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Afghans upset U.S. released Taliban detainees to free U.S. soldier

The White House on Monday defended the release of five Guantanamo detainees in exchange for a US soldier held by the Taliban, as many ordinary Afghans criticised the deal for emboldening the militants. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl — the only US soldier held by the Taliban after being captured in…

Afghan government protests against U.S. deal to free Taliban prisoners

Afghanistan’s government protested against a U.S. deal to free five high-ranking Taliban militants in exchange for a U.S. soldier arguing the transfer of the men from a Guantanamo Bay jail to Qatar violated international law. The five prisoners were flown to Qatar on Sunday as part of the agreement to…

President Obama makes surprise Memorial Day trip to Afghanistan to praise troops

Obama lands in Afghanistan on surprise visit (via AFP) US President Barack Obama landed in Afghanistan late Sunday on a surprise visit to salute the sacrifices of US troops in America’s longest war. Obama slipped out of the White House after dark on Saturday and flew in secret across the…

Afghanistan prepares for tense runoff vote to determine next president

Afghanistan is due to announce the results of its first-round presidential elections on Wednesday, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani set to go through to a run-off vote. Full results from the April 5 election were released late last month, but the final declaration…

New York police recruiting Muslim informants to eavesdrop in cafes, restaurants and mosques: NY Times

New York City police have been recruiting immigrants, most of them Muslims, in the years following the attacks of September 11, 2001, to act as informants eavesdropping in cafes, restaurants and mosques, The New York Times reported on Sunday. Citing documents it had obtained and interviews with former and senior…

Pentagon reports increase in U.S. military reservist suicides in 2013

The number of suicides in the U.S. military dropped by 18 percent in 2013 but rose among part-time soldiers in the reserves, the Pentagon said Friday. A new report said 261 active-duty troops took their lives last year, compared to 318 in 2012, according to “preliminary” figures. Suicide levels, however,…

Polio returns to Afghan capital after 13 years

Afghanistan has launched an emergency polio vaccination campaign in Kabul after a girl contracted the disease, the city’s first case since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. The three-year-old from a nomadic family living on the northeastern edge of the city was diagnosed after being admitted to hospital in neighbouring…

Revealed: U.S. targets death strikes using mobile phones

Be careful when you answer the phone. That’s the message you might heed when considering National Security Operations and CIA operations in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan, according to a new report. According to documents and an interview with an alleged former drone operator, the United States uses geolocation targeting that…

UK’s Royal Air Force has fired missiles in Afghanistan using U.S. drones

MoD discloses for first time how British crews using unmanned US aircraft have launched missiles in conflict zones British pilots have launched at least 39 missile strikes against suspected Taliban insurgents from American drones based in Afghanistan, according to new figures. The details have emerged from the Ministry of Defence,…

United Kingdom accepts atheism as grounds for asylum for Afghan

An Afghan man is believed to have become the first atheist to be granted asylum in the UK on the basis of his views on religion. The 23-year-old, who has not been identified, feared that if forcibly returned to his homeland he would face persecution for having renounced his faith.…

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