In an escalation of the standoff over islands in the East China Sea, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Friday that it had scrambled two fighter jets to identify U.S. and Japanese planes flying through claimed airspace without notice.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel landed Saturday in Afghanistan to meet with local officials and U.S. troops on the progress of the 12-year-old war, but one high-profile meeting isn’t on his agenda this time – with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
As Vice President Joe Biden left for Asia on a mission to reinforce America's determination to be a major Pacific player, a regional crisis over disputed airspace threatened to drown out his message. In the end, it was quite the opposite.
The deal looked sketchy from the start. To outfit Afghanistan's security forces with new helicopters, the Pentagon bypassed U.S. companies and turned instead to Moscow for dozens of Russian Mi-17 rotorcraft at a cost of more than $1 billion.
At a time when much of the ground-level U.S. role in Afghanistan is receding, medical evacuation crews continue to play a major part in the conflict, providing a service that Afghans appear incapable of fielding on their own.
Bamiyan, a picturesque but deeply impoverished province in north-central Afghanistan, has remained largely peaceful since international forces left earlier this year, but now a neighbor’s instability is making life difficult for residents.
Less than an hour’s drive from the sleepy city of Bamiyan, with its giant Buddhas, nascent tourism industry, and zero foreign troops, this rugged mountain district in what many consider the safest province in the country has quietly become a tense battleground between government forces and insurgents. It may provide a peek at what Afghanistan faces in a post-NATO world.
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