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Entries in Afghanistan (579)

Friday
Jul052013

Suicide Bombing at Afghan Police Station Kills at Least 12

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- A suicide attack in southern Afghanistan killed at least 12 people on Friday and wounded at least five others.

A spokesman for the governor of the Uruzgan province said that the attacker detonated his vest inside the crowded main dining hall for an elite police force. Police and civilians were among those killed in the explosion.

Mohammad Khpalwak, a senior Afghan intelligence officer said that the attacker wore a police uniform and managed to get inside the cafeteria where senior officers, relatives and friends were eating. It is unclear whether the bomber was a member of the police force.

Khpalwak added that the bombing was a breach of security that would be investigated.

In a separate incident, two children were killed by a roadside bombing in the district of Chora. The two children were between the ages of 10 and 11.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun112013

Massive Suicide Car Bomb Explodes Near Afghan Supreme Court

File photo. MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- More than a dozen people have been killed in a massive blast from a suicide car bomb in Kabul Tuesday.

The target appears to have been the Afghan Supreme Court, which is down the road from the U.S. Embassy. The bomber drove to the rear entrance of the courthouse and detonated the device. The back entrance is a very public and crowded residential area. Many of the victims were residents or court workers leaving for the day.

“This didn't happen on the main road leading to the Afghan Supreme Court,” explained ABC’s Muhammad Lila from Kabul. “It happened at the back entrance and the back entrance is bordered by apartments, houses, where people were living and just living out their daily lives and going about their normal routines. So this has certainly shaken residents here in the city of Kabul.”

Since the area was so crowded at the time of the blast, the casualty count is expected to go up as the day progresses. Officials have confirmed between 14 to 16 fatalities and up to 40 have been injured. Many of the injured are in critical condition.

The U.S. Embassy is still under lockdown following the explosion.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack so far.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun082013

Three Americans Killed in 'Insider Attack' in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PATIKA, Afghanistan) -- An apparent insider attack has killed three Americans in the Patika region of Afghanistan.

A man wearing an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon on his American trainers early Saturday, killing three. Two of the trainers were U.S. soldiers. According to BBC News, when the man began firing, a number of international troops fired back at him.

In an unrelated attack, an Italian soldier was killed with a grenade in the Farah province. According to BBC News, the International Security Assistance Force is terming that incident an "insurgent attack." Three additional Italian soldiers were wounded in the attack, says BBC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun032013

NTSB to Investigate Cargo Plane Crash at US Base in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGRAM, Afghanistan) -- Officials from the Afghan Ministry of Transport held a news conference Monday morning and offered an update on the Boeing 747 cargo plane that crashed dramatically at Bagram Air Base on April 29.

The black box from the plane will be taken to the United States by a team from the National Transportation Safety Board. Preliminary information leads officials to believe that the crash may have been caused by a shift in weight of the plane's cargo.

According to Mohammad Afzal Ramzi, a representative of the Ministry of Transport, the last word heard on the black box was either "wait" or "weight." Authorities will have to determine which word the pilot was saying.

Most of the parts found at the site of the crash were burned, while some of the parts that hold cargo in place, including chains and buckles, were broken. At the time of the crash, the plane had been carrying five mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles along with other heavy military equipment.

The investigation could take a year before an official cause is connected to the crash.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun032013

Losing a Hot Meal Makes Marines Hot Under the Collar

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Marines are losing a daily hot meal due to the gradual U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan.

Last Saturday, Camp Leatherneck in southwestern Helmand Province cut back its food service from four to three meals by getting rid of "midrats," which is either breakfast or dinner depending on whether a Marine is starting a midnight-to-noon shift or ending a noon-to-midnight shift.

The Pentagon says the reason for the cutback is because food workers are going home before the Marines who provide security in Afghanistan. It's expected that a total of 30,000 U.S. service personnel will be heading home in the coming months with the plan to get most of the remaining 35,000 troops out of the country by sometime next year.

Yet, Marines aren't too happy about getting shortchanged a meal everyday in spite of the prospects of finally ending the nation's long commitment in Afghanistan. They can't say anything publicly but their relatives are learning about their displeasure through letters back home.

Help may be on the way soon. A Facebook page called "Breakfast for Bagram" has been started to encourage Americans to make food donations to the Marines and others troops who could use a little sustenance from back home.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun012013

Taliban Denies Responsibility for Attack on Red Cross

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Just days after an attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Taliban denied responsibility for the suicide bombing on Friday.

The Red Cross, which is one of the largest and most effective non-government organizations in Afghanistan, had been considered "off-limits." Because the Red Cross treats Taliban and civilian injuries alike, the Taliban says that their fighters were under orders not to attack Red Cross workers, says the New York Times.

The Taliban made a public statement last year praising the work done by the Red Cross, have instructed their fighters to allow Red Cross vehicles free passage in Taliban territory and have even given escorts to Red Cross workers in Taliban-controlled areas.

According to the New York Times, a Taliban spokesperson said that his organization “wants to clarify to everyone that it was neither behind the May 29th attack on the I.C.R.C. office in Jalalabad city nor does it support such attacks.”

It is not common to see the Taliban deny responsibility for an attack in this way, which raises additional questions. Not the least of those questions is who, if not the Taliban, was behind last week's attack and why they have not claimed responsibility.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May232013

Afghan President Promises He Won't Seek Third Term

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai won't run in 2014. Actually, he can't. The flamboyant and often inscrutable leader is barred by his constitution from seeking a third term.

Karzai asserted that there is "no circumstance that will allow me to stay as president" when asked whether he'll try to get around term limits while on a visit to India Wednesday.

According to the Afghan president, he's actually ready for retirement after eight grueling years. But even more importantly, Karzai asked rhetorically, "Why would I ruin my legacy by staying on and taking an opportunity away from Afghanistan to become an institutionalized democracy?"

Despite his sometimes puzzling statements about U.S.-Afghan relations, Karzai is a known commodity to the West unlike other potential candidates.

The national elections are set for next April just as U.S. and NATO allies prepare to withdraw most of their military forces from Afghanistan. Washington and Kabul are still trying to hammer out a post-war agreement about what the U.S. role will be in Afghanistan after 2014.

As for how the country will manage without coalition forces to repel foreign and domestic militants, Karzai seemed unperturbed, predicting that Afghanistan is much different from Iraq because there are no sectarian tensions to deal with.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May042013

Five NATO Soldiers Killed in Southern Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Five NATO troops were killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan on Saturday.

The troops, members of the International Security Assistance Force, were killed by an improvised explosive device, according to a statement released by ISAF. NATO officials would not confirm the location of the explosion or the nationality of the troops who were killed.

Many of the troops in southern Afghanistan are British or American.

According to BBC News, the deaths bring to total number of coalition troops killed in 2013 to 47, including 37 Americans.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr072013

US Diplomat Killed in Afghanistan 'Loved the Work She Was Doing'

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The friends and family of Anne Smedinghoff are mourning the 25-year-old Foreign Service Officer killed in a car bomb blast in southern Afghanistan whom they describe as vivacious and loving.

Smedinghoff was one of five Americans killed in a suicide bomb attack in Qalat, Zabul.

Working as a press officer for the U.S. embassy in Kabul, she was helping Afghan journalists cover an event at a boys school where the local U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team was to donate math and science books.

The other Americans killed in the attack were three military service members and a civilian working for the Defense Department. Four State Department officials, including one described as critically injured, were among the 10 injured in the attack.

"The world lost a truly beautiful soul," Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff said in a statement. "Anne absolutely loved the work she was doing" as a press officer at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, they said.
Having served in the Foreign Service for only three years, Smedinghoff volunteered to serve in Afghanistan and arrived last July.

"We are consoled knowing that she was doing what she loved, and that she was serving her country by helping to make a positive difference in the world," her parents said. "She was such a wonderful woman -- strong, intelligent, independent, and loving. Annie, you left us too soon; we love you and we're going to miss you so much."

Traveling in Istanbul, Secretary of State John Kerry described Smedinghoff's death as the "stealing of a young life."

"There are no words for anybody to describe the extraordinary harsh contradiction of a young 25-year-old woman with all of the future ahead of her, believing in the possibilities of diplomacy, of changing people's lives, of making a difference, having an impact, who was taking knowledge in books to deliver them to a school. And someone somehow persuaded that taking her -- his life was a wiser course and somehow constructive, drives into their vehicle and we lose five lives," Kerry said.

Kerry had met Smedinghoff two weeks ago during his recent trip to Afghanistan, where she had been assigned to coordinate his trip.

"I remember her as vivacious, smart, capable, often chosen by the ambassador for her capabilities," Kerry said. He said of his call to Smedinghoff's parents on Saturday that "there is no harder conversation to have in the world."

Afghan security officials told ABC News that the State Department convoy had just left its headquarters in Qalat and joined the convoy of the local provincial governor who was also headed to the school book giveaway.

That's when two suicide attackers attacked the convoy. The security officials said there was an initial car bomb detonated by a remote device. Then a suicide bomber wearing a suicide vest appeared and caused more casualties.

Afghan sources say the school event had been announced a day in advance, which possibly allowed attackers enough time to plan the attack.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr062013

Six Americans Killed in Attacks in Afghanistan

iStockphoto(KANDAHAR, Afghanistan) -- A suicide bomber killed five Americans and an Afghan doctor while wounding several others on Saturday while another American was killed in a separate incident in another part of the country.

In southeastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives while the convoy carrying the Americans passed by another convoy carrying a provincial governor. It’s unclear at this time which convoy the bomber was targeting.

The blast killed three U.S. troops, two American civilians, and the Afghan doctor. A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said that several other Americans and Afghans were wounded in the attack.

An American civilian was also killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan.

The attacks occurred as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived to assess ways the U.S. can continue to province training once coalition forces leave.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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