Robert Gates

Death of Karzai cousin in botched Nato raid stokes Afghan anger

Nato troops shot dead an aged relative of Afghan President Hamid Karzai after mistaking him for an insurgent, Afghan officials said yesterday, as anger continues to grow over civilian casualties. Haji Yar Mohammad, a second cousin of the President, was killed during a Nato night raid in the village of Karz in southern Afghanistan.

US sees Chinese visit as chance to reassert itself

The US will try to step up pressure on China, during a state visit here this week by President Hu Jintao that many policymakers see as the most important encounter between the two countries since they re-established full diplomatic relations more than 30 years ago. Behind the pomp and circumstance, culminating in a banquet at the White House tonight, lie badly frayed relations, along with a pervasive sense that on the geostrategic chessboard, the US is steadily losing ground to, or simply being ignored by, an ever-more assertive China.

Pentagon report puts pressure on Republicans over gay troops

The drive to allow gays and lesbians openly to join the US military for the first time was set to get a significant boost last night as the Pentagon unveiled the results of a study showing that soldiers who are already serving either support the move or do not care enough about the issue to oppose it.

Obama loses the man McChrystal called a clown

President Barack Obama performed one more awkward hello-goodbye ritual at the White House last night when he confirmed that General James Jones, who had been his National Security Advisor since the start of his tenure, was clearing his desk.

Rahm Emanuel leading exodus of Obama aides from White House

The likely departure of the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, to run for Mayor of Chicago is part of a half-term reshuffle of top aides that will signal a new chapter in the history of Barack Obama's increasingly embattled presidency.

Gates faces political battle over defence cuts

Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, faces a fierce political battle after announcing cuts in America's military spending of $100bn over the next five years, at the cost of thousands of outsourced civilian contracting jobs, and the elimination of an entire military command.

Cameron is confronted by the reality of his Afghan problem

On his first day in Downing Street, David Cameron called a meeting of his new National Security Council to assess the situation in Afghanistan, in what was a very public declaration of how seriously he takes the war. The Prime Minister will soon see the reality on the ground when he visits Helmand.

Fighters switch back to Taliban after 'broken promises'

A quarter of Taliban fighters who laid down their weapons in exchange for amnesty and promises of cash have rejoined the insurgency in a damning prognosis of the problems facing Nato's reintegration strategy, a new report claims.

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Afghanistan: The hokey-cokey strategy

On eve of Obama's surge, Brown aims to convince voters he has a plan for withdrawal. Handover 'could begin by end of 2010' – but PM is set to commit 500 more troops