December 31st, 2009
02:25 PM ET

Around the Web: CIA suffers loss of 7 employees

A suicide bombing in Afghanistan Wednesday killed seven CIA employees and wounded six others. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.

"Those who fell yesterday were far from home and close to the enemy, doing the hard work that must be done to protect our country from terrorism," CIA Director Leon Panetta said Thursday in a written statement.

"We owe them our deepest gratitude, and we pledge to them and their families that we will never cease fighting for the cause to which they dedicated their lives - a safer America."

The statement added that “neither the names of those killed nor the details of their work” would be released because of the sensitivity of their mission.

A Wall Street Journal report called it “the largest single-day loss for the spy agency since the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983.”

Time magazine’s Bobby Ghosh writes that the casualties “will cast a pall over the agency.”


December 31st, 2009
12:41 PM ET

Canadian reaction to deaths of four troops, journalist

Update: 1:17p.m.: The names of the four Canadian soldiers killed Wednesday have been released.
– Sgt. George Miok, a member of 41 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Edmonton, Alberta
– Sgt. Kirk Taylor, a member of 84 Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, based in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
– Cpl. Zachery McCormack,  a member of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 4th Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta
– Pvt. Garrett William Chidley, a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba

The Canadian press Thursday is focused on the violence yesterday in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Four Canadian soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb struck their armored vehicle in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. The soldiers' names have not been released.

 Michelle Lang, a journalist for Canwest and the Calgary Herald, was also killed.

“The attack took place near Dand district, which is home to the village of Deh-e-Bagh, held up as a ‘model’ of Canada's counterinsurgency strategy at work: Constant patrols and development projects were supposed to have won the trust of Afghans in the region, and driven down the insurgency,” reported Sonia Verma of the Globe and Mail.

“Villagers interviewed by The Globe, however, said the Taliban had been gaining strength in recent months, posting ‘night letters’ - written warnings and edicts - on homes and mosques in the area.”

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard “declared that Dand remained a ‘safe area’ and expressed confidence that this was an isolated incident,” the CBC reported


December 31st, 2009
11:28 AM ET

Journalists kidnapped, official says

KABUL, Afghanistan  –Two French journalists and an Afghan translator have been kidnapped by "enemies of the government" in Afghanistan, a military official said Thursday. Brig. Gen. Izmerai Paykan of the Afghan National Army told CNN that the three were kidnapped on their way from Soorobi district in Kabul province to Tagab district in Kapisa province.

France 3, a CNN affiliate, said that two of its journalists have been missing in Afghanistan since Wednesday.  The journalists' families have been notified, and the French Foreign Ministry is assisting in the matter, it said. France 3 is a part of France Televisions group. 

However, a statement from the French Foreign Ministry indicated there was more than one Afghan with the journalists. A reason for the discrepancy was not immediately available.  FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments
December 31st, 2009
11:10 AM ET

Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan, remembered on blog

(CNN) - A day before her death, journalist Michelle Lang posted a blog entry about a woman from Canada who, like herself, had voluntarily signed up to work alongside the soldiers in Afghanistan.

Lang, 34, died Wednesday along with four Canadian soldiers when a roadside bomb struck their armored vehicle in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. The soldiers' names were released Thursday: Sgt. George Miok, Sgt. Kirk Taylor, Cpl. Zachery McCormack and Pvt. Garrett William Chidley. Read more on the Canadian reaction

Watch's interview with Calgary Herald reporter Colette Derworiz as she remembers her friend and colleague

Lang's "combat barber" blog post for The Calgary Herald elicited dozens of entries expressing shock and sadness over her sudden death.