Afghanistan | KUOW News and Information

Afghanistan

Updated at 4 a.m. ET Saturday

A government spokesman has increased the death toll from Thursday's bombing using the "Mother of All Bombs" in Afghanistan to 94, up from 36.

Ataullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said in a tweet Saturday that 94 ISIS members were killed in the attack on an ISIS underground complex, including four top commanders.

"Fortunately there is no report of civilians being killed in the attack," Khogyani told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The U.S. has dropped the most powerful conventional weapon ever used in combat to hit an underground ISIS complex in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say.

The nearly 22,000-pound "MOAB" — standing for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or as it's also known, the "Mother of All Bombs" — was designed during the Iraq War but had never before been used on the battlefield.

The U.S. has used the bomb's predecessor, a smaller but still massive weapon known as the "Daisy Cutter," in Afghanistan before.

Afghan Women Say No To The Dress

Mar 19, 2017

It's a story with a happy ending about a demonstration that didn't happen — after activist Afghan women beat back the Ministry of Education decision that schoolgirls must exchange their current already modest uniforms for styles that are more restrictive and concealing.

On March 14, the Afghan ministry unveiled the new designs. Schools in the country were closed at the time (the school year in Afghanistan goes from March through January and set to reopen on the 20th or 21st. The ministry said the change would be effective when classes resumed.

The State Department is running out of visas for Afghans who are in danger because they worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced that it expected the visas to be depleted by June 1 and that "No further interviews for Afghan principal applicants ... will be scheduled after March 1, 2017."

It's perhaps the unlikeliest symphony orchestra in the world — an all-female ensemble from a strict Muslim society where it's often dangerous for young women to step outside of their homes unescorted. It's called Zohra — the name of a music goddess in Persian literature, according to its founder.

And they were performing at an unlikely venue — a hall attached to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a bombed-out ruin in western Berlin commemorating the horrors of World War II. It's just steps from where Berliners experienced their first ISIS-linked terror attack six weeks ago.

Days after she was deported from Pakistan to her native Afghanistan, the woman whose piercing green-eyed stare landed a spot on the cover of National Geographic will next travel to India for medical care.

That's the news from Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan's ambassador to India, who said via Twitter that Sharbat Gula "will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost."

The Pentagon says two Americans were shot and killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and at least two others were wounded. One of those who died was a service member, the other was a civilian.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the assailant opened fire at the entrance to an ammunition depot near Camp Morehead, a training center for Afghan commandos. The camp is about an hour's drive south of Kabul.

As Tom reported for our Newscast unit:

The European Union and the government of Afghanistan have agreed to a plan that could send tens of thousands of asylum seekers back to Afghanistan, even as fighting in some parts of the country intensifies.

Gunmen attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday evening, as students and staff hunkered down in place or fled for their lives, witnesses say.

Hospital officials say at least one student was killed and at least 14 injured, as Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, tells our Newscast unit.

"Right now there are dozens of Afghan police, security forces, special forces. They've surrounded the campus," Glasse says. Here's more:

Flanked by his secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Obama announced that he was once again slowing the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

By the time President Obama leaves office, 8,400 American troops will remain in the country. Obama said this was "the right thing to do."

"It is in our national security interest ... that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed," Obama said.

The Afghan army commander said the treacherous road to Marjah, in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, was now safe. His forces had driven out the Taliban a few days earlier, he added.

"The road is open, so no problem," said Lt. Gen. Moeen Faqir. "Of course I hope you go there and find the reality and reflect it."

Zabihullah Tamanna, the Afghan journalist who was killed on Sunday along with NPR photojournalist David Gilkey, has been laid to rest in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Zabihullah and David died when the armored Humvee they were riding in, part of an Afghan military convoy, was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Taliban militants. NPR's Tom Bowman and Monika Evstatieva were riding in a different vehicle in the convoy, and were not injured in the attack.

Updated 1:50 a.m. ET Monday:

President Obama, in Vietnam on Monday as part of a 10-day trip to Asia, confirmed the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour. He calling Mansour's death a milestone in U.S. efforts "to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan."

In a statement, the president said in part:

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has likely been killed by a drone strike authorized by President Obama, the Associated Press reports.

According to the Associated Press, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the attack occurred in a remote region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

"He said the U.S. was studying the results of the attack, leaving Mansour's fate unclear," the AP says.

A second male combatant accompanying Mansour in a vehicle is also likely to have been killed.

It took Abdul Arian months to realize that his decision to migrate from his home country, Afghanistan, to Germany was a huge mistake.

He set off nearly a year ago, hoping to be granted asylum so he could attend a university and study psychology.

His journey, organized by smugglers, was long and perilous. Arian, 24, says he nearly drowned off the shores of Greece, when the inflatable dinghy he was traveling in capsized.

He says he and his fellow travelers got lost somewhere in Hungary and walked through the rain for 24 hours before they found the path again.

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