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Mattis' Claim Brazen Insider Attack In Afghanistan Won't Have A 'Long-Term Effect' Is Absurd
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday attempted to downplay a recent insider attack in Afghanistan that wiped out two top Afghan leaders in Kandahar and wounded the governor.
"It's a tragic loss of a patriot for Afghanistan," Mattis said of Gen. Abdul Raziq, the Kandahar police chief who was shot and killed Thursday. "But I don't see it having a long-term effect on our area."
The Pentagon chief was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a security conference in Singapore, where he said the officers around Raziq and the security forces have matured, speculating that the loss of their top leader wouldn't have a profound impact on how they operate.
"I've seen the officers around him. I've seen the maturation of the Afghan security forces," he said.
Afghanistan is about to hold legislative elections — which were just delayed by at least a week due to the attack — an event sure to invite even more violence as the Taliban vows to disrupt the polls. Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces that Mattis says are maturing have, in recent months, endured unsustainable losses in combat.
And, as Bill Roggio notes at Long War Journal, the loss of one of Kandahar's top leaders not having repercussions seems to be wishful thinking at best:
The death of Raziq may have major implications on the security situation in southern Afghanistan. Raziq has been the US military’s top ally in the south. During the surge from 2009 to 2012, Raziq was instrumental in mustering his fighters to clear the Taliban from strongholds in Kandahar, as well as in neighboring provinces of Uruzgan and Helmand. As the chief of police in Kandahar, he has kept a lid on the Taliban’s insurgency, which has intensified over the past several years. Raziq hoarded power in the province, and it is unclear if one of his deputies can effectively replace him.
The Taliban has targeted Raziq numerous times in the past in suicide and other attacks. He was targeted because of his influence in Kandahar and throughout the south.
The Taliban hope to destabilize Kandahar as it did Uruzgan after the assassinations of Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of the province, in 2011, and his nephew, Matiullah Khan, the provincial chief of police, in 2015. Like Raziq, the Khans stockpiled power. Once the Khans were killed by the Taliban, Uruzgan became one of the most dangerous provinces in the country.
It's not credible to say that losing Raziq doesn't change the game in Kandahar. His death is a huge win for the Taliban; why else would they have tried to kill him so many times in the past?
And let's not forget the fact that this attack happened with American troops right there, to include the top general in charge of NATO troops, Gen. Scott Miller. Clearly in the danger zone, according to CNN's Barbara Starr, Miller drew his pistol as the attack unfolded (he did not fire).
One can only imagine what the ramifications would be (or what Mattis would say in response) if Miller were wounded or killed during such a brazen attack.
Sadly, this is just one example among many demonstrating that neither the Pentagon or the Afghan government can be trusted to tell the truth of what is happening in Afghanistan. From pronouncements such as these or Mattis in May claiming the Taliban was on their "back foot," to the wholesale censorship of previously-unclassified data on the state of the Afghan security forces, they know the war is, and has been lost for a long time.
But just like the Vietnam war before it, it seems our senior military leadership will need far more time than most of the American public to admit it.
An investigation is underway after an Army recruiting company commander in Houston, Texas, issued a memo that included a phrase used by Nazis and displayed in death camps during World War II, "Arbeit Macht Frei," which roughly translates to "work sets you free."
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A woman has filed a civil suit against a former member of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, saying she has suffered emotional distress and "a diminished capacity to enjoy life" in the years since he used a hidden camera at Barnes Air National Guard Base to record explicit images of her.
Former Tech Sgt. Jason Venne, 37, pleaded guilty in February to six counts of photographing an unsuspecting person in the nude and seven counts of unlawful wiretap. He admitted putting a camera in the women's locker room at the Westfield base, recording images and video between 2011 and 2013 when he worked there as a mechanic.
Five people have been indicted in federal court in the Western District of Texas on charges of participating in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from benefits reserved for military members, U.S. Department of Justice officials said Wednesday.
As the military services each roll out new policies regarding hemp-derived products like cannabidiol, or CBD, the Defense Department is not mincing words.
"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
The warning, along with the policies issued recently by the Air Force, Coast Guard and Department of the Navy, comes as CBD is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the country in many forms, from coffee additives and vaping liquids to tinctures, candies and other foods, carrying promises of health benefits ranging from pain and anxiety relief to sleeping aids and inflammation reduction.
The Navy has fired five senior leaders so far in August – and the month isn't even over.
While the sea service is famous for instilling in officers that they are responsible for any wrongdoing by their sailors – whether they are aware of the infractions or not – the recent rash of firings is a lot, even for the Navy.
A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.