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More trouble in Afghanistan

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Thu 24 May - 6:50

Editor's note: Stephen Tankel is an assistant professor at American University and a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His book "Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba" was recently published by Columbia University Press.

(CNN) -- At the NATO summit in Chicago, President Obama and leaders of America's NATO allies agreed on an "irreversible" plan to withdraw from Afghanistan. But challenges remain.

Despite the deliberately unambiguous word choice used to describe the withdrawal, uncertainty about how the West will confront the obstacles ahead remains. Issues specifically related to Afghanistan are yet to be resolved, and plenty of others are tied to the volatile politics of the area.

The Afghan National Army is already taking the lead in regions with roughly 75% of the population, with U.S. and other NATO troops acting as support. However, this does not include the most contested areas in the south and east, where Afghan forces are slated to assume responsibility by next summer. Serious doubts persist about their readiness to do so.

Despite significant training efforts, the army's level of competence remains in question. It lacks many of the support functions needed for war fighting. The army will remain dependent on international forces for these capabilities and on the international community for financial assistance, expected to cost at least $4 billion a year.

The strategic partnership agreement signed by the United States and Afghanistan in early May addressed both issues. Washington pledged a residual force of U.S. troops that will stay in Afghanistan and promised financial assistance. Still unclear, however, is how many soldiers will make up the residual force, how long they will stay, what their main objectives will be and where they will be based.

Complicating matters even more, the Afghan army is overwhelmingly non-Pashtun, which makes operating in the overwhelmingly Pashtun south and east, where the Taliban-led insurgency is strongest, all the more challenging. The army's ethnic composition and that of the Karzai government are also among Pakistan's chief concerns. Which brings us to the wider regional concerns.

During the 1990s, Pakistan's rival India supported the non-Pashtun Northern Alliance against the Pakistan-sponsored Taliban. Today, Pakistan views the non-Pashtun army in Afghanistan as essentially the Northern Alliance on steroids: a 300,000-plus force equipped by the United States and, like the government in Kabul, partial to India.

If the Afghan army holds together, then Pakistan faces an unfriendly army loyal to an unfriendly government on its western border.

If the army splinters as a result of its unbalanced ethnic composition -- Pashtuns represent the majority of the population but a small minority in the army -- this probably would result in inter- and intra-ethnic violence that could rend the nation. A civil war in Afghanistan would have disastrous consequences for the region, particularly neighboring Pakistan.

Yet Pakistan's fears have led it to pursue a myopic policy that could contribute to this very outcome. It supports the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other assorted proxies in Afghanistan both as a hedging strategy and with the aim of positioning itself as the ultimate arbiter of any resolution. This has encouraged hedging among other regional actors and led to Pakistan's isolation.

Though the Pakistani security establishment supports an Afghan-led reconciliation with the Taliban, it seeks significant control over that process. This is unacceptable to Kabul, Washington and, ironically, the Taliban. They all want to minimize Pakistan's role.

These thorny issues have been extant for quite some time, but no clear path to resolving them has been proposed, and it doesn't appear any significant progress was made in Chicago.

The main focus on Pakistan during the NATO summit concerned its willingness to reopen NATO supply lines into Afghanistan that have been closed since November after a U.S. air raid accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Since then, supplies have been shipped via the longer and more expensive Northern Distribution Network running through Russia and Central Asia.

Although reopening Pakistani supply lines is not essential for maintaining NATO forces on the ground, they constitute an important logistical link for any large-scale withdrawal.

When Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari received a last-minute invite to Chicago, it was well understood that this was intended to ease Pakistan's resistance to reopening these supply lines. But they remain closed, subject to a disagreement over the transit fee Pakistan will receive for each truck and Washington's unwillingness to issue a formal apology for the air raid.

Most experts anticipate that the issue will be resolved sooner rather than later. More troubling, Pakistan's presence in Chicago was tied mainly to its control of supply lines, not to the vital role it could play in tipping the balance in Afghanistan toward either a political resolution or a possible civil war.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan military appears to be increasing support for its own proxies in anticipation of the NATO drawdown, heightening the possibility of civil war in Afghanistan. That other regional powers, chiefly India and Iran, are readying their own proxies for this eventuality only risks making it more likely.

Questions remain about whether any residual American force will be sufficient to provide enough support to the Afghan army to avoid such an outcome. It's also unknown whether this objective will take priority over strategically defeating al Qaeda or at least denying it the ability to reclaim its safe haven in Afghanistan.

The summit in Chicago was an important turning point. U.S. forces cannot remain in Afghanistan at present levels indefinitely, not least because there is no purely military solution to these problems. But it's clear that a timeline for the transition to a new role for the U.S. and NATO allies in Afghanistan does not mean the war is over.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Fri 25 May - 16:59

25 May 2012 Last updated at 13:32 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

351ShareFacebookTwitter.France's Hollande defends early Afghan troop pullout President Hollande made an election pledge to pull out combat troops this year
President Francois Hollande has defended his decision to end France's military mission in Afghanistan a year earlier than planned.

Speaking in Kabul, he said some 2,000 French soldiers would be out by the end of 2012, leaving 1,300 other non-combat troops for an unspecified period.

"The mission of fighting terrorism and chasing out the Taliban is close to being accomplished," he said.

France faces criticism for pulling out before Nato's planned 2014 withdrawal.

Mr Hollande, who took office earlier this month, flew into Kabul and held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai before a joint news conference.

He was also due to spend time with French soldiers during his short visit. He was said to want to "explain himself" to French soldiers, and make the reasons for the decision clear to them.

Under Mr Hollande's election pledge, French combat troops will go home a year earlier than the deadline set by former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Hollande has described the early withdrawal as a "sovereign decision" and said that it would be "conducted in good understanding with our allies, especially President Obama - who understands the reasons - and in close consultation with Afghan authorities".

France is currently the fifth largest contributor to the Nato force in Afghanistan, with nearly 3,300 French soldiers stationed there.

Eighty-three have been killed during the deployment, which began in 2001.

Those French soldiers remaining in Afghanistan after combat troops leave will oversee the repatriation of equipment and help train Afghan security forces.

But Mr Hollande said French involvement in Afghanistan would continue - with a greater emphasis on civil and economic co-operation - including in areas like culture and archaeology.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sun 27 May - 11:33

10:38am UK, Sunday May 27, 2012

A Nato airstrike has killed a family of eight, including six children, in their home in Afghanistan's eastern province of Paktia, the country's officials have said.
Nato is aware of the claims and has launched an investigation, a spokesman said.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings said: "We acknowledge that coalition forces were conducting an operation in Paktia province against a large number of insurgents last night and we also are aware of the media reports today of civilian casualty allegations in that area.

"We are currently looking into this and will release more information as appropriate."

A spokesman for the governor of the area, Rohullah Samoon, said one of the people said to have been killed, Mohammad Shafi, had no links to the Taliban.

"Eight people, a man, his wife and six of their children, are dead," Mr Samoon said.

"It was an airstrike conducted by Nato.

"This man had no connection to the Taliban or any other terrorist group."

A senior security official in Kabul also confirmed the incident, which is reported to have occurred at 8pm on Saturday.

"It's true. A house was bombed by Nato. A man... his wife and six of their innocent children were brutally killed," he said.

The death of civilians caught in crossfire is an issue that threatens to sour relations between the US-led Nato coalition forces and the Afghan President.

Earlier this month, Hamid Karzai warned that civilian casualties could undermine the strategic partnership agreement he had just signed with US President Barack Obama.

He argued that the deaths caused by allied troops turn the Afghan people against his Western-backed government.

"If the lives of Afghan people are not safe, the signing of the strategic partnership has no meaning," the President's office said.

In a separate incident, two civilians have been killed by a roadside bomb in the Marjah district of Helmand province, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

The amount of civilians killed in the Afghanistan war has risen steadily for the past five years, according to UN statistics.

It reached a record of 3,021 deaths last year - the majority caused by militants, the UN said.

Nato plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

It currently has around 130,000 troops in the country, mostly from the US.



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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 29 May - 18:12



Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A hospital in northern Afghanistan admitted 160 schoolgirls Tuesday after they were poisoned, a Takhar province police official said.

Their classrooms might have been sprayed with a toxic material before the girls entered, police spokesman Khalilullah Aseer said. He blamed the Taliban.

The incident, the second in a week's time, was reported at the Aahan Dara Girls School in Taluqan, the provincial capital.

The girls, ages 10 to 20, complained of headaches, dizziness and vomiting before being taken to the hospital, said Hafizullah Safi, director of the provincial health department.

More than half of them were discharged within a few hours of receiving treatment, Safi said. The health department collected blood samples and sent them to Kabul for testing.



Girls hospitalized after poison attack

Taliban take forceful control of schools

Saving Aesha: Life after Taliban attack Last week, more than 120 girls and three teachers were admitted to a hospital after a similar suspected poisoning.

"The Afghan people know that the terrorists and the Taliban are doing these things to threaten girls and stop them going to school," Aseer said last week. "That's something we and the people believe. Now we are implementing democracy in Afghanistan and we want girls to be educated, but the government's enemies don't want this."

But earlier this week, the Taliban denied responsibility, instead blaming U.S. and NATO forces for the poisonings in an attempt to "defame" the insurgent group.

Taliban tightens grip on Afghan schools

There have been several instances of girls being poisoned in schools in recent years.

In April, also in Takhar province, more than 170 women and girls were hospitalized after drinking apparently poisoned well water at a school. Local health officials blamed the acts on extremists opposed to women's education.

While nearly all the incidents involve girls, earlier this month, nearly 400 boys at a school in Khost province fell ill after drinking water from a well that a health official said may have been poisoned.

The Taliban recently demanded the closure of schools in two eastern provinces. In Ghazni, the school closure was in retaliation for the government's ban on motorbikes often used by insurgents. People in Wardak said the Taliban has been a little more lenient and has allowed schools to open late after making changes to the curriculum.

Tortured Afghan teen: 'The same should be done' to attackers

The battle indicates broader fears about Afghanistan's future amid the drawdown of U.S. troops in the country.

NATO leaders last week signed off on U.S. President Barack Obama's exit strategy from Afghanistan, which calls for an end to combat operations next year and the withdrawal of the U.S.-led international military force by the end of 2014.

During the Taliban's rule from 1996 to 2001, many Afghan girls were not allowed to attend school. The schools began reopening after the regime was toppled by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. However, observers say abuse of women remains common in the post-Taliban era and is often accepted in conservative and traditional families, where women are barred from school and sometimes subjected to domestic violence.

Afghan Education Minister Dr. Farooq Wardak told the Education World Forum in London in January 2011 that the Taliban had abandoned its opposition to education for girls, but the group has never confirmed that.

Saving Face: The struggle and survival of Afghan women


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Thu 31 May - 8:31

May 31, 3:14 AM EDT


Suicide car bomber kills 5 police in Afghanistan

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- A government official says a suicide car bomber has attacked a district police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing five policemen.

Javid Faisal says the attack on Thursday in Kandahar province's Argistan district also wounded six policemen. Faisal is the spokesman for the provincial governor.

Kandahar is the spiritual heartland of the Taliban and has been one of the most heavily contested areas between the militants and Afghan and foreign forces.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Fri 1 Jun - 17:13

1 June 2012 Last updated at 12:53 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

A suicide bomber has attacked a base of the Nato-led peacekeeping force (Isaf) in eastern Afghanistan.

The attacker drove a lorry laden with explosives at the base in Khost province, a security source in Kabul and a Taliban spokesman both said.

Isaf confirmed insurgents had attacked one of its bases in the east but did not give any further details.

One unnamed local official told Agence-France Presse news agency that seven Afghan civilians had been killed.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source added that the attacker had driven the lorry into the first security post outside the base.

Seven Afghan construction workers were killed and a further 13 people were injured, the source added.

Speaking to the private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said a "group of Taliban armed with light and heavy weapons and suicide attack vests" had followed up the lorry bomb with an assault on the base.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 2 Jun - 11:03


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10:43am UK, Saturday June 02, 2012

A kidnapped British aid worker has been rescued in Afghanistan in what David Cameron has described as an "extradordinarily brave, breath-taking" operation by coalition forces.
Helen Johnston, 28, was freed along with three other hostages - Kenyan national Moragwe Oirer, 26, and two Afghan civilians - in an early morning raid.

They had been abducted on May 22 in the northeast province of Badakhshan.

The Prime Minister said he authorised the rescue on Friday afternoon due to increasing concerns over the safety of Ms Johnston and the other hostages.

According to Sky sources, the strike team on the ground during the operation were all British.

They were helped by Isaf forces as well the Afghan government, and involved a "long route march" without being discovered.


We are delighted and hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Helen and all her colleagues have been freed.

Statement from Ms Johnston's parents and brother
Mr Cameron confirmed all four hostages are safe, no British troops were injured in the raid - and a number of Taliban and hostage-takers were killed.

"The most important message is to terrorists around the world - they should know if they take British citizens as hostage we do not pay ransoms, we do not trade prisoners," the PM said.

"They can expect a swift and brutal end."

Praising the rescue operation, he added: "It was an extraordinarily brave, breath-taking operation that our troops had to carry out.

"I pay tribute to their skill and dedication."

All four hostages work for Medair, a humanitarian non-governmental organisation based near Lausanne in Switzerland.

They were seized at gunpoint while travelling on horseback to relief project sites in the mountainous Badakhshan province.

Mr Cameron said he had spoken to the aid worker herself, along with her parents, Philip and Patricia, and her brother Peter.

In a statement, Ms Johnston's family said: "We are delighted and hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Helen and all her colleagues have been freed.

"We are deeply grateful to everyone involved in her rescue, to those who worked tirelessly on her behalf, and to family and friends for their love, prayers and support over the last 12 days."

Ms Johnston and her colleague Ms Oirere are both receiving support from British embassy staff in Kabul.

The two Afghan aid workers were returning to their families in Badakhshan.

Isaf commander General John R. Allen thanked the Afghan interior ministry for its "tremendous support throughout this crisis".

He said the mission exemplified "our collective and unwavering commitment to defeat the Taliban".

"I'm extremely grateful to the Afghan authorities and proud of the Isaf forces that planned, rehearsed, and successfully conducted this operation."



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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Badboy on Tue 5 Jun - 21:54

AL-QAIDA NO2 HAS BEEN KILLED IN PAKISTAN IN A DRONE ATTACK.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Wed 20 Jun - 16:17

Jun 20, 9:46 AM EDT


US officials: 3 US troops killed in Afghan attack

By AMIR SHAH and HEIDI VOGT
Associated Press











KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- American officials say three U.S. service members and an Afghan interpreter have been killed in a blast that also left 17 Afghans dead in eastern Afghanistan.

The U.S. Embassy said Wednesday that three NATO service members and an Afghan interpreter died in the explosion. A U.S. official speaking anonymously to discuss casualties ahead of the official release says that the foreign troops killed were Americans.

Afghan officials said the strike in Khost province was a suicide bomber who rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into a military convoy.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Fri 22 Jun - 9:08

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Five Taliban militants attacked a hotel near Kabul on Friday and seized dozens of hostages, sparking a fierce gunbattle with Afghan and NATO troops that ended after several hours.

At least three security guards, a police officer and four civilians were killed in the standoff, Kabul police chief Ayoub Salangi said in a statement. All five militants were also killed, he said.

Authorities stormed the hotel as soon as the siege ended to find out whether there were any civilians holed up.

By the end of the siege, police had rescued about 50 civilians held hostage in the hotel, according Salangi.

Terrified civilians fled when the gunmen struck the Spozhmai hotel around midnight Thursday local time, with some jumping into a nearby lake to avoid the bloodshed. The hotel was hosting an outdoor dinner that drew a large number of guests when the attack occurred.

Afghan forces had moved slowly overnight to avoid civilian casualties.

"We did not take any action in the dark because of the risk to civilians," Salangi said.

There was no immediate indication of coalition forces casualties, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

The attack follows recent strikes aimed at coalition troops and Afghan security forces. Bombings in two eastern provinces Wednesday killed at least 29 people, including three American soldiers.

It also comes nearly a year after an insurgent attack on Kabul's Hotel Inter-Continental killed nine attackers and 12 others.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the hotel attack targeted Westerners.

Attackers are armed with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, he said in an e-mail while the siege was under way.

"Every night people come here for different types of debauchery, but on Thursday night, the number increases, including foreigners who come here and they hold anti-Islamic ceremonies," Mujahid said. "Tonight, according to our information, a number of ISAF and embassy diplomats from foreign countries have been invited by some senior Kabul administration officials and are now under attack."

He said the Taliban fought government forces outside the hotel and had killed tens of government officials and foreigners, but the insurgents regularly inflate casualty figures.

The Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist militia, once ruled most of the country.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 7 Jul - 11:43


(CNN) -- The United States named Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally Saturday, clearing the way for the two countries to maintain a defense and economic relationship even as American combat troops withdraw.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the designation during a surprise visit to Kabul.

A day after the announcement, she will attend a gathering of international donors in Tokyo who will be asked to pledge financial support for Afghanistan after nearly all U.S.-led NATO troops pull out of the country by the end of 2014.

The relationship is beneficial during the transition as both nations prepare for post-2014, according to Clinton.


Report: Afghanistan war mishandled "It will open the door to Afghanistan's military to have a greater capacity and broader kind of relationship with the United States, and particularly the United States military," Clinton told reporters in Kabul.


Program helps deliver babies safely By granting such ally status, it makes Afghanistan eligible to receive military training and assistance, including expediting the sales and leasing of military equipment long after NATO troops leave.


Part 2: U.S. plan for Afghanistan "There are a number of benefits that accrue to countries that have this designation," she said. "They are able to have access to excess defense supplies, for example, and they can be part of certain kinds of training and capacity building."


Top U.S. General's plan for Afghanistan The United States gave Afghanistan the designation as part of an Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in May by President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai.

Afghanistan joins Japan, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel and Australia, among others, granted major non-NATO ally status by the United States. Unlike NATO allies of the United States, who are bound together by a joint defense pact, there is no mutual defense guarantee as a non-NATO ally.

Clinton made it clear the United States has no intention of abandoning Afghanistan after the troops withdrawal.

"We will continue, of course, to protect Afghanistan from any efforts by insurgents and outsiders to destabilize Afghanistan," she said.

Clinton and Karzai are headed to the meeting Sunday in Tokyo, where private and public donors are expected to pledge nearly $4 billion in aid for reconstruction.

During the news conference, Clinton also hinted at thawing U.S.-Pakistani relations, which were virtually frozen after the killing of Osama bin Laden, U.S. claims that Pakistan failed to crackdown on insurgents conducting cross-border attacks in Afghanistan and Islamabad's demand that Washington apologize for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

Clinton apologized Tuesday for the killings, prompting Pakistan to allow trucks carrying supplies to NATO troops to cross from Pakistan into Afghanistan for the first time in seven months.

"We were struck by the recent call from Pakistan's parliament that Pakistani territory shall not be used for any kind of attacks on other countries, and all foreign fighters, if found, shall be expelled from Pakistani soil," Clinton said during the news conference.

"So we want to deepen our security cooperation with Pakistan."

Clinton said there would be a meeting on the "ministerial level" between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States at the Tokyo gathering.

The United States has not publicly said how much money it will pledge, though Clinton said Saturday that "of course the United States will be making a substantial commitment."

There are questions, though, about whether private and commercial donors will commit to large handouts without a guarantee that money won't be siphoned off by corruption rampant in Afghanistan.

Clinton told reporters that she was "encouraged by what she was hearing" about financial pledges at the Tokyo meeting, but conceded corruption was a major challenge.

Poverty and corruption are widespread in Afghanistan. It came in 172nd out of 187 countries in the United Nations' 2011 Human Development Index, which ranks nations based on life expectancy, education and living standards.

Questions were raised after the United Nations announced an investigation in June into its Afghanistan development fund that pays the salaries of Afghan police amid allegations of misuse of funds.

"We take seriously any allegations of corruption that involve U.S. funds, and we are working with the United Nations to support the steps they have said they would take to address the concerns raised by donors about allegations of mismanagement of the Law and Order Trust Fund."

Clinton said "mutual accountability would be discussed" at the meeting in Tokyo.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sun 8 Jul - 19:28

8 July 2012 Last updated at 15:56 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page


Donors at a conference on Afghanistan have pledged to give it $16bn (£10.3bn) in civilian aid over four years, in an attempt to safeguard its future after foreign forces leave in 2014.

The biggest donors, the US, Japan, Germany and the UK, led the way at the Tokyo meeting in offering funds.

The pledge came as Afghanistan agreed to new conditions to deal with endemic corruption.

There are fears Afghanistan may relapse into chaos after the Nato pullout.

Donors agreed to hold a follow-up conference in the UK in 2014.

The Afghan economy relies heavily on international development and military assistance. The World Bank says aid makes up more than 95% of Afghanistan's GDP.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan itself two roadside bombs killed 14 civilians and injured another three in the southern Kandahar province, regional police chief Gen Abdul Raziq said.

The first bomb hit a car, and the second exploded when a tractor arrived to rescue the wounded. Women and children are among the dead, the regional governor's office said.

And new video has been released apparently showing the execution-style shooting of a woman in a village north of Kabul by local Taliban fighters last week.

The woman was reportedly accused of adultery. A Taliban spokesman denied the group had ordered the killing.

David Loyn

BBC News, Kabul

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The scale of the challenge ahead is shown by a large death toll in several bomb attacks apparently targeting civilians in Kandahar, and new video of the shooting of a woman in a village north of Kabul by local Taliban fighters last week.

Nobody is counting how many women are shot by the Taliban in summary executions for "moral crimes" but there is evidence that they are a frequent occurrence and there is little that the Afghan government is doing to stop them.

A recent Action Aid report found that violence against women is increasing as tension grows ahead of the withdrawal of foreign combat troops - with 87% of those surveyed reporting some level of domestic violence.

In rural villages women are treated as property, and half of the women in jail (and all of the girls in juvenile detention centres) are there for the so-called crime of "running away" - fleeing from an abusive husband - although this is not recognised as a crime in law.

In his opening remarks at the Tokyo conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to "fight corruption with strong resolve".

He said that despite the progress made in the past 10 years, Afghanistan's economy remained vulnerable and security a major obstacle.

"It will take many years of hard work on our part as Afghans, as well as continued empowering support from our international partners before Afghanistan can achieve prosperity and self-reliance," he said.

"We must do what we can to deepen the roots of security and make the transition irreversible."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed Mr Karzai's remarks, saying progress in Afghanistan remained "fragile".

"Failure to invest in governance, justice, human rights, employment and social development could negate investment and sacrifices that have been made over the last 10 years," said Mr Ban.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the need for reform to safeguard changes achieved in Afghanistan.

"That must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law, increasing access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women," she said.

The Tokyo conference is being attended by high-level delegates from more than 70 nations and international organisations.

Participants had promised $4bn in annual aid between 2012 and 2015, Japanese and US officials said, in return for mechanisms to monitor the Afghan government's progress on improving governance and combating endemic corruption.

Military support

The civilian aid sought in Tokyo comes on top of $4.1bn in military assistance for Afghanistan's armed forces pledged by a summit of Nato leaders in Chicago in May.

According to plans endorsed at the Chicago meeting, Nato-led forces will hand over combat command to Afghan forces by mid-2013, followed by a withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014. After that, only training units will remain.

President Karzai: "Afghanistan remains vulnerable as our economy continues to be underdeveloped"
Speaking during a brief stop-over in Kabul on her way to Tokyo on Saturday, Mrs Clinton announced that the US had given Kabul the status of "major non-Nato ally".

The a move is seen as another signal aimed at allaying Afghan fears about waning Western support.

The designation as major non-Nato ally, which already includes close US allies such as Australia and Israel, gives Kabul easier access to advanced US military technology and streamlines defence co-operation between the countries.

The last country to be granted the status was Pakistan in 2004.

In May, US President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement outlining military and civil ties between the countries after 2014.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 9 Jul - 15:23

6 American troops killed in Afghanistan IED attackBy the CNN Wire Staff
July 9, 2012 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
NEW: A U.S. official says 6 troops killed in eastern Afghan blast are all American
2 other ISAF members were also killed in southern Afghanistan this weekend
Officials earlier reported roadside bombings killed at least 26 civilians on Sunday
(CNN) -- Six U.S. troops were killed by an improvised explosive device Sunday in eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. official said.

The official asked to remain nameless because he was not authorized to speak about the incident publicly. Earlier in the day, the International Security Assistance Force issued a press release announcing the deaths without offering more details, including the nationalities of the slain troops.

A total of eight international troops were killed over the weekend, according to ISAF, which was first established by the U.N. Security Council in 2001 to secure Kabul and taken over by NATO two years later.

In separate news releases about incidents in southern Afghanistan, the coalition reported one of its servicemembers died Saturday after "an improvised explosive attack" and another was killed Sunday in "an insurgent attack."


Report: Afghanistan war mishandled
U.S. plan for Afghanistan The latest attacks came the same day diplomats from around the world convened in Tokyo to discuss Afghanistan's future, including what kind of international assistance the war-torn nation will receive going forward.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said donors at the conference pledged about $16 billion for Afghanistan over four years, a figure that doesn't include money from the United States since any foreign aid must be approved by Congress.

UN chief warns against holding Afghan aid hostage with reform demands

Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Sunday, officials reported at least 26 people killed around the country in roadside bombings.

At least 14 people -- including women and children -- died when bombs detonated around the tractor and truck that they were riding on in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Kandahar Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq said. Three others were wounded in that blast.

"This is the act of the enemy of our people who are restlessly trying to kill our innocent people," Raziq said.

Women and children were among 12 people killed in a separate incident near the border crossing with Pakistan used by NATO supply convoys, said Bashir Bangulzai, deputy commissioner of Pakistan's Killa Abdullah district.

And seven people were injured when a bus hit a landmine near Chaman, also in Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, said Bangulzai.

Those eastern Afghanistan explosions, as well as bombing that killed the six NATO troops, follow a deadly week in the region.

Home and Away: Share your tributes to fallen soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts

Prior to the latest attack, the International Security Assistance Force reported six "innocent civilians" were killed and 28 injured in eastern Afghanistan at the hands of insurgents between June 30 and July 7.

"Despite the efforts of the enemies of government of (the) Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ISAF forces in eastern Afghanistan remain committed to partnering with their Afghan National Security Forces counterparts to secure a stable and prosperous future for the Afghan people," ISAF said Sunday in a press release detailing the casualties.

Video: Taliban publicly execute woman; men cheer

Allegations: American generals delayed Kabul hospital abuse probe

CNN's Barbara Starr and journalists Ruhullah Khapalwak and Ayza Omar contributed to this report.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 10 Jul - 9:58

Manhunt under way for Taliban who shot woman in public execution amid cheersBy the CNN Wire Staff
July 9, 2012 -- Updated 2139 GMT (0539 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Afghan President Hamid Karzai orders arrests of those involved
Police are investigating the killing, the provincial governor says
Commander of NATO troops offers assistance in the hunt for those involved
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the arrest Monday of the Taliban who participated in the public execution of a woman accused of adultery.

Shock and outrage have mounted since an amateur video surfaced of a burqa-clad woman sitting on the ground while a man standing a few feet away shoots her nine times before a cheering mob.

The execution raises questions about what the 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan will mean for women, who regained basic rights of education and voting after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Karzai condemned the killing and ordered security officials to arrest and punish those involved, according to a statement released by the president's press office.

Saving Face: The struggle and survival of Afghan women

Officials in Afghanistan, where the amateur video was taken, believe the woman was executed because two Taliban commanders had a dispute over her, according to the governor of the province where the killing took place.

Both apparently had some kind of relationship with the woman, Parwan province Gov. Abdul Basir Salangi said.

To save face, they accused her of adultery, Salangi told CNN on Sunday. Then they "faked a court to decide about the fate of this woman and in one hour, they executed the woman," he added.

Both Taliban commanders were subsequently killed by a third Taliban commander, Salangi said.

Karzai called on officials to track down everyone involved, including those in the video.

"We went there to investigate, and we are still looking for people who were involved in this brutal act," he said Sunday.

U.S. Army Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, said he was encouraged by reports that provincial police were "investigating the circumstances surrounding this atrocity."

He also offered the assistance of NATO troops to track down those responsible for the killing, according to a statement released by the U.S.-lead International Security Assistance Force.

6 American troops killed in Afghanistan IED attack

The killing took place in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district, just north of the capital of Kabul.

Karzai described those involved in the shooting death as "cowards," saying "such crimes are unforgivable both in Islam and under our country's laws," the statement from his press office said.

The United States condemned the killing "in the strongest possible terms," calling it a "cold-blooded murder."

"The protection of women's rights is critical around the world, but especially in Afghanistan, where such rights were ignored, attacked and eroded under Taliban rule," the American Embassy said in a statement Sunday.

The public execution is the latest and among the most shocking examples of violence against women in Afghanistan, but it is far from an isolated case.

Hundreds of students and teachers at girls' schools in the country have been hospitalized with suspected poisoning this year alone. Girls were forbidden to go to school when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.

Nearly nine out of 10 women suffer physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage at least once in their lifetimes, Human Rights Watch said in its 2012 annual report.

UN chief warns against holding Afghan aid hostage with reform demands

Roadside bombs kill dozens in Afghanistan

U.S. designates Afghanistan a major ally, creates defense ties

CNN's Richard Allen Greene, Chelsea J. Carter and Sara Sidner, and journalist Ruhullah Khapalwak contributed to this report.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Badboy on Tue 10 Jul - 14:38

IGNORANT SCUM WHO SHOULD BE HUNTED DOWN.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 14 Jul - 8:14

Suicide Bomb Attack At Afghan WeddingA local politician is said to be among the dead after the assailant set off his explosives at the wedding of an MP's daughter.7:25am UK, Saturday 14 July 2012 EmailA suicide bomber has blown himself up at a wedding party in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people.

Up to 40 others were injured in the attack - one of the most deadly in the country for months.

Reports said the assailant walked into the wedding reception of the daughter of Afghan MP Ahmad Khan Samangani and detonated his explosives.

Mr Samangani, who had been a mujahideen chief who fought against the Soviets in the 1980s, and against the Taliban during their rule in the late 90s, is said to be among the dead.

One report suggested the bomber had hugged the MP before blowing himself up.

The Taliban has denied responsibility for the attack in Aybak, the capital of the northern Samangan province.


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 14 Jul - 18:46


Editor's note: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, one of the key figures in the plan for an Islamic center near ground zero, and author of "Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America." His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy, and Time magazine named him among the 100 most influential people of the world. Daisy Khan is executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and founder of WISE & Global Muslim Women's Shura Council.

(CNN) -- We watched in horror this week at the execution of an Afghan woman who was shot nine times while a crowd of roaring men who call themselves Muslim cheered and screamed. We were reminded of a similar tragedy that took place in 1999 in which a mother of five, clad in a blue burqa, was shot dead in a soccer stadium in Kabul. Both of these women were wrongfully accused of adultery, as there was no proof, evidence, fair trial, due process or justice.

The similarities between the two slayings signaled to us that not much has changed in Afghanistan in the decade since the United States first became involved there. When we Americans ask why we have failed in Afghanistan, we blame the Afghans' antiquated tribal practices and their hate of America's freedom, and most of all, we blame their religion: Islam.


Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Daisy KhanThough we have said it over and over again, let us reiterate once more: The actions of these men were in absolute and supreme violation of God's laws, and Islam does not condone unmitigated violence of any kind. Period.

Manhunt under way for Taliban who shot woman in public execution

Though the U.S. declared the promotion of women's rights, human rights and democracy as its policy goals before invading Afghanistan, it would appear that all three were lost in our efforts to establish a "secular" democracy in an Islamic Republic.

When our government deployed our troops intending to eliminate al Qaeda and the Taliban and establish a new government in Afghanistan, we took responsibility for the future of its people. Is it not tragic, after all the bloodshed and the billions of taxpayers' dollars spent, that there could be a resurgence of the Taliban and this kind of unimaginable violence? When the U.S. leaves Afghanistan permanently, Afghan women will undoubtedly suffer.

Throughout the past decade, our policymakers have failed to take into account the important role that religion held (and still holds) in the structure of Afghan society. If we want to affect the way that Afghans conceptualize important notions such as justice, we must understand the forces in their lives that guide their decisions.

Poll: Religion is not the biggest enemy for Arab women

After 30 years of constant warfare, unstable political, civil and governmental systems and a dismal education system, many Afghans look to religious authorities to guide their actions. The solution to fighting extremism and affecting change in Afghanistan lies within the religious system; secular ideologies that are imposed on Afghans are alien to them.

Having said this, Americans do not have to sacrifice our goals of spreading democracy and peace to the Afghan people.

Just as our Founding Fathers established "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as basic rights for all Americans, so too does Islam establish the protection and preservation of life, religion, family, intellect, property and dignity for all. We must look for ways in which such rights can be realized, and ways in which we can work with Afghans to address these injustices.

In 2006, Daisy founded the Women's Islamic Initiative on Spirituality and Equality (WISE), a social justice movement that works to reclaim women's rights in Islam. Its Global Muslim Women's Shura Council of scholars and activists were so compelled by the level of violence against women that they published "Jihad Against Violence," (PDF) a report that condemns both violent extremism and domestic violence.

The response to this report, along with WISE's Imam Training Program to End Violence against Women in Afghanistan, was overwhelming. Many Afghan imams confided in us that the scriptural evidence that we provided helped them to realize that they were propagating distorted and incorrect interpretations of the Quran, unintentionally.

Egypt's Islamists: Much to prove on women's rights

The value of these religious literacy trainings were so transformative that we were told, "The U.S. government should not have spent billions (on the war); they should have spent millions and involved the imams (with regards to women's rights), and everything would have been different today." Similarly, an Afghan woman told us, "imams are our only shield against the Taliban."

The Arab Spring has forced U.S. policymakers to acknowledge the fundamental importance of engaging with religious-political movements in the Middle East, and efforts to include these movements are gradually making their way into our foreign policy.

As Muslims, we know that it is only in the religious sphere that we can achieve our vision of peace, democracy, prosperity and the realization of human and women's rights in Afghanistan, and prevent atrocities like public executions from ever happening again.

Opinion: Why world must react to Taliban execution

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Wed 18 Jul - 15:46

Afghanistan: Taliban bomb destroys 22 Nato fuel tankers The trucks were parked overnight in Samangan province, as they headed from Uzbekistan towards Nato forces in the south.


A bomb planted by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan has destroyed 22 Nato fuel tankers carrying supplies to coalition forces, local officials say.

The vehicles were hit by a pre-dawn explosion which triggered a huge fire that engulfed them in flames, they say.

At the time, the trucks were parked overnight in Samangan province, as they headed from Uzbekistan towards Nato forces in the south.

Police told the BBC that the fire caused by the bomb is still burning.

An intelligence official said the device was attached under one of the trucks, which were parked close together.

"Since it was early in the morning, there were not a lot of people around. Otherwise, it could have caused a lot more casualties,'' the official told the BBC.

In a statement, the Taliban said they carried out the attack, which officials say is the first of its kind in northern Afghanistan.

The trucks were attacked in the same province where well-known Afghan politician Ahmad Khan Samangani was killed in a suicide attack on Saturday while attending his daughter's wedding.

Nato has relied heavily on overland supplies from Central Asia since last November when Pakistan banned Nato convoys after US airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.

Although Pakistan lifted its blockade earlier this month, Nato traffic has yet to return to normal.

While attacks on Nato tankers have been commonplace in Pakistan in recent years, correspondents say such attacks in Afghanistan have been much less frequent.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 23 Jul - 9:29

HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Three Americans were killed by an Afghan policeman, an official says
A NATO spokesman says the three were contractors, but did not confirm nationalities
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An Afghan policeman opened fire at a training center in western Afghanistan on Sunday, killing three Americans, a police official told CNN.

The Afghan official, who declined to be named, said the three victims were most probably trainers at the West Zone Police Training Center in Herat province. The shooter was also killed, the official said.


Afghanistan execution sparks outrage NATO spokesman Maj. Adam Wojack said the three killed were civilian contractors working for the International Security Assistance Force. He could not confirm their nationality or what their specific jobs were.

The Afghan police official said it was not immediately known whether the attacker had links to any insurgent groups. The motive for the shooting was also unknown.

More information will be released Monday, he said.



Last edited by Panda on Tue 24 Jul - 18:21; edited 1 time in total

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 24 Jul - 18:20

24 July 2012 Last updated at 12:37 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

346ShareFacebookTwitter.Afghan policemen defect to Taliban in Farah province Continue reading the main story
Taliban ConflictLife after Nato in wild east
Rogue soldiers
Nato's exit strategy Watch
Taliban strength

An Afghan police commander and 13 junior officers have joined the Taliban in the western Afghan province of Farah, in what correspondents say could be the biggest defection by police.

They say the commander, named as Mirwais, was in charge of a 20-man checkpoint when he defected on Sunday.

The men are said to have taken heavy weaponry, radios and police vehicles including US-made armoured Humvees.

Farah is one of the most insecure areas in the relatively peaceful west.

The commander was based in Shewan village in the district of Bala Bulak, which was until recently considered a Taliban stronghold.

The insurgents were driven out of the area following a series of operations carried out by Afghan security forces. But local officials say insurgents have regrouped in the area recently.

Rarely reported

Police and intelligence officials deployed in the province said the commander poisoned seven policemen in his charge who had refused to defect along with him.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis

Bilal Sarwary

BBC News, Kabul

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Government officials, both in Kabul and the provinces, are shocked and confused. How could a senior police commander for a strategic district have defected? It is a huge embarrassment for the Afghan government - which also explains its silence.

There has been no press release, no statement. The incident took place late on Sunday night but full details emerged only on Tuesday.

But this is a clear case of a major intelligence failure and a further propaganda boost for the insurgents.

The reality is that commanders like Mirwais are key to the security and stability of remote villages and areas, where local deal-making and contacts are crucial to compensate for a weak Afghan government.

"Mirwais and his policemen had joined the force nearly two-and-a-half years ago. Mirwais had fought the insurgents in this area for quite some time," an Afghan intelligence official in the region told the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul.

"Long before he defected, he must have been passing intelligence and crucial information to the insurgents," the official said.

Officials said that the equipment taken by the defectors - rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine-guns, radios and police vehicles, including two Humvees - will be a major boost to the Taliban in the area.

Humvees are prized trophies among Taliban commanders, both for their symbolic value and practical ability to travel over rough ground with armoured protection, correspondents say.

Our correspondent says this is believed to be the biggest police defection to the insurgents. Over the past few years similar incidents have taken place on a much smaller scale in the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, Uruzgan and in Ghor, Farah, Badghis and Herat in the west.

Such incidents have rarely been reported in the Afghan media, our correspondent says.

International forces have recently had increasing success in persuading Taliban fighters to come over to the government side.

Once relatively peaceful, Farah has seen increasing levels of violence. The Taliban and other insurgent groups are active in many districts, particularly those close to the provincial capital, which has witnessed recent attacks.

The province has a strategic position, bordering Iran, and the key Kandahar-Herat highway passes through Farah.


Our troops are there til 2014, U.S. 201/13........get them out NOW Afghanistan will never have any loyalty to the Allies.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 30 Jul - 22:09

30 July 2012 Last updated at 18:24


Hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars may have been wasted on poorly managed infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, a report to Congress says.

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, found that project "planning, co-ordination and execution" had been weak.

Security costs were likely to rise in the short-term, he added, as private companies hand over to Afghan forces.

The US plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The quarterly report released on Monday also found that several construction projects were so far behind schedule that they were unlikely to be completed before US troops leave the country.

'Extraordinary funds'

It said "a significant portion" of the US government's $400m (£254m) investment in large infrastructure projects in fiscal year 2011 alone may have been wasted because of the poor planning.

The report also says the US Army has accepted contract construction so poor it prevented multi-million dollar police bases from being used.

The inspector general noted that one base was unoccupied because it has no viable water supply.

"Other deficiencies included leaking fuel lines, unconnected drain pipes, poorly built guard towers, and improperly installed heating and ventilation systems," the report continues.

The inspector general said there was still time to improve the outcome of the projects in Afghanistan, but warned that time was running out.

The report notes that if Congress approves the Obama administration's latest budget request the US will have allocated almost $100bn on Afghan reconstruction.

The inspector general says the US has never provided so much funding over a similar period of time rebuilding another country.

He points out that reconstruction aid to Germany in the aftermath of World War II amounted to less than $35bn in 2011 dollars.

The report pledges "aggressive oversight of these extraordinary funds" to save taxpayer money and improve the outcomes of the projects.

The report was particularly critical of a handful of projects run by the US Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund (AIF), five of which are running six to 15 months behind schedule.

Execution of all but one of the power-sector projects has been postponed, it says.

The report warns these projects may eventually have adverse effects in their local areas "because they create an expectations-versus-reality gap in the affected population or because they lack citizen support".

It goes on to say the defence department, the state department and USAID, which jointly manage AIF, did not make realistic cost estimates or produce adequate plans to maintain the projects.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Thu 2 Aug - 8:02

2 August 2012 Last updated at 07:10 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page


Afghan officials say eight insurgents believed to have been planning attacks in central Kabul have been killed in a gun battle.

Security personnel raided a house in the east of the city and fighting broke out in the early hours of Thursday.

The battle continued for six hours. Dozens of homes were evacuated and vehicles containing explosives were also found at the scene.

The raid involved Afghan forces acting on a tip-off, officials said.

Officials say three vehicles packed with explosives have been seized from insurgents along with suicide vests and other weapons, the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul reports.

Three insurgents with remote controls and directions for sophisticated attacks in different parts of the city were arrested last night, Kabul police chief Gen Mohammad Ayub Salangi told the BBC.

"This was a really big plan. Thank God we were able to stop it," intelligence agency spokesman Latifullah Mashal told the Associated Press.

The Taliban has denied that its fighters were involved in the battle.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sun 5 Aug - 11:03

5 August 2012 Last updated at 08:22 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

Looted Afghan artefacts returned to Kabul One ancient Buddha statue was recovered in Japan

Hundreds of archaeological artefacts looted from Afghanistan will be handed over to the country's national museum during a ceremony in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday.

Many of the 843 pieces were stolen during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s and ended up on the black market.

Some of the items, which include stone statues of Buddha and intricate ivory carvings, are up to 4,000 years old.

The British Museum in London has helped to complete their return.

Some of the stolen artefacts were recovered by British border forces and police, while others were found in private collections and bought back by generous donors.

One stone Buddha, thought to be around 1,800 years old, was stolen from the museum in Kabul and recovered in Japan.

The British Ministry of Defence flew the pieces back to Afghanistan in large crates, landing at their military base in Camp Bastion.

Afghan archaeologists say the repatriation of the treasures, which had been feared lost forever, is a source of national pride.

More than two thirds of the exhibits at the National Museum in Kabul were stolen or destroyed during the civil war.

The BBC's correspondent in Kabul, Aleem Maqbool, says there will be concerns about the fate of the artefacts, given the unpredictability surrounding Afghanistan's future.

But archaeologists here say having so many of their treasures back on home soil is a source of great national pride, our correspondent adds.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 6:33

7 August 2012 Last updated at 05:32 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page



A bomb blast near the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed at least eight civilians, local officials say.

They say the remote-controlled device hit a minibus in the Paghman district at about 0500 local time (0030 GMT).

The officials say the intended target was a police patrol. A man suspected of placing the bomb has been arrested.

Taliban insurgents often use roadside bombs to carry out attacks, but no group has so far claimed responsibility for Tuesday's blast.

The Afghan security forces have carried out numerous operations in the area in recent years, often seizing weapons and ammunition.

Tuesday's attack comes as Afghan forces prepare to take over from foreign troops by the end of 2014.
More

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Aug - 13:31

7 August 2012 Last updated at 10:57
Afghan civilians killed in bomb blast near Kabul
The bomb in Paghman district was detonated by remote control
Continue reading the main story

Taliban Conflict



  • Life after Nato in wild east
  • Rogue soldiers
  • Nato's exit strategy Watch
  • Taliban strength

A bomb blast near the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed at least nine civilians, local officials say.

The remote-controlled device hit a minibus in Paghman district at about 05:00 local time (00:30 GMT).

Reports say the intended target could have been a bus carrying members of the Afghan National Army that had passed moments before.

A second blast at a Nato base south of the city is reported to have injured at least 12 people.

Officials say a truck loaded with explosives was detonated at an International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) camp in Pule Alam, Logar province.

An Isaf spokesman told the AFP news agency that a number of troops had been wounded.

Provincial police chief Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Lewanai told the agency: "A truck loaded with explosives detonated at the coalition forces' camp in Pule Alam city.

"So far we have information that 17 Afghan civilians and three Isaf soldiers have been injured."

The force of the blast was felt several kilometres away.

A local resident told the BBC: ''I was on my way to the base where I work when I heard a huge bang. I was on a bicycle 3km (two miles) away."

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack by text message, according to AFP.
'Revenge attack'
A senior Afghan intelligence official in Logar province blamed the Haqqani network for the Nato base attack.


"This is a revenge attack by the Haqqanis for the arrest of several of their leaders in Logar and the most recent killing of field commanders at a district level,'' he told the BBC.

The Haqqani network is closely allied to the Taliban and reportedly based in Pakistan.

It has been blamed for several high-profile attacks against Western, Indian and government targets in Afghanistan.
Explosives under bridge
A man suspected of placing the earlier minibus bomb was arrested after local villages gave chase, according to Associated Press.

The criminal director for Kabul police, Mohammad Zahir, said explosives were placed under a bridge and detonated when the bus drove over it.

No group has claimed responsibility, but Paghman district police chief Col Amrullah blamed insurgents affiliated with the Taliban.

The Taliban often plant roadside bombs.

Afghan security forces have carried out numerous operations in the area in recent years, often seizing weapons and ammunition.

In other developments, officials in Paris have said that one French soldier has been killed and another wounded in a firefight with insurgents in Kapisa province.

The wounded soldier is expected to survive, a statement from the prime minister's office said.

Foreign troops are preparing to hand full responsibility for security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

France plans to have removed its troops from the country by the end of this year.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

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