Petraeus: Combat troops will likely be part of July drawdown
March 16th, 2011
11:36 AM ET

Petraeus: Combat troops will likely be part of July drawdown

Initial troop drawdowns in Afghanistan this July will probably include the withdrawal of combat troops, the commander of international and US forces in Afghanistan told house lawmakers on Wednesday.

Speaking to lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee about the progress of the war in Afghanistan, Petraeus said he is "still formulating the options that he will provide to the president", but believes that combat forces will be included in that recommendation.
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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Petraeus • Troops
March 16th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Salute to SPC Hoytt Whittington

You have to hear this salute to Army Specialist Whittington, on his 5th deployment, currently serving in Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Aid organizations • Troops
Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers
From left, Army Spc. Rudolph Hizon, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, and Spc. Brian Tabada.
March 10th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers

By Wayne Drash, CNN

It started with a Facebook status update. Upset at the media's coverage of Charlie Sheen, someone took up for American soldiers dying in Afghanistan.

"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."

The status update has since gone viral, shared by tens of thousands on Facebook. An abbreviated version is on Twitter.

When a friend of mine posted the message on her Facebook page, it was a sobering reminder of the news media’s failings of covering the Afghanistan war. I kept returning to the names of the four soldiers. Who were these men? What’s their story?

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Filed under: Casualties • Kandahar • Troops
Gates in southern Afghanistan as two-day trip continues
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is escorted by Afghan Chief of Staff Lt. General Shir Mohammad Karimi.
March 8th, 2011
10:35 AM ET

Gates in southern Afghanistan as two-day trip continues

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan Tuesday morning as he continued his two-day trip to the country, meeting with senior officers and Afghan leaders.

Gates' visit is his 13th to Afghanistan since he became defense secretary in 2006.

He last traveled to the embattled country three months ago, in December 2010. He has said he prefers to make quarterly tours to monitor the war effort, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

On Monday, Gates offered his personal apology to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for the killings of nine Afghan boys last week in a NATO-led helicopter attack targeting insurgents, saying the incident "breaks our hearts."

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Filed under: Gates • State of Afghanistan • Troops
Growing up while mom and dad are off fighting a war
Seth Rice touches the TV screen that shows his father, Staff Sgt. Jeff Rice, reading him a book from Afghanistan.
March 8th, 2011
10:27 AM ET

Growing up while mom and dad are off fighting a war

Seth Rice is a 2-year-old boy full of energy, curiosity and emotions. Watching him play with his toys, you don't notice any of the emotional toll that having a parent deploy can take on a little boy.

Let alone having both parents deploy, for nearly seven months simultaneously.

But that's what Seth's parents did, choosing to deploy to Afghanistan together, rather than have one stay home with Seth while the other deployed.

That decision may be hard for some parents to fathom, but for the Rices it was the best option.

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Filed under: Troops
February 24th, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Afghan minister: We'll need U.S. help after 2014

Afghanistan will need help from the United States after a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2014, Afghanistan's defense minister said Wednesday.

Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak made the comment to Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a visit to the Pentagon in Washington.

"It will need your help beyond 2014," Wardak said.

Gates complimented Afghanistan for taking what he called an increasingly leading role in their security.

President Barack Obama has announced plans to begin withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan this July, with all U.S. combat troops scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by 2014.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Troops • Understanding Afghanistan
February 21st, 2011
09:18 AM ET

Rumsfeld defends Afghan troop levels

CNN's Candy Crowley asks former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about Afghanistan, terrorism and the Obama administration.


Filed under: Troops
February 17th, 2011
11:09 AM ET

Security improves in Afghanistan

Brigade commanders update security operations in Afghanistan and respond to questions about "don't ask, don't tell."

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Filed under: Troops
February 9th, 2011
11:16 AM ET

Security in Afghanistan

Brigade commanders update security operations in Afghanistan and respond to questions about "don't ask, don't tell."


Filed under: Troops
Brothers in arms
February 8th, 2011
12:03 PM ET

A real-life band of brothers

Camp Pendleton, California (CNN) ­- Daniel and Joshua Beans don't spend a lot of time together and don't have much in common. But these brothers share a bond only troops who've marched into battle can fully understand.

Three years ago, Daniel, a Marine corporal, and Joshua, a Marine lance corporal, patrolled the streets of Ramadi, Iraq, together as part of the same infantry unit.

“We were lucky enough to be in the same platoon," Daniel said. “We both traded out being turret gunners and drivers for our respective vehicles.”

After returning home, the Beans brothers said they felt there was still more work to do.

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Filed under: Troops