World News Brief, Tuesday February 28

Taliban launch suicide attack outside NATO air base in Afghanistan--nine Afghans killed; Julia Gillard defeats Kevin Rudd in leadership battle; US and South Korea launch joint military exercises on Korean peninsula; North Korea says it is ready for war; Saleh hands over power in Yemen; Bin Laden's Pakistan compound destroyed; G20 defer decision on Greece

Top of the Agenda: Taliban Launch Suicide Attack Outside NATO Air Base

Two Taliban suicide attackers set off a car bomb (NYT) outside NATO's Jalalabad Air Base in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least nine Afghans. Four NATO personnel were wounded. The Taliban said the bombing was in retaliation for recent Quran burnings at the US-run Bagram Air Base north of Kabul. That incident sparked nearly a week of ongoing violent protests across the country. Two US military officers working in the Afghan Interior Ministry were shot dead on Saturday, while six US troops were wounded by demonstrators at a base in northern Afghanistan on Sunday. Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged Afghans to be "calm and peaceful" (al-Jazeera).


"The burning of Korans by foreign troops on one side and the killing of foreign troops by Afghan soldiers on the other have pushed the level of alienation between the two sides to what could be an all-time high. The Saturday murders were only the latest of at least 22 similar killings that have occurred since last April," writes TIME's John Wendle.

"The latest incident runs counter to both objectives: Afghanistan's leaders will find it even harder to cooperate with Western forces, while the Taliban have been handed on a plate an incident that appears to justify their central claim--that America and her allies are waging war on Islam itself," writes the Daily Telegraph's David Blair.

"But on the flip side, just like a lot of other misguided honors that Muslims are trying to protect in our community, from wounds dating back to the days of colonialism and harkening into the modern day with protections over the national sovereignty of Pakistan during the Osama bin Laden raid, we, as Muslims, go too far protecting our perceived "honor" at the expense of common sense," writes Asra Q. Nomani at the Daily Beast.



Australian PM Wins Labor Leadership Vote

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard defeated Kevin Rudd in a Labor leadership challenge by seventy-one to thirty-one votes (Australian). Gillard ousted Rudd as prime minister in 2010.

SOUTH KOREA: The United States and South Korea launched joint military exercises (Yonhap) on the Korean peninsula. North Korea responded defiantly, saying it was "fully ready for both dialogue and war."

This CFR Crisis Guide provides an interactive multimedia overview of the dispute between North and South Korea.



Hand over of power in Yemen

Bin Laden compound destroyed

G20 leaders delay decisions over Greece


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