As the US's newest Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel takes office, here's an update on the second longest-running war in US history, the Afghan War.
Hagel was making his first visit to Afghanistan as US Defense Secretary yesterday when two suicide bombs exploded. At least 19 people were killed. The Taliban immediately took responsibility for the attack, calling it a message to Hagel.
The secretary is preparing for what the US is calling a "responsible transition" of power from Allied Forces to the Afghan Government.
But, President Karzai is crying conspiracy. According to Karzai, the US and the Taliban benefit from the nation's instability, so the US may have planned the recent violence to scare the Afghan people into keeping the American forces in place.
NATO and US Forces General Commander Joseph Dunford deny the charges.
In other Afghanistan War news, thousands of local interpreters can't get visas to leave Afghanistan. In 2009, the State Department issues 7,500 visas specifically for Afghans who worked for the Americans during the war effort. So far, only 32 of them have been approved. These translators are high-priority targets for the Taliban and may become targets during the military drawdown. The US has said that the program is a priority and that it will work on increasing processing speeds.