The assassination of Kandahar's mayor Ghulam Haidar Hamidi is the latest in a string of killings across the country, and the most recent for a region that appears to be deadly for high-ranking officials.
- Two deputy mayors of Kandahar City have been gunned down by militants in the past year, according to the governor's office.
- Kandahar Police Chief Khan Mohammad Mujahid was also killed by a suicide bomber in April.
- Perhaps the most high-profile attack occurred earlier this month when Kandahar's provincial council chief Ahmed Wali Karzai - the president's half-brother and an influential power-broker in country's south - was gunned down by a longtime bodyguard inside his home. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack, though rumors soon swirled that his death could also have been the result of a murder over personal grievances.
- During a remembrance ceremony for the president's half-brother at a Kandahar mosque two days after his death, a suicide bomber slipped into the building and killed six people, wounding 15 others.
- Within the next week, a key political adviser to the Afghan president and a Parliament member were gunned down in a home west of Kabul.
The killings have taken place just as a security transfer to Afghan control and a NATO draw-down is underway.
Ghulam Haidar Hamidi, the mayor of Afghanistan's Kandahar city, was killed in a suicide bomb attack Wednesday, the latest in a series of recent high-profile assassinations the Taliban have taken responsibility for.
The mayor was killed during a city hall meeting in the provincial capital when explosives detonated inside the turban of his attacker, according to Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor's office.
In 2010, CNN's Jill Dougherty got a behind-the-scenes look at the mayor and city hall:
Filmmakers, Jawad Wahabzada and Jon Bougher raise awareness for child labor victims in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Kabul, Afghanistan - The United States on Thursday said it welcomes a U.N. decision to remove sanctions against 14 former Taliban leaders in what is perhaps the latest signal of its willingness to reconcile with militants who break ties with al Qaeda.
"We recognize and welcome the efforts made by the High Peace Council to work towards peace, stability and reconciliation generally and its contributions to the July 15 decision," the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in a written statement.
Four women who are lieutenants in the Afghanistan military have come to the United States to study English at the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. But it's their dreams of piloting helicopters that could help change the future of women in their homeland.
These four Afghan women will spend anywhere from six to eight months in San Antonio at the base where they will be mastering the English language. After that, they'll move to Alabama where they'll train with the U.S. Army and learn how to be helicopter pilots.
Kabul, Afghanistan - Nearly half a million of pounds of opium poppy seeds have been confiscated in southwestern Afghanistan during a joint raid by NATO and Afghan National Security forces, officials said.
The operation took place Wednesday in the Delaram district of Nimroz province, which borders Iran.
The find represents the largest uncovered by Afghan and coalition forces this year, according to Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Seddiqi.
The opium poppy can be used to make heroin and other drugs, and is considered a staple of insurgent funding. FULL POST
An Army sergeant facing court martial for allegedly leading a rogue group of soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians will get a new hearing Thursday.
Sgt. Calvin Gibbs is one of 12 soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade accused of taking part in a plot to murder three Afghan civilians, plant weapons on them and cover up the alleged crimes.
A Taliban spokesman says the group's phones and website were hacked, and text messages sent out saying their reclusive Afghan leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is dead - a claim the group has denied.
Omar is alive and the reports "are just propaganda against our leader and our mission," spokesman Zabihullah Nujahid told CNN.
NATO said it has no operational knowledge of Omar's condition or whereabouts. FULL POST
The first batch of U.S. soldiers set to leave Afghanistan left earlier this week, beginning a drawdown of 10,000 U.S. troops scheduled to depart by year's end.
Some 650 U.S. Army soldiers left the northeastern province of Parwan on Wednesday, according to Lt. Commander Colette Murphy, a spokeswoman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
Military officials say this is the first group of soldiers whose redeployment will not be replaced by a new rotation of fresh troops. FULL POST
A suicide attack in a mosque where several high-ranking Afghan officials had gathered to remember President Hamid Karzai's half-brother killed at least six people and wounded 15 others Thursday, a hospital official said.
The attacker hid the explosive device under his turban and detonated it among a group of people who were reading the Quran at the Sera Jama Mosque, said Sher Shah Yousafzai, the police chief of Kandahar where the attack occurred.
The attendees were mourning Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar provincial council chief, who was killed Tuesday by a guard during a gathering at his house.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Tuesday shooting, saying that the guard accused of killing him was working for them.
Karzai was buried Wednesday, with the president in attendance.