Deputy Bureau Chief, Afghanistan
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Jul 1, 2011

Afghan general resigns over Pakistan shelling

KABUL (Reuters) – A barrage of 40 rockets was fired into eastern Afghanistan from Pakistan on Friday, a senior official said, as the top border police commander for the region offered his resignation over the government’s response to weeks of attacks.

General Aminullah Amarkhil, head of the border police in the eastern region, said he was not able to return fire and could not stand by as people were killed by the shells.

Jun 28, 2011

Canadians say goodbye to “queen” sniffer dogs in Afghanistan

SPERWAN GHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Sniffing out bombs that kill and maim hundreds of Western soldiers in Afghanistan each year is a game for Eggy, rewarded with a lightly boiled chicken breast.

“It’s as simple as that, she just wants to go out and have fun,” said Sinisa “Bullet” Erkman, a Croatian who works as the handler for the five-year-old German shepherd.

Jun 26, 2011
via Afghan Journal

An encounter with a paratrooper at Kabul airport


The security at the very large military section of Kabul International Airport has recently been handed over to Belgian paratroopers, from a more relaxed unit of Macedonians .It’s hard to say if this is because NATO-led forces feel they need to step up security after a bloody shooting at the airport and Taliban threats of more attacks, or just the vagaries of NATO staffing.

But the reception they gave me – and some Afghans who arrived at the gate at the same time – was a reminder of why NATO is having such problems retaining Afghan support, despite all the blood and money being spent to secure the country.

Jun 25, 2011

Lychees and salmon for Canada’s desert soldiers

FOB SPERWAN GHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – In the dusty heart of the Panjwai valley, there are waffles and real maple syrup for breakfast, salmon and tagliatelle for dinner, and lychees, ice-cream and home-made cookies for desert.

The lucky diners are not VIP visitors but Canadian soldiers, who between meals head out to fight the Taliban in the poppy fields and narrow mud lanes of one of the most dangerous corners of southern Afghanistan.

Jun 22, 2011

On the ground in Afghanistan, U.S. drawdown is distant

PANJWAI DISTRICT, Afghanistan (Reuters) U.S. Lieutenant Jonathan Austin’s men spent Wednesday as they expect to spend the best part of a year — patrolling grape orchards in the blazing desert sun, scrambling over mud walls and scanning the paths of Chariagen village for homemade bombs.

Word had not filtered down to their outpost in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province that U.S. President Barack Obama had chosen that evening to announce his plans for starting to bring home U.S. troops.

Jun 20, 2011

U.S. ambassador warns Karzai over criticism of West

KABUL (Reuters) – The U.S. ambassador to Kabul has issued a thinly veiled warning to Afghan President Hamid Karzai that harsh criticisms of the West could jeopardize the troops and funding critical to the Afghan government’s survival.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry said he found comments from “some” Afghan leaders “hurtful and inappropriate,” according to a transcript of a speech released late on Sunday.

Jun 19, 2011

Afghan leader says U.S. in contact with Taliban

KABUL (Reuters) – The United States is in contact with the Taliban about a possible settlement to the war in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday, the first official confirmation of U.S. involvement in negotiations.

U.S. officials would neither confirm nor deny Karzai’s assertion on American contacts with the Taliban, which was ousted from power in a 2001 U.S. invasion for hosting al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

Jun 18, 2011

Iran defense chief in Kabul as Afghans eye security

KABUL (Reuters) – Iran’s defense minister made a landmark visit to Afghanistan on Saturday to bolster ties as Kabul prepares to assume security control from NATO-led forces and Washington seeks to wind down its almost decade-old tenure.

Majority Shi’ite Iran and majority Sunni Afghanistan share a long border and history, and Western powers have alleged that Tehran’s involvement included supporting the Taliban insurgency to compete with U.S. influence. Iran denies that charge.

Jun 18, 2011
Jun 18, 2011

Suicide attack on Kabul police station kills three

KABUL (Reuters) – Suicide bombers in army uniform attacked a Kabul police compound on Saturday, killing two policemen and a civilian in the second major attack inside the Afghan capital in under a month, Afghan officials said.

The Taliban vowed last month to carry out attacks, including suicide bombings, on foreign and Afghan troops and government officials, and have assassinated several senior police commanders since the start of the year.

    • About Emma

      "I moved to Afghanistan in late 2010 after nearly six years reporting from China, initially covering energy issues and more recently writing about political and general news. I have also worked in Spain and Britain."
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