Afghanistan

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.

File photo of Bowe Bergdahl at his graduation from basic training with the Army.
Bergdahl family

The desertion case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will go to a full court-martial, his attorney said Monday.

Bergdahl walked away from his remote outpost in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban.

A Pentagon investigation into a deadly U.S. airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, has found the attack was the result of human error, compounded by malfunctioning computers and communication failures.

Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, detailed the findings in a Pentagon briefing Wednesday. "This was a tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error," he said.

Andrew Holmes, a former soldier from Boise, is speaking out about his war crimes and his time in prison. He was the youngest member of what came to be known as the “kill team” from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Afghan school girls are treated at a hospital after an earthquake in Takhar province, northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. At least 12 students at a girls' school were killed in a stampede as they fled the shaking building.
AP Photo/Zalmai Ashna

Seattle’s small community of Afghan refugees is still feeling emotional aftershocks following Monday’s earthquake.

The epicenter of the magnitude 7.5 quake was in northern Afghanistan.

Speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, President Obama said on Thursday that slowing down the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is "the right thing to do."

"Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be," Obama said, so the United States will leave 9,800 troops in the country through most of 2016. By 2017, about 5,500 troops will remain in a few bases across the country.

Obama said that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will remain focused on two non-combat objectives: to train Afghan forces and carry out counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida.

U.S. Will Keep More Troops In Afghanistan Than Planned

Oct 15, 2015

Senior administration officials say President Obama will announce Thursday that he will keep a larger military presence in Afghanistan than he had planned. The president had hoped to whittle the U.S. forces down to just 1,000 by the time he left office.

The officials say 9,800 troops will stay in Afghanistan through most of 2016, and 5,500 in 2017.

NPR's Mara Liasson reports the decision was driven by recent successes by anti-government Taliban fighters:

U.S. troops in Afghanistan lowered the flag and boxed up their gear at the end of last year as President Obama declared the formal end to 13 years of U.S. combat operations.

File photo of Bowe Bergdahl at his graduation from basic training with the Army.
Bergdahl family

There’s a recommendation on whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face a court martial, but it’s not being released to the public yet.

Bergdahl’s attorney says the hearing officer overseeing the Army’s case sent his recommendations Monday to the U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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