October 7th, 2011
08:47 AM ET

Opinion: Taliban still key to Afghan peace

There was little to celebrate in Kabul this week as the United States marked the tenth anniversary of its invasion of Afghanistan. The war against the Taliban is already the longest in America's history and there are few signs that it will be ending any time soon.

The Afghan capital has experienced a number of deadly, high-profile attacks this year. A supermarket, the airport, a hospital, a police station, the Defense Ministry, the supposedly impregnable Intercontinental Hotel, the British Council and the U.S. embassy have all been targeted.

Read the full opinion from James Fergusson

Analysis: Afghan assassination means Taliban 'want war, not peace'
September 20th, 2011
04:35 PM ET

Analysis: Afghan assassination means Taliban 'want war, not peace'

[cross-posted from CNN's Security Clearance blog]

By Tim Lister and Jennifer Rizzo, CNN

The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul – apparently by the very group he was trying to negotiate with – suggests a political solution in Afghanistan remains a distant prospect – and is another reminder of how fragile security is in the Afghan capital, according to analysts and diplomats.

Rabbani was also one of the most prominent Tajiks in Afghanistan, and his killing is likely to aggravate their fears of renewed ethnic conflict with the largely Pashtun Taliban. FULL POST


Filed under: Peace talks • Taliban
September 20th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Rabbani's killing spurs uncomfortable questions about the war

[cross-posted from CNN's Security Clearance blog]

By CNN's Nick Paton Walsh in Islamabad, Pakistan

Whatever peace process there was in Afghanistan, there is probably little left today.

The assassination Tuesday of Professor Burhanudin Rabbani in his home by at least one suicide bomber who hid a device in his turban hasn't just again reminded residents of Kabul that even the safest areas are vulnerable to insurgent attacks. It's surely made insurgents who have even the slightest whimsy to negotiate think again. FULL POST

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Filed under: Peace talks • Taliban
Ex-Afghanistan president assassinated
Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani in 2008
September 20th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Ex-Afghanistan president assassinated

An Afghan political figure considered vital to peace efforts in the country was assassinated Tuesday, officials said.

Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president who had been leading the Afghan peace council, died when a suicide bomber detonated inside his home in Kabul, said Mohammad Zahir, chief of investigations for Kabul police. The attacker wore a suicide vest, Zahir said. FULL POST

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Filed under: Taliban
September 13th, 2011
09:38 AM ET

Taliban launch intense attack in heart of Kabul

Afghan and coalition forces battled Taliban militants who launched a brazen assault against high-profile coalition targets in central Kabul Tuesday.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told CNN that they targeted "the U.S. Embassy, governmental organizations and other foreign organizations."

"Our insurgents attacked in Kabul city," Mujahid said as reports surfaced of violence in other parts of the city as well.

The strike occurred amid intelligence that insurgents might launch a high-profile attack in the capital around the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, a coalition officer and a senior ISAF official confirmed to CNN.

Militants opened fire near the U.S. Embassy and NATO's International Security Assistance Force headquarters after they stormed a nearby abandoned building, U.S., NATO and Afghan officials said.

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Filed under: Kabul • Taliban
August 25th, 2011
08:51 AM ET

Karzai orders release of 20 would-be youth suicide bombers

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the release of a group of would-be child suicide attackers ranging between ages 8 and 17.

Some of the 20 youngsters told Karzai that they were recruited by the Taliban, strapped with vests and ordered to detonate them near foreigners, the president's office said in a statement. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • Taliban
August 6th, 2011
11:17 AM ET

Dozens of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan copter crash

More than two dozen American troops are believed to have died in a deadly Chinook helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan overnight, a U.S. military official told CNN on Saturday.

Among those killed were a mix of special forces from different services, the official said. If the numbers are confirmed, the incident would be the most deadly for coalition forces in the Afghan war, according to a CNN count of international troop deaths.

FULL STORY
August 3rd, 2011
07:42 AM ET

Questions linger in Afghan peace process

Islamabad, Pakistan - Top diplomats from the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan claim to be gaining ground with plans to reach a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban, but revealed little about their progress.

The trio of diplomats met here in the federal capital on Tuesday for the fourth meeting of the so-called Corp Group, established to map out a political settlement between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban, a strategy Washington now supports.

However, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister said Kabul has yet to establish contact with key leaders of the Taliban. FULL POST

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Filed under: Taliban
July 27th, 2011
09:31 AM ET

A series of assassinations

The assassination of Kandahar's mayor Ghulam Haidar Hamidi is the latest in a string of killings across the country, and the most recent for a region that appears to be deadly for high-ranking officials.

– Two deputy mayors of Kandahar City have been gunned down by militants in the past year, according to the governor's office.

Kandahar Police Chief Khan Mohammad Mujahid was also killed by a suicide bomber in April.

– Perhaps the most high-profile attack occurred earlier this month when Kandahar's provincial council chief Ahmed Wali Karzai – the president's half-brother and an influential power-broker in country's south - was gunned down by a longtime bodyguard inside his home. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack, though rumors soon swirled that his death could also have been the result of a murder over personal grievances.

– During a remembrance ceremony for the president's half-brother at a Kandahar mosque two days after his death, a suicide bomber slipped into the building and killed six people, wounding 15 others.

– Within the next week, a key political adviser to the Afghan president and a Parliament member were gunned down in a home west of Kabul.

The killings have taken place just as a security transfer to Afghan control and a NATO draw-down is underway.


Filed under: Kandahar • Taliban
July 21st, 2011
11:19 AM ET

U.S. welcomes decision to remove ex-Taliban from sanctions list

Kabul, Afghanistan - The United States on Thursday said it welcomes a U.N. decision to remove sanctions against 14 former Taliban leaders in what is perhaps the latest signal of its willingness to reconcile with militants who break ties with al Qaeda.

"We recognize and welcome the efforts made by the High Peace Council to work towards peace, stability and reconciliation generally and its contributions to the July 15 decision," the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in a written statement.

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Filed under: Taliban