Lt. Col. Anthony Terreri, reading the CT scans of an injured soldier who'd just arrived at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, realized the shrapnel he saw lodged inside the soldier's skull wasn't really shrapnel at all. It was unexploded ordnance - a live round of ammunition that could detonate at any time.
A suicide car bombing in the Afghan city of Kandahar wounded at least 16 people, including some Westerners, local officials reported Thursday.
The blast occurred near the Afghan National Army headquarters in the city, the spritual home of the anti-government Taliban militia. All but three of the victims were civilians, said Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar government.
The blast occurred about 9:15 p.m. (12:45 p.m. ET). No further details were immediately available.
The blast was the second of the day in Kandahar. A car loaded with explosives blew up Thursday afternoon, leaving four people with minor injuries, Ayoubi said.
Kandahar is Afghanistan's second-largest city, with nearly 1 million people. The United States and its NATO allies have announced plans for a new offensive in Kandahar aimed at driving out the Taliban, the Islamic militia that once ruled most of Afghanistan. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the push would start only when the plans have the support of the local population.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who oversees all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan (second from left), and the French Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud (center) pay respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Thursday ceremony was part of McChrystal's visit in Paris devoted to talks on the international mission in Afghanistan.
Time's cover story this week is "A Tale of Soldiers and a School," looking at the determined efforts of U.S. troops to try to win hearts and minds by reopening a school deep in the heartland of the Taliban.
"The Pir Mohammed School was built by Canadians in 2005, in Senjaray, a town just outside the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. It is said that 3,000 students attended, including some girls — although that seems a bit of a stretch, given the size and rudimentary nature of the campus. There are two buildings, a row and a horseshoe of classrooms, separated by a playground in a walled compound. No doubt, the exaggerations about the school's size reflect a deeper truth: most everyone in Senjaray loved the idea that their children were learning to read and write — except the local Taliban. They closed the school in 2007, breaking all the windows and furniture, booby-trapping the place, lacing the surrounding area with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), daring the Canadians to reopen it. But the Canadians were overmatched, and it wasn't until December of 2009, when the Americans came to Senjaray, that people began to talk about reopening the school.
It was, in fact, a no-brainer, a perfect metaphor. The Taliban closed schools; the Americans opened them. That this particular school was located deep in the enemy heartland, in a district — Zhari — that was 80% controlled by the Taliban, an area the Russians called the Heart of Darkness and eventually refused to travel through, in a town that will be strategically crucial when the most important battle of the war in Afghanistan — the battle for Kandahar — is contested this summer, made it all the more perfect. "
KABUL, Afghanistan - Four German soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, a German military spokesman in Afghanistan confirmed.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force said earlier that four of its troops died after an insurgent attack in northern Afghanistan.
German troops have been part of the international military presence in Afghanistan with 4,335 soldiers and have served in the northern part of the country. FULL POST
"I think that President Karzai is capable of leading his country into the 21st century and stabilizing it," President Obama told Australian TV in a recorded interview from Washington broadcast on Thursday. "But what we have said is that we can't succeed unless President Karzai moves forward on the reforms that are so necessary for Afghans to see a real investment in their lives day-to-day and improvement in their lives day-to-day." FULL POST
A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed four suspected militants Wednesday night, two Pakistani intelligence sources and a local political official told CNN.
The officials said the unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a vehicle near Anbar Shaga, a village 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of Miranshah in North Waziristan. It is one of seven districts in Pakistan's troubled tribal belt along the Afghan border. FULL POST