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Tuesday, Sep 19th

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U.S. to send additional troops to Afghanistan

new Afghan troops sentDefense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that the Pentagon is dispatching additional troops to Afghanistan, where U.S.-backed security forces are stalemated in a war against the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Mattis declined to specify how many additional troops would be heading there, but the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has said a few thousand additional troops would be required.

Currently about 11,000 U.S. forces are in Afghanistan in addition to several thousand troops from coalition partner countries.

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Dozens of Civilians Killed in Airstrikes on Raqqa

Dozens of civilians killed in Raqqa airstrikesSyrian state media and opposition activists are reporting that airstrikes on the northern city of Raqqa have killed dozens of civilians.

U.S.-backed Syrian opposition fighters have been trying to capture the city from the Islamic State group since June 6, and have been marching under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition.

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U.S. court tosses murder conviction of ex-Blackwater guard

Nicholas Slatten conviction overturnedA federal appeals court on Friday threw out the murder conviction of an ex-Blackwater security guard and ordered three of his former colleagues to be re-sentenced in the high-profile prosecution stemming from the massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered a new trial after tossing out the murder conviction of former security contractor Nicholas Slatten.

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Insult to injury: how Trump's 'global gag' will hit women traumatized by war

Women victims of war endangered by Gag RuleIf the first victim of war is the truth, the second is often female. And the people who pick up the pieces are usually aid workers, as it is their health centres and “safe spaces” and camp programmes that help women to work through the trauma of loss, displacement and sexual violence.

Funding for this work quite often features the US government. US global health funding has topped $10bn in each of the past three years.

But all that is now at risk, after President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate the so-called Global Gag rule, which will ban funding to any non-US aid groups that offer abortion services or advice funded from other partners.

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US-trained Iraqi army unit 'linked to Mosul war crimes'

Mosul war crimesA US-trained Iraqi army division allegedly executed dozens of men in the final phase of the battle against ISIL fighters in Mosul's Old City, Human Rights Watch has claimed.

The rights group on Thursday urged the US government to suspend all support for the 16th Division of the Iraqi army pending an investigation into what it called war crimes, evidence of which was seen by two international observers whom the group did not name.

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At least 15 Afghan police officers killed in friendly fire airstrike

At leat 15 Afghan police dead in friendly fire air attackMore than a dozen Afghanistan police officers were killed during an airstrike in the Helmand province on Friday.

At least 15 officers were killed and at least one more was injured in the friendly fire incident during a U.S.-supported Afghan National Defense and Security Forces counterinsurgency airstrike targeting insurgents in the Gereshk district.

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Civilian deaths in Afghanistan war at record high, says UN

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan riseThe number of civilian deaths in the Afghan war has reached a record high, continuing an almost unbroken trend of nearly a decade of rising casualties.

The number of deaths of women and children grew especially fast, primarily due to the Taliban’s use of homemade bombs, which caused 40% of civilian casualties in the first six months of 2017, according to UN figures released on Monday.

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