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Afghan employee kills U.S. citizen at Kabul CIA base

A U.S. citizen working for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was killed by an Afghan also working there. The incident took place in the CIA Annex of the U.S. Embassy at Ariana Hotel in Kabul. The victim was not named.

A second person was injured in the incident was sent to a military hospital. The lone attacker was also killed. A senior Taliban commander stated that the attacker had secretly joined the insurgents after a group of Taliban approached him to remind him “of his moral and religious duty as an Afghan.”

U.S. officials have stated that an investigation on the incident has started.

Taleban attack US-run Bagram Air Base

NATO has said that members of the Taleban launched an attack on the US-run Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan earlier today. Varying media reports say that between five to seven foreign service members were killed, and at least ten rebels.

NATO said the rebels started their assault before dawn using small arms, rockets, and grenades.

A spokeswoman for the base, Major Virginia McCabe, said the attackers did not gain access to Bagram, but that one building received minor damage, adding that gunfire had become more sporadic by midday. Read More…

Deadly suicide blast hits NATO convoy in Kabul

A car bomb attack which targeted a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) convoy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan has killed or wounded dozens of people. The death toll was not confirmed, and estimates range from ten to twenty deaths. 47 people were injured in the attack.

The incident occurred at the Darulaman crossroads, near a US-Afghan military base and the parliament. Six NATO troops died in the attack alongside several civilians. The NATO said they had sealed off the region. The bomber had been driving a car filled with explosives, which they detonated at around 0815 local time [0415 GMT].

Iain Baxter, a spokesman for Isaf (International Security Assistance Force), stated: “An Isaf convoy was hit. At the moment we’re trying to confirm the number of Isaf casualties.” He could not confirm the number of Isaf personnel killed in the attack. Read More…

Pamir Airways plane crash in Afghanistan

Officials say a Pamir Airways plane carrying 43 passengers, including six foreigners, has crashed in the mountains of northern Afghanistan.

Authorities say the Pamir Airways flight went down earlier today while on its way from the northern city of Kunduz to the capital, Kabul.

Rescuers were headed to the presumed crash site near the Salang Pass in the Hindu Kush mountains, north of the Afghan capital; however, poor weather conditions, including fog, reportedly hampered an aerial search.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said NATO-led forces had been asked to help locate the plane using pilotless drones. NATO said in a statement that it had dispatched a manned aircraft to the last known position of the missing plane; two helicopters were also en route to the area. Read More…

Suicide bombing in Afghanistan

A suicide bombing near an airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan earlier today has killed at least three people and injured a further 35, according to reports.

According to a commander of southern Afghan armed forces, Sher Mohammed Zazai, the explosion hit the airfield as well as a compound giving logistical help to NATO troops.

A correspondent for Al Jazeera in Kabul reports at least three suicide bombers were involved in the attack. The news agency also attributed the attack to the Taleban.

This attack comes soon after the United Nations said it would be closing its Kandahar office temporarily due to concerns about security. At least twenty civilians, among them eight children, have been killed in attacks in Kandahar since April 12.

Obama arrives in Afghanistan

U.S. President Barack Obama is in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit that is expected to last several hours.

Mr. Obama landed at the Bagram military base north of Kabul Sunday and was flown by helicopter to the presidential palace for meetings with Afghan Preisent Hamid Karzai and other top officials. He also planned to meet U.S. military officers and troops for a briefing on the offensive against Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan.

U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones told reporters that Mr. Obama is meeting with President Karzai to impress on him the need to “battle the things that have not been paid attention to almost since day one.” General Jones did not elaborate, but U.S. officials have pushed for stronger Afghan government efforts against corruption and drugs, and to build credible government services. Read More…

Bribes cost Afghans a quarter of country’s GDP

According to a newly-released report compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), bribes paid to police, military, and public officials over the past year have cost Afghan civilians collectively over US$2.5 billion, nearly the equivalent of a quarter of the country’s legitimate GDP.

Afghanistan GDP

Entitled “Corruption in Afghanistan”, the report was based on polling of approximately 7,600 people in cities and villages around the nation.

According to the report, 59% of those surveyed said that government sanctioned corruption was a more pressing concern to them than insecurity (54%) or unemployment (52%).

The report adds that more than half the population had to pay out at least one bribe in 2009. Furthermore, in a country where the economic output is only $425 per person, the average bribe cost nearly $160. Three out of four bribes were paid in cash. Read More…