News Afghan children play cricket on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, near to Alinghar, Laghman where the cricket players were shot by a gunman.

Authorities say the gunman rode on a motorbike and shot the group of men

Kim Sengupta: A diplomat without diplomacy - but he made up for it in cunning

A senior Serbian official was left spluttering by what he considered Mr Holbrooke's high-handed behaviour

Cameron and Karzai shrug off talk of rift

David Cameron and Afghan president Hamid Karzai were quick to play down criticism of Britain's military performance, published by WikiLeaks, as the Prime Minister made an announced visit to Kabul.

Clinton apologises for embarrassment to UK

Hillary Clinton apologised yesterday for the derogatory comments made by American diplomats about British political leaders and military forces in the leaked cables published by the WikiLeaks website.

Key ally in Helmand privately criticised British policies

The Governor of Helmand, regularly put forward by London to publicly promote the UK's achievements in Afghanistan, privately complained to the Americans about shortcomings of British policy and the supposed failure to win over local people in a key battleground against the Taliban.

Patrick Cockburn: What Afghans will do to get friends out of jail

The main prison is Kabul is Pol-i-Charkhi, a forbidding-looking place off the Jalalabad road in the east of the capital, which was shrouded in smog yesterday. It has a grim reputation, built in the 1970s and used by the communist government as a place of torture and execution.

Christina Patterson: I always thought football was boring. Now I know it's rotten

Football, it turns out, is run by a group of ugly old men who look very like the villains in James Bond. They sit and think of ways to make world leaders look silly

Afghanistan's ancient jewels to sparkle in London

The shimmering brightness of a collection of priceless artifacts from Afghanistan contrasts with the darkness in which they languished for most of their existence.

John Kampfner: Wikileaks shows up our media for their docility at the feet of authority

Mr Assange is an unconventional figure, a man who lives in the shadows and enjoys doing so

Patrick Cockburn: He may be weak, but President Karzai knows the US has no alternative

The main American complaint against President Hamid Karzai over the past year has been that he and his government are so weak that the US has no effective local partner in Afghanistan.

Afghan diplomat released after two years

afghanistan's former ambassador-designate to Pakistan, seized by gunmen two years ago in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, has been released and is safely back home, President Hamid Karzai's office said yesterday.

Karzai hits out at Russians over drugs bust

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has lashed out at Russia's growing influence in his country, deriding a multi-million dollar drugs bust that involved four Russian agents as a "violation of Afghan sovereignty as well as international law". About 70 Afghan, Russian and Nato personnel, backed up by attack helicopters, seized drugs with a street value of $250m (£157m) in eastern Afghanistan over the weekend.

Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (31/10/10)

Rant

Hamid Karzai confirms talks with Taliban

President Hamid Karzai confirmed today that his government has been in informal talks with the Taliban on securing peace in Afghanistan "for quite some time" - the latest in a series of high-level acknowledgements of contacts with the insurgent group.

Kabul closes private security firms

The Afghan government said yesterday it has started dissolving private security firms in the country, taking steps to end the operations of eight companies, including the US firm formerly known as Blackwater and three other international contractors.

Patrick Cockburn: Pakistan won't act against the Taliban

Most Pakistani soldiers see the Afghan Taliban as Pashtun freedom fighters combating a foreign occupation
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The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
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Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
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The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
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The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
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In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
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Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?