U.S. military halts cargo shipments out of Afghanistan
December 3rd, 2013
07:23 PM ET

U.S. military halts cargo shipments out of Afghanistan

The U.S. military, facing continuing protests over drone strikes, has halted military cargo shipments from Afghanistan, citing a potential risk to drivers and contractors along the route once it enters Pakistan.

"We are aware protests have affected one of the primary commercial transit routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We have voluntarily halted U.S. shipments," Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright said.

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December 3rd, 2013
05:00 PM ET

Inspiration for ‘Top Gun’ character gets top-level Pentagon post

By Laura Koran

The inspiration for the leading female role in the 80s blockbuster movie “Top Gun,” has soared to new heights in real life.

Christine Fox has become the first woman appointed to the Pentagon’s No. 2 job, set to serve in an acting capacity until a permanent successor is named.

Her boss, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, called Fox, "a brilliant defense thinker and proven manager."

Fox most recently held a top-level defense post where she played a large role in determining budget priorities.
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Filed under: Pentagon
December 3rd, 2013
03:58 PM ET

Eight tiny reindeer and two fighter jets?

By Brian Rokus and Barbara Starr

Does Santa need more than just Rudolph’s red nose to guide his sleigh on Christmas Eve this year?

Like, maybe, two fighter jets?

A new video released by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to promote its annual tracking of Santa’s trip around the world is drawing fire from some children’s advocates.

In the 39-second clip, Santa is shown flying across the globe, tracked by an Air Force radar surveillance plane and, at one point, being escorted by two fighters.
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Uncertainty over security clouds NATO talks on Afghanistan
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, prior to the NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting held at the organisation's headquarters in Brussels, on December 3, 2013.
December 3rd, 2013
01:02 PM ET

Uncertainty over security clouds NATO talks on Afghanistan

By Elise Labott

NATO warned it may be forced to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if President Hamid Karzai doesn't sign a security agreement with the United States.

Reached last month, the pact lays out the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, when the NATO-led force of some 80,000 troops is scheduled to leave.

Although the agreement was endorsed by the Afghan council of tribal leaders, called the Loya Jirga, Karzai said he won't sign it until after elections in April.

Uncertainty over the agreement is causing mounting anxiety among diplomats here, where Afghanistan is dominating talks among NATO ministers, including Secretary of State John Kerry.
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American imprisoned in Cuba pleads for U.S. help
December 3rd, 2013
11:29 AM ET

American imprisoned in Cuba pleads for U.S. help

By Michael Pearson

Please, Mr. President, don't leave me behind.

That's the gist of former U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross' plea to President Barack Obama in a letter on the fourth anniversary of Gross' imprisonment in a small military prison cell in Cuba.

In the letter, Gross - convicted by a Cuban court of "acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state" - says he spends 23 hours a day in a small cell with two other inmates, is in poor health and is largely cut off from the outside world.

"With the utmost respect, Mr. President, I fear that my government - the very government I was serving when I began this nightmare - has abandoned me," wrote Gross, a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. "Officials in your administration have expressed sympathy and called for my unconditional release, and I very much appreciate that. But it has not brought me home."

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Filed under: Alan Gross • Barack Obama • Cuba