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U.S. refocuses on home-grown terror threat

WASHINGTON — The United States vowed Wednesday to pursue the “utter destruction” of Al-Qaeda, while refocusing its counter-terrorism strategy to combat the threat of home-grown terror. The new strategy comes on the 10th year of the US-led “war on terror,” launched by former president George W. Bush after the deadly…

Iraq sentences Al-Qaeda chief’s widow to life

A Baghdad court has handed a life jail sentence to the widow of Al-Qaeda’s top chief in Iraq, killed last year in a joint US-Iraqi military raid, a judiciary official said on Wednesday. Abdel Sattar al-Beriqdar, spokesman of Iraq’s High Council of Justice, told AFP the woman was an Iraqi,…

News that bin Laden weighed al Qaeda name change sparks parodies

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden was so worried about Al-Qaeda’s image that he proposed changing the group’s name to try improve its “brand,” a US official said Friday. In a letter found at his Pakistani compound, the late Al-Qaeda mastermind contemplated new names for his terror network that he hoped…

Obama: Signs Taliban may want a political settlement

FORT DRUM, New York — US President Barack Obama said Thursday there were signs that the Taliban may be interested in a political settlement critical to stabilizing Afghanistan after US troops come home. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile defended what she said was Washington’s “very preliminary outreach” to the…

Obama to claim success for Afghan surge

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama will argue Wednesday his Afghan war surge strategy has forged substantial progress and a “position of strength” which allows thousands of US troops to come home, officials said. In a primetime speech to a war-weary US public, Obama will say his decision to pour…

Sixty Qaeda prisoners escape from Yemen jail

ADEN — More than 60 Al-Qaeda prisoners escaped from a south Yemen jail on Wednesday after they clashed with guards, killing one and wounding two others, security and medical officials told AFP. The prisoners fled the central jail in al-Mukalla, capital of the Hadramawt province, into the nearby mountains after…

Weak Al-Qaeda could splinter: Gates

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that Al-Qaeda had been seriously degraded and could split into a set of regional terror groups now that Osama bin Laden was gone. “First of all, they have been significantly weakened. There’s just no two ways about it,” Gates told…

U.S. in ‘outreach’ to Taliban: Gates

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed Sunday that US officials were involved in preliminary talks with the Taliban to seek a political solution to the Afghan war but said he didn’t expect significant progress for months. Gates also said recent gains on the ground in Afghanistan meant President…

Karzai: U.S. in peace talks with Taliban

KABUL (AFP) – The United States is holding talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday, in the first official confirmation of such contacts after nearly 10 years of war. Although diplomats and officials say talks are at a very early stage, Karzai’s remarks highlight the increasing focus…

U.S.: We will kill Zawahiri just like bin Laden

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States Thursday dismissed new Al-Qaeda supremo Ayman al-Zawahiri as a pale imitation of Osama bin Laden and warned the Egyptian to expect a similar fate to his slain predecessor. US officials painted the 59-year-old long-time number two as an “armchair general” with no combat experience,…

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