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Deal due on handing US prisons to Afghans

A breakthrough deal on the transfer of the controversial US-run Bagram prison and other detention facilities in Afghanistan to Afghan authorities will be signed Friday, officials said. The handover of the prison — sometimes called Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay — has been a key sticking point in talks between the United…

State Dept. says Afghanistan made progress in fighting drugs

The Afghan government has made progress in the last year in fighting drugs trafficking and cultivation, although the “gains remain fragile,” a US State Department report said Thursday. “The overall counternarcotics effort this year was positive” in Afghanistan, which grows about 90 percent of the world’s opium, according to the…

U.S. vows no change in Afghan war strategy

WASHINGTON — The US military has no plans to alter its troop drawdown timetable in Afghanistan despite a week of deadly unrest over the burning of the Koran at an American base, the Pentagon said Monday. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and top US military officer General Martin Dempsey both “believe…

NATO withdraws staff from Afghan ministries after shooting

NATO on Saturday pulled all its staff out of Afghan government ministries after two US military advisors were shot dead in the interior ministry, as anti-US protests raged for a fifth day. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying it was in revenge for the burning of Korans at…

Afghan journalist beheaded: official

KHOST, Afghanistan — An Afghan radio reporter was beheaded in the insurgency-plagued southeastern province of Paktika after being lured to a meeting by unidentified men, an official said Wednesday. The body of Samid Khan Bahadarzai, 25, who worked for a local radio station in the town of Urgun, was found…

Five killed in Afghan protests over Koran burning

At least five Afghans were shot dead and dozens wounded Wednesday in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting over the burning of the Koran at a US-run military base, officials said. In the capital Kabul and in provinces to the east, north and south of the capital, furious Afghans took to the streets screaming “Death to America”,…

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…

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