The Washington Post has reported that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met with representatives of Hizb-i-Islami — a major Taliban-linked insurgent group — in a step toward national reconciliation, citing a presidential spokesman’s March 22 statement.

The quartet — a group comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations that focuses on Middle East peace — met in Moscow on March 19. At the meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the proposals offered by the Israeli government to reduce diplomatic tensions with the United States were “useful and productive,” and that the Obama administration would continue talks with Israel in Jerusalem and Washington.

Major news sources reported on March 17 that five U.S. men who were arrested in Pakistan in December were charged this day with plotting terrorist attacks in Pakistan, charges that could lead to possible life sentences. The Los Angles Times reported that the men, ages 18 to 24, are U.S. citizens of Pakistani, African, and Egyptian descent who lived within blocks of each other in Alexandria, Virginia.

After several attacks on Indian targets by militants in Afghanistan, officials and analysts claim that the governments of Pakistan and India are waging a proxy war there.

The Pentagon has approved more than $150 million in military assistance to the government of Yemen, more than doubling last year’s budget of $67 million, international news sources reported Tuesday.