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New rules allow more civilian casualties in air war against ISIL

civilian casualties numbers epandedThe Pentagon has approved airstrikes that risk more civilian casualties in order to destroy Islamic State targets as part of its increasingly aggressive fight against the militant group in Iraq and Syria, according to interviews with military officials and data.

Since last fall, the Pentagon has delegated more authority to the commander of the war, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, to approve targets when there is the risk that civilians could be killed. Previously, authority for missions with the potential to kill innocents had been made by the higher headquarters of U.S. Central Command. Seeking approval from above takes time, and targets of fleeting opportunity can be missed.

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U.S. sending more troops to Iraq, $415M to Peshmerga for Mosul victory

Ashton CarterThe United States will increase troop numbers in Iraq, deploy AH-64 Apache helicopters and help fund Kurdish Peshmerga with up to $415 million amid the effort to retake Mosul from the Islamic State.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook announced "new accelerants" to defeat the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS.

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Confessions of a former US Air Force drone technician

Confessions of a drone technicianCian Westmoreland was 18 years old when he enlisted in the US Air Force.

Now 28, the former serviceman served with the 606 Air Control Squadron in Germany and the 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as an Air Force Technician.

He built the communications infrastructure for the US military's drone programme in Afghanistan, which, according to a 2015 report by The Intercept led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

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22,000 alleged Islamic State militants identified in registration forms

IS membership revealedAbout 22,000 alleged Islamist militants who joined the Islamic State have been identified after the militant group's registration forms were leaked to German intelligence and British media.

The names, addresses, telephone numbers and family contacts of IS militants who registered when they joined the Islamic State were revealed in a flash drive to Sky News delivered by a "disillusioned convert to the group."

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Portrait of an Afghan drone victim

Afghan drone victimThe food stand was completely destroyed. So, too, was the body of its owner, 21-year-old Sadiq Rahim Jan.

"My brother was torn to pieces. Almost nothing was left of him," says Islam Rahim Jan.

It was July 2012 and his death plunged his family into despair and poverty.

Sadiq was the family's main breadwinner. His income as the owner of the only food stand in the village of Gardda Zarrai, in the eastern Afghan province of Paktia, provided for his parents and four siblings.

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U.S. Drones Kill 150 Al-Shabaab Fighters

Drones kill 150 The U.S. military carried out a drone strike over the weekend targeting a training camp run by Somali Islamist group al Shabaab about 120 miles north of capital Mogadishu over the weekend, killing more than 150 fighters, the Pentagon said on Monday.

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What Donald Rumsfeld Knew We Didn’t Know About Iraq

RumsfeldOn September 9, 2002, as the George W. Bush administration was launching its campaign to invade Iraq, a classified report landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and it carried an ominous note.

“Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD,” Rumsfeld wrote to Air Force General Richard Myers. “It is big.”

The report was an inventory of what U.S. intelligence knew—or more importantly didn’t know—about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Its assessment was blunt: “We’ve struggled to estimate the unknowns. ... We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program.”

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