April 29th, 2011
05:08 PM ET

NATO readies for greater fight from insurgents in Afghanistan

The NATO alliance in Afghanistan anticipates insurgents will attempt to launch an extensive new round of attacks against U.S. and coalition forces as well as Afghan civilians "in the coming days," according to an International Security Assistance Force military official.

The assessment comes as the Pentagon issued its latest semi-annual report to Congress on Afghanistan, which concludes that gains are significant enough to allow for the beginning of transferring security to the Afghans in parts of the country.

April 29th, 2011
04:39 PM ET

U.S. troops killed by Afghan pilot were armed, NATO says

The eight American troops killed by an Afghan pilot earlier this week at an airport in Kabul were all armed with "weapons and ammo," according to the preliminary findings released Friday of an investigation by NATO and the Afghan government.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan has said the military pilot opened fire on the troops, sparking a gunfight on Wednesday.

The investigation centers around how the gunman managed to kill eight armed troops, an ISAF official briefed on the investigation told CNN. A private American contractor was also killed in the shooting.

April 29th, 2011
01:04 PM ET

Pentagon says Afghanistan ready to take over security in some areas

The military says gains made in Afghanistan over the last half year has created the "necessary conditions" to begin transferring control of security to the Afghanistan government in seven areas of the country inhabited by approximately 20-25% of the population, according to a new report prepared by the Pentagon for Congress.

The latest semi-annual report concludes insurgent momentum has been halted in much of the country though the gains are "fragile and reversible." However, the report notes that efforts to fortify government and development was "slower than security gains" over the the last six months.

Read the full report

April 29th, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Fareed Zakaria on scaling back the U.S. role in Afghanistan

Last night I talked to Eliot Spitzer about reports of an April 16 meeting between leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan where, as Eliot said, "these two supposed U.S. allies conspired to throw the U.S. out and look toward China as the benefactor." Here's my view:

Sometimes the United States enters places in South Asia and we assume it is all very simple – there are good guys and bad guys. We are coming in support the good guys, so we presume they should be on our side against the bad guys.

But actually there is an existing set of regional dynamics at work. We’re the interloper. We’re coming into this game pretty late. The regional actors think we are going to leave.

Read the full story on Global Public Square
Photo Spotlight: Cooling off
April 29th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Photo Spotlight: Cooling off

As summer peeks around the corner and warmer weather appears, children splash and play  to cool off in the Tarnek River in the Zabul province located in southern Afghanistan.

April 27th, 2011
08:50 AM ET

Petraeus to be named CIA director

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will be named to replace Leon Panetta as CIA director, a senior defense official said. (Panetta is being tapped to succeed Robert Gates as U.S. defense secretary, officials said Wednesday.)

Petraeus took over the command in Afghanistan in summer 2010 after Gen. Stanley McChrystal was relieved of his duties. McChrystal and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

Petraeus took the highly unusual step of publicly acknowledging that he might be in contention for a presidential appointment. "It's probably not appropriate for me to comment on whatever might be considered down the road," he told reporters in Kabul this month when asked about the possible CIA nomination.

"I've had discussions, but again, it wouldn't be appropriate to comment."

From November 2010: Petraeus on Afghanistan, Iran, Taliban strategy

From June 2010: Peter Bergen on Petraeus, the Ph.D. warrior

Filed under: Petraeus
April 27th, 2011
08:36 AM ET

Man opens fire on Americans in Kabul

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - At least six American service members were killed Wednesday when a man opened fire on troops and a "gunfight" ensued at an airport in the Afghan capital, military officials said.

A NATO official backed off earlier reports that eight coalition service members and a contractor were killed, saying that the alliance could only confirm six International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops were killed. It did not disclose their nationalities.

The incident - which occurred at the Afghan national air force compound at North Kabul International Airport - stems from an argument between an Afghan pilot and an international colleague, officials said.

Read the full story

Filed under: Kabul • Troops
Afghanistan recaptures 65 inmates; hundreds at large after escape
Monday's breakout was the second at the prison in the past three years: As many as 1,000 inmates escaped in 2008.
April 26th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Afghanistan recaptures 65 inmates; hundreds at large after escape

Afghan authorities said Tuesday they have recaptured 65 of the more than 400 inmates who slipped out of a southern Afghanistan prison a day earlier through a nearly quarter-mile tunnel dug beneath the compound.

A massive search operation continues to find the others - many of them insurgent fighters, said the Kandahar governor's office.

The Taliban issued a statement taking responsibility for the escape from the prison in Kandahar, the Taliban's birthplace. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed said digging the tunnel took five months. The escape took four and a half hours, he said.

Read the full story
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Filed under: Daily Developments • Taliban
April 26th, 2011
09:12 AM ET

What the latest WikiLeaks release reveals about bin Laden

WikiLeaks' latest release is classified military documents that detail information obtained from Guantanamo detainees. What do they reveal about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda?

Documents describe bin Laden's moves

More about WikiLeaks

CNN's national security analyst Peter Bergen, author of "The Longest War," weighs in on what the WikiLeaks documents reveal about bin Laden that the world didn't know a few days ago. Here's an edited transcript:

I think we have a little bit better sense of where he was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

I think overall, these WikiLeaks documents about Guantanamo remind me a little bit of the WikiLeaks documents we had about Afghanistan and Pakistan from the U.S. military. They don't really add anything seismic to our general understanding of what happened. They're filling in details. They will be very interesting for future historians.

These are not top-secret documents. They're secret. So they're not the crown jewels. The fact that bin Laden was hard up for cash I think is pretty interesting, but that sort of accords with something we already knew, that bin Laden didn't have millions of dollars when he was in Afghanistan. Even though he's the son of a billionaire, money was tight during this time period.

It's interesting now we have confirmation that the operational commander of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was watching these events unfold live on TV in Karachi, Pakistan. But again I think that's something, if we didn't know for a fact, we certainly probably thought was true already.

Filed under: Osama bin Laden • WikiLeaks
April 25th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

NATO: Hundreds tunnel out of Afghan jail

More than 400 prisoners escaped early Monday from a jail in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for facilitating the escape and said 541 prisoners fled. The NATO0-led International Security Assistance Force said the number was closer to 470.

Waheed Omer, a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, called the mass prisoner escape "bad news and a disaster."

It was the second mass escape from the prison.

In June 2008, up to 1,000 prisoners - almost half of them Taliban members - escaped after militants detonated a large truck bomb against the side of the compound.

Read the full story

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Taliban