News The NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland. The Office of Tailored Operations, whose existence is rarely acknowledged by the NSA, hacks computers around the world – harvesting data, monitoring communications and even mounting its own cyber-attacks

TAO was established in 1997 to hack into global communications systems at a time when fewer than 2 per cent of the world’s population had access to the internet

UK training teams asked to leave Pakistan

Pakistan has ordered the United Kingdom to withdraw some of its military training teams from the country, the British Embassy said today.

What has the war in Afghanistan really achieved?

<i>The IoS</i> takes stock after one of the bloodiest months since the conflict began, and a week in which President Obama announced a speeding up of troop withdrawals

Compound haul reveals links to security service

US investigators say that they are closer to uncovering the mystery of how Osama bin Laden was able to hide in plain view in a Pakistani garrison town after phone records belonging to the al-Qa’ida leader’s courier revealed a link to a banned local terrorist group.

How Bin Laden 'planned to give al-Qa'ida an image makeover'

Osama bin Laden, holed-up in his Pakistan hideaway, contemplated changing the name of al-Qa’ida in order to rebrand the organisation and make it more attractive to potential recruits, according to documents recovered from his compound.

Mary Dejevsky: Obama is right. Britain, too, must seize the chance to leave Afghanistan

The announcement of the accelerated American withdrawal highlights the extent to which Britain has been left chasing shifts in US foreign policy

Guru guilty of sweat-lodge deaths

US prosecutors yesterday charged a Marine Corps reservist with shootings at four military buildings around Washington, including the Pentagon, and said they found he had bomb-making materials.

Leading article: Talks with the Taliban will be a condition of any endgame

As so often with the war in Afghanistan, one statement can be open to wildly different interpretations. Thus President Hamid Karzai's disclosure that the US is engaged in talks with the Taliban was dismissed by some as more of the same old posturing. For others, it was no more than a restatement of the obvious. Yet there is something new here. It is not the fact of contact between the US and the Taliban – which has been an on-off saga of long standing – but the fact that confirmation of talks came from Mr Karzai, who has long been lukewarm, if not hostile, to the very idea.

Paul Vallely: Wounded al-Qa'ida will lash out more

Weakened by the death of Bin Laden, whose successor is a ruthless killer, the organisation is newly fired up by grievances

Soldiers charged over death of unarmed man

Police have charged six members of a paramilitary force with the killing of an unarmed man, a government lawyer said, in a rare rebuke to Pakistan's powerful military.

Leading article: A promotion that gives no comfort

The man who has taken over from Osama bin Laden as head of al-Qa'ida is said to lack the charisma of the terrorist leader the Americans killed six weeks ago. But few believe that he will be less deadly. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a former ophthalmologist, is credited with being the man who lifted Bin Laden's eyes from the local to the global in the days when the chief complaint of the violent jihadist was that US troops were trampling their infidel boots on the Saudi soil which is home to Islam's holiest places. Zawahiri alerted him to a whole range of Muslim grievances – from Kashmir to Palestine – and set up with him the World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders. Some say he was also the operational brains behind 9/11.

What lies within: Why we are fascinated by caves

They inspire artists, hold ancient secrets and, in the popular imagination, they're the refuge of bandits and terrorists. Caves remain unmapped in our know-everything age.

America's new most wanted: Bin Laden's No 2 appointed al-Qa'ida chief

Terror group's ruling council hands reins to Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, a close associate of Saudi target killed by US forces

Al-Zawahri becomes al-Qa'ida leader

Al-Qa'ida's long-time second in command, a doctor from a prominent Egyptian family, has succeeded Osama bin Laden as head of the terror group, it said today.

Indonesian Islamist cleric jailed for 15 years

Indonesian militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was jailed for 15 years today for helping plan a paramilitary group that aimed to kill the country's president, a sentence that could inflame hardcore Islamists who have vowed revenge.

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