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UN report: Afghan insurgents use marijuana fields as hiding places

The amount of Afghan farmland planted with cannabis fell by nearly a fifth last year after one province launched a fierce eradication campaign, but a bumper crop meant that actual production rose compared with 2011, according to the UN. Officials in southern Uruzgan province, which borders Kandahar and Helmand, largely…

U.S. returns stolen cultural treasures and archaeological artifacts seized at Newark Airport to Afghanistan

The United States returned a Roman wine pitcher and five gold artifacts to Afghanistan on Monday in the fourth official repatriation of stolen Afghan cultural treasures in eight years. Kabul’s ambassador to Washington, Eklil Hakimi, accepted the objects from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency during a ceremony…

Afghan Taliban attack U.S. base near Pakistan border

Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen dressed as Afghan police attacked a US base near the Pakistani border on Monday, sparking a shootout that left all three assailants dead, officials said. No member of the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan was killed in the assault on the base in Nangarhar province,…

Judge considers giving alleged Ft. Hood shooter more time for self-defense

By Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – An Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 could learn on Tuesday whether a judge will grant him more time to prepare as he represents himself in the military trial. Major Nidal Hasan,…

Afghan interpreters fight for right to stay in Britain

Lawyers for three Afghan interpreters who served with British forces fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan have launched a legal challenge to a government decision not to let them settle in Britain, they said Friday. The three argue they should be entitled to the same treatment as interpreters with British…

U.S. will spend $6 billion to remove military equipment from Afghanistan by 2014

Huge numbers of weapons and vehicles and tense relations with nearby countries make task more daunting than Iraq pullout Fighting wars is expensive, but so is winding them down. As the US prepares to ship most of its weapons, vehicles and other equipment home after more than a decade in…

Afghan street kid heads for the Oscars red carpet

An Afghan street kid is off to Hollywood and the red-carpet treatment at the Oscars— a fairytale ending to a chance encounter that led to a starring role in a movie. Fawad Mohammadi, 14, was selling maps to passing foreigners on Kabul’s famed Chicken Street to help feed his family…

Obama to announce he’ll bring 34,000 Afghanistan troops home by next year

US President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address Tuesday that he will pull 34,000 US troops home from Afghanistan in the next year, a source familiar with his speech said. The long-awaited move will effectively halve the size of the current 66,000-strong US force in…

Afghanistan’s growing number of child drug addicts

They play badminton, kick a ball around and huddle over computer games just like normal children. Except that they are recovering drug addicts aged around three to 12, representing a growing proportion of drug users in war-torn Afghanistan. In response, increasing numbers of rehabilitation centers are weaning such children off…

Afghanistan’s Karzai to leave power in 2014

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed Tuesday in Oslo that he plans to step down next year when his mandate expires. “The question of me staying as the president beyond 2014 is out of the question,” Karzai said when reporters asked about recent speculation that he was keen to stay on.…

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