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US Says Military Operations in Afghanistan Remain the Same

New members of the Afghan National Army attend their graduation ceremony at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2014.

New members of the Afghan National Army attend their graduation ceremony at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2014.

U.S. officials say the activities of U.S. and NATO troops remaining in Afghanistan after December have not been changed.

Media reports this week, however, have said that more U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan. The reports also say troop actions will be expanded.

A Pentagon spokesman said U.S. forces will not seek Taliban targets. But he said anyone creating a threat to U.S. or Afghan forces will, in his words, "become fair game."

A U.S. State Department spokesman said the U.S. combat mission will end this year. But he also said dropping the troop level to 9,800 soldiers might take longer than predicted.

India-Pakistan tensions remain at South Asia conference

South Asian leaders meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, have called for countries in the area to come together.

Leaders from the eight member-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation talked Wednesday about the need to fight poverty and terrorism. They agreed the effort would require working more closely with each other.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that India would take the lead by improving border operations and making it easier to get business visas. Only five percent of the members’ total South Asian trade is among each other.

However, observers question how South Asia can become more integrated with no progress in ending the hostility between India and Pakistan.

Hong Kong police arrest student leaders, clear streets

Hong Kong police cleared a main protest camp Wednesday and arrested protest leaders. The Occupy Central demonstrators are calling for greater democracy in the territory. Lester Shum and Joshua Wong were detained on a major road in the Mong Kok area.

Fighting began when some protesters tried to prevent workers from tearing down the barriers on the road. Thousands of police supported the workers. The highway reopened to traffic after the barriers and protesters’ shelters were removed.

Colombia’s FARC frees two soldiers to restart talks

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, freed two captured soldiers this week. The rebels had captured the soldiers in the eastern area of Arauca November 9 during a military operation. The International Committee of the Red Cross helped gain the release of the hostages.

The action marks the first step toward restarting peace talks. The Colombian government delayed the process after the rebel group took five hostages, including an army general. The two sides have been fighting for fifty years.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said talks would not restart until all the hostages are free, including General Ruben Dario Alzate. He is the highest-level military official FARC has ever taken.


Words in the News

targetn. a place, thing, or person at which an attack is aimed

fair gamen. a person or thing that is considered a reasonable target for criticism, exploitation, or attack.

hostilityn. unfriendliness or opposition

integratev. to make (a person or group) part of a larger group or organization

barriern. something (such as a fence or natural obstacle) that prevents or blocks movement from one place to another

capturev. to take and hold (someone) as a prisoner especially by using force

Now it’s your turn to use these Words in the News. In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar.

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