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Joe Biden wants US troops based in Pakistan to fight terrorists in Afghanistan. No, seriously. He really said that.
File this under, "It's a bold strategy, Cotton."
Former Vice President Joe Biden has suggested essentially moving U.S. troops from Afghanistan to Pakistan, whence they could launch counter-terrorism raids over the border, as needed.
Biden, who is attempting to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election, mentioned his plan during Thursday night's Democratic debate in Houston.
When asked if President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was a mistake, Biden said no and quickly changed the topic to Afghanistan.
"We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know," Biden said. "We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home."
But given the Pakistani military and intelligence service's connections to the Taliban and terrorist groups, it is extremely unlikely that Pakistan would agree to host a U.S. counter-terrorism mission, said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, D.C.
Pakistan has long supported the Taliban's efforts to defeat the United States in Afghanistan, said Roggio, managing editor of The Long War Journal. Meanwhile, the Taliban continues to shelter Al Qaeda.
"American political leaders seem to have magical theories about what to do in Afghanistan and don't really want to do the heavy lifting in order to take on the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist groups there," Roggio told Task & Purpose. "The sooner American political leaders realize that Pakistan is an enemy and not an ally of the United States, the sooner we can move forward and deal with the problem."
Thursday's debate also gave Biden an opportunity to re-litigate the Obama administration's decision in December 2009 to drastically increase the number of troops to Afghanistan. Biden said he was opposed to the troop surge because he favors a more narrowly tailored mission in Afghanistan.
"The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was not to have a counterinsurgency – meaning that we're going to put that country together. It cannot be put together. Let me say it again: It will not be put together. It's three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties – the three provinces in the east. The point is that it's a counter-terrorism strategy."
It was not immediately clear if Biden is in favor of partitioning Afghanistan. In 2006, he co-authored an opinion piece in the New York Times calling for Iraq to be decentralized into Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish autonomous regions, but he later denied that he advocated for Iraq to be broken up.
A 24-year-old soldier based at Fort Riley has been charged in federal court in Topeka with sending over social media instructions on how to make bombs triggered by cellphones, according to federal prosecutors in Kansas.
Three U.S. service members received non-life-threatening injuries after being fired on Monday by an Afghan police officer, a U.S. official confirmed.
The troops were part of a convoy in Kandahar province that came under attack by a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, a spokesperson for Operation Resolute Support said on Monday.
Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years as a prisoner of war during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.
Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.
The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty
Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.
Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:
Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.
In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.
On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.
Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.
After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.
- 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
- Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
- Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
- Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
- Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.
In a kind of odd man-versus-nature moment, a Russian navy boat was attacked and sunk by a walrus during an expedition in the Arctic, the Barents Observer reported Monday.