The new U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan has begun his first
round of meetings with top Afghan officials in the capital, Kabul.
Holbrooke's itinerary has been tightly guarded, and his talks Friday
come just two days after Taliban militants launched deadly attacks on
three government ministries.
Reports say Mr. Holbrooke met
with Defense and Interior Ministry officials and will hold talks with
Afghan President Hamid Karzai later on Friday.
talks began, Australian defense officials said five Afghan children
were killed during fighting between Taliban militants and Australian
Australia's military issued a statement Friday
saying the incident happened on Thursday as Australian soldiers were
clearing a number of homes of insurgents in the southern province of
President Karzai has said that he supports foreign
efforts to battle extremists in his country, but he has blamed the U.S.
and other Western allies for not doing enough to reduce the risk to
In other news, U.S. government
auditors say the U.S. Defense Department has failed to track more than
one-third (or 87,000) of 242,000 weapons shipped to Afghanistan since
December of 2004.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office
released its report Thursday, warning that U.S. weapons - including
assault rifles, grenade launchers and mortars - may have fallen into
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.