27
May
09

Related Newswires Articles on Afghanistan from the Huffington Post

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Related Newswires Articles on Afghanistan from the Huffington Post:

Pakistani Taliban: We’ll Avoid Combat In Swat City
from The Huffington Post | Full News Feed by The Huffington Post News Editors

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban on Monday urged civilians to return to the Swat Valley’s main city, promising they would not attack security forces battling for control out of concern for the safety of trapped residents.

Pakistan’s military dismissed the gesture as a ploy that would allow the militants to blend in with the residents of Mingora, and said it had no intention of halting its offensive in the valley.

More than 2 million civilians have fled Swat and nearby districts, making it easier for the army to single out insurgents, but returning civilians could further complicate the battle

The appeal also appeared designed to play off the growing public concern for thousands still stuck in Mingora amid shortages of food and water.

Afghanistan’s Rebuilding Looms As Sequel To Iraq’s
from The Huffington Post | Full News Feed by  RICHARD LARDNER | AP

WASHINGTON — The job of rebuilding Afghanistan is shaping up as an ominous sequel to the massive, mistake-riddled U.S. effort to get Iraq back on its feet.

Since 2001, the U.S. has committed nearly $33 billion for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. Yet as President Barack Obama sends more troops and aid to quell a growing insurgency, there’s been no detailed public accounting of where the money has gone and how effectively it’s being spent.

As in Iraq, where the U.S. has contributed $50 billion for rebuilding, the flow of money to Afghanistan outpaces the ability to track it. Already, an inspector general looking into the U.S. handling of Afghanistan reconstruction has found worrisome evidence of lax oversight and costly projects left foundering.

Afghanistan presents difficult challenges. It lacks Iraq’s modern infrastructure and oil to generate revenue. Work sites are often in remote and primitive locations, making it hard for investigators to keep tabs on progress and ensure contract terms are being met.

Pakistani Troops Take On Taliban In Main Swat Town
from The Huffington Post | Full News Feed by The Huffington Post News Editors

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani security forces fought street battles with Taliban militants in the Swat Valley’s main urban center Saturday, a critical phase in the effort to wrest the northwest region near Afghanistan out of insurgent hands.

Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas warned that the operation in Mingora town could be “painfully slow,” noting some 10,000 to 20,000 civilians are still trapped there. The fight also could prove a major test for a military more geared toward conventional warfare on plains than bloody urban battles.

The military operation in Swat and surrounding districts has strong support from Washington, which wants Pakistan to root out insurgents who use its territory to plan attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. For now, it appears to have broad public support in Pakistan as well.

Abbas said 17 suspected militants had been killed in the past 24 hours of the operation in the valley. He said another major town, Matta, was cleared of militants. But some 1,500 to 2,000 insurgents remained in Swat _ hard-core fighters, he said.

US, Afghan Forces Seize 101 Tons Of Narcotics, Biggest Drug Cache To Date
from The Huffington Post | by the New York Times | By SABRINA TAVERNISE

KABUL, Afghanistan — American and Afghan forces seized what the American military called the single largest drug cache to date in a four-day operation that began Tuesday in the south of the country.

The seizure by Afghan Army commandos and American forces took place in Marjeh, a town in Helmand Province, the American military said in a statement on Saturday. In all, soldiers found more than 101 tons of narcotics, including heroin, poppy seeds, opium and hashish. Large amounts of heroin processing materials were also confiscated, the military said.

Heroin is a major source of income for the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the American military has said it would be a major focus of future operations as more troops are moved into Afghanistan this summer under President Obama’s plan.

The drugs were taken in a central market area in the town. A battle ensued in which, according to the American military, 60 insurgents were killed. An American military spokesman said the allies met a surprising level of resistance, fighting the militants for four days in gun battles and by aerial strikes.

Accompanying Video:

Pakistan: Experts in the Field

This video documents Lawrence Korb, Brian Katulis, and Colin Cookman’s visit to Pakistan last month. They visited the Pakistani cities of Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi to assess the country’s complex and dynamic political and security situation.

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