Category - Afghanistan

Explosions, gunfire as Taliban attack Afghan parliament

AFP, By Emal Haidary, June 22

Taliban militants attacked the Afghan parliament on Monday, with gunfire and explosions rocking the building, sending lawmakers running for cover in chaotic scenes relayed live on television.

The insurgents tried to storm the complex after triggering a car bomb but were repelled and have taken position in a partially-constructed building nearby, officials said of the ongoing attack.

All Members of Parliament were safely evacuated after the attack, which came as the Afghan president’s nominee for the crucial post of defence minister was to be introduced in parliament.

The assault on such a high-profile target in downtown Kabul raises fresh questions about security as Afghan forces battle a resurgent Taliban for the first time without the aid of NATO forces, who ended their combat mission in December.

US to delay Afghanistan withdrawal, leave more troops – report

RT, March 15

The White House has dropped plans to slash the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan to 5,500 this year, AP reported. Official sources claim the withdrawal is likely to be much slower and have 9,800 US troops remain in Afghanistan well into 2016.

The report, citing unnamed officials, states that no final decision has been made, but discussions are ongoing about keeping US troops in Afghanistan or nearby even after 2016.

It is believed that US President Barack Obama will use Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit later this month as an opportunity to announce a new withdrawal deadline. In the past, Ghani made clear he wanted the pace of US withdrawal to be slower.

U.S. Is Escalating a Secretive War in Afghanistan

Data From Seized Computer Fuels a Surge in U.S. Raids on Al Qaeda

New York Times, By Matthew Rosenberg & Eric Schmitt, February 12

Washington — As an October chill fell on the mountain passes that separate the militant havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a small team of Afghan intelligence commandos and American Special Operations forces descended on a village where they believed a leader of Al Qaeda was hiding.

That night the Afghans and Americans got their man, Abu Bara al-Kuwaiti. They also came away with what officials from both countries say was an even bigger prize: a laptop computer and files detailing Qaeda operations on both sides of the border.

American military officials said the intelligence seized in the raid was possibly as significant as the information found in the computer and documents of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after members of the Navy SEALs killed him in 2011.

In the months since, the trove of intelligence has helped fuel a significant increase in night raids by American Special Operations forces and Afghan intelligence commandos, Afghan and American officials said.

U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan

AP, December 28

Kabul, Afghanistan – The United States and NATO formally ended their war in Afghanistan on Sunday with a ceremony at their military headquarters in Kabul as the insurgency they fought for 13 years remains as ferocious and deadly as at any time since the 2001 invasion that unseated the Taliban regime following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The symbolic ceremony marked the end of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force, which will transition to a supporting role with 13,500 soldiers, most of them American, starting Jan. 1.

Gen. John Campbell, commander of ISAF, rolled up and sheathed the green and white ISAF flag and unfurled the flag of the new international mission, called Resolute Support.

“Resolute Support will serve as the bedrock of an enduring partnership” between NATO and Afghanistan, Campbell told an audience of Afghan and international military officers and officials, as well as diplomats and journalists.

Iran extends visas for 450,000 Afghan refugees

Reuters, By Jessica Donati, December 13

Kabul – Iran said it had agreed to extend temporary visas for 450,000 Afghan refugees for six months, lifting a threat to send them back home to a country facing attacks by resurgent militants.

Afghanistan — struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of people left homeless inside its own borders by a wave of violence — this month asked its neighbor not to expel the Afghan refugees who did not have the right documents.

Kabul said 760,000 refugees were at risk and it was not immediately clear what would happen to those who did not receive extensions.

United Kingdom ends Afgan combat operations

CBS/AP, October 26

London – Britain has ended combat operations in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, defense officials said Sunday.

U.K. troops have witnessed the lowering of the Union flag for the last time at the Camp Bastion complex in Helmand, which they shared with U.S. Marines, who also folded up operations in Afghanistan in a ceremony at Camp Leatherneck on Sunday.

Every single combat Marine and British troop will soon board planes to head home – the exact date has been withheld for security reasons, reports CBS News’ Erin Lyall. It’s a milestone in Helmand, the deadliest province for coalition forces throughout the war, with more than 940 troops killed, including 360 Marines. Five have died this year.

U.S. and Afghan soldiers witnessed the British ceremony, which marked the end of operations for the Southwest Regional Command, a U.S. and U.K. coalition operating under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, British officials said.


U.S. ends operation at Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan

Base to be handed over to Afghan military control

NBC, October 26

American combat operation have ended in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province.

A ceremony at the Bastion-Leatherneck military complex Sunday marked the official end of the operations in Helmand. The US and British flags were lowered and folded up at the regional headquarters of the international military.


Reuters: Britain ends combat role in Afghanistan, last U.S. Marines hand over base

US and Afghanistan sign long-awaited security agreement

A deal signed Tuesday allows US forces to remain in Afghanistan after the majority of NATO coalition forces withdraw.

Al Jazeera, September 30

The United States and Afghanistan on Tuesday signed a long-awaited security pact to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country after the majority of NATO coalition forces withdraw at the end of the year, fulfilling a campaign promise by newly elected President Ashraf Ghani.

At a ceremony in the capital, Kabul, U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham and Afghanistan’s newly appointed national security adviser Mohmmad Hanif Atmar signed the document.

There are currently about 41,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of 130,000 in 2012. Most will leave after the international military force formally ends its combat mission at the end of 2014.

Under the terms of the agreement, troops from Germany, Italy and other NATO members will join a remaining force of 9,800 U.S. soldiers, bringing numbers up to about 12,500. The foreign troops will be tasked with training and assisting Afghanistan’s security forces maintain stability.

The Price of Freedom

People are allowed to think, say, and yes, even tweet whatever the hell they want, so long as their actions do not contravene the law. They are still American citizens:

Since Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2009, his father had become an expert on Guantanamo Bay’s detainees. It was out of necessity, because the Taliban demanded that the United States free prisoners from Guantanamo in exchange for Bergdahl.

“No family in the United States understands the detainee issue like ours,” Robert Bergdahl said in a 2011 plea to his son’s captors.

So it wasn’t entirely unusual when Bergdahl apparently published a tweet last week about Guantanamo’s detainees. Except this tweet was directed at a Taliban spokesman. And it came just four days before it was announced that his son was finally being released.

“I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners,” the tweet said, according to various screen grabs. The tweet was subsequently deleted. “God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen.”

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Republicans Suck

Would You Buy A Used Hostage From This Man?

Really:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can expect a buoyant homecoming after five years in Taliban hands, but those in the government who worked for his release face mounting questions over the prisoner swap that won his freedom.

Even in the first hours of Bergdahl’s handoff to U.S. special forces in eastern Afghanistan, it was clear this would not be an uncomplicated yellow-ribbon celebration. Five terrorist suspects also walked free, stirring a debate in Washington over whether the exchange will heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees — several senior Taliban figures among them — would find their way back to the fight.

U.S. officials said Sunday that Bergdahl’s health and safety appeared in jeopardy, prompting rapid action to secure his release. “Had we waited and lost him,” said national security adviser Susan Rice, “I don’t think anybody would have forgiven the United States government.”

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