President Obama's dismissal of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today is the latest sign of the president's growing hawkishness in the face of unresolved conflicts in the Middle East.
Opium output in Afghanistan, the world's largest producer, is forecast this year to be 17 percent higher than in 2013, possibly because security personnel were pulled off opium crop eradication duty.
The Taliban attacked two Afghan Army buses in the capital today, killing at least seven. On Tuesday, the US and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed to allow US and NATO forces to remain in the country beyond 2014.
The pact, along with a similar deal between NATO and Afghanistan, will allow Western troops to stay in Afghanistan past the end of this year. It also means that foreign aid can resume flowing into Afghanistan – a critical need for the country.
A powersharing deal inked by rival candidates paves the way for former finance minister Ashraf Ghani to succeed President Hamid Karzai. The runner-up in the disputed election will remain a powerful player.
Pakistani officials repelled a bloody assault on Karachi's international airport that left at least 28 dead. The Taliban have claimed responsibility and said it was revenge for a US drone strike.
The Taliban released a propaganda clip of the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Some hope the exchange can create an opening for peace.
As foreign troops draw down and a new president takes office, the sort of dealmaking among Afghans that could promote stability might actually grow easier. A triumphant Taliban march on Kabul – or even their old stronghold of Kandahar – is unlikely.
The Taliban attacks could threaten the credibility of the presidential vote. One international poll monitoring group has pulled its observers due to violence, and more could follow.
The Taliban attack came as guests at Kabul’s highly fortified Serena Hotel, many of them foreigners, celebrated Nowruz, the new year. Nine people, including two children, were killed.
A suicide attack on a police station in the eastern city of Jalalabad left at least 10 police officers dead. A presidential election is due on April 5.
The Taliban have tried to undermine every election since US-backed forces took power in 2001. The Interior Ministry claimed that 95 percent of polling stations will open on election day.
Pakistan's government has sent conflicting messages about its strategy – from military action to peace talks – for dealing with the Pakistani Taliban.
The Pakistan military is constructing a base in the Swat Valley to ward off threats from the Pakistan Taliban and spillover conflict from Afghanistan.
Nasiruddin Haqqani served as the chief fundraiser for the Haqqani network, which has ties to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said they would launch revenge attacks against Prime Minister Sharif's government in retaliation for the death of their former leader by US drone strike.