February 20th, 2010
05:36 PM ET

Moshtarak enters second week

Foreign and Afghan forces encountered stiff resistance Saturday as their Operation Moshtarak offensive in southern Afghanistan entered its second week, and a civilian was mistakenly shot dead. "It is moving slowly but surely. The Marines are making some headway," said CNN correspondent Atia Abawi, who is embedded with U.S. Marines in and around Marjah in southern Afghanistan. "The Taliban are putting up quite a resistance."

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Filed under: Operation Moshtarak
February 20th, 2010
05:31 PM ET

Dutch role in Afghanistan in doubt as govt. collapses

The future of around 2,000 Dutch soldiers serving in Afghanistan has been thrown into doubt by the collapse Saturday of the Netherlands' coalition government. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's office said in a statement that the Labor Party had withdrawn from the government following days of talks over whether the troops should be brought home.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Troops
February 19th, 2010
01:26 PM ET

Photo spotlight: Leaving Trikh Nawar

U.S. Marines escort farmers fleeing their land as coalition forces battle Taliban in Trikh Nawar, a poppy farmland area on the northeastern outskirts of Marjah, on Friday. It was the seventh day of Operation Moshtarak, a major NATO offensive against the Taliban in and around Marjah, in southern Helmand Province.

February 19th, 2010
12:59 PM ET

Around the Web: Was Baradar's arrest a ‘lucky accident?’

The New York Times reports that the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar may have been “a lucky accident.”

“When Pakistani security officers raided a house outside Karachi in late January, they had no idea that they had just made their most important capture in years,” report the Times’ Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt.

“American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications saying militants with a possible link to the Afghan Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, were meeting. Tipped off by the Americans, Pakistani counterterrorist officers took several men into custody, meeting no resistance.

“Only after a careful process of identification did Pakistani and American officials realize they had captured Mullah Baradar himself.”


February 19th, 2010
12:46 PM ET

NATO: Coalition service member killed

KABUL, Afghanistan  - A service member with the NATO-led force in Afghanistan was killed Friday by small-arms fire in southern Afghanistan, the military force said. The fatality occurred as part of Operation Moshtarak. The service member was not immediately identified, nor was any additional information provided.

NATO-led forces in Afghanistan have suffered 83 deaths this year, 46 of them Americans. Thirty U.S. military members lost their lives in January and another 16 in February. Nearly 900 American military have died in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.

Filed under: Operation Moshtarak • Troops
February 19th, 2010
09:01 AM ET

Taliban rules by 'shadow governments'

The news that two Taliban "shadow governors" have been detained in Pakistan underscores the reality that in Afghanistan there are, in effect, two governments.

There is the formal government of federal and local officials, backed by the United States and elected by the Afghan people. The other is run by the Taliban and governs by fear and intimidation of the population, but also at times provides services the legitimate government does not.

The Taliban version operates out of the public view and very much in the background of everyday life, hence the term "shadow government" - even though the commander of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan says regional shadow governors are known, "broadly speaking."

Read the full story from CNN Senior Pentagon Producer Mike Mount

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Filed under: Baradar • Taliban
February 19th, 2010
08:42 AM ET

Haqqani network commander killed in drone strike

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) - A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed the son of a notorious al Qaeda-linked militant group leader, sources told CNN on Friday.

The pilotless aircraft fired two missiles at a militant compound in North Waziristan Thursday night and killed four people. One of them was Muhammad Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani - whose militant network, known as the Haqqani network - is accused of targeting U.S. and international forces across the Afghan border from its base in Pakistan's rugged tribal region.  FULL POST

Filed under: Drone strikes • Haqqani • Pakistan • Taliban
February 18th, 2010
07:07 PM ET

Around the Web: Marjah after the battle

Preparations are underway for the next phase of the operation in Marjah – installing an effective government - report Matthew Rosenberg and Michael M. Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.

“It's also the phase with the most uncertain prospects. The Taliban was able to easily take Marjah more than two years ago because the government's authority there was weak, and what little existed was often corrupt and predatory,” Rosenberg and Phillips write.

“’Phase 2’ is to begin in coming days when the new top administrator of the town, sub-district governor Haji Zahir, is put in place along with a team four American ‘mentors’ who work for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Frank J. Ruggiero, the senior U.S. civilian representative in southern Afghanistan.”


February 18th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
February 18th, 2010
06:26 PM ET