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Middle East

NATO may keep Afghan forces at peak strength longer

altNATO officials are strongly considering a proposal to keep Afghan forces at their peak strength of 352,000 until at least 2018, as opposed to current plans to cut the force by a third after 2015, alliance officials said.

Ten Afghan "civilians" killed in NATO airstrike

altA NATO airstrike killed 10 Afghan civilians, including five children, in eastern Afghanistan local officials said, a toll that if confirmed is likely to raise tension between President Hamid Karzai's government and U.S.-led NATO forces.

Iran's president wishes to visit Gaza

altIran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is due to take part in a summit in Egypt this week, expressed his desire to visit the neighboring Gaza Strip.

Israeli silence on Syria is strategic

altMilitary secrets are not readily divulged anywhere. But in Israel the blanket silence that envelops officials after an event like Wednesday's mysterious air strike on Syria reflects a deeper strategy involving both deterrence and outreach.

Al Qaeda calls on Iraqi Sunni protesters to take up arms

altAl Qaeda's Iraqi wing on Thursday urged Sunni protesters to take up arms against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, adding fuel to growing sectarian unrest in the world's fastest-growing oil exporter.

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