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    Afghanistan Tag

    Yesterday, the military dropped a MOAB bomb on an ISIS tunnel in Afghanistan. The left freaked out over possible civilian death and injuries. (Weird, I remember their silence when Obama dropped 26,000 bombs last year alone) But Afghan officials said that the bomb did not kill any civilians. From ABC News:
    Thirty-six ISIS militants were killed but no civilians died when the U.S. military dropped the "mother of all bombs" on a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

    The U.S. military has dropped a Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) for the first time in history on an ISIS tunnel in Afghanistan. The military needs to use an Air Force C-130 cargo plane to drop the bomb. Fox News reported:
    President Trump told media Thursday afternoon that "this was another successful mission" and he gave the military total authorization.

    Gen. Joseph Votel, the general in charge of the U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he needs more troops in Afghanistan to break a stalemate:
    “We are developing a strategy, and we are in discussions with the secretary and the department right now,” Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I do believe it will involve additional forces to ensure that we can make the advise-and-assist mission more effective.”

    Yesterday, during the Senate's debate on Attorney General Jeff Sessions's confirmation, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) mentioned he wouldn't be surprised if Russia made a move to help the Taliban against us and NATO. It appears he was onto something because Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia wants to "legitimize the Taliban" in Afghanistan as a way "to undermine the United States and NATO. From The Hill:
    “The Russian involvement this year has become more difficult,” Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “First, they have begun to publicly legitimize the Taliban. This narrative that they promote is that the Taliban are fighting Islamic State and the Afghan government is not fighting Islamic State and that therefore there could be spillover of this group into the region. This is a false narrative.” “I believe its intent is to undermine the United States and NATO,” he later added.

    The first time we wrote about Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann was in early May 2011, in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden:
    Hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought forward many emotions and memories. One of those memories for me was the story of Johnny “Mike” Spann, from Winfield, Alabama, the first American killed in ... Afghanistan..., on November 25, 2001. Spann was a CIA operative, one of a small number of Americans who landed in Afghanistan, helped coordinate local forces hostile to the Taliban, and directed bombing and other military action. The story of this small band of men has been told, but not told enough.

    A Taliban suicide bomber managed to find his way into a U.S. military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he detonated a bomb and killed four Americans. The blast left 16 wounded:
    The suicide bomber at Bagram Air Field had been dressed as a day laborer and detonated the explosives in the vicinity of a dining facility around 5:30 a.m., according to a foreign security source. The sprawling base, which contains tens of thousands of contractors, is often targeted by Taliban rockets and attacks on patrols near the base, but suicide bombers hadn’t previously succeeded in breaching the outer layers of security.

    Before the Obamas could even move out of the White House at the end of the term, the president's legacy is unveiling itself across the Muslim World. From Mediterranean Sea to Persian Gulf, the forces of Radical Islam continue to score one triumph after another. Once reduced to hunted fugitives by President George W. Bush's military campaign of 2001, the emboldened Taliban fighters have once again raised the Islamist battle cry of 'Allahu Akbar' as they embark on a nationwide offensive to wrestle back control of Afghanistan. Taliban fighters have captured most of central Kunduz city, a strategically important city some 200 miles north-west of Afghan capital of Kabul, claims French news agency AFP. French television channel France24 showed footage of Taliban fighters in the centre of the city after having run over the city's defences -- before one could say Afghan National Army. Government forces still control the city's airport and started preparations to repel the Taliban out of Kunduz, French report claims.

    On Sept. 9, 2011, my husband, Spc. Christopher Horton, was killed in action in Paktia, Afghanistan. My world shattered. As I struggled to look through the kaleidoscope lens that made up my life, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t eat, and I could barely breathe. I didn’t understand why God would take away my husband so soon, or why he chose me to live on alone and carry this great burden. I was drowning in grief, heartbroken and almost hopeless. Throughout my long four and half years of being a war widow, nothing has been harder for me than to learn to live — when all I wanted to do was die. There have been many sleepless nights where I have laid on my face praying and crying my eyes out, and many mornings where I rolled up into a ball, asking for God to take me, or somehow spare me from this pain. I didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t want to face the day. Christopher and Jane Horton Wedding Lawn

    Memorial Day. What does it mean to me? It means a time to reflect on my husband's service and sacrifice. A time to reflect on the sacrifices of thousands of families like my own. I met Jonny Porto in 2008 shortly after I graduated college. He was stationed on the Army post on which I worked and we met one summer weekend night at the bowling alley. I was immediately struck by his charisma, sincerity, and devilishly handsome good looks. I spent the evening with him and his friends, and although I had just met them all, they made me feel like we've been friends forever. At the end of the night, Jonny asked me if he could kiss me. I figured, "Sure, why not?" Little did I know that would be the kiss that would change my life. Many thought it was sudden when Jonathan proposed to me in November, but we knew it was right. We married on May 2, 2009, only 9 months after meeting. It was a true whirl-wind romance.

    The Afghanistan government confirmed a U.S. drone killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor in Pakistan. The U.S. Department of Defense said the government targeted the leader "while travelling in convoy near the town of Ahmad Wal." From The Guardian:
    The US secretary of state, John Kerry, speaking in Myanmar on Sunday, said Mansoor “posed a continuing imminent threat to US personnel in Afghanistan, Afghan civilians, Afghan security forces” and members of the US and Nato coalition. He said the air strike on Mansoor sent “a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners”. “Peace is what we want. Mansoor was a threat to that effort,” Kerry said. “He also was directly opposed to peace negotiations and to the reconciliation process. It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together.”

    In August of last year, the United States Army was moving to kick out a decorated Green Beret for defending a young boy who had been repeatedly raped by an Afghan police commander.  This Afghan reportedly also beat the young boy's mother when she complained about the repeated vile sexual attacks on her son. Fox News reported at the time:
    The U.S. Army is kicking out a decorated Green Beret [Sgt 1st Class Charles Martland] after an 11-year Special Forces career, after he got in trouble for shoving an Afghan police commander accused of raping a boy and beating up his mother when she reported the incident. . . . .  One day in early September 2011 at their remote outpost, a young Afghan boy and his Afghan-Uzbek mother showed up at camp. The 12-year-old showed the Green Berets where his hands had been tied. A medic took him to a back room for an examination with an interpreter, who told them the boy had been raped by another commander by the name of Abdul Rahman. After learning of the meeting, Rahman allegedly beat the boy's mother for reporting the crime. It was at this point, the Green Berets had had enough. Quinn and Martland went to confront Rahman. "He confessed to the crime and laughed about it, and said it wasn't a big deal. Even when we patiently explained how serious the charge was, he kept laughing," Quinn said.

    The first time we wrote about Johnny Micheal "Mike" Spann was in early May 2011, in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden:
    Hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought forward many emotions and memories. One of those memories for me was the story of Johnny “Mike” Spann, from Winfield, Alabama, the first American killed in the Afghanistan war, on November 25, 2001.[*] Spann was a CIA operative, one of a small number of Americans who landed in Afghanistan, helped coordinate local forces hostile to the Taliban, and directed bombing and other military action. The story of this small band of men has been told, but not told enough. Spann was killed during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi when Taliban prisoners gained access to weapons and attacked. Spann was killed during that uprising (see video).  One of the prisoners was the so-called American Taliban, John Walker Lyndh, who Spann interrogated shortly before Spann’s death.

    According to a Rasmussen poll released Monday morning, more voters than ever believe terrorists have an advantage over the United States and her allies. who is winning the war on terror rasmussen Conducted from October 4-5, the poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters, asking two questions: 1) Who is winning the War on Terrorism—the United States and its allies or the terrorists? 2) Is the United States too involved in the Middle East, not involved enough, or is the involvement about right?

    The hypocrisy of this administration with respect to Israel can, at times, be stunning. One of those times was in August of 2014, in the middle of the Israeli military operation known as Operation Protective Edge, which was designed to stop rocket-fire emanating from Gaza. A school run by UNRWA, the UN agency that is supposed to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian Arab refugees and their second, third, and fourth generation descendants, was hit by shelling. It was well-known at that time that Gaza's Hamas rulers were firing on Israel from positions within civilian areas, and that the UNRWA schools were basically doubling as rocket warehouses. Despite this knowledge, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the time that the US was "appalled" by the "disgraceful shelling," that Israel "must do more to meet its own standards," and that "the suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians."

    There I was, minding my own business on Twitter, when Kurt Schlichter retweeted this tweet and it hit me in the gut: What jumped out at me was not just that another American soldier was killed in Afghanistan. It was his hometown, Bristol, Rhode Island. As readers know, I used to live in Rhode Island (where we would be when law school was not in session) until two years ago, when we relocated full time to Ithaca. But Rhode Island emotionally is still home. It's a small state, and everyone knows someone who knows someone. Bristol was just two towns over from where we lived, and it was an easy bicycle ride on the East Bay bike path from Barrington. We often ate in Bristol, or cycled to Roger Williams University (where I taught for a semester) or along Poppasquash Point. Bristol has the oldest continuous 4th of July parade in the nation. While Bristol wasn't home, it was part of home. McKenna is a pretty common name in Rhode Island. So while we didn't know Andrew McKenna or his family, we probably knew someone who knew them.
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