News Afghan children play cricket on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, near to Alinghar, Laghman where the cricket players were shot by a gunman.

Authorities say the gunman rode on a motorbike and shot the group of men

General John Allen chooses retirement over top Nato job

US General John Allen, who oversaw the Nato war effort in Afghanistan until earlier this month, has decided to retire instead of pursuing his nomination as head of the military alliance.

Nato airstrike on house kills nine Afghan civilians

A Nato airstrike has killed as many as nine Afghan civilians in an eastern province near the Pakistani border.

10 killed in roadside blast in Afghanistan

A police truck packed with officers and detainees struck a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan's largest city, killing 10 of those aboard, officials said today.

Afghan policewoman kills US aide in Kabul

An Afghan policewoman shot and killed an American adviser outside the police headquarters in Kabul today, the latest in a rising tide of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies, senior Afghan officials said.

Editorial: Some welcome signs of a speedier Afghan exit

The rising tide of troops killed or wounded is becoming harder to justify
Afghanistan: Green on blue attacks may have personal motives

US military blames many Afghan insider attacks on personal causes

The Taliban has billed a rash of insider attacks targeting international troops in Afghanistan as an effective battlefield strategy, but detailed data disclosed recently by the US military suggest that the largest percentage of such incidents probably stemmed from personal motives rather than enemy infiltration.

The creator of hit TV drama Homeland Gideon Raff has condemns MoD for running a 'crude animal laboratory'

Homeland creator urges MoD to stop shooting live pigs

The creator of hit TV drama Homeland has condemned the Ministry of Defence for running a "crude animal laboratory" in which live pigs are shot with high-powered rifles so army medics can practise surgery on them.

Participants pose for a group picture during a meeting to form a new Syrian opposition group called the National Coalition of Forces of the the Syrian Revolution and Opposition

US and Europe accelerate plans for Syrian transition

The United States and like-minded governments are rushing to fund and legitimize a newly-formed Syrian opposition group amid fear that plans for a political transition are being outpaced by rebel military gains, US and European officials said.

Serbia's Nato envoy Branislav Milinkovic leaps to his death at Brussels airport

Diplomats said they knew of no circumstances - private or professional - that would have prompted him to take his own life

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford

Marine General Dunford confirmed as Commander of Afghan War

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, tapped by President Barack Obama to become his fifth commander of the war in Afghanistan, will take charge in Kabul early next year, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

Nato ready to deploy Patriot missiles on border with Syria

Nato is due today to authorise the deployment of Patriot missile batteries to the Syrian border amid apprehension that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad may launch attacks using its stock of chemical weapons.

Lt Gen Nick Carter, is said to have declared that soldiers may have to die rather than defend themselves against the enemy

'British Army chief risked soldiers' lives,' says US colonel

Senior American officer in Afghanistan makes astonishing claim about deputy Isaf commander over his advice to soldiers

Jill Kelley has been described as an unpaid social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base

New twist in Petraeus sex scandal as General John Allen investigated for 'inappropriate communications' to Jill Kelley

The top US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with a woman at the centre of the sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, a senior US defence official said today.

Attacker in Afghan army uniform kills Nato soldier

An attacker wearing an Afghan army uniform has killed a member of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the south of Afghanistan, the force said.

Alex Salmond rallied the SNP at its annual conference

Salmond embraces Nato in SNP's 'Clause 4 moment'

Alex Salmond celebrates after members vote to drop opposition to military alliance

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas