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[11 Feb 2013 | No Comment | ]

The cost of corruption in Afghanistan has risen sharply and half of all citizens paid a bribe to public officials last year, a new United Nations study said Thursday.
More than 11 years after a US-led invasion led to billions of dollars in aid flowing into one of the world’s poorest countries, Afghanistan ranks among the most corrupt nations on earth.
And Western nations due to pull their troops out next year have linked future financial support to the aid-dependent nation to a crackdown on graft.
The report by the UN office on …

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[29 Sep 2012 | No Comment | ]

The Taliban raised $400 million last year through taxes, donations, and extorting businessmen and narcotics dealers in Afghanistan, according to a new U.N. report.
The Islamist group has also taken hundreds of millions of dollars from the billions pumped into Afghanistan for development projects, according to the report released this week by U.N. sanctions experts to the Security Council.
The experts estimated that Taliban raised $400 million in the 12 months up to March. About $275 million went to the Taliban leadership while $125 million was spent or misappropriated at the local …

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[10 Jul 2012 | No Comment | ]

Donor countries on Sunday pledged a total of over $16 billion in development aid for Afghanistan through 2015 to help it achieve self-reliance after most foreign combat troops leave.
In establishing a new framework of mutual commitments between donors and the Afghan government at a conference in Tokyo, the international community also promised to maintain the amount of aid for Afghanistan through 2017 at around the same levels as over the last 10 years.
“While there are still many challenges for Afghanistan, there is no doubt that an environment to enable future …

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[6 Jul 2012 | No Comment | ]

Pakistan will re-open NATO’s supply lines into neighbouring Afghanistan after the most pressing impasse between Pakistan and the US was resolved with a simple “sorry”.
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, yesterday phoned Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, and told her “we are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military” in a botched NATO strike last year.
In a statement, she said later, “Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan …

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[13 Jun 2012 | No Comment | ]

The dramatic details of how the SAS completed a “brilliant” rescue of a British aid worker and three other female hostages in Afghanistan can be revealed.
Defence sources said the “surgical” operation showed the “precision, skill and courage” of British special forces after they stormed the cave where Helen Johnston, 28, was held, and killed her kidnappers.
David Cameron spoke individually to the soldiers to thank them for an “extraordinarily brave” mission. He warned that anyone who took British citizens hostage faced “a swift and brutal end”
Miss Johnston, a committed Christian, along …

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[21 May 2012 | No Comment | ]

Countries with troops in Afghanistan have pledged roughly $1 billion to help bankroll Afghan security forces once most NATO troops withdraw by the end of 2014, on top of funds promised by the United States, a Western official said Sunday.
The financial commitments in the “billion dollar range” represent “major progress” towards a goal of $1.3 billion from nations in the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, the Western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
“A few months ago, the piggy bank wasn’t expected to be this full,” the official said, …

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[29 Apr 2012 | No Comment | ]

An arena where the Taliban used to execute women provides a chilling and incongruous setting for one teen girl’s unlikely Olympic dream.
But the dusty floors, broken mirrors, and poorly-lit hallways inside Kabul’s Ghazni stadium have been the training base for 17-year-old Sadaf Rahimi.
Dressed in a track suit, red lace up boots and a blue bandana, she is on course to become Afghanistan’s first female Olympic boxer and only the third Afghan sportswoman to compete at an Olympic Games.
“The first time I hit someone it was in my village, I was …

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[23 Jan 2012 | No Comment | ]

An Australian is helping Afghans change their lives through the power of skateboarding, writes Jackie Dent.
HANIFA glides down the slanted ramp, her bright red-and-green traditional garb sparkling as she whizzes across the smooth floor. A little girl with bright-pink knee-pads follows her move, a determined look on her face. Nearby, Fazila has her hand extended, rolling another little girl backwards and forwards on a mini-ramp. The air in the expansive indoor skate park is cool and smells of fresh timber.
Two years ago, Hanifa, 14, and Fazila, 16, were eking out …

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[9 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]

Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is on duty in Afghanistan now after tours with the Army in Iraq. He has traveled with standard-issue equipment — weapons, helmet, uniform, boots and so forth — plus a radio-controlled model truck his brother Ernie sent.
The truck is not a toy to him. He says it just saved six soldiers’ lives.
“We cannot thank you enough,” said Sgt. Fessenden in an email from the front that Ernie, a software engineer in Rochester, Minn., shared with ABC News.
The little truck was used by the troops to run …

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[25 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]

US GOVERNMENT funds earmarked ostensibly to promote business in Afghanistan have landed in Taleban hands under a US$2.16 billion transportation contract, The Washington Post reported late on Sunday.
Citing the results of a year-long military-led investigation, the newspaper said US and Afghan efforts to address the problem have been slow, and all eight of the trucking firms involved remain on US payroll. Moreover, the Pentagon extended the contract for six months last March, the report said. The investigation found ‘documented, credible evidence … of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support …