Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Civilian Casualties Afghanistan: Deadly Attacks Rise As International Forces Hand Over Security

By The Huffington Post News Editors

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* Casualties in Afghanistan up by 23 percent compared to 2012:U.N. report
* Women and children increasingly the victims in 12-year-old war
* Insurgents target areas already vacated by international forces
By Jessica Donati
KABUL, July 31 (Reuters) – Violence against civilians has risen by almost a quarter in Afghanistan as international forces hand security to Afghans, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday, with insurgents striking in areas where troops have already left.
The report, presented by the Human Rights Director for the U.N. in Afghanistan, said the number of dead and injured civilians had increased by 23 percent in the first six months of 2013, compared to the same period last year.
Women and children are increasingly the victims of the 12-year-old war, the report said, noting a 30 percent leap in the number of children killed. The total civilian death toll stood at more than 1,300, with 2,533 reported injuries.
Mounting casualties are reinforcing fears about Afghanistan’s ability to tackle the Taliban insurgency on its own, after most foreign troops leave next year. The Afghan army faces one of the highest desertion rates in the world and a chronic lack of logistical and medical support.
“The stepped-up transition of security responsibilities from international military forces to Afghan forcse and closure of international forces’ bases was met with increased attacks by anti-government elements…,” Georgette Gagnon said in presenting the report.
The intensified attacks occurred “mainly at checkpoints, on strategic highways, in some areas that had been transitioned and in districts bordering neighbouring countries”.
Figures released in 2012 showed a decline in civilian deaths compared to the previous year.
The U.N. report said bombs, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), remained the single greatest killer, claiming 53 …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Pentagon Afghanistan Report Says Afghan Forces Will Need Help Beyond 2014

By The Huffington Post News Editors

WASHINGTON — Afghanistan’s military is growing stronger but will require “substantial” additional training and foreign financial aid after the American and NATO combat mission ends next year, the Pentagon told Congress on Tuesday.

The Pentagon’s assertion comes amid debate about the White House’s reluctance to announce how many – if any – U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to help Afghan forces hold off the Taliban.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

US Has Been Building Afghan Dam Since 1950s

By Evann Gastaldo

The US started construction on Afghanistan’s Kajaki dam in the early 1950s—and it’s still not done. “After using multiple contractors and sub­contractors, spending tens of millions of dollars, and losing scores of US and coalition lives, the work is still not complete,” writes the special inspector general for Afghanistan… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Intel experts say it's unlikely the US helped New Zealand spy on reporter in Afghanistan

If the National Security Agency monitored phone conversations between a New Zealand journalist and his Afghan sources, as reported this weekend, it was more likely to have been done under standard military intelligence monitoring of enemy communications in war zones, intelligence officials and experts said Monday. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Afghan Women’s Rights At Risk In Peace Process: UN Watchdog

By The Huffington Post News Editors

* U.N. body warns of possible set-back to women’s rights
* Calls for women to have meaningful role in peace talks
* Increasing Taliban attacks on schools, suspected poisonings
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, July 29 (Reuters) – Women’s rights in Afghanistan risk being further undermined in the fragile country’s peace process due to entrenched patriarchal attitudes, a United Nations watchdog warned on Monday.
Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001, but fears are growing these could suffer a reversal when most foreign forces leave by the end of next year.
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said the Afghan authorities had promised it that women would be able to participate in the peace talks, thereby rejecting Taliban demands for them to be excluded.
“We have had official assurances … I would like to consider a government’s word as credible,” Nicole Ameline, committee chair, told a news briefing.
But the committee of independent experts voiced concern that “women’s interests and needs may be compromised in the peace negotiations due to deep rooted patriarchal attitudes”.
In addition, meaningful participation by women in the peace process is jeopardised by the fact that there are only nine women in the 70-member High Peace Council, the Afghan body created in 2010 to broker peace with the Taliban.
“We have 18 months (before the NATO withdrawal) that consist of a turning point and we have to be absolutely mobilised,” said Ameline, a former French minister.
“There could be backsliding and we cannot accept that.”
The committee said there was already an increasing number of attacks on girls’ schools by Taliban groups opposed to their education, with girls falling ill in school from suspected poisoning in some instances. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Afghanistan Justice Program Found To Have ‘Serious Deficiencies’ By Inspector General

By The Huffington Post News Editors

WASHINGTON — An award made to an organization to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan does not appear to contain basic provisions that would allow the State Department to ensure proper oversight of a project expected to cost U.S. taxpayers $50 million, federal inspectors said Thursday.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said there were “serious deficiencies” in the government’s award to the International Development Law Organization, which is based in Rome, for the Afghanistan Justice Training Transition Program.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Josh Hall, Soldier Who Lost Leg In Afghanistan: ‘I Got To Bleed For My Country And I’d Do It All Over Again’ (VIDEO)

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Josh Hall made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and says he would do it all over again, if he had the chance.

While securing an area in Afghanistan taken from the Taliban last summer, Hall, 23, stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device and lost his left leg in the blast, WJHL reports. The resilient soldier spent months recovering at Walter Reed, a time he describes as one his darkest, because he was laying idly while his fellow servicemen continued pursuing their duties.

But Hall has no regrets. He told the news outlet that he’s considering going to medical school to become a trauma surgeon and says he would return to combat if he could.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Congress To Probe Lethal Crash That Killed SEAL Team 6 Members

By Breaking News

SEALs 2 SC Congress to probe lethal crash that killed SEAL Team 6 members

Congress has launched an investigation of the helicopter crash that killed 30 Americans in Afghanistan, including members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 unit, The Hill has learned. [WATCH VIDEO]

The victims’ families say the Pentagon hasn’t provided answers to their many questions about the deadly attack, which took place on Aug. 6, 2011, three months after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by Team 6 forces.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, told The Hill, “We’re going to dive into this.”

Chaffetz said he met with the victims’ families about a month ago in what he described as an “emotional” gathering. He is poised to send questions to the Pentagon and may hold hearings on the matter.

Charlie Strange, whose son Michael was among those killed, said he asked President Obama two years ago at Dover Air Force Base to fully investigate. The death toll in the crash was the largest of any single incident for the U.S. military during the Afghanistan war.

Read More at The Hill . By Bob Cusack.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism