22 Feb 2019

The U.S. Sent Its Most Advanced Fighter Jets to Blow Up Cheap Opium Labs. Now It’s Canceling the Program

The US has quietly ceased operation Iron Tempest, which was launched in late 2017 in order to deal a devastating blow to the Taliban’s drug empire in Afghanistan. As part of the program, US and Afghan war planes launched over 200 airstrikes on facilities and networks used by the Taliban for

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19 Feb 2019

Slowly but surely, China is moving into Afghanistan

While Afghans are fearing that the US may be about to “betray” them by significantly reducing its military presence in the country, China seems interested in getting more involved in Afghanistan by making it part of its 2013 Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI comprises Chinese infrastructure projects in over

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01 Feb 2019

Senate rebukes Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, Afghanistan

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 68-to-23 to rebuke President Trump’s plan for withdrawing U.S. military forces from Afghanistan and Syria. The opposition to the President’s strategy primarily came from Republicans, who agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that Trump’s plan is imprudent, as the threat posed by Islamic State,

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25 Jan 2019

Taliban reaches agreement with US on al Qaeda, Islamic State

While the U.S. and the Taliban remain at odds on many key negotiating points, they have reached agreement on one: that al Qaeda and the Islamic State must be kept out of the country. The Taliban refuses to negotiate with the Afghani government they perceive to be usurpers, but they

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24 Jan 2019

Study: ISIS Decline Sees Global Terror Attacks Down 33 Percent in 2018

The Global Attack Index released annually by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center since 2009 has measured a 33% decline in terror attacks in 2018 compared to 2017. This decline in numbers can be misleading, however, as it is mostly due to the destruction of ISIS strongholds across Syria and Iraq.

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14 Jan 2019

The Taliban and the Changing Nature of Pashtun Nationalism

Since the beginnings of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. has sought to understand the Taliban’s interactions with tribal structures and conceptions of Pashtun identity, using these understandings to build military strategy and diplomatic policy. Pashtuns make up over 40% of the heavily fragmented Afghani population, and drove

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09 Jan 2019

Afghan Taliban cancel peace talks with US officials in Qatar

The Taliban has cancelled peace talks with the US in Qatar after refusing to allow the inclusion of Afghani government officials in the talks, according to both the group and US officials. The Taliban claims that US is their adversary and that the existing Afghani government is a “puppet” government,

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27 Dec 2018

U.S. forces will stay in Iraq and could reenter Syria from there, Trump says

“President Trump said he has no plans to withdraw American forces from Iraq, a week after announcing a surprise pullout of troops from Syria and ordering the Pentagon to bring home roughly half of the American forces deployed to Afghanistan. The decision allows the United States to maintain a presence

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21 Dec 2018

With Mattis out, is Blackwater back?

With SecDef Mattis’s resignation and Trump’s recent announcement about the drawdown of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Trump administration may be reconsidering Erik Prince’s campaign to replace U.S. troops with mercenaries in the country. Since this summer, Prince campaigned heavily in the media and in DC for the use

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20 Dec 2018

Violence against journalists hits unprecedented levels

“The murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in a year when more than half of all journalists killed were targeted deliberately reflects a hatred of the media in many areas of society, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Tuesday. At least 63 professional journalists around the world were killed doing

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