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The US and Taliban are considering a 7-day ‘reduction in violence,’ SecDef Esper says
The U.S. government and the Taliban have "negotiated a proposal for a 7-day reduction in violence," Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Thursday.
"I'm here today consulting with allies about this proposal and we've had a series of productive bilateral and collective meetings about the path forward," Esper said during a NATO meeting in Belgium. "Our approach is this: The best — if not only solution — forward is a political agreement. We have the basis for one on the table and we are taking a hard look at it."
"We are consulting with our allies," he continued. "We are consulting with Congress and others. And I think peace deserves a chance — but it will demand that all parties comply with their obligations if we move forward. For the United States, the key thing will be continued support to our Afghan partners."
Esper declined to provide specific information about the proposal, including whether U.S. forces would continue to conduct counterterrorism missions during ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups during the 7-day period.
When asked if seven days was enough time for the Taliban to show that it is serious about reaching a peace agreement, Esper replied: "It is our view that seven days, for now, is sufficient, but in all things our approach to this process will be conditions-based. Let me say it again: conditions-based. So it will be a continual evaluative process as we go forward – if we go forward."
This is a breaking news story. More information will be added as it becomes available.
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.