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Pompeo: The Taliban, Who Live In Afghanistan, Cannot 'Wait Us Out'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Afghanistan earlier this week, where he visited with troops stationed at Disneyland Afghanistan, aka Bagram Air Base.
Per the official readout from the State Department, Pompeo apparently reiterated that "the Taliban cannot win on the battlefield, cannot wait us out, and will ultimately have to settle their differences with the Afghan government at the negotiating table."
It's interesting how the collective delusion of our political leadership continues amid a 17-year-long conflict — one that NATO has just agreed to keep funding to at least 2024. And sadly, it's not just Pompeo: even Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who told Congress in June 2017 that "we are not winning in Afghanistan," changed his assessment to say the Taliban has been put on their "back foot" less than a year later.
What made him come to that assumption? The hell if I know.
According to the Pentagon’s own data, in February 2017 the Afghan government controlled or influenced 60% of its 407 districts. It reported 29% of districts were contested, while 11% were under full control of the Taliban.
In Jan. 2018, it reported the Afghan government was in control or had influenced 56% of its districts. Meanwhile, the contested number remained the same at 29%, while Taliban control rose to 14%.
“The Taliban continue to maintain its grip on half of Afghanistan, despite US military’s reinvigorated effort to force the group from its strongholds,” wrote Long War Journal, which has been tracking who controls each district in Afghanistan since summer 2015.
According to LWJ, the Afghan government controls 159 districts (39%), the Taliban controls 39 districts (9.5%), and 200 districts (49%) are contested. LWJ was not able to determine the status of 9 districts (2%).
Therefore, according to LWJ’s data, the Taliban controls or contests 239 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, or 59%.
The Taliban can't wait us out? Hello, they live there. I think they absolutely can.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is considering reviewing its "strategy" in Afghanistan for the umpteenth time.
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That's exactly what the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on, according to budget documents — and it wants $13 million to make it a reality.
The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.
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‘That cavalier misdirection cannot stand’ — Washingtonians ask judge to reduce ‘extremely noisy’ Navy Growler flights
The Citizens of Ebey's Reserve (COER) is asking a federal judge to require the Navy to roll back the number of EA-18G Growler practice flights at Outlying Field Coupeville to pre-2019 levels until a lawsuit over the number of Growler flights is settled.
COER and private citizen Paula Spina filed a motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday.
According to the motion, since March 2019 the Navy has increased the number of Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and shifted most of its Growler operations to Outlying Field Coupeville, which is near the Reserve and the town of Coupeville.
"The result is a nearly fourfold increase in Growler flights in that area. Now the overflights subject residents in and near Coupeville to extreme noise for several hours of the day, day and night, many days of the week," said the court document.
A 26-year-old man died after he failed to surface from waters off Molokai while participating in a scuba diving tour over the weekend.
He has been identified as Duane Harold Parsley II and was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, according to the Maui Police Department.