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Pentagon identifies unit in US Marine abuse video

Top US officials strongly condemned a video that appears to show Marines urinating on dead insurgents in Afghanistan, while the Pentagon said it had identified the unit involved. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the behavior in the video was “utterly deplorable,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of…

Opium production soars in Afghanistan: UN

VIENNA — Production of opium and the illicit crop’s value soared in Afghanistan last year, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday. According to the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, farmer income derived from Afghanistan’s opium crop in 2011 was $1.4 billion (1.09 billion euros), representing nine…

Four killed as U.S. drone strikes resume in Pakistan

The deadly US drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal zone resumed with a missile strike that killed four militants, two months after aNATO raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The CIA campaign had reportedly been suspended to avoid worsening relations between the United States and Pakistan after the deadly November 26 incident, which eroded even more…

NATO reports ‘incredible’ Afghan drug seizures

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan said Monday it had made “incredible” seizures of drugs in Afghanistan last year and dealt a blow to the finances of the Taliban-led insurgents. “Narcotics trafficking has been a key generator of funding for the insurgency, but that source of revenue is diminishing,” Brigadier General…

Taliban ringtones become social camouflage for some in Afghanistan

A new cottage industry has sprung up in Afghanistan: ringtones. But it’s not just any ringtones. According to a report this week by The Wall Street Journal, merchants are loading some of the favorite songs of the Taliban onto phones, which are being used as a form of social camouflage…

Afghanistan signs ‘$7 bn’ oil deal with China

Afghanistan on Wednesday signed an oil deal with China which could earn the war-torn country $7 billion over 25 years. Afghanistan’s first major oil exploration contract will see state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation develop three oil fields in the relatively peaceful north of the country along the Amu Darya river. Under the deal, signed in Kabul by Afghan mining…

Iran signs fuel deal with Afghanistan: media

Iran has signed a deal with Afghanistan to supply its neighbour with a million tons of fuel oil, petrol and aviation fuel a year, Iranian media reported without putting a value on the agreement. The accord was signed Monday by the Afghan trade and industry minister, Anwar Ul-Haq Ahady, and Iran’s deputy oil minister, Alireza Zeyghami. Two-thirds…

Afghanistan clears oil deal with China’s CNPC

KABUL — Afghanistan has agreed to sign a deal with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) for oil exploration and extraction, the president’s office said in a statement Monday. The state-owned Chinese oil giant will develop three oil fields, along with Afghan company Watan Group, located in the Amu river zone…

Top U.S. officer decries hazing after troop suicides

WASHINGTON — The US military’s top officer warned on Thursday over recent hazing incidents among American troops, saying such misconduct was cruel and would not be tolerated. General Martin Dempsey issued the statement after charges were issued in connection with the death of an Army soldier who was allegedly abused…

Bullying troops charged in death of fellow soldier

KABUL/NEW YORK (Reuters) – - The U.S. Army has charged eight soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in the death of Private Danny Chen, a 19-year-old Chinese-American who was bullied and taunted by fellow troops over his heritage. Chen was found in a guard tower in southern Afghanistan after apparently shooting himself,…

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