February 16th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

FAQ: Taliban leader's capture

The Taliban's top military leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured, senior U.S. and Pakistani officials told CNN.  Baradar has been a close associate of Osama bin Laden and is seen as the number two figure in the Afghan Taliban.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Baradar and his capture:
Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?
Is it significant that Baradar was caught in Karachi, Pakistan?
What does his capture mean for the current Operation Moshtarak?
Will Baradar's capture help find Osama bin Laden?
FULL POST

February 5th, 2010
06:49 AM ET

Why is the military publicizing its upcoming operations in Afghanistan?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to launching a major military operation, most would assume that preparations are done secretly so as not to tip off the enemy.

So how do the U.S., coalition military and Afghan government prepare for a major clearing operation to eliminate the Taliban from an insurgent stronghold? Talk about it publicly ahead of time.

For months now, one of the worst kept secrets in Afghanistan's central Helmand region has been the forthcoming operation to take back control of the poppy-covered and Taliban-held Marjah district in the restive central Helmand
province region.
FULL POST

December 15th, 2009
09:55 AM ET

Marines eager, wary about leading surge

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina - On a base accustomed to deploying Marines into some of the most hostile war zones, you would expect some hesitancy when units from here were asked to surge into some of the worst fighting since the start of the war in Afghanistan.

This week, the first of 1,500 Marines will be part of the initial wave of President Obama's surge plan to head to Afghanistan's restive provinces to support Marines and soldiers fighting a dug-in Taliban force. However, many Marines we talked to in this coastal, scrub pine-covered North Carolina base are more than excited to go, despite the dangers that await them.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic about the situation. I've got a good group of Marines that are behind me, so I'm real excited about the deployment," said Sgt. Jason Bendett of the 3rd Platoon, A Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, based at Lejeune.

Read and watch more from senior Pentagon producer Mike Mount

December 14th, 2009
07:01 PM ET

Quetta in the drone crosshairs?

WASHINGTON - Is the United States looking to expand its unmanned aircraft strikes to hunt down insurgents in the teeming populace of Quetta, Pakistan?

The idea is being considerd, according to an article in the L.A. Times on Monday.  But the logic and risk was already being questioned by government officials.

The Pakistani city is teeming with Taliban refugees from Afghanistan who are trying to escape the U.S. and coalition presence in that country.  These are the hardcore Taliban, set on fighting the U.S. presence and desiring a strict Muslim religious state.  Quetta is close enough to orchestrate operations inside Afghanistan, but just far enough inside Pakistan and out of reach of the U.S. military's bombs. FULL POST

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Filed under: Pakistan • Pentagon • Taliban