December 15th, 2009
01:04 PM ET

Around the Web: British PM planning a conference

The Guardian reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is planning a January conference on the future of Afghanistan. The conference, to be held in London, will reportedly aim to include nearly 70 nations.

“I hope the London conference will also be able set out the next steps in a longer-term plan – the balance between alliance forces and Afghan forces as their armed forces numbers rise from 90,000 to 135,000 and possibly 175,000 – and of course on the future numbers, roles and tasks also of the police, intelligence services and local security initiatives,” Brown is quoted as saying by the paper.


December 15th, 2009
12:19 PM ET

Views from inside the machine

An embed with any military can involve practically surrendering to their logistics. Everything from transport to food is supplied. Journalists find the lack of independence tough, but there are very few alternative avenues to cover the story. The aircraft and vehicles in which you are cocooned can be some of the most advanced on the modern battlefield - and at times some of the most uncomfortable. Time on the ground among the local population is often short and occasionally tense.

Much of what you see and film is from inside the machine. See more of the photos

December 15th, 2009
11:46 AM ET

Petraeus to Pakistan: Step up pressure on Afghan Taliban

Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, is on a visit to Pakistan and has urged the country to step up pressure on the Afghan Taliban. CNN's Arwa Damon interviews the general in Pakistan.

December 15th, 2009
10:02 AM ET

Taliban allows Red Cross to visit detainees for 1st time

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - For the first time, the Taliban has allowed Red Cross workers to check the conditions of its detainees in Afghanistan.

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced today that its team recently visited three Afghan security forces being held by the Taliban in the northwestern province of Badghis. A small Red Cross team visited the detained Afghan security forces twice in late November, the agency said.

The ICRC says it regularly visits detained people in conflict zones to assess their conditions and treatment, including 136 places of detention in Afghanistan. But last month's visit marked the first time the Taliban allowed the agency access to its detainees since the start of the current conflict in Afghanistan. FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Taliban
December 15th, 2009
10:01 AM ET

Deadly blast strikes near home of ex-Afghan vice-president

Kabul, Afghanistan - An explosion outside the home of Afghanistan's former vice president killed at least eight people Tuesday, government officials have said.

The explosion was near the Kabul residence of former vice-president Ahmad Zia Massoud, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told reporters. Massoud was not harmed in the attack. FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Karzai
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 15th, 2009
09:07 AM ET
December 15th, 2009
09:06 AM ET