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Propaganda Video Shows An Emboldened Taliban Convoying Through Nimruz Province In Broad Daylight
A recent Taliban propaganda video indicates just how emboldened the group has become: showing its fighter staging a public demonstration in Afghanistan's Nimruz province. In a video reported by Military Times, a long line of military vehicles and pickups can be seen moving in broad daylight and unopposed across a desert in the southwestern province.
— Long War Journal (@LongWarJournal) October 5, 2017
Propaganda videos are par for the course for the Taliban, but the most recent demonstrates the group’s ability to organize a large concentration of vehicles and personnel openly and without fear of reprisal from Afghan or coalition forces. In it, a large gathering of Taliban fighters and vehicles — including a few up-armored Humvees, some of which appear to be in varying states of disrepair — can be seen driving along a desert road, as militants fly large white Taliban flags.
Titled “Jihadic Process in Nimrooz and Rehabilitation,” the 33-minute propaganda video was uploaded online in late September, and the militant group has taken to posting short two-minute cuts from the video to social media.
Nimruz province, located in southwestern Afghanistan, is known for its lawlessness, and as Foreign Policy noted in September, is “a microcosm of what has gone wrong in the Afghan war.” A drug-trafficking hub that shares a border with Iran, the province serves a vital financial role for the Taliban, who rely heavily on the sale of opium to finance their operations. The brazen display seen in the propaganda video appears to indicate that the insurgency knows it can operate with relative impunity there.
The vehicles include a mix of Toyota Hilux pickup trucks, Humvees, and the video shows a few quick cuts to four-door sedans and SUVs. Some of the Humvees appear to have been modified to mount Russian-made anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, and recoilless rifles.
The fighters appear to have staged the demonstration over a significant period of time, and stayed in the open long enough to conduct “three separate interviews with local leaders while the convoy sat still,” reports The Long War Journal.
The original clip was uploaded online just days before Secretary of Defense James Mattis loosened the reigns on rules of engagement for coalition forces, as Task & Purpose’s Adam Linehan reported on Oct. 4:
Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Oct. 3 that Trump had granted him the authority to make adjustments to the rules of engagement that could expedite the fight against the Taliban, an expansion of his already-broad authority over the war effort. As Defense News notes, Mattis has already made two major changes: removing “proximity requirements” for strikes on Taliban insurgents, and embedding U.S. troops with Afghan units below the division level. The latter tweak will put more Americans near the front lines, while the former will likely result in a significant increase in the number of bombs dropped on Afghanistan.
The video gives credence to the decision to loosen the rules of engagement and comes at a time when U.S. and Afghan forces have already upped airstrikes in the region.
And with looser requirements for air support — U.S. troops are no longer required to be within a certain proximity of the Taliban before calling in an attack — the number will likely further increase. Though considering how closely packed the trucks and vehicles are in that video, you might only need a few JDAMs to get the job done.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.
Trump orders dismissal of murder charge against former Green Beret accused of killing a suspected Taliban bomb maker
President Donald Trump has ended the decade-long saga of Maj. Matthew Golsteyn by ordering a murder charge against the former Green Beret dismissed with a full pardon.
The Army charged Golsteyn with murder in December 2018 after he repeatedly acknowledged that he killed an unarmed Afghan man in 2010. Golsteyn's charge sheet identifies the man as "Rasoul."
President Donald Trump has signed a full pardon for former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who had been convicted of murder for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men, two of whom were killed.
Lorance will now be released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he had been serving a 19-year sentence.
"He has served more than six years of a 19-year sentence he received. Many Americans have sought executive clemency for Lorance, including 124,000 people who have signed a petition to the White House, as well as several members of Congress," said a White House statement released Friday.
"The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted. For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, 'when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.'"
Additionally, Trump pardoned Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who was to go on trial for murder charges next year, and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher, who was found not guilty of murdering a wounded ISIS prisoner but convicted of taking an unauthorized photo with the corpse.
Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth first announced on Nov. 4 that the president was expected to intervene in the Lorance case was well as exonerate Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who has been charged with murder after he admitted to killing an unarmed Afghan man whom he believed was a Taliban bomb maker, and restore Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's rank to E-7.
For the past week, members of Lorance's family and his legal team have been holding a constant vigil in Kansas anticipating his release, said Lorance's attorney Don Brown.
Now that he has been exonerated of committing a war crime, Lorance wants to return to active duty, Brown told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
"He loves the Army," Brown said prior to the president's announcement. "He doesn't have any animosity. He's hoping that his case – and even his time at Leavenworth – can be used for good to deal with some issues regarding rules of engagement on a permanent basis so that our warfighters are better protected, so that we have stronger presumptions favoring warfighters and they aren't treated like criminals on the South Side of Chicago."
In the Starz documentary "Leavenworth," Lorance's platoon members discuss the series of events that took place on July 2, 2012, when the two Afghan men were killed during a patrol in Kandahar province.They claim that Lorance ordered one of his soldiers to fire at three Afghan men riding a motorcycle. The three men got off their motorcycle and started walking toward Afghan troops, who ordered them to return to their motorcycle.
At that point, Lorance ordered the turret gunner on a nearby Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle to shoot the three men, according to the documentary. That order was initially ignored, but the turret gunner eventually opened fire with his M-240, killing two of the men.
But Lorance told the documentary makers that his former soldiers' account of what happened was "ill-informed."
"From my experience of what actually went down, when my guy fired at it, and it kept coming, that signified hostile intent, because he didn't stop immediately," Lorance said in the documentary's second episode.
Brown argues that not only is Lorance innocent of murder, he should never have been prosecuted in the first case.
"He made a call and when you look at the evidence itself, the call was made within a matter of seconds," Brown said "He would make that call again."
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