October 20th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Dollars versus cents in Afghanistan

CNN's Ivan Watson looks at multi-million dollar technology used to fight IEDs that only cost dollars to make.

October 11th, 2010
01:04 PM ET

Growing threat from the north

The Taliban is spreading through northern Afghanistan, and the governor of the northern province of Kunduz claims in an interview with CNN that 40 percent of his province is over-run by Taliban militants.

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Filed under: Kunduz • Taliban
October 8th, 2010
08:24 AM ET

Blast at mosque kills provincial governor, 19 others

An anti-insurgent provincial governor who had survived Taliban assassination attempts was among 20 people who died on Friday in an explosion at a northern Afghan mosque during prayers, a government official said.

The blast in Afghanistan's Takhar province killed Kunduz provincial governor Engineer Mohammad Omar, who recently sounded an alarm about the threat of insurgents during an interview with CNN.

The bombing also wounded 35 others, with most of those killed and injured engaged in prayer, said Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zamarai Bashari. FULL POST

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Filed under: Taliban
October 7th, 2010
08:24 AM ET

Your view: Talking with the Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday launched a council to help negotiate with the Taliban and find a way for peace. Karzai told the group, made up of about 68 Afghan clerics and elders, that it can help establish peace in Afghanistan.

The peace council meeting is one of several addressing the war in recent days. Political figures from Pakistan and Afghanistan were also 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.

But a Taliban spokesman told CNN that the group was not interested in peace talks. Zabiuhullah Mujahed, the spokesman, said they had no representative in the alleged negotiations in Kabul. Peace negotiations would not happen until the Afghan government met the Taliban's precondition to withdraw foreign forces in the country, the spokesman said.

What do you think? Is negotiating with the Taliban a good idea? Can a peace ever be met with the Taliban? Can lower level Taliban leaders be brought into the political and social fabric of Afghanistan?

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Filed under: Taliban • Your View
October 5th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Kandahar deputy mayor laid to rest

Family and friends buried the deputy mayor of Kandahar, Afghanistan on Tuesday, a day after he was shot while traveling home from work.

"Several young men on motorcycles came up on either side of his car and shot him," said Maj. Bruce Drake, a spokesman for US and NATO forces in southern Afghanistan.

Local Afghan officials say the gunmen escaped. Doctors struggled to save the deputy mayor, Noor Ahmad Nazari - first at a hospital in Kandahar, and then at the foreign military hospital at the sprawling NATO airbase on the outskirts of the city.

"This is bad news for us," said Zalmai Ayudi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar. "This was the tactic of the insurgents. As soon as the pressure comes on them at the village level, they show their presence." FULL POST

October 5th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Fort Hood survivor fighting war in Afghanistan

After completing a seven day mission, a bomb-hunting patrol rolls into Kandahar air base in a cloud of billowing dust.

Among the road-weary American troops peeling off body armor and sweaty helmets is a 21-year-old soldier from New Jersey named Alan Carroll.

He hops out of the turret of an armored vehicle carrying a heavy 50-caliber machine gun, and then begins loading flak jackets and rucksacks into the back of an open truck.

The young man moves with speed, strength and enthusiasm, something you wouldn’t expect from someone who survived four bullet wounds in a single day less than a year ago.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Troops
Karzai breaks down in tears at event
September 28th, 2010
10:27 AM ET

Karzai breaks down in tears at event

It was supposed to be a day celebrating Afghan achievements in education. Instead, Afghanistan's embattled president broke down crying at an official gathering commemorating International Literacy Day.

In his emotional speech, Hamid Karzai lamented the estimated 10 million Afghans who are illiterate and repeated an appeal to Taliban militants to lay down their arms and expressed fear that his son might one day be forced to flee his country.

"I have pain in my heart," Karzai said, his voice breaking and his eyes red with tears.

"I'm afraid that my son, my own son will become a refugee one day. Please, I don't want my son and your son to be a foreign citizen. I want him to grow up here ...I want him to serve his nation," Karzai said, addressing an auditorium full of teachers, government ministers, foreign ambassadors and Girl Scouts gathered to celebrate the event.

After wiping his face with a handkerchief, Karzai urged Afghans to do more to educate their children. Several bearded men in the audience brushed away tears as the Afghan leader concluded his speech. FULL POST

After nearly a century, a modern Afghan railroad is under construction
September 27th, 2010
10:59 AM ET

After nearly a century, a modern Afghan railroad is under construction

Afghan visitors pose for photos and pretend to sell each other passenger tickets next to a rusty little locomotive in a shattered corner of the Afghan capital.

Built in Germany in 1923, this little engine is all that is left of King Amanullah Khan's effort to modernize Afghanistan by constructing a 7 kilometer-long railroad in downtown Kabul in the 1920s. The locomotive is now a curiosity at the Kabul Museum, standing below the ruins of the former king's battle-scarred palace.

For 24-year old Abil Ahmad, it is the first time he has seen a train in Afghanistan.

"It's a very sad symbol," says the university student. "Unfortunately we don't have a train today."

In fact, the first modern railroad in Afghanistan in nearly a century is nearing completion in the north of the country.
FULL POST

September 18th, 2010
12:07 PM ET

Under a cloud of violence and fraud, Afghans vote

Afghans voted in the fourth post-Taliban-era national election Saturday, though it was not without the violence promised by militants or myriad procedural challenges. With the polls officially closed, the vote count will begin Sunday, though it is not expected to be completed until the end of October. FULL POST

September 17th, 2010
10:50 AM ET

18 election workers kidnapped ahead of vote

The Taliban kidnapped 18 people working on Saturday's parliamentary election in northwestern Afghanistan, a local government spokesman said Friday. FULL POST