Jerome Starkey in Afghanistan
Jerome Starkey in Afghanistan
FIVE masked men stand at the foot of a gorge, Kalashnikovs slung over shoulders, motorbikes parked next to a yurt. None wears uniform, one has a radio, only their eyes are visible beneath their headscarves.
BLINDFOLDED and bundled into an stranger's car, Afghanistan's most unlikely peace negotiator was driven across Helmand for more than two hours, under the cover of darkness, for a clandestine meeting with the Taleban's supreme leader.
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Ricky Gervais never had to deal with suicide bombers and stray bullets in his hit comedy The Office. His comic creation David Brent never had a pistol-packing bodyguard and there certainly wasn't a one-eyed man with an M-16 strolling around - but then he wasn't based in Afghanistan.
SUICIDE attackers killed at least 22 people, including ten children, when militants stormed government compounds in Tirin Kot, capital of Afghanistan's Uruzgan province yesterday.
Mullah Mohammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taleban, has given his blessing to Afghan peace talks and sent a "trusted envoy" to meet British, American and German officials, according to two former Taleban ambassadors in touch with those involved.
THE United States is leaving Afghanistan. The real questions are how fast, at what cost, and what will they leave behind?
Bombed hollow and bullet scarred, the ruins of Russia's Cultural Centre stagger over Kabul like a modern day Ozymandias, warning would-be imperialists of the perils of meddling in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's relations with the West suffered another bruising yesterday as president Hamid Karzai blamed Americans for the multi-million-dollar failure of the country's largest bank.
Violence in Afghanistan soared by 30 per cent in the first three months of 2011, despite record levels of foreign forces.
British soldiers fled an angry mob in Kabul yesterday after accidentally killing a woman in a traffic accident.
Afghanistan suffered a third day of violent demonstrations yesterday as President Hamid Karzai faced accusations he was fuelling the fury at recent burnings of the Koran in the United States.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan was thrown into crisis last night after two staff were beheaded and at least six others killed when a mob overran its regional headquarters.
British officials in southern Afghanistan hailed Helmand's first pop concert as unmitigated triumph. But the second, it seems, was a bop too far for conservative tribal elders.
Pictures of American soldiers desecrating their victims' dead bodies were broadcast across Afghanistan last night, raising the prospect of a violent backlash against Nato and the West.
NATO special forces have killed one of Hamid Karzai's elderly relatives in a botched night raid, just days after the Afghan president warned military commanders that civilian casualties would cost them the war.
British Special Forces have intercepted a convoy of Iranian weapons destined for Taleban insurgents in southern Afghanistan.
The first blast tore a man's legs off and shredded his Kalashnikov into little bits. For a moment, Specialist Jacob Moore thought it was his fault.
President Hamid Karzai's failure to clean up a corrupt bank part-owned by his brother could force international donors to stop bank-rolling the Afghanistan government within weeks.
Women-hating warlords are behind Afghan government plans to seize control of women's shelters, Human Rights Watch warned yesterday.
Secret shelters which protect women from murder, forced marriages and ritual mutilation will be turned into "virtual prisons" that make women less safe, under Afghan government plans to wrest control of them from local charities, women's activists warned yesterday.