Three US Soldiers Wounded in Afghan ‘Insider Attack’

Three American troops were wounded Sunday when an Afghan soldier opened fire in southern Helmand province, officials said, in the first known “insider attack” on international forces this year.

No insurgent group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack in Camp Antonik in Washer district, which highlights long-simmering tensions between Afghan and foreign forces.

“Three US soldiers were wounded this afternoon when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them at a base in Helmand province. Coalition security forces on the base killed the soldier to end the attack,” a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan told AFP.

“The US soldiers are receiving medical treatment at this time and we will release more information when available.”

An Afghan soldier was also killed in the shootout, provincial spokesman Omar Zwak told AFP. (Read more from “Three US Soldiers Wounded in Afghan ‘Insider Attack'” HERE)

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In Afghanistan, the Ghosts of Christmas past and Present

For most Americans, Dec. 25, 2016, will be Christmas Day. For Nikki Altmann, it is also the fifth anniversary of her husband’s death in Afghanistan.

“Everything we were planning was gone in a moment’s notice,” Nikki told me less than six months after her husband was killed in action.

As many listen to the festive sounds of holiday cheer on Christmas Eve, a military widow will likely recall the sound of her husband’s voice. That’s because the last time Nikki and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Altmann spoke to one another was on Christmas Eve 2011.

“We talked about everything … all of our dreams,” Nikki said. “(Joe) said that February or March was when he hoped to be home.”

About 24 hours later, Nikki, who was spending her holiday in Ireland while working as a flight attendant, was notified that her 27-year-old husband’s life had tragically ended in the mountains of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. While the news itself was devastating, hearing that Joe died on Christmas Day was unimaginable.

“Every day is a constant reminder of what I had, what I was going to have, and what is no more,” the young military widow said in 2012.

Every day since our phone conversation, I have been inspired by the strength I heard in Nikki’s voice. I also remember something else she said.

“Six months from now, people won’t be calling to see how I’m doing,” she said.

Nikki’s husband is one of 2,392 American heroes to lose his or her life during America’s longest war. For those too young to remember, a U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks, which were launched by al Qaeda terrorists being harbored by the Taliban. The war continues to this very day.

In recent years, some have spearheaded an ill-conceived effort to stop calling Afghanistan a war. That hasn’t changed the little-discussed fact that 91 U.S. troops have been killed there since New Year’s Day in 2014, including 14 so far this year. To call a conflict where courageous Americans are still being killed and wounded anything other than a war dishonors the valiant men and women who have sacrificed so much in Afghanistan over the past 15-plus years.

Diminishing the harsh reality of war also does a disservice to the approximately 8,400 U.S. troops who will be stationed in Afghanistan when President Obama passes the baton to President-elect Trump, who will be the 45th commander-in-chief of our nation’s Armed Forces. Until a president decides otherwise, thousands of American troops will continue putting their lives on the line as their families wait and worry at home.

Afghanistan isn’t some faraway footnote on Google Earth. It’s the war zone where Nikki’s husband gave all while proudly wearing our country’s uniform. Afghanistan isn’t just a news story (though many journalists have spent the last decade ignoring it), it’s where my Fire in My Eyes co-author, U.S. Navy LT Brad Snyder (Ret.), was permanently blinded by a bomb blast while courageously helping wounded Afghans.

Afghanistan is also where U.S. Army Capt. Florent Groberg (Ret.), with whom I’m writing a new book called 8 Seconds of Courage, charged a suicide bomber who was trying to wipe out the soldier’s entire patrol. Captain Groberg — America’s first foreign-born Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War — saved dozens of American lives in those eight crucial seconds. More than four years later, he wears a bracelet bearing the names of four friends who did not survive the attack: U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Griffin, U.S. Army Maj. Thomas Kennedy, U.S. Air Force Maj. Walter David Gray and USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah. Flo has dedicated the rest of his life to sharing their stories.

On Dec. 7 — the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor — the Pentagon announced that U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Allan Brown, 46, died the previous day at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He had suffered devastating wounds during an enemy attack on Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan during a Veterans Day-themed event. Private First Class Tyler Iubelt, 20, and Sgt. John Perry, 30, were killed in the same terrorist attack.

Did you hear a single word about Sgt. 1st Class Brown’s ultimate sacrifice when he died less than two weeks ago? I saw the story on a local news broadcast while visiting Washington, D.C., which is near the departed warrior’s Takoma Park, Md., home. Yet as far as national news was concerned, the brave soldier’s story was barely a blip on the radar screen, which serves as yet another sad example of media malpractice.

For 16 straight Christmases, American warriors have spent their holiday seasons far from their families in a cold, desolate land. Five years ago, the day Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday was also the day that Staff Sgt. Joe Altmann went to heaven after making the ultimate sacrifice.

Regardless of our religious or political beliefs, we are all Americans. As the holidays approach, shouldn’t we be setting aside our differences and uniting around our troops fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and around the world, as well as their families and our nation’s veterans?

As Nikki so candidly predicted during our phone call, people would eventually stop calling to check in. Fifteen years and 16 Christmases after the war in Afghanistan was launched in the shadows of the Twin Towers, too many of us — especially those who work in journalism and politics — have moved on from Afghanistan.

For my part, I will not move on until the very last U.S. service member leaves Afghanistan and every single veteran and fallen hero of the conflict is appropriately honored. To do anything less would dishonor the service and sacrifice of patriots like the remarkable men and women mentioned in this column, who dedicated their lives to protecting their families and ours.

As your family sits down for dinner on Dec. 24, think about Joe and Nikki Altmann saying their final goodbyes five Christmas Eves earlier. As their story fills your mind, perhaps you will briefly interrupt the festivities to share it with others.

When looking at the smiles of your kids on Christmas morning, think about how much Joe and Nikki would probably have loved to raise children of their own. Then, perhaps you will tell your kids that as they open their presents, thousands of moms and dads aren’t spending Christmas with their children because they are serving overseas and protecting others.

Afghanistan, where Staff Sgt. Joe Altmann gave his last full measure of devotion five Christmases ago, is filled with the ghosts of Christmas past and present. As Americans fortunate enough to live in freedom, we must join together in honoring the heroes who gave us this precious holiday gift. (For more from the author of “In Afghanistan, the Ghosts of Christmas past and Present” please click HERE)

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Father of Fallen Soldier Says Plane Passengers Booed Family

The father of an Army soldier killed in Afghanistan says he and his family were booed as they flew to meet his son’s body coming home.

Sgt. John Perry, 30, was killed in a suicide attack at Bagram Airfield on Saturday, along with Pfc. Tyler Iubelt and two American contractors. Stewart Perry told KOVR-TV his son stopped the suicide bomber short of his target and may have saved hundreds of lives.

Perry told the Army Times the booing took place on an American Airlines flight that landed in Phoenix Monday. Perry and his family were flying from Sacramento to Dover Air Force Base.

The captain told everyone to remain seated to let the Perry family leave first to make their connection.

“When he made that announcement, there was some hissing and some booing behind us,” Perry told the Army Times. (Read more from “Father of Fallen Soldier Says Plane Passengers Booed Family” HERE)

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15 Years of Utter Failure in Afghanistan and the Political Class Still Doesn’t Get It

It’s hard to conjure up a worse outcome for our investment in Afghanistan than the reality that confronts us today on the fifteenth anniversary of the war. With almost 2,400 dead Americans, 20,000 wounded, and $686 billion (as of 2014) expended towards building a Sharia government in Kabul (cost is exponentially higher when non-combat expenditures factored in), the Taliban now control more territory than they did prior to the 2001 invasion. Over 70% of the casualties have been on Obama’s watch, yet because a Democrat is in the White House, it’s as if the war and its quagmire never happened. Nor do Republicans care to talk about it and hold Obama accountable.

Further disquieting is that fact that this 800-pound gorilla in the room has almost never come up during the course of the presidential election — either in the Republicans primary or general election. Those who decline to observe the failures of Afghanistan are already showing signs of repeating the mistakes elsewhere.

In 2008, Obama won the presidency largely off the coattails of incessant media coverage of the war disasters, promising to pull out of Iraq and refocus attention on Afghanistan. Eight years later, we have nothing to show for it but daily Taliban gains, continued U.S. casualties, and increased levels of troops who are encumbered by restrictive rules of engagement with no defined mission to execute. We have long passed the point in which we must fish-or-cut-bait — ‘define victory or leave.’ Yet, instead of ordering the generals to prioritize a strategic end to this 15-year dumpster fire, Obama is making our generals draw up logistical plans for transgenderism in the service and burdening the already-haggard infantry and special operations units with the most insane ‘women in combat agenda’ imaginable.

To be clear, while Obama lost Afghanistan in the worst possible manner at the worst possible cost, and is still placing our special ops in an impossible morass to this day, the war was doomed to fail already during the Bush years. The original sin of Afghanistan was the same sin that we commit in every theater in the Middle East. Rather than defining the threat doctrine as Sharia-based Islam and the strategic interest as defending only our interests, we got sucked into untenable Islamic civil wars and nation-building for unstable enemy factions.

The enduring lesson of Afghanistan and Iraq, one which must now be heeded in Syria and Libya, is that even if the case for intervention in Islamic civil wars can be reasonably articulated — a tenuous assumption to begin with — there must be specific ground that we can hold for a specific entity that will serve our interests and hold the country together in a way that doesn’t completely erase our investment within a few years. In Afghanistan, we were never going to hold the southern Pashtun areas that were aligned with the Taliban. Sure, we could keep 200,000 troops there forever and let sleeping dogs lie, but at some point the civil war would break open again. The same principle applied to Iraq, with the perennial rubber-band action-reaction crisis between the Iranian-backed Shiites and the Salafist Sunnis. If there is no realistic play for our military to make, we need not, indeed must not, place them into a meat-grinder in a theater where all of the factions hate us.

Which brings us to Syria.

The international media is engaging in yellow journalism showing sensational pictures from the civil war in Aleppo, essentially goading America into further involving our military in the insufferable conflict. Even Republican leaders direct their criticism at Obama for not involving us enough in the civil war. They want more troops on the ground. But for what? To fight for whom? For which outcome? The same people who used disturbing images depicting the rule of terror from the Islamic State to declare a vacuous policy of “we must destroy ISIS” are now using the scene from Aleppo to demand that we destroy Assad and his Russian backers. Which one is it? How about we let Allah sort it out?

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of innocent people who get killed in any civil war, certainly Islamic civil wars. There is so much misery in this world and we pray for God’s salvation. But what is our military supposed to do? The political class in both parties would have you believe we could identify a group of Thomas Jefferson Democrats in the country, vanquish ISIS, vanquish all of the Al Qaeda affiliates and splinter groups, defeat Assad and the Russians … and then have those mythical characters hold the entire ungovernable array of Islamic tribes together. Obama has already abused our special operators and resources by having them fund and train Al Qaeda splinter groups that are calling for the beheading of those troops already there!

Calling on Obama to “do more” will solve nothing but bring the misery of Islamic civil wars to our brave soldiers. It is our people and their safety who must reflect our first priority. We should not work against Russia nor should we work with them. In fact, there is nothing worse I’d wish upon the Russians than the commitment to the dumpster fire they have just forged. They will never be able to place that genie back in the bottle. Let them have another Afghanistan on their hands, not on ours.

This is not to say we shouldn’t stay engaged and don’t have strong plays we can make in the region. We should be supporting Egyptian President el-Sisi in his fight not only against ISIS, but the Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia supremacism. We should support the duly-elected Libyan House of Representatives, which appointed Khalifa Haftar commander of the Libyan army. Haftar successfully took back much of eastern Libya from the radical Islamists and fought the various terrorist factions, including those associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Haftar was so feared by the Islamists that Ansar al Sharia, the group behind the Benghazi attack, accused Haftar of launching “a war against the religion and Islam backed by the West and their Arab allies.”

Unfortunately, Obama has already repeated the same mistakes in Libya, choosing to back the Faiez Serraj-led Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. The GNA has relied on Islamist militias affiliated with Ansar al Sharia to control territory and is now collapsing under its own weight. Thus, once again, Obama has expended ground troops and air power on behalf of a failed Islamist “rebel” government.

While Obama chooses to side with all of our enemies in any given theater, the Republican foreign policy establishment thinks we should invest our time and treasure on behalf of some of our enemies to defeat other enemies. It’s time for a new strategy of telegraphing the message to players in the Middle East that if you fight Islamic supremacism — the threat doctrine of our enemy — we will be with you. If not, let Allah sort it out.

Fifteen years into the Afghanistan failure, it is irresponsible to continue sacrificing our troops there for no reason. Conservatives must chart a new course on foreign policy, grounded in the reality of the threat we face and divorced from the willful blindness of the past two administrations. At the very least, we must prevent the political leadership from creating a new Afghanistan. Our country can’t afford another fifteen years. (For more from the author of “15 Years of Utter Failure in Afghanistan and the Political Class Still Doesn’t Get It” please click HERE)

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Scathing Report: America’s ‘Ultimate Failure’ in Afghanistan

A blistering new report blasts the U.S. government’s pouring of billions of dollars into projects in Afghanistan with inadequate oversight that in many cases fueled corruption on unprecedented levels and ultimately undermined America’s mission there.

The 164-page report, published online today by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), is the first in the agency’s “Lessons Learned” series, which takes a broader look at the U.S. government’s shortcomings in the 15 years since the 2001 invasion. SIGAR previously released report after report about the waste of millions of dollars in failed individual projects.

This report, titled “Corruption in Conflict,” says that at early on, the U.S. government did not “fully appreciate the potential for corruption to threaten the security and state-building mission in Afghanistan,” where some form of regular corruption has existed for centuries.

“The U.S. government also failed to recognize that billions of dollars injected into a small, underdeveloped country, with limited oversight and strong pressures to spend, contributed to the growth of corruption,” the report says.

In its dogged pursuit of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the U.S. threw its lot in with local “warlords” and their militias — men who later rose to prominence in the Afghan government and used their positions engage in “rampant corruption activities,” the report says. (Read more from “Scathing Report: America’s ‘Ultimate Failure’ in Afghanistan” HERE)

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Woman Stoned to Death for Adultery

The men surround the woman as she stands in a hole dug into the stony ground, only her head pokes above the surface. Then they begin to pick up rocks and hurl them at her again and again from close range.

The barbaric killing took place in a Taliban-controlled village in central Afghanistan last week, according to the provincial governor. Video of it, apparently filmed on a cell phone, has circulated on social media.

The 19-year-old woman, identified as Rokhshana, had been forced to marry against her will and recently fled with another man, said Seema Joyenda, the governor of Ghor province. The couple were caught after two days, and the Taliban leader of the village ordered that Rokhshana be stoned to death for adultery, Joyenda said.

The killing underlines the widespread problem of violence against women in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, the brutal killing of a 27-year-old woman by a mob in Kabul, the capital, stirred outrage both inside the country and around the globe . . .

Joyenda, one of two female governors in Afghanistan, said she cried as she watched the video of Rokhshana’s killing. (Read more from “Woman Stoned to Death for Adultery” HERE)

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Obama-Led Drone Strikes Kill Innocents 90% of the Time

By Andrew Blake. Drone strikes conducted by the United States during a five-month-long campaign in Afghanistan caused the deaths of unintended targets nearly nine out of ten times, leaked intelligence documents suggest.

The apparent 10 percent success rate with regards to a specific span in America’s drone war is among the most damning revelations to surface so far as the result of a series of articles published by The Intercept on Thursday this week which rely on classified and confidential intelligence documents supplied by an unknown source.

“These docs illustrate what a video game, drained of all humanity, these drone assassinations have become,” founding editor Glenn Greenwald tweeted on Thursday.

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor now in exile, has previously supplied journalists at the online news site with top-secret documents detailing the intelligence community’s eavesdropping efforts — the likes of which has sparked international debates concerning privacy and civil liberties implications, among other factor, as well as calls for legislative reform in the U.S. and abroad.

But the latest trove of documents — previously unpublished reports concerning suspected terrorists, signals intelligence gathering and, ultimately, the launching of often lethal drone strikes — are the apparent offerings of a new source likely to soon be scorned by the U.S. government as well. (Read more from “Obama-Led Drone Strikes Kill Innocents 90% of the Time” HERE)


Fact Check: Obama Claims Afghan Combat Mission Over – Despite Airstrikes, Special Ops

By Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlison. President Obama may be stretching when he assures the American public that combat operations in Afghanistan ended last year.

The president repeated the claim Thursday as he announced 5,500 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan after 2016. “Last December, more than 13 years after our nation was attacked by Al Qaeda on 9/11, America’s combat mission in Afghanistan came to responsible end,” Obama said from the White House, flanked by Vice President Biden, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joe Dunford and Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

But this year alone, the U.S. military has carried out more than 328 airstrikes, dropping 629 bombs since January, according to U.S. Air Force Central Command. That amounts to roughly one U.S. airstrike a day since the president announced that combat operations had ended during his State of the Union address in January. So far this year, 25 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan.

During his January address, Obama said U.S. troops have moved to a “support role.” He said, “Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over.”

Obama backed off his pledge Thursday to end the war by the end of the year, but maintained that the combat mission is over and said the mission of those staying behind will not change. The remaining U.S. forces will be based at three air bases in Bagram, Kandahar and Jalalabad, and will only be authorized to train Afghans and hunt Al Qaeda. (Read more from this story HERE)

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Investigation: US Bombed Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan

U.S. officials have launched an investigation after 12 local staff members of Doctors Without Borders and at least seven patients, three of them children, were killed after an explosion near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that may have been caused by a nearby airstrike.

In a statement, the international charity said the “sustained bombing” took place Saturday at 2:10 a.m local time. Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been fighting to dislodge Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz on Monday.

At least 37 other people were seriously injured–19 staff members and 18 patients and caretakers, the organization said. Dozens were missing, raising concerns the death toll could rise.

A senior defense official told Fox News on Saturday that the Taliban have been in control of the area around the hospital since Monday, guarding the building and drawing U.S. special operations forces into a firefight in the area. U.S. forces called in the airstrike because they were under fire and needed cover, the official said . . .

While defense officials told Fox News they “regret the loss” of innocent life, they say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields. (Read more from “Investigation: US Bombed Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan” HERE)

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With the Perverts in DC, Is It Any Wonder That THIS is How the Media Describes Child Rape Now?!

This week, Joe Miller discussed the horrors of known pedophiles and child rapists being protected within US military bases in Afghanistan. He suggested that, “When you put perverts in office, you end up with problems like this.” Listen to that short clip here:

The Editor-in-Chief for former Representative Allen West’s website, Michele Hickford, is similarly outraged. She wrote a column about a headline and story from the Daily Caller that should anger all red-blooded Americans:

I was shocked and appalled to see the headline the Daily Caller had chosen for this story: Army Rejects Appeal Of Green Beret Discharged For Confronting Afghan Boy.

Excuse me if I am shouting, but BOY LOVER? ARE YOU FRIGGING SERIOUS? A child rapist is now called a “boy lover?” How is this in any way acceptable?

You may have heard about an organization called “NAMBLA” which stands for the North American Man Boy Love Association. NAMBLA seeks to “normalize” (as it says on the website) “the love of a man for a boy, and of a boy for a man. Enjoyable, consensual, beautiful”. . .

Does the media, the mainstream media now also agree with their aims? Is it no longer politically correct to call a child rapist a rapist, but now a “boy lover?”

I am absolutely beside myself on this one, folks. As a society we now accept all kinds of sexual behavior, gender and even racial identity as normal. It’s all just fine. Even though it may represent a tiny, tiny percentage of the population, any sort of behavior must be accommodated, celebrated, represented — heck even TAUGHT in public schools.

But BOY LOVER to describe a rapist?

Where will this end? At some point, in our civil society, we must say NO MORE.

Yes, folks, its time to put an end to the craziness. What will you do?

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Defense Department Under Fire for Handling of Child Abuse Claims in Afghanistan

child_works_in_brick_factoryThe Defense Department is facing mounting criticism for its handling of child abuse allegations involving Afghan commanders, including revived claims that U.S. soldiers were instructed to look the other way when Afghan troops and officers were sexually abusing boys.

As first reported by Fox News, the Army is under scrutiny for moving to kick out Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, after he got in trouble for shoving an Afghan police commander accused of raping a boy.

This was followed by The New York Times reporting Monday that American soldiers were told to ignore such sexual abuse, even in cases where Afghan allies were abusing boys on military bases.

The White House said Monday that the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about the safety of Afghan boys, when asked about the claims, but referred questions on DOD policy to the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters on Monday that the practices described in the Times article were “abhorrent” and pushed back on the notion that military members were told not to report instances of child rape. (Read more from “Defense Department Under Fire for Handling of Child Abuse Claims in Afghanistan” HERE)

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