WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia, locked in a standoff with the West over Ukraine, would be unable to thwart a complete or partial U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan even if it cut off access to Russian supply routes, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.
Asked at a Senate hearing whether the United States could still get its equipment out of Afghanistan even if Russia cut off routes running through its territory, General Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. and NATO commander in the war effort, replied: “Yes.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the National Security Agency pledged on Tuesday to look for ways to build confidence in the beleaguered spy agency and, in a possible shift, stopped short of calling former contractor Edward Snowden a traitor.
Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, now the Navy’s top cyber warrior, was cautious during often terse exchanges at a Senate hearing on his confirmation to also lead the U.S. Cyber Command that saw critics and supporters prod him about the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records, a program exposed by Snowden.
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers could vote
within days on legislation to aid Ukraine’s government as it
tries to rebuild the country and struggles to halt Russian
incursions, but are still far apart on what action to take
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives on
Wednesday made a rare show of support for President Barack
Obama, saying they would work with the White House to address
the crisis in Ukraine.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon will more than double the number of U.S. fighter jets on a NATO air patrol mission in the Baltics and do more training with Poland’s air force as it strives to reassure allies alarmed by the crisis in Ukraine, officials said on Wednesday.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing that he had directed the U.S. military’s European Command to “consult and plan within the construct of the North Atlantic Council” while stressing the intent was to help stabilize the situation in Ukraine.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Wednesday it will bolster training with Poland’s air force and provide more U.S. aircraft to a NATO air policing mission in the Baltics, as it eyes ways to reassure allies without escalating the Ukraine crisis.
The United States has showed no interest in pursuing military options following the Russian intervention in Crimea. The biggest step the Pentagon had taken so far was to cut off military exchanges with Russia on Monday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday suspended all military engagements with Russia, including military exercises and port visits, as Washington sought ways to punish Moscow over its military intervention in Ukraine without escalating the crisis.
The announcement from the Pentagon came hours after President Barack Obama warned the U.S. government will look at a series of economic and diplomatic sanctions that would isolate Moscow. The United States also put trade and investment talks with Russia on hold.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama needs to look “two or three moves out” as he weighs his response to Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, which Moscow is unlikely to soon reverse, Obama’s former defense secretary, Robert Gates, said on Sunday.
Gates, a Russia expert and former CIA chief, portrayed a difficult path for Obama in which European allies may “huff and puff” but fail to match rhetoric with strong action and where Russian President Vladimir Putin feels he has the upper hand.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s chief said on Wednesday he still hoped plans to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond this year could be salvaged despite objections by President Hamid Karzai that have called the mission into question.
NATO plans to keep a scaled-down training mission with around 8,000 to 12,000 soldiers in Afghanistan after international troops end combat operations by year-end.
KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has intensified its drive against the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in an attempt to deal a lasting blow to the militants in Afghanistan before foreign combat forces depart this year, according to multiple U.S. officials.
The effort is taking on added urgency as the clock ticks down on a NATO combat mission in Afghanistan set to end in December, and as questions persist about whether Pakistan will take action against a group some U.S. officials believe is quietly supported by Pakistani intelligence.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the possibility that the United States will not leave behind any troops in Afghanistan after its troop drawdown at the end of this year, the White House said on Tuesday.
Obama said he had given the order to the Pentagon in a phone call on Tuesday to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement that the United States insists it must have before agreeing to leave a contingent of troops behind.