NATO to restrict joint operations with Afghan units; anti-Japan protests continue in China; North Korea negotiates debt restructuring deal with Moscow; Kosovo declared "fully independent"; aid to Egypt on hold; and more
Top of the Agenda: NATO Announces Decision to Restrict Ops
A series of rogue insider attacks on foreign troops in recent weeks has prompted NATO commanders to announce restrictions on joint operations with Afghan units smaller than 800-troop battalions. The decision raises new concerns over plans to hand off security responsibilities and train Afghan forces (Reuters) ahead of a 2014 withdrawal. NATO officials said the move would affect the "vast majority" of Afghan forces, who will now be forced to function without NATO troop support. However, NATO officials say more limited training operations will continue on a case-by-case basis (BBC). More than fifty NATO personnel have been killed in "insider attacks" by members of Afghan security forces this year.
The next 28 months of the war in Afghanistan, between now and the planned drawdown, will be defined in part by the process of handing over security responsibility from ISAF (the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force) troops to Afghan soldiers and police. Without a successful transition to Afghan control, the strategy is likely to fall apart, leaving the country without security," writes Joshua Foust for the Atlantic.
"Afghanistan's importance to the U.S. is situational, linked largely to the threat that, under the right conditions, al-Qaida might try to reconstitute its former network of assets there. But much of al-Qaida's operational network has already shifted to more fertile locations elsewhere in the world. And to be perfectly frank, if Afghanistan does not again become the main safe haven for an international terrorist network determined to wage war on the U.S. and its allies, the country will return to the level of attention it held in U.S. strategic planning during the 1990s: overlooked and peripheral," writes Nikolas Gvosdev in the World Politics Review.
Anti-Japan Protests Continue in China
Protests in the Chinese capital, spurred by a territorial dispute in the East China Sea, continued into their second day. Japanese businesses shuttered storefronts and the country suspended its embassy's services in Beijing on Tuesday, as tensions between the two Asian rivals intensified (AFP).
NORTH KOREA: North Korea's state news agency announced that it had negotiated a debt restructuring deal with Moscow (Reuters) on Tuesday. Terms of the loan forgiveness were not released.
Aid to Egypt on hold