CNN’s Nic Robertson spoke to Liz Shaw and Lisa Luckyn-Malone in Kabul about their efforts to secure his release. He filed the video report above, and this behind-the-scenes post:
KABUL, Afghanistan — When he walked in to the peace jirga tent, President Karzai took up his place in the front row – in a very comfortable looking arm chair. To his left and right, Afghanistan's elder statesmen. Most had long white beards; a good handful were former warlords.
Karzai had come to hear what the 1,600 delegates he'd invited were recommending he do to make peace with the Taliban. He'd had a lukewarm reception when he inaugurated the event three days earlier.
It was, however, not as frosty as the reception the Taliban gave him. A serenade of rockets and gunfire greeted his opening speech. One rocket landed just 200 meters away.
Within minutes of President Hamid Karzai addressing the 1,600 delegates at the peace jirga he called to deabte how best to negotiate with the Taliban, a rocket whistled in. More explosions followed. One of the rockets landed by a wall just a few hundred meters from the flimsy peace jirga tents. Gun battles erupted a few miles away in Kabul. FULL POST
A culture clash in Kabul. The Afghan government appears to be taking a harder line toward alcohol consumption. Afghan police last month raided restaurants popular with Westerners, seizing alcohol, even detaining foreign waitresses. Is it a symbol of increasing anti-Western sentiment or something far less sinister?
Kabul is a city clogged with an estimated 4 to 5 million people and traffic to match that human crush. Traffic in Afghanistan's capital city is notoriously awful. CNN's Michael Holmes gives a first-person account (as a passenger, of course) of a commute to work through the Kabul streets.