December 26th, 2012
05:58 AM ET

Car bomb hits near U.S. base in Afghanistan

By Masoud Popalzai

A car bomber hit outside a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing three people and leaving civilians injured, authorities said.

The blast killed a security guard and two truck drivers delivering supplies, according to Abdul Qayoom Baqizoy, the provincial police chief.

Six civilians suffered injuries, he said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred after a minibus stopped at the gate for a security check.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban • Terrorism
December 21st, 2012
08:13 PM ET

CIA challenges accuracy of 'Zero Dark Thirty'

By Pam Benson

The CIA joined on Friday the chorus of those challenging the accuracy of a new movie on the Osama bin Laden raid that suggests that harsh interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists helped the agency find the man considered behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

In an unusual move, the acting director of the CIA , Michael Morell, issued a statement to employees on Friday that emphasized that "Zero Dark Thirty" is not a historically accurate film.

Of particular concern are the harrowing scenes at the beginning of the movie that depict a suspected terrorist being interrogated at a secret CIA prison overseas with waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. The suggestion in the movie is that those coercive techniques aided in identifying the courier who eventually led to the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was living.
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November 20th, 2012
05:32 AM ET

California men charged with supporting the Taliban

By Ben Brumfield

Four men from the greater Los Angeles area were allegedly on their way to train with the Taliban in Afghanistan and were plotting to kill American soldiers and bomb government installations, according to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.

They were charged Monday in a federal court in California, where three of them appeared for the first time. The fourth man was already in Afghanistan, where he was also apprehended, said U.S. attorney André Birotte Jr. and assistant director Bill Lewis from the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office in a joint statement.

Sohiel Omar Kabir, Ralph Deleon, Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales and Arifeen David Gojali face charges of supporting terrorists who conspired to kill, kidnap or harm U.S. officers and other U.S. citizens, as well as bomb public places and government facilities.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force in Riverside, California, arrested Deleon, 23, Santana, 21, and Gojali, 21 on Friday. Kabir, 34, spent over six months in Germany before arriving in Afghanistan in July, and is in custody there, according to the statement.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • FBI • Taliban • Terrorism
Treasury targets alleged Taliban narcotics trafficker
November 15th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

Treasury targets alleged Taliban narcotics trafficker

By Jamie Crawford

The U.S. government sanctioned a senior Taliban official on Thursday for his alleged role in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and across the region, saying illicit drugs are used to finance violence.

Mullah Naim Barich, who operates as the "shadow governor" of the Taliban movement in Helmand Province, was singled out by the Treasury Department for his alleged role in the production and trafficking of heroin and opium.

The action freezes any of Barich's assets held under U.S. jurisdiction and bars anyone in the United States from conducting any financial or commercial transactions with him.

"Today's action exposes the direct involvement of senior Taliban leadership in the production, manufacturing, and trafficking of narcotics in Afghanistan and underlines the Taliban's reliance on the drug trade to finance their acts of terror and violence," David Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban
Treasury sanctions terror facilitators in Pakistan
The Treasury Department announced the sanctions in a statement on Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

Treasury sanctions terror facilitators in Pakistan

By Jamie Crawford

The United States imposed sanctions on three men who allegedly facilitated Taliban operations and helped another group deemed a terrorist organization, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

One of the men was linked to the failed car bomb attack on New York's Times Square in 2010, Treasury said.

The three, all based in Pakistan, were each were targeted for allegedly providing material, logistical, or financial support to a separate group: the Taliban in Afghanistan, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

"Today's actions are intended to disrupt the activities of three individuals working to carry out violent attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan that threaten the lives of civilians and military forces," Davis Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
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Filed under: Pakistan • Taliban • Terrorism • Treasury
October 1st, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Officials: Suicide attacker kills 3 NATO forces, 4 Afghan police

By Masoud Popalzai

A suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan Monday killed 12 people, including three NATO service members and four Afghan police, and wounded around 50 others, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry said.

The bomber targeted a joint patrol of ISAF forces and Afghan police, using an explosives-packed motorcycle, according to Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesman for the ministry.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • NATO • Taliban • Terrorism
Hunting down inside attack perpetrators
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2012, an Afghan National Army soldier walks during a patrol with US soldiers from Apache team, Task force Geronimo in the village of Karizona, Sabari District in Khost Province.
September 21st, 2012
03:29 PM ET

Hunting down inside attack perpetrators

By Wesley Bruer

The killing and capture of Taliban leaders and facilitators indicates Afghan and coalition troops are aggressively targeting those insurgents involved in "green on blue" attacks, which have accounted for more than 50 coalition deaths this year.

In addition to taking extreme measures to ensure safety while effectively training their Afghan counterparts, coalition forces have made it a priority to share and utilize intelligence to kill or capture anyone responsible for the insider attacks.

On Monday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the death of a Taliban member believed to be behind a May 11 insider attack. The casualty report stated that "an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform has turned his weapon against coalition service members," which left one service member dead.

The insurgent, identified as "Mahmood," was killed in a precision airstrike in Kunar Province on September 15 in what the assistance force said was "the result of Afghan and coalition efforts to track down and find insurgents involved with insider attacks."
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • ISAF • Taliban
Payoff? Assessing the Afghan surge
September 20th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Payoff? Assessing the Afghan surge

By Mike Mount

The surge of U.S. forces into Afghanistan is all but over. Within days, the last several hundred troops will have left the country, according to U.S. military officials, ending an almost three-year operation to quash what was widely viewed as Taliban resurgence.

In December 2009, just over eight years after the war in Afghanistan started, President Barack Obama ordered more than 30,000 additional troops to stabilize the country enough so U.S. and international trainers could focus on developing the Afghan security forces.

While the U.S. spent years pouring troops and resources into the war in Iraq, the Taliban used that time to rebuild and start re-taking their traditional stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

Ahead of his decision to move these additional troops into Afghanistan, Obama spent several months reviewing numerous options from his advisers on how he should proceed with the "Afghan surge, as it came to be known. It would be one of his administration’s biggest gambles.

"Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the Taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to Afghan lead," the president said last month while talking to the online community Reddit.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Gen. John Allen • Taliban
Taliban video doesn't show attack on Afghan base
Image from video posted online by a group associated with the Afghanistan Tailban purporting to show last week's attack on Camp Bastion.
September 19th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Taliban video doesn't show attack on Afghan base

By Barbara Starr

Taliban video purporting to show the aftermath of a brazen attack on American and British troops in Afghanistan isn't what it claims to be, according to an intelligence analysis by coalition forces.

Part of the footage features a coalition helicopter that wasn't deployed at Camp Bastion at the time of Friday evening's attack, according to British Army Lt. Col. Martin Morris, deputy spokesman for NATO forces headquartered at the joint base.

Daylight footage of the CH-53 helicopter is actually four to six weeks old, Morris said. That type of aircraft had not been stationed at Bastion for more than a month, he said.

Additionally, smoke rising near the landing helicopter came from a burn pit where base garbage is incinerated, Morris said Wednesday.

Two U.S. Marines were killed and a half-dozen Harrier jets were left in ruins after the raid at the installation in the remote desert region of Helmand.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility. FULL POST

September 18th, 2012
05:23 AM ET

Group: Afghanistan attack that kills 12 is response to anti-Islam film

By Masoud Popalzai

An insurgent group that carried out a suicide attack that killed 12 people, including eight foreigners, in Afghanistan on Tuesday said it was in response to the anti-Islam film that has angered the Muslim world.

Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a group allied with the Taliban, said a 22-year-woman drove a car packed with 660 pounds (300 kg) of explosives into a van on a road leading to the Kabul International Airport.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban
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