The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan marked its 10th year Friday having passed two major milestones: The Taliban has been forced out of power and Osama bin Laden is dead.
But there was little observance by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, where a month earlier many participated in commemorations to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"We really celebrated the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and we were out here in Afghanistan," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. John Toolan Jr., commanding general of ISAF troops in southern Afghanistan, told reporters during a briefing on Thursday. FULL POST
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
August has been the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the conflict began nearly 10 years ago.
Sixty-six American troops have died this month, topping July 2010 when 65 troops died, according to a CNN tally.
Almost half the August troop deaths took place on August 6 when insurgents shot down their helicopter in the eastern central province of Wardak. The Taliban claimed militants downed the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.
Thirty U.S. service members - including 17 Navy SEALs - were killed in that attack, the single largest loss of life for U.S. troops since the Afghan war began in late 2001.
In contrast, 36 U.S. service members were killed in all of July. Prior to the August attack, the most U.S. troops killed in a single month this year was 47 in June.
A "surge" of 33,000 additional troops in 2009 - in response to increased insurgent attacks - led to an uptick in U.S. deaths over previous years, with 499 killed in 2010. Prior to the surge, the most U.S. troops killed in a single year was 155 in 2008, according to CNN figures.
The surge in U.S. deaths comes as NATO is drawing down and handing over security control to national forces. Some 10,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to depart by year's end, with all U.S. military personnel out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
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
A suicide attack in a mosque where several high-ranking Afghan officials had gathered to remember President Hamid Karzai's half-brother killed at least six people and wounded 15 others Thursday, a hospital official said.
The attacker hid the explosive device under his turban and detonated it among a group of people who were reading the Quran at the Sera Jama Mosque, said Sher Shah Yousafzai, the police chief of Kandahar where the attack occurred.
The attendees were mourning Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar provincial council chief, who was killed Tuesday by a guard during a gathering at his house.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Tuesday shooting, saying that the guard accused of killing him was working for them.
Karzai was buried Wednesday, with the president in attendance.
An Army Ranger who lost his right hand while tossing an enemy grenade away from fellow soldiers in Afghanistan was awarded the Medal of Honor Tuesday.
Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry became the second living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Iraq and Afghan wars, according to the U.S. military.
"Leroy Petry showed that true heroes still exist, and they're closer than you think," said President Barack Obama, who presented the award to Petry.
"It's very humbling to know that the guys thought that much of me and my actions that day, to nominate me for that," Petry said, according to an Army News Service report.
Petry was awarded the medal for his actions on May 26, 2008, in Paktia, Afghanistan.
The half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai was shot dead at his home in Kandahar on Tuesday, authorities said.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar provincial council chief, was killed during a gathering, said provincial governor Tooryalai Wesa. He did not know a motive.
While the governor initially said a friend killed Karzai, his spokesman later clarified that the death was at the hands of a guard.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying that the guard accused of shooting him was working for them.
France will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, following a timetable similar to the one U.S. President Barack Obama announced, the French president's office said Thursday.
"This withdrawal will be done in consultation with our allies and with the Afghan authorities," the statement from Nicolas Sarkozy's office said.
All French soldiers could be out of Afghanistan by 2013, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet told France Info radio Thursday. France has 3,935 troops in Afghanistan, according to the NATO mission there.
Obama said Wednesday that the U.S. would withdraw 33,000 U.S. troops by September 2012. That will leave just under 70,000 Americans there.
– CNN's Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.
President Obama announced Wednesday night that all of the 33,000 additional U.S. forces he ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 would be home within the next 15 months.
In a nationally televised address from the East Room of the White House, Obama said 10,000 of the so-called "surge" forces would withdraw by the end of this year, and the other 23,000 would leave Afghanistan by September 2012. The troop withdrawals will begin next month, as promised when Obama ordered the surge in a speech 18 months ago. (Chart: U.S. troop levels over the years)
After the departure of all the surge forces, the total U.S. military deployment in Afghanistan would be just under 70,000 troops. Obama's time frame would give U.S. commanders another two "fighting" seasons with the bulk of U.S. forces still available for combat operations.
A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed four suspected militants Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.
Two intelligence officials said the suspected drone fired two missiles at a vehicle carrying militants in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.