November 19th, 2010
10:26 AM ET

U.S. sending tanks to Afghanistan for first time

Iraqi troops use a M1A1 Abrams tank during a March training session. The U.S. is bringing the tanks to Afghanistan.

The United States is beefing up its firepower in Afghanistan by employing heavily armored tanks in Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, a military spokesman said Friday.

The U.S. Marine Corps plans to use a company of M1A1 Abrams tanks in restive Helmand province by early spring, said Marine Maj. Gabrielle Chapin.

The M1A1 tank is the fastest and most deadly ground combat weapons system available. It will allow for more aggressive missions while mitigating risks to U.S. forces, the military said.
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Filed under: Uncategorized
November 19th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

Salute to Sgt. Thomas Luallen

Sgt. Luallen is currently on his 3rd deployment, his first to Afghanistan. His wife sends this salute to her soul mate.

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Filed under: Troops
November 19th, 2010
10:19 AM ET

Russia's new interest in Afghanistan

CNN's Matthew Chance reports on Russia's increased involvement in Afghanistan.


Filed under: NATO • Russia • Understanding Afghanistan
November 19th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Gen. Petraeus goes to NATO

CNN's Barbara Starr sits down with ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus to discuss Afghanistan.

November 19th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Biden: 'Take the training wheels off' in Afghanistan

While defending the military surge in Afghanistan after eight years of what he termed "neglect," Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Afghan leaders could soon be left on their own, whether they're ready or not.

"We had to say, 'Look, you've got to step up, man,'" Biden said Thursday on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"Let me tell you, we're going to start - Daddy is going to start to take the training wheels off ... next July, so you'd better practice riding."

Biden said that President Barack Obama charged him with reexamining the Afghan conflict soon after coming into office, and since then U.S.-led forces have made "significant progress against al Qaeda." He said that U.S. forces and officials have done a great deal to help the Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai, including working with Afghans to improve their governance and security capabilities.


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Filed under: Biden • Decision: Afghanistan • Obama
November 19th, 2010
10:11 AM ET

Petraeus, Karzai meet to ease tensions after criticism of US raids

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, have met in an effort to ease tensions after the president criticized foreign forces operations in his country, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

The two met Wednesday in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.

Morrell said the meeting between the two ended with "no daylight between them." But a senior coalition official told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr that Karzai still "has reservations."
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November 18th, 2010
07:50 PM ET

Afghan watchdog under fire

The man overseeing how billions of dollars are spent in Afghanistan is the wrong man for the job, a U.S. senator charged Thursday.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, criticized former Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, as he appeared before her and other senators at a subcommittee hearing to examine the performance of his office.

That office oversees $56 billion in Afghanistan spent on projects including schools, roads and water plants. The U.S. plans to spend $16 billion more next year.

"I don't think you are the right person for this job," McCaskill told Fields after more than an hour of questioning. 

McCaskill had the support of at least one person in the visitors'
gallery.

"Fire that man, fire that man right away," called out an unidentified person who stalked out of the hearing.

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November 18th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

US, NATO to be in Afghanistan beyond 2014 security handover

Even with serious questions about President Hamid Karzai's commitment to the military strategy in Afghanistan, NATO members plan to announce an enduring presence there beyond 2014, the new target date for handing off security control to the Afghans.

At its weekend summit, NATO members will tout a three-year plan to
transfer security responsibilities by 2014 to the Afghans, beginning early next
year on a phased, conditions-based timeline, NATO officials told CNN.

NATO members plan to offer a message of reassurance to Afghanistan that
the alliance will remain engaged after security control is transferred to
Afghan forces. NATO will endorse an "enduring partnership" with Afghanistan,
specifically focused on developing Afghan security forces and police, officials
said.
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November 18th, 2010
10:30 AM ET

British soldier killed in Afghanistan

A British soldier has been killed in Afghanistan, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion Irish Guards serving with Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North), died from a gunshot wound sustained in an ambush during a patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj (North) district of Helmand Province.

"The soldier was carrying out vital work mentoring an Afghan national army patrol, in order to develop their ability to protect the people of Nahr-e Saraj (North), when he was struck by small-arms fire, said Lt. Col. David Eastman, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand.

In all, 344 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001.

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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Troops
'Smart weapon' rifle debuts on Afghanistan's battlefields
November 17th, 2010
09:26 PM ET

'Smart weapon' rifle debuts on Afghanistan's battlefields

Some U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are using a “smart weapon” rifle that the Army hopes will be a "gamechanger" on the battlefield.

About the size of a regular rifle, the XM25 Counter Defilade Targeting Engagement System has the potential to neutralize an enemy, even when the enemy is hidden behind buildings or other barriers, said Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, project manager for the XM25 with Program Executive Office Soldier.

The weapon can be set so that bullets will explode either on impact, in front or behind an object, depending on the way the weapon is programmed, said Lehner.

A soldier can use it to target and kill an enemy hiding behind walls, in a home, or other barrier from nearly 2,300 feet away, he said.

"In the hands of a soldier trained for only a few minutes, he was able to adjust the systems, get the range of a target, launch it and hit them dead-on," he said.

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Filed under: Troops • Weapons