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Mar 16, 2012

Insight: Few options for Afghan, U.S. leaders after Kandahar massacre

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Hamid Karzai exploded in anger when he learned last week that an American soldier had massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children.

When Karzai discovered that an aide had kept the news from him until after he had addressed the nation on television, the anger turned to rage.

Mar 13, 2012

Billions in cash flees Afghanistan, economy threatened

KABUL (Reuters) – Wealthy Afghans are carrying about $8 billion — almost double the state budget — in suitcases out of the country each year, an amount likely to rise as the exit of foreign troops nears and threatening to ruin the fragile economy, a senior official said.

In an interview with Reuters, deputy central bank governor Khan Afzal Hadawal said confidence in the economy had eroded to such a degree over more than a decade of war that cash was pouring out of Afghanistan in suitcases and carry-on bags, taken to safe havens in Dubai and elsewhere.

Mar 12, 2012

Insecurity threatens Afghanistan with economic crisis

KABUL (Reuters) – Security fears ahead of a NATO combat force pullout in 2014 may prompt wealthy Afghans to keep shifting billions of dollars to safe havens in Dubai and elsewhere, threatening the country’s economic survival, the deputy central bank governor warned.

In an interview with Reuters, Khan Afzal Hadawal said confidence in the economy had eroded to such a degree over more than a decade of war that Afghans were hand carrying up to $4 billion a year out from Kabul airport alone — an amount almost equal to last year’s state budget.

Mar 8, 2012

U.S. probes allegations Afghan Air Force involved in drug running

KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. authorities are looking into allegations that some Afghan Air Force (AAF) officials have been using aircraft to transport narcotics and illegal weapons across the country, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

“At this point allegations are being examined,” said Lt. Col. Tim Stauffer, spokesman for the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, which is setting up and financing Afghan security forces, including the Air Force.

Mar 6, 2012

Afghan govt says likely to reach U.S. prison deal

KABUL (Reuters) – An agreement on the transfer of U.S.-managed detention centres to Afghan authorities is likely soon, the Afghan presidential spokesman said on Tuesday, improving the prospects of a strategic partnership deal allowing for long-term U.S. involvement in the country.

“Both sides are studying a memorandum of understanding now. I am optimistic we will reach an agreement in the next three days,” the spokesman, Aimal Faizi, told Reuters. U.S. embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

Mar 6, 2012

Afghan government says likely to reach U.S. prison deal

KABUL (Reuters) – An agreement on the transfer of U.S.-managed detention centres to Afghan authorities is likely soon, the Afghan presidential spokesman said Tuesday, improving the prospects of a strategic partnership deal allowing for long-term U.S. involvement in the country.

“Both sides are studying a memorandum of understanding now. I am optimistic we will reach an agreement in the next three days,” the spokesman, Aimal Faizi, told Reuters. U.S. embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

Mar 4, 2012
via FaithWorld

For some Afghans, suicide bombs are best answer to U.S. troops’ Koran burnings

Photo

(Afghan protesters gesture towards police in Kabul February 24, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

Matihullah, 24, had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Then news spread that Western soldiers had burned many copies of the Muslim holy book at a NATO base in Afghanistan. He gave up his studies and embarked on a new mission in life — to become a suicide bomber.

Mar 4, 2012

Suicide bombs best answer to Koran burnings for some

KABUL (Reuters) – Matihullah, 24, had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Then news spread that Western soldiers had burned many copies of the Muslim holy book at a NATO base in Afghanistan.

He gave up his studies and embarked on a new mission in life — to become a suicide bomber.

Mar 4, 2012

For some Afghans, suicide bombs best answer to Koran burnings

KABUL (Reuters) – Matihullah, 24, had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Then news spread that Western soldiers had burned many copies of the Muslim holy book at a NATO base in Afghanistan.

He gave up his studies and embarked on a new mission in life — to become a suicide bomber.

Mar 4, 2012

Afghan army chief warns against another NATO blunder

KABUL (Reuters) – The burning of Korans at a NATO base in Afghanistan advanced the Taliban’s cause and any repeat of similar “negligence” by Western forces would be disastrous, the Afghan army chief of staff has warned.

The destruction of the holy books, which the United States described as unintentional, triggered widespread protests and fatal attacks on U.S. troops by Afghan security forces and heavily strained ties between Kabul and Washington.