Displaying items by tag: War

U.S. security adviser promises coordinated response in Afghanistan

  • Published in U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser met Afghan officials in Kabul on Sunday and said the new administration was weighing diplomatic, military and economic responses to its Taliban and Islamic State enemies in Afghanistan.

The adviser, H.R. McMaster, was making the first high-level visit by a Trump official. He spoke to ABC News' This Week program in the United States.

On Thursday, the U.S. military dropped a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, one of the largest conventional weapons ever used in combat, during an operation against ISIS militants in eastern Afghanistan.

While military officials said the strike was based solely on tactical needs, it led to speculation that Trump's defence advisers are planning to escalate the war against militants in Afghanistan.

The strike was estimated to have killed nearly 100 militants and no civilians, according to Afghan officials, although this has not been independently verified.

Enemies have 'redoubled their efforts'

Interviewed from Afghanistan, McMaster said the United States had a more reliable Afghan partner than before but at the same time had reduced the degree and scope of its effort in that country.

"Our enemy sensed that and they have redoubled their efforts and it's time for us, alongside our Afghan partners, to respond," he said.

Trump, who took office on Jan. 20, had asked U.S. officials — including some in the treasury and commerce departments — to work together to integrate the various political, diplomatic, military and economic responses available, McMaster said.

"We'll give him those options. And we'll be prepared to execute whatever decision he makes," he said.

McMaster met President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan officials to discuss bilateral ties, security, counter- terrorism, reforms, and development, according to a palace statement.

Drugs, corruption, terrorism

He praised anti-corruption efforts and assured Ghani that the United States would continue to support and cooperate with Afghanistan on a number of issues, according to the palace.

Ghani told McMaster that "terrorism is a serious issue for the security of the world and the region" and if serious steps are not taken it would affect "generations" of people, according to the statement. Illicit drugs and corruption also top the list of threats to Afghanistan's security, Ghani told the visiting officials.

The Afghan government refers to both the Taliban and ISIS as terrorists. Afghan forces have struggled to contain Taliban insurgents since most international troops were withdrawn in 2014, leaving them to fight largely alone.

At the peak in 2011, the United States had more than 100,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. Nearly 9,000 U.S. troops remain there to train and advise Afghan forces, provide close air support to soldiers on the ground, and form a separate counter-terrorism unit that targets ISIS, al Qaeda and other militant networks.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has said he needs "several thousand" more troops to help the Afghans take on a resurgent Taliban and battle other insurgents, but no official plan has been announced.

Thomson Reuters

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Grandson claims grandma died of heart attack during Bohol clashes

An 80-year old grandma died of heart attack as security forces clashed with members of bandit Abu Sayyaf group in the province of Bohol on Tuesday evening.
Jimmylito Logrono, 23, claimed his lola died as soldiers and the police pounded the concrete house the bandits seized when they arrived in Bohol from Mindanao early this week, GMA News stringer Leo Udtohan reported Wednesday.
“Yung lola ko namatay dahil sagubat (giyera). Kung wala yung [bakbakan] hindi sana namatay ang lola ko...nangdahil sa Abu Sayyaf namatay ang lola ko,” Udtohan quoted Logrono as saying.
Over 3,000 residents from Barangays Napo, Canlenti, Banahao, Liloan Sur, and Liloan Norte in Inabanga town were evacuated as clashes between Abu Sayyaf group members and government forces raged on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of three soldiers, one policeman, and six bandits.
Since Wednesday noon, some evacuees have returned to their homes even without clearance from the police and the military.
Udtohan said most of the families have opted to stay in school buildings that were converted into evacuation centers.
Authorities have not issued a clearance for the return of evacuees as five bandits are still believed atlarge in Bohol. — GMA News

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Cops kill brother of MILF's Ghadzali Jaafar

Policemen killed a brother ofMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar in an operation in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Tuesday,April 11.
Senior Inspector Marcille Manzano, spokesperson of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police office, identified the slain brother of Jaafar as Mohaimen Abo, also known as Boy Bangsamoro.
Manzano said policemen were serving an arrest warrant on Abo at his house, but he resisted arrest.
"There was a resistance during the arrest, which forced the arresting officers to fire back," the police spokesperson said, indicating that Abo fired at the policemen. The incident happened around 4:45 p.m.
Police said they recovered a .45pistol from Abo.
Abo, along with a center Kumander Falcon, were ordered arrested by the Sultan Kudarat Regional TrialCourt Branch 12, for various charges including murder, robbery, frustrated murder, kidnapping-for-ransom and kidnapping with homicide.
Manzano said two more persons were arrested during the operation.
Jaafar, meanwhile, said the police team serving the arrest warrant on his brother should have coordinated with the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG). He said his brother is a member of the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.
The MILF organization has yet to issue a statement regarding the police operation.
"You know if the government has a pending case and would want to conduct a law enforcement operation, there is a ceasefire mechanism that works for it, which [the] government and MILF[have] agreed on," Jaafar said.
Jaafar noted that incidents like these are among the "obstacles to the peace efforts and it's a problem."
Jaafar is a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee, which was formed to craft the new Bangsamoro enabling law.
The crafting of an enabling law is part of the implementation process of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Philippine government and the MILF in March2014.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año believed the incident would not affect the government ceasefire with the MILF.
“These are isolated incidents and there are mechanisms to channel the complaints and I’m sure the ceasefire committee will look into that,” he told reporters after the press conference. —GMA News

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