U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Kabul on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States’ longest war.
And then with regard to a withdrawal of forces, as we've always said, that it'll be conditions based but we're confident that we can go down to 8600 without affecting our CT operations if you will." But Esper's mission to help end America's longest war is overshadowed by Trump's sudden decision to pull U.S. troops from the battlefield in Syria, raising questions about Washington's commitment to its allies.
Esper told reporters that the nearly 1,000 American troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARK ESPER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, SAYING: "Certainly will be discussed at a military level is what does the next phase of the counter ISIS campaign look like.
And and I know that's a top concern of mine.
Second only to protection of our forces coming out of Syria." That pullout stranded several thousand Syrian Kurdish fighters who had lead the ground campaign retaking territory from Islamic State in Syria.
Those Kurds were left to face a military onslaught from Turkey, which views to the Kurdish fighters as terrorists.
Last week Ankara agreed to a Washington-brokered five-day cease-fire to allow the Kurds to pull back from the Syrian border with Turkey.
Esper told reporters on Saturday quote: "I think overall the ceasefire generally seems to be holding, we see a stabilization of the lines, if you will, on the ground, and we do get reports of intermittent fires, this and that, that doesn't surprise me necessarily." On Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted what appeared to be an embellished version of that quote, calling the defense chief "Mark Esperanto," and adding, "USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones.
We have secured the oil.
Bringing soldiers home!" Reuters Pentagon correspondent Idrees Ali tweeted in response, "I'm not sure who Trump is referring to, but I'm traveling with Defense Secretary Esper and can't recall the quote Trump is using.
While speaking with us en route to Afghanistan, Esper also made no mention of new areas being resettled with Kurds or oil." In a subsequent tweet Trump corrected the spelling of the defense secretary's name, and took out the part about the soldiers coming home.
[NFA] A day after President Donald Trump accused the U.S. military brass of wanting to fight wars to keep weapons makers happy, the Army's top general said on Tuesday leaders of the armed forces would recommend sending troops into combat only when it is in American national security interests or as a last resort. This report produced by Chris Dignam.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday contradicted President Donald Trump's earlier claim as to the cause of the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. CNN reports Esper said 'most believe' that the explosion 'was an accident, as reported.' On Tuesday evening, Trump called it 'a terrible attack.' It's known that about 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored at a port warehouse for the past six years.
The U.S. military unveiled details of its plans on Wednesday to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany following a decision by President Donald Trump. The U.S. said it plans to keep nearly half of them in Europe to address poterntial tensions with Russia. Adam Reed reports.
Not for the first time, President Donald Trump erupted late last week. This time it was in response to a move made by Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Esper had issued a new military-wide directive that was a de facto ban on the display of the Confederate flag. CNN reports sources say Trump was fuming over Esper's carefully worded memo that did not mention the flag by name. However, he effectively banned it from being flown on military installations by not naming it.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has have served exactly one year in his role, but according to CNN, the last few months have been the toughest. Defense officials say Esper has had to focus on preventing President Donald Trump from endangering national security or demoralizing military troops. According to CNN, Esper's numerous conflicts with the Trump administration have begun to spill out in public.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at her home inWashington aged 87, setting off a likely intense debate over the appointmentof her replacement. A diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion whobecame the court’s second female justice, Ms Ginsburg died of complicationsfrom metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said. Her death little more thansix weeks before Election Day is expected to spark a heated battle overwhether President Donald Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senateshould confirm, her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until theoutcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known.
Credit: PA - Press Association STUDIO Duration: 01:00Published
[NFA] Voters in Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming began casting in-person ballots on Friday. In Virginia, elections officials in Fairfax and Arlington counties reported heavy turnout, with lines out the door. This report produced by Jillian Kitchener.
Afghan government representatives and Taliban insurgents met on Saturday to begin historic peace talks aimed at ending two decades of war that has killed tens of thousands of combatants and civilians. Adam Reed reports.
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on September 12 said that no part of Afghanistan is untouched by India's 400-plus development projects. He was addressing the conference on Afghan peace negotiations in Qatar's Doha. "The friendship of our people is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. No part of Afghanistan is untouched by our 400-plus development projects. Confident that this civilizational relationship will continue to grow," said Jaishankar.
Around 138 Sikh families from Afghanistan have been relocated in Delhi. They are currently staying in Gurudwaras that are run by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee."It's been 16 days here. I lost my parents and brother in bomb blast. We left everything including our houses," said Balbir Singh, Afghan migrant. "There are 138 persons in 31 rooms here. We are providing them with all the basic amenities to live. We are taking take of them as family," said Harjit S Bedi, Chief Vice Chancellor, Motibagh Gurudwara. Sikhs started returning following Kabul bomb blast, which claimed 25 lives.
Boasting of his 'great intel,' US President Donald J. Trump told Russian officials in 2017 about an ISIS plot so classified that he risked exposing the source. In the same year, Trump revealed to the Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte that the US had positioned submarines near North Korea. That information had previously been so closely held that even some inside the White House were caught by surprise.
Amid a deadly pandemic, devastating wildfires, racial unrest and a polarizing political divide, the U.S. honored those who died in a tragedy 19 years ago during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Lisa Bernhard produced this report.
The military is downsizing its presence in Iraq from 5000 to 3200 troops, as the local military takes over security operations against remnants of the Islamic State militant group. Caroline Malone reports.