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Monday, Nov 24th

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U.S. Marine Killed in Afghan Insider Attack

Afghan armyA MARSOC Marine was killed in Afghanistan this week in an apparent insider attack.

Sgt. Charles C. Strong, 28, of Suffolk, Virginia, was killed Sept. 15, in Herat province, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command confirmed. Strong was a critical skills operator attached to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to a news release, and had served in the Marines since 2003.

A former military police officer with two deployments to Iraq and a previous tour in Afghanistan, Strong joined MARSOC in 2013, officials said.

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Afghan conflict: Three Nato troops killed in Kabul bomb attack

NATo troops killed near KabulAt least three coalition personnel have died after a Taliban suicide car bomber rammed into a foreign military convoy in the Afghan capital Kabul, Nato says.

The blast killed a Polish soldier and two Americans serving with Nato. A fourth member of the Nato force was seriously injured.

At least 16 civilians were also hurt, Afghan government sources say.  The blast took place in heavy traffic on the airport road near the US embassy at about 08:00 local time (03:30 GMT).

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U.S. Inspector: Billions in failed programs wasted in Afghanistan

billions wasted in AfghanistanThe top U.S. official for monitoring aid to Afghanistan painted a grim portrait of the country’s future Friday, saying it is riddled with corruption and graft.

With most Americans’ attention riveted on Iraq and Syria, John F. Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan, said the United States’ unprecedented $120 billion reconstruction investment there is at risk.

“The country remains under assault by insurgents and is short of domestic revenue, plagued by corruption, afflicted by criminal elements involved in opium and smuggling, and struggling to execute the basic functions of government,” Sopko said in a speech at Georgetown University.

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Blackwater on trial over killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007

Blackwater trialAfter years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe.

Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of 16 September 2007 was seen by critics of the George W Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong.

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The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead

Drone deathsThe U.S. drone program under President Barack Obama reached its fifth anniversary on Thursday having tallied up an estimated death toll of at least 2,400 people.

As the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based non-profit, details on its website, five years ago the CIA conducted the first drone strikes of the Obama presidency. Although there were reports of suspected "militants" killed, at least 14 civilians also died that day.

After those initial mistakes, TBIJ notes, Obama rapidly ramped up the drone program in Pakistan and increased its use in Yemen and Somalia, two countries where al Qaeda affiliates expanded their presence during Obama's presidency.

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Welcome to Penny Lane: CIA secret Gitmo camp for recruiting double agents

penny lane - ciaIn the early stages of the ‘War on Terror,’ CIA agents at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility turned detainees into double agents, helping the US to track and kill terrorists, according to US officials.

For some Gitmo detainees, held prisoner on a US military base in the middle of shark-infested waters, the promise of freedom in return for helping the CIA root out terrorists back home may have proven too much of a temptation.

In addition to winning their freedom, co-conspirators were granted safety guarantees for their families, and millions of dollars from the agency's secret war chest, sources told AP.

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In Afghanistan, 'Security Deal' Means Endless US Occupation

Afghan forevern warDays before the so-called bi-lateral security agreement heads to an Afghan council of elders and political leaders for a final decision, the U.S. is attempting to force through a stipulation that would allow U.S. troops to continue raiding Afghan homes, in addition to measures giving U.S. troops and contractors immunity from Afghan law and extending U.S. military presence far beyond Obama's 2014 pullout date.

Critics charge that the U.S. is giving itself the green light for open-ended occupation at the expense of the Afghan people. "Occupation is not defined by how many occupiers are policing someplace," said Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League in an interview with Common Dreams. "If you reduce the amount of occupation forces but keep them there forever, then the occupation continues and the war on people's everyday lives is not actually over — no matter what the US government or mainstream media tells us."

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