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The US may reportedly wash its hands of Afghanistan in the next 5 years
Like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, U.S. officials have a five-year plan — for ending America's longest war, that is.
- The New York Times reports that a new U.S. government plan would see the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the next three to five years, with half of the 14,000 American service members currently deployed there headed home "in coming months."
- The plan would also see the 8,600 European and Australian forces take over the train, advise, and assist mission that's been a cornerstone of the NATO presence there for the last, with U.S. military personnel increasingly focused on "counterterrorism strikes" against militant targets, according to the Times.
- The Times' account of the withdrawal plan, described as "offered in peace negotiations with the Taliban," is based on details shared with reported "by more than a half dozen current and former American and European officials."
- But Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Koné Faulkner flatly denied the report a statement to Task & Purpose: "As peace talks with the Taliban continue, DoD is considering all options of force numbers and disposition, but no decisions have been made at this time."
Task & Purpose Pentagon correspondent Jeff Schogol contributed reporting
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Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.