Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Marine Commandant Says He Has 'No Idea' On Troop Withdrawal Specifics
The Commandant of the Marine Corps says he has "no idea" on whether or when troops will be withdrawing from Afghanistan or Syria, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While visiting his troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Robert Neller was asked by a Marine about Trump's recent order to withdraw all troops from Syria and about half from Afghanistan, according to a report by the Journal's Ben Kesling.
Relaying what many of their family members were asking, the junior Marine was wondering, hey sir, are we about to go home?
"That’s a really good question. And the honest answer is I have no idea," Neller answered. To another gathering of Marines, the four-star general said, "I don’t think anybody really knows exactly what’s going to happen. I’ve read the same stuff in the newspaper you did, I have a little more knowledge than that, but not a whole lot more."
The Trump administration ordered the military to withdraw about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan "in the coming months," The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two defense officials. But that word hasn't yet seemed to have trickled down to troops downrange, many of whom have been reading news reports of a potential hasty exit from Syria, Afghanistan, and the abrupt resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — all in the span of a week.
Neller indeed tried to reassure the Marines that they needed to "focus on their mission" in Afghanistan, while intimating that he still hadn't been given specifics by the White House, a senior defense official told Task & Purpose.
Meanwhile, the Journal reported that neither Navy Secretary Richard Spencer or Gen. Austin Miller, the top commander of all NATO forces in Afghanistan, had received official orders from the White House or Pentagon on the drawdown.
There are roughly 14,000 U.S. troops still in Afghanistan. A spokesman for the Resolute Support mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.