February 1st, 2010
04:49 PM ET

2 British soldiers killed in Helmand Province

LONDON, England - Two British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday, the Ministry of Defence said. They died in roadside bomb explosions in Helmand Province, a part of southern Afghanistan that has been the site of fierce fighting between the Taliban and coalition troops, the ministry said in a written statement.

The soldiers were on foot patrol when the explosions happened, said Lt. Col. David Wakefield, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand, a predominantly British military command that conducts operations in Helmand province. Wakefield made his comments in the ministry's statement, which said the soldiers were from the 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment but did not identify them by name.  

Related: Coalition casualties

Filed under: Troops
February 1st, 2010
04:34 PM ET

Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point?

Beyond the war-ravaged mountains of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan, a quiet revolution is unfolding.
In the most strategically important area of this vast country, along the border with Pakistan, NATO forces are hoping a new pact involving one of the “super-tribes” of Afghanistan can turn a previously volatile area into a model for how the rest of the country can be pacified.
Some 170 elders from the Shinwari tribe, which numbers about 400,000 people, have signed a pact vowing to burn down the house of anyone found sheltering the Taliban. It is being heralded as a “tipping point” by the U.S. commander of Task Force Mountain Warrior, Col. Randy George. FULL POST

February 1st, 2010
01:14 PM ET

Photo spotlight: Checkpoint

A boy travels by donkey while leading a string of camels through a security checkpoint outside of Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

February 1st, 2010
12:23 PM ET

Spain: Explosion kills soldier, wounds 6

MADRID, Spain  - A Spanish military vehicle struck a mine in Afghanistan Monday while on a mission to distribute aid, and the explosion killed one soldier and wounded six others, a Spanish Defense Ministry spokesman told CNN.

Killed was a Colombian national, Jon Felipe Romero Meneses, in his early twenties, serving with Spain's armed forces. The identities and conditions of the six wounded soldiers were not immediately available, said the spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.

The blast happened in Qala-i-Naw province in Afghanistan, where the Spanish troops were escorting a U.N. World Food Programme convoy to distribute aid. Spain has more than 800 troops in Afghanistan serving in the NATO-led mission and the government has recently committed to send several hundred more, partly in response to the Obama administration's request for more troops from allied nations.

Spain has had troops in Afghanistan since 2002, and more than 22 Spanish soldiers have died there, including two in November 2008 when a suicide bomber rammed their convoy, and 17 in a helicopter crash in August 2005.

February 1st, 2010
11:02 AM ET

Could deal with Taliban fighters end war?

Editor's note: Tamim Ansary, an Afghan-born American writer, is the author of "Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes" and "The Widow's Husband."

"Re-integrating the Taliban."

Could that be a way to end the war in Afghanistan? Representatives of 70 nations met in London, England, this week to discuss that very idea. The plan was first floated several weeks ago by a key adviser to Afghanistan President Harmid Karzai, Masoom Stanekzai, and it has two parts: One, lure low-level Taliban fighters out of the insurgency with economic incentives and two, co-opt Taliban leaders by offering them a role in governing Afghanistan.

Part one of the Stanekzai program makes sense because it might split rank-and-file fighters away from instigators of the insurgency (I prefer the word "instigators" to "leaders.") Part two, however, will only end up delivering the government of Afghanistan to a new Talibanist group and betray the millions of urban modernist Afghans who have sided with the West over the last decade.

Read more of Ansary's column

Filed under: London conference • Taliban • Your View