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A blog devoted to on-the-ground reporting around the world.

US troops in Afghanistan: Packing up and moving out

Preparation to hand over US bases to Afghan forces is a huge undertaking for US troops.
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Amid the haunting ruined tents at FOB Lagman, where an Afghan Army battalion has taken over for an American brigade combat team. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The impending drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan is readily visible at the larger bases. Two years ago, Forward Operating Base Pasab in Kandahar was home to barely 800 soldiers. Now closer to 5,000 Americans and Afghan troops make do inside its perimeter, brought in from outposts that have been closed or turned over to Afghan security forces.
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In Afghanistan, focusing on the details

GlobalPost correspondent Ben Brody describes the ground beneath his feet in Zabul Province.
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This desert floor in Zabul is covered with jade and turquoise chips, giving it a greenish cast. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Eastern Afghanistan was hit with an earthquake and flash flooding this week, which killed as many as 33 people and demolished thousands of homes. The epicenter of the quake was 17 miles from Jalalabad, according to a report by the BBC.

Before the quake hit, GlobalPost reporter Ben Brody was further south in Qalat, Zabul province, observing the details of the ground beneath his feet.

QALAT, Afghanistan — Tired, squinting and sweating in the arid, violent southeastern Afghan landscape it's easy to miss the little things. Little things like tiny chips of jade and lizards hiding in the tumbleweeds. Like little fern-like plants that smell of sage when crushed under a boot, or caterpillars attacking the plants and ants attacking the caterpillars. Or lizards attacking the ants and the caterpillars.

Afghanistan is famously rich in minerals, and many of them are easily visible. I recently spent three days at a makeshift gunnery range in Zabul Province, and the slow pace of the days' activities gave me plenty of time to stare at the ground. The longer I looked and the stiller I sat, the more I saw.

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A Bostonian's reflection on the marathon bombings (VIDEO)

GlobalPost Executive Editor and Co-Founder Charlie Sennott reflects on what it was like to cover a bombing in his home city.

 

BOSTON — A moment of silence stopped Boston Monday at precisely 2:50 pm to remember the horrific events that unfolded one week ago when two bombs ripped through a crowd at the finish line of the Marathon and tore the heart of the city, killing three young people and wounding more than 175.

The pause to reflect on an intense and emotional aftermath of the bombing was also in honor of the security officer killed in the shootout that occurred amid the manhunt for the two brothers, whom police say carried out the attacks.

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A deeper look at the Tsarnaev brothers

Details emerge about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, their family, and their relationship.

A massive manhunt intensified at dusk as police closed in on the 19-year-old Marathon bombing suspect who was holed up in a residential neighborhood of Watertown, Massachusetts.

[At 8:44 p.m., the Boston Police Department confirmed that the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had been taken into custody. Residents of the neighborhood cheered as he was transported from the scene and a tense standoff came to a close.]

It was just moments after a press conference in which city, state and federal officials called off an all-day lock-down of the city of Boston that a burst of automatic gunfire erupted in Watertown and, according to live television reports from the scene, the intensity of the operation shifted suddenly and dramatically.

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Service in Boston brings faith to the forefront

An interfaith ceremony organized in the wake of Monday's bombings provided a collective meditation on faith in a time of crisis.
BOSTON — With sunshine streaming through the stained-glass of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, a shaken city gathered today in faith to remember three young lives lost, to pray for 174 injured, to salute the ranks of brave first responders and to thank so many selfless citizens who helped after the Patriots’ Day bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
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Investigators ID as many as 2 potential suspects in Boston Marathon bombing

Increased police and medical preparedness offer a grim 'silver lining' of the post-9/11 era.
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FBI crime scene investigators search a truck left on Boylston Street just past Berkeley Street April 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Investigators continue to work the scene of two bomb explosions at the finish line of the marathon that killed 3 people and injured over one hundred more. (Darren McCollester/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — Federal investigators have images of at least one and possibly two potential suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, GlobalPost has learned.

The images depict a male dressed in black with a white baseball cap, who was captured on video with a heavy black backpack and seen leaving it where one of the bombs was detonated near the finish line, according to an official knowledgeable of the investigation and who has seen the images.

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Boston Marathon attack: When home is the target

After years of covering terrorist attacks around the world, GlobalPost executive editor Charles Sennott reflects on what the marathon bombing means for his hometown.
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A woman cries during a candlelight interfaith service at Arlington Street Church April 16, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, in the aftermath of two explosions that struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — On Boylston Street, crowds gathered to stare in disbelief at a city that may never be the same.

An armored personnel carrier idled on a nearby street corner and armed National Guard troops flanked the sidewalks. The police barricades marked a 12-block crime scene. Makeshift vigils of flowers and heartfelt messages of prayer and remembrance were clustered here and there. And the sound of birds chirping on a glorious spring day seemed incongruous for a city so stunned it was as if the blast was still ringing in its collective ears.

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Sweden's lessons on inequality

The most equal country in the developed world, Sweden survived the collapse of socialism to become a capitalist model.
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Karl-Johan Persson, chief executive of Swedish clothing retailer H&M, arrives to give a press conference on January 30, 2013 in Stockholm. Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB said that its net profit rose by 6.6 percent in 2012 and that it increased its market share despite a difficult operating environment. (Janerik Henriksson/AFP/Getty Images)
The most equal country in the developed world, Sweden survived the collapse of socialism to become a capitalist model.
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America's tax reform moment

For the first time in a generation, serious tax reform that addresses one for the causes of income inequality is possible. But will the fringes derail it?
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US President Barack Obama (R) is greeted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) as he arrives at the US Capitol for his third day of meetings with members of Congress on March 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama met with Senate Republicans and House Democrats, with tax reform on the agenda. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — As the lights burn late and bright this week in American households striving to meet Monday’s federal income tax deadline, signs suggest it may be possible for America’s warring ideological tribes to agree on the first major reform in a generation of the overcomplicated, loophole-ridden and highly regressive tax system.

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How to stalk elusive truths as a correspondent in Afghanistan

Misinformation is common among military leaders and truth is based on what you can see and who you can trust.
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Staff Sgt. Daniel Peters, 1-41 Field Artillery, takes cover behind a stone wall in Zabul Province, Afghanistan after shots rang out in the mountains. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Truth is elusive in Afghanistan. You have to stalk it with stealth and energetic enterprise.

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