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US special operations forces have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Trump says
U.S. special operations forces conducted a raid that successfully killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday night, President Donald Trump announced on Sunday.
"Last night, the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice," Trump said. "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead."
Trump, who on Saturday tweeted that "something very big has happened," confirmed widespread media reports that a "high value ISIS target" believed to be the elusive ISIS chief was killed in a U.S.-led military operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province.
According to U.S. officials, a contingent of between 50 and 70 U.S. service members — including members of Joint Special Operations Command's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D) commonly known as Delta Force and Army Rangers — carried out the operation "after receiving actionable intelligence," Newsweek reports
The intelligence operation involved " a complicated CIA intelligence collection operation aided by the Syrian Kurds and other U.S. partners in the region," Foreign Policy reports.
An Iraqi intelligence official claimed to Reuters on Sunday that it it was Iraq's intelligence service which provided the U.S.-led coalition with the exact coordinates of al-Baghdadi's location.
Staged from the Iraqi city of Erbil and inserted with a cadre of six helicopters, the team targeted a compound in the Idlib province that had previously been under surveillance, engaging in what Newsweek characterized as a "brief firefight" during which al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during the raid, killing himself and three children.
"The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, panic and dread, terrified of the American forces coming down on him," Trump said on Sunday.
Trump stated that he watched the raid from the White House Situation Room with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark A Milley, Vice President Mike Pence, and other senior government officials. He described the footage as so clear it was "as if you were watching a movie."
"He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way," Trump added. "He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children. His body was mutilated by the blasts. The tunnel had caved on him"
According to the Associated Press, "other [ISIS] leaders" were also killed in the raid.
No U.S. military personnel were injured in the operation with the exception of a military working dog, Trump said
"He was a sick and depraved man and now he's gone," Trump said.
Previously believed killed in a Russian air strike in May 2017, ISIS's media network in April published a video message purporting to come from al-Baghdadi and marking his first public appearance since establishing the terror group's now-defunct territorial "caliphate" in 2014.
Reports of al-Baghdadi's death come just over two weeks after Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, paving the way for a Turkish military offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in the region.
The hasty withdrawal drew criticism from both American lawmakers and international leaders for potentially creating an opening for a major resurgence among the ISIS fighters scattered across Iraq and Syria.
As Reuters reported at the time, the Turkish assault forced Kurdish to suspend operations against ISIS.
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.