They are the faces of civilians caught in the crossfire in Afghanistan. Facing internal conflict, the number of people fleeing their homes in Afghanistan has more than doubled compared to this time last year, says Refugees International, an advocacy group for displaced persons.
"In the first five months of 2011, we have more than 91,000 people fleeing their homes. And this is in comparison to last year at the same time period when there was 42,000," Refugees International advocate Lynn Yoshikawa said. FULL POST
Separate attacks killed nine members of Afghan security forces on Monday, including two national army staff members who were shot to death at the Afghan Defense Ministry compound in Kabul, authorities said.
That attack happened before a scheduled meeting between French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet and Afghan military officials. The meeting has since been canceled. Longuet was not inside the building when the attack took place, according to a French Defense Ministry spokesman. FULL POST
The passing of Maj. Richard "Dick" Winters has reduced the ranks of the legendary "band of brothers," the men of Easy Company, the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
But their valor lives on in today's troops, especially the young men and women of the Army's "Screaming Eagles" 101st Airborne Division.
As a reporter who has regularly traveled through Afghanistan with them, let me assure you at some moment, suddenly, Easy Company is there with you in that war zone, just as earlier members of E Company were there for each other and for their country in World War II. FULL POST
“These gains remain fragile and reversible.”
From a strictly military point of view, this sentence in President Barack Obama's review of the Afghan war may be the most critical. U.S. and coalition forces can’t turn over security to Afghans if local security forces can’t hold an area — and that’s the key to U.S. forces coming home.
And the key question: Is any of the stated progress actually enduring and permanent? FULL POST
As the U.S. readies its Afghan war review, a critical concern is Afghanistan's president. CNN's Barbara Starr reports.
CNN's Barbara Starr sits down with ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus to discuss Afghanistan.
In what may be one of the most significant breaches between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration, Gen. David Petraeus personally warned Afghan officials over the weekend the U.S.-Afghan partnership could be "untenable" if Karzai wants U.S. troops out of Afghanistan prematurely.
A senior coalition military official confirmed details of what Petraeus said, but asked not to be identified so he could speak more candidly.
Petraeus made the statements Sunday in a meeting with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan official in charge of planning the efforts to handle transition from coalition to Afghan control. A planned Sunday meeting with Karzai was rescheduled, but officials insisted it was not canceled due to the tensions.
Editor's note: President Obama will present Sal Giunta with the Medal of Honor award on Tuesday. Watch live on CNN TV and online.
COMBAT OUTPOST DURANI, Afghanistan — Their memories of the firefight are still searing, three years after it took place.
"The whole time frame lasted, I don't know, maybe two minutes, three minutes. Five or six lifetimes," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta told CNN. "You can turn and see the muzzle flashes and the bullets coming out of the guns and it's not just one of them, not just 10 of them, it's more than that."
It was an October night in the part of eastern Afghanistan called the Korengal Valley, not far from the Pakistani border. Soldiers describe it as unlike other parts of Afghanistan where dust and bare rocks are everywhere. The Korengal is timber country, green interlaced with boulders. A treacherous terrain for U.S. paratroopers.
"Everything is hard," Sal Giunta told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr. "The rocks are hard. The people are hard. The vegetation is hard. Everything is sharp." FULL POST
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (CNN) - While President Barack Obama and the military talk about transferring territory to the Afghans next summer, in many places across Afghanistan, largely out of public view, the handover of security, from U.S. to Afghan forces, has already begun on a small scale.
In the last several days, U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan have handed over two small outposts to Afghan forces in the district of Nawa, a place which once saw heavy fighting, a senior ISAF official confirms to CNN.
Across the country, several small outposts have either been turned over to the Afghans, or U.S. troops have pulled out of areas because Afghan control is sufficient the official said. These moves are in advance of the broader turnover of entire provinces, districts and sub-districts to Afghan control that is expected to begin in 2011. However, coming just days before the mid-November NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, these minor moves will give the alliance, and the Obama administration, the ability to announce that transition on some scale has begun.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr sat down with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, for an in-depth exclusive interview. Some highlights:
Petraeus says the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan has "broadly been arrested" in some locations. "My assessment is that the momentum the Taliban enjoyed until probably late summer has broadly been arrested in the country," Petraeus said. "It doesn't mean it's been arrested in every location in the country, but it means by and large that is the case. Read and watch more
He said he expects to be able to recommend to President Barack Obama that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could begin to be reduced in July 2011, but he declined to say how many troops might be headed home. Read more on the transition, Karzai and more