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In A Reversal, Pentagon Releases Data Showing Growing Insurgency In Afghanistan
In an abrupt about face, the U.S. military released data Tuesday showing insurgents in Afghanistan are growing stronger after a Pentagon auditing office complained it had been prohibited from releasing the unclassified statistics.
Even after 16 years of war, only about 56 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts are under control of the central government in Kabul. Another 30 percent are contested and 14 percent are under insurgent control, the Pentagon data showed.
In addition, an estimated 60 percent of the Afghan population is under central government control, down from 65 percent last February.
The data were released after the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a Pentagon auditing office known as SIGAR, complained in a report that the U.S. military command in Kabul had called the metrics “not releasable to the public,” even though they are unclassified.
“This is the first time SIGAR has been specifically instructed not to release information marked ‘unclassified’ to the American taxpayer,” John F. Sopko, head of the auditing organization, said in a cover letter to the report.
Navy Capt. Thomas Gresback, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, said it had been a mistake to restrict the data, one of the last publicly available metrics for evaluating progress in America’s longest war.
“It was not the intent … to withhold or classify information which was available in prior reports,” Gresback said in a statement. “A human error in labeling occurred.”
©2018 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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.