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Jun 7th, 2010

Today, June 7, 2010 marks the end of 104 months of war in Afghanistan, making it the longest war in American history after the Vietnam War, which continued for 103 months following the Aug. 7, 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

A look at U.S. war involvement by months:


Deadliest NATO Day in Afghanistan This Year

Seven Americans among 10 soldiers killed; civilian contractor also dies

June 7, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Ten NATO soldiers, including seven Americans, were killed in a wave of violence in Afghanistan on Monday — the deadliest day this year for the international forces.

The bloodshed came as Taliban insurgents ramp up bombings and attacks on NATO forces ahead of a major operation in the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar that Washington hopes will turn the tide of the war.

In the worst single incident Monday, five American service members were killed in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. command said.

Two more U.S. soldiers were killed in separate attacks Monday — one a bombing in the south and the other by small arms fire in the south.

Three other NATO service members from other countries were also killed in attacks Monday.

In addition, an American contractor died in a suicide attack against the police training center in Kandahar city, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said. …

The American contractor, who was not identified, and another person were killed when a team of three suicide bombers attacked the gates of the police training center. …


6/9/10 Update

Afghan Taliban Shoot Down Chopper, Killing 4 GIs

At least 39 reported killed in separate blast during marriage ceremony


Suicide bomber attacks Kandahar wedding (NBC Today, June 10, 2010) – Dara Brown reports. (00:39)

The Associated Press and NBC News via
June 9, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a deadly day in Afghanistan, four American troops were killed when enemy fire shot down their helicopter and an explosion killed at least 39 people, U.S. military and Afghan officials said Wednesday.

The explosion in Kandahar province’s Arganab district occurred around 9 p.m. local time Wednesday, provincial executive director Mohammad Annus said. He said more than 70 people were wounded but did not provide further details. …

In the U.S. deaths, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility on behalf of the insurgents, saying militants shot down the helicopter with two rockets. …

Since Sunday, 17 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan.

Monday was the deadliest day for the coalition there in seven months. …


Gunmen Burn 50 NATO Trucks Near Islamabad

Unprecedented attack on supply vehicles underscores growing insecurity

Image: Burnt trucks torched by suspect militants
Local residents examine burned trucks torched by suspect militants in an attack on early Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in Sangjani, near Islamabad, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Anjum Naveed / AP)

Reuters and and NBC News via
June 9, 2010

ISLAMABAD — Suspected Taliban gunmen in Pakistan set fire to more than 50 trucks carrying supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan, killing at least seven people in the first such attack near the capital, police said on Wednesday. …

The Taliban have previously attacked trucks carrying supplies for U.S.-led foreign forces in Pakistan’s volatile northwest and southwest bordering Afghanistan, but this raid, less than 30 minutes’ drive from Islamabad late on Tuesday, was unprecedented.

At least 10 gunmen arrived on motorbikes and small pickup trucks at a depot near Tarnol village, killing drivers and workers. The militants escaped, leaving the shells of supply trucks in flames.

Wave of suicide, bomb attacks

The assault underscores growing insecurity in Pakistan where the Taliban have unleashed a wave of suicide and bomb attacks across the country in retaliation for military offensives on their strongholds in the northwest.

NATO trucks torched in Pakistan (NBC News Channel, June 9, 2010) — NBC’s Sohel Uddin reports. (01:16)

Militants allied to the Pakistani Taliban killed more than 80 people in two brazen attacks on Ahmadiyya, a minority religious sect, in the eastern city of Lahore late last month.

But the latest attack comes after months of relative calm around the heavily guarded Pakistan capital and throws into question how safe Islamabad is from attack. …

The U.S. military sends 75 percent of its supplies for the Afghan war through or over Pakistan, including 40 percent of the fuel for its troops. …


Related reports on this site

Easter Attack on U.S. Supply Line (April 12, 2009)

U.S. Supply Line Attacked (Dec. 8, 2008)


6/12/10 Update

Karzai is Said to Doubt West Can Defeat Taliban

By Dexter Filkins

June 12, 2010


KABUL, Afghanistan — Two senior Afghan officials were showing President Hamid Karzai the evidence of the spectacular rocket attack on a nationwide peace conference earlier this month when Mr. Karzai told them that he believed the Taliban were not responsible.

“The president did not show any interest in the evidence — none — he treated it like a piece of dirt,” said Amrullah Saleh, then the director of the Afghan intelligence service.

Mr. Saleh declined to discuss Mr. Karzai’s reasoning in more detail. But a prominent Afghan with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Karzai suggested in the meeting that it might have been the Americans who carried it out.

Minutes after the exchange, Mr. Saleh and the interior minister, Hanif Atmar, resigned — the most dramatic defection from Mr. Karzai’s government since he came to power nine years ago. Mr. Saleh and Mr. Atmar said they quit because Mr. Karzai made clear that he no longer considered them loyal.

But underlying the tensions, according to Mr. Saleh and Afghan and Western officials, was something more profound: That Mr. Karzai had lost faith in the Americans and NATO to prevail in Afghanistan.

For that reason, Mr. Saleh and other officials said, Mr. Karzai has been pressing to strike his own deal with the Taliban and the country’s archrival, Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime supporter. According to a former senior Afghan official, Mr. Karzai’s maneuverings involve secret negotiations with the Taliban outside the purview of American and NATO officials.

“The president has lost his confidence in the capability of either the coalition or his own government to protect this country,” Mr. Saleh said in an interview at his home. …

Relations with Mr. Karzai have been rocky for some time, and international officials have expressed concern in the past that his decision making can be erratic. … Earlier this year, following criticism by the Obama administration, Mr. Karzai told a group of supporters that he might join the Taliban. …

The Americans and their NATO partners are pouring tens of thousands of additional troops into the country to weaken hard-core Taliban and force the group to the bargaining table. Mr. Karzai appears to believe that the American-led offensive cannot work. …


6/14/10 Update

Taking Stock in Afghanistan


June 14, 2010


There are not a lot of good weeks in Afghanistan. But last week was particularly bad. At least 26 American or NATO soldiers were killed in attacks by insurgents. …

General McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy still seems like the best chance to stabilize Afghanistan and get American troops home. His aim is to push militants out of key cities and towns and quickly build up effective local governments so residents have the incentive and means to help stop extremists from returning.

That theory ran into harsh reality the first time General McChrystal tried to apply it, in the city of Marja, a lesser Taliban stronghold. Four months after American troops drove fighters out of Marja’s center, there is no functioning government, international aid programs lag, and the Taliban are coming back. A surge of assassinations of local officials in Marja and Kandahar has made Afghans all the more fearful about cooperating with the Americans and their own government. …

Western officials and experts also say that the American military found it hard to read — and in some instances they misread — the complex tribal and societal relationships in both places. Nearly nine years after the Americans arrived in Afghanistan, American intelligence agencies, civilian and military, seem to be flying blind. That is intolerable.

We are also very concerned about [President Karzai’s] decision to force the resignation of two top security officials. Both were seen as competent and honest. And we found it bizarre that Mr. Karzai is telling aides that he believed the United States, and not the Taliban, might have been responsible for a rocket attack on the [peace] conference in Kabul. …

We don’t know if the Taliban leaders will ever compromise. But we are sure that they will consider it only under duress. General McChrystal is going to have to do a much better job in Kandahar. Mr. Karzai is going to have to drop his illusions and commit to the fight.


Five NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan

By Amir Shah

June 15, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Five NATO service members died Tuesday from fighting in the south and east of Afghanistan, officials said, as Taliban militants ramped up attacks on Afghan and international security forces.

Authorities also said that 12 Afghan police officers and six civilians have died in attacks and bombings since early Monday. …

Both NATO troops and Afghan security forces have been suffering heavier casualties in recent weeks. Including the latest deaths, 44 international service members have been killed so far this month, 27 of them American, nine British.

Three of the latest NATO deaths were British soldiers — two shot dead Tuesday in separate incidents in southern Helmand province. The third died in a British hospital from injuries sustained in a firefight Sunday in Helmand, according to the British government.

A U.S. service member was killed Tuesday in a gunbattle in eastern Afghanistan, said Col. Wayne Shanks, a spokesman for U.S. forces.

A Polish soldier was killed and two were injured Tuesday in a missile attack on a base in eastern Afghanistan, the Polish military said. Pfc. Grzegorz Bukowski, 29, was fatally injured by shrapnel from the missile, said Piotr Jaszczuk, a Polish military spokesman. The wounded soldiers were hospitalized but did not have life-threatening injuries. …

The Afghan civilians were killed in two attacks — one a remote-controlled explosive that killed four people in Helmand, and the second a roadside bomb that killed two others in western Herat province, the Interior Ministry said.

The police deaths occurred in a number of incidents in the east and south. …


Related reports on this site

Tough Days Ahead in Afghanistan (May 13, 2010)

Karzai: “I might join the Taliban” (March 20, 2010)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 7, 2009

Iraq-Afghanistan Update

One-year retrospective: One year ago today I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases.

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