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On the 24th of May, dozens of Taliban leaders were congregating in a building located in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan. The U.S. military authorized a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System strike on the meeting place, which killed at least 50 Taliban insurgents, according to U.S. military officials in Afghanistan.
“The structure was a known meeting location for prominent Taliban leaders,” U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a press release.
"Strikes like this one not only degrade Taliban operations, but also give our partners the ability to maintain continuous pressure against a weakened enemy,” U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Benjamin T. Watson said in the release.
The M142 HIMARS system has been referred to as the ‘Commander’s Sniper Rifle.’ Depending on the missile loadout, it has a range between 20 and 186 miles. The HIMARS system has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of both conflicts, and has also has seen used against ISIS targets in Syria.
Dept. Of DefenseAL MINHAD AIRBASE, United Arab Emirates — The crew of a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) vehicle waits for orders to conduct a fire mission during the Diamond Tempest training exercise April 18, 2018. The Soldiers and equipment are with 75th Field Artillery Brigade, III Corps. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Roles)
The Taliban’s deputy shadow governor for Helmand province is believed to be the most senior of the leaders killed in the HIMARS strike, Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, said on Wednesday.
While U.S. forces are still trying to identify all of the Taliban leaders killed, it appears as though they had recently taken part in an attack on Farah city in western Afghanistan, Nicholson told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. Afghan security forces had pursued the Taliban commanders for a week after driving them out of the city.
“After some great intelligence work by Marines led by Brig. Gen. Ben Watson, they tracked 50 of them to a meeting at Musa Qala and struck them with HIMARS rockets, killing dozens of enemy leaders,” Nicholson said. “By killing leaders, we will achieve a disruptive effect in Helmand. I would not call it ‘strategic significance,’ but it definitely has a significant local significance, in terms of the fight in southern Afghanistan.”
The province of Musa Qala is just north of the infamous town of Sangin in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. This area is a perpetual hotbed of Taliban activity. However, the Taliban have been active all across Afghanistan in recent months, with attacks in Farah, Kabul, and Jalalabad.
The Taliban even claimed control over the capital of Farah province for a brief period last month, before being run out of town by a combination of U.S. Special Operations troops and Afghan National Army soldiers.
The HIMARS strike is the latest in a series of attacks against Taliban leadership that have been ongoing for the last ten days. According to U.S. military officials in Afghanistan, over 70 senior Taliban leaders have been killed during that time-span (including those targeted in the HIMARS attack), and the additional targets hit included a Taliban Red Unit commander and the shadow district governor of Nahr-e-Saraj.
As the fighting season returns, this decapitation of leadership will hopefully hinder Taliban operations against the roughly 15,000 U.S. troops in the country and the Afghan forces they’re advising. But given the history of U.S. there, you have to wonder how many times you can cut the head off the same snake.
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Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.
A first look at the 'CoD Modern Warfare' reboot shows juggernaut and ghillie suits return to multiplayer
Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.
Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.