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Saturday, Jan 31st

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The Hidden Problem That Kills 15,000 People Every Year

land minesIn an age of shooting sprees and suicide bombings, landmines seem a distant threat. But in the last week alone, seven people were killed when they came into contact with the explosive devices: an 11-year-old boy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, one person in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, and at least five were killed in Paksitan’s Balochistan province.

Often decades old, landmines litter the terrain of resolved conflicts and pose continuing threats to those who live in their midst. According to the United Nations, there are 110 million land mines still buried in the ground — and more than 15,000 people are killed by landmines every year.

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A General’s Apology for Iraq & Afghanistan

apology for itaq and afghanistanThe basic trajectories of events in the two American campaigns chronicled in Why We Lost are strikingly similar, and equally disconcerting. First in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, U.S.-led coalitions light on numbers but heavy on advanced technology and lethality crush the enemy regimes in a matter of a few months. In displays of astonishing naiveté, “major combat” is blithely declared at an end by the Bush administration. In fact, the wars have just begun.

Nasty and protracted insurgencies break out, spearheaded by a jumble of jihadist extremists, warlords, and sectarian militias. Caught off guard and unprepared, the Americans and their coalition partners struggle to cobble together massive aid and re-construction programs, establish stable governments with dependable clients, and train indigenous armies and security forces to carry on the fight for the long haul.

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Islamic State presence confirmed in Afghanistan

isisThe Islamic State terrorist organization has been confirmed to be operating within Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Murad Ali Murad, a commander of the Afghan army, said the group has been attempting to recruit soldiers, but also stated the Afghan army was prepared to deal with any enemy.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse said the Taliban rejected the claim, saying "all mujahideen [self-declared holy warriors] fight under one flag."

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$500K Afghan Training Center Melts Down

Afghan training center meelts downThis report discusses the results of SIGAR’s inspection of the Afghan Special Police Training Center’s dry fire range (DFR) located in Wardak province. The DFR replicates a typical Afghan village and is used to conduct simulated police search and clearance exercises.

It was constructed in 2012, under the direction of the Regional Contracting Center at Forward Operating Base Shank, which falls under U.S. Central Command’s
Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.

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$14 Million an Hour: The War on 'Terror' Has Cost $1.6 Trillion

war on terror costIn the 13 years since 9/11, the United States’ “War on Terror” could be considered a failure. ISIS swept aside the US-backed Iraqi army earlier this year, the Taliban still launches deadly attacks, including an assault on a school last month that killed 145 people, and American interventions only seem to worsen sectarian bloodshed in the region.

The geopolitical disaster has come at a tremendous cost to American taxpayers, according to a recently released report by the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan government organization. The report estimated that since 9/11 American taxpayers have shelled out close to $1.6 trillion on war spending (that’s $14 million an hour), with almost 95 percent of that money going projects related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Ceremony In Afghanistan Officially Ends America's Longest War

Afghan war formally endsU.S. troops and their NATO allies in Afghanistan have formally ended what became America's longest war, furling their flag 13 years after a 2001 invasion to topple the country's Taliban regime in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In a symbolic ceremony meant to mark the transition in the role of the remaining troops from combat to support, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, Gen. John Campbell, put away the green-and-white ISAF flag and unfurled the flag of "Resolute Support," as the new international mission is known.

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As U.S. troops return to Iraq, more private contractors follow

US troops return from IraqThe U.S. government is preparing to boost the number of private contractors in Iraq as part of President Barack Obama's growing effort to beat back Islamic State militants threatening the Baghdad government, a senior U.S. official said.

How many contractors will deploy to Iraq - beyond the roughly 1,800 now working there for the U.S. State Department - will depend in part, the official said, on how widely dispersed U.S. troops advising Iraqi security forces are, and how far they are from U.S. diplomatic facilities.

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