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Families of Soldiers Fallen or Wounded in Afghanistan Sue Contractors for Allegedly Paying Protection Money to Taliban

Families of Soldiers Fallen or Wounded in Afghanistan Sue Contractors for Allegedly Paying Protection Money to TalibanFamilies of 143 American troops and contractors killed or wounded in Afghanistan have sued U.S. and international contractors involved in Afghan reconstruction projects for allegedly paying protection money to the Taliban.The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court, claims certain contracting companies often paid the Taliban through subcontractors, which allowed the the companies to save money on security personnel. The Taliban then used the money, according to the lawsuit, to fund attacks on other companies that didn't make payments to the insurgent group."The defendants are large corporations that had lucrative businesses in Afghanistan," said Joshua Branson, a lawyer for the case, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. "Those protection payments, as alleged, redirected attacks away from the defendants’ own interests while financing a terrorist insurgency that killed and injured thousands of Americans, including our clients."It has been widely known for years that money from American defense contractors has found its way to local Afghan warlords in the wake of the U.S. invasion of the country. A 2010 congressional investigation found that funds from Pentagon-backed contractors were fueling a "protection racket" by bribing local officials and possibly Taliban members in exchange for safe passage of goods.No U.S. or international companies have been successfully prosecuted for aiding the Taliban. The current lawsuit is a civil suit, which will enable a conviction if prosecutors can convince a jury of a preponderance of evidence in their favor, as opposed to a criminal suit which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.The war in Afghanistan, now 18 years old, came under increased scrutiny after the Washington Post published a trove of documents it dubbed the "Afganistan Papers." The records are from a federal investigation into the war effort and contain reflections of U.S. officials and troops in which they express doubts about the success of the war and the clarity of the military's mission. The officials also indicated the U.S. repeatedly misrepresented progress in the war to the government and the American people.The U.S. has been attempting peace negotiations with the Taliban, but talks have proceeded slowly as insurgents have continued to attack American targets.



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The U.S. Soldiers Who Liberated Nazi Concentration Camps Could Never Forget What They Saw

The U.S. Soldiers Who Liberated Nazi Concentration Camps Could Never Forget What They SawWith only weeks left before the surrender, GIs were unexpectedly coming across the concentration camps. These centers of evil and depravity, scattered across Nazi-held territory for all the Allies to discover, explained the need for the war far better than mere words ever could.



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American soldiers banned from Italian main street after vicious brawl

American soldiers banned from Italian main street after vicious brawlAround 2,000 US Army soldiers have been banned from one of the main streets in the Italian city of Vicenza after a  brawl between soldiers and locals.  The temporary ban, which affects members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in the city, involves the quaint via  Contra' Pescherie Vecchie, where two young Vicenza men say they were surrounded and beaten by several soldiers after a verbal exchange just outside a popular watering hole for off duty combat paratroopers.  “This is not my face. I was not like this before,” Riccardo Passaro, 21, told La Repubblica from the hospital where he is recovering from reconstructive facial surgery after his jaw was shattered.  City authorities are studying CCTV images to identify the culprits of the latest violent episode, which prompted Mayor Francesco Rucco to request special restrictive measures from the base commander.  Col. Kenneth Burgess issued a memo warning that personnel caught entering the restricted zone during the 45-day ban faced disciplinary sanctions. “It is a decree without precedent in Vicenza and for this we thank the American authorities," Mayor Rucco said. The US military presence in Vicenza has been expanding for the last decade, with construction of the large Del Din annex north of the historic Ederle garrison to help lodge US Africa Command and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which conducts contingency response and NATO ally training in Europe.  Vicenza's 113,000 inhabitants now intermingle, mostly peacefully, with more than 12,000 Americans, including military family members and employees of the two bases bookending the city.  But an uptick in problems related to heavy drinking, violence and public disorder since the expansion has exasperated locals.   In 2014,  several rape investigations and a car crash in the city centre involving three pedestrians made headlines. In 2016 and 2017 there were bloody brawls involving injuries and property damage. And in 2018, police intervened 550 times in violent incidents involving Americans, prompting new joint night patrols this year by U.S. military police and Italian Carabinieri.



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4 Syrian soldiers killed in clashes with Turkish-led forces

4 Syrian soldiers killed in clashes with Turkish-led forcesIntense clashes broke out Saturday between Syrian government troops and Turkish-led forces in northeast Syria, killing at least four Syrian soldiers, the country’s state media and an opposition war monitor reported. Turkey invaded northeast Syria last month to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters near the border. The Kurdish groups called in Syrian government forces to halt Turkey’s advance.



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Indian soldiers, Pakistani civilians among dead in Kashmir clash

Indian soldiers, Pakistani civilians among dead in Kashmir clashIndia said on Sunday two soldiers and a civilian were killed in cross-border shelling with Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region, while Islamabad said six died on its side, making it one of the deadliest days since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status in August. Three Indian civilians were injured and some buildings and vehicles destroyed because of several hours of heavy shelling by both sides in the Tanghdar region in northern Kashmir late on Saturday night, a senior police official said. Pakistan said 6 of its civilians were killed and 8 wounded in the clash.



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Israel 'plants dummy decoy' soldiers on border with Lebanon after Hizbollah threats

Israel 'plants dummy decoy' soldiers on border with Lebanon after Hizbollah threatsIsrael has positioned dummy decoys dressed as soldiers on the border with Lebanon, according to local reports, as the country prepares for strikes by Hizbollah. Israel and Hizbollah, which last fought a war in 2006, are on high alert after Israel carried out a series of attacks on the group in Lebanon and neighbouring Syria and Hizbollah promised a retaliation. Lebanese journalist Ali Shueib, who works for Hizbollah’s al-Manar TV station, tweeted photos of off-road army vehicles with what appeared to be a mannequin in the front seat. “Stop the jokes,” he tweeted, saying that using these dummies only reveals “‘stupidity and foolishness’ because you have not learned that you are facing men that have the intelligence, professionalism, courage, and faith to defeat.” خلصنا المزح بموضوع الجيب ✋ هذه الفضيحة كفيلة بإسقاط رؤوس كبيرة في جيشكم !! لأنها تدل عن "غباء وحمق" لأنكم لم تتعلموا بعد انكم بمواجة رجال لديهم من الحكمة والحرفية والشجاعة والإيمان مايكفي لهزيمتكم !!انضبوا وضبوا تماثيلكم .. هالحركات حتى الأطفال بلعبة الغميضة ما بيعملوها ✋ pic.twitter.com/0FqVHC0hF9— علي شعيب ���� (@ali_shoeib1) August 29, 2019 Or Heller, an Israeli military correspondent for Channel 10 News, posted a close-up of the dummy taken from the other side of the vehicle, suggesting that Israel had placed it there in anticipation of a Hizbollah assault. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has been known to use mannequins, placing them in bunkers or sniper’s nests in an effort to trick its enemies into thinking they are manned by soldiers and leading them to reveal their position. Hizbollah, which is backed by Iran, have been warning they intend to carry out “calculated strike” against Israel in the coming days, in revenge for an Israeli strike in Syria which killed two Hizbollah fighters and a drone attack which is reported to have targeted precision-missile technology over the weekend. וכך ניראות הבובות בקו, בתמונה שחבר צפוני צילם. ברקע: ההבנה בצהל שנארסראללה סינדל את עצמו לתגובה על תקיפת הרחפנים בדאחייה. בדפוסי הפעולה האפשריים שלו: מטען, ירי צליפה, או ירי טילים נגד טנקים. pic.twitter.com/0jJ3QGc2iB— Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) August 29, 2019 Sources close to the Shia movement had indicated to the Telegraph that the group would look to attack Israeli troops along the border and send drones into the country in a "like-for-like" retaliation for the drone attack. Israel is fighting a shadow war with arch-foe Iran, targeting its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq and attempting to disturb the flow of weapons. On its Twitter account on Thursday, the IDF went public with what it said were details about an extensive Iranian-sponsored project to provide Hizbollah with the means to produce precision-guided missiles. It released the names of four Iranian Quds Forces officers it alleged to be training Hizbollah members in Lebanon. Members of Lebanon's Shia Hizbollah movement carry the coffin of a fighter killed in Israeli strikes in Syria, during the funeral in the Ghobeiry neighbourhood of southern Beirut Credit: AFP Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said Tehran had in recent months increased the pace of the project such that it was "faster in terms of buildings, facilities, locations, conversion and manufacturing facilities, and it means more people, operatives involved in doing so". "It is time for them (the Lebanese government) to understand their responsibility and understand the fact that what they are letting Hizbollah and Iran do on Lebanese soil is their responsibility," Lt Col. Conricus said. Israel has said that it holds the Lebanese state responsible for Hizbollah’s actions since the movement now has MPs in parliament. Lebanon on Wednesday opened fire on Israeli drones operating inside Lebanese airspace, after warning its neighbour it would defend its sovereignty.



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Syria soldiers eye Turkish outpost in recaptured town

Syria soldiers eye Turkish outpost in recaptured townSyrian soldier Ahmad Amuri rolls up on a motorbike to hand water bottles to comrades standing guard under pistachio trees, just a few dozen metres from a Turkish observation point in northwest Syria. President Bashar al-Assad’s troops seized the town of Morek from jihadists and allied rebels on Friday, encircling the Turkish outpost. “Calm has returned to Morek,” Amuri told AFP on Saturday, with water bottles in a black plastic bag, a cap on his head and his uniform covered in dust.



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Kashmir border firing kills 3 Pakistani, 5 Indian soldiers -Pakistan

Kashmir border firing kills 3 Pakistani, 5 Indian soldiers -PakistanPakistan said on Thursday three of its soldiers and five Indian troops were killed in a cross-border exchange of fire in the contested Kashmir region, one of the deadliest clashes between the rival armies this year. Indian forces have increased firing along the contested border known as the Line of Control (LOC), Major General Asif Ghafoor, the chief spokesman of the Pakistan armed forces, said in a tweet. A spokesman for the Indian army could not be immediately reached for comment.



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Armed soldiers patrol silent streets after Kashmir curfew

Armed soldiers patrol silent streets after Kashmir curfewArmed soldiers stand in front of barbed wire in Indian Kashmir’s near-silent summer capital of Srinagar during a massive security lockdown imposed on the restive region by the Hindu nationalist government. Kashmir was stripped of its seven-decade-long autonomous status through a controversial presidential decree on Monday, a day after a crippling curfew was imposed on its main city. Home to more than one million people, Srinagar now looks like a ghost-town: armed soldiers on street corners and in front of barbed wire barricades make up most of the few people to be seen.



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Exchange of fire on Gaza border kills Palestinian, wounds 3 Israel soldiers

Exchange of fire on Gaza border kills Palestinian, wounds 3 Israel soldiersA Palestinian seeking to avenge his brother’s death by Israeli fire entered Israel from Gaza Thursday, sparking a firefight in which the Israeli army said he was killed and three Israeli soldiers wounded. An Israeli tank fired at a Hamas military post after the incident which began at around 2:00 am, Israel’s military said. It said an army officer was moderately wounded and two soldiers were lightly injured by gunfire from the Palestinian, who breached the Israeli border fence from the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip.



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