A Belgian court has convicted three leaders of an al Qaeda terror cell accused of recruiting Europeans to fight in Afghanistan.
Those found guilty Monday include Malika el Aroud, a 50-year-old Belgian-Moroccan woman whom authorities have described as an "al Qaeda living legend." She was sentenced to eight years in prison for "creating, directing, and funding" the terrorist cell. FULL POST
[Updated at 5:25 p.m.] One of main "deliverables" Afghan President Hamid Karzai is looking for, according to a senior State Department official is a commitment by the United States that it will be engaged with Afghanistan beyond July of next year, the date that President Obama has laid out for U.S. troops to begin to withdraw.
"He wants to know the United States is with Afghanistan beyond the July 2011 date and beyond the core goals," the official said. "To really lock in U.S. national security interests means Afghanistan can't go back. Allowing it to be undone is not in our interests or in the interests of the people of Afghanistan. That is the thing he wants us to explain, that the United States is committed to the long term."The official said the question involves civilian and security assistance after troops withdraw.
WASHINGTON – A Senior State Department official said the central focus of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit this week is for the U.S. and Afghanistan to kick off a dialogue on the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries beyond the presence of U.S. troops and lay a groundwork for a long-term partnership.
"The main thing is to start thinking about getting out of narrow mentality of the next big offensive and looking at the relationship over the long term," the official said. "What do we want our relationship to be about?" FULL POST
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) - Nine Pakistani soldiers and 37 militants were killed Monday during a fierce battle in Pakistan's tribal region, officials told CNN.
Two military officials said security forces took on more than 100 militants after the security forces were ambushed by rockets and heavy firearms in Daburi, a village in Orakzai Agency, one of the seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border. Officials said a dozen militants and five soldiers were wounded in the clash. FULL POST
Kabul, Afghanistan — Zablon Simintov is always guaranteed the best seat in his local synagogue here, but the privilege comes with a downside: he's the last Jew in Afghanistan.
The country's 800-year-old Jewish community - an estimated 40,000 strong at its peak - is now a party of one. FULL POST
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban announced Saturday it would begin a new operation against U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan on Monday, vowing that "all foreign invading forces will ultimately face defeat," according to a statement from the group.
"The Al-Faath (victory) operations will target the invading Americans, the NATO military personnel, foreign advisers, spies who pose as foreign diplomats, members of the Karzai stooge administration and members of the cabinet," the Taliban statement said. FULL POST
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) - Afghan and international troops killed two insurgents who fired at them while leaving a mosque in southeastern Afghanistan, NATO-led forces said Saturday. FULL POST