September 27th, 2010
10:49 AM ET
September 27th, 2010
10:43 AM ET
September 27th, 2010
10:38 AM ET

Suspected drone strike kills 2 in Pakistan

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed two people in Pakistan's tribal region Monday, intelligence officials said.

It was the 19th suspected drone strike in Pakistan this month. That's the highest number in any month since the United States began attacks with the unmanned aircraft, according to a CNN count.
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Filed under: Drone strikes • Pakistan
NATO helicopters cross into Pakistan chasing insurgents
September 27th, 2010
10:36 AM ET

NATO helicopters cross into Pakistan chasing insurgents

NATO helicopters crossed into Pakistani airspace from Afghanistan in pursuit of insurgents over the weekend, killing 49 people, a spokesman told CNN Monday.

Crossing the border did not violate the International Security Assistance Force rules of engagement, Maj. Michael Johnson said.

Pakistan is very sensitive about United States-led military operations on its territory and issued a strong protest Monday.

Pakistan called the incursions "a clear violation and breach" of the United Nations rules for foreign forces in Afghanistan.
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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Daily Developments • NATO • Pakistan • Troops
September 26th, 2010
06:11 AM ET

2 NATO troops killed in Afghanistan

Two NATO troops died after an explosion in southern Afghanistan Sunday, the organization's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.

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Photo Spotlight: Firefight in Kunar Province
September 24th, 2010
02:05 PM ET

Photo Spotlight: Firefight in Kunar Province

U.S. Army Sgt. Ricardo E. Maya of Corozal, Puerto Rico, a squad leader with 4th Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Bulldog, keeps watch as 120mm white phosphorus mortar rounds hit the nearby ridge line during a recent firrefight that lasted more than three hours.

Insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and small arms at the Shege East Afghan National Police Checkpoint in the eastern Kunar Province. International Security Assistance Forces and Afghan National Police responded in kind with small arms, heavy machine gun and mortar fire. Neither ISAF nor ANP personnel were injured during the attack.

September 24th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Official: Kidnapped journalists 'holding up'

French TV journalist Elise Lucet gathers support in Paris earlier this month for the two kidnapped journalists

Two French journalists seized by Taliban militants in Afghanistan late last year appeared to be "holding up" when they were contacted by phone, a French official said Friday.

"We were able to speak with them over the phone," Edouard Guillaud, head of the French military, told French radio station Europe 1.
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September 24th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

ISAF frees two journalists detained this week

Two newsmen who were detained by security forces earlier this week in Afghanistan have been freed, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Friday.

They are Rahmatullah Nekzad, a freelance videographer and reporter for Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press, who was detained Monday in Ghazni, and Mohammed Nader, an Al-Jazeera videographer was detained Wednesday in Kandahar.
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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Taliban
September 24th, 2010
10:37 AM ET

Suicide attack, failed strike on base

Violence erupted in Afghanistan on Friday, when a suicide bomber killed a civilian in the north and troops repelled an attack on a base in the east, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

A blast near an ISAF convoy in Balkh province in the north heavily
damaged a civilian bus traveling behind the convoy. Along with the one dead, 15 were wounded.

Warfare has long plagued eastern and southern Afghanistan, but attacks
have risen in the north in recent months.

"Despite their guidance to avoid harming civilians, the Taliban continue
to completely disregard innocent civilian lives with their indiscriminate
tactics. Their egregious acts go against religious and normal codes of
conduct," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, an ISAF spokesman.

In the east, a failed attack on Forward Operating Base Gardez in Paktiya
province led to the deaths five insurgents and the capture of another.

A vehicle followed by four suicide-vest-wearing insurgents tried to
breach a fortified part of the base.

Troops destroyed the vehicle, disrupted the attack, and killed attackers
trying to flee. Coalition forces were attempting to pursue about 20 other of
the attackers.

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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Civilian deaths • Daily Developments • NATO • Taliban • Troops
September 23rd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Senators want Afghanistan contract watchdog removed

Four US senators called on President Obama to fire the man watching over tens of billions of dollars for reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The one Democrat and three Republicans said they want Arnold Fields dismissed as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

"It has been clear for several months that SIGAR's mission is not being served effectively…. SIGAR would be better served with new leadership," the letter to Mr. Obama states.

The four Senators signing the letter were Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Charles Grassley (R-IA). The letter indicated the senators had written twice previously about concerns regarding the agency.

"We urge you to act now," the letter said. "We are disappointed by your Administration's ongoing failure to take decisive action to make changes at SIGAR," the Senators wrote.

A spokeswoman for SIGAR said Fields had been on a plane to Afghanistan Thursday and was not immediately available for comment.

The Senators' demand for Fields ouster comes amidst growing concerns about corruption in Afghanistan and the inability of the US to keep track of how the billions of dollars it has invested in reconstruction are spent. The U.S. taxpayer spent more than $51-billion on Afghanistan reconstruction between 2002 and 2010, with much of that going to training Afghanistan security forces. President Obama's recent budget requests asked for an additional $20-billion, according to the SIGAR website.

An earlier audit of SIGAR by Inspectors General from other federal agencies found it fell short of some professional standards. Fields himself had requested that audit which was unusual for such a young agency, one formed only in 2008.

"We observed deficiencies and significant noncompliance with these standards," that report said from the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

The Senators said the report found numerous problems with SIGAR's work.

"The reviews also found that the agency has no meaningful strategic plan for their audits and investigations and that leadership at SIGAR remains more concerned with the quantity of their work rather than the quality," the senators said in their letter.

In a letter for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Fields says he has accepted all the recommendations in the report, calling them "invaluable in helping us operate more efficiently and effectively."

He said in that August 6th letter on the SIGAR website that many changes had been made already and that he expected all to be addressed by the end of this month.