McCain arrives in Afghanistan on Fourth of July visit
July 4th, 2013
05:10 AM ET

McCain arrives in Afghanistan on Fourth of July visit

U.S. Senator John McCain arrived on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Thursday, a coalition spokeswoman told CNN.

The Arizona Republican is expected to meet with U.S. forces. He is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Kabul • McCain
Top US commander in Afghanistan warns Karzai comments increase risk
March 14th, 2013
12:43 PM ET

Top US commander in Afghanistan warns Karzai comments increase risk

By Barbara Starr

The commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is warning his top commanders of new risks of attacks due to rising tensions between NATO forces and the Afghan president, an ISAF official told CNN Thursday.

The personal e-mail Gen. Joseph Dunford sent Wednesday is not a formal threat advisory, said the official, who did not want to be identified.

The tensions between the NATO-led coalition forces - especially those from the United States - and President Hamid Karzai escalated after a bomb blast in Kabul last weekend that killed nine people.

Karzai said afterward that there are "ongoing daily talks between Taliban, American and foreigners in Europe and in the Gulf states."

Dunford quickly denounced Karzai's remark.

"We have fought too hard over the past 12 years. We have shed too much blood over the past 12 years. We have done too much to help the Afghan Security Forces grow over the last 12 years to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage," he said.

In the e-mail sent Wednesday, Dunford told commanders that Karzai's recent statements "could be a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces - he may also issue orders that put our forces at risk."

ISAF is currently in discussions with the Afghan government about the terms for the turnover of the detention facility at Bagram to the Afghans, as well as the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from Wardak Province following still unsubstantiated complaints about U.S. troop misconduct there.

Dunford met with Karzai Wednesday to discuss the transfer of the detention center. The general said it "must be done in a way that meets the needs of Afghan sovereignty while mitigating the real threats that some of these detainees pose to Afghan and coalition forces.

"We will complete the transfer when the remaining issues have been resolved," Dunford said in a statement on ISAF's website.

Several media reported Karzai gave a speech Tuesday in which he suggested the government would take unilateral actions to assume control of the detention center if the transfer was delayed much longer.

In his e-mail, Dunford calls Karzai's remarks about Bagram "inflammatory speech."

ISAF called the general's warning "prudent given increased coalition casualties in recent days."

"ISAF routinely conducts assessments and adapts its protection posture to ensure our forces are prepared to meet potential threats and that they have a common understanding of the situation here in Afghanistan," the ISAF statement said. "General Dunford's e-mail is simply an example of this vigilance."

Blast near Hagel's briefing, killing nine
March 9th, 2013
07:56 AM ET

Blast near Hagel's briefing, killing nine

By Ben Brumfield

An explosion rocked Kabul on Saturday, hours after the newly appointed U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel landed in the Afghan capital.

At least nine people were killed and 14 others injured, police said.

A suicide bomber apparently targeted the Afghan ministry of defense, said Charlie Stadtlander, ISAF spokesman.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Hagel • Kabul
October 19th, 2012
04:51 AM ET

Drunk contractors cause harm in Afghanistan, lawsuit alleges

By Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd

The amateur video shows men, shirtless and seeming dangerously drunk, rolling on the ground or staggering near a counter top covered with booze bottles. Another part of the video shows a man babbling incoherently with a syringe nearby.

This is not a scene at a college frat house. It is a video of employees of an American security contractor working in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"It reminded me of times I'd visit my friends going to college that were in fraternities," said John Melson, a former employee of Jorge Scientific who was based at that villa in Kabul on assignment to support efforts to train Afghan security personnel.

The images in this video are now part of a lawsuit by two former employees of Jorge Scientific who allege that contractors with the firm were careless with their guns, abused local staffers, wrecked cars, destroyed furniture, and often could not perform their duties due to drunkenness.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Contractors • Kabul • Lawsuit
Violence rages as surge troops depart Afghanistan
September 18th, 2012
07:25 PM ET

Violence rages as surge troops depart Afghanistan

By Mike Mount

A spate of violent attacks in Afghanistan spurred on by an anti-Muslim video made in the Unites States, as well as continued attacks on coalition forces by their Afghan partners, is putting a tumultuous start on the first step of the U.S. handover of authority to the Afghan government.

The attacks come at a sensitive time as the United States removes the last of the more than 30,000 surge troops the Obama administration rushed in to quash an increasingly powerful Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan in 2010.

Those remaining troops are scheduled to be out of the country by the end of this month, bringing the U.S. troop level down to about 68,000 in addition to other NATO allies and Afghan forces.

July 24th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Congress to hear allegations of failings at US funded Afghan hospital

By Barbara Starr

More than two years after the U.S. military discovered horrifying abuse at an Afghan hospital it was funding, Congress will on Tuesday finally hear directly from U.S. military whistle blowers and other witnesses about the scandal.

Lawmakers will listen to accusations of rampant Afghan corruption, millions of wasted taxpayer dollars and allegations that two senior U.S. Army generals tried to delay an investigation into it all, because they thought it would make the Obama Administration look bad just prior to the 2010 midterm elections.

The House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security has called the hearings after months of asking the Pentagon to investigate the matter. To date, the Pentagon has only said it is reviewing the allegations; it has not publicly said whether a formal investigation has been launched.

The hearing will bring together several recently retired military officers and current officials for the first time to testify formally about what they know about what happened at the Dawood National Military Hospital in Kabul. U.S. troops worked there trying to train Afghan medical teams to care for their wounded, spending nearly $180 million on drugs, supplies and equipment.


July 6th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Allegations: American generals delayed Kabul hospital abuse probe

By Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent

Wounded Afghan soldiers, lying in dirty beds, with unchanged bandages and festering wounds. Some starving because their families have no money to pay for their food. Some beaten when they tell the staff they need pain medication. These are examples of alleged abuse that one Pentagon official described to CNN as "atrocities."

It is said to have happened in 2010 at the Afghan National Military Hospital in Kabul, a hospital in large part funded by the United States and a place where U.S. military personnel were training Afghan medical staff in how to properly treat patients.

It is those U.S. personnel who first brought the alleged abuse to light by taking photos and documenting what happened. Two years later, the United States insists conditions have dramatically improved after two investigations by the Pentagon's inspector general.

But for one man, that's not enough.


June 7th, 2012
04:38 AM ET

Karzai condemns NATO airstrike; Panetta arrives in Kabul

By the CNN Wire Staff

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned a NATO airstrike this week that a provincial official says killed women and children, in a statement that came just as U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived Thursday in Kabul for talks.

A provincial official has said among the dead in the airstrike were civilians, while the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said initial reports revealed only two injuries.

ISAF is aware of the claims of civilian casualties and was looking into what took place, a spokesman for the coalition said.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Kabul • Karzai • Panetta
U.S.-Afghan agreement short on specifics
Afghan President Hamid Karzai shakes hands with President Obama after signing a strategic partnership agreement on May 1, 2012 at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
May 1st, 2012
05:50 PM ET

U.S.-Afghan agreement short on specifics

By Mike Mount

President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that outlines cooperation between their countries after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces in 2014.

With little detail and few specifics in the document, U.S. officials say it paints a broad stroke of what the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship will look like from 2014 through 2024.

Officials said the document highlights military, diplomatic and economic relationships between the two countries without offering specifics on troops levels, economic assistance and the status of diplomatic relations.

With some 88,000 U.S. troops operating inside Afghanistan, the document does state that there will be no permanent U.S. bases in the country after the 2014 withdrawal, officials said. The agreement also allows for the possibility of U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to train and conduct counterterrorism operations to go after what a White House fact sheet described as "targeting the remnants of al Qaeda."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Kabul • Karzai • Obama
Karzai blames attacks on "intelligence failure"
April 16th, 2012
05:28 PM ET

Karzai blames attacks on "intelligence failure"

By Adam Levine

Afghanistan's president said the attacks this weekend in his country represent a "serious intelligence failure" by NATO and other allies.

President Hamid Karzai made the comment about the coordinated attacks in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan in an interview with Christiane Amanpour during the premiere of her new CNN International program, “Amanpour."

"This is indicative, ma'am, of serious intelligence failure, especially an intelligence failure of our allies in NATO and others, because of the equipment that they have, because of the resources that they have, because of the time that they've spent in this part of the world," Karzai said in the interview, which aired Monday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Kabul • Karzai • Military
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