January 28th, 2011
12:41 PM ET

Kidnapping crisis in Afghan province

CNN's Arwa Damon reports on kidnappings and attacks in what was a "safe" Afghanistan province.

January 27th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Prisons ideal Taliban recruitment center

CNN's Arwa Damon reports that overcrowding in Afghanistan prisons is creating an ideal breeding ground for the Taliban.

Post by:
Filed under: Taliban
January 22nd, 2011
09:08 AM ET

Afghan lawmakers meet as political standoff over parliament continues

Afghan lawmakers met at a hotel in the country's capital Saturday morning to discuss whether to proceed with the inauguration of parliament despite President Hamid Karzai's decision to postpone the ceremony.

Most of the 249 elected members of parliament debated the issue at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel. They were expected to meet with Karzai later in the day and could also make a decision Saturday.

Karzai's office on Wednesday announced a one-month inauguration delay, saying that the special court on election fraud needed more time to investigate complaints from losing candidates. The decision drew criticism from the United Nations' mission in Afghanistan, and concern from analysts that it could spark ethnic divisions and more violence. FULL POST

January 21st, 2011
08:58 AM ET

Analysts: Inauguration delay could spark more violence

President Hamid Karzai's decision to postpone the inauguration of the Afghan parliament could spark ethnic divisions and more violence, analysts warned Friday.

Winners and losers of the September parliamentary elections have traded accusations of fraud and irregularities, and accused each other of providing incentives to the Taliban.

The election results saw a power shift in parliament - with reduced representation from the country's predominantly Pashtun south - Karzai's power base - to one that is more Tajik and Hazara heavy. FULL POST

January 17th, 2011
01:11 PM ET

Restoring Kabul's former glory

CNN's Arwa Damon takes a tour of a turquoise jewelry community in Kabul, which is being restored with outside aid.

January 11th, 2011
07:23 AM ET

Taliban casts long shadow over Afghan schools

"An apple," English teacher Asadullah writes and reads out on the board. A simple word, perhaps, but here speaking and teaching English is something of a novelty and for the U.S. military and Afghan government a success - albeit small.

It would not have been possible four months ago when soldiers from the 101st Airborne arrived in Andar district in Afghanistan's Ghazni province - the first American presence in the area in two years.

"The school was empty, it was essentially a ghost town," Captain Justin Quisenberry recalled. "We found a passerby and asked, 'where are all the students, the teachers?' He said it had been closed for a couple of years, the Taliban threatened us. It's just not a safe place to have classes."

An indication of just how powerful the Taliban has been in this area is the turnout for the country's September elections. Just three people out of the district's 110,000 residents voted.

Classes only just resumed here.

Read the full story

January 3rd, 2011
08:20 AM ET

Battling abuse from behind a mask

"I had so many dreams for my life, but when I saw him, they just disappeared." Saraya spoke softly, her hunched-over body and nervously twisting hands testimony to all she says she has had to endure.

"I told my father I didn't want to marry him: 'why are you doing this to me?'" She continued: "My father said 'you are of an age to be married and this is my decision, not yours.'"

Saraya says it only took three days for her to realize she had been married off to a madman.

Emotions and turmoil she never dared publicly speak of tumble out freely - concealed, along with her face, behind a mask.

Half the mask is pale blue, the color of the "chaudari" or burka, symbolizing the oppression of women; the other half white, representing innocence.

This is Afghanistan's new revolutionary TV show called "Niqab," meaning "The Mask." FULL POST

December 23rd, 2010
10:27 AM ET

Red Cross warns of deteriorating security in Afghanistan

The International Committee of the Red Cross says the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated to its worst point for aid organizations. CNN's Arwa Damon has the story.

January 5th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Pakistan: Taliban brainwashing children

"When we got to this compound it was shocking for us," Lt. Col. Yusuf tells us, standing in the middle of what the Pakistani military says was a brainwashing center - for children.

It was here, according to the Pakistani military, that children aged 12 to 18 were turned from innocent youngsters into cold-blooded killers, willing to blow themselves to bits as suicide bombers.

The discovery of the compound was first reported in Pakistani media last month. Yusuf says his unit took it over after a three day battle with militants.

Part of the compound consists of four rooms - each wall adorned with brightly colored paintings in clear contrast to the barren and harsh landscape surrounding it. The children were told that this was what awaited them in heaven.
Read more on this story

December 24th, 2009
06:56 AM ET

Colorful trucks bring Pakistan's roadways to life

It's my first trip to Pakistan, and one of the things that immediately jumped out is the trucks. I realize that sounds strange, but the trucks here are like no other I have ever seen. They are not lumbering and drab monstrosities but a canvas of spectacular and intricate art, a kaleidoscope of exploding colors. I am not one to have much patience for traffic, but here I could sit and watch the roads for hours. Each truck is unique, each a different combination of designs, poetry and other adornments.

What made the "truck art" even more intriguing was just how intricate it is. The designs are made up of tiny pieces of tape, all done by hand. The artisans' fingers move at breathtaking speed and precision.

As a friend and colleague of ours, Kevin Flower, said after seeing a photograph I sent out, "The ultimate pimp my ride. ... I’m going to bring my wheels to Islamabad for a cosmetic upgrade."

See more of Pakistan's truck art

Watch CNN correspondent Arwa Damon's report on Pakistan's artistic traffic