Afghanistan at tipping point – NATO:
NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Richards, also warned Sunday that Afghans would begin to support the Taliban again if they didn’t see visible improvements within the next six months.
“They will say, ‘We do not want the Taliban but then we would rather have the austere and unpleasant life that might involve than another five years of fighting’,” said Richards.
The British officer, who commands 32,000 troops, said the coalition forces need to utilize the winter for reconstruction.
“If we collectively … do not exploit this winter to start achieving concrete and visible improvement,” then some 70 percent of Afghans could switch sides, Richards told The Associated Press.
Did North Korea carry out a nuclear test?
A South Korean official said an 3.5 magnitude seismic tremor had been detected in north Hamgyong province, in the north-east of North Korea.
Iraqi Christians flee civil war in Iraq
Yet their exodus has gone largely unreported, despite the fact that both George Bush and Tony Blair have spoken about how their own Christian beliefs have informed their policies in Iraq. In one of his first speeches after 9/11, the US president described the fight against terrorism as a â€œcrusadeâ€, a characterisation that he wisely dropped but which is habitually repeated by critics of US foreign policy, including al-Qaida and other insurgent groups in Iraq. Many Christians have been accused of association with the multinational force, or of supporting the west. Now Iraqi Christian leaders are bitter that the west has done so little to protect them.
Iraq blogger speaks plainly to Online News Association
Zeyad told the story of the beginning of his blog and then about milestones in its life and the transformation of his thinking about the war â€” from the start of the war, when Zeyad was optimistic for Iraq; to the lack of media coverage of prodemocracy demonstrations in Baghdad in 2003; to the death of his cousin at the hands of American soldiers; to his current view of the war. When Zeyad pushed for and got an investigation into his cousinâ€™s death (which found the Americans at fault), he said he saw a backlash among his readers. â€œThey accused me of all kinds of things, particularly because I [had been] optimistic. I realized some people were supporting me just because I was saying things they wanted to hear.â€