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After meeting with Afghan president Karzai, President Obama said the pace of the US withdrawal in Afghanistan would accelerate as the US mission shifted to training Afghan forces this the spring. The number of US troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 remains undecided. Obama pledged that US troops would leave Afghan villages by spring and Afghan prisons housing terrorism suspects would revert to Afghan control.

Taliban welcome complete withdrawal of US troops

Civil War threatens Afghanistan as NATO prepares to leave

Defense Secretary Panetta met with Afghan president Karzai to discuss "the last chapter" of establishing Afghan sovereignty and security. US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas have recently escalated. The government argued on national security grounds against the release of photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse and sea burial.

US drone strikes in Pakistan on rise for 2013

How many US troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014?

Pakistanis trucking NATO supplies to Afghanistan go on strike

Afghans say total US pullout would trigger disaster

UN wants to use drones for peacekeeping missions

A Brooklyn court sentenced Agron Hasbajrami, 28, an Albanian resident of the US, to 15 years in prison for seeking to provide support to terrorists. He had sent money to a jihadist group claiming to have murdered US soldiers, and was arrested at JFK airport with a one-way ticket to Pakistan.

Analysis: Study shows rise of al Qaeda affiliate in Syria

Stanley McChrystal criticises reliance on drones as strikes hit Pakistan

Kajaki Dam Will Not Finish Before 2015: Officials

Kabul to Seek More Control Over US Aid

Syria crisis: US decries Assad 'Western puppets' speech

Afghan policy debate fueled White House, Pentagon mistrust: book

President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to replace retiring Secretary of Defense Panetta, and John Brennan to head the CIA, in place of David Petraeus, who resigned in November. Suspected al Qaeda plotter Abid Naseer pled not guilty to terror charges in New York. Wanted bank hacker Hamza Bendelladj was arrested in Thailand; he will be extradited to the US. Chinese-made computer switches at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory were removed due to security concerns.

Reprisal fears cloud Libya probe into US consulate attack

Morsy backs Syrian calls for al-Assad to face war crimes trial

McChrystal takes blame for Rolling Stone article