A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near Kandahar airfield base that left one U.S. soldier dead and three others injured. The Taliban has claimed responsibility, calling the bomber a brave fighter.
The timing is important to emphasize because it happened shortly after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Erin Burnett left the base. The message from the U.S. is clear: terrorists will not win here.
But what is the reality on the ground?
OutFront tonight: Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times Foreign Correspondent and Daoud Sultanzoy of TOLO News.
Violence rocks Afghanistan - a sobering reminder today that America's longest war has not yet yielded a secure Afghanistan. Just hours after Erin Burnett wrapped up an interview with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the U.S. base in Kandahar, a brazen attack occurred outside the base.
A suicide bomber struck, killing one American service member and two Afghan civilians. And three Americans and 18 Afghans were also wounded.
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, praising the "brave Taliban fighter" who carried it out.
Secretary Panetta met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and invited him to Washington to meet with President Obama next month.
The key questions for these leaders: Where do things now stand and what next?
For most Americans, Afghanistan is synonymous with war, terrorism, al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden. But this is also a country with incredible history and culture.
As we began researching stories to cover, we learned of an Outfront personal connection. One of our colleagues, a publicist here at CNN, spent the first eight years of her life in Afghanistan during the early 1970's.
Erin Burnett spent some time with her father talking about his life - when Afghanistan was a different place.
OutFront tonight: Faiz Khairzada, Former Afghan Ministry of Culture and Information.
Erin Burnett sat down with an Afghan woman who is defying death threats as she vies to be the next president of Afghanistan. Fawzia Koofi, a member of Parliament, tells Burnett why she's motivated to continue her work in politics.
"I think the fact I have grown up in Afghanistan as a woman. I have experienced every day injustice and discrimination towards me as a woman. Plus, I have grown up in a political family and I was born in a political family."
Koofi added, "I cannot go back because I have come so much forward and there are people who support me, there are people who oppose me and that’s very common. So for the sake of my supporters, I need to…that gives me the motivation."
OutFront tonight: Fawzia Koofi - Head of Parliament's Women and Civil Society Commission
U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Josh Berndt is stationed at the Kandahar air base and is on his second deployment in Afghanistan. CNN's Erin Burnett spoke to Berndt about his thoughts on the future of Afghanistan.
On a special note, Burnett spoke to Berndt's family and gave Berndt a special message.
"Hi dad, I love and miss you. Have a Merry Christmas," says Halle, daughter of Josh Berndt.