National Security correspondent, Washington DC
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Nov 1, 2011

Exclusive: Obama planning next steps in Afghan drawdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House has asked the Pentagon for initial recommendations for the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan in 2014, a first step in planning the final U.S. drawdown there despite a bleak security outlook.

Sources familiar with the discussions said President Barack Obama’s top aides have asked for scenarios for 2014. As part of that process, the Pentagon must look at troop levels for 2013 — suggesting deeper withdrawals beyond the removal, by next September, of the 33,000 surge troops Obama deployed in a bid to turn around the flagging decade-old conflict.

Oct 27, 2011

U.S. can fight, talk its way to ending Afghan war: Clinton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday defended the White House’s twin strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan, saying it could battle insurgents even as it tries to nudge them toward a peace deal.

Clinton faced questions from the House Foreign Affairs Committee about President Barack Obama’s hopes to clinch a peace deal between the Taliban and its militant allies, such as the Haqqani network, and the Afghan government, which would allow foreign forces to safely withdraw.

Oct 22, 2011

U.S. to pull out of Iraq after nearly 9 years of war

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama vowed on Friday to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq this year, symbolically ending the war but dashing U.S. hopes of leaving a few thousand troops to buttress a still shaky Iraq and offset neighboring Iran’s influence.

After months of negotiations with officials in Baghdad failed to reach an agreement to keep possibly thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq as trainers, Obama announced he would stick to plans to pull out the remaining force of 40,000 by year’s end.

Oct 21, 2011

U.S. to pull out of Iraq nearly nine years after war began

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday he would pull U.S. troops from Iraq this year, almost nine years after the U.S. invasion, after he failed to convince Iraq that several thousand troops should remain in part as a balance against neighbouring Iran.

After months of negotiations with officials in Baghdad failed to reach an agreement to keep perhaps thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq as trainers, Obama announced he would stick to plans pull out entirely by year’s end.

Oct 20, 2011

After Gaddafi, can US keep Libya at arm’s length?

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The death of Muammar Gaddafi
after months of U.S. and NATO airstrikes may provide the Obama
administration a needed foreign policy coup, but it is unlikely
to alter the U.S. quest to keep Libya at arm’s length.

Leaders of European nations that rallied support for a NATO
campaign launched in March hailed the news Gaddafi had been
killed in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, capping months of
bloody conflict between Gaddafi loyalists and Western-backed
rebels.

Oct 20, 2011

U.S. seen struggling to win fight in Afghan east

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It’s known in milspeak as RC-East, the vast, rugged and mountainous east of Afghanistan, where battle-hardened insurgents vow to wait out U.S. military might and the final phase of the decade-long war in Afghanistan is likely to be decided.

With a dwindling force, a ticking clock and a patient enemy, it appears doubtful that President Barack Obama can hope for more than to hold on to the fragile security gains U.S.-led NATO forces have already made there.

Oct 18, 2011

Initial U.S. drawdown to pull from restive Afghan east

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw some U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year will take soldiers out of the country’s restive east, where battles between foreign troops and militants suspected in high-profile attacks increasingly make it the war’s focus, a top U.S. commander said on Tuesday.

“We’re expecting to contribute a modest amount to the remaining drawdown that has to occur between now and December,” U.S. Army Major General Daniel Allyn, who commands about 33,000 U.S. and NATO soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, said in an interview with Reuters.

Oct 6, 2011

Pragmatism rules new Obama team’s Pakistan policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After a very public falling out between Pakistan and the Pentagon, the U.S. military’s new leaders are unlikely to replicate the close bond that the outgoing U.S. military boss had with his Pakistani peer.

Nor will they want to.

The “Pakistani problem,” at least as far as critical security ties go, is now in the hands of General Martin Dempsey, who became U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman this month, and Leon Panetta, who became defense secretary in July.

Oct 1, 2011

U.S. struggles to chart fresh course with Pakistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House’s attempts to set a fresh course with Pakistan are being hobbled by bad options, bureaucratic tensions and the desire to avoid severing a vexing but critical relationship.

In the wake of a blunt and public accusation by the top U.S. military officer that Pakistani intelligence supported a militant attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, officials at the Pentagon, State Department and White House are urgently debating an array of unattractive choices.

Sep 30, 2011

U.S. reassures Pakistan amid anti-American protests

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States moved to ease tensions with Islamabad on Friday, telling Pakistan it would not send ground troops to attack militant positions in North Waziristan even as anti-American protests flared around the country.

The demonstrations by religious parties broke out in several Pakistani cities just a day after political leaders joined in rejecting U.S. accusations that Islamabad was supporting militants.

    • About Missy

      "Prior to heading the Mexico bureau, Missy was deputy bureau chief in Baghdad. She has also covered commodities in Washington, DC and worked in Peru, Argentina and Egypt for Reuters."
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