August 6th, 2011
11:17 AM ET

Dozens of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan copter crash

More than two dozen American troops are believed to have died in a deadly Chinook helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan overnight, a U.S. military official told CNN on Saturday.

Among those killed were a mix of special forces from different services, the official said. If the numbers are confirmed, the incident would be the most deadly for coalition forces in the Afghan war, according to a CNN count of international troop deaths.

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August 3rd, 2011
07:42 AM ET

Questions linger in Afghan peace process

Islamabad, Pakistan - Top diplomats from the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan claim to be gaining ground with plans to reach a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban, but revealed little about their progress.

The trio of diplomats met here in the federal capital on Tuesday for the fourth meeting of the so-called Corp Group, established to map out a political settlement between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban, a strategy Washington now supports.

However, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister said Kabul has yet to establish contact with key leaders of the Taliban. FULL POST

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Filed under: Taliban
July 27th, 2011
09:31 AM ET

A series of assassinations

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.


Filed under: Kandahar • Taliban
July 27th, 2011
09:21 AM ET

2010 interview with Kandahar mayor

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:


Filed under: Kandahar
July 26th, 2011
01:30 PM ET

Child labor in Kabul

Filmmakers, Jawad Wahabzada and Jon Bougher raise awareness for child labor victims in Kabul, Afghanistan.


Filed under: Life and Culture
July 21st, 2011
11:19 AM ET

U.S. welcomes decision to remove ex-Taliban from sanctions list

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.

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Filed under: Taliban
July 21st, 2011
10:48 AM ET

Afghan women train as pilots in Texas

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.

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Filed under: Women's issues
July 21st, 2011
09:10 AM ET

Huge poppy seed cache confiscated in Afghanistan

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

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Filed under: Drug trade
July 21st, 2011
09:08 AM ET

Army sergeant gets new hearing in alleged killing of Afghans

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.

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More background of the case


Filed under: Soldier tapes
July 20th, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Taliban: We were hacked

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


Filed under: Taliban