Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The US military has been hitting the Taliban harder since peace talks fell through, Esper says
At the direction of President Donald Trump, the U.S. military has ramped up the number of air and ground attacks against the Taliban, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday.
“We did step up our attacks on the Taliban since the [peace] talks broke down," Esper told reporters while returning from visits to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. “The president spoke about this publicly. We did pick up the pace considerably."
In September, the president placed peace talks on hold amid continued Talban attacks. Now, the Taliban are reaping the whirlwind.
“The president did want us to pick up the response to this," Esper said. “You had the heinous attacks that the Taliban and others conducted throughout Afghanistan … in Kabul and a couple of other places."
After he suspended peace talks, which were supposed to involve the Taliban coming to Camp David, Trump indicated the Taliban were coming under increasing military pressure.
“The last four days, we have hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before, and that will continue," Trump said during his speech commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Esper declined to provide any numbers to quantify the increase in strikes and he did not say if U.S. troops in Afghanistan are going outside the wire more often now.
“I don't want to comment in terms of detail because, frankly, I don't have that level of detail, but we did pick up the pace of attacks, as the president has spoken about, with regard to both air and ground."
Oct. 7 marks the 18th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army aviation officials have launched an effort to restore full air assault capability to the 101st Airborne Division — a capability the Screaming Eagles have been without since 2015.
The U.S. military's withdrawal from northeast Syria is looking more like Dunkirk every day.
On Wednesday, the U.S. military had to call in an airstrike on one of its own ammunition dumps in northern Syria because the cargo trucks required to safely remove the ammo are needed elsewhere to support the withdrawal, Task & Purpose has learned.
President Donald Trump belittled his former defense secretary, James Mattis, by characterizing him as the "world's most overrated general," according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.
The account from numerous officials came during an afternoon closed door meeting with congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Wednesday. In the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly brought up dissenting views towards the president's decision to withdraw the vast majority of roughly 1,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria.
Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.
After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.
But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.