Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt


KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan and the United States signed a security pact today to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year, ending a year of uncertainty over the fate of foreign troops supporting Afghanis as they take over responsibility for the country's security.

Afghan, American and NATO leaders welcomed the deal, which will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign it despite U.S. threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. U.S. officials have said that the delay in the deal's signing does not affect plans for next year.

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who was sworn into office a day earlier, told a crowd assembled at the presidential palace in the capital Kabul for the signing ceremony that the agreement signaled a fundamental shift for the positive in the country's relations with the world.


BEIRUT - U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted Islamic State fighters pressing their offensive against a Kurdish town near the Syrian-Turkish border today in an attempt to halt the militants' advance, activists said.

The frontier town of Kobani, also known by its Arabic name of Ayn Arab, and surrounding villages have been under attack by the Islamic State group since mid-September. The fighting has forced some 150,000 Kurds to flee to Turkey in what has been one of the largest single exoduses in Syria's civil war, now in its fourth year.

It was not immediately clear how effective today's airstrikes were in slowing the Islamic militants' advance. Over the past few days, the extremists have pushed to within three miles of Kobani and have begun hitting it with mortars and artillery shells.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit Islamic State fighters east and west of Kobani. …

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