Taliban attacks kill eight soldiers in Afghanistan (+America's strategic choices); Did Chinese Premier meet Kim Jong-Il?; Indonesia calls off search for quake survivors; Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty; and more
Top of the Agenda: Taliban Attack on U.S. Bases
Taliban insurgents carried out two attacks on remote U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, killing eight U.S. soldiers (NYT) and four Afghan security officers, and adding fuel to the ongoing debate over U.S. military strategy in the country.
U.S. commanders had been planning to shut down the U.S. base camps in the Kamdesh District of Nuristan Province, the Washington Post reports. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal has called for a shift in strategy that would move troops to more populated centers to focus on protecting civilians.
Police said up to a dozen Afghan soldiers and police may have been taken hostage (LAT) in the siege.
Afghanistan expert Clare Lockhart says more attention must be paid to rebuilding the country's civilian institutions.
Six analysts -- Peter R. Mansoor, Andrew J. Bacevich, Amin Tarzi, Thomas E. Ricks, Candace Rondeaux, and John A. Nagl -- offer a range of strategic choices for U.S. planners in Afghanistan.
In an interview with CNN's State of the Union, U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones contradicted McChrystal's assessment that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan. Jones said the current force in Afghanistan is "robust," and that the solution in Afghanistan is "much more complex than just about 'X' more troops."
McChrystal's review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan can be read here.
PACIFIC RIM: China PM Visits North Korea
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to North Korea has yielded little news, despite expectations the two countries could negotiate North Korea's return to the Six Party Talks, the Wall Street Journal reports. North Korea and China issued a joint statement affirming their friendship, but it was not clear whether Wen and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il met.
Indonesia: Rescue workers called off the search (AP) for survivors of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that left thousands buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings, saying they will instead focus on humanitarian relief efforts.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org