By Mike Mount
A spate of violent attacks in Afghanistan spurred on by an anti-Muslim video made in the Unites States, as well as continued attacks on coalition forces by their Afghan partners, is putting a tumultuous start on the first step of the U.S. handover of authority to the Afghan government.
The attacks come at a sensitive time as the United States removes the last of the more than 30,000 surge troops the Obama administration rushed in to quash an increasingly powerful Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan in 2010.
Those remaining troops are scheduled to be out of the country by the end of this month, bringing the U.S. troop level down to about 68,000 in addition to other NATO allies and Afghan forces.
Here is the latest reporting from CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Tripoli, Libya:
A senior Libyan official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Karadsheh that U.S. and Libyan officials have held a series of meetings to "assess what went wrong" in Beghazi that resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans at the U.S. consulate there. The meetings included: security experts; U.S. officials, some who had flown into the country from the U.S.; the Libyan Prime Minister elect; the General National Congress President along with other Libyan officials.
Following the attack, the senior Libyan official said "we felt, assumed and suspected" that there would be an increase in U.S. drone activity over parts of eastern Libya and were very concerned that the US administration could take military action. He said they worried the Obama administration would be "pushed to do something crazy" by domestic political considerations. He says that would have been "very unacceptable" and GNC head Mohamed Al-Magariaf had spoken with the White House "to contain the situation."
The official said the Libyan officials urged the Americans to work with them "in full partnership" because any military action during this "fragile and sensitive situation" would give the two main threats to the state- the extremists and Gadhafi loyalists– "an excuse." Because of the "strategic objectives for both of us and understanding our enemy," the official said any military action would create "absolute chaos." In other words any precipitous military action on the part of the US would be counter-productive, hit no-one of any value but further embolden extremists in eastern Libya and make the area ungovernable.
By Ed Payne and Saad Abedine
As the fallout from an online film that mocks Islam's holy prophet continues, al Qaeda's affiliate in North Africa urged Muslims in the region Tuesday to kill U.S. government representatives and called the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens a "gift."
"We encourage all Muslims to continue to demonstrate and escalate their protests ... and to kill their (American) ambassadors and representatives or to expel them to cleanse our land from their wickedness," said the statement from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The group called last week's killing of Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, "the best gift you (can) give to his arrogant and unjust administration."FULL STORY
From Barbara Starr and Holly Yan
U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been ordered to halt some joint operations with Afghan security forces after a spate of attacks by their local allies and amid fallout from a controversial anti-Islam video.
"In response to an increased threat situation as a result of the 'Innocence of Muslims' video, plus the recent insider attacks, ISAF forces are increasing their vigilance and carefully reviewing all activities and interactions with the local population," said Maj. Lori Hodge, a spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said Tuesday.
"We adjust our force protection measures based on the threat. If the threat level goes down, we could see a rolling back on this decision."
The "Innocence of Muslims" video, which was privately produced in the United States, mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer.FULL STORY
By Masoud Popalzai
An insurgent group that carried out a suicide attack that killed 12 people, including eight foreigners, in Afghanistan on Tuesday said it was in response to the anti-Islam film that has angered the Muslim world.
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a group allied with the Taliban, said a 22-year-woman drove a car packed with 660 pounds (300 kg) of explosives into a van on a road leading to the Kabul International Airport.FULL STORY