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Panetta apologizes over Koran mistreatment

WASHINGTON — US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apologized Tuesday for the “inappropriate treatment” of copies of the Koran at an American base in Afghanistan and promised a swift investigation. Panetta’s statement came as protesters besieged the Bagram air base in Afghanistan shouting “Death to Americans” following reports that NATO troops…

Afghan protests erupt over rumor of NATO troops burning the Koran

Afghan protesters firing slingshots and petrol bombs besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, furious over reports that NATO troops had set fire to copies of the Koran. Guards at Bagram airbase, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kabul, responded by firing rubber bullets from a…

Afghanistan’s toxic cocktail of drugs, graft, mafia

It’s below freezing, but the Afghan lies rigid in the snow of Kabul. He doesn’t move. His arms and legs are bare. He has overdosed on heroin. He only lives to see another day because of a charity. “Every night I feel I’m going to die. I sleep in the…

War on drugs must be Afghan top priority: UN chief

UN chief Ban Ki-moon Thursday urged Afghanistan to make fighting drug trafficking a priority as opium harvests soar in the world’s top producer, and said the world must help in the effort. “Above all, the Afghan government must prioritise the issue of narcotics,” Ban said in his opening address in…

U.S., Afghans near deal on post-2014 mission: Panetta

WASHINGTON — US and Afghan officials are weeks away from clinching a security pact allowing an American military mission to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday. The two sides still had to resolve disagreements over controversial night raids by US troops, which Afghan President Hamid…

Officer accuses U.S. military of vast Afghan deception

An internal report on the occupation of Afghanistan, penned by an active-duty military officer and published weeks ago — but not released by the Pentagon — was leaked on Friday by Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, who called the 84-page examination “one of the most significant documents published by an…

Marine snipers posed with Nazi SS symbol in Afghanistan

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – The commander of a group of U.S. Marines who were photographed in Afghanistan with what looks like a Nazi SS flag concluded they were acting out of ignorance rather than bigotry and decided not to punish them, a Marine Corps spokesman said on Thursday. Outrage over…

U.S. military loosens rules on women in combat units

The US military opened up some dangerous jobs to female troops but stopped short of repealing a ban on women serving in combat, despite a decade of war where women fought and died on the battlefield. The Pentagon announced incremental changes that will allow women to serve in more than…

Poll: Voters back Obama as commander-in-chief

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has overwhelming support from American voters for his use of drone strikes against terror suspects and his planned troop drawdown in Afghanistan, a poll found Wednesday. Obama, who signed off on the US special forces raid which killed Osama bin Laden last year, also…

U.S. to keep special forces in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The United States plans to maintain special forces in Afghanistan after it winds down its combat operations in the country, using them to hunt down insurgent leaders and train local troops, The New York Times reported. Citing unnamed senior Pentagon officials, the newspaper Saturday said these forces could…

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