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Iraq agrees to extend U.S. military role: Panetta

WASHINGTON — Iraq has agreed to keep American troops in Iraq beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday. “My view is that they finally did say, ?Yes,’” Panetta said in an interview with Stars and Stripes and the Military Times. Iraqi political leaders…

Panetta: U.S. has ‘no choice’ but to keep Pakistan ties

WASHINGTON — The United States has no choice but to keep up its alliance with Pakistan despite concerns over Islamabad’s ties to Islamist militants, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday. Panetta, speaking to an audience of military officers at the National Defense University, said relations with Pakistan were difficult…

Obama honors remains of Afghan crash dead

DOVER, Delaware — President Barack Obama made a solemn trip to a Delaware air base Tuesday to honor unidentified remains of 30 US servicemen which were returned home after a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Obama made the unannounced visit after two C-17 military aircraft landed carrying remains of those killed…

US to ‘stay the course’ after Afghan chopper crash

The United States on Saturday vowed to “stay the course” in Afghanistan after 30 US soldiers were killed there when, according to local officials, the Taliban shot down their helicopter. The pledge from US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — and a salute from President Barack Obama — came after the…

Pentagon chief warns he won’t accept spending cuts

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday he would not accept large military cutbacks under a debt deal, charging the move would weaken the United States faced with rising powers. Panetta, holding his first formal news conference since taking charge of the Pentagon a month ago, launched a pre-emptive…

Defense chief Panetta warns of ‘hasty’ budget cuts

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Wednesday against any extra deep spending cuts to the Pentagon budget which could be triggered by a further stalemate in the battle to slash the US deficit. While the new Pentagon chief said he believed defense spending could be reduced responsibly, he was…

Al-Qaeda eyes strikes around the world: U.S. warning

WASHINGTON — The United States issued a worldwide caution Tuesday warning that Al-Qaeda was plotting strikes in many regions, and urging its nationals to maintain a “high level of vigilance.” The State Department anticipates “enhanced potential for anti-American violence given the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011,” said…

Panetta to formally end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy

WASHINGTON — A formal end to the ban on gays serving openly in the US military will likely come by late July or early August, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates told AFP on Thursday. Gates, revising his earlier forecasts, said in an interview that final approval to end the prohibition…

Key Senate panel approves Panetta for Pentagon

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved Leon Panetta’s nomination to be US defense secretary on Tuesday, setting the stage for a full senate confirmation. Panetta, 72, who has served President Barack Obama as CIA chief, was expected to sail to confirmation by the full US…

U.S., Pakistan discuss future intelligence sharing

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – CIA chief Leon Panetta held talks with top Pakistani military and intelligence officials and discussed ways to strengthen future intelligence sharing, the Pakistani military said. The talks were held Friday amid a crisis in relations after the unilateral US raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The difficult…

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