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Tuesday, Jan 28th

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Mystery crash in Afghanistan was a manned US surveillance aircraft, US officials say

Mystery crash in AfghanistanU.S. officials confirmed Monday that a manned, American surveillance aircraft crashed in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province.

Army Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Kabul, denied Taliban claims that other aircraft had crashed.

“While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire,” Leggett said in a statement. “We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false."

Leggett identitfied the military plane as a Bombardier E-11A.

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34 Americans injured in missile blast at Iraqi base, Pentagon says, tripling earlier estimates

Iran missile strike hurt 34 soldiersThe  Pentagon said Friday that 34 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries stemming from an Iranian missile strike on U.S. troops in Iraq, nearly tripling the number initially reported as injured.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said eight soldiers who had been treated in Germany were sent to the U.S. for treatment.

Nine others were being evaluated in Germany, he said, while one soldier who was evacuated to Kuwait for treatment had returned to duty in Iraq; 16 who had remained in Iraq after diagnosis have returned to duty.

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Army general refuses to restore Special Forces tab for officer pardoned by Trump

Army general refuses to restore army tab for soldier pardoned by Trump

A U.S. Army general refused a request by an officer who was pardoned by President Trump to have his Special Forces tab reinstated.

Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette — commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command — denied the request by retired Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn on Dec. 3, The Washington Post reports.

The statement released by the Army on Thursday said that an administrative panel would review whether Golsteyn should have his Special Forces Tab and the Distinguished Service Cross — the military’s second-highest valor award — reinstated. The panel will also review a letter of reprimand Golsteyn received in connection with his case, according to the Post.

Golsteyn was scheduled to go on trial this year for the killing of a Taliban bomb maker in Marja, Afghanistan, in February 2010.

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US airbase in Iraq hit by rockets - reports

Al-Asad air base hit by rockets

An airbase housing US and coalition troops in Iraq has been hit by rockets, according to US security sources.

The Al-Asad base was reportedly hit by multiple rockets. It is unclear if there have been any casualties.

TVNL Comment: This is breaking news. Check back for more information.

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Update: 7:11 ET: A dozen ballistic missiles were launched from Iran towards two air bases in Iran.  This is the first salvo of payback for the assassination of General Soleimani.

Pentagon mistakenly releases draft memo promising withdrawal from Iraq

This isn't your standard Trump administration memo leak.Chairman of Joint Chiefs

No, the memo released Monday that signifies the U.S's plan to exit Iraq is a full-fledged "mistake," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley said more than an hour after it came out. It's a "draft" and "implies withdrawal," which "is not what happening," Milley said after the memo promised the opposite.

A memo from the U.S. to an Iraqi leader of the two countries' joint operations in Baghdad started circulating Monday afternoon. U.S. forces in Iraq would soon be "repositioning," "as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister," the letter from Brig. Gen. William Seely, U.S. director of Iraqi joint operations, read. "We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure," the letter concluded.

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Thousands of additional U.S. troops heading for Middle East: officials

US troops being sent to IraqThe United States is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East from the 82nd Airborne Division as a precaution amid rising threats to American forces in the region, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Iran promised vengeance after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, Tehran’s most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East.

The overnight attack, authorized by President Donald Trump, was a dramatic escalation in a “shadow war” in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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Photos reveal extensive damage to US Embassy in Baghdad as American soldiers rush to region

US embassy sustained extensive damage

An uneasy calm enveloped the U.S. Embassy in Iraq on Thursday as new images from the scene revealed extensive damage following days of sometimes violent protests by Iranian-backed militia members and their supporters.

The photos show a burned and charred reception area, smashed windows and vandalized rooms left behind by supporters and members of the Iranian-trained Hashed al-Shaabi military network, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, and the embassy was not evacuated.

The Pentagon sent hundreds of troops to the region, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would delay a trip to Central Asia and Europe to focus on the "the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security" of Americans there.

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