December 29th, 2009
01:26 PM ET

U.S. source: 'Civilians' killed were in bomb-making ring

Kabul, Afghanistan - Nine people killed in a military action targeting militants in eastern Afghanistan apparently were members of an insurgent network, a U.S. military official told CNN on Tuesday.  "The operation was against a network of folks, who had been tracked for a while, involved in producing IEDs as well as some criminal activity," said the official, who asked not to be named.

"As a result of the action, the best info that we have is that nine of those militants in that network were killed. That's based on weapons and IED components at the scene," and it appears the nine were males, the official said.  IED is the acronym for improvised explosive device, which is a roadside bomb. FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments
December 29th, 2009
12:50 PM ET

Behind the scenes at a Kabul news conference

A CNN cameraman details some of his experiences since arriving in Afghanistan in December. Read Part 1 on arriving in Kabul and Part 2 about decorating a Christmas tree in Afghanistan. 

Kabul, Afghanistan - Since my arrival, it has been quiet. Not that there is nothing to do. I had organized the bureau's equipment, fixed new bracket for a back light at our live shot "studio" and attended two press conferences at the presidential palace.

Although the actual press conferences usually last only thirty minutes, it takes more then four hours to attend one. First, there is the short drive. We have to leave early as traffic in Kabul is horrendous. Late arrivals are not accepted. It seems to me that part of the problem with Kabul's traffic stems from road closures. Many streets of Kabul are closed off for traffic. The closures are due to safety precautions of various embassies, NGO's and government buildings. The whole city especially the center looks like it's under permanent internal siege. All significant buildings and many residential houses from outside resemble mini-fortresses. From inside they rather feel like mini prisons. Concrete barriers, guard houses, high walls topped up with barbed wire are just the few visible safety measures. Soldiers, police and private security guards are everywhere ... In the chaotic traffic we slowly inch towards the palace grounds. FULL POST

December 29th, 2009
09:43 AM ET

Female aircrew eager for Afghan mission

(CNN) - Sgt. Stephanie Cole joined Britain's Royal Air Force more than three years ago to fly into battle - and not, as she says, to stay on the ground and "fly a desk."

Soon, she'll finally get to do what she signed up for - working on a helicopter crew in dusty and rugged southern Afghanistan, where British, U.S., other international forces and Afghan soldiers are slugging it out with Taliban militants.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Cole, 24 (on the far left in the photo above).

She will be among four female air crew members deployed to a pool of more than 100 pilots and loadmasters beginning New Year's Day to handle the newly-deployed Merlin helicopters in battle-scarred Helmand province, a haven for insurgents and an illegal drug trade.


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Filed under: Behind the Scenes • Troops