Top News: The U.S. and Afghan governments have agreed on the draft of an agreement that lays out the framework for cooperation between U.S. counterterrorism forces and Afghan National Security Forces beyond the 2014 drawdown of U.S. troops. The agreement is now being reviewed by a five-day loya jirga meeting, a traditional consultative body of tribal leaders, and will be voted on by the Afghan parliament. Though the loya jirga's support is not necessary to sign the agreement under Afghan law, President Hamid Karzai has indicated he will not sign the agreement without their support.
Before government officials concluded talks yesterday, tensions remained over several critical issues. In particular, the United States was pressing for U.S. troops to be allowed to enter Afghan homes during night raids, while the Afghan government was insisting that only Afghan troops enter homes. The Afghan government also wanted the United States to issue an apology for mistakes made in its 12-year war in the country. The U.S. State Department declined to give details of the agreement until it has been reviewed by the loya jirga, so it remains unclear how these tensions were resolved.
If the loya jirga and Afghan parliament agree to the draft, Karzai said he would wait until next year, after the country's presidential elections in April, to sign the deal.
Iran: International negotiators reconvened for continued negotiations on Iran's nuclear negotations in Geneva. The French government in recent days has been particularly outspoken about the necessary conditions of an agreement. FP's Yochi Dreazen outlines the things to watch for here, and is reporting from Geneva this week.
- The United States is negotiating behind the scenes to adjust a U.N. resolution on whether the collection of foreigners' data in surveillance programs like those conducted by the NSA constitute an infringement on international human rights.
- U.S. Congressman Trey Radel pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and announced he would take a leave of absence to attend a rehab program.
- President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia announced he would seek reelection in the country's elections next May.
- North Korea appears to have detained Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old American citizen, as he boarded a flight to leave after participating in an organized tour of the country.
- Five people, including a senior advisor to the leader of the Haqqani network, were killed in an apparent U.S. drone strike targeting an Islamic seminary in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
- China's Supreme Court ruled that the law enforcement officials must end the country's practice of using torture to force confessions of criminal wrongdoing.
- Eleven Egyptian soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack targeting a military facility in the northern Sinai.
- In the latest in a string of victories, Syrian government forces seized the town of Qara, north of Damascus, breaking critical rebel supply lines to the capital city.
- Human rights groups condemned the conviction of Musab Shamsah in Kuwait, who was sentenced to five years in prison for a tweet deemed denigrating to the Prophet Mohammad.
- The government of the Central African Republic has is in contact with Lord's Resistance Army warlord Joseph Kony and is encouraging him to surrender.
- Rescue workers in Tongaat, South Africa, called off the search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed mall; one person was killed when the building collapsed on Tuesday.
- Thirty-nine Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers will stand trial for murder, rape, and other war crimes committed in Nov. 2012 as they retreated from M23 rebels.
- A deal approved by British intelligence has allowed the NSA for years to "unmask" the identities of British citizens who have had their data collected in surveillance operations, according to a new report based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
- France arrested Abdelhakim Dekhar, who authorities believe is responsible for a string of Paris gun attacks targeting news outlets.
- Seventeen people are dead after a severe storm struck the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.
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