BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military organization could pay a heavy price for leaving Afghanistan too early, after a U.S. official said that President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw a significant number of American troops from there in coming weeks. Stoltenberg said Tuesday that “no NATO ally wants to stay any longer than necessary. But at the same time, the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high.” He says Afghanistan “risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands." The U.S. decision would leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan after mid-January.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says it succeeded in a first attempt to shoot down an unarmed intercontinental-range ballistic missile with an interceptor missile fired from aboard a ship at sea. Previous tests of interceptor technology against ICBM targets were conducted with missiles launched from land. Tuesday's test was considered significant because it was designed to determine the feasibility of adding a sea-based layer to U.S. defenses against ICBMs capable of hitting the continental U.S. The ship from which the interceptor missile was launched was situated northeast of Hawaii. The target missile was launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo has met with the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians during a short trip to Turkey that has raised the ire of Turkish officials and includes no meetings with any of them. Tuesday's talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I were to center on religious freedoms in Turkey, which has angered Ankara and prompted officials to call on Washington to focus on human rights violations in the United States. The trip comes amid already frayed ties between the two NATO allies over a series of issues, even though Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump have maintained friendly personal ties.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel is calling on the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter to defend their handling of disinformation in the contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. But the senators are deeply divided by party over the integrity and results of the election itself. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday to question Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey on their companies’ actions around the closely contested election. Prominent Republican senators have refused to knock down Trump’s unfounded claims of voting irregularities and fraud, even as misinformation disputing Biden’s victory has flourished online.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is warning of dire consequences if President Donald Trump and his administration continue to refuse to coordinate with his transition team on the coronavirus pandemic and block briefings on national security, policy issues and vaccine plans. The remarks Monday marked Biden’s toughest to date on Trump’s failure to acknowledge his election loss and cooperate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power. Biden told reporters during a news conference in Delaware: "More people may die if we don’t coordinate."