Latest Afghanistan News

  • Testament: Tribute to Getty Images Photographer Chris Hondros
    Testament: Tribute to Getty Images Photographer Chris Hondros 19 hours ago

    photographer Chris Hondros was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in Libya on April 20, 2011. Testament, published by Powerhouse Books, is a collection of his powerful photographs and writing, spanning more than a decade of coverage from some of the world's major conflict zones, including Liberia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Libya. On April 20, 2011, Chris Hondros and acclaimed photojournalist Tim Hetherington were both killed while covering a battle on Tripoli Street in Misrata, Libya. More »

  • Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says Afghanistan 19 hours ago

    By Hamid Shalizi KABUL (Reuters) - A leading Taliban peace negotiator has been placed under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates, officials said on Thursday, dealing a blow to President Hamid Karzai's efforts to jump-start a nascent Afghan peace process before leaving office. Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, has been missing for over a week, according to the Afghan government, disappearing after arranging a meeting in Dubai between Afghan and Taliban officials in February. "Mutassim ... one of the key Taliban leaders and who supported Afghan peace initiative, was put under house arrest in the UAE where he lived," the Afghan High Peace Council, a body formed by Karzai to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, said on Thursday. "The Afghan government has made requests to the UAE authorities to lift all the restrictions," it said in a statement. More »

  • Putin says trust lost in ties with U.S. before Ukraine crisis 20 hours ago

    President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that trust between Russia and the United States had been damaged before the crisis in Ukraine, but that he wanted to restore their cooperation. "To a certain extent trust has been lost, but we do not think we are to blame," Putin said in a televised phone-in with the nation. He said it was U.S. hypocrisy that had brought relations to their worst level since the Cold War: "The United States can act in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya but Russia is not allowed to defend its interests." The two countries have been at odds over a range of issues, from U.S. missile defence plans to NATO expansion and the civil war in Syria. To improve ties, Putin said, the United States should respect others' interests and international law. More »

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists
    Syria most dangerous country for journalists Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    Syria is the world's most dangerous country for journalists a US-based watchdog said Wednesday as it published its annual impunity index tracking unsolved killings of reporters. More »

  • Afghan women stand to be counted as West begins to disengage
    Afghan women stand to be counted as West begins to disengage Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    By Jessica Donati KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Framed by her blue shawl, the solemn, bespectacled face of Serena Faizi peers out from an election campaign poster at a Kandahar city roundabout, while Afghanistan approaches its own crossroads as Western troops prepare to go home. When the United States first deployed forces in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and hunt Osama bin Laden, Faizi was barely a teenager. She is beginning political life just as the West, which has championed women's rights, has begun to disengage. While the country awaits the outcome of the larger contest to see who succeeds Hamid Karzai as president after 12 years in power, Faizi is awaiting results of the April 5 election to find out whether she has won a seat in Kandahar's provincial council. More »

  • Yemen's al Qaeda leader vows to attack America in new video Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    By Yara Bayoumy DUBAI (Reuters) - The leader of al Qaeda's wing in Yemen has vowed to attack the United States, in a video apparently showing a gathering of the group celebrating a mass jailbreak of fighters. The 15-minute video, dated March 2014 and posted on a website used by Islamists, shows masked men waving al Qaeda's black flag and celebrating the arrival of the freed prisoners. We have to remember that we are always fighting the biggest enemy," says a man speaking in the open in a mountainous area, whom the video identifies as its leader Nasser al-Wuhaishi. The video, entitled "Images from the reception of the freed prisoners from Sanaa's central prison," included testimony from fighters involved in the jailbreak. More »

  • Ex-bin Laden ally turns key witness in U.S. terrorism cases
    Ex-bin Laden ally turns key witness in U.S. terrorism cases Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    By Mark Hosenball and Joseph Ax WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A British shoe bomb-plotter-turned-government informant, who once conspired with Osama bin Laden, has become a key witness for U.S. prosecutors seeking to give American juries a taste of life inside al Qaeda, court documents, U.S. and British officials and lawyers say. Saajid Badat, 33, has already testified via video link at the trials in New York of two alleged al Qaeda militants, and he is scheduled to give testimony at the trial of Abu Hamza al Masri, a fiery, one-eyed Egyptian preacher with hooks for hands whose terrorism case began this week. Defence lawyers faced with countering his damaging testimony accuse prosecutors of trying to have their cake and eat it too. The government is using Badat as a witness in U.S. courts, they say, in violation of an agreement with British authorities that he would testify "in the United States" - where he could be confronted by defence lawyers during cross-examination - while leaving the indictment against him in place indefinitely. More »

  • Pakistani Taliban end ceasefire with government but say talks still on Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    By Saud Mehsud DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban have formally ended a 40-day ceasefire but are still open to talks with the government, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Shahidullah Shahid said the insurgents were not extending the ceasefire, which began on March 1, because the government had continued to arrest people and had killed more than 50 people associated with the insurgency. The government has also continued to carry our raids and had arrested more than 200 people, he said. Shahid also complained that unidentified Taliban prisoners had been tortured in prison. More »

  • British lawmakers blame complacency for Taliban attack on base Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - British army commanders were partly to blame for the inadequate defences and complacency that allowed the Taliban to attack a base in Afghanistan, killing two U.S. marines, a parliamentary committee said on Wednesday. The September 2012 attack on Camp Bastion in Helmand province saw 15 heavily-armed Taliban fighters dressed in U.S. army uniforms cut the perimeter wire before destroying six U.S. harrier jets and damaging many other aircraft and vehicles. "Given that the attack took place in the British sector of the camp, British commanders must bear a degree of responsibility for these systemic failures and associated reputational damage." Two U.S. generals were forced to retire following a U.S. review of the attack last year. More »

  • MPs criticise UK over Taliban raid
    MPs criticise UK over Taliban raid Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    British commanders have been accused by MPs of complacency over a Taliban attack on the main UK base in Afghanistan in which two US marines were killed and more than a dozen other personnel injured. More »

  • Handless cleric's own words to be used against him in U.S. trial
    Handless cleric's own words to be used against him in U.S. trial Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Prosecutors can use radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri's own inflammatory words against him during his trial in New York on terrorism-related charges, including praise for Osama bin Laden and for the September 11, 2001, attacks, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. The decision came two days before opening statements are scheduled to take place in Manhattan federal court. Lawyers for Abu Hamza had argued that video and audio recordings of Abu Hamza justifying violence against non-Muslims would unfairly taint the jurors' emotions, making it impossible for him to have a fair verdict. But U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest said most of the tapes can be played for the jury to show Abu Hamza's state of mind and his willingness to provide aid to militant organizations. More »

  • Pakistan's long awaited 3G, 4G auction draws dismal response Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    By Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A dismal response in this week's auction for next-generation cellphone spectrum licences means cash-strapped Pakistan will struggle to fund its budget this year, finance and IT ministry officials and telecom industry executives told Reuters. Pakistan is set to hold long-awaited auctions for 3G and 4G network licences on April 23, a step the government projects will raise $2 billion (1 billion pounds) to boost foreign reserves. But officials said there has been scant interest in Monday's bidding process and estimate Pakistan will raise no more than $850 million. "The finance minister (Ishaq Dar) is very angry, so much so that he wants to call off the auction if we are so embarrassingly off target," said an official on his team, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak officially on the matter. More »

  • Nigeria rebels abduct schoolgirls, government says will protect 'African …
    Nigeria rebels abduct schoolgirls, government says will protect 'African … Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    By Felix Onuah and Lanre Ola ABUJA/MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected Islamist insurgents abducted more than 100 female students in a night raid on a government secondary school in Nigeria's northeast Borno state, a teacher said on Tuesday. The gunmen, believed to be members of the Boko Haram Islamist group which has attacked schools in the northeast before as part of their anti-government rebellion, carried off the students from the school in Chibok late on Monday. "Over 100 female students in our government secondary school at Chibok have been abducted," said Audu Musa, who teaches in another public school in the area, around 140 km (90 miles) south of the Borno state capital Maiduguri. The blast killed at least 75 people, the deadliest ever attack on Abuja, and raised questions about the government's ability to protect the capital from an insurrection that risks spreading from the Islamist group's heartland in the northeast. More »

  • US Airways Apologises Over Pornographic Tweet
    US Airways Apologises Over Pornographic Tweet Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    US Airways has been forced to issue an apology after accidentially tweeting an obscene image in response to a customer complaint. It remained on the airline's Twitter feed for around an hour before it was removed, allowing enough time for the image to go viral. In a statement the airline said an investigation had found the photo was initially posted on its Twitter feed by another user. It said it had captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate, but then accidently included it in a response to a customer.  More »

  • Missing Flight MH370: Co-Pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's Phone Signal 'Picked …
    Missing Flight MH370: Co-Pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's Phone Signal 'Picked … Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    A US official has claimed the mobile phone belonging to the co-pilot of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 made contact with a network tower, half an hour after the missing plane veered off course. The official claimed a signal from the phone of Fariq Abdul Hamid was picked up by a network tower in Penang, 250 miles from the location of the final signal emitted by MH370. The claims also follow reports that Hamid tried to make a phone call after the plane vanished. More »

  • In Ukraine, NATO sticks to a war of words against Russia Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    By Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) - From the moment Russia first moved on Ukraine and seized Crimea, NATO has not lost an opportunity to admonish Moscow for its actions, warning that peace in Europe is under threat and the sovereignty of a friend being violated. Yet between NATO's tough rhetoric and its ability and willingness to act, there is now a substantial gap, one that Russia is exploiting. The 28-country alliance - on paper the world's most powerful military organisation - has no intention of getting militarily involved in Ukraine. The risks of escalation with Russia are far too great, and neither President Barack Obama nor his European allies have any appetite for war. More »

  • Poland: NATO should send troops to east Europe, ignore Russia's objecti … Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    By Marcin Goettig and Marcin Goclowski WARSAW (Reuters) - Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula makes it vital that NATO station significant numbers of troops in eastern Europe and ignore any objections Russia might have in this respect, Poland's defence minister said. Tomasz Siemoniak, in an interview with Reuters, said western Europe was safe thanks to the U.S. military presence there, adding that Russia's military was ready to intervene in Poland's neighbour, Ukraine. More »

  • Pitt in talks for The Operators
    Pitt in talks for The Operators Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    Brad Pitt is in talks to star in war drama The Operators. More »

  • Indian voters lured by cash handouts, drugs, bootleg liquor
    Indian voters lured by cash handouts, drugs, bootleg liquor Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    By Sanjeev Miglani NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian election officials have seized a record $36 million (21.52 million pounds) dollars of cash concealed in cars, private planes and even ambulances that they say was destined to buy off voters and pay for expenses over and above the spending limit. Opinion polls show the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies coming to power thanks to the popularity of Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi and widespread disgust with the Congress party, whose last years in power have been dogged by corruption scandals and a sharp economic slowdown. Cash seized in the three weeks since the staggered election was announced has already surpassed the 1.9 billion rupees for the whole of the 2009 ballot period, the commission said. The Election Commission has also recovered 100 kg (220 lb) of heroin, most of it in the northern state of Punjab that has long been a transit point for drugs from Afghanistan, but is now itself India's heaviest consuming opium state. More »

  • Nigeria bus station bombing kills 71 on edge of capital
    Nigeria bus station bombing kills 71 on edge of capital Mon, Apr 14, 2014

    By Isaac Abrak and Felix Onuah ABUJA (Reuters) - A morning rush hour bomb killed at least 71 people at a Nigerian bus station on the outskirts of the capital on Monday, raising concerns about the spread of an Islamist insurgency after the deadliest ever attack on Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan pointed the finger of suspicion at Boko Haram, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Islamist militants who are active mainly in the northeast. As well as the dead, police said, 124 were wounded in the first attack on the federal capital in two years. "We will get over it ... The issue of Boko Haram is temporary," he said, imploring Nigerians to be more vigilant in the face of suspicious characters. More »

  • Jury selected for U.S. trial of one-eyed, handless Islamic cleric
    Jury selected for U.S. trial of one-eyed, handless Islamic cleric Mon, Apr 14, 2014

    By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eight men and four women will decide the fate of Egyptian-born radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri at his trial on charges of assisting in a 1998 kidnapping in Yemen and plotting to establish a training camp for militants in the United States. The 55-year-old imam, who is using his birth name, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, during the trial in federal court in New York, faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges against him. He was extradited from Britain in 2012 after spending several years in jail on charges of inciting his followers to kill non-believers. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest and lawyers for both the government and Abu Hamza settled on a jury of 12 and four alternates after several hours of questions intended to expose potential bias. More »

  • 14-year-old Dutch Girl Arrested for American Airlines Twitter Threat
    14-year-old Dutch Girl Arrested for American Airlines Twitter Threat Mon, Apr 14, 2014

    A 14-year-old girl who tweeted a alleged terrorist threat to American Airlines has been arrested in Rotterdam. According to the official twitter of the Rotterdam police a 14-year-old girl has been arrested after making a terrorist threat to American Airlines on Twitter. On Sunday a Twitter account belonging to a girl called Sarah tweeted the following message to the official American Airlines account: American Airlines responded sternly by saying: "Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. More »