Tag Archives: troops

US jets smashed an island ISIS was using 'like a hotel' and troops found rockets and bombs stashed in caves

US jets smashed an island ISIS was using 'like a hotel' and troops found rockets and bombs stashed in cavesAt least 25 ISIS fighters are dead after a successful US air strike that dropped 80,000 pounds of ordnance, an Iraqi CTS spokesperson told Insider.



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Kosovo jails six for plans to attack NATO troops, other countries

Kosovo jails six for plans to attack NATO troops, other countriesA court in Kosovo said it had jailed six people, including a woman, for terms ranging from one to 10 years, for planning attacks on NATO troops and the public in Kosovo, Belgium and France. The population of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but largely secular. NATO has fewer than 4,000 troops there, with the mission to keep the fragile peace since the war ended in 1999.



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US to start Afghan withdrawal with 5,000 troops out in 20 weeks

US to start Afghan withdrawal with 5,000 troops out in 20 weeksAmerica has agreed in principle to withdraw 5,000 troops from five military bases in 20 weeks, in a deal with the Taliban to kick start talks with the Afghan government. The accord which could be announced as early as Wednesday would see US troops begin to pull back from their longest ever conflict, in return for a reduction in Taliban attacks and the start of formal negotiations with Ashraf Ghani's government. A large blast hit Kabul on Monday evening, close to a heavily fortified compound housing international organisations.The Green Village compound has been struck by several suicide car combs in the past. There was no immediate report of casualties. The deal brokered over nine rounds of talks in Doha has yet to be signed off by Donald Trump and Mr Ghani was last night consulting with officials after being shown the latest draft of the prospective agreement. Nato allies including Britain will also be briefed on the deal before any announcement. Yet Western officials familiar the talks said final go ahead could be given as early as Wednesday or Thursday. “Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the top US negotiator, told told Tolo news. “Of course, it is not final until the US president agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.” Sources briefed on talks stressed the US troop withdrawal would be “conditions-based”, with an insistence by Washington that the Taliban violence reduced significantly and almost immediately. The Taliban have so far refused a complete ceasefire. The draft accord has been brokered over nine rounds of talks in Doha, Qatar Credit: AFP After the first tranche of 5,000 of America's 14,000-odd troops had left, the rest would gradually leave the country over 15 months or more. If the Taliban failed to meet the conditions then America would “stop the clock” on the withdrawal however. Other details of the draft agreement remained closely guarded, including details of guarantees to be given by the Taliban that Afghanistan would not again become a base for transnational terrorist such as al-Qaeda. Sources said the most significant part of the agreement would be the start of talks between Afghan political leaders and the Taliban. Mr Ghani's government has so far been shut out of talks with the Taliban declaring it is only an American puppet. The country risks slipping back into civil war unless the sides can agree a wider political settlement on how to run Afghanistan after America has left. The sides could meet in Oslo as early as later this month and a wider ceasefire is likely to be high on the Afghan government agenda. While there is widespread desire among Afghans for an end to the bloodshed killing thousands of security forces and civilians a year. But there is also fear the Taliban want to reimpose their harsh Islamic emirate of the 1990s, rolling back civil and women's rights Counter terrorism officials in Washington are also worried the Taliban will be unable or unwilling to prevent terrorist groups setting up bases in Afghanistan, just as al-Qaeda did before the 9/11 attacks. It is also unclear whether voting in the impending presidential election will continue if a deal is signed. Polling at the end of September is predicted to follow previous Afghan elections in being riddled with fraud and bitterly disputed. Mr Ghani, seen as the leading candidate, is adamant elections must continue, but American diplomats are understood to be concerned a flawed and contested poll will only detract from talks.



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U.S. to withdraw 5,000 troops from Afghanistan, close bases: U.S. negotiator

U.S. to withdraw 5,000 troops from Afghanistan, close bases: U.S. negotiatorThe United States would withdraw almost 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close five bases within 135 days under a draft peace accord agreed with the Taliban, the chief U.S. negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Monday. The deal, reached after months of negotiations with representatives from the insurgent movement, must still be approved by U.S. President Donald Trump before it can be signed, Khalilzad said in an interview with Tolo News television. In exchange for the phased withdrawal, the Taliban would commit not to allow Afghanistan to be used by militant groups such as al Qaeda or Islamic State as a base for attacks on the United States and its allies.



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Trump: US to keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan after deal with Taliban

Trump: US to keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan after deal with TalibanPresident Donald Trump said Thursday that the United States will keep a permanent presence in Afghanistan, with 8,600 troops initially, even after a deal is reached with the Taliban. “We’re going down to 8,600 and then we make a determination from there,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News radio. Despite overwhelming advantages in firepower, the US military has little to show for its efforts and Trump is hoping he can declare the war over in time for his 2020 reelection campaign.



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U.S. Says South Korea's Exit From Intel Pact Endangers Troops

U.S. Says South Korea's Exit From Intel Pact Endangers Troops(Bloomberg) — The U.S. said that South Korea’s decision to pull out of an intelligence-sharing deal with Japan endangers American troops — an usually blunt criticism of one of Washington’s closest allies.The Trump administration is disappointed in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s announcement Thursday that his government would stop participating in the 2016 General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Sunday. The pact allowed the two neighbors to directly share intelligence about joint security concerns including North Korea and China, without going through the Americans.“We are deeply disappointed and concerned that the ROK’s government terminated the General Security of Military Information Agreement,” Ortagus said in a Twitter post. “This will make defending Korea more complicated and increase risk to U.S. forces.”The criticism is perhaps the clearest sign yet of the Trump administration’s frustration with the months-long feud between South Korea and Japan. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump criticized Moon and his government at a Group of Seven meeting in France, the Sankei newspaper reported, citing unidentified Japanese government sources.The acrimonious dispute is rooted in historical grievances over Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the Korean Peninsula, but has recently escalated to include trade and security cooperation. While South Korea and Japan are protected by tens of thousands of U.S. troops, the Moon administration had argued after withdrawing from the pact that it would strengthen its alliance with the U.S. by increasing defense spending.The dispute risks complicating a coordinated response to North Korea’s continued missile tests and China’s rising military power projection in the region. On Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally guided the test firing of a rocket launcher and sent short-range ballistic missiles into the sea between South Korea and Japan for the 18th and 19th time since May.The U.S. Department of Defense had previously expressed “strong concern and disappointment” with South Korea’s decision to exit the security pact. While the agreement doesn’t require the exchange of intelligence and both countries are part of a similar three-way pact with the U.S., the deal was significant because it demonstrated their ability to cooperate independently from Washington.South Korea’s defense minister, Jeong Kyeong-doo, told the National Assembly’s defense committee Aug. 5 that there had been 26 instances of intelligence-sharing with Japan since the agreement was signed. He nevertheless played down its practical importance, telling the committee the pact was more about relationships than utility.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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The Latest: Cleric issues edict forbidding US troops in Iraq

The Latest: Cleric issues edict forbidding US troops in IraqA leading Shiite Muslim cleric followed by some Iraqi militants has issued a public religious edict forbidding the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. The fatwa issued Friday by Iran-based Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri comes after Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq accused the United States of being behind recent attacks on their bases and weapons depots in Iraq.



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Assad troops force Syrian rebels to retreat from key town

Assad troops force Syrian rebels to retreat from key townBashar al-Assad has vowed to recapture all of Syria as his forces made significant battlefield gains and drove rebel fighters out of a strategic town he once attacked with chemical weapons. Syrian regime troops pushed rebel forces from Khan Sheikhoun, a town where Assad’s jets once dropped chemical weapons and killed nearly 100 people, prompting Donald Trump to launch retaliatory airstrikes in 2017.  The town has been under rebel control since 2014 and its fall marks a victory for Assad as his troops attempt to conquer Idlib, the last opposition-held province in the northwest of Syria.     Rebel forces led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda, said they were retreating to an area south of the town but would continue fighting against the regime’s advancing troops. Regime troops advanced into the outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun but had yet to fully occupy it. Speaking at a meeting with MPs from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, Assad hailed his forces’ progress. “The victories that were achieved prove the determination of the people and the army to defeat terrorists until the liberation of the last inch of Syrian territory,” he said.   He also accused Turkey and Western states of supporting jihadist groups in Syria. Tensions between Turkey and the Syrian regime have been rising sharply as Assad’s forces drive into Idlib, where the Turkish military has 12 military outposts. Regime jets bombed near a Turkish military convoy on Monday, killing three civilians, according to Turkey’s defence ministry. After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition  Credit: AFP The fall of Khan Sheikhoun means that one of the Turkish military outposts is now effectively surrounded by regime forces. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said that his country would not withdraw from the outpost at Morek and warned the Syrian regime not to interfere with it.  “We don’t have an intention such as moving this elsewhere,” Mr Cavusoglu said. “We will do whatever is necessary for the security of our own soldiers and observation posts.” Turkey says it established the outposts to counter jihadist groups and help enforce a ceasefire it brokered alongside Russia. The Syrian regime says the outposts are a violation of Syrian sovereignty but has so far refrained from directly attacking them.  However, as the regime advances further into Idlib the chances of a direct confrontation with Turkish forces seem to be rising.  Assad’s forces launched their offensive against Idlib in April but made relatively little progress until the last few weeks, when they have advanced rapidly with the support of withering airstrikes by Russian warplanes.   Around 500 civilians have been killed since the offensive began, including more than 100 children, according to aid groups. A young girl named Jana was killed by Russian bombing on Tuesday, opposition activists said.   The fighting has displaced over 500,000 people in southern Idlib and the northern of the neighbouring province of Hama. Khain Sheikhoun was seen as important symbol of opposition to Assad by rebel supporters “One of the revolution’s castles is occupied by its destroyers,” said one Syrian man in Idlib.  Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said the Islamic State (Isil) remains a threat in Syria and Iraq but has lost much of its ability to carry out centrally-planned attacks on the West.  "There are places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago," Mr Pompeo told CBS. "But the caliphate is gone in their capacity to conduct external attacks, it's been made much more difficult," he said. The jihadist group was driven from its last territorial stronghold this year but continues to mount insurgency attacks in both Iraq and Syria.



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Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians near Gaza fence

Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians near Gaza fenceIsraeli troops killed three Palestinians and severely wounded a fourth near Gaza Strip’s heavily guarded perimeter fence, the Gaza Health Ministry said Sunday. The Israeli military said a helicopter and a tank fired at armed suspects near the fence overnight. After weeks of calm, Palestinian militants have attempted a number of raids in recent days.



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The Latest: Israeli troops kill gunman near Gaza fence

The Latest: Israeli troops kill gunman near Gaza fenceGaza’s Health Ministry says a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed after exchanging fire with Israeli troops along the perimeter fence surrounding the coastal territory. The Israeli military says an “armed terrorist” approached the frontier early Sunday and opened fire toward troops on the other side, who responded by shooting at the attacker. The army says a tank also targeted a nearby military post operated by the Islamic militant group Hamas.



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