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Putin: Boston Bombers 'Proved Our Position'

Terrorists, like Tsarnaev brothers, deserve harsh measures, says Putin

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin has made his first public comments on the Boston bombings, and wasted no time in identifying what he sees as a double standard: "I was always appalled when our Western partners and the Western media called the terrorist who did bloody crimes in our country 'insurgents,... More »

Thailand Car Bombs Kill 14, Injure 340

Authorities call series of bombings worst in years

(Newser) - The biggest series of bombings in years killed 14 people and injured 340 in southern Thailand yesterday, reports the AP . Authorities suspect militant Islamic insurgents in the attack, which targeted shoppers and a hotel popular with Singapore and Malaysian tourists. The first explosion was a large truck bomb, going off... More »

Iraq Fighters Ditch US, Rejoin al-Qaeda

Sunnis are quitting 'Awakening Councils' for al-Qaeda

(Newser) - A wave of Sunni fighters whose alliance with the United States has been critical in turning the insurgent tide in Iraq have rejoined al-Qaeda, or are acting as double agents, finds the New York Times . Though the number of defections is unclear, several hundred members of the Awakening Councils have... More »

US' New Afghanistan Tactic: Targeted Killing

US gaining leverage by weeding out top Taliban

(Newser) - So much for winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan: The tactic that's working best for the US is the targeted assassination of insurgent leaders, reports the New York Times, rather than winning allegiance for providing stable government. Some 130 Taliban leaders have been taken out in the last five months,... More »

More Troops in Afghanistan = Angrier Insurgents

Doesn't US remember how our country began? Or how Vietnam ended?

(Newser) - The United States was born from a nationalist insurgency. “Given that history, you’d think we might be more sensitive to nationalism abroad,” writes Nicholas Kristof. “Yet the most systematic foreign-policy mistake we Americans have made in the post-World War II period has been to underestimate its... More »

Afghan Vote's True Winner: The Taliban

Chaos and corruption aid insurgents' propaganda campaign

(Newser) - It's still not evident whether Hamid Karzai will avoid a runoff in Afghanistan's presidential vote, but the winner of the election is clear: the Taliban. Delays in tallying and alleged systemic fraud have given the insurgency new material for a sophisticated propaganda campaign that portrays the Karzai administration as corrupt... More »

Addictive Leaf May Rob Yemen of Water

Khat consumes water, drains family resources, detractors say

(Newser) - It's no secret that Yemen loves khat—a leaf chewed to produce a mild, amphetamine-like effect. Nearly 90% of men and 25% of women indulge, and most families actually spend more on khat than food. The ramifications have been long chronicled, but Time points out a less obvious one emerging... More »

Taliban Battle Police in Kabul on Election Eve

(Newser) - Taliban fighters wearing explosive-laced vests stormed a government-run bank in central Kabul today, precipitating an hours-long shootout with Afghan forces 24 hours before the presidential election. A Taliban source said that 20 militants had entered Kabul, a day after a suicide bomb and a rocket attack rocked the capital. Afghan... More »

Taliban Peace Talks Dominate Afghan Race

(Newser) - As Afghans prepare to vote on Thursday, the top issue for all the leading presidential candidates remains whether and how to negotiate with the Taliban. Hamid Karzai, still predicted to win, has made vocal calls for negotiations but has done little so far in office, and Taliban insurgents are imperiling... More »

52 Dead in Baghdad Blast

(Newser) - An explosion ripped through a market in Baghdad’s Sadr City today killing 52 and injuring 104, Reuters reports. Though Iraq has seen markedly less violence in the past year, today’s bombing is part of a wave of attacks ahead of the US military’s scheduled withdrawal from Iraqi... More »

11 Dead in Mosque Shooting in Thailand's Volatile South

(Newser) - Gunmen killed 11 people and injured 12 in a southern Thailand mosque today, AFP reports. Officials said between two and five armed men entered the mosque and fired “indiscriminately.” It’s the latest incident in a 5-year guerrilla war that has killed 3,700 in Narathiwat province. The... More »

Pakistanis Finally Turning Against the Taliban

Swat Valley battles push citizens away from Islamic extremism

(Newser) - Only a year ago the Taliban had growing support in Pakistan, and many citizens regarded them as fellow Muslims opposed to the American government and military. But as the New York Times reports, public sentiment has shifted in recent months. Following violence in the Swat Valley and months of televised... More »

Why Davids Win: They Ignore Goliath's Rules

(Newser) - When it comes to David vs. Goliath-style battles, the underdog’s secret weapon is always supreme effort, Malcolm Gladwell writes in the New Yorker. From that Biblical encounter to Lawrence of Arabia’s stand against the Turks to a winning, but unskilled, California girls’ basketball team, “legs” tend to... More »

US Worries Grow Over Weakened Pakistan's Nukes

But Pakistani officials call concerns 'overblown rhetoric'

(Newser) - The growing insurgency in Pakistan has heightened US worries about the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal, the New York Times reports. Some fear militants could steal weapons in transport or get access to nuclear facilities. President Obama says he’s “confident” that the stock is “secure,... More »

Taliban Leaves Key Pakistan District

Move comes amid peace deal in some areas

(Newser) - A Taliban commander withdrew his troops today from a Pakistani district where their activity was fueling US concern, Reuters reports. “Our leader has ordered that Taliban should immediately be called back from Buner,” a spokesman said of the area, which lies just 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad.... More »

Insurgents Join Forces in Pakistani Heartland

Country's fate tied to stability of Punjab, officials say

(Newser) - The Taliban is joining forces with local militant groups in the key province of Punjab, where more than half of Pakistanis live, the New York Times reports. Officials say the alliance is a major threat to national and regional stability, and was responsible for last month’s cricket-team attack, among... More »

NJ Rep Attacked in Somalia Urges Support for New Gov't

Payne calls for world to support Somalia's new leaders

(Newser) - A New Jersey congressman targeted by Somali militants didn't even know his plane had been attacked until it landed safely in Kenya, he tells the Newark Star-Ledger. Rep. Donald Payne, who escaped injury from the mortar barrage, said he doesn't believe the assault should deter other politicians from meeting Somalia's... More »

Somali Insurgents Fire at US Congressman's Plane

Three killed in following skirmish, locals say

(Newser) - Somali insurgents fired mortars at a Somalia airport as a US congressman was departing, the AP reports. None of the six shells hit the airport, and New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne made it away safely—but 19 civilians were wounded when the shells landed in nearby neighborhoods, a hospital administrator... More »

For Afghan Success, Look to Colombia

Countries face similar troubles—and Colombians know how to fix them

(Newser) - When President Obama reviewed US strategy in Afghanistan, the lessons of Iraq were key. But a better comparison might be Colombia, where parallels abound—and where the government has handled insurgents with a fair bit of success, writes Scott Wilson in the Washington Post. Both Afghanistan and Colombia have faced... More »

Smaller, Fiercer Insurgency Has Iraq Worried

(Newser) - As the US military prepares to withdraw from Iraq's cities, security officials in both countries have observed that a smaller but more lethal insurgency seems to be gaining ground. Several recent bombings, believed to be orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, have killed 123 people in Baghdad and elsewhere, while members... More »

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