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US, Iran Jab At Iraq Talks

At the Iraqi conference bringing together its neighbors on security issues, representatives from the United States and Iran met but exchanged heated words. U.S. envoy David Satterfield reportedly pointed at his briefcase and declared that the US had hard evidence of Iran's aiding Shi'a militias in Iraq. Iran's Abbas Araghchi retorted that the US is lying and trying to cover its own failures.

In the conference, Iran also demanded the US set a timetable for leaving Iraq, as have certain members of the United States Congress.

In other developments, yet another Iraqi claim of the capture of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the appointed leader of the 'Islamic State of Iraq,' has proven false. But the captured man is said to be a religious leader of the al-Qaeda aligned group.

Taliban Threatens 'Horrible Modern Attacks'

Afghan warlord and former prime minister, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has detached from the Taliban and is attempting to enter the Afghanistan political process under their new amnesty provisions. But the report cautions that his fighters are not laying down their arms for the 'spring offensive' and joining him. Hekmatyar reportedly "instructed all important warlords in Afghanistan to dismantle the HIA's structures in their areas and merge with the Taliban's command. Thus they will remain in position and simply change hats."

The PakTribune reported that the Taliban have distributed fliers in the Kandahar region warning Afghanis that "horrible modern attacks with modern weapons would be carried against coalition forces this year," and warned them to stay clear of Coalition troops.

After having several troops killed recently, British soldiers are reported to be harboring "huge resentment" towards their fellow European NATO partners whose troop levels are seen as failing to shoulder their share of the burden in Afghanistan. A retired senior British military official explained, "When you go on an operation as complex and dangerous as this [Operation Achilles], where some NATO nations are not playing a full part, it makes the job of a commander much more difficult if he cannot use half the troops. It breaks a fundamental military principle." He then added, "It also undermines NATO's credibility in the long term if it cannot respond to operational challenges such as this."

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