From Ivan Watson
In a potential escalation of the Syrian conflict, Turkey asked NATO on Wednesday for Patriot missiles to bolster its air defenses against its southern neighbor.
A letter to NATO included the "formal request" that the alliance send "air defense elements," according to a Turkish government statement that cited "the threats and risks posed by the continuing crisis in Syria to our national security."
The statement added that the NATO Council would convene "shortly" to consider the matter.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a Twitter post that the request would be considered without delay.
In a statement on Wednesday, Rasmussen said the letter from Turkey requested Patriot missiles that would "contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO's south-eastern border" and serve as "a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity and resolve."
Rasmussen's statement said three NATO countries have available Patriot missiles - Germany, the Netherlands and the United States - and it would be up to them to decide if they can deploy them and for how long.
By Esprit Smith, reporting from Kabul
A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden truck into the wall of a joint NATO-Afghan army base Wednesday, wounding 45 Afghan soldiers, officials said.
The base at Paktia province also came under indirect fire after the attack, according to Lt. Junior Grade Amy Hession of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.FULL STORY
By Chris Lawrence
Top U.S. military commanders could soon be heading to new jobs with steep challenges.
President Barack Obama has nominated Gen. John Allen to become the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in which he would oversee NATO military operations.
Taking Allen's place in Afghanistan would be Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who would see the war through some of its final fighting seasons.
"If confirmed by the Senate, he will lead our forces through key milestones in our effort that will allow us to bring the war to a close responsibly, as Afghanistan takes full responsibility for its security," Obama said in a statement.
By Masoud Popalzai
A suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan Monday killed 12 people, including three NATO service members and four Afghan police, and wounded around 50 others, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry said.
The bomber targeted a joint patrol of ISAF forces and Afghan police, using an explosives-packed motorcycle, according to Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesman for the ministry.FULL STORY
By Larry Shaughnessy
One of Washington's foremost analysts of military issues has some harsh words about Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's take on the insider attack problem in Afghanistan, calling it "absurd."
During a recent trip to Japan, Panetta was asked about U.S. and other International Security Assistance Force troops being killed by members of the Afghan security forces, or insurgents dressed like them.
He said, "And we think, frankly, it is kind of a last gasp effort to be able to not only target our forces, but to try to create chaos, because they've been unable to regain any of the territory that they have lost." On Thursday, Panetta reiterated his point during a briefing with reporters, saying, "It's near the end of their effort to really fully fight back."
"Quite frankly i think that most intelligent people and military people would privately think that Secretary Panetta's comments are absurd, perhaps harmful. Because they just can't be taken seriously," said Anthony Cordesman a senior analyst at CSIS, a major Washington think tank, and a recipient of Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his work at the Pentagon before joining CSIS. "They are not at the last gasp, all they really have to do is at this point outwait us, constantly put pressure on areas that give them political visibility. They don't have to defeat ISAF, it's leaving."
While Cordesman does not agree with Panetta's remarks, he says that doesn't mean the Taliban is on the road to victory.
"The fact that statement clearly is untrue doesn't mean that necessarily the Taliban can win," Cordesman said. "Whether this will give them control of the country or not is something nobody can determine. It's a long way from talking about last gasp."
Even Panetta conceded Thursday that insider attacks may not be the Taliban's final arrow in their insurgent quiver. "Whether or not, you know, it's the end of their bag of tactics to come at us I think is still an open question."
By Joe Sterling
NATO's decision limiting some operations with Afghan troops might lessen so-called insider attacks, analysts say.
But the move could undermine the coalition's efforts to help the locals take over their nation's security.
Coalition forces have been regularly partnering with small Afghan units in operations for years.
But in an order Sunday from Gen. John Allen, head of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, a regional commander now must give the OK for a joint operation, a move seen as a setback to the transition of military power to Afghans by the end of 2014.
The spurt of attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their coalition counterparts and the anger of the anti-Islam video that went viral across the world forced the NATO-led force to adjust the relations between coalition and Afghan forces.
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.
An Afghan soldier opened fire on NATO troops Monday, killing two in the latest "green-on-blue" attack in the country, a military statement said.
The attacker fired on troops with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in eastern Afghanistan, according to the coalition.FULL STORY
By the CNN Wire Staff
Another attacker in an Afghan police uniform killed a member of the NATO forces Sunday in Afghanistan, the latest in a slew of so-called "green-on-blue" attacks.
The incident took place in southern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.FULL STORY
By: Chelsea J. Carter
A uniformed Afghan police officer turned his weapon on U.S. forces in Farah province Friday, killing two of them before being shot and killed himself, a U.S. military statement said.
The killings are the latest in a series of assaults this year carried out by Afghans clad in security force uniforms.FULL STORY