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Petraeus steps down in Afghanistan

General David Petraeus, the most celebrated military leader of his generation, stepped down as US commander in Afghanistan on Monday after a checkered year at the helm of what is America’s longest war. At a ceremony in Kabul, Petraeus passed the baton to John Allen, a former subordinate who made…

Britain to pull 500 troops from Afghanistan

Britain will withdraw a further 500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, bringing its contingent there to 9,000, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday. Cameron said he had taken the decision because Afghanistan’s fledgling army and police had showed significant progress ahead of the deadline for the…

McCain: Afghan drawdown plan ‘unnecessary risk’

KABUL — Top US lawmakers on Sunday slammed President Barack Obama’s military drawdown plans for Afghanistan as “risky”, unsupported by his military commanders and a threat to progress made in the last year. Withdrawal at the rate Obama has planned on — including the removal of 33,000 surge troops by…

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…

Obama ‘finalizing’ Afghan troop decision

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama was finalizing his decision on the size of planned troop cuts in Afghanistan as expectations mounted Monday of a possible announcement within days. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama still had not definitively made up his mind on the size of a…

Pentagon wants to ‘extend’ Afghanistan surge

WASHINGTON — The US military is asking President Barack Obama to maintain its troop surge in Afghanistan until the fall of 2012, a month before a scheduled withdrawal, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The timeline would mean the president could promise large troop reductions to a war-weary public just…

US may set date to pull out Afghan troops

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DWYER, Afghanistan — The US’s looming decision on troop drawdowns in Afghanistan could include a timeline for pulling out 30,000 “surge” forces deployed last year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday. Speaking to US Marines at a base in the southern province of Helmand during a visit…

Tsunami surge hits Hawaii

HONOLULU (AFP) – The first waves to hit Hawaii from a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake off Japan washed up onshore at Waikiki on Friday, according to live TV images. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported seeing wave changes at Waianae Harbor at around 3:24 a.m. (1324 GMT), shortly…

US online sales surge 13 percent for holiday period

NEW YORK — Americans clicked up a record 30.8 billion dollars in online holiday sales in 2010, a jump of 13 percent from a year ago, a survey showed. The research firm comScore said holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the 56 days of the November-December holiday period had been…

Countdown: Olbermann, Scahill thank Bush for the ‘success’ of the Iraq war

‘They’ say that it really isn’t healthy to keep things bottled up inside. On Wed. evening’s MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the liberal host and his guest, The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill went the healthy route and let it rip. Discussion centered around President Obama’s address on the Iraq war and…

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