NATO summit opens against backdrop of protests, foiled terror plot
May 20th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

NATO summit opens against backdrop of protests, foiled terror plot

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.  Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.

The road map out of the war in Afghanistan is expected to be drawn up by U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders when they gather Sunday at the NATO summit in Chicago.

Against a backdrop of massive protests – and a foiled, homegrown terror plot that targeted Obama and others – the summit will open with NATO countries trying to figure out how to meet a 2014 withdrawal from an unpopular war while shoring up Afghanistan's security forces.

Security is expected to be tight at the summit following the arrest of three men, described by authorities as anarchists who plotted to attack Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters and lob Molotov cocktails at police during the summit.

Police insist there are no imminent threats to the leaders of more than 50 nations gathering at the summit.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Chicago NATO summit 2012 • NATO
U.S., Pakistan fail to reach deal on supply routes ahead of NATO summit
With no deal on supply routes expected before the NATO summit, US officials said President Obama would not meet with Pakistani President Zardari in Chicago.
May 19th, 2012
07:13 PM ET

U.S., Pakistan fail to reach deal on supply routes ahead of NATO summit

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.  Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.

By Mike Mount and Elise Labott reporting from Chicago

The United States and Pakistan will not reach a deal on opening NATO supply routes before coalition leaders meet on Sunday, two senior U.S. officials told CNN.

"There is no deal, and there won't be one until President (Asif Ali) Zardari returns" to Pakistan, one senior official said, "and even that is not assured."

The two sides had hoped to have a deal before Zardari arrived in Chicago this weekend to join NATO allies and other coalition partners for a meeting on Afghanistan.

"The main thing is to get a deal," one senior official said. "It's less important as to when."

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U.S. bristles at stiff Pakistani fees for supply routes
A Pakistani driver walks past fuel tankers, used to transport fuel to NATO forces in Afghanistan, parked near oil terminals in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on May 17, 2012
May 19th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

U.S. bristles at stiff Pakistani fees for supply routes

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.  Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.

By Mike Mount and Elise Labott reporting from Chicago

The United States will not agree to pay the stiff fees Pakistan is asking in order to open up NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, U.S. officials told CNN Saturday.

Ahead of a NATO summit on Afghanistan's future, Pakistan is requesting $5,000 per truck as a condition to reopen the supply lines between the two South Asian countries, U.S. officials said.

Recommended: A user's guide to the Chicago NATO summit

The new cost is a sticking point in week-long negotiations between Washington and Islamabad to open the roads, known as the ground lines of communication or GLOCs. U.S. officials say the fees are inflated.

"We're hopeful the GLOCs will be reopened soon, but we're not going to agree to unreasonable charges. The Pakistanis understand that," said a senior defense official who is not authorized to speak publicly about the talks.

FULL POST

NATO members to agree on Afghan transition plan
Afghan policemen perform a drill during a graduation ceremony at the Adraskan police training centre in Herat province on May 13th
May 19th, 2012
09:48 AM ET

NATO members to agree on Afghan transition plan

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.  Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.

From Elise Labott and Mike Mount in Chicago

On Sunday, the war in Afghanistan is expected to dominate discussions at the NATO summit. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Zardari are both expected to attend the meeting.

NATO leaders are currently on a timetable to withdraw all of the alliance's combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

Recommended: A guide to the NATO summit in Chicago

Senior administration officials tell CNN that NATO members have tentatively agreed on a security transition plan from NATO's International Security Assistance Force to the Afghan National Security Forces before 2014. The plan, which also lays out a NATO training and advisory role after 2014, is expected to be formally adopted at the summit.

One of the key issues to be discussed in Chicago is who will pay to build up Afghan security forces during and after the NATO drawdown. Afghan national security forces should total around 350,000 by 2015, according to CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. Karzai's government can afford to cover only a fraction of the cost, which is expected to total roughly $4 billion annually after 2014, Bergen notes.

FULL POST

May 18th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Pakistan allows first supplies into Afghanistan in six months

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago

By Shaan Khan and Reza Sayah reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan

Four trucks containing supplies for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul drove from Pakistan into Afghanistan on Friday, the first time Pakistan has allowed such a border crossing since closing the routes six months ago, a U.S. official said.

The source noted that officially, there had never been a suspension of the movement of diplomatic supplies through Pakistan, only military supplies, and this did not mean the NATO supply routes had been reopened. But this was the first time diplomatic materials were allowed through in six months. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Chicago NATO summit 2012 • Diplomacy • ISAF • Military • NATO • Pakistan
NATO's post-Afghanistan future unclear
May 18th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

NATO's post-Afghanistan future unclear

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago

By Elise Labott

As 60 world leaders descend upon Chicago for the NATO summit, the future of NATO's mission in Afghanistan will be center stage - but NATO's members also will be confronted with a bigger issue of whether the organization can remain relevant.

The challenges going forward are much different and far more complicated than the ones that faced the founders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 60 years ago. Then, the premise was simple: an attack in Europe or North America against any member is an attack against all. The Soviet Union was the common enemy that created a shared sense of purpose among NATO allies.
FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Chicago NATO summit 2012 • Europe • ISAF • Libya • Military • NATO
A user's guide to the Chicago NATO summit
May 17th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

A user's guide to the Chicago NATO summit

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago

By Mike Mount

This year's NATO summit in Chicago is the biggest one ever, with some 60 countries expected to be in attendance and a host of issues crammed into two short days of meetings.

It is coming at a time when the alliance is under stress, with pressure to wrap up a war in Afghanistan, member countries with dwindling money reserves trying to help finance Afghanistan as it prepares to stand on its own, and questions on how strong the alliance really is in terms of its capabilities.

Recommended: NATO's post-Afghanistan future unclear

While only two days long, the summit will entail a number of complex meetings and discussions that will not unfold in front of TV cameras for all to see.

The meetings will take place in a large, highly secured convention hall outside downtown Chicago. So to help you sift through the bureaucratic talk that will be coming, we here at Security Clearance have put together a handy guide to navigating the NATO summit.

FULL POST

May 15th, 2012
12:53 PM ET

NATO invites Pakistan to Chicago summit

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago

With reporting from Elise Labott

NATO has invited Pakistani President Asif Zardari to join the Afghanistan summit in Chicago this week, even as the Afghan neighbor continues to weigh whether to re-open its border crossings for war supplies.

Farhatullah Babar, a presidential spokesman, confirmed the invitation Tuesday, saying it was unconditional and was not linked to the opening of ground lines of communication for NATO or to any other issue. He said Zardari would consider the invitation in light of guidelines from Pakistan's parliament and the advice of the government.

Recommended: Peter Bergen on "G8 and NATO-thon"

The president said a decision about the invitation will be communicated to NATO later.

The invitation comes just days after NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen suggested that the neighbor of Afghanistan would not be included because of the continued closure of Pakistan's border with Afghanistan to war supplies. FULL POST

General's warning to U.S. troops at upcoming NATO summit: Behave
May 14th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

General's warning to U.S. troops at upcoming NATO summit: Behave

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago

By Barbara Starr

The head of the U.S. Northern Command has a reminder for his troops supporting the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago: no alcohol, no prostitutes.

It comes as the U.S. Southern Command finalizes its probe into the conduct of 12 troops assigned to security for a recent presidential trip to Colombia. Investigations continue into an alleged prostitution scandal involving military and Secret Service agents who were in the South American nation in advance of a trip last month by President Barack Obama.

The U.S. military is about to offer its logistical support to the NATO summit that will be attended by Obama and other heads of state later this month in Chicago. U.S. troops are expected to assist with communications, security, transportation and other functions throughout the high-profile event.

FULL POST

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