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Mattis: Afghan Forces Are Increasing Their Efforts To Stop ‘Green On Blue’ Attacks
Afghan security forces have stepped up training and vetting of troops and police who work with U.S. service members to stop “Green on Blue” attacks, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on Tuesday.
“They’re bringing in more people that we have helped train to know how to do it, to make certain that we’re catching people who have been radicalized,” Mattis said during a Pentagon news conference. “There’s a lot of attention from their military side that’s actually in the field with the troops. By ‘attention,’ I mean training of their people at how they protect the coalition troops.”
Two U.S. soldiers have been killed by Afghan security forces since July: Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard and Cpl. Joseph Maciel. During Mattis’ Sept. 7 meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, Ghani stated that “preventing ‘Green on Blue’ [attacks] is a top national priority.”
“President Ghani broached the issue first,” Mattis said on Tuesday, which marked the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “Of course, it was on my list of issues to bring up. He brought it up both in my private one-on-one meeting as well as with his entire staff and our ambassador and senior NATO civilian representatives and our military and diplomatic staffs.”
Mattis flew from New Delhi to Kabul last week and met with Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller, who recently took command of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. His discussions with Miller and Ghani included how to protect Afghanistan’s upcoming parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for October as well as, “How do we sustain this effort into the future as we look toward reconciling Afghanistan.”
The Taliban have sent mixed messages recently by escalating violence around Afghanistan while some leaders have shown an increased interest in reconciling with the Afghan government, Mattis said. It is not yet clear whether a peace process has the necessary momentum, “so we’ll fight,” he said.
For years, the United States has given the Taliban three conditions for peace: Stop killing people, abide by the Afghan constitution, and break with all terrorists, Mattis said. Although the Taliban still remain connected to al Qaeda, some younger fighters recently defied the Taliban’s senior leadership and accepted a cease-fire earlier this year.
Mattis noted that next year marks 40 years since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which begat decades of relentless bloodletting. From his discussions with Afghan leaders, Mattis got the impression that the desire for peace is widespread.
“Forty years is enough,” Mattis said.“I think there’s a fair amount of what I would call ‘non-quantifiable factors’ that are mounting in terms of going in the right direction. We’ll just have to do everything we can to protect that process with our military might, the 41 nations that have got military people there in the fight, and then continue to buttress what the diplomats are doing.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
‘I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’ — Mattis hits back at Trump for calling him the 'world's most overrated general'
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.
"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.
"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
US and Turkey agree on temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from northeast Syria
The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.
A Navy doomsday aircraft that would play a vital communication role in the event of a nuclear war had one of its four engines replaced this month after it struck a bird at a Maryland air station.