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Afghanistan

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.
NEWS
March 13, 2013 | By Rahim Faiez and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan - A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed five American service members, officials said Tuesday. Monday night's crash brought the total number of U.S. troops killed that day to seven, making it the deadliest day for U.S. forces so far this year. Two U.S. special operations forces were gunned down hours earlier in an insider attack by an Afghan policeman in eastern Afghanistan. The NATO military coalition said in a statement that initial reports showed no enemy activity in the area at the time.
NEWS
March 12, 2013 | By Ernesto Londono and Kevin Sieff, Washington Post
KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States in strikingly acerbic terms Sunday, implying that the American military was stoking violence in collusion with the Taliban to justify a prolonged presence and alleging that foreign troops were harassing Afghan university students. The remarks painted an embarrassing picture of discord that marred Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first foreign trip as Pentagon chief and plunged the tenuous allies into crisis mode at a time when the United States is struggling to wind down the unpopular war in a dignified manner.
NEWS
March 10, 2013 | By Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post
KABUL, Afghanistan - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in the Afghan capital Friday night to take stock of America's winding-down war in Afghanistan, one of the thorniest issues the new Pentagon chief will confront. Just days after weathering a bruising confirmation process, the former Republican senator said he was eager to get a firsthand look at the war zone, speak to commanders and reacquaint himself with Afghanistan's nettlesome president, Hamid Karzai. "We have a lot of big issues and challenges ahead as we prepare for a responsible transition," Hagel said during the flight to Kabul.
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