US Military – 20th CVETSMEM http://20thcvetsmem.org/ Fri, 30 Apr 2021 09:46:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 https://20thcvetsmem.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/default1.png US Military – 20th CVETSMEM http://20thcvetsmem.org/ 32 32 What happens to the Afghan army after the departure of the American forces? : NPR https://20thcvetsmem.org/what-happens-to-the-afghan-army-after-the-departure-of-the-american-forces-npr/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/what-happens-to-the-afghan-army-after-the-departure-of-the-american-forces-npr/#respond Fri, 30 Apr 2021 09:00:18 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/what-happens-to-the-afghan-army-after-the-departure-of-the-american-forces-npr/ Afghan General Sami Sadat (left) greets U.S. General Scott Miller, leader of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan in southern Helmand province, earlier this month. US and NATO forces are pulling out within months, raising questions about how the Afghan army will behave on its own against the Taliban. “For the past year, the Afghan forces […]]]>


Afghan General Sami Sadat (left) greets U.S. General Scott Miller, leader of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan in southern Helmand province, earlier this month. US and NATO forces are pulling out within months, raising questions about how the Afghan army will behave on its own against the Taliban. “For the past year, the Afghan forces have held their position fairly well,” Sadat said.

Courtesy of General Sami Sadat


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Courtesy of General Sami Sadat


Afghan General Sami Sadat (left) greets U.S. General Scott Miller, leader of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan in southern Helmand province, earlier this month. US and NATO forces are pulling out within months, raising questions about how the Afghan army will behave on its own against the Taliban. “For the past year, the Afghan forces have held their position fairly well,” Sadat said.

Courtesy of General Sami Sadat

Just days ago, Afghan General Sami Sadat and his troops led a night raid against the Taliban in southern Helmand province, a flat desert dotted with mud houses and farm fields.

“I was there for eight hours, I released up to 50 prisoners, killed a group of Taliban,” he told Mary Louise Kelly of NPR from his headquarters. “We occupied the Musa Qala bazaar for seven hours and it was all an Afghan plan, the Afghan intelligence service, the Afghan air force and one of our special forces units.”

Sadat is only 35 years old and barely a teenager when British troops fought in the same area in 2006, pushing back the Taliban, digging up roadside bombs and killing many people. Musa Qala has been described as “bathed in British blood”. The US Marines came a few years later, confronting the same tough and resilient enemy before withdrawing in 2014 and ceding control to the Afghans.

The Taliban then returned. And Sadat, who trained with British soldiers in England and Marines in the United States, is now doing exactly what they have been doing for the past 15 years.

“We start our day by digging up a lot of (bombs) on the roads and then contacting (the army) with the Taliban,” he said. “The Taliban are trying to establish illegal checkpoints and charge traders and passengers as they pass.”

A recently released report by Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko found that officers like Sadat face even more attacks from the Taliban, which rose 37% from January to the end of March, compared to at the same time last year.

That’s not all. Sopko found that insider attacks – where Afghan soldiers and police attack their own – increased 82 percent from last year, with 115 killed and 39 injured. Overall, the casualties of the Afghan security forces are “significantly higher” than last year, according to the report, although neither the Afghans nor the Americans are willing to release precise figures.

Working independently

If there is one bright spot in the report, it is the ability of the Afghan army to conduct operations without US support. Independent operations such as Sadat’s Night Raid have nearly doubled over the past year.

“Suddenly we saw American forces not at our table every morning to help us, mentor us or advise us,” Sadat said in his interview with NPR. “It was all on its own and to be honest over the past year the Afghan forces have held their ground pretty well.”

What is uncertain is whether the Afghan army will be able to cope with the departure of some 2,500 American and 7,000 NATO troops, as well as 17,000 contractors, including 6,000 Americans. . It is these contractors who maintain the Afghan vehicles and aircraft used in this night raid in Musa Qala.

U.S. officials promise to stand by the Afghan government and security forces after the pullout, continuing financial aid that includes $ 88 billion spent on security forces since 2002, of which $ 3 billion this year.

“The president has given us a new mission,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters earlier this month during a meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels. “Responsibly reduce our forces and move on to a new relationship with our Afghan partners.” And we will continue to support them in these efforts. We will seek to continue funding key capabilities such as the Afghan Air Force and the Special Mission Wing, and we will seek to continue paying the salaries of the Afghan security forces. “

But Austin didn’t explain how it would turn out once all U.S. and NATO forces and contractors leave the country.

Afghan army commandos are training at Shorab military camp in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan in 2017. With the departure of US and NATO forces in the coming months, the forces Afghan women will have to face the Taliban without the support of Western countries.

Massoud Hossaini / AP


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Massoud Hossaini / AP


Afghan army commandos are training at Shorab military camp in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan in 2017. With the departure of US and NATO forces in the coming months, the forces Afghan women will have to face the Taliban without the support of Western countries.

Massoud Hossaini / AP

Critical maintenance

At present, contractors provide almost all maintenance and training for the Afghan Air Force and most of the Afghan Army ground vehicles. According to the report of the special inspector general, without the support of a contractor, “no cell can be maintained as effective in combat for more than a few months”.

Even with the help of a contractor, there are problems for the Afghan Air Force. It has 167 devices, of which 136 can be used, down 24 from the previous quarter.

So what is the American plan to help?

“We are looking at alternatives to help the Afghans and their remote maintenance efforts,” General Frank McKenzie, the top US commander for the Middle East region, recently told reporters. “I don’t want to downplay this problem or, you know, make it look easier than it will be.”

“We will certainly try to do whatever we can,” he added, “from remote locations to help the Afghans maintain the aircraft and the other platforms that – that will be essential for the combat that awaits them. “

But what if a Humvee breaks down in Helmand Province, will it go to another country? And what about airplanes?

“The plane is probably a little easier,” he says. “Aircraft maintenance is usually done in a centralized location. We might be able to work remotely and on TV to do it. We want them to be successful, this remains a very high priority, so we will look for ways. innovative ways to do that, we’re still working on them right now, but I recognize that it will be much more difficult to do once you get out of the country. “

For his part, General Sadat is optimistic about the way forward.

“We will beat the odds. We always have,” he said. “Now call me an optimist, but that’s what I am. You know that’s what I serve. That’s why I chose the worst place in Afghanistan to take command and lead.”



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Key US, Japanese and South Korean military leaders meet, highlighting US passage to Asia https://20thcvetsmem.org/key-us-japanese-and-south-korean-military-leaders-meet-highlighting-us-passage-to-asia/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/key-us-japanese-and-south-korean-military-leaders-meet-highlighting-us-passage-to-asia/#respond Fri, 30 Apr 2021 05:13:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/key-us-japanese-and-south-korean-military-leaders-meet-highlighting-us-passage-to-asia/ Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to two of its closest allies in Asia, including its readiness to provide deterrence backed by the “full spectrum” of US military capabilities. While a reading from the trilateral meeting makes no explicit mention of China, the reference to the importance of a “rules-based […]]]>


Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to two of its closest allies in Asia, including its readiness to provide deterrence backed by the “full spectrum” of US military capabilities.

While a reading from the trilateral meeting makes no explicit mention of China, the reference to the importance of a “rules-based international order” and America’s readiness to provide “extensive deterrence” supported by a “full spectrum” of military capabilities is clearly oriented. to what the Pentagon has called the “pace challenge” and the “near-peer competitor” of the country.

In their first face-to-face meeting since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Milley and other senior military officials in the region also raised concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The meeting between the military leaders underlines the passage of the Biden administration from the wars of the last 20 years to the competition of the future. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s first international trip in mid-March was to meet his South Korean and Japanese counterparts. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited the White House two weeks ago, while South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due to visit next month.

President Joe Biden, in his first address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, made the confrontation with China and what he dubbed its “unfair trade practices” a top priority. In conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said he would protect US interests and pledged to maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific region “not to start conflict, but to prevent conflict.”

The meeting comes as the White House has officially recognized the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. At this point, less than 100 of the 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan have left the country, but military equipment and departing service members signal the Biden administration’s determination to leave the country by September 11.

“After 20 years of American bravery and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home,” Biden said Wednesday.

In early March, the Pentagon set up a task force on China to better understand how to meet the challenge that the world’s most populous country poses to the US military. The task force, which is part of the Pentagon’s Global Posture Review, is led by Ely Ratner, Biden’s choice to head the Pentagon’s Asia office.



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Osaka Sets New Coronavirus Record In One Day; US military cases decline – Pacific https://20thcvetsmem.org/osaka-sets-new-coronavirus-record-in-one-day-us-military-cases-decline-pacific/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/osaka-sets-new-coronavirus-record-in-one-day-us-military-cases-decline-pacific/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 09:50:31 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/osaka-sets-new-coronavirus-record-in-one-day-us-military-cases-decline-pacific/ Osaka Sets New Coronavirus Record In One Day; US military cases are declining Stars and Stripes is making articles on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See more staff and son stories here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription. TOKYO – Six other people in […]]]>


Osaka Sets New Coronavirus Record In One Day; US military cases are declining

Stars and Stripes is making articles on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See more staff and son stories here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.

TOKYO – Six other people in the U.S. military in Japan and South Korea have contracted the coronavirus since April 22, according to information released at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

In Japan, the spring coronavirus outbreak continued in the country’s two largest metropolitan areas. Tokyo reported that 925 people had tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to public broadcaster NHK. This is the highest one-day tally since 1025 on Jan. 28, according to metro government data.

Osaka Prefecture, Japan’s second largest metropolitan area, reported 1,260 newly infected people and confirmed 14 deaths on Wednesday, according to NHK. This is a new one-day high in the prefecture where the previous record was set at 1242 on April 21, according to prefectural data.

Both metropolitan areas are subject to emergency measures authorized by the national government until May 11, including the closure of shopping malls, cinemas, amusement parks and restaurants serving alcohol. Trains and buses in Tokyo operate at reduced times. Employees are invited to telecommute.

U.S. military personnel, including civilian employees and family members, are generally prohibited from out-of-service travel in Osaka and Tokyo, with a few exceptions. Yokota Air Base allows its population to travel throughout Japan, but requires permission from a squadron commander or equivalent to travel to Osaka and the neighboring prefectures of Hyogo and Kyoto.

U.S. commands in Japan reported five new COVID-19 patients on Wednesday and U.S. forces in Korea reported one.

The U.S. military in Japan, based at Camp Zama, 26 miles southeast of Tokyo, reported in a new statement that four people tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus respiratory disease, between the 22nd. April and Wednesday.

Two were already quarantined after their recent arrival in Japan, and the other two fell ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and were immediately quarantined, according to the military.

The Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, 26 miles southwest of Hiroshima, has welcomed a new COVID-19 patient, according to a Facebook post on Wednesday. The individual, recently arrived at the air station, tested positive for the test required to come out of quarantine.

U.S. forces in Korea reported that a soldier at Camp Humphreys, the country’s largest U.S. facility, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. The soldier was examined before traveling outside of South Korea and is now quarantined on the base, according to a press release from the USFK.

South Korea, like Japan, has its highest number of new cases since January.

The central disease control headquarters reported 775 newly infected people on Wednesday. The total number of new cases in one day has exceeded 700 in five of the past seven days, according to the World Health Organization. Five percent of the country’s population has received a dose of a vaccine, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The USFK, like its counterpart in Japan, stands ready to resume inoculating its population with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a command spokesperson said via email on Wednesday.

The Defense Health Agency and the Department of Defense re-approved the J&J one shot vaccine on Wednesday after a two-week hiatus caused by a handful of rare but serious blood clots, USFK spokesperson said on Wednesday. Colonel Lee Peters, in an email to Stars and Stripes. USFK commander Gen. Robert Abrams is also due to sign, Peters said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on Friday recommended lifting the break after reviewing these cases.

“We will strictly follow FDA, CDC and DOD guidelines to include information on the rare risks of blood clots and low platelet levels associated with this vaccine,” said Peters. “USFK has currently vaccinated 60% of our eligible population, and resuming delivery of the J&J vaccine will increase our vaccinated population and protect our affiliate community, both USFK and [South Korea]. “

Stars and Stripes reporter Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this report.

ditzler.joseph@stripes.com
Twitter: @JosephDitzler





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Military housing finds new life with condominium development and prison camp https://20thcvetsmem.org/military-housing-finds-new-life-with-condominium-development-and-prison-camp/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/military-housing-finds-new-life-with-condominium-development-and-prison-camp/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/military-housing-finds-new-life-with-condominium-development-and-prison-camp/ It occupies 114 acres of land below Arrowhead Road, accessible from Selfridge Drive. For a short time, the family of 5th District Councilor Janet Kennedy made their home in Capehart. Her late father, William Arnold Kennedy, a Korean War veteran, served in the Air Force. She said it was this service that brought her family […]]]>


It occupies 114 acres of land below Arrowhead Road, accessible from Selfridge Drive.

For a short time, the family of 5th District Councilor Janet Kennedy made their home in Capehart. Her late father, William Arnold Kennedy, a Korean War veteran, served in the Air Force. She said it was this service that brought her family and many other people of color to Duluth.

“We have a lot of families of African descent who are here just for this reason. They were military migrants, ”Kennedy said. “There was a feeling of community. We were all fairly connected through the air base.

This photo of an Air Force plane flying over Duluth was taken in the 1960s or 1970s. (File / News Tribune)


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When the Air Force closed its base in Duluth in 1982, Capehart emptied itself. The closure of the base, combined with the deactivation of a local computer air defense operation, cut an estimated 1,375 jobs and dealt an economic blow to the community at a time when it was already reeling from the US decision. Steel Corp. to close its factory in Gary-New Duluth. The Duluth base had an annual payroll of around $ 30 million.

In “Locating Air Force Base Sites: History’s Legacy,” Frederick J. Shaw wrote that Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara “has emphasized efficiency and waste reduction in the defense establishment. », During his tenure from 1961 to 1968.

“Coupled with changing defense needs based on technological developments in weapon systems and a new strategic direction under President John F. Kennedy, this emphasis has led to massive base closures not seen since the end of the United States. WWII, ”Shaw noted. From 1961 to 1972, the number of US Air Force installations in the continental United States increased from 152 to 112.

Duluth Base survived these cuts, but was one of the few additional Air Force bases to close in the 1980s, joining the ranks of Fort Lee, Va. And Hancock Field, New York.

Despite the departure of the US Air Force, the 148th Air National Guard Fighter Wing maintained a military presence in Duluth.

After the base closed, the University of Minnesota Duluth briefly converted Capehart into student housing, but in 1986 the school was outbid by a New Hampshire businessman, who offered $ 3.9 million to purchase the property from the General Service Administration of the United States government.

After beautifying the premises, the new owner took over Capehart in 1989 as Aspenwood, one of the city’s first condominium projects.

The barracks off US Highway 53 that previously housed around 100 airmen in Duluth also found new life in 1983, when the facility was converted to a minimum security federal prison camp.

Duluth Federal Correctional Camp.  (Photo courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons)

Duluth Federal Correctional Camp. (Photo courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons)



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Will Chinese policies in Afghanistan change after the US military withdrawal? https://20thcvetsmem.org/will-chinese-policies-in-afghanistan-change-after-the-us-military-withdrawal/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/will-chinese-policies-in-afghanistan-change-after-the-us-military-withdrawal/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 06:09:20 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/will-chinese-policies-in-afghanistan-change-after-the-us-military-withdrawal/ Afghan security forces in December dismantled an alleged Chinese spy network that was operating in Kabul and trying to infiltrate terrorist networks in the country. The Afghan government has said little about the issue besides acknowledging the arrests. Beijing has publicly denied having any knowledge of the group’s activities. But Afghan officials later told reporters […]]]>


Afghan security forces in December dismantled an alleged Chinese spy network that was operating in Kabul and trying to infiltrate terrorist networks in the country.

The Afghan government has said little about the issue besides acknowledging the arrests. Beijing has publicly denied having any knowledge of the group’s activities.

But Afghan officials later told reporters the spy cell had been operating in the country for seven years and was seeking help from the Haqqani Network – a Pakistan-backed Islamist group linked to the Taliban – in tracking down Uyghur groups. operating. in Afghanistan.

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The incident offers a glimpse into Beijing’s complex political and economic interests in Afghanistan as it braces for the fallout from US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from the country. Other NATO countries will follow Washington’s lead and withdraw by September 11.

“China Fears Potential Instability In Afghanistan That Could Seriously Affect China’s Security [at home]Najib Azad, a former spokesperson for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who currently heads the BAWAR movement, told RFE / RL. “But we saw China’s low profile vis-à-vis Afghanistan [take on] a more proactive stance. “

Most of Beijing’s interests in Afghanistan center on creating political stability and reducing violence in the war-torn country, but the prospect of an American withdrawal before the 20th anniversary of the 11 terrorist attacks. September places these two pillars in a stake.

China shares a 76-kilometer border with Afghanistan and has preferred a low-key approach to its volatile neighbor, although this has slowly changed in recent years as Beijing’s footprint in the country has grown more complex.

As evidenced by this spy network, which broke down at the end of last year, China fears that Afghanistan will become a safe haven for Uyghur radicals and other fundamentalists angered by Beijing’s repressive policy towards Muslim ethnic minorities in the country. Xinjiang to launch a cross-border insurgency.

Hoping to contain the country’s precarious security situation, China has formed an Afghan brigade near its border and also set up a military outpost in Tajikistan to monitor and gather intelligence on Uighurs based in Afghanistan.

Beijing has also stepped up diplomatic efforts by hosting official meetings between the Taliban and Afghan government officials and welcomed public visits by senior Taliban leaders.

Support for political reconciliation was reaffirmed on April 25 when Wang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan, told reporters that the peace process was at a “critical moment” and that Beijing was determined to play a constructive role. in the stabilization of the country.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (left), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (center) and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif attend a joint press conference after the first foreign ministers' dialogue China-Afghanistan-Pakistan in Beijing in 2017.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (left), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (center) and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif attend a joint press conference after the first foreign ministers’ dialogue China-Afghanistan-Pakistan in Beijing in 2017.

“China’s main concern is security, especially its own security,” Ayesha Siddiqa, associate researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, told RFE / RL. “Beijing does not want to replace the United States in Afghanistan, but it is clear that a lot of chaos is about to emerge and that leaves it with very unattractive options.”

Evolving interests

Afghanistan was not originally part of the plans for the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s multibillion-dollar global infrastructure project, with Chinese policymakers viewing the security situation as too volatile.

But that quickly changed as Beijing sought to tie Afghanistan to its broader plans for the region through the $ 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a package of Pakistan-based investment projects.

China has also found itself drawn to Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, with Chinese companies announcing multibillion-dollar investments in copper mining and oil exploration.

Afghanistan has vast mineral deposits, but since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 the sector has been seen as the potential backbone of a post-war economy – and still is by policymakers in Kabul. . But few large mining companies will risk venturing into this war-torn country.

Chinese state-owned Metallurgical Group Corporation won a $ 3 billion, 30-year concession in 2008 to mine Mes Aynak, a massive copper deposit south of Kabul, as well as oil and gas blocks in the north.

But those plans have largely stalled due to security concerns, and the dormant mine is believed to be a source of tension between Beijing and Kabul.

“[This] does not mean that China has forgotten the vast underground wealth of Afghanistan, [Beijing] just knows it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, ”Torek Farhadi, an independent analyst and former adviser on Afghanistan to the IMF and the United Nations, told RFE / RL.

Faced with consolidating its investments and protecting its long-standing security concerns, China faces a difficult road as it prepares for the departure of US forces from Afghanistan.

US President Joe Biden speaks about the withdrawal of the rest of US troops from Afghanistan at the White House on April 14.

US President Joe Biden speaks about the withdrawal of the rest of US troops from Afghanistan at the White House on April 14.

Raffaello Pantucci, associate researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said Beijing will seek to exert increased influence in the country, but remains extremely cautious not to get too entangled in the chaos of Afghanistan, which Chinese policymakers consider. like a quagmire that will not improve. anytime soon.

“The general view is that Afghanistan is probably causing more problems than it is worth,” Pantucci told RFE / RL. “So unless things calm down, Beijing will seek to keep the country’s problems at bay.”

Still, Pantucci warns that China could find itself increasingly embroiled in Afghanistan’s future, whether it wants to play a crucial role or not.

“The problem is, China has a very different position in the world today than it was when the war in Afghanistan started, which means it has to be a big player in its backyard.” , did he declare. “They may find themselves absorbed in issues and problems and feel compelled to intervene.”

On tiptoe in the new Afghanistan

The withdrawal of US forces also opens the door for other powers to exert more influence in Afghanistan, particularly Pakistan and Iran.

Tehran has long hailed the departure of foreign forces from Afghanistan, while Islamabad has long played a dominant role in shaping its neighbor’s affairs and its intelligence services have close ties to the Taliban leadership.

For China, this presents both opportunities and threats. Beijing maintains close ties with Iran and Pakistan, but overlapping interests in Afghanistan complicate those ties.

Pakistan is believed to have a large network of spies and proxies in Afghanistan, and despite a generally warm relationship with China, Islamabad pursues its own independent policy, both wooing the Taliban rulers and cooperating with the United States.

Tehran might be more willing to work with its Chinese counterparts in Afghanistan than Islamabad, Siddiqa said. Pakistan remains suspicious of the Chinese authorities who lead their own action with the insurgents and develop its own power base in the country, which will let Beijing tread cautiously in Afghanistan.

“This means that China is not so confident in Pakistan,” Siddiqa said. “Depending on how the links with [Iran and Pakistan] to develop, China will be on tiptoe in Afghanistan. “



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The US military has already successfully used a medium to locate a lost aircraft https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-us-military-has-already-successfully-used-a-medium-to-locate-a-lost-aircraft/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-us-military-has-already-successfully-used-a-medium-to-locate-a-lost-aircraft/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:17:11 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-us-military-has-already-successfully-used-a-medium-to-locate-a-lost-aircraft/ When Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, the Marines were one of the first units to respond. On February 23, 1991, the I Marine Expeditionary Force controlled two reinforced maritime divisions ready to strike Iraqi forces in Kuwait. Facing the Marines were two massive minefields and a dozen Iraqi divisions. In the run-up to […]]]>


When Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, the Marines were one of the first units to respond. On February 23, 1991, the I Marine Expeditionary Force controlled two reinforced maritime divisions ready to strike Iraqi forces in Kuwait.


Facing the Marines were two massive minefields and a dozen Iraqi divisions.

In the run-up to the invasion, the Marines worked hard to find gaps in the minefield that they could drill through. They also frequently clashed with Iraqi forces in artillery raids and during preemption. Battle of Khafji.

The Marines of Company D, 2nd Tank Battalion, drive their M-60A1 Main Battle Tank over a sand berm on Hill 231 while rehearsing their role as part of Task Force Breach Alpha during Operation Storm of the desert. (Photo by the Ministry of Defense)

This battle convinced the Marines that the task at hand might not be as daunting as they might have suspected. The Marines carried out the Iraqis lacked aggression and coordination, and if they were badly hit, they would retreat.

But before that could happen, they still had to find a way through the minefields. The commanders of the two marine divisions had their own ideas of how this would play out.

1st The Maritime Division, commanded by Major General Mike Myatt, was divided into four task forces – Ripper, Papa Bear, Taro and Grizzly. Two task forces would clear the tracks through the minefields before letting the other two pass to carry out the attack.

Bothnd The Maritime Division, commanded by Major General William Keys, had a different plan. Keys ordered the Division to break through the minefields before storming Kuwait to meet the Iraqis.

The US military has already successfully used a medium to locate a lost aircraft
An Iraqi T-55 main battle tank burns after an attack by the UK 1st Armored Division during Operation Desert Storm. (Photo Creative Commons)

Even before the ground war began, Special Forces Marines Taro and Grizzly would infiltrate Kuwait and through the minefield in order to take blocking positions when the invasions began.

Then, on February 24, 1991 at 4:30 a.m. local time, the invasion officially began. 1st The Marine Division’s two task forces, Ripper and Papa Bear, began their assaults through the gaps provided by Taro and Grizzly.

On their flank, the 2nd Marine Division, supplemented by the 2 of the US Armynd Armored Division 1st Brigade, began breaching the minefield. Loads of demining line and tanks equipped with plows pushed their way through the mines.

As the Marines cleared the minefields, they prepared to engage Iraqi forces. However, instead of immediate combat, they were faced with waves of surrendering Iraqi soldiers.

Unable to cope with the large number of prisoners of war and with targets to achieve, they simply pointed the Iraqis back and continued on their way.

On the first day, the Marines encountered only light resistance and captured all of their targets.

The US military has already successfully used a medium to locate a lost aircraft
Oil well fires rage outside Kuwait City in the wake of Operation Desert Storm. The wells were set on fire by Iraqi forces before being evicted from the region by coalition force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt David McLeod)

However, the next day, February 25, the Iraqis launched forceful counterattacks against the Marines’ positions.

Using the burning Burqan oil fields as a cover-up, the Iraqis were able to infiltrate very close to the Marines before launching their attacks.

The sudden appearance of an Iraqi brigade on the Navy’s flank caused a stir. 1st The TF Papa Bear tank battalion bore the brunt of the Iraqi advance. The Navy Commander reported, “T-62s everywhere, scattering like cockroaches from the Burqan oilfield.”

As the Navy’s M60 Patton tanks engaged the Iraqis, daring Navy aviators came low in the smoke to detonate the Iraqi tanks with Hellfire missiles. In three and a half hours of heavy fighting, the Marines drove out the Iraqis by destroying 75 armored vehicles.

On the other flank of TF Papa Bear, another Iraqi force was massing to attack the 1st Forward command post of the Maritime Division. An infantry platoon and another of LAV-25 commanded by Cpt. Eddie Ray was all that kept the PC.

When artillery shells started to rain around the Marines Ray ran forward to assess the situation. What he discovered was a numerically superior Iraqi force of tanks and armored personnel carriers approaching their position.

Ray’s small force immediately began engaging the Iraqis as they made their way to the CP. Seeing the attack develop, Brig. General Draude, deputy commander of the division, joked, “If I die today, my wife will kill me.”

Another officer quickly called in reinforcements from TF Ripper and I MEF headquarters. He was told that everyone was fighting and that there was no air support available.

M1 Abrams during the Desert Storm. (Photo: US Department of Defense)

He responded by simply holding the radio headset up for a few seconds before vehemently declaring, “We are in a REAL fight at the front of the division!”

I MEF sent two Cobra guns to support the besieged Marines. With the battleships in place, Ray made a bold move – he counterattacked. Despite overwhelming odds, Ray’s small force pounded the Iraqis and drove them from the surrounding area, destroying 50 vehicles and capturing 250 prisoners.

Ray was awarded the Croix de la Marine for its actions.

In the 2nd In the area of ​​the Marine Division, the Iraqis fought with equal tenacity. Company B, 4e The tank battalion – a reserve unit and the only Marines armed with the new M1 Abrams – woke up on the morning of February 25 to see a huge Iraqi armored column moving past their position.

In what has come to be known as the engagement of the awakening, the men of Company B, although outnumbered by 3 to 1, maneuvered in line and engaged the Iraqis. In just 90 seconds, Navy tankers wiped out the entire Iraqi force of 35 tanks and APCs.

After defeating the Iraqi counterattacks, the Marines continued their route north the next day. They took the vital airfield of Al Jaber and made it to the outskirts of Kuwait City and the international airport.

While the 2nd Navy Division cut off Iraqi’s retreat on 1st The maritime division attacked and secured the airport with the support of two battleships pulling from the Gulf.

The 100-hour land war cost the Marines five dead and 48 wounded. During this period, they fought over 160 kilometers across the occupied territory, crushed seven Iraqi divisions, destroyed more than 1,600 tanks and armored vehicles, and captured more than 22,000 prisoners.



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Iranian forces act without Supreme Leader posing ‘greatest threats’ at sea https://20thcvetsmem.org/iranian-forces-act-without-supreme-leader-posing-greatest-threats-at-sea/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/iranian-forces-act-without-supreme-leader-posing-greatest-threats-at-sea/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 03:07:41 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/iranian-forces-act-without-supreme-leader-posing-greatest-threats-at-sea/ The head of the US military’s central command pinned down a number of ongoing attacks on international tankers on Iran, but argued that operations were being led by lower-level military officials, not the military officials. leaders of the country. Acts of sabotage against foreign ships carrying petroleum products emerged in the spring of 2019 as […]]]>


The head of the US military’s central command pinned down a number of ongoing attacks on international tankers on Iran, but argued that operations were being led by lower-level military officials, not the military officials. leaders of the country.

Acts of sabotage against foreign ships carrying petroleum products emerged in the spring of 2019 as US-Iran tensions escalated a year after former President Donald Trump abandoned a multilateral nuclear deal with Tehran and major world powers .

No group or country has ever claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place in the Gulf of Oman, but the United States has accused the Iranian elite of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, of ​​them. orchestrate.

The incidents helped promote the creation of the International Maritime Security Construct, a group led by the United States and now made up of 34 countries.

Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. called the group a “very effective tool for us” to counter threats. at sea, including those posed by the acting Revolutionary Guards. independent of higher command.

“The biggest threat to trade in the region would probably be for the IRGC navy to do something that has not been sanctioned by a higher authority,” McKenzie said, “and I will just say that the activities we typically see in the IRGC navy are not necessarily activities that are led by the Supreme Leader, of the Iranian state, rather irresponsible actions of the local commanders there. “

He said the US military forces involved were “very careful to ensure that we don’t go into a provocative cycle because of it.”

“Luckily our guys are pretty good,” McKenzie added. “Our sailors are very well trained, they are very competent, they are very mature and they are able to defuse these situations, which is what you are always looking to do when you do that.

A Powerpoint slide provided by US Central Command shows the damage caused by an explosion and a suspected limpet mine to the hull of the civilian ship M / V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, 2019, as the US destroyer guided-missile aircraft USS Bainbridge, not shown, approaches the damaged ship.
US Central Command Public Affairs

The Revolutionary Guards are one of two parallel military entities that exist in Iran, the other being the Iranian Army, which also has a naval fleet. The powers of Commander-in-Chief of the country have vested in Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, while the official post titled Commander-in-Chief has been held by Major General of the Revolutionary Guards Hossein Salami since April 2019, a month before the first oil tanker incident in the country. Gulf of Oman.

Iran has always denied responsibility for the attacks.

Revolutionary Guards have occasionally seized ships from other countries accused of violating the rules of maritime navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s largest maritime oil traffic choke point, and attacks against Iranian and Israeli ships in the strategic Red Sea have also emerged amid heightened tensions in the region.

McKenzie’s remarks on Tuesday came a day after the US Navy’s 5th Fleet released footage of what it called “dangerous and unprofessional action” carried out earlier this month by Navy Guardsmen of the revolution when the Harth 55 class boat of the force Shahid Nazeri walked past the US Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Monomoy in the southern part of the Persian Gulf on April 2.

It was the first such incident in about a year, when CENTCOM accused the Revolutionary Guard’s rapid attack vessel of having surrounded its warships in a series of maneuvers that caused threats to the Revolutionary Guards. social media by then-President Donald Trump, as well as a response shared with Newsweek by an Iranian official.

Footage of another incident involving the Revolutionary Guards and U.S. personnel was shared hours after McKenzie’s comments. This time, the 5th Fleet claimed to show that three of the rival fleet’s fast coastal attack craft “quickly approached” the US Navy coastal patrol vessel. USS Firebolt “ and US Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranof “at unnecessarily close range with unknown intent” Monday.

The extent to which the Revolutionary Guards act independently of the Iranian government, especially the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, has been a controversial source of debate within the Islamic Republic.

In an unpublished recording previously leaked to the UK-based Iranian media outlet and released earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed there were limits to civilian government constraints on military activities.

“In the Islamic Republic, the military field reigns”, declared at one time the senior Iranian diplomat, affirming “to have sacrificed the diplomacy for the military field rather than for the diplomacy of service on the ground”.

The remarks sparked a backlash in Iran and were played down by government officials, who condemned what they called criminal the unauthorized disclosure of private and unofficial comments intended to harm the country.

“We believe that this document theft is a conspiracy against the government, the system, the integrity of effective national institutions, and also against our national interests,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Tuesday in a statement. press conference.

He said Rouhani ordered an immediate investigation into the alleged plot.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh defended Zarif, whose comments he said were taken out of context.

“This conversation was recorded only to be recorded in the organizational memory of the government and was not intended for publication,” Khatibzadeh said, “and it is not clear by whom and with what goals and intentions it was. selectively published in cyberspace. “

He lamented “the growing political immorality we are witnessing these days” and called for judgment to be reserved until the full conversation is published.

The reaction came shortly after Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a rare denial of statements by a senior Revolutionary Guard official, former Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, who claimed Iran had offered military training and advisers to support the rebel movement Ansar Allah, or Houthi, currently. engaged in a six-year civil war with a Saudi-backed government in Yemen, a view shared by Washington and Riyadh.

His remarks “are contrary to the reality and to the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Yemen”, according to a statement released Saturday by the Iranian foreign ministry.

“Iran’s support for Yemen is political in nature, and the Islamic Republic supports the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Yemen and the UN efforts to resolve the disastrous war politically,” the ministry said.

The stakes in Iranian politics have escalated as President Joe Biden’s administration continues negotiations to bring the United States back to the nuclear deal just months before the end of Rouhani’s second and final term with elections scheduled for June. Qassemi announced his candidacy on Monday, making him one of the most conservative candidates expressing skepticism about diplomacy with the West as they vie for the presidency.



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As troops leave, US orders major Kabul embassy withdrawal https://20thcvetsmem.org/as-troops-leave-us-orders-major-kabul-embassy-withdrawal/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/as-troops-leave-us-orders-major-kabul-embassy-withdrawal/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 00:16:41 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/as-troops-leave-us-orders-major-kabul-embassy-withdrawal/ By Matthew Lee | Associated press WASHINGTON – The State Department on Tuesday ordered a significant number of its remaining members at the US embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as the military intensifies the withdrawal of US troops from the country. The order came when the US special envoy to Afghanistan told lawmakers it […]]]>


By Matthew Lee | Associated press

WASHINGTON – The State Department on Tuesday ordered a significant number of its remaining members at the US embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as the military intensifies the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

The order came when the US special envoy to Afghanistan told lawmakers it no longer made sense to continue the 20-year deployment of US troops there. At the same time, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he shared the concerns of lawmakers that the rights of women and minorities could be threatened once the withdrawal is complete.

“We should all remain concerned that these rights may suffer,” Khalilzad told the Senate’s foreign relations committee. When asked if the United States would retain any lobbying power to protect these rights once its troops left, Khalilzad was wary. He said aid and other types of diplomatic support “would not be available if they did not respect the human rights of Afghan women or others.”

Shortly before he spoke, the State Department said it had ordered all staff to leave unless their jobs required them to be physically located in Afghanistan. The ordinance was not specific as to the number of people affected, but it went well beyond the usual reduction in staff for safety and security reasons. Such orders normally apply only to non-essential personnel.

In an updated travel advisory for Afghanistan, the department said it had ordered the departure of all US government employees “whose duties may be performed elsewhere.” He also said US citizens should not travel to Afghanistan and those who wish to leave “should depart as early as possible on available commercial flights.”

The embassy in Kabul is heavily dependent on the US military for security, and staff withdrawals have been underway since the Trump administration announced last year that US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 1.

The Biden administration extended that deadline until September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, but hastened the withdrawal.

The top US diplomat in Kabul said the departure order had been issued “due to increased violence and threats”, would affect only a relatively small number of employees and would not affect a relatively small number of employees. there would be no reduction in the services offered. Chargé d’affaires Ross Wilson said he “ensures that US diplomacy and support for Afghanistan will be sustainable, strong and effective.”

General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said on Tuesday that the administration remains committed to keeping an operational embassy in Kabul. “We intend to maintain an embassy in Afghanistan in the future. But we’ll have a very, very minimal military presence there – which is strictly necessary to defend the embassy, ​​”he said in an address to the American Enterprise Institute.

The State Department order came just two days after General Austin Miller, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, said the U.S. military had started shutting down operations in the country and security forces Afghan women had to be ready to take over.

While the official start of the withdrawal of 2,500 to 3,500 troops from Washington and 7,000 allied NATO forces is May 1, Miller said the withdrawal has already started.

In February of last year, the US military began closing its small bases. In mid-April, the Biden administration announced that the final phase of the withdrawal would begin on May 1 and end before September 11.

The withdrawal of US troops and their colleagues from the NATO coalition continues even in the absence of a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including the hosting of the Osama bin Laden’a al-Qaida network caused the US invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11.

Negotiations between the Taliban and the government have been at a standstill for some time and talks will not resume until next month, raising fears that the withdrawal of foreign forces could lead to a resumption of all-out civil war.

In his testimony, Khalilzad echoed President Joe Biden and other administration officials in saying that the United States will remain committed to Afghanistan and its development and human rights progress made since 2001. despite the withdrawal.

Khalilzad said he did not think the withdrawal would precipitate an “imminent” collapse of the Afghan government or a reversal of the country’s progress.



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Australia to modernize its military bases and expand wargames with the United States – the Australian https://20thcvetsmem.org/australia-to-modernize-its-military-bases-and-expand-wargames-with-the-united-states-the-australian/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/australia-to-modernize-its-military-bases-and-expand-wargames-with-the-united-states-the-australian/#respond Tue, 27 Apr 2021 23:36:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/australia-to-modernize-its-military-bases-and-expand-wargames-with-the-united-states-the-australian/ SYDNEY, April 28 (Reuters) – Australia will unveil an Australian $ 747 million ($ 580 million) defense package on Wednesday to modernize four military bases in its north and expand war games with the United States, a reported the Australian newspaper. An airstrip in the Northern Territory will be lengthened to accommodate larger planes, revised […]]]>


SYDNEY, April 28 (Reuters) – Australia will unveil an Australian $ 747 million ($ 580 million) defense package on Wednesday to modernize four military bases in its north and expand war games with the United States, a reported the Australian newspaper.

An airstrip in the Northern Territory will be lengthened to accommodate larger planes, revised ranges and new training facilities put in place for US defense personnel and navies, the Australian newspaper reported.

“By working with the United States, our allies and our Indo-Pacific neighbors, we will continue to advance Australia’s interests by investing in the Australian defense forces,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in the report.

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One of Australia’s top security officials said earlier this week that liberal democracies must prepare for war.

Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo did not specify the catalyst for his warning, but it follows a sharp deterioration in Australia’s relations with China and mounting regional tensions in Taiwan.

Diplomatic relations between Australia and China have deteriorated since Canberra called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, prompting trade retaliation from Beijing.

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday that a dispute involving China over Taiwan “should not be ruled out”.

$ 1 = 1.2870 Australian dollar Reported by Renju Jose; Edited by Stephen Coates



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US orders majority of staff remaining at Kabul embassy to leave Afghanistan as military withdraws https://20thcvetsmem.org/us-orders-majority-of-staff-remaining-at-kabul-embassy-to-leave-afghanistan-as-military-withdraws/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/us-orders-majority-of-staff-remaining-at-kabul-embassy-to-leave-afghanistan-as-military-withdraws/#respond Tue, 27 Apr 2021 23:02:35 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/us-orders-majority-of-staff-remaining-at-kabul-embassy-to-leave-afghanistan-as-military-withdraws/ The State Department on Tuesday ordered a significant number of its remaining members at the US embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as the military intensifies the withdrawal of US troops from the country. The order came when the US special envoy to Afghanistan told lawmakers it no longer made sense to continue the 20-year […]]]>


The State Department on Tuesday ordered a significant number of its remaining members at the US embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as the military intensifies the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

The order came when the US special envoy to Afghanistan told lawmakers it no longer made sense to continue the 20-year deployment of US troops there. At the same time, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he shared the concerns of lawmakers that the rights of women and minorities could be threatened once the withdrawal is complete.

“We should all remain concerned that these rights may suffer,” Khalilzad told the Senate’s foreign relations committee. When asked if the United States would retain any lobbying power to protect these rights once its troops left, Khalilzad was wary. He said aid and other types of diplomatic support “would not be available if they did not respect the human rights of Afghan women or others.”

Shortly before he spoke, the State Department said it had ordered all staff to leave unless their jobs required them to be physically located in Afghanistan. The ordinance was not specific as to the number of people affected, but it went well beyond the usual reduction in staff for safety and security reasons. Such orders normally apply only to non-essential personnel.

In an updated travel advisory for Afghanistan, the department said it had ordered the departure of all US government employees “whose duties may be performed elsewhere.” He also said US citizens should not travel to Afghanistan and those who wish to leave “should depart as early as possible on available commercial flights.”

The embassy in Kabul is heavily dependent on the US military for security, and staff withdrawals have been underway since the Trump administration announced last year that US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 1.

The Biden administration extended that deadline until September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, but hastened the withdrawal.

The top US diplomat in Kabul said the departure order had been issued “due to increased violence and threats”, would affect only a relatively small number of employees and would not affect a relatively small number of employees. there would be no reduction in the services offered. Chargé d’affaires Ross Wilson said he “ensures that US diplomacy and support for Afghanistan will be sustainable, strong and effective.”

General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said on Tuesday that the administration remains committed to keeping an operational embassy in Kabul. “We intend to maintain an embassy in Afghanistan in the future. But we’ll have a very, very minimal military presence there – which is strictly necessary to defend the embassy, ​​”he said in an address to the American Enterprise Institute.

The State Department order came just two days after General Austin Miller, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, said the U.S. military had started shutting down operations in the country and security forces Afghan women had to be ready to take over.

While the official start of the withdrawal of 2,500 to 3,500 troops from Washington and 7,000 allied NATO forces is May 1, Miller said the withdrawal has already started.

In February of last year, the US military began closing its small bases. In mid-April, the Biden administration announced that the final phase of the withdrawal would begin on May 1 and end before September 11.

The withdrawal of US troops and their colleagues from the NATO coalition continues even in the absence of a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including the hosting of the Osama bin Laden’a al-Qaida network caused the US invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11.

Negotiations between the Taliban and the government have been at a standstill for some time and talks will not resume until next month, raising fears that the withdrawal of foreign forces could lead to a resumption of all-out civil war.

In his testimony, Khalilzad echoed President Joe Biden and other administration officials in saying that the United States will remain committed to Afghanistan and its development and human rights progress made since 2001. despite the withdrawal.

Khalilzad said he did not think the withdrawal would precipitate an “imminent” collapse of the Afghan government or a reversal of the country’s progress.



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