U.S. officials say Pakistan is a “nation under siege” and faces a “herculean” task in dealing with multiple insurgencies — but better co-operation between Washington and Islamabad is reaping dividends.
That was the message from senior Administration officials and U.S. military officers at a committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Lt. Gen. John Paxton Jr., Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Pakistan was a “nation under threat or a nation under siege … and they realize that they have to respond now.” Without a sense of urgency, he said, "things could conceivably get worse, and get worse quickly.” FULL POST
PARIS, France (CNN) - French troops killed four Afghan civilians during a skirmish with Taliban fighters in early April, the French military acknowledged Thursday.
The incident marks the first time the French military has confirmed its forces have killed civilians in the 8-year-old Afghan war, said Adm. Christophe Prazuck, a French military spokesman. It happened in eastern Afghanistan's Kapisa province on April 6, when French troops fired a rocket at a group of about seven Taliban fighters, Prazuck said. FULL POST
This place was a cannery, for many years pumping out thousands and thousands of cans of fruit every day. But for one year, during Taliban control of Kandahar, it was something very different. This cavernous, and now eerie storage area became a prison, hell for a 1,000 men.
Through it all, Popeye was here – he came when he was 13 to work in the cannery, and that was 45 years ago. Popeye’s not his real name of course — the Canadian soldiers nicknamed him for his work ethic. He still fears the Taliban to the point where he doesn’t want his face shown, but wanted to show us what the prisoners left behind — drawings that paint a vivid picture of their misery.
Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is alive and was recently seen in Pakistan's tribal region, officials said Thursday contradicting recent reports he was killed in a drone strike.
A Pakistan intelligence official and a senior military official told CNN that Mehsud survived the aerial strike in January.
He has been spotted in North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border, the military official said. FULL POST
In Afghanistan, the war with the Taliban persists, but there are definite signs that things have changed. As sunny weather hits, a walk through the streets of Kabul finds music, CDs, DVDs and cinemas, and the airwaves are booming — all once banned under the Taliban.
WASHINGTON — Violence in Afghanistan is up nearly 90 percent from this time last year, according to a new Pentagon report submitted to Congress Wednesday.
Despite that increase and a 240 percent spike in roadside bomb attacks - a major factor in overall violence statistics - and increasing Taliban tactics to discredit President Hamid Karzai's government with shadow governments, some officials said they are seeing encouraging trends. FULL POST