Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Disgusted by the insurgency’s relentless brutality, more than 1,000 fighters have walked away in recent months.
Taliban fighters surrender.

At a dark, unheated village Madrassa near Peshawar, Pakistan, Mullah Yahya spends his days studying the Quran and begging God’s forgiveness for the horrors in which he once took part. Until a few months ago, he belonged to a Taliban unit operating in and around the Afghan town of Marja, led by a commander whose ruthlessness had earned him the nickname “Saddam.” But late last summer, Yahya finally quit the Taliban, together with a dozen other fighters and even Saddam himself. The commander and some of his men joined a U.S.-backed militia in the Marja area—where Saddam was killed by a Taliban IED just a few weeks ago. Yahya and others abandoned the war altogether. “I’d like to delete my past from my memory,” says the black-bearded 28-year-old, huddled in two coats against the madrassa’s indoor chill, to a visiting a news reporter. “I’m worried about how Allah will treat me for what I have done.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vote recounts that could throw doubt on the legitimacy of Afghanistan's parliament are under way in 10 provinces even as the legislature starts work with its newly elected speaker, election officials said Monday.
Afghanistan's parliament  one of few checks on the administration of President Hamid Karzai  was finally inaugurated in late January after months of investigations and debate over allegations of widespread fraud during the polling. But continued questions about who was rightfully elected could undermine the lawmakers' authority as they start trying to pass laws and the impending budget.

NATO says three of its service members have been killed in Afghanistan.The international military coalition said one service member was killed on Tuesday in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan and the other two died in a bombing in the east on Monday. It did not provide the victims' nationalities or any other details.
NATO typically waits for the relevant national authorities to confirm deaths of service members.
The death Tuesday was the first in March. A total of 68 NATO service members were killed this year, including 36 in February.
Last year was the deadliest year of the nine-year Afghan war for the international forces, with 701 killed.