October 7th, 2010
03:05 PM ET

12-tour soldier's final homecoming

CNN's Martin Savidge talks with parents of a U.S. soldier who was killed after four tours of duty in Iraq and eight in Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class Lance H. Vogeler, 29, of Frederick, Maryland, died October 1 in Bastion, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in Helmand, Afghanistan.

More: Home & Away: Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan

Vogeler's widow Melissa is expecting a child, and a trust account has been set up for the unborn son. Those wishing to donate to a trust fund for Baby Boy Vogeler can contact the Coastal Bank Johnson Square office and mention Baby Boy Vogeler or the parents' names.

Filed under: Casualties
October 7th, 2010
02:23 PM ET

Jihadist website: One of Hamburg terror group killed in drone strike

A jihadist from Hamburg suspected of being part of an al Qaeda plot against Europe was killed by a drone strike in northwest Pakistan this week, according to a statement Thursday on a Turkish-language jihadist website.

The website said a fighter named Abu Askar al-Almani and three other Jihadists had been "martyred" by the missile strike against a base in Waziristan, where German and Tajik fighters were living. German officials say al-Almani is the nom de guerre of Shahab Dashti, an Iranian-German who left Hamburg, Germany, with 10 other suspected militants in the spring of 2009. FULL POST

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Drone strikes
October 7th, 2010
11:24 AM ET

War in Afghanistan: 9 years later

Nine years ago on October 7, the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom along with the British military and other coalition forces in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Nine years later, more U.S. troops than ever before are in Afghanistan as part of a U.S. President Obama-planned surge; Afghan President Hamid Karzai has formed a council to help negotiate with the Taliban and find a way for peace; and more than 2,100 U.S. and coalition troops have died.

In the United States, nearly six in 10 Americans continue to oppose the war in Afghanistan, the lowest level since the start, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll last week.

For some Afghans, the involvement of the United States remains divisive. In Kabul, the damage left over from past and present wars are daily reminders of a country long at the crossroads of history.

• Year-by-year: Nine years of war in Afghanistan
• Intel officers: No end in sight for war on terror
• First living Medal of Honor recipient since Vietnam

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Filed under: Casualties • Obama • Taliban • Troops
October 7th, 2010
08:24 AM ET

Your view: Talking with the Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday launched a council to help negotiate with the Taliban and find a way for peace. Karzai told the group, made up of about 68 Afghan clerics and elders, that it can help establish peace in Afghanistan.

The peace council meeting is one of several addressing the war in recent days. Political figures from Pakistan and Afghanistan were also sitting down this week in Kabul for a dialogue aimed at ending the nine-year-old Afghan war, in what one Afghan official called a "new phase" in building bridges and making peace with the Taliban.

But a Taliban spokesman told CNN that the group was not interested in peace talks. Zabiuhullah Mujahed, the spokesman, said they had no representative in the alleged negotiations in Kabul. Peace negotiations would not happen until the Afghan government met the Taliban's precondition to withdraw foreign forces in the country, the spokesman said.

What do you think? Is negotiating with the Taliban a good idea? Can a peace ever be met with the Taliban? Can lower level Taliban leaders be brought into the political and social fabric of Afghanistan?

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Filed under: Taliban • Your View
Medal of Honor recipient felt 'angry' and 'lost'
October 7th, 2010
08:15 AM ET

Medal of Honor recipient felt 'angry' and 'lost'

Vicenza, Italy (CNN) - He's only 25 now, an Army paratrooper stationed at the headquarters of the 173rd Airborne at a sprawling base near Vicenza in northern Italy.

As the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, Sal Giunta has had plenty of media attention heaped on him. But this staff sergeant is determined to make the medal, at least symbolically, belong to others.

"When I first heard that they were putting me in for the Medal of Honor, I felt lost, I felt kind of angry, I felt, I think, angry," he said in an exclusive interview. "Just because, you know, this is so big. This is, it came at such a price. It came at the price of a good buddy of mine, not just Brennan. But Mendoza. Mendoza died that night as well. And people want to put a medal around my neck." FULL POST

October 7th, 2010
08:11 AM ET

Intel officers: Terror war far from over

Watching the worst terrorist attack in the nation's history on a TV at CIA headquarters was like a punch in the stomach for Gary Schroen.

The 35-year veteran of the CIA had just entered the agency's retirement program when planes struck the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Schroen's career had been spent mostly overseas as a covert officer in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Now in his late 60s, he felt he was going to miss what could be the agency's biggest battle in a land he knew well.

Two days later he was at the forefront, summoned back to duty to lead the first U.S. team into Afghanistan. His mission: Hook up with the opposition Northern Alliance, help beat back the Taliban army and, as he was instructed by his CIA boss, "Find [Osama] bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back to the United States in a box on dry ice." FULL POST

October 7th, 2010
08:10 AM ET

Zakaria: Leaving Afghanistan will be 'messy'

CNN's Fareed Zakaria tells CNN's "Parker Spitzer" whenever the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, it is going to look "messy."

Read a transcript of the full interview

Filed under: Karzai • NATO • Taliban