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 24th, 2012
03:45 AM ET

Shooter in Afghanistan insider attack is an Iranian national, official says

By Masoud Popalzai

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - The female police officer who killed a U.S. contractor in Kabul on Monday is an Iranian national, an Afghan government official said Tuesday.

Sediq Seddiqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, said the Afghan police officer is an Iranian citizen who met her Afghan husband in Iran. After they eventually went to live in Afghanistan, he managed to help her illegally obtain Afghan citizenship.

The United States has long been concerned about Iranian terror-related activity against U.S. targets. But Seddiqi said he doesn't have evidence to link the attacker to militant groups carrying out acts of terror. She was arrested and was questioned, he said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • NATO
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
ISAF: US temporarily halts training of Afghan police over attacks
Members of Afghanistan police and military attend a tactical officer course training by U.S. Marines in Helmand Province in June.
September 2nd, 2012
09:37 AM ET

ISAF: US temporarily halts training of Afghan police over attacks

From Masoud Popalzai, CNN

U.S. Special Operations Forces has suspended the training of Afghan Local Police recruits while it double checks the background of the current police force following a rise in attacks against NATO troops by their Afghan counterparts, an official said Sunday.

The order follows reports that more than 40 NATO troops were killed this year by either members of the Afghan security forces or by insurgents disguised as an Afghan policeman or soldier.

"Current partnered operations have and will continue, even as we temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new ALP recruits while revetting current members," said Col. Thomas Collins, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"While we have full trust and confidence in our Afghan partners, we believe this is a necessary step to validate our vetting process and ensure the quality indicative of Afghan Local Police."


February 25th, 2012
09:52 AM ET

American officers killed in Afghan ministry

By Nick Paton Walsh, with reporting from Barbara Starr and Masoud Popalzai

The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack Saturday inside the Afghan interior ministry that killed at least two American officers.

NATO and Afghan officials reported the deaths of two American officers inside the ministry in Kabul, prompting Gen. John Allen to order all military advisers with the International Security Assistance Force to withdraw from government ministries in the Afghan capital as a safety precaution, according to a U.S. official.

Click here for updates.

February 21st, 2012
06:17 AM ET

Kabul protest and apology over Quran disposal

By Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, Masoud Popalzai in Kabul and Sarah Jones in Atlanta

Qurans and other Islamic religious materials gathered for disposal from a detention facility at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan were inadvertently given to troops for burning, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force said Tuesday.

"This was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials," Gen. John Allen said. "It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it, we immediately stopped and we intervened."

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the airfield Tuesday, furious over reports of the burning. FULL POST

February 14th, 2012
05:16 PM ET

Ten-year-old suicide bombers arrested

By Barbara Starr at the Pentagon and Masoud Popalzai in Afghanistan

Two children have been rearrested in southern Afghanistan for being prospective suicide bombers, the International Security Assistance Force said.

The two "young male" would-be bombers were detained in the past week, the ISAF said in a written statement.

The two kids, both ten years old, were arrested along with three adults, according to the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security (NDS).

Last summer, Afghan President Hamid Karzai pardoned a group of would-be child suicide attackers ranging in age from 8 to 17. Some of the 20 youngsters told Karzai they had been recruited by the Taliban, strapped with vests and ordered to detonate them near foreigners, the president's office said in a statement last August. FULL POST