Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, takes part in a discussion on international security in Passau, Germany, on Nov. 12. hide caption

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South Korean Gen. Han Min-koo looks at houses destroyed by North Korea's Nov. 23 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. Two weeks after the attack, the rivals are still trading threats, while tensions are also rising between South Korea's ally, the U.S., and China, an ally of North Korea. Kim Ju-sung/AP/Yonhap hide caption

itoggle caption Kim Ju-sung/AP/Yonhap

Soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division walk along high mud walls in a village in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. The Obama administration later this month will release its annual review of the war strategy. Afghanistan's history does not offer encouragement. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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The leaked WikiLeaks cables highlight two pervasive challenges the U.S. faces in Afghanistan: corruption and dealing with President Hamid Karzai. Shah Marai/Getty Images hide caption

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Private security contractors guard a part of a route as NATO supply trucks drive past in the province of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul. Intense negotiations continued between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the international community over the Afghan government's deadline for ridding the nation of private security guards. Rahmatullah Naikzad/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rahmatullah Naikzad/AP