Afghan troops ran, hid during deadly attack
WASHINGTON (AP) As one of the deadliest battles of the war in Afghanistan raged, Afghan soldiers ran, hid and even stole personal items from the American troops fighting and dying at a remote outpost.
When the Oct. 3, 2009, firefight at Combat Outpost Keating ended, eight U.S. soldiers were dead and 22 more were wounded. A military investigation released Friday said the 53 Americans at Keating fought heroically, repelling hundreds of insurgents, but the investigation also faulted U.S. ground commanders for leaving American troops in a vulnerable position. And the Afghan troops received a withering appraisal from soldiers who were interviewed by investigators.
The U.S. has spent billions of dollars since 2001 training and equipping the Afghan army and police. Afghan security forces capable of defeating insurgents and terrorists are an essential ingredient in the Obama administrations plans to begin withdrawing American forces, and senior U.S. national security officials speak optimistically of progress.
But first-hand accounts from the battle at Keating, detailed in witness statements included in the investigation, provide a different, highly critical view.
One of the harshest came from two Latvian soldiers stationed at Keating and responsible for mentoring the three dozen Afghan troops at the base in mountainous Nuristan province near the Pakistan border. In interviews conducted after the attack, the Latvians told the U.S. investigators that the Afghan soldiers lacked discipline, motivation and initiative.
Blagojevich jurors end 1st day of deliberations
CHICAGO (AP) Jurors at the corruption retrial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich began their deliberations Friday but went home for the weekend after meeting for just a few hours.
The jury will resume deliberations Tuesday on several charges, including that Blagojevich sought to sell or trade President Barack Obamas vacated U.S. Senate seat and tried to shake down executives by threatening state decisions that would hurt their businesses.
During closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors described Blagojevich as a schemer who lied to jurors even when confronted with FBI wiretap recordings that seemed to catch him in the act.
Blagojevichs attorney countered that the government showed only that he talks a lot.
He didnt get a dime, a nickel, a penny ... nothing, defense attorney Aaron Goldstein shouted just feet from the jury box. Pointing at Blagojevich, Goldstein added that the trial isnt about anything but nothing.