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Phillip Walter Wellman

Coalition stops assessing who controls parts of Afghanistan, watchdog says

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan has stopped assessing which districts in the country’s 34 provinces are controlled by the government or by insurgents, meaning nearly every metric to measure success of America’s longest war is now either classified or no longer tracked.

Taliban says it will not send female delegates to peace talks

Women will not be part of the Taliban’s peace negotiating team, though they are expected to take part in meetings in Qatar this week as part of an effort aimed at ending the 17-year war.


US donations boost Afghan wrestling clubs in wake of militant attack

Dozens of boys tossed and tumbled on the bright blue mats at the Nasir Ali Feroz Zada Wrestling Club one recent evening — mats bought with money originally donated by Americans to help a different Kabul wrestling club destroyed by a suicide attack last September.


Peace could bring new threats to US development in Afghanistan, watchdog says

An agreement to end the Afghanistan War could present additional risks to $130-billion worth of U.S. reconstruction efforts in the country, a government watchdog said Thursday, calling on policymakers to plan for a post-peace deal environment.


Joint US-Afghan operation leaves Taliban fighters, civilians dead

A raid coupled with U.S. airstrikes targeting Taliban fighters ended with five civilian deaths, including one child, the U.S. military said on Tuesday, one day after a United Nations report found an earlier coalition strike may have killed more than a dozen civilians.


US bombs kill 10 children in Kunduz clashes, UN says

Thirteen civilians, including 10 children, have been killed by a coalition airstrike in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, according a preliminary report from the United Nations released Monday.


Defense Department identifies two soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense on Saturday identified the two soldiers who died Friday in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations.


Afghan troops accused of abusing contractors and confiscating equipment, US watchdog says

Afghan security forces have been harassing contractors and confiscating their equipment at military bases across the country, costing the U.S. hundreds of thousands of dollars, a government watchdog said.


‘Stop looking at these kids as heroes,’ says veteran who made documentary featuring wartime footage of Marines

Former Marine Miles Lagoze hopes his film “Combat Obscura” will alter the “sanitized and sanctified view of the military” many Americans hold by showing them his view of what combat is actually like.


‘This helmet works, and I’m a living testament to it’: Army to roll out new protective gear

Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen was nearly killed when he was shot from about 20 feet away by a Russian 7.62x54mm round in Afghanistan. His headgear saved his life, and officials say it underscores the importance of protective gear amid a rollout of new and improved body armor.


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New museum honoring Afghan War dead aims to bring closure and promote peace

Directors of the Center for Memory and Dialogue say in order for any peace in Afghanistan to last, wounds from the past must be healed, which the center is helping achieve.


Report: Problems plague military’s newest tactical vehicles

Problems in areas like maintenance, reliability and safety has meant the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is less desirable than older vehicles in some circumstances, according to an annual report by the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation for the Defense Department.


UN: American airstrikes contribute to record number of children, civilians killed in Afghanistan

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented more than 3,800 civilian deaths in the country last year, including about 930 children, both annual records.


US ends campaign to destroy Taliban drug labs in Afghanistan

The U.S. military has ended a controversial bombing campaign that targeted Taliban drug labs across Afghanistan, without appearing to significantly disrupt the group’s ability to generate revenue from the illegal narcotics trade.


30 years after Soviet withdrawal, some Afghans fear US pullout could mean another civil war

The last time foreign troops pulled out of Afghanistan en masse — when the Soviet Union ended its decade-long occupation 30 years ago Friday — Afghan groups fought each other and the formerly Soviet-backed central government collapsed.


Afghan forces arrest suspected ISIS recruiter, trio behind Kabul attack that killed 150

Three men suspected of being responsible for the deadliest terrorist attack in Kabul and another man accused of recruiting hundreds of Islamic State fighters were arrested on Saturday, the national intelligence agency said.


Afghanistan’s Black Hawk program is short of pilots to fly them

Plans to replace Afghanistan’s aging fleet of Russian helicopters with American-made UH-60 Black Hawks may be unsustainable because of a lack of qualified pilots and engineers, a government watchdog has warned.


'An easy sacrifice’: Americans wake before dawn for Super Bowl watch parties in Afghanistan

Several events were held at the United States’ largest military base in Afghanistan to mark America’s most-watched televised sporting event.


Afghan government control and troop numbers at record lows, report says

The number of districts controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan increased during the last quarter. Afghan and U.S. military officials had previously pledged to secure 80 percent of the country’s population by the end of this year.


Italian, German officials question future in Afghanistan amid speculation of US drawdown

A major U.S. ally contributing large numbers of troops to the war in Afghanistan is questioning its presence in the country, a move that could stir debate among NATO members amid reports of a U.S. troop drawdown.


Ghani tells Afghans peace deal with Taliban will not compromise basic rights

President Ashraf Ghani told Afghans on Monday that the rights they’ve gained since the U.S. invaded the country more than 17 years ago would not be jeopardized in any peace deal with the Taliban, as he urged insurgents to hold direct talks with his government.


Analysis

Afghans mull trading ‘worse for bad’ in potential deal with Taliban

If peace talks between the United States and the Taliban continue to progress, Afghans and Westerners alike will have to come to terms with a group whose societal views and bloody tactics have clashed diametrically with their own for decades.


Ex-employees sue defense contractors Fluor and KBR in multi-million dollar fraud claim

Fluor Corp., which provides services at 70 forward operating bases in northern Afghanistan, was served with the lawsuit after a five-year investigation. Former Halliburton Corp. subsidiary KBR was also named in the suit.


Afghan air force conducts first nighttime airstrikes

The Afghan air force has conducted nighttime airstrikes for the first time in a step toward making the country less dependent on American airpower, officials said Tuesday.


Army Ranger dog who died in Afghanistan saved soldiers’ lives

A U.S. military working dog was killed during a recent clash in Afghanistan in which an American soldier also died, military officials confirmed Tuesday after the dog’s unofficial biography began circulating on social media.


The US has dropped more munitions in 2018 in Afghanistan than it has in any year in over a decade

Between the start of the year and the end of October, U.S. forces released 5,982 munitions in Afghanistan, said the latest monthly report by U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Coalition aircraft flew nearly 6,600 sorties, about 12 percent of which carried out strikes during that period.