1. PLEDGE

    Taliban to Retake Afghanistan: Report

    Taliban fighters walk with their weapons after joining Afghan government forces for a ceremony in Ghazni province on January 16, 2012. Some 20 Taliban fighters including a key commander laid down arms and joined the peace process in Ghazni province. The Taliban, ousted from power by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, announced earlier this month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of possible talks with the United States. AFP PHOTO/Aref Yaqubi (Photo credit should read AREF YAQUBI/AFP/Getty Images)

    Aref Yaqubi, AFP / Getty Images

    U.S. out, Taliban in? A NATO classified report says the Taliban is confident it will regain control of Afghanistan once foreign forces leave the country. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday that combat operations will end in the nation in 2013. The Taliban believes it has the strength, motivation, and efficiency to retake power—though it has faced heavy losses since 2011. NATO officials said the document exists but downplayed its importance. The report also says the Taliban has not split from extremist groups. Afghan Taliban say they have not started peace negotiations with the international community—specifically the Americans.

    Read it at Reuters