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  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    Ah crap...

    Leave a comment:


  • kato
    replied
    German data security group CCC has obtained multiple biometric devices used by the US Army at checkpoints in Afghanistan. By buying them on ebay - and not just one, but six of them. The database included on the devices was not in any way encrypted or secured, and included full biometric data of 2632 local employees of the US Army in Afghanistan, biometric data of two US soldiers and GPS coordinates of all previous sites of usage. A second device had biometric data of US soldiers deployed in Jordan around 2013.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/27/t...ris-scans.html

    After reporting their findings to the US DoD, German MoD and the company that built the devices no reaction occured from either side, nor were any steps taken to prevent such leaks. 3 months later the group was able to obtain a seventh such device via ebay.

    According to the NYT article the devices were bought from multiple commercial sellers (i.e. companies) in the US at least one of which had originally bought it in a government auction.

    see also this article from 2007 warning about such devices in the wrong hands and its repercussions:
    https://www.wired.com/2007/08/also-two-thirds/

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Trump signed order for immediate 'large-scale troop withdrawals' from Afghanistan after election loss

    After the 2020 election, then-President Trump rushed to sign an immediate withdrawal order to pull troops out of Afghanistan in what a member of the congressional committee investigating Jan. 6, 2021, described as evidence he knew his term was coming to an end.

    “Knowing that he had lost and that he had only weeks left in office, President Trump rushed to complete his unfinished business,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said. “One key example is this: President Trump issued an order for large-scale troop withdrawals.”

    In swiftly signing the order on Nov. 11, 2020, to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan and Somalia before incoming President Biden’s inauguration, Kinzinger argued, Trump “disregarded concerns about the consequences for fragile governments on the front lines of the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists.”

    Military and national security leaders panned the order in recorded interviews with Jan. 6 investigators.

    “It is odd. It is non-standard,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the panel. “It is potentially dangerous. I personally thought it was militarily not feasible nor wise.”

    Gen. Keith Kellogg, former Vice President Mike Pence's national security advisor, said he told the White House Presidential Personnel Office and Douglas Macgregor, a former advisor to the Defense secretary, “that if I ever saw anything like that, I would do something physical, because I thought what that was doing was a tremendous disservice to the nation.”

    Kellogg said an “immediate withdrawal” from Afghanistan would’ve been “catastrophic” and a “debacle.”


    During the portion of the committee’s business meeting that Kinzinger led, the panel highlighted interviews and depositions from top Trump administration officials indicating that Trump was fully aware that he had lost the presidential election to Biden and had even conceded as much in private.

    “I remember maybe a week after the election was called, I popped into the Oval [Office] just to, like, give the president the headlines and see how he was doing,” former White House communications director Alyssa Farah told the committee in an interview clip. “And he was looking at the TV and he said, ‘Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?’”
    __________

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

    That was good for my morning laugh.

    As for AR can his Ginzu blade slice my tomato neatly? Ha, and I don't mean puree...
    It can slice ALL the tomatoes!

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
    Clearly nobody thought to bring out the crayons and finger paints during the briefing
    That was good for my morning laugh.

    As for AR can his Ginzu blade slice my tomato neatly? Ha, and I don't mean puree...

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    I think this headline sums up al-Zawahiri perfectly in one sentence.

    Click image for larger version

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  • TopHatter
    replied
    Trump had the chance to kill al-Qaeda's leader but didn't because he didn't recognize the name, report says
    • The al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by a US drone strike, Biden announced Monday.
    • Then-President Trump had the option to kill al-Zawahiri, but chose not to, NBC reported in 2020.
    • Trump wanted to kill Osama bin Laden's son instead because it was the only name he knew, NBC said.
    Former President Donald Trump had the chance to kill the leader of al-Qaeda but didn't because he didn't recognize the terrorist leader's name, NBC News reported in 2020.

    Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday, President Joe Biden announced on Monday.

    His death, which has been hailed by many world leaders, is the biggest blow to al-Qaeda since its founder, Osama bin Laden, was killed by US Navy SEALs in 2011.

    But plans for al-Zawahiri's execution could have been carried out far earlier, according to an NBC News report published in February 2020.

    Intelligence officials briefed Trump many times about senior terrorist figures the CIA wanted to track down and kill, specifically mentioning al-Zawahiri, NBC News reported.

    But two people familiar with the briefings told NBC News that Trump chose not to pursue al-Zawahiri because he didn't recognize his name, and instead suggested targeting bin Laden's son, Hamza bin Laden.

    "He would say, 'I've never heard of any of these people. What about Hamza bin Laden?'" one unnamed former official told NBC News.


    A Pentagon official also told the news outlet: "That was the only name he knew."

    The Department of Defense and a spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

    Even though Bin Laden's son was widely seen as an emerging figure in the terrorist group, he was not believed to be planning any attacks at the time, NBC News reported.

    'The president's preference for a "celebrity" targeted killing'
    Trump confirmed in 2019 that the younger bin Laden had been killed in a US counterterrorism operation earlier on in his presidency.

    "Despite intelligence assessments showing the greater dangers posed by Zawahiri ... and the unlikelihood Hamza was in the immediate line of succession, the president thought differently," the former CIA official Douglas London wrote in Just Security in 2020.

    He added that Trump's "obsession" with bin Laden's son "is one example of the president's preference for a 'celebrity' targeted killing versus prioritizing options that could prove better for US security."

    In his address announcing al-Zawahiri's death, Biden said that after "relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year."

    "This mission was carefully planned, rigorously minimized the risk of harm to other civilians, and one week ago, after being advised that the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him, and the mission was a success."

    Al-Zawahiri helped Osama bin Laden plot the September 11, 2001, attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
    _____

    Clearly nobody thought to bring out the crayons and finger paints during the briefing

    Click image for larger version

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  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    And, yes, I know I'm one macabre son of a bitch...

    Click image for larger version

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  • Amled
    replied
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
    AP sources: US operation killed al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan this weekend killed Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over as al-Qaida leader after Osama bin Laden’s death in a U.S. raid. President Joe Biden was set to announce the killing Monday, delivering a significant counterterrorism win just 11 months after American troops left the country after a two-decade war.

    The strike, carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, was confirmed by five people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity before Biden was set to brief the American people on the details of the operation in a 7:30 p.m. EDT address to the nation.

    Al-Zawahri’s loss eliminates the figure who more than anyone shaped al-Qaida, first as Osama bin Laden’s deputy since 1998, then as his successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the jihadi movement’s guns to target the United States, carrying out the deadliest attack ever on American soil — the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings.

    Current and former officials began hearing Sunday afternoon that al-Zawahri had been killed in a drone strike, but the administration delayed releasing the information until his death could be confirmed, according to one person.

    White House officials declined to confirm al-Zawahri was killed but noted in a statement that the United States conducted a “successful” counterterrorism operation against a significant al-Qaida target, adding that "there were no civilian casualties.”

    The house Al-Zawahri was in when he was killed was owned by a top aide to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, according to a senior intelligence official. The official also added that a CIA ground team and aerial reconnaissance conducted after the drone strike confirmed al-Zawahri’s death. Planning for the operation began six months ago, but intensified in the last two months, the official said.

    Over the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the U.S. targeted and splintered al-Qaida, sending leaders into hiding. But America’s exit from Afghanistan last September gave the extremist group the opportunity to rebuild. U.S. military officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said that al-Qaida was trying to reconstitute in Afghanistan, where it faced limited threats from the now-ruling Taliban. Military leaders have warned that the group still aspired to attack the U.S.

    The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden America’s Enemy No. 1. But he likely could never have carried it out without his deputy. Bin Laden provided al-Qaida with charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought tactics and organizational skills needed to forge militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

    Their bond was forged in the late 1980s, when al-Zawahri reportedly treated the Saudi millionaire bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan as Soviet bombardment shook the mountains around them.

    Zawahri, on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, had a $25 million bounty on his head for any information that could be used to kill or capture him.

    Biden planned to speak from the balcony off the White House Blue Room as he remains in isolation in the residence while he continues to test positive for COVID-19.

    Al-Zawhiri and bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida.

    Photos from the time often showed the glasses-wearing, mild-looking Egyptian doctor sitting by the side of bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri had merged his group of Egyptian militants with bin Laden’s al-Qaida in the 1990s.

    “The strong contingent of Egyptians applied organizational know-how, financial expertise, and military experience to wage a violent jihad against leaders whom the fighters considered to be un-Islamic and their patrons, especially the United States,” Steven A. Cook wrote for the Council on Foreign Relations last year.

    When the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan demolished al-Qaida’s safe haven and scattered, killed and captured its members, al-Zawahri ensured al-Qaida’s survival. He rebuilt its leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and installed allies as lieutenants in key positions.

    He also reshaped the organization from a centralized planner of terror attacks into the head of a franchise chain. He led the assembling of a network of autonomous branches around the region, including in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Asia. Over the next decade, al-Qaida inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in all those areas as well as Europe, Pakistan and Turkey, including the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

    More recently, the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen proved itself capable of plotting attacks against U.S. soil with an attempted 2009 bombing of an American passenger jet and an attempted package bomb the following year.

    But even before bin Laden’s death, al-Zawahri was struggling to maintain al-Qaida’s relevance in a changing Middle East.

    He tried with little success to coopt the wave of uprisings that spread across the Arab world starting in 2011, urging Islamic hard-liners to take over in the nations where leaders had fallen. But while Islamists gained prominence in many places, they have stark ideological differences with al-Qaida and reject its agenda and leadership.

    Nevertheless, al-Zawahri tried to pose as the Arab Spring’s leader. America “is facing an Islamic nation that is in revolt, having risen from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad,” he said in a video eulogy to bin Laden, wearing a white robe and turban with an assault rifle leaning on a wall behind him.

    Al-Zawahri was also a more divisive figure than his predecessor. Many militants described the soft-spoken bin Laden in adoring and almost spiritual terms.

    In contrast, al-Zawahri was notoriously prickly and pedantic. He picked ideological fights with critics within the jihadi camp, wagging his finger scoldingly in his videos. Even some key figures in al-Qaida’s central leadership were put off, calling him overly controlling, secretive and divisive.

    Some militants whose association with bin Laden predated al-Zawahri’s always saw him as an arrogant intruder.

    “I have never taken orders from al-Zawahri,” Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the network’s top figures in East Africa until his 2011 death, sneered in a memoir posted on line in 2009. “We don’t take orders from anyone but our historical leadership.”

    Speaking on Aug. 31, 2021, after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan, Biden said the U.S. would not let up on its fight against terrorism in that country or elsewhere.

    “We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he said. “We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it.” Previewing the strike that would occur 11 months later, Biden said at the time, “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few, if needed.”

    There have been rumors of al-Zawahri’s death on and off for several years. But a video surfaced in April of the al-Qaida leader praising a Indian Muslim woman who had defied a ban on wearing a hijab, or headscarf. That footage was the first proof in months that he was still alive.

    A statement from Afghanistan’s Taliban government confirmed the airstrike, but did not mention al-Zawahri or any other casualties.

    It said it “strongly condemns this attack and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” the 2020 U.S. pact with the Taliban that led to the withdrawal of American forces.

    “Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan, and the region,” the statement said.

    —-
    A nice little belated Fuck You
    It’s really quite pathetic having the Taliban authorities beating their breasts over the:
    clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement!
    When part of the aforementioned also stated that the Taliban would ensure that Afghanistan would not provide a safe haven for terrorists.
    Kind’a hard to take the moral high ground, what with having the world’s No.1 wanted terrorist living in your capital city!!!



    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    The Hellfire R9X is a kinetic kill missile...i.e., no explosive warhead. It is used in cases where a commander wants to limit the possibility for collateral damage. Contrary to popular belief the 6 expanded blades are not to cut up a target. They are intended to spread the kinetic force over a wider diameter and aid in penetrating walls, ceilings, car roofs, etc. to hit the target on the other side. The same weapon was used to kill Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in January 2020.



    The fact that it slices you up...well it sucks to suck.

    https://gizmodo.com/cia-hellfire-r9x...iri-1849358677

    CIA Likely Used 'Ninja Bomb' to Kill Terrorist Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

    Existence of the unique missile, officially dubbed the Hellfire R9X, was first revealed in 2019.

    By
    Matt Novak

    The U.S. drone strike that killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the terrorist group Al Qaeda, over the weekend was conducted by the CIA using what was likely the Hellfire R9X missile, according to the New Y0rk Times and India’s Hindustan Times. The missile is unique for not having any explosive material and instead deploys six retractable blades, which has earned it nicknames like the “flying Ginsu” and the Ninja bomb.


    The missile’s existence was first publicly revealed in 2019 by a story in the Wall Street Journal, which noted that the missile has been in use since at least February of 2017 and was being developed as early as 2011. The R9X is supposedly better at avoiding collateral damage than a typical Hellfire missile since it doesn’t explode, and kills using pure kinetic energy. It’s kind of like an anvil falling from the sky, as it’s often described.


    Photos posted to social media purporting to show the balcony in Kabul, Afghanistan where al-Zawahiri was killed seem to support the idea that the missile used was of the R9X variety since there appears to be a very precise hole in the building where al-Zawahiri was staying. No one else was killed, according to the U.S. government, though that claim has yet to have been confirmed locally by the Taliban, which currently runs Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal last year.


    It’s believed that R9X missiles are most often used against cars, leaving a distinctive hole coming through the windshield or roof—a weapons that’s supposedly so precise it often leaves other members of a targeted vehicle alive and unharmed. But in this case the missile was used to hit Zawahiri while he was out on his balcony.

    The Hellfire R9X has been used in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia, according to the Wall Street Journal, though the CIA and Department of Defense are still keeping pretty quiet about their deployment of this strange and unique weapon.


    The 71-year-old Zawahiri has been on the U.S. hit list for over two decades and has been tied to terrorist plots against American forces around the world. Zawahiri was also allegedly a plotter behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
    A screenshot from a videotape aired August 5, 2006 on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network shows Al-Qaeda’s then-second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri at an undisclosed place and time.Image: AFP Photo / Al Jazeera (Getty Images)
    Drone strikes conducted by the U.S. have been controversial for decades. Experimental drones have been used in everything from World War II to the Vietnam War, but President George W. Bush kicked off the widespread use of drones in earnest after the attacks on 9/11. President Barack Obama expanded the drone program dramatically after he came to office in 2009 and President Donald Trump expanded it even further when he took office in 2017. And while President Joe Biden has reportedly cut back the number of drone strikes during his nearly two years in office, there have been inexcusable errors on his watch that have gotten innocent people killed.

    The most high-profile murder of civilians under President Biden’s presidency was on August 29, 2021, during the country’s exit from Afghanistan. Ten people, including seven children, were killed after the U.S. military believed they were tracking a terrorist affiliated with ISIS-K. It turns out the person they were tracking was actually an aid worker in Afghanistan named Zemari Ahmadi, who was employed by California-based Nutrition and Education International before he was killed.


    The New York Times obtained video of the attack against Ahmadi and other innocent people through a Freedom of Information Act request, but no U.S. military service members were disciplined for the attack.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    AP sources: US operation killed al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan this weekend killed Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over as al-Qaida leader after Osama bin Laden’s death in a U.S. raid. President Joe Biden was set to announce the killing Monday, delivering a significant counterterrorism win just 11 months after American troops left the country after a two-decade war.

    The strike, carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, was confirmed by five people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity before Biden was set to brief the American people on the details of the operation in a 7:30 p.m. EDT address to the nation.

    Al-Zawahri’s loss eliminates the figure who more than anyone shaped al-Qaida, first as Osama bin Laden’s deputy since 1998, then as his successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the jihadi movement’s guns to target the United States, carrying out the deadliest attack ever on American soil — the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings.

    Current and former officials began hearing Sunday afternoon that al-Zawahri had been killed in a drone strike, but the administration delayed releasing the information until his death could be confirmed, according to one person.

    White House officials declined to confirm al-Zawahri was killed but noted in a statement that the United States conducted a “successful” counterterrorism operation against a significant al-Qaida target, adding that "there were no civilian casualties.”

    The house Al-Zawahri was in when he was killed was owned by a top aide to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, according to a senior intelligence official. The official also added that a CIA ground team and aerial reconnaissance conducted after the drone strike confirmed al-Zawahri’s death. Planning for the operation began six months ago, but intensified in the last two months, the official said.

    Over the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the U.S. targeted and splintered al-Qaida, sending leaders into hiding. But America’s exit from Afghanistan last September gave the extremist group the opportunity to rebuild. U.S. military officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said that al-Qaida was trying to reconstitute in Afghanistan, where it faced limited threats from the now-ruling Taliban. Military leaders have warned that the group still aspired to attack the U.S.

    The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden America’s Enemy No. 1. But he likely could never have carried it out without his deputy. Bin Laden provided al-Qaida with charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought tactics and organizational skills needed to forge militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

    Their bond was forged in the late 1980s, when al-Zawahri reportedly treated the Saudi millionaire bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan as Soviet bombardment shook the mountains around them.

    Zawahri, on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, had a $25 million bounty on his head for any information that could be used to kill or capture him.

    Biden planned to speak from the balcony off the White House Blue Room as he remains in isolation in the residence while he continues to test positive for COVID-19.

    Al-Zawhiri and bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida.

    Photos from the time often showed the glasses-wearing, mild-looking Egyptian doctor sitting by the side of bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri had merged his group of Egyptian militants with bin Laden’s al-Qaida in the 1990s.

    “The strong contingent of Egyptians applied organizational know-how, financial expertise, and military experience to wage a violent jihad against leaders whom the fighters considered to be un-Islamic and their patrons, especially the United States,” Steven A. Cook wrote for the Council on Foreign Relations last year.

    When the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan demolished al-Qaida’s safe haven and scattered, killed and captured its members, al-Zawahri ensured al-Qaida’s survival. He rebuilt its leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and installed allies as lieutenants in key positions.

    He also reshaped the organization from a centralized planner of terror attacks into the head of a franchise chain. He led the assembling of a network of autonomous branches around the region, including in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Asia. Over the next decade, al-Qaida inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in all those areas as well as Europe, Pakistan and Turkey, including the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

    More recently, the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen proved itself capable of plotting attacks against U.S. soil with an attempted 2009 bombing of an American passenger jet and an attempted package bomb the following year.

    But even before bin Laden’s death, al-Zawahri was struggling to maintain al-Qaida’s relevance in a changing Middle East.

    He tried with little success to coopt the wave of uprisings that spread across the Arab world starting in 2011, urging Islamic hard-liners to take over in the nations where leaders had fallen. But while Islamists gained prominence in many places, they have stark ideological differences with al-Qaida and reject its agenda and leadership.

    Nevertheless, al-Zawahri tried to pose as the Arab Spring’s leader. America “is facing an Islamic nation that is in revolt, having risen from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad,” he said in a video eulogy to bin Laden, wearing a white robe and turban with an assault rifle leaning on a wall behind him.

    Al-Zawahri was also a more divisive figure than his predecessor. Many militants described the soft-spoken bin Laden in adoring and almost spiritual terms.

    In contrast, al-Zawahri was notoriously prickly and pedantic. He picked ideological fights with critics within the jihadi camp, wagging his finger scoldingly in his videos. Even some key figures in al-Qaida’s central leadership were put off, calling him overly controlling, secretive and divisive.

    Some militants whose association with bin Laden predated al-Zawahri’s always saw him as an arrogant intruder.

    “I have never taken orders from al-Zawahri,” Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the network’s top figures in East Africa until his 2011 death, sneered in a memoir posted on line in 2009. “We don’t take orders from anyone but our historical leadership.”

    Speaking on Aug. 31, 2021, after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan, Biden said the U.S. would not let up on its fight against terrorism in that country or elsewhere.

    “We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he said. “We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it.” Previewing the strike that would occur 11 months later, Biden said at the time, “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few, if needed.”

    There have been rumors of al-Zawahri’s death on and off for several years. But a video surfaced in April of the al-Qaida leader praising a Indian Muslim woman who had defied a ban on wearing a hijab, or headscarf. That footage was the first proof in months that he was still alive.

    A statement from Afghanistan’s Taliban government confirmed the airstrike, but did not mention al-Zawahri or any other casualties.

    It said it “strongly condemns this attack and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” the 2020 U.S. pact with the Taliban that led to the withdrawal of American forces.

    “Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan, and the region,” the statement said.

    —-
    A nice little belated Fuck You

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    The will to do anything on the part of the US Government to ensure successful Afghan government with robust security forces disappeared into the sands of Iraq.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Watchdog: US troop pullout was key factor in Afghan collapse
    WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says decisions by Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan were the key factors in the collapse of that nation's military.

    The new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, mirrors assertions made by senior Pentagon and military leaders in the aftermath of the U.S. troop withdrawal that ended last August in the chaotic evacuation of Americans and other civilians from the embattled country. Military leaders have made it clear that their recommendation was to leave about 2,500 U.S. troops in the country, but that plan was not approved.

    In February 2020, the Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in which the U.S. promised to fully withdraw its troops by May 2021. The Taliban committed to several conditions, including stopping attacks on American and coalition forces. The stated objective was to promote a peace negotiation between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but that diplomatic effort never gained traction before Biden took office in January 2022.

    Just a few months later, Biden announced he would complete the U.S. military withdrawal. The announcement fueled the Taliban's campaign to retake the country, aided by the Afghans' widespread distrust of their government and entrenched corruption that led to low pay, lack of food and poor living conditions among the Afghan troops.

    “Many Afghans thought the U.S.-Taliban agreement was an act of bad faith and a signal that the U.S. was handing over Afghanistan to the enemy as it rushed to exit the country,” the interim report said. “Its immediate effect was a dramatic loss in (Afghan troops’) morale.”

    U.S. officials have said they were surprised by the quick collapse of the military and the government, prompting sharp congressional criticism of the intelligence community for failing to foresee it.

    At a congressional hearing last week, senators questioned whether there is a need to reform how intelligence agencies assess a foreign military's will to fight. Lawmakers pointed to two key examples: U.S. intelligence believed that the Kabul government would hold on for months against the Taliban, and more recently believed that Ukraine's forces would quickly fall to Russia's invasion. Both were wrong.

    Military and defense leaders have said that the Afghanistan collapse was built on years of missteps, as the U.S. struggled to find a successful way to train and equip Afghan forces.

    In a blunt assessment of the war, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last fall that the result was years in the making.

    “Outcomes in a war like this, an outcome that is a strategic failure — the enemy is in charge in Kabul, there’s no way else to describe that — that is a cumulative effect of 20 years,” Milley said, adding that lessons need to be learned, including whether the U.S. military made the Afghans overly dependent on American technology in a mistaken effort to make the Afghan army look like the American army.

    Indeed, in the end, the new report said that the Afghans were still heavily dependent on U.S. air support for strikes and emergency evacuations, and also on U.S. contractors to maintain and repair aircraft and other systems.

    But all agree that the Doha agreement was a lynchpin in the collapse.

    “The signing of the Doha agreement had a really pernicious effect on the government of Afghanistan and on its military — psychological more than anything else, but we set a date-certain for when we were going to leave and when they could expect all assistance to end,” Gen. Frank McKenzie told Congress last year.


    McKenzie, who was then the top U.S. general in the Middle East and has since retired, argued to keep 2,500 U.S. troops there, as did Milley.

    The Doha agreement, said the SIGAR report, led the Afghan population and its military to feel abandoned. And the Trump administration's decision to limit U.S. airstrikes against the Taliban stopped any progress the Afghans were making, and left them unable and eventually unwilling to hold territory, it said.

    According to the report, a former U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the U.S. built the Afghan army to rely on contractor support. “Without it, it can’t function. Game over,” the commander told SIGAR. "When the contractors pulled out, it was like we pulled all the sticks out of the Jenga pile and expected it to stay up.”

    More broadly, the SIGAR report said that both the U.S. and Afghan governments “lacked the political will to dedicate the time and resources necessary to reconstruct an entire security sector in a war-torn and impoverished country.”

    Neither side, it said, “appeared to have the political commitment to doing what it would take to address the challenges.” As a result, it said, the Afghan military couldn't operate independently and never really became a cohesive force.

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  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by WarriorGoose View Post

    I now see a chat box which did not exist before - but upon trying to make a submission, I received the error:

    You are not authorized to create this post.
    Any change?

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by WarriorGoose View Post

    I now see a chat box which did not exist before - but upon trying to make a submission, I received the error:

    You are not authorized to create this post.
    Ok we'll get it figured out

    Leave a comment:

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