Middle East

Afghan Pact Signed Amid Questions on Iraq Pullout

U.S. Ambassador to James Cunningham, seated, signs the documents of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) at the presidential palace as Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, first right, and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, second right, watch, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Afghanistan and the United States signed a long-awaited security pact on Tuesday that will allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
U.S. Ambassador to James Cunningham, seated, signs the documents of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) at the presidential palace as Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, first right, and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, second right, watch, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Afghanistan and the United States signed a long-awaited security pact on Tuesday that will allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

WASHINGTON—After lengthy delays, U.S. and Afghan officials signed a security pact Tuesday to keep American troops in Afghanistan beyond year’s end, aiming to prevent the...




  • In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, Truck driver Ozgur Simsek listens during an interview at his home in Silopi, Turkey. The 20-year-old was among 32 drivers held hostage by the Islamic State group earlier this year. For many foreigners, being caught by the group’s fanatical fighters would mean months of uncertainty, torture and, eventually, a gruesome death. For Simsek and his colleagues, captivity would last just over three weeks. Their trucks were confiscated, but no one was harmed and no ransom was paid, according to an account of the June 10 attack pieced together by The Associated Press from interviews with drivers and a company executive. The episode paints a picture of a militant group unusually careful not to anger Turkey’s government - and may offer insight into the mysterious release of 49 Turkish hostages just over a week ago. (AP Photo/Raphael Satter)

    Islamic State Treatment of Hostages Shows Dependence on Turkey

    SILOPI, Turkey—Turkish truck driver Ozgur Simsek was sleeping off a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) fuel run to the Qayara power station in Iraq, he said, when he... Read more

  • U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunnigham (L) speaks as Counselor to the President John D. Podesta, listens during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. Afghanistan signed a deal Sept. 30 to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

    Afghanistan Signs Pact Keeping 10,000 US Troops in Country

    KABUL, Afghanistan—Afghanistan and the United States signed a security pact on Tuesday to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of... Read more

  • A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter stands guard on the front line facing Islamic State militant positions near the Rashad Bridge, which connects the provinces of Salah al-Din and Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Iraq Arabs Claim Persecution by Kurds

    KIRKUK, Iraq—When Sunni militants captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in June, Abu Sara and his family feared their town of Taza, located some 50... Read more

  • Turkish tanks roll to take positions along the Turkey-Syria border near Suruc, Turkey, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. U.S.-led coalition air raids targeted towns and villages in northern and eastern Syria controlled by the Islamic State group, including one strike that hit a grain silo and reportedly killed civilians, activists said Monday.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

    US-Led Coalition Airstrikes Hit Islamic State Targets Near Turkey

    BEIRUT—U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted fighters, vehicles and artillery pieces of the Islamic State group on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border Tuesday, including around a beleaguered Kurdish town near the Syrian-Turkish... Read more

  • Newly-elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, center, arrives for an inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. Ghani Ahmadzai replaces Hamid Karzai in the country's first democratic transfer of power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban. (AP Photo/Omar Sobhani, Pool)

    Afghan President Sworn In, Paving Way for US Pact

    KABUL, Afghanistan— Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in Monday as Afghanistan’s new president, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country’s first transfer of power since the... Read more

  • FILE - In this file Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 photo, Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai speaks during a news conference at his resident in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 as Afghanistan's new president, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country's first democratic transfer of power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

    US Adviser: Afghanistan to Sign Troop Deal Tuesday

    KABUL, Afghanistan— A senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama says Afghanistan will sign a deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the... Read more

  • In this Saturday, Sept. 27 2014 photo, provided by the anti-government activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged houses following a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)

    Al-Qaeda Leader Warns of Revenge for Coalition Airstrikes

    BEIRUT—The leader of al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate vowed Sunday that his group would “use all possible means” to fight back against airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition and warned that the conflict would... Read more

  • Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard with their weapons as they patrol the front line with the Islamic State group in Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Obama Admits US Overestimated Iraq Army, Underestimated Islamic State

      WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama acknowledged that U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated the threat from Islamic State militants and overestimated the ability and will of Iraq’s army to fight. Questioning Obama’s strategy to destroy the group, House Speaker... Read more

  • FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 file photo, the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known by the Jews as the Temple Mount, is seen in Jerusalem's Old City. 2014 was supposed to be a record-breaking year for tourist visits to Israel. But all that changed when this summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas prompted jittery travelers to cancel trips en masse. Merchants in Jerusalem’s Old City say the feel the sting. The area’s cobblestone streets are typically chock full of tourists visiting the holy sites within the storied walls. But they've been eerily empty over the summer. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

    Gaza Assault Hurts Israel’s Tourism Industry

    JERUSALEM—It was supposed to be a record-breaking year for tourist visits to Israel. But all that changed when the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas... Read more

  • Militant with the Islamic State group peers from behind a barricade at a Kurdish peshmerga position near the Mullah Abdullah Bridge, located on the road between Irbil and Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. Over a wall of dirt bags across the Mullah Abdullah Bridge in northern Iraq, a militant with the Islamic State group looks at Kurdish fighters stationed on the other side of the bridge. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Kurds Face Off With Islamic State in Northern Iraq (+Photos)

    MANTIQA, Iraq—Behind the wall of sandbags at the end of a narrow bridge in northern Iraq, a man in a black ski mask paces back... Read more

  • Iranian soldiers prepare to launch a Hawk surface-to-air missile during military maneuvers at an undisclosed location in Iran on November 13, 2012. (Amin Khoroshahi/AFP/Getty Images)

    Iran Reports Building a New Cruise Missile

    TEHRAN, Iran—A news agency in Iran is reporting that the Islamic Republic has built a new surface-to-surface cruise missile capable of being launched from an... Read more

  • In this photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, Hawthi Shiite dance with  traditional daggers named "jambiya" during a protest in a main road leading to the airport in Sanaa, Yemen.  (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    Hundreds Protest in Yemen Against Shiite Rebels

    SANAA, Yemen— Hundreds demonstrated Sunday in Yemen’s capital, urging state security forces to return to the streets and demanding Shiite rebel militias leave Sanaa. The... Read more

  • A Syrian man in the Al Raqqa countryside on April 15, 2013, pouring crude oil brought from Deir Ezzor province into a pit where it will be distilled as part of the refining process to produce fuel. Final products such as benzine and diesel are then sold to locals. Deir Ezzor contains the largest energy reserves in Syria, which produced some 420,000 of barrels of oil a day before the United States and the European Union banned the import of Syrian petroleum in 2011. (Alice Martins/AFP/Getty Images)

    US-Led Airstrikes Hit Syria Oil Refinery by Turkey

    SANILURFA, Turkey— Airstrikes likely carried out by a U.S.-led coalition struck an oil refinery in Syria held by the Islamic State group Sunday, a witness... Read more

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Aug. 2, 2014. It's a busy week in Mideast diplomacy, book-ended by the launch of Israel-Hamas talks about a border deal for blockaded Gaza and the Palestinian president's UN speech scheduled for Friday, Sept, 26, 2014, about a new strategy for dealing with Israel. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Will Refute Gaza “Lies”

    JERUSALEM—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Israel on Sunday en route to the United Nations in New York, saying he will refute “all of the... Read more

  • Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki (L) and Palestinian Ambassador to the Netherlands Nabil Abuznaid (R) leave the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on Aug. 5, 2014. (Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images)

    Islamic Nations Lobbying Palestinians to Join International Criminal Court

    UNITED NATIONS—The world’s largest bloc of Islamic countries has been lobbying the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court so it can prosecute Israeli politicians... Read more

  • In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 photo provided by the U.S Air Force, an F-22A Raptor taxis in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility prior to strike operations in Syria. U.S. coalition-led warplanes struck Islamic State group militants near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, near the Turkish border for the first time Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, activists and a Kurdish official said. The coalition, which began its aerial campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria early Tuesday, aims to roll back and ultimately crush the extremist group, which has created a proto-state spanning the Syria-Iraq border. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Russ Scalf)

    US-Led Planes Strike Fighters Attacking Syrian Town

    BEIRUT—U.S.-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State fighters in Syria attacking a town near the Turkish border for the first time Saturday, as well as positions... Read more


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