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Showing posts from December 22, 2015

Much of Sangin in Taliban hands amid reports UK and US have deployed special forces

SAS and US special forces reportedly bolstering Afghan military in Helmand province, a year after Nato pulled combat troops out of country
Afghan National Army soldiers patrol in Helmand on Monday. Much of the town of Sangin has been taken over by Taliban forces. Photograph: Noor Mohammad/AFP/Getty Images



The Afghanistan government has suffered a serious setback after a Taliban offensive succeeded in taking control of much of Sangin, the Helmand town that became totemic for British forces, accounting for a third of their casualties.


The fall of key locations in and around the town on Sunday and Monday comes just a year after Nato pulled combat troops out of Afghanistan. Since then theTaliban has made inroads in Helmand and elsewhere around the country.

The SAS and US special forces have been deployed to help retake lost ground in the province, according to reports from the Times and Wall Street Journal.

The Taliban stormed the police headquarters, the administrative headquarters, the inte…

Why Isis fights

For more than a century, Dabiq was one of northern Syria’s forsaken villages, a speck on a vast agricultural plain between the Turkish border and the deserts of Iraq, which hardly seemed likely to shape the fate of nations. A weathered sign at its entrance said 4,000 people lived there, most of whom appeared to have left by 2013, driven

out over time by a lack of work – and lately by insurrection. For the first three years of Syria’s civil war, the arrival of a strange car would lure bored children to the town’s otherwise empty streets, scattering cats and chickens as they scampered after it. Little else moved.

Dabiq’s few remaining men worked on the odd building project: a half-finished mosque, a humble house for one local who had just returned after 10 years labouring in Lebanon, or a fence for the shrine that was the town’s only showpiece – the tomb of Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik. The Ummayad caliph was buried under a mound of earth in 717, which over many centuries had somehow grown …

Most Syrian Rebels Sympathise with Isis, Says Thinktank

At least 65,000 jihadi fighters could fill vacuum if Islamic State was defeated

By  agencies



More than half of the rebel fighters in Syria who are opposing President Bashar al-Assad are sympathetic to Islamic State views, a leading thinktank has claimed.

The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics said efforts to wipe out Isis in Syria and Iraq would not end the global threat from jihadi groups because extremist views were common among Syrian fighters of all stripes.

At least 15 militias, numbering 65,000 fighters, could fill any vacuum resulting from a defeat of Isis in Syria and Iraq by a coalition led by the US, a report by the thinktank found.

About 60% of fighters in rebel factions in Syria identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of the terror group, it added.

The thinktank, run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said: “The west risks making a strategic failure by focusing only on IS. Defeating it militarily will not end global jihadism. We cannot bomb an …

Military to Military US Intelligence Sharing in the Syrian War

By Seymour M. Hersh

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.
The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to cha…