National Security correspondent, Washington DC
Missy's Feed
Feb 17, 2014

Exclusive: Afghan peace team seeks Dubai meeting with Taliban figures

KABUL (Reuters) – A delegation from Afghanistan’s High Peace Council has traveled to Dubai to meet former and current Taliban figures, in the hope of laying the groundwork for peace talks to end Afghanistan’s long conflict, sources familiar with the move told Reuters.

Officials led by Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, a senior aide to President Hamid Karzai, traveled on Sunday to the United Arab Emirates, officials from the High Peace Council and the Afghan government confirmed.

Feb 17, 2014

Rassoul: US-Afghan strains to ebb as foreign forces withdraw

KABUL (Reuters) – Severe strains in Afghan ties with the United States, the chief backer of the international military mission in Afghanistan, are likely to subside as U.S. and NATO forces depart, a contender in a presidential election in April said.

“The long-term stay of any force, in any country, will create a problem. The international community will not stay in Afghanistan forever – they should not stay forever,” former Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul said in an interview this week.

Feb 9, 2014

Afghanistan says set to ensure elections avoid past problems

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan has improved voting procedures to ensure April’s presidential election is not plagued by the complaints of irregularities and fraud that marred the last vote in 2009, a senior official said on Sunday.

But Yousof Nooristani, head of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), said he did worry that violence could disrupt the voting in the first democratic leadership transition in Afghanistan’s history.

Feb 9, 2014

U.S. aid plan seeks to shield Afghanistan from end to war economy

KABUL (Reuters) – The Obama administration will unveil on Monday a package of aid initiatives it hopes will help Afghanistan, still one of the world’s poorest countries after a dozen years of massive international aid efforts, shield itself from the departure of foreign troops and an expected drop in assistance.

The announcement from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) of three new development initiatives worth almost $300 million is part of a U.S. effort to ensure that Afghanistan, as its ‘war economy’ ends, won’t slide backwards into greater poverty or reverse gains made over the last 12 years in health, education and other areas.

Feb 5, 2014

U.S. freezes assets of Pakistan-based Haqqani militants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration, under pressure from Congress to act against Pakistan-based militants blamed for fueling violence in Afghanistan, moved on Wednesday to freeze the assets of three suspected militants linked to the hard-line Haqqani network.

The Treasury Department said that Saidullah Jan, Yahya Haqqani and Muhammad Omar Zadran had been named “specially designated global terrorists,” meaning that assets belonging to the men within U.S. jurisdiction would be frozen.

Feb 1, 2014

US defense boss seeks to put diplomacy ahead of military might

MUNICH, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The top U.S. defense official on
Saturday underscored the Obama administration’s intention to
shift the focus of its foreign policy away from military might
toward diplomacy.

Speaking at the Munich security conference, U.S. Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel said he and Secretary of State John Kerry
“have both worked to restore balance to the relationship between
American defense and diplomacy”.

Feb 1, 2014

West and Russia accuse each other of ‘coercing’ Ukraine

MUNICH (Reuters) – The United States and Europe exchanged angry words with Russia on Saturday in a tug-of-war over Ukraine, with U.S., EU and NATO leaders saying Moscow must not strong-arm Kiev into an unpopular alliance.

At conference in Munich where Western diplomats met leaders of the Ukrainian opposition, United States Secreatary of State John Kerry said the protesters believe “their futures do not have to lie with one country alone, and certainly not coerced”.

Jan 30, 2014

U.S. accuses Syria of dragging its feet on chemical arms handover

WASHINGTON/WARSAW, Jan 30 (Reuters) – The United States on
Thursday accused Syria of dragging its feet on the handover of
chemical weapons, a delay that puts at risk what President
Barack Obama touted only this week as a U.S. diplomatic
achievement in Syria’s civil war.

Saying that just 4 percent of Syria’s deadliest chemical
weapons materials had been removed, the Obama administration
said the Syrian government’s requests for additional equipment
were “without merit” and demanded action to get back on schedule
to comply with an international disarmament deal.

Jan 30, 2014

U.S. concerned by chemical weapons delay, urges Syria to comply

WARSAW (Reuters) – The United States is concerned that the Syrian government is behind schedule in removing chemical weapons materials due to be destroyed, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday, calling on Syria to comply with an international disarmament deal.

“The United States is concerned that the Syrian government is behind in delivering these chemical weapons precursor materials on time with the schedule that was agreed to,” Hagel told reporters during a visit to Poland.

Jan 27, 2014

U.S. moves forward with attack helicopter sale to Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration notified Congress on Monday of plans to sell 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, part of an effort to bolster the military against al Qaeda-linked militants, after addressing lawmakers’ concerns that held up the sale for months.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on its website that it had informed Congress of the possible helicopter sale to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is in a standoff with Islamist militants in the western province of Anbar two years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

    • 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."
    • Follow Missy