- Taliban attack U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.
- Iran sets date for IAEA inspection of nuclear facility.
- Suicide bomber attacks World Food Program office in Pakistan.
- Ireland ratifies EU Lisbon Treaty.
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.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran has agreed to allow IAEA inspectors (NYT) to visit its newly disclosed nuclear enrichment plant on October 25. The Obama administration demanded at talks with Iran on October 1 that the facility be opened to inspectors within two weeks.
Iran expert John Limbert tells CFR it is possible that the way is being cleared for an eventual long-term dialogue between Washington and Tehran, but cautions against elevating expectations.
United Arab Emirates: UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved a law (National) that will form the legal framework for building a civilian nuclear energy sector. The country plans to import nuclear fuel, rather than enrich uranium locally.
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.
Five people, including an Iraqi national, were killed when a suicide bomber attacked the office (Nation) of the UN World Food Program in Islamabad. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, but Interior Minister Rehman Malik blamed the Taliban, which has vowed vengeance (Bloomberg) for the killing in August of its commander, Baitullah Mehsud, in a U.S. drone strike.
The Nigerian government declared its amnesty program a "huge success" after prominent rebel leader Government Ekpemupolo agreed to surrender his weapons (Bloomberg). Nigeria said it expects more than ten thousand additional rebels to lay down their arms.
Kenya: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged Kenya to implement reforms (Daily Nation) promised after 2008 post-election violence within the next year. Annan, who served as the mediator in the country's political crisis, arrived in Kenya for four days of meetings with government leaders. The international community has expressed concern over the slow pace of reform.
Aides to ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and de facto President Roberto Micheletti will reportedly meet this week (VOA) to discuss steps toward resolving the country's political crisis. Zelaya, democratically elected, tried to extend his term in office by changing the constitution and was subsequently overthrown in a coup in June.
CFR's Shannon O'Neil says the Organization of American States has been unable to effectively manage the crisis in Honduras.
United States: World Bank president Robert Zoellick said in a speech before meetings of the the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Istanbul, that U.S. economic power is declining (BBC) as a result of the financial crisis. "A multi-polar economy less reliant on the U.S. consumer will be a more stable world economy," Zoellick said.
Ireland voted to pass (RTÉ) the EU Lisbon Treaty by 67 percent, fifteen months after voters rejected it in an initial referendum. The treaty, which is designed to streamline EU decision-making, requires ratification by all twenty-seven EU members before it can be implemented.
Greece: Greece's opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) won the country's snap general elections. Outgoing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of the conservative New Democracy party conceded defeat (Express) and congratulated Pasok leader George Papandreou.
A new study based on World Health Organization data shows almost thirteen million babies are born prematurely (WSJ) each year. The report says about 28 percent of all deaths that occur within the first month of life are the result of premature birth.
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