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The Army Is Wary Of Future Insider Attacks Amid Its New Advise And Assist Missions
In the aftermath of the insider attack that took the life of a U.S. soldier last week, Army officials are reaffirming their concerns over the prevalence of such incidents among U.S. military personnel deployed to Afghanistan to train, advise and assist local security forces, the Associated Press reports.
- Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, one of 300 soldiers deployed with Task Force 1-28 infantry in support of the brand new 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, was killed during an apparent insider attack in southern Afghanistan on July 7.
- Speaking to reporters on July 13, Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Associated Press that "casualties are going to occur" among U.S. military personnel "in exposed positions" on training and advisory teams, adding that such a deployment "is a high-risk situation."
- The AP notes that Milley's comments echo those of delivered by Col. Scott Jackson in June: “We have had our Afghan partners come to us with intelligence that pre-empted potential attacks, and they have been proactively taking care of their own problems."
- So-called "green-on-blue" insider attacks hit their peak in 2012, when U.S. personnel and Afghan security forces endured 44 incidents, according to 2017 data from The Long War Journal. By 2017, the number of insider attacks had dropped to just three.
The 1st SFAB training brigade deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year. The Army is intent on standing up and deploying at least six such new brigades to help augment the existing train, advisory, and assistance mission in the war-torn country. In the meantime, Milley told the Associated Press that the Army "is still trying to determine if the shooter was from the Taliban or another insurgency or just an angry Afghan soldier."
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.