The top United States commander in Iraq told Congress on Tuesday he plans to stop US troop withdrawals in July due to fragile security gains and heard appeals for quicker action to find a way to end the war. Appearances by General David Petraeus and the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, drew US presidential candidates.
United States President George Bush urged Nato ally Turkey on Thursday to end its offensive against Kurdish PKK rebels in northern Iraq quickly, but Washington said it would not threaten to withdraw intelligence help. The United States fears prolonging the Turkish operation, which began on February 21, will undermine stability in the region.
The Pentagon on Monday sought murder and conspiracy charges against the alleged planner of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and five others and will ask they be executed if convicted. Mohammed, a Pakistani national better known as KSM, has said he planned every aspect of the September 11 attacks.
Al-Qaeda Sunni Arab militants remain a dangerous foe in Iraq despite a decline in violence, the commander of United States forces said on Thursday, a day after the deadliest bombing in Baghdad since September. ''We have to be careful not to get feeling too successful,'' General David Petraeus told reporters.
United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates called on Thursday for a permanent boost in the size of the army and marine corps, the military branches most strained by Iraq, at a likely cost of -billion a year. Gates recommended that President George Bush add 92Â 000 troops to the two services over five years.
Nato defence chiefs were set on Thursday to agree to assume command of peacekeeping across all of insurgency hit Afghanistan next month despite some allies' concerns over tactics and troop shortfalls. The move into eastern Afghanistan could take effect quickly because it would largely involve placing under Nato command about 12 000 mostly United States forces already in the region.
United States Vice-President Dick Cheney, seizing on Democratic calls to pull troops out of Iraq, on Monday linked early withdrawal to the possibility of terrorist attacks in the United States. As Cheney and President George Bush try to help Republicans keep control of the US Congress on November 7, polls show public support for the war ebbing.
United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Sunday warned North Korea may pose a threat as a weapons seller to terrorists and that the US would consider taking the nuclear warheads off intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) so they could be used against terrorists.