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The Taliban Just Struck A Demoralizing Blow Against Afghan Security Forces
The Taliban celebrated the conclusion of a three-day ceasefire with Afghanistan's security forces on Wednesday by launching a brutal attack against an Afghan military base in the western part of the country, killing 30 soldiers and occupying the installation, officials told Reuters.
- Provincial governor Abdul Aziz Bek told Reuters that "large numbers" of Taliban fighters approached the base "from several different directions," using attacks on Afghan soldiers at disparate security checkpoints across the province in order to sow confusion among government forces during the hours-long firefight.
- The ceasefire, traditionally instituted for the annual Eid celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, was extended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for an additional 10 days amid an offer to initiate peace talks to finally bring an end to the 17-year-old conflict — a proposal that U.S. Forces Afghanistan supported but Taliban leaders rejected.
- “We support President Ghani’s offer to extend the cease-fire and begin peace talks," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement from Operation Resolute Support on June 16. "As President Ghani emphasized in his statement to the Afghan people, peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces. The United States is prepared to support, facilitate and participate in these discussions.”
- Wednesday's attack appears to be one of the most demoralizing Taliban victories over Afghan security forces since the group's so-called "Red Unit," decked out in U.S. military gear, massacred scores of soldiers in Kandahar Province back in November, sending waves of anxiety through military circles. (The U.S. took out the commander of the Taliban Red Unit with a drone strike less than a month later.)
According to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Afghan government controlled some 229 districts (56%) across Afghanistan, with 59 (14%) controlled by the Taliban and 119 (29%) contested.
Now, it looks like the Taliban may be able to move another district into its column; why would they even bother with suing for peace?
There's nothing quite like finding out that the nifty little trinket you blew a paycheck on when you were a junior enlisted service member is actually worth three-quarters of a million dollars. (Take that every SNCO who ever gave a counseling statement on personal finances.)
Special Operations Command review finds deployment and leadership issues but no 'systemic ethics problem'
The long-awaited Special Operations Command's ethics review has finally been released, which argues that there is no "systemic ethics problem" in the special operations community while acknowledging a range of underlying problems stemming from a high operations tempo and insufficient leadership.
John Kelly, the retired Marine general who worked as President Trump's chief of staff for more than 16 months, told a crowd in Sarasota, Florida on Monday that he trusted John Bolton and thinks he should testify in the Senate impeachment trial.
"If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton," Kelly said during a town hall lecture series, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, mentioning claims in a forthcoming memoir by Trump's former national security advisor that the president told him a freeze on military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country opening an investigation into the Bidens.
While the Army pours resources into Fort Wainwright after suicides, leaders stress one reminder: Look out for your teammates
While the Army is making strides at Fort Wainwright with hopes of improving the quality of life at the base and stopping suicide, Army leaders are also reminding soldiers of one simple thing that could make a difference: Get to know your teammates, and look out for one another.