‘I Forget About the World:’ Afghan Youth Find Escape in a Video Game

The game’s cultlike following in Afghanistan inhabits a real-life version of its violent virtual reality.

#afghanistan, #computer-and-video-games, #kabul-afghanistan, #pubg-video-game, #taliban, #terrorism, #violence-media-and-entertainment, #youth

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Where the Pomegranate Harvest Is Life, the Taliban Brought Ruin

An incursion that devastated a prized crop shows the loss and uncertainty that many Afghans endure.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #agriculture-and-farming, #arghandab-district-afghanistan, #civilian-casualties, #mines-explosive, #pomegranates, #taliban, #terrorism

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The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of the Taliban

A Times correspondent reflects on what he’s learned from growing up with and reporting on the extremists in Afghanistan for some 25 years.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #kabul-afghanistan, #taliban

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Trump Is Said to Be Preparing to Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia

Facing the end of his time in power, the president is pushing to accelerate withdrawals from counterterrorism conflicts. He campaigned on ending the longstanding wars.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #al-qaeda, #defense-department, #iraq, #iraq-war-2003-11, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #obama-barack, #shabab, #somalia, #taliban, #terrorism, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Trump Pentagon Purge Could Accelerate His Goal to Pull Troops From Afghanistan

President Trump’s supporters hope he is the president to end America’s longest war.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #concerned-veterans-for-america, #defense-department, #esper-mark-t, #koch-charles-g, #miller-austin-scott-1961, #miller-christopher-c-1965, #national-counterterrorism-center, #obrien-robert-c-1952, #presidential-election-of-2020, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #veterans, #votevets-political-action-committee

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U.S. Troops Are Still Leaving, but Afghans Hope Biden Will Help

Afghans fear the Taliban are subverting the peace process, and hope a Biden administration will bring more accountability.

#afghan-national-army, #afghanistan-war-2001, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #harris-kamala-d, #new-york-times, #presidential-election-of-2020, #taliban, #terrorism

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An Afghan Mayor Expected to Die. Instead, She Lost Her Father.

Zarifa Ghafari, one of the few female mayors in Afghanistan, has been subjected to death threats and assassination attempts, and believes her father was gunned down because of her.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan-war-2001, #civilian-casualties, #ghani-ashraf, #kabul-university, #taliban, #targeted-killings, #terrorism

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On Afghan Highways, Even the Police Fear the Taliban’s Toll Collectors

As the U.S. retreats and peace talks stall, the Taliban have increasingly taken over Afghanistan’s highways, raising millions in unofficial taxes and strengthening their hand at the negotiating table.

#afghan-national-police, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #bribery-and-kickbacks, #extortion-and-blackmail, #helmand-province-afghanistan, #kabul-afghanistan, #roads-and-traffic, #taliban

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An Ancient Hill and Forgotten Dead: Afghanistan’s Haunted Outpost

Its name was Observation Post Rock. The outpost is the backdrop for a ghost story, and is known for strange voices, radio static and the creeping fear of being watched.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #helmand-province-afghanistan, #politics-and-government, #poppies, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-marine-corps

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Al Qaeda Feels Losses in Syria and Afghanistan but Stays Resilient

American drones and U.S. allies killed several Qaeda leaders and operatives in the past week. But the organization has “ingrained itself in local communities and conflicts,” according to the U.N.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #al-nusra-front, #al-qaeda, #bin-laden-osama, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-department, #drones-pilotless-planes, #hurras-al-din, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #khorasan, #national-counterterrorism-center, #national-directorate-of-security-afghanistan, #shabab, #somalia, #syria, #taliban, #targeted-killings, #united-nations, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-special-operations-command, #zawahri-ayman-al

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How an Afghan Political Crisis Derailed Payments to War Victims

Sometimes money is the only form of justice for those who lost loved ones in Afghanistan’s unending war.

#abdullah-abdullah, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #civilian-casualties, #ghani-ashraf, #kunduz-afghanistan, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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Deadly Explosion Hits Kabul Tutoring Center

At least 10 people were killed and 20 wounded in latest attack, which happened as peace talks are at an impasse and as violence rises across Afghanistan.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #civilian-casualties, #kabul-afghanistan, #taliban, #terrorism

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Trump Aide Insists U.S. Will Reduce Forces in Afghanistan to 2,500 Troops

The national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, reiterated a plan to draw down troops to 2,500 by early 2021, sidestepping President Trump’s call for a Christmas exit.

#afghanistan-war-2001, #bolton-john-r, #defense-department, #esper-mark-t, #joint-chiefs-of-staff, #milley-mark-a, #national-public-radio, #obrien-robert-c-1952, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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This Ex-Taliban Commander Is Now the Face of Afghan Security

Rahmatullah Andar once fought the government and then turned against the Taliban. Now he is a prominent spokesman, and his story is an example of the long war’s many plot twists.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #muslims-and-islam, #politics-and-government, #taliban, #terrorism, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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Top General Declines to Endorse Trump’s Afghan Withdrawal Timeline

The comments from Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came after the White House tripped over itself on the issue of Afghanistan troop levels in recent days.

#afghanistan-war-2001, #defense-department, #joint-chiefs-of-staff, #mattis-james-n, #presidential-election-of-2020, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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Taliban Test Afghan and U.S. Resolve in Talks by Attacking a City

The insurgents have opened an offensive against the capital of Helmand Province even as their negotiators remain at the table in Qatar.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #civilian-casualties, #helmand-province-afghanistan, #lashkar-gah-afghanistan, #qatar, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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In Former Taliban Stronghold, Defiant Women Hit the Gym

A women’s health club in Kandahar challenges conservative Afghan traditions that vilify exercise for women. Many work out secretly.

#exercise, #health-clubs, #kandahar-afghanistan, #taliban, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

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Trump’s Campaign Talk of Troop Withdrawals Doesn’t Match Military Reality

President Trump has brought home few American combat troops over all even as his pressure campaign against Iran risks a new Middle East conflict.

#afghanistan-war-2001, #al-qaeda, #iran, #iraq-war-2003-11, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #presidential-election-of-2020, #syria, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Data Shows Fewer Afghan Women Than Men Get Covid. That’s Bad News.

The number of women reported to have tested positive for the virus is so far below the male average that experts believe it is likely the result of gender inequalities that shut women out of the health care system.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #medicine-and-health, #taliban, #women-and-girls

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Whose Islam? The New Battle for Afghanistan

Finding common ground on the role of Islam is the most decisive task in the peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #constitutions, #doha-qatar, #ghani-ashraf, #muslims-and-islam, #taliban, #womens-rights

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In Proud Corners of Afghanistan, New Calls for Autonomy

In Panjshir, one of the last holdout regions against the Soviets and the Taliban, some would prefer to go their own way rather than support a government negotiating peace with the insurgency.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #fahim-muhammad-qasim, #ghani-ashraf, #northern-alliance, #politics-and-government, #taliban

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Her Study Center Was Bombed. She Still Topped Afghanistan’s National University Exam.

Shamsea Alizada’s story of persistence is a reminder of advances in girls’ education in Afghanistan — and their vulnerability as the government negotiates with the Taliban.

#afghanistan, #colleges-and-universities, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #shamsia-alizada, #taliban, #terrorism, #women-and-girls

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Killing of 2 Marines in 2011 Almost Derailed Afghan Peace Talks

Even as they pushed for the release of other Afghan prisoners as part of a deal with the Taliban, U.S. officials privately dug in over freeing a man who had killed Americans.

#afghan-national-police, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #prisons-and-prisoners, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-marine-corps

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Violent Attacks Plague Afghanistan as Peace Talks in Doha Slow

More than a dozen civilians are feared dead in an airstrike, as talks go on to finalize rules for negotiations.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #civilian-casualties, #doha-qatar, #taliban

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To Get to Afghan Talks, Lots of Last-Minute Deals — and Nose Swabs

Months of delays over issues as big as prisoner swaps and as small as haircuts, with extra coronavirus complications, made the Afghan flight to meet the Taliban no sure bet.

#abdullah-abdullah, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #doha-qatar, #taliban

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Afghanistan Peace Talks to Open in Qatar, Seeking End to Decades of War

The Afghan government and the Taliban are finally coming to the table, after repeated delays. But the violence continues, and the challenges are vast.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #doha-qatar, #ghani-ashraf, #khalilzad-zalmay, #taliban, #united-states-international-relations

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Afghan Vice President, Staunch Opponent of Taliban, Survives Blast

At least 10 bystanders were killed in the attack in Kabul, the second in just over a year aimed at the senior vice president, Amrullah Saleh.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #amrullah-saleh, #ghani-ashraf, #politics-and-government, #taliban, #terrorism, #united-states-international-relations

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Fighting Patriarchy, and Fearing Worse From the Taliban

A new generation of career-minded women in Afghanistan fear that all they have fought for will be swept away if the Taliban negotiate a return.

#afghan-national-police, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #discrimination, #kabul-afghanistan, #taliban, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

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Afghan Peace Talks Set to Begin as Prisoner Swap Is Nearly Done

Afghan officials say that the last of thousands of Taliban prisoners are set to be freed, and that talks with the insurgents in Qatar will start soon.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #prisons-and-prisoners, #taliban

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Taliban Violated Afghan Deal With Shelling of American Bases, U.S. Officials Say

Rockets that U.S. officials say were fired by the insurgent group have landed around two bases used by American forces. A Taliban commander denied involvement.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #al-qaeda, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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With Delay in Afghan Peace Talks, a Creeping Sense of ‘Siege’ Around Kabul

Instead of mass-casualty attacks, the Taliban are carrying out targeted assaults in the capital and neighboring districts. The country’s security forces seem unable to control them.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #assassinations-and-attempted-assassinations, #politics-and-government, #taliban, #terrorism

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Pompeo Says He and Military Warned Russia on Bounties for Killing U.S. Troops

The secretary of state’s acknowledgment came as a new detail surfaced about the intelligence that led to the C.I.A. assessment.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #azizi-rahmatullah, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-and-military-forces, #defense-department, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #gerasimov-valery-v, #gru-russia, #lavrov-sergey-v, #milley-mark-a, #passports, #pompeo-mike, #russia, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Afghanistan to Investigate Video Showing Forces Mutilating Taliban Corpses

Many fear the video and other inflammatory clips circulating on social media will fuel revenge-taking long after any peace deal.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #defense-and-military-forces, #politics-and-government, #taliban, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #zabul-province-afghanistan

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Afghanistan to Release Last Taliban Prisoners, Removing Final Hurdle to Talks

The decision clears the way for the last of 5,000 insurgents to be freed. President Ashraf Ghani announced the release after convening an assembly of 3,000 representatives to seek their advice.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #ghani-ashraf, #kabul-afghanistan, #politics-and-government, #pompeo-mike, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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Pompeo Warned Russia Against Bounties on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is said to have sternly discussed payouts and red lines in a telephone call with Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister.

#afghanistan-war-2001, #central-intelligence-agency, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #lavrov-sergey-v, #national-security-council, #pompeo-mike, #putin-vladimir-v, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #shaheen-jeanne, #state-department, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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More U.S. Troops Will Leave Afghanistan Before the Election, Trump Says

The president’s assertion undercuts diplomats who have said withdrawals will depend on the Taliban’s commitment to its peace deal with the United States.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #axios-media-inc, #defense-department, #presidential-election-of-2020, #taliban, #terrorism, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Jailbreak Attack by ISIS Rages On in Eastern Afghanistan

Officials scrambled to recapture hundreds of prisoners after a car bombing at the 1,500-inmate prison in Jalalabad turned into an ongoing gun battle between militants and guards.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan-war-2001, #crime-and-criminals, #deaths-fatalities, #ghani-ashraf, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #jalalabad-afghanistan, #prison-escapes, #taliban, #terrorism

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Militants Attack Afghan Prison as Brief Cease-Fire Expires

The Islamic State reportedly took responsibility for an assault at a time when releasing insurgents from prisons has become a major issue in the Afghan peace process.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #jalalabad-afghanistan, #prison-escapes, #taliban

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Trump Still Defers to Putin, Even as He Dismisses U.S. Intelligence and the Allies

Say this about President Trump’s approach to Moscow: It’s been consistent.

#afghanistan-war-2001, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #democratic-national-committee, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #germany, #internet-research-agency-russia, #justice-department, #national-security-agency, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations

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In Afghanistan, a Rarely Seen Anti-Tank Weapon Destroys a Helicopter

Another Afghan helicopter was hit in January by an anti-tank guided missile in southern Afghanistan, in a swath of territory long contested by the Taliban.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #arms-trade, #civilian-casualties, #ghani-ashraf, #helicopters, #helmand-province-afghanistan, #iran, #missiles-and-missile-defense-systems, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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Taliban Executes Female Prison Guard, and U.N. Raises Concern Over Afghan Violence

The guard was abducted while traveling to her home village and later killed. The United Nations says civilians continue to bear the brunt of the Afghan conflict.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #civilian-casualties, #ghazni-province-afghanistan, #kidnapping-and-hostages, #taliban, #terrorism, #united-nations

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A Girl’s Heroic Battle Against the Taliban Was Also a Family Feud

A teenage Afghan girl was celebrated for killing Taliban who attacked her home. But the story of her heroism is steeped in pain, and reveals the complicated crosscurrents of the Afghan War.

#afghanistan, #ghor-province-afghanistan, #helmand-province-afghanistan, #taliban, #women-and-girls

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$174 Million Afghan Drone Program Is Riddled With Problems, U.S. Report Says

Overhead surveillance is critical to fighting the Taliban, but the American military’s effort to equip Afghan forces has fallen short, according to an independent watchdog.

#afghan-national-army, #afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #defense-and-military-forces, #defense-department, #drones-pilotless-planes, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Three Marines, Now Focus of Russian Bounties Investigation, Show the Costs of an Endless War

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan is now described as training, advising and assisting Afghan troops. But American forces are still patrolling areas that are as deadly as they were in 2001.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #bagram-air-base-afghanistan, #fire-department-nyc, #hendriks-robert-a-1976-2019, #hines-benjamin-s, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #russia, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #slutman-christopher-k-a-1976-2019, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-marine-corps

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How Russia Built a Channel to the Taliban, Once an Enemy

The recent assessment that Russia paid bounties to the insurgents to attack U.S. troops stunned many, but officials said the Kremlin’s outreach began almost a decade ago.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #al-qaeda, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #taliban, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations

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Trump’s Shocking Inaction on Russia

Neglecting aggression by Vladimir Putin inevitably invites more of it.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #al-qaeda, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-department, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #mattis-james-n, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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Congress Presses Military Leaders on Suspected Russian Bounties

Two House hearings grappled with a C.I.A. assessment that Russia offered payments to kill American troops in Afghanistan — and White House inaction on the months-old judgment.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #central-intelligence-agency, #classified-information-and-state-secrets, #defense-department, #esper-mark-t, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #gru-russia, #milley-mark-a, #morell-michael-j, #national-counterterrorism-center, #national-security-agency, #russia, #russian-interference-in-2016-us-elections-and-ties-to-trump-associates, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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New Administration Memo Seeks to Foster Doubts About Suspected Russian Bounties

Criticized for its inaction, the Trump administration commissioned a new look at a months-old intelligence assessment. It emphasizes gaps.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-and-military-forces, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #gru-russia, #national-intelligence-council, #national-security-agency, #ratcliffe-john-lee-1965, #russia, #taliban, #targeted-killings, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Bounties Uproar Casts a Shadow Over a Rare Trump Foreign Policy Achievement

The president was already impatient to end a troop deployment in Afghanistan he has called “ridiculous.” Now a new issue is causing him fresh political damage.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #bolton-john-r, #pompeo-mike, #russia, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Afghan Contractor Handed Out Russian Cash to Kill Americans, Officials Say

A small-time businessman became a key middleman for bounties on coalition troops in Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence reports say. Friends saw him grow rich, but didn’t know how.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #gru-russia, #russia, #taliban, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces

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