The shots came from the north-west and the US ‘K9’ tracker-dog team is on the scent of two men. Confident the situation is under control, I join a group of soldiers relaxing along the earth bank protecting the canal

(Alex Gardiner) 

The Same Breed by Marines
Via Flickr:
“Old breed? New breed? There’s not a damn bit of difference so long asit’s the Marine breed.” — Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller The uniforms may change, the battlegrounds may change, but Marineswill always be America’s warriors. Each week we’ll take a look at, how as time goes on, we remain the same breed. (Photos courtesy of the U.S. Navy and Cpl. Reece Lodder)

Something special from #TaMeuBem headed straight to #Chicago. A good friend of mine picked out some lovely pieces to take back to our hometown for the holiday. So glad the #Chi will be getting an exclusive taste 😏😉 This #Owl necklace is inspired by #Tuareg and #Afghan jeweling traditions. Green #Lapis #agate and #hematite round out a sacred triad of charged crystals in the spirit of #beauty #wisdom and #protection. #jewelry #handmade #chitown #travels #international #national #accessories #energized #crystals #gemstones #oneofakind #beads #stones

Extremists have united in new offensive: Afghan UN envoy

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Extremists have united in new offensive: Afghan UN envoy

UNITED NATIONS: Afghanistan’s UN ambassador Zahir Tanin says a new offensive against the government and the Afghan people is compounded by an unprecedented convergence of Taliban insurgents, more than 7,000 foreign fighters and violent groups including the Islamic State.

Zahir Tanin told the UN Security Council Monday that these groups not only target Afghan troops and civilians with suicide bombings, improvised explosives, hostage-taking and assassinations but they seek control of districts and provinces as bases for their activities in Afghanistan as well as south and central Asia.Nicholas Haysom, the U.N. envoy for Afghanistan, said Afghanistan is meeting its security challenges “but it is nonetheless being increasingly tested.”

Afghan forces ‘have been undeniably stretched as they take on full security responsibilities” following the end of the US and NATO combat mission, he said.
Source: BBC,yahoo

Afghan foreign ministry summons Pakistan envoy, lodges protest

Kabul, July 2 (IANS) The Afghan foreign ministry summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Sayed Ibrar Hussain on Thursday and protested over what it described as indiscriminate firing by Pakistani forces on Afghan Border Police on Tuesday night which left an Afghan border security personnel dead.

“The deputy to foreign ministry, Hekmat Khalil Karzai, while conveying Afghanistan’s concerns and protest to the Pakistani ambassador, pointed out that firing by Pakistani forces on the Afghan side is against international laws and diplomatic norms, warning repetition of such acts would damage the bilateral efforts for improving mutual relations and co-existence between the two neighbouring states,” a statement of the ministry for foreign affairs here said.

The Afghan official also called upon the Pakistani government to take immediate step for halting such provocative actions, Xinhua news agency reported.

An Afghan border police personnel named Najibullah, according to media reports, was killed in firing from across the border in Barmal district of Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province two nights ago.

The Same Breed by Marines
Via Flickr:
“Old breed? New breed? There’s not a damn bit of difference so long as it’s the Marine breed.” — Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller The uniforms may change, the battlegrounds may change, but Marines will always be America’s warriors. Each week we’ll take a look at how as time goes on, we remain the same breed. (Photos courtesy of Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections and Cpl. Reece Lodder)

Taliban attack on Afghan parliament in Kabul ends

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Taliban attack on Afghan parliament in Kabul ends

A co-ordinated Taliban attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul has ended with all six gunmen killed, the interior ministry says.

Attackers detonated a huge car bomb outside the gates, stormed the compound, then entered a building next to the chamber.

Police evacuated the premises, while trying to fight the gunmen off.

The Taliban say they carried out the attack to coincide with a vote to endorse a new defence minister.

The spokesman for the interior ministry, Sediq Seddiqi, said the gunmen had attempted to storm the parliament building itself after the gates were breached by the suicide bomb.

They were fought off and entered a building under construction next to parliament. MPs were showered with broken glass, and the chamber filled with smoke as the fighting went on. It took nearly an hour before all the firing stopped.

At least 18 people are reported to have been wounded. Seddiqi said no MP had been injured.

Pictures on social media showed parliament full of smoke and people running for cover.

Even by Afghan standards, these were very dramatic scenes, and police had a complex operation on their hands, says the BBC’s David Loyn in Kabul.

The Taliban were extracting maximum propaganda advantage by doing it on the day that parliament was meeting to consider the appointment of new Defence Minister Massoom Stanekzai, our correspondent says.

Local media reported another explosion in the Dahmazang area of Kabul city.

The Taliban have launched complex attacks on government buildings in the capital in the past.

They have made substantial gains recently in Helmand in the south-west, and have been advancing across the north of the country, capturing two districts of the Kunduz province in recent days.

Militant violence has increased across the country since the departure of most US and Nato forces last year.

Source: BBC Online

5 must-watch movies on Afghanistan

Lone Survivor (2013)
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana
Based on the 2007 book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell, it is the story of failed U.S. Navy SEAL counter-insurgent mission Operation Red Wings in the mountains of Kunar, who go there to neutralize Ahmad Shahd, a dangerous Al Qaeda leader. All of them except Luttrell are killed. Luttrell survives because of a generous Afghan family. The film received two Academy Award nominations.

Buzkashi Boys (2012)
Director: Sam French
Starring: Fawad Mohammadi, Jawanmard Paiz, Wali Talash
A feature film that was nominated for Academy Awards in 2012 tells the story of the fascinating but dangerous game of Buzkashi in Afganisthan. Filmed entirely on location in Kabul by a group of Afghan and international filmmakers, the film revolves around two best friends – a street urchin and a blacksmith’s son – who dream of becoming champion horsemen in the game of Buzkashi.

The Kite Runner (2007)
Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Khalid Abdalla, Zekeria Ebrahimi, Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, Homayoun Ershadi
Adopted from a best-selling novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini, this film tells the story of Amir, a boy from a posh locality of Kabul, who is torn apart by the guilt of betraying his friend Hassan, son of his family servant. The story traces the tumultuous events from the fall of monarchy to Soviet military intervention, the exodus of Afghan refugees to Pakistan, followed by the Taliban regime.

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Afghan Forces Battle Taliban 30 Miles West of Kabul

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Afghan Forces Battle Taliban 30 Miles West of Kabul

Afghanistan — Afghan security forces battling the Taliban about 30 miles west of Kabul have sustained heavy casualties, officials said Saturday, as senior members of the government criticized the response to the assault as slow and ineffective.

Details of the fighting in Wardak Province, which began Thursday, were murky, but statements by various officials said that between 16 and 30 members of the Afghan Local Police, a militia controlled by the Interior Ministry, were killed, along with at least two civilians. Some of the dead were decapitated, officials said.

The fighting was taking place in the province’s Jalrez district, which lies on a strategically important highway connecting Kabul, the capital, to the central province of Bamiyan. The highway was closed Saturday, said Masood Shneezai, deputy chief of Wardak’s provincial council.

A spokesman for Wardak’s governor said 30 members of the Taliban had been killed and 18 wounded.

Mr. Shneezai said the Taliban had overrun about 11 security checkpoints since the battle began. He accused the province’s police chief, Gen. Khalil Andarabi, of negligence and expressed concern that the insurgents could threaten Kabul if Jalrez fell. “There is only one mountain separating Jalrez from Paghman,” Mr. Shneezai said, referring to a district on the outskirts of the capital.

Security officials said hundreds of supporting forces, who reached the area on Friday and Saturday, had taken back at least seven of the checkpoints and secured the government buildings in central Jalrez.

Senior officials in Kabul, including Vice President Sarwar Danish, were among the critics of the security forces’ response to the assault, underscoring the dysfunctional nature of Afghanistan’s power-sharing government as it struggles to push back an intense Taliban offensive across the country.

Mr. Danish, who called the Taliban assault a “brutal and unacceptable tragedy,” accused officials in Wardak of “negligence and delay” and a “lack of responsibility and coordination.”

Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq, the deputy chief executive of the coalition government, said that 22 security personnel had been killed and “their bodies chopped up to pieces and burned after their martyrdom” while units of an Afghan police force headquartered nearby provided no support.

Mr. Mohaqeq said the 22 men had belonged to the Hazara ethnic group and suggested that that was a reason for the failure to respond, comparing the incident to the mass killings of Hazaras that occurred in central Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

Source : Nytimes