April 30, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai said Monday that his national security team has been receiving payments from the U.S. government for 10 years. Karzai confirmed the payments when he was asked about an article published in the New York Times saying the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks, and plastic shopping bags. During a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, where he was on an official visit, Karzai said the welcome monthly payments were not a "big amount" but were a "small amount," although he did not disclose the sums.
April 29, 2013 |
Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that "a great man is one sentence. " Presidents, in particular. The most common "one sentence" for George W. Bush (whose legacy is being reassessed as his presidential library opens) is: "He kept us safe. " Not quite right. He did not just keep us safe. He created the entire antiterror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe. That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush's antiterror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced - until he found it indispensable.
April 17, 2013 |
CHICAGO - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stopped in Chicago on Monday to visit the parents of the young U.S. diplomat who was killed while delivering textbooks in southern Afghanistan earlier this month. Kerry made the detour on his way back from Japan, the final leg of a 10-day overseas tour that started with tragedy when he learned of Anne Smedinghoff's death while readying to depart for Turkey on April 6. At the time, a clearly affected Kerry contacted Smedinghoff's parents, Tom and Mary Beth, from Andrews Air Force Base.
April 12, 2013
Two decorated Pennsylvania national guardsmen who had been serving in Afghanistan since last year were killed in a helicopter crash this week, officials announced Wednesday. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner, 34, of Harrisburg, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder, 26, of Mohnton, near Reading, were piloting an Apache helicopter during what was described as a reconnaissance mission Tuesday in the eastern Nangarhar province when the aircraft crashed, according to Staff Sgt. Matt Jones of the state National Guard.
April 10, 2013
The new novel from Inquirer columnist Lisa Scottoline, "Don't Go" (St. Martin's Press), is in bookstores now. This is the third of three excerpts. Chapter Three Mike climbed the jetway at Philadelphia International Airport in a sort of trance, numb. His backpack hung off his shoulder, and his iPod buds were plugged into his ears, though he played no music. He'd turned off his phone in Afghanistan to avoid the condolence e-mails and calls from his former partners and friends.
April 7, 2013 |
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Extremists killed six people - five Americans, including a young female diplomat, as well as an Afghan doctor – in a pair of attacks Saturday. It was the deadliest day for the United States in the war in Afghanistan in eight months. The violence, which erupted hours after the U.S. military's top officer arrived for consultations with Afghan and U.S.-led coalition officials, illustrates the instability plaguing the nation as foreign forces work to pull nearly all their combat troops out by the end of 2014.
April 5, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents wearing Afghan army uniforms launched a suicide attack and stormed a courthouse Wednesday in a failed bid to free Taliban inmates, killing at least 44 people, half of them shot in the basement. All nine attackers were killed. The attack - one of the deadliest in the more than 11-year-old war - began about 8:30 a.m. when nine men wearing suicide vests drove into the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan, evading checkpoints by using army vehicles, according to the provincial police chief.
April 5, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan accused Pakistan on Thursday of placing unacceptable conditions on efforts to bring peace to the country after nearly 12 years of war, the latest in a series of barbed exchanges that have sunk relations between the two neighbors to a new low. A breakdown in ties threatens to hinder - or even paralyze - attempts to lure the Taliban to the negotiating table. That's a key goal of the United States and its allies as they work for a peaceful solution in Afghanistan ahead of the final pullout of foreign combat forces in 20 months.
April 3, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan teenager fatally stabbed an American soldier in the neck as he played with children in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, as the U.S. death toll rose sharply last month with an uptick in fighting due to warmer weather. Last week's calculated attack shows that international troops still face myriad dangers even though they are increasingly taking a backseat in operations with Afghan forces before a full withdrawal by the end of 2014. Just one U.S. service member was killed in February - a five-year monthly low - but the American death toll climbed to at least 14 last month.
April 2, 2013 |
DOHA, Qatar - Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with the emir of Qatar in Doha on Sunday to discuss the possible opening of a Taliban office in Qatar. The move could foster peace negotiations with the Islamic fundamentalist movement in a bid to stem violence as foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Qatar News Agency said Karzai met with the emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and other senior government officials. He also held talks with Qatar's ambassador to Pakistan during a tour of an Islamic art museum in Doha.