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Trump Withdrawing Half Of US Troops From Afghanistan In The Coming Weeks
President Donald Trump has decided to pull roughly half of the American troops from Afghanistan within the next several weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Between 14,000 and 15,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Afghanistan to help train and advise Afghan troops and police and to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups in the country. Trump is withdrawing 7,000 of those troops, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As has become customary, U.S. military officials at the Pentagon and Afghanistan had no information to provide about a decision that could affect thousands of U.S. troops. The White House did not provide a comment for this story.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted on Thursday that he had just returned from Afghanistan, where ISIS is still a threat and local forces are unable defeat the terrorist group.
Any troop withdrawal from Afghanistan should be based on conditions on the ground, tweeted Graham, who is normally an ardent Trump supporter.
“The conditions in Afghanistan – at the present moment – make American troop withdrawals a high risk strategy,” Graham tweeted. “If we continue on our present course we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way toward a second 9/11.”
When Trump took office, he authorized sending roughly 3,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2017; however, NBC reported in November that the president wants to pull all troops from Afghanistan before the next presidential election.
News of the possible drawdown comes a day after Trump announced that roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria would be coming home – a move that promoted Defense Secretary Mattis to resign on Thursday, the New York Times reported.
In his resignation letter, Mattis did not mention Afghanistan or Syria, but said the president has the right to “have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”
Leaving Afghanistan would be a clear victory for the Taliban, Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Task & Purpose on Nov. 28.
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Hackers could have breached US bioterrorism defenses for years, records show. We'll never know if they did
The Department of Homeland Security stored sensitive data from the nation's bioterrorism defense program on an insecure website where it was vulnerable to attacks by hackers for over a decade, according to government documents reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.
The data included the locations of at least some BioWatch air samplers, which are installed at subway stations and other public locations in more than 30 U.S. cities and are designed to detect anthrax or other airborne biological weapons, Homeland Security officials confirmed. It also included the results of tests for possible pathogens, a list of biological agents that could be detected and response plans that would be put in place in the event of an attack.
The information — housed on a dot-org website run by a private contractor — has been moved behind a secure federal government firewall, and the website was shut down in May. But Homeland Security officials acknowledge they do not know whether hackers ever gained access to the data.
The State Department doesn't really care if its human rights training for partner security forces is working or not
By law, the United States is required to promote "human rights and fundamental freedoms" when it trains foreign militaries. So it makes sense that if the U.S. government is going to spend billions on foreign security assistance every year, it should probably systematically track whether that human rights training is actually having an impact or not, right?
Apparently not. According to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office, both the Departments of Defense and State "have not assessed the effectiveness of human rights training for foreign security forces" — and while the Pentagon agreed to establish a process to do so, State simply can't be bothered.
A Kansas VA hospital police supervisor reported 'dangerous' deficiencies among his officers. Now he says he faced retaliation
The Kansas City VA Medical Center is still dealing with the fallout of a violent confrontation last year between one of its police officers and a patient, with the Kansas City Police Department launching a homicide investigation.
And now Topeka's VA hospital is dealing with an internal dispute between leaders of its Veterans Affairs police force that raises new questions about how the agency nationwide treats patients — and the officers who report misconduct by colleagues.
A New Mexico woman was charged Friday in the robbery and homicide of a Marine Corps veteran from Belen late last month after allegedly watching her boyfriend kill the man and torch his car to hide evidence.