An Afghan National Army helicopter carrying senior officials has crashed in bad weather in the western province of Farah, killing all 25 on board, a local official says.
Naser Mehri, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from the mountainous Anar Dara district in the morning of October 31 heading toward the nearby province of Herat.
He said the copter crashed in bad weather. A Taliban spokesman said the militants shot it down.
Mehri said the passengers included the deputy corps commander of Afghanistan's western zone and the head of the Farah provincial council.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi claimed the militants had downed the helicopter but failed to provide evidence. Defense Ministry spokesman Ghafor Ahmad Jawed rejected the Taliban claim of responsibility as "totally wrong."
Meanwhile, a suicide bomber struck outside Afghanistan's largest prison on the eastern edge of Kabul, killing at least seven people, including prison workers and security personnel, officials said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said that the attacker targeted a bus carrying prison workers early on October 31. The sprawling Pul-e Charkhi prison houses hundreds of inmates, including scores of Taliban militants.
According to Abadullah Karimi, a prison official, the attack occurred near the prison gate where a number of visitors were waiting to pass a rigorous security check before entering.
At least seven people were killed, and another five were wounded in the blast, the officials said.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
Oh, honey, that Axis of Evil getup is so 2002. You need to get with the times and try on this little number called a Wolf Pack of Rogue States, designed by Mike Pence.
Yes, the Axis is Evil is out, and the Wolf Pack of Rogue States is so, so in.
The vice president mentioned the latest and greatest phrase to describe anti-American super-villain states during a conference in Washington on Wednesday, and clearly, they must all be running around the desert together looking for strippers and cocaine.
"Beyond our global competitors, the United States faces a wolf pack of rogue states. No shared ideology or objective unites our competitors and adversaries except this one: They seek to overturn the international order that the United States has upheld for more that half a century."
According to Pence, the Wolf Pack includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Notably absent: China and Russia, the two states that actually have a shot at seeking "to overturn the international order."
As Daniel Larison notes at The American Conservative, the Wolf Pack crowd's "ability to 'overturn the international order' is practically nil, and it isn't even certain that most of them desire that outcome. If North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are our main adversaries, we are as secure as can be and we have very little to worry about."
Pence's wolf pack phrase follows another tried by National Security Advisor John Bolton back in November, when he labeled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as a "troika of tyranny" and a "triangle of terror," which make for interesting death metal band names, but seem kind of lame in comparison to the infamous 2002 "Axis of Evil" phrase from David Frum.
But perhaps they can consult with Stitch Jones, the Ayatollah of Rock-and-rolla, for some better branding.
Heartbreak Ridge - Stitch Jones meets Gunnery Sergeant Highway
Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)
Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn – whom President Donald Trump has called "a U.S. Military hero" – will face an Article 32 hearing in March after being charged with murder for allegedly killing a suspected Taliban bomb-maker.
On Dec. 18, the convening authority for Golestyn's case decided to hold the preliminary hearing in connection with the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, Army officials have announced. The proceedings are slated to start on March 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.