Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called for U.S. Special Forces to pull out from restive Wardak Province within two weeks. In a statement, the president said, “U.S. Special Forces stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.”
During meetings in Brussels to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere may have leaked the number of forces the United States plans to keep in Afghanistan post-2014. Maiziere told reporters that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had informed him that the United States would leave 8,000 to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Panetta, speaking to reporters, called Maiziere’s comments inaccurate.
Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, is stepping down as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church over allegations of “inappropriate acts”—potentially leaving Great Britain with no representation at the conclave to elect the next pope. His departure raises new questions about how far-reaching and how high sex abuse scandals and their cover-ups go.
Iran is hardening its position and expanding its nuclear program ahead of multinational talks, scheduled to begin tomorrow in Kazakhstan, to cap its nuclear program. Formal negotiations known as P5+1—the first in more than eight months—include the five members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
The al-Qaeda leader in Sudan reportedly was killed in an airstrike by French troops on jihadi positions in northern Mali. Abu Hazim fought alongside international terrorists not only in Mali, but also going back decades in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Chechnya.
Tanzania is a Christian majority country with little history of persecution, but Islamic attacks on Christian clergy have spiked this month.
Where do most refugees entering the United States come from? And where do they go? In fiscal year 2012 the majority came from Bhutan, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. And Texas took in the most refugees among the 50 states.
Why ring hands over sequestration, set on March 1 to cut only 2.4 percent from total U.S. government spending? One reason (perhaps the only one): 50 percent of those cuts will fall on defense spending, affecting national security more than any other sector.