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Afghanistan

NEWS
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
NEWS
April 7, 2013 | By Mirwais Khan and Patrick Quinn, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
April 5, 2013 | By Kim Gamel, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
April 5, 2013 | By Patrick Quinn, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
April 3, 2013 | By Kim Gamel, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
April 2, 2013 | By Abdullah Rebhy, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
March 27, 2013 | By Matthew Lee, Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan - Eager to overcome a bout of bickering, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a show of unusual unity between their two nations on Monday. The friendly display came as the U.S. military ceded control of its last detention facility in Afghanistan, ending a longstanding irritant in relations. Kerry arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul on an unannounced visit amid concerns that Karzai may be jeopardizing progress in the war against extremism with anti-American rhetoric.
NEWS
March 20, 2013 | By Scott Sonner and Ted Bridis, Associated Press
HAWTHORNE, Nev. - A mortar shell explosion killed eight Marines and injured a half-dozen more during mountain warfare training in Nevada's high desert, prompting the Pentagon to immediately halt the use of some of the weapons worldwide until an investigation can determine their safety, officials said Tuesday. The explosion occurred Monday night at the Hawthorne Army Depot, a facility used by troops heading overseas, during an exercise involving the Second Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Several Marines from the unit were injured in the blast, authorities said.
NEWS
March 15, 2013 | By Kevin Sieff, Washington Post
KABUL, Afghanistan - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has warned that President Hamid Karzai's harsh public statements against the United States this month could increase the risk of an attack on U.S. forces. Gen. Joseph Dunford sent an e-mail Wednesday to his subordinate generals saying that Karzai's remarks could trigger more "insider attacks," in which disgruntled or radical Afghan troops or police officers turn their weapons on U.S. troops. One such incident in Wardak province this week left two U.S. Special Operations troops dead when an Afghan policeman opened fire.
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