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Top US General Suspects Russia Is Now Aiding The Taliban In Afghanistan
The top U.S. general in Europe said on March 23 that he believes Moscow’s influence in Afghanistan is growing and that he suspects the Russians may be supporting the Taliban, Reuters reports. The general delivered his assessment on the same day the insurgent group captured the strategic district of Sangin in Helmand Province.
“I’ve seen the influence of Russia of late — increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban,” Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander - Europe, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Scaparrotti did not specify what types of supplies he suspects the Russians are providing the Taliban, nor did he elaborate on the extent or nature of their influence on the battlefield.
Meanwhile, Russian officials have denied aiding the insurgency in Afghanistan. Taliban officials, however, have told Reuters that the group has had significant contact with the Russians since at least 2007, but added that the support it’s received from Moscow has been only “moral and political.”
The possibility of Russia intervening on behalf of the Taliban is especially troubling in light of the Pentagon’s recent decision to deploy 300 Marines to Helmand this spring. They will be the first group of Marines to deploy to the area since they left Sangin 2014.
At the height of the occupation, Sangin was the site of fierce clashes between international forces and the Taliban. More British and American troops died in Sangin than in any of Afghanistan’s roughly 400 other districts, according to The New York Times. In 2013, control of the district was handed over to the Afghan military, which continued suffering heavy losses, despite support from American Special operations forces and airstrikes.
About 8,000 American service members are currently serving in Afghanistan, where their primary mission is to train and support Afghan government forces. However, last month, Gen. John W. Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told Congress that he need “a few thousand” additional troops to boost the NATO-led mission.
More than 1,800 American service members have been killed fighting the Taliban and its allies since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. Now, according to U.S. estimates cited by Reuters, less than 60% of Afghanistan is under Afghan government control.
An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill, according to an officials with the base.
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.