The United States and Afghanistan have finalized an agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in the latter country through 2024.
The United States and Afghanistan have finalized an agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in the latter country through 2024. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the deal on Wednesday, and it now has to be approved by the Afghan government before it can take effect.
According to The New York Times, “the security agreement defines a training and counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan lasting at least 10 more years and involving 8,000 to 12,000 troops, mostly American.”
In exchange, American forces are shielded from possible Afghan prosecution while in the country, and are allowed to conduct counter-terrorism raids on private homes as well.
The agreement is intentionally vague about a number of things, leaving open a few doors. For one thing, U.S. military assistance is not required if Afghanistan is attacked. The agreement only says that the U.S. ”shall regard with grave concern any external aggression.” Similarly, the deal allows for an American troop presence, but does not require one. Whether or not military members will be stationed in the country for another decade is currently unclear.
Afghanistan seems to have ceded a number of demands that appeared in earlier iterations. Earlier drafts prohibited any American action, but the current one allows it if it is supplementary to Afghan operations. On Tuesday, an aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that it would not accept any agreement if President Obama did not apologize for military malfeasance during the war in Afghanistan. Secretary Kerry said that the current arrangement had been reached without Obama issuing a mea culpa.
While the estimated 10,000 members of the U.S. military expected to be stationed in the country are immune from Afghan law, private contractors—military or otherwise—are not.
The current arrangement between the two nations is only to last through the end of 2014. If the Afghan government voting body, made up of more than 3,000 members, does not approve the agreement, the country will be left without codified American assistance.
Syria’s opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people on Wednesday by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.
With the death toll estimated between 500 and 1,300, what would be the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since the 1980s prompted an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.
Judge rules New York police’s ‘stop and frisk’ tactics unconstitutional:
The New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop and frisk” crime-fighting tactics violate the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge ruled on Monday.
"No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life," U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote.
Photo: Demonstrators protest the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” tactic outside of Manhattan Federal Court in New York, March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
These photos are of Dreamers, children of immigrants without documents for this country, who were brought to the United States and never knew they were “illegal,” reuniting with their deported parents through a border wall in Nogales, Arizona.
If you have any reaction to these photos other than empathy, I don’t really want to know.
we divide an earth that does not ‘t belong to us & tell people where they can & cannot go.
WASHINGTON — In a move bizarrely reminiscent of its “anti-gun” enemies list, the National Rifle Association announced a new plan Friday to target scientists, environmental groups, government regulators and individuals who favor banning the use of lead in gun ammunition.
As of Monday, the NRA had yet to list any scientists it planned to target, but there were seven environmental and wildlife conservation groups on the site, including the National Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity. Four government agencies were also singled out: the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Los Angeles Zoo and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
By Tom Brown MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida lawmakers will hold hearings this fall on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which has become a lightning rod for criticism following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. …
Florida lawmakers will hold hearings this fall on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which has become a lightning rod for criticism following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
The announcement on Friday by Will Weatherford, the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, marked the biggest concession yet by the state’s Republican leaders to protesters’ demands for a top-to-bottom review of the law, which allows people in fear of serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than retreat.
Since Zimmerman’s acquittal on July 13, Martin’s grieving parents, backed by African-American civic leaders, celebrities, students and political figures, including President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, have all said the Stand Your Ground law needs to be re-examined.
Weatherford, in an opinion column published in the Tampa Tribune, said he had asked Representative Matt Gaetz, a fellow Republican who chairs the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, to lead the hearings. Weatherford did not set a date for the hearings or say how long they would last.
"Across Florida, representatives are receiving calls, letters, visits and emails from constituents with diverse opinions on ‘Stand Your Ground,’" Weatherford said. “Passions are high, but every person has the right to express their views on this matter of great importance."
"It’s a critical step," said Phillip Agnew, who heads a group of young demonstrators calling themselves the Dream Defenders who have staged a nearly month-long sit-in outside Governor Rick Scott’s office in a bid to change the law. “We’re excited about having an open debate," he told Reuters.
Advocates of the law, the first of its kind in the country and now copied in more than 20 other states, say violent crime has fallen since it was enacted.
But critics see the self-defense law as emblematic of racial bias and unequal justice in America, since some studies have shown that defense claims made under the law are far more likely to be successful when the victim is black.
Two of the six jurors in the Zimmerman case have said the Stand Your Ground law left them with no option but to acquit him.
"Our evaluation of its (the law’s) effectiveness should be guided by objective information, not by political expediency," Weatherford wrote.
"Does the law keep the innocent safer? Is it being applied fairly? Are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable?" he asked.
Most U.S. voters support the “Stand Your Ground” laws, although the question of whether to retreat or use deadly force in self defense divides Americans along gender, racial and political lines, a national Quinnipiac University poll found on Friday.
The poll found that a strong majority of white voters and men support the laws, while black voters generally oppose them and women are almost evenly divided.
"Jaw-dropping aerial photo of the 160,000 Syrians forced to live in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan." - @HalaGorani
|—||What the Abbottabad report means for Pakistan: The Bin Laden report confirms the mutual disdain Pakistan and the United States maintain towards each other. by Akbar Ahmed for Al Jazeera. (via aljazeera)|
What’s wrong with the major US TV news networks? That’s the question many are asking online in the wake of Texas Democratic state senator Wendy Davis’s epic, 11-hour-long successful filibuster…
Last week’s news was that the Justice Department seized two months of Associated Press phone records.
This week’s begins with a report that the DOJ surveilled Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent James Rosen, tracking his visits to the State Department in an apparent attempt to link a 2009 leak of classified information about North Korea to government adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim
Via the Washington Post:
When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.
They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.
The case of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the government adviser, and James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, bears striking similarities to a sweeping leaks investigation disclosed last week in which federal investigators obtained records over two months of more than 20 telephone lines assigned to the Associated Press…
…Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.
Washington Post, A rare peek into a Justice Department leak probe.
The Court, by a seven-to-two vote, rejected the federal government’s argument that anytime a non-citizen is found guilty of distributing marijuana, regardless of the facts, that individual should be automatically sent to his or her homeland. If a state crime of marijuana distribution does not closely match the federal crime of distribution, in a direct comparison of what each covers, it is not an “aggravated felony”– the basis for deportation without a chance of relief, the Court declared in Moncrieffe v. Holder (11-702).