For months, Burhanhuddin Rabbani, the elderly statesman charged by the Afghan president to explore peace talks with the Taliban, communicated with a man he thought was an emissary for the armed movement s senior leadership. Abdul Hakim Mujahed, Rabbani s deputy and the highest ranking "former member of Taliban" in the peace council, perceived as an important interlocutor in the talks, had not been consulted about the commutations.
A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday just after a funeral in northern Afghanistan, killing 19 people, including a member of the national parliament, the Interior Ministry said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Over the past year, the Taliban have repeatedly struck at officials and other prominent figures in an apparent effort to paralyze the government. In September, a suicide attacker killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president and head of the nation s peace council.
US-led foreign combat troops are expected to pull out of Afghanistan within three years, but a decade into their mission, security still remains precarious. In Sar Howza in Paktika province, a new district governor has been appointed - the second in just four weeks - after the previous governor was killed in a Taliban attack.
The US defence secretary has told US troops in Afghanistan that they are winning the conflict against the Taliban, as Washington and its allies prepare to begin withdrawing more forces and handing responsibility for security to Afghan forces.
While the Taliban fell just days ofter the 2001 Bonn conference, its critics point to the freezing out of the group from the talks as a major blunder, something Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy to Afghanistan, referred to as the "original sin".
At least 58 people were killed and scores wounded after bombers struck Shiite religious observances on Tuesday in three cities, detonating explosives amid crowds of worshipers in the first such sectarian attacks in a decade of war in Afghanistan.
An international conference tasked with seeking a way forward for Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO combat troops in 2014 is under way in the German city of Bonn, but the absence of the Taliban and Pakistan from proceedings has dampened hopes of success.
NATO foreign ministers are gathered in Bonn on Monday to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan. SPIEGEL spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who will be leading the conference, about how much international involvement will be required following the 2014 withdrawal and about his rocky partnership with the US.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai wants the US to cease carrying out night raids in his country. And he is willing to risk damaging relations with Washington to get his way. He told SPIEGEL that if the raids don't cease, talks about America's post-2014 presence in the country could break down.
The Bonn conference on Afghanistan aimed to paint an optimistic future for the war-torn country. But the country's inhabitants have no illusions: They know that their military cannot protect them, and that the warlords are jockeying for position. Meanwhile, the Taliban are just waiting for the Americans to leave.
When the Afghan government announced Thursday that it would pardon a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after she reported that she had been raped, the decision seemed a clear victory for the many women here whose lives have been ground down by the Afghan justice system.
Afghanistan's security forces face a $4bn ( 2.5bn) funding shortfall after 2014 - when they are supposed to take over the main responsibility for fighting the insurgency - raising questions over whether the Kabul government will have the resources to keep the Taliban at bay, the Guardian has learned
Pakistan is to boycott talks on Afghanistan's future in protest at a Nato air strike which killed 24 of its soldiers at the weekend, officials say. The night-time attack took place at the Salala checkpoint in Mohmand agency, about 1.5 miles from the poorly delineated border with Afghanistan, early on Saturday morning. The Pakistani army said helicopters and fighter aircraft hit two border posts, killing 24 people and leaving 13 injured. Unnamed Afghan officials quoted in The Wall Street Journal said Saturday's air strike was called in to shield Nato and Afghan forces who had come under fire.
As targeted killings have risen sharply across Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials believe that many are the work of counterintelligence units of the Haqqani militant network and Al Qaeda, charged with killing suspected informants and terrorizing the populace on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Afghan forces will assume control of their own security in 18 new areas, some of them still troubled by insurgents, bringing half of the country s population under the government s nominal authority, Afghan officials said Sunday.
If Senator Jeff Merkley's "expedite the drawdown from Afghanistan" amendment to the National Defense Authorisation Act makes a strong showing, it could tip the Obama administration towards a faster drawdown. That would likely save hundreds of US and Afghan lives - not to mention all the people who wouldn't be physically and psychologically maimed - and could easily save the US hundreds of billions of dollars, at a time when the alleged need for fiscal austerity is being touted as a reason to cut Social Security benefits and raise the Medicare retirement age.
Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday. The deaths occurred on Wednesday in Zhare District of Kandahar Province, an area described by coalition forces as largely pacified in recent months, and two insurgents were also killed, the Afghan officials said.
Hundreds of Afghan students have blocked a main highway in the eastern city of Jalalabad, protesting against any agreement that would allow US troops to remain in the country after a planned transfer of authority in 2014.
Delegates at an Afghan national assembly have endorsed a proposal by Afghanistan's president for a long-term security pact with the United States, officials said. More than two-thirds of the delegates said on Saturday they will support President Hamid Karzai's call for a security agreement, but only if the US accepts certain conditions.
Two Afghan police officers have been killed in a clash with Nato-led forces who were conducting a night-time raid, say officials in Afghanistan. The "friendly fire" incident happened in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul. Two other Afghan soldiers were injured, according to the provincial governor.
A US-funded survey in Afghanistan says that 73 per cent of the population is satisfied with the government's performance, a claim which leaders and analysts have disputed as being far from reality.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has told a meeting of tribal elders that a security pact with the US is in the best interests of both nations. He was addressing the gathering, or loya jirga, in the capital, Kabul, amid tight security. The president said that any deal with the US could only work if Afghan sovereignty was respected.
Serious doubts remain that Afghanistan will be able to recover nearly $1bn ( 631.4m)frittered away on disastrous business ventures and now worthless Dubai properties by the disgraced former owners of Kabul Bank, the country's finance minister has said.
The Taliban in Afghanistan says it has obtained a government security plan for the grand assembly of leaders, or loya jirga, which opens in Kabul this week. The document includes what appears to be a detailed list of security arrangements for senior figures.
A group of armed men have stoned and shot dead a woman and her daughter in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, security officials have told the BBC. The officials blamed the Taliban, who they said had accused the women of "moral deviation and adultery".
The soldier accused of being the ringleader of a rogue Army unit that killed three Afghan civilians last year for sport, crimes that angered Afghan leaders and villagers and rattled high levels of the American military, was found guilty of all charges on Thursday.
A team of suicide bombers attacked a government district center in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing three police officers and demonstrating insurgents determination to keep up the pressure on NATO and Afghan forces in the volatile region bordering Pakistan.
At least 11 people have been killed by a roadside bomb in northwest Afghanistan, sources say. Two officers and eight civilians were among those killed after the blast struck a police vehicle and another car behind it in Badghis province late on Monday, Faizullah Azimi, the province's council chairman, said.
Major General Peter Fuller, a top US commander in Afghanistan, has been relieved of his duties after criticising the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), relieved Fuller as deputy commander of the effort to train Afghan security forces after Fuller told Politico that Afghan leaders were "isolated from reality", a US defence official said.
Militants have carried out a suicide gun and bomb attack on a private construction company in the western Afghan city of Herat, officials say. Two guards were killed and four other people wounded, the officials say, with the fighting now said to be over.
Diplomats and foreign government heads are meeting in Turkey for a conference on the security of Afghanistan, which is preparing to hand over some provinces to its own forces for policing, when foreign troops leave the country in 2014.
At least 13 American soldiers were among more than 20 people killed when a Taliban suicide car bomber attacked an armored NATO shuttle bus in Kabul on Saturday, a Western military official confirmed.
American and Afghan troops have killed at least 115 insurgents as part of a tough fight to gain control of a critical corridor and resupply route to a key American base in northeastern Afghanistan, according to Afghan and American military officers.
President Hamid Karzai admitted yesterday that his government and the US-led Nato mission had done "terribly badly" in providing security to Afghans, as the tenth anniversary passed of the invasion that overthrew the Taliban.
Afghanistan is marking the 10th anniversary of the start of the US-led invasion of the country amid growing security concerns and questions over what the next decade will hold. For some Afghans, the Friday anniversary of the offensive against the Taliban and al-Qaeda marks a time of reflection on what the war has meant for their country.
A British government review of the Afghan conflict is to warn that there are "significant risks" of civil war or a Taliban takeover of the south and east of the country after Nato withdraws its combat troops at the end of the 2014.
After the initial US invasion Taliban recognising defeat wanted to talk peace: a formal surrender, the transfer of vehicles and weapons, an end to fighting in Kandahar, all in return for assurances their leaders could be able to return to their villages. That night Obaidullah sent bread for Karzai, in a gesture of conciliation. In retrospect, it was a tantalising opportunity for a smooth post-Taliban transition and, perhaps, a novel political dispensation. But it wasn't to be. Furious after the 9/11 attacks, the US war machine pursued the Taliban hard. Karzai, the new leader, acquiesced. And the Taliban leadership slunk across the border into Pakistan to lick their wounds and plan the resurgence that is racking the country today.
The killer of Afghan peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani was a Pakistani, a statement from Afghanistan's presidential palace has said, quoting investigators. Evidence shows that the former president's death last month "was plotted in Quetta and the person who carried out the suicide attack against Rabbani was a citizen of Pakistan," the statement released on Sunday said.
An Afghan employee has killed one US citizen and wounded another before being shot dead at a compound believed to house a CIA station, officials say. The incident in Kabul took place on Sunday night at the facility, previously known as the Ariana hotel.
The Taliban have refused to accept or deny responsibility for the assassination in Kabul of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, which has plunged the country into a deep political crisis.
The most prominent Afghan official trying to negotiate a reconciliation with the Taliban was assassinated Tuesday night by a suicide bomber with explosives tucked in his turban who had been brought to his home by a trusted emissary, officials said. The assassination was a potentially devastating blow to the Afghan-led peace process aimed at ending 10 years of war.
What is the human cost of the war in Afghanistan for British forces? As British troop deaths reach 381, these are the latest figures - including new wounded and amputation statistics
London barrister Naina Patel spent a year in a hostile Afghanistan province working to establish the rule of law. Safely home, she describes the greatest challenges - and successes - of the role
The American ambassador to Afghanistan has described a 20-hour assault on the heart of Kabul's diplomatic and military quarter as "not a very big deal", after security forces finally killed the last of a small team of insurgents that had paralysed the city.
Insurgents launched a complex assault against the American Embassy and the nearby NATO headquarters on Tuesday, pelting the heavily guarded compounds with rockets in an attack that raised new questions about the security of Afghanistan s capital and the Westerners working there.
Of all the measures of a nation's prospects, the state of its education system is a sure indicator - and Afghanistan is no exception. A decade after the US invasion, Afghan girls have the opportunity to study and pursue careers previously closed to them by the Taliban.
For years, the Taliban s position about negotiating an end to the decade-long war with Hamid Karzai s government or the United States has been straightforward: U.S. troops have to leave Afghanistan first. While analysts have long speculated that the Taliban isn t really as rigid behind closed doors, its leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, now leaves no doubt. The Taliban is already negotiating with the U.S., Omar confirmed.
The US government has wasted more than $30bn ( 18.3bn) on private contractors and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade more than 15% of the total spend according to a bipartisan group charged with examining the issue.
At least 200 Taliban fighters crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan and killed more than 25 soldiers and police, Pakistan's military says. The fighters launched an early morning attack on seven military checkpoints in north-west Chitral district.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday denounced the use of child suicide bombers, saying that militants who recruit them to wage terror are "oppressors of Islam" and "oppressors of children."
The railroad connecting Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, with the Uzbekistan border town of Hairatan, has opened, putting into operation a key node of the U.S. military's overland transport route through Central Asia to Afghanistan. reports Central Asia Online:
The country s beleaguered election commission gave in to political pressure on Sunday and declared that it would change the results of the latest parliamentary elections. The Independent Election Commission announced at a news conference on Sunday that nine members of Parliament would be removed, after having ruled that the election results were final and saying that even the commission could not change the outcome. Nine candidates, previously disqualified over electoral irregularities, would have their seats restored.
A machine gun-wielding provincial governor took part in tackling a team of Taliban suicide bombers on Sunday when insurgents launched another brazen attack on a government facility in Afghanistan.
The hills of this capital stand as monuments to men in battle, topped by crumbling forts and rusted tanks, ancient ramparts and gleaming tombs of kings. One is different but no less a testament to war. It is known as Tapaye Zanabad - the hill that women built.
On May 6, a Central Intelligence Agency drone fired a volley of missiles at a pickup truck carrying nine militants and bomb materials through a desolate stretch of Pakistan near the Afghan border. It killed all the militants - a clean strike with no civilian casualties, extending what is now a yearlong perfect record of avoiding collateral deaths.
Security for the U.S. Supply Chain Is Principally Provided by Warlords. The principal private security subcontractors on the HNT contract are warlords, strongmen, commanders, and militia leaders who compete with the Afghan central government for power and authority. Providing "protection" services for the U.S. supply chain empowers these warlords with money, legitimacy, and a raison d etre for their private armies.
In the deadliest day for American forces in the nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan, insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter on Saturday, killing 30 Americans, including some Navy Seal commandos from the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, as well as 8 Afghans, American and Afghan officials said.
I'm sure Waheed will find better ways of contributing to improve the situation in the country than working for President Karzai's administration, which is as much to blame for the current chaos as the Taliban. My best wishes to him in that effort.
The Afghanistan president's communications director and spokesman has resigned. Waheed Omer, who had been in the post for nearly two years, had the tough job of managing President Hamid Karzai's relations with Afghan and international media amid increasing violence in the country and tense ties between the president and his Western allies.
The top US military officer has said the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan is still the world's most dangerous area, calling it the epicentre of terrorism. In a BBC interview Adm Mike Mullen again called on Pakistan to end "safe havens" there.
Roadside mines have killed 23 civilians in southern Afghanistan, with a minibus and a tractor struck separately by explosives in Helmand province, according to officials. The minibus was travelling from Nahr-e-Saraj district to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, when it hit a mine and all 19 people inside were killed, said Kamaluddin Shirzai, deputy police chief for Helmand.
The cost of British military operations in Afghanistan is now officially estimated at more than 18bn, figures released on Thursday show. The cost of imposing a no-fly zone and bombing targets in Libya is so far officially estimated at 260m.
A team of three to six suicide bombers orchestrated a surprise attack Thursday on the government compound and two other compounds in the capital of southern Afghanistan s Oruzgan Province, killing at least 19 people - including several women and children in a hospital maternity ward - and wounding at least 37, according to hospital officials there.
Five Afghan children have been injured, some seriously, by cannon fire from a British Apache helicopter, according to UK defence officials. It is believed they were hit by stray bullets during an intended attack on an insurgent as they worked in a field in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province, on Saturday.
The U.S. has wasted or misspent $34 billion contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a draft report by a bipartisan congressional panel, the most comprehensive effort so far to tally the overall cost of a decade of battlefield contracting in America's two big wars.
British troops in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province are handing control of the city of Lashkar Gah to Afghan security forces. Nato has already handed over the relatively peaceful province of Bamiyan and the eastern town of Mehter Lam.
Gen. David Petraeus stepped down as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan on Monday, just as the Taliban's strength seems to be on the rise. The militants' growing power comes not from conventional military victories - on that score, Petraeus has racked up considerable advances in the past year - but, rather, from what may be a shift in the real war that's going on: the war for the favor (or at least complicity) of the Afghan people.
Residents of Helmand appear optimistic that Afghan security forces are up to the challenge of taking the lead in providing security in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, after British troops officially hand it over on Wednesday.
Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of the Afghan president, lived under constant fear of assassination. His death last week was the latest of 10 attempts to kill him. The seventh bomb to target me was so big that hundreds of cats fed on human flesh for days afterwards, he told me last July. The man who finally killed Karzai was someone he trusted with his life. Not only was Sardar Mohammed a close confidant, but he also worked as an informant for the CIA, according to relatives, Karzai s friends and the Afghan intelligence agency.
Footage appearing to show the execution-style killing of 16 policemen in the restive north-west of Pakistan has been released by the Taliban. The video shows policemen lined up on a hillside with their hands tied behind their backs in front of gunmen who berate them and then open fire on them.
A close adviser to President Hamid Karzai who had been a fierce foe of the Taliban in Afghanistan s south was killed Sunday night after a small team of gunmen stormed his walled home here in the capital.
SENIOR American and NATO officers in Afghanistan have wanted Ahmed Wali Karzai gone - set aside, retired, out of the country or worse - for many years now. His killing by a close family associate yesterday may have granted their wishes. But what now follows the death of the most powerful political broker in southern Afghanistan may be much worse than Mr. Karzai ever was.
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has led mourners at the funeral of Ahmed Wali Karzai, his influential younger half-brother, who was assassinated on Tuesday in Kandahar by a member of his own security team. Thousands of people gathered on Wednesday morning amid tight security outside the provincial governor's compound from where Ahmed Wali's body was transferred to the family's home village of Karz, some 20km away. Many more piled on to buses to join the funeral procession.
At least five French soldiers have been killed, along with one civilian, in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president, has said. Four other soldiers were seriously wounded in Wednesday's incident in Joybar in the country's eastern Tagab valley, Sarkozy said in a statement a day after he returned home from a visit to the country.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the country will withdraw 1,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2012. He made the announcement during a visit to a military base in the Sarobi district, north of Kabul.