The Living Force
According to this report, President Baby Bush gave the CIA authority to use covert drone strikes in Pakistan, which continued under Obama and now the CIA is seeking "permission from Trump" to conduct covert business in Afghanistan. From my understanding, without an official Declaration of War, this practice is outlawed by the International Courts. Considering the Military troop build up by the U.S./Pentagon/NATO and it's allies in Afghanistan in recent weeks, I can only envision - wide spread destruction and massive wanton slaughter of innocent citizens. Trump promised to cut back on the war effort in the Middle East. In my opinion, if he continues on this path that the Pentagon has engaged in, Trump will be responsible for war crimes worse than Hitler?

The New York Times reported Friday that the CIA wanted to expand its authority to use drone strikes in war zones, despite concerns from the US military.

CIA Pushes to Expand Drone Strike Authority Despite Pentagon Concerns - Reports

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) wants to expand its authority to use covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other war zones even though the US military has expressed concerns, media reported on Friday citing intelligence and military officials.

The White House seems to favor the push despite some concerns from the US Defense Department, the New York Times said.

The CIA currently has the authority to carry out covert drone strikes against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations across the border in Pakistan.
If US President Trump approves the measure, it would mark the first time the CIA has such powers in Afghanistan as well, according to the report.

The Defense Department is in charge of conducting airstrikes against militants in the Middle East. The military publicly acknowledges its airstrikes, unlike the CIA, which carried out covert drone strikes in Pakistan for roughly a decade without either country's public acknowledgment, the report claimed.

The move comes as a part of a broader push in the Trump's White House to expand CIA's authority in the conflict zones, according to current and former officials cited by The New York Times.

Pakistani media reported that an alleged US drone eliminated suspected terrorists in the country's north.

Suspected US Drone Kills 3 Alleged Terrorists in North Pakistan - Reports

At least three suspected terrorists were killed and another one injured in an alleged US drone strike in Pakistan's northern tribal region of Kurram Agency, the Dawn media outlet reported Friday, citing security officials.

According to the Dawn, officials confirmed that two missiles were fired near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The alleged drone strike comes just after the NYT reported that the CIA wants to expand its authority to use covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other war zones even though the US military has expressed concerns.

In total, US drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia have reportedly eliminated 3,500 Islamist militants, but have also caused numerous civilian deaths.

In 2016, the White House said around 116 civilians were killed in US drone strikes in the period between 2009 and 2015, while watchdogs estimate the death toll stands at 3,000.

The last high-profile US drone attack took place in May 2016, when Taliban (a terror group, banned in Russia) leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a vehicle en route to the Pakistani city of Quetta, Balochistan province. Mansour was picked to replace the Taliban's previous leader in mid-2015.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif slammed the US drone strike, describing it as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Several weeks since President Donald Trump had unveiled the new US strategy for Afghanistan, the US military started the deployment of additional units to the country.

Pentagon Starts Deployment of Additional Units to Afghanistan

The process of deploying additional military units to Afghanistan is underway, US Department of Defense spokesperson Rob Manning said in a briefing on Friday.

"He [Mattis] has signed deployment orders and units have begun deploying," Manning told reporters.

However, the final number of troops is still being finalized.

The deployment comes less than a month after US President Donald Trump unveiled a new US' Afghanistan strategy in August. The president's plan presupposes, among other provisions, the expansion of the US military authority in the country. The United States, however, will not publicly announce any future military action plans in Afghanistan.

The US war in Afghanistan is the longest war the country has ever been engaged in: there has been a US military presence in the Central Asian country for nearly 16 years. Armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have also been “the most expensive wars in US history,” according to Linda Bilmes of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, who estimated in 2013 that $4 to $6 trillion in expenses had been racked up over the course of the conflicts.

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department told Sputnik that the US had rejected Russia's proposal to hold consultations on Afghanistan.

US Rejected Russia-Proposed Consultations on Afghanistan - Moscow

Russia has proposed the United States to hold consultations on Afghanistan-related issues in spring, but Washington rejected the offer and later proposed to hold a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department, told Sputnik on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Buzzfeed News portal reported, citing a document allegedly received from Russia, that Moscow had proposed to Washington to restore diplomatic and military communication channels, as well as contacts between security services.

Zamir Kabulov, who is also the Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan, did not confirm the existence of the plan, but said that the proposals to hold the consultations regarding the crisis-torn Asian state had been sent to the US side in spring.

"Yes, [the proposals have been sent] before May, but the US side did not respond then, saying that a review of the Afghan policy has not concluded yet. This situation lasted up to the end of the summer. Then [the review] had been allegedly concluded. But we have never withdrawn from contact, we are ready for these consultations," Kabulov said.

The high-ranking official added that the Russian side had invited US representatives to Moscow, but they had not come.

"[Alice] Wells [has been appointed as acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs]… She serves as the special representative for Afghanistan [and Pakistan]. I am accompanying [Russian Foreign] Minister [Sergei Lavrov] to New York, to the ministerial week of the UNGA session. On the sidelines of this event, I will be ready to meet the US representative at the initiative of the US side, by the way," the senior diplomat added.


The Living Force
The US military is planning to expand boundaries of the Green Zone in the Afghan capital Kabul in an effort to not only bring nearly all Western embassies, NATO and American military headquarters within the protected area, but to prolong US military presence in the country well into the 2020s.

US Military to Expand Kabul Green Zone

US military authorities recently appointed an American brigadier general to oversee the project of greatly expanding and fortifying the Green Zone in Kabul, The New York Times reported.

After the completion of the huge project, the report noted, American Embassy staff in Kabul “will no longer need to take a Chinook helicopter ride to cross the street to a military base less than 100 yards outside the present Green Zone security district.”

After 16 years of the US-led military presence in the Afghan capital, it added, the expansion project serves as a “stark acknowledgment that even the city’s central districts have become too difficult to defend” against persisting terror bombings by Taliban insurgents.

This is while the US claimed at the outset of its military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that the occupation was aimed at rooting out the Taliban terrorists across the war-torn country.

The Green Zone expansion project, which will significantly limit access to the Afghan capital, was prompted by a massive truck bombing at a gate of the current zone on May 31, killing over 150 people and destroying most of the German Embassy.

In the first stage of the project – expected to take six to 12 months – an expanded Green Zone will be established, covering nearly 1.86 square miles – up from 0.71 miles – closing off streets within it to all but official traffic.

In the final stage, a larger Blue Zone will be created, covering most of the city center, where severe restrictions on movement — particularly by trucks — will be imposed. Eventually, all trucks seeking to enter Kabul will be routed through a single portal, where they will be X-rayed and searched.

The project is also aimed at protecting “another long-term American investment,” given the troop surge in the country to 15,000 from the existing 11,000 as the Trump administration’s new Afghan strategy calls for continued US military presence there well into the 2020s.

Unlike former US President Barack Obama, Trump has suggested that American forces should remain in Afghanistan until victory, although his own generals have admitted that a total military victory in the terror-ravaged country is not possible.

The US military mission in Afghanistan is expected to continue for many more years, despite its unpopularity with the American public and the rest of the world.

“It seems America is not yet ready to end the longest war in its history,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said after Trump announced his new Afghan policy, adding that “As Trump stated, ‘Americans are weary of the long war in Afghanistan.’ We shall cast further worry into them and force American officials to accept realities.”

Afghan officials said the country is considering training and arming 20,000 civilians to defend territories where militants have been driven out.

Afghanistan Mulls Plan to Arm 20,000 Civilians to Fight Insurgents

The proposal for a government-backed armed group that would protect its own communities from the Taliban and ISIL comes as Afghanistan's security forces, demoralized by killings and desertions, struggle to beat back a rampant insurgency, Daily Star reported.

But the proposal has raised concerns that the local forces could become unruly and turn into another abusive militia terrorising the people it is supposed to defend.

The Afghan government's expansion of irregular forces could have enormously dangerous consequences for civilians," said Patricia Gossman, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

The New York-based group said Western diplomats in Kabul familiar with the plan, modelled on the Indian Territorial Army that supports the country's regular forces, said Afghan officials had expressed concerns the militia could be used by "powerful strongmen" or become "dependent on local patronage networks".

American and Afghan officials told AFP the fighters would come under the command of the Afghan army and be better trained than the Afghan Local Police, a village-level force set up by the United States in 2010 and accused of human rights violations.

"Right now we rely on commandos and air strikes to retake the lost territories but after the commandos leave we don't have enough forces to hold onto the territories," said a senior defence ministry official who asked not to be named.

"The force will operate under an army corps and will be used to fill the gaps. They will be recruited from the locals and will be numbered around 20,000."

Defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri confirmed to AFP that a plan for "local forces" was being discussed.

"People will be recruited from their areas because they know their regions and how to keep them," Waziri said, but added there was no guarantee it would be implemented.

A spokesman for NATO's Resolute Support train and assist mission also confirmed a proposal for an Afghan territorial army was on the table.

But another American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told AFP the idea was still in "the brainstorming phase."

The Afghan government and its foreign backers have been cultivating militias to bolster the 330,000-strong Afghan National Security and Defense Forces as they battle to get the upper hand in the grinding conflict.

In Afghanistan, militias private armies and government-backed armed groups, have a long and chequered history in the war-torn country and many Afghans are wary of them.

Civilian casualties were at record highs in the first six months of 2017, a UN report showed, with forces loyal to the Afghan government accounting for nearly 20 percent of the deaths and injuries.

Since NATO ended its combat mission in 2014 the Taliban has been gaining ground and Daesh is expanding its footprint.

As of February only about 60 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts were reported to be under government control, according to the US watchdog agency SIGAR.

Earlier this year Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered a near doubling of the country's elite fighting force from 17,000 as part of a four-year roadmap that also aims to strengthen Afghanistan's air force.

While US President Donald Trump's commitment to increase American troop numbers and leave them there indefinitely has been welcomed by Afghan authorities, they know it will take time to improve the fighting abilities of their security forces.

With parliamentary and presidential elections planned in the next two years they want a security quick fix.


The Living Force
At least four civilians were injured in a recent suicide bomber attack that targeted a convoy of NATO security forces.

Suicide Bomber Attacks NATO Convoy in Afghan Capital

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in Kabul's Charahi Qambar square on Sunday morning, local media reported.

The attack was targeted against NATO security forces convoy. At least four civilians were injured in the attack.

Moreover, there are no causalities among NATO's servicemen in Sunday's suicide attack in Kabul, as NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan said.

"There are no Resolute Support causalities as a result of the explosion. A team from Resolute Support is on the scene to recover vehicle. There is no impact to Resolute Support operations," the mission wrote on Twitter.

Clashes between the Afghan security forces and terrorists groups are a regular occurrence in Afghanistan. The country continues to fight terrorists amid political problems and security issues.

Not the first time that NATO servicemen have been targeted - this event back on May 3, 2017 ...

US Forces - Afghanistan spokesperson William Salvin said that three NATO Resolute Support mission service members in Afghanistan were wounded in a bombing that targeted a coalition convoy in Kabul.

Three Coalition Service Members Wounded in Afghanistan Blast - NATO Mission

Three NATO Resolute Support mission service members in Afghanistan were wounded in a bombing that targeted a coalition convoy in Kabul, US Forces — Afghanistan spokesperson William Salvin said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to media reports, Salvin later confirmed the service members were US citizens. They are receiving treatment at coalition medical facilities.


The Living Force
The Afghan Kabul International Airport was attacked at around 11:15 a.m. local time, local media reported, leaving one civilian dead and four wounded. Taliban and Daesh both claimed responsibility for the strike.

Daesh, Taliban Attack Kabul Airport Hours After Mattis, Stoltenberg Arrive

The Afghan Kabul International Airport was attacked at around 11:15 a.m. local time (06:45 GMT) several hours after US Defense Secretary James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in the city without announcement, local media reported, citing anonymous sources. Moreover, Daesh and Taliban (banned in Russia) have already claimed its responsibility for the strike.

At least one civilian has been killed and four wounded as, Interior Ministry spokesman Najibn Danish said Wednesday

"One of the rockets was launched in Paktia Kot area in a civilian house which killed one civilian and injured four others. The special forces have surrounded the house where three insurgents are hiding," Danish told the Tolo news.

Besides, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later called the attack on Kabul civilian airport as a criminal act.

"An attack on the civilian airport is a criminal act, an act of terrorism, and it's a sign of weakness not of strength. And that's exactly why I would like to commend the Afghan security forces, which are handling these kinds of attacks," Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

Recent attack on Kabul airport shows that the US is far from reaching its goals in Afghanistan, the chairman of the Russian upper chamber of parliament's foreign affairs committee told Sputnik Wednesday.

Kabul Airport Attack Serves as Terrorists' Display of Strength - Russian MP

Terrorists that attacked Kabul airport earlier in the day did so to demonstrate their strength, which, in turn, showed that the United States was far from reaching its goals in Afghanistan, the chairman of the Russian upper chamber of parliament's foreign affairs committee told Sputnik Wednesday.

According to Konstanin Kosachev, the demonstration of strength on part of the terrorist was successful, given that two terrorist organization at once wanted to claim it, "showing to the Americans, first of all, how far they are from achieving their objectives in Afghanistan."

Moreover, According to Kosachev, an attack on the Pentagon chief, albeit an unsuccessful one, showed that US President Donald Trump still had a lot of work to do to reach his goals in Afghanistan and "there is no sign that he will be more successful that his predecessor."


The Living Force
US prepared to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely – Pentagon chiefs

Despite the $12.5 billion annual price tag for US involvement in Afghanistan, the US will continue its longest war indefinitely so that the Taliban don’t think they can “wait us out,” top Pentagon officials told Congress.

A bolstered offensive against the Taliban will drive the insurgents to a reconciliation that will end the war, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, testifying alongside Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Previously, the Taliban had a timetable for the US leaving and it motivated them to fight, but they don’t have such a timetable anymore, Dunford said, explaining the new administration’s strategy to skeptical senators.

“We want them to have no hope of ever winning,” Mattis said.

Many lawmakers at the hearing seemed to have lost hope for the US ever winning the 16-year war, the longest in American history, as they repeatedly asked if it was even winnable.

“Yes,” Dunford replied.

“We’re at a stalemate,” Mattis acknowledged. “We’re not at a point where we can bring an effective political solution to the war.”

The US has concerns about Russia’s role in Afghanistan, Mattis told the senators, without elaborating what that role is and what exactly he was concerned about.

I’m concerned that Russia is not operating in its own best interest,” the defense secretary said.

During his visit to Afghanistan last week, Mattis accused Russia of supporting the Taliban. At the Senate hearing, however, he said, “I can’t define that support, we’re still getting intel.”

Russia has called for a political solution that would involve the Taliban, on the condition that the insurgents sever terrorist links, bring armed resistance to an end, and respect Afghanistan’s constitution - a position that is almost identical to that stated by the US.

However, Moscow criticized the Trump administration’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, calling it a “dead-end approach” because it relies on the use of force.

Nearly 2,400 American soldiers have died in the war, which began as a response to Afghanistan’s harboring of Al-Qaeda after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and then morphed into a fight against the local Taliban to prevent them from regaining power.

Afghan civilians have been hit the hardest – some 1,662 were killed in the first half of 2017 alone, according to a mid-year report by UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

In August, the US-backed government in Kabul controlled about 60 percent of the country – down from 65 percent the same time last year, according to the US military. Throughout the summer, the Taliban continued to seize ground.

The US is estimated to have spent over $700 billion on military assistance, reconstruction and economic aid to Afghanistan over the past 16 years.


The Living Force
Almost a hundred militants from from the Taliban terrorist group were reportedly killed in a set of raids held in the Southern Afghan province of Helmand.

Over 90 Taliban Militants Killed in Operation in Southern Afghanistan

The Pajhwok news agency reported Saturday citing the police chief of the district about the Taliban victims in the operation as well as about seized pick-up vehicles, automatic rifles, a machine gun and motorcycles.

The media outlet added that within the framework of the operation five Afghan servicemen were killed and nine more were wounded.

Over the years, Afghanistan has been facing an unstable political and humanitarian situation, which had worsened due to the activities of terrorist groups such as Taliban.

An Afghan official said at least seven Taliban insurgents have been killed during an airstrike by Afghan security forces in Northern Sar-e-Pul province.

Officials: 2 Afghan Police, 7 Militants Killed in Attacks

Nasratullah Jamshidi, spokesman for the Army Corps in the Northern region, says 11 other insurgents were wounded when air forces targeted a militant training center in Kohistanat district, Stripes reported.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.

In a separate report from northern Baghlan province, two police officers were killed after militants attacked their check point, said Zabihullah Shuja, spokesman for the police chief. One other police officer was wounded in the attack, which took place in the Dand-e Ghori area of the province, he said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban insurgents often target Afghan security forces in the region.

The Taliban has continued series of its attacks after the US unveiled its new strategy for the country.

Taliban Attack Checkpoint in North Afghanistan, Kill 2 Police Officers - Reports

The Taliban movement, outlawed in Russia, attacked a checkpoint in the northern Afghan province of Baglan leaving two police officers killed and one more injured, the TOLOnews broadcaster reported on Sunday.

The attack took place on Saturday morning in the village of Chashme Sher, TOLOnews reported, citing local officials.

Local police confirmed the incident saying that the terrorists managed to seize weapons from the check post. Further details of the attack remain unknown.

Yemenis hold a candlelit vigil in the capital, Sana’a, to commemorate the first anniversary of a fatal Saudi bombing of a funeral ceremony.

Yemenis Vow Steadfast Fight on Saudi Carnage Anniversary

On Saturday, relatives of the victims gathered in the Yemeni capital to remember the carnage, holding pictures of their loved ones and candles,
Yemeni Press reported.

The October 8, 2016 Saudi air raid killed at least 155 people and wounded over 520 others, prompting an international outcry and strong criticism even from Riyadh's close allies.

Witnesses announced that at least two air-dropped munitions penetrated the roof of the al-Sala al-Kubra community hall in Sana’a and detonated a few minutes apart during the funeral ceremony for the father of a senior Ansarullah official.

The incident was one of the deadliest in the Saudi bombing campaign which began in March 2015 in a bid to eliminate the Houthi movement and reinstall a Riyadh-friendly regime.

Saudi Arabia initially denied that it was behind the bombing, but a few days later admitted to the attack.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 15,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, as Saudi Arabia's deadly campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.

The cholera outbreak in Yemen which began in April, has also claimed over 2,100 lives and has infected 750,000, as the nation has been suffering from what the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as the “largest epidemic in the world” amid a non-stop bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia. Also Riyadh's deadly campaign prevented the patients from traveling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.

According to reports, the cholera epidemic in Yemen, which is the subject of a Saudi Arabian war and total embargo, is the largest recorded in modern history.

Saudi social media activists reported an attack near the Peace Palace in Jeddah on Saturday, while the US embassy issued a warning to the country's citizens to keep distant from the area.

Unconfirmed Reports Speak of Attack on Saudi Palace in Jeddah, US Issues Warning

Several unconfirmed reports said security forces had foiled an attack near the king’s palace, adding that the assailant and several guards were killed in the incident.

Social media activists then released an image showing a dead person lying on the ground, and said it was the dead body of the assailant, noting that two Saudi guards were also killed.

The Saudi government has not yet issued an official statement on the incident.

After the reports in the social media, the US embassy in Saudi Arabia warned the country's citizens to exercise caution in the area around the Peace Palace.

Arab media had also reported in August that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has escaped an assassination attempt at one of the royal family palaces in Jeddah.

Arabic language Mer'at al-Jazeera quoted sources close to the royal family as saying that bin Salman was targeted by an assassination attempt in Jeddah by one of the Saudi princes.

Also, a western diplomat in Riyadh said that the Saudi crown prince wasn’t harmed in the failed attempt and the prince who made the move was arrested.

Bin Salman's ambitious acts in recent months and his attempts to dethrone the rivals have created wroth among other Saudi princes.

The Arab media have been reporting recently that Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is much likely to step down in favor of his son Mohammed, the new crown prince, within the next few months.

Oct. 6: Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud suffered an embarrassing arrival in Russia when his golden escalator broke down.

Saudi king golden escalator in Russia fail (Videos) (1:49 min.) (5:52 min.)

The 81-year-old was disembarking his private plane after touching down at Moscow's Vnukovo airport when the customized escalator malfunctioned. He was forced to walk down the rest of the steps, receiving a guard of honor when he finally set foot on Russian soil for the historic visit.

The Saudi king is known for his extravagant trips abroad, travelling with a 1,500-strong entourage, two Mercedes Benzes and 459 tonnes of luggage. In the first official visit of a Saudi monarch to Russia, King Salman met President Putin and signed a slew of arms and energy deals.

"This is the first visit by a Saudi Arabian monarch in the history of our relations and that in itself is a landmark event," Putin said as he welcomed King Salman to the Kremlin. "I'm sure your visit will boost the ties between our countries."

The Saudi king responded: "We aim to strengthen our relations in the interests of peace and security, in the interests of developing the world economy."


The Living Force
On this day 16 years ago, less than one month after 9/11, President George W. Bush delivered a televised address from the White House announcing the beginning of the Afghanistan War.

Longest War in US History Turns 16 Today – Thousands Dead, No End in Sight & It’s Getting Worse October 7, 2017

“On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” he said.

What Bush did not say was the fact that the War in Afghanistan would become the longest war in United States history. Thousands of American lives and billions of taxpayer dollars would be wasted at the expense of the U.S. war machine, and the “War on Terrorism” would only create more terrorism as a result.

Over 31,000 civilian deaths have been documented in Afghanistan following the U.S. invasion. It should be noted that over the last few years, civilian deaths have substantially increased—which serves as a reminder that the situation is only getting worse.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting civilian casualties in 2009. The combined number of civilians who were killed and injured that year was nearly 6,000. The number has steadily increased over the years, and in 2016, it reached a record high with nearly 3,500 killed and nearly 8,000 injured.

A report from the UNAMA noted that in 2017, the death rate for children has increased by 9 percent over the previous year, and the death rate for women has increased by 23 percent. The report also claimed that an increase in airstrikes has led to a 43 percent increase in causalities.

Before the United States invaded Afghanistan, the production of opium poppies was significantly low, thanks to the Taliban. Not only did the presence of the U.S. military lead to a rise in opium production—because U.S. Marines were literally guarding fields of poppy plants—it led to a drastic increase that has done wonders for the illegal drug trade.

According to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, between 2015 and 2016, opium production in Afghanistan increased by 43 percent, and the area used to farm the poppy plant increased by 10 percent to 201,000 hectares. In response to the report, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said the figures were “a worrying reversal in efforts.”

After 16 years of war and a price tag of over $1 Trillion, the United States has not only helped Afghanistan to become the largest producer of opium in world, it has ensured that the war-ravaged country produces around 90 percent of the world’s opium supply.

When former President Obama ran for office in the 2008 election, he campaigned on the promise of ending the Afghanistan War—which resonated with a number of Americans who were hopeful that a fresh face in the oval office would bring about the “change” needed to finally end the war.

However, while Obama promised to end the war and increased it instead, President Trump has been much more blunt about the fact that the war in Afghanistan is not coming to an end anytime soon, and while the U.S. may have a strategy in mind, it does not appear to include an “exit.”

The longest War in United States history turns 16 years old today, and in just two years, brand new military recruits will have the opportunity to fight in a war that has been ongoing for as long as they have been alive. While there are many Americans who support the concept of military intervention—including in countries that have done nothing to the U.S.—even they should be asking the question of why the United States continues to fight a war that has only created an increase in terrorism, innocent civilian deaths and illegal drug production.


The Living Force
An Afghan lawmaker announced that more than a dozen civilians have been killed in a recent US drone strike, which was said to be aimed at a militant targets in the country’s Eastern province of Kunar.

US Drone Attack Kills 14 Civilians in Afghanistan

On Friday, residents from the Chawki district of Kunar Province held a gathering to pay tribute to the victims of the deadly drone attack a day earlier, Shafaqna reported.

Speaking during the ceremony, Afghan lawmaker Shahzada Shahid said “the villagers are very upset about this incident, people are now busy with the funeral ceremony of the 14 civilians from the area.”

“There is no doubt that they were civilians, they were not armed with weapons and those that were killed were oppressed,” he added.

A resident also said, “All the victims were civilians and they bombarded the villages and the houses. All of them were local people and did not belong to the enemy.”

Provincial governor’s spokesman Abdul Ghani Musamim said Saturday that the strike targeted a meeting of local Daesh terrorists and Taliban militants, without elaborating on any details.

Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri also confirmed the report.

The US-led foreign military forces in the country have not yet commented on the incident.

The government has no control over the remote area where Afghanistan’s Daesh affiliate has managed to establish a foothold, among other areas in the eastern part of the country.

The United Nations announced in a quarterly report on Thursday that Afghan civilian casualties from US and Afghan airstrikes have climbed by more than 50 percent since last year.

The US military has escalated attacks in Afghanistan under a new strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August.

Washington currently maintains 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan, with NATO troops making up another 5,000.

Civilian casualties caused by NATO forces have been one of the most contentious issues during the 16-year military campaign in Afghanistan, prompting strong government and public criticism.

Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The military invasion removed the Taliban from power, but the militancy continues to this day.

The war in Afghanistan is the longest in US history with a cost of about $1 trillion. More than 2,400 Americans have died and another 20,000 have been wounded since the invasion in 2001.


The Living Force
Many Afghan interpreters who worked with NATO forces and the international coalition are now afraid for their lives as they have been abandoned by the US and foreign troops and left to live in constant fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan. Sputnik met up with some of them for a candid interview.

Abandoned and Fearful: Former Afghan NATO Translators 'Living a Nightmare'

After the partial withdrawal of US, NATO and ISAF forces from Afghanistan in 2014, many Afghan interpreters who worked with NATO and the international forces received permanent or temporary residence visas and moved to countries such as the United States, Germany, France and Sweden. However, some of them, for unknown reasons, could not obtain the visas and were forced to stay behind in Afghanistan.

Mahmudullah Mohammadi is one of NATO's former translators. He worked for two years with the German military, which trained the Afghan Army and police in the province of Kunduz.

“During that time I worked with the German military, helping them train the Afghan Army and police. I also participated in a number of military operations. After the Germans left Kunduz, I, like dozens of other translators, applied for asylum and my request was approved, but I wanted to go with my family,” Mohammadi told Sputnik.

He further said that after many hardships such as thorough document checking and interviews, his asylum request was rejected for unknown reasons. He now lives in constant fear in the Kunduz province.

“Because I worked with the foreigners, I cannot appear in my or even in the neighboring counties, since everyone knows me in person. All the neighbors and friends say that everyone who worked with foreigners has left with them and if I have stayed behind then I must be a spy,” Mohammadi said.

Mohammadi accused NATO of a double game saying, “If they had decided to help their translators, why did they take a part of them with them, and leave the other part to the mercy of fate to live in this nightmare?”

Another interpreter Sahi Ibrahimi also worked with German coalition forces in Kunduz from 2009 to 2013. At present he considers his position to be "hopeless" because after the departure of the German units from Kunduz, he applied for asylum in Germany three times but was refused.

The reason for the refusal was not explained, but since he worked as a military interpreter and accompanied the coalition forces in a number of large operations, he is now considered a spy and lives in constant fear for himself and his family.

On top of that he has been jobless and has no way to earn a decent income.

They not only did not help me as a former interpreter, but they also deprived me of new jobs and earnings. I have a wife and a child and I do not know what to do: either to commit suicide, or to sit and wait for the Taliban to kill me. I do not see a way out,” Ibrahimi said.

Ahmad Khaled is an interpreter from Kabul, who for two years accompanied Turkish troops in the framework of the NATO mission. He, like the other interpreters, is forced to hide.

“Turkey's activities in Afghanistan were mainly connected with training the Afghan Army, PRT programs for building schools and bridges and demining the terrain. In Afghanistan, anyone who cooperated with NATO is viewed as a person who worked for foreigners and that makes him an infidel,” Khaled said.

He said that he has no money to leave the country, while the visa application process for former translators requires a special procedure that needs the guarantee of an American, but is decided by the country with which the translator worked.

Considering that Khaled worked with the Turkish side the US sent a request to Turkey to take out translators who worked with the country, but the Turkish side rejected the proposal and left Khaled to the mercy of his luck.

As the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable these poor interpreters are living in constant fear of being persecuted by either the Taliban or given away by their own people to the Afghan security forces.

It seems that their previous employers have completely forgotten all about them and the promises of security that were made to them and their families.

The Afghan security forces foiled a deadly plot of the anti-government armed militants to detonated a truck packed with explosives in Kabul city.

Suicide Truck Bombing Plot Foiled in Kabul City

The Afghan Ministry of Interior in a statement said a suicide bomber who was riding a Mazda type truck was arrested before he manage to detonate the vehicle in an unknown location of the city, Khaama Press reported.

The statement further added that the suicide bomber was arrested from the 5th police district of the city late on Saturday night.

The suicide bomber was identified by the security forces and was injured after they opened fire him when he refrained to the calls to stop the vehicle, the ministry of interior added.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as an explosion left a number of people wounded in Kabul city earlier on the evening of the same day. The incident took place in Dehburi area of the city after explosives planted in a police vehicle went off, leaving two of them wounded.

Last evening’s incident took place almost twenty days after a suicide attack left at least five people dead and twenty others wounded.

The ISIL had claimed responsibility behind the attack which took place on 29th of September in Qala-e-Fatullah area.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted at the civilian casualties in the US drone airstrike in Afghanistan's Eastern province of Kunar.

Ex-Afghan President Slams US for Killing Civilians in Drone Strike

The office of the former president said in a statement that Karzai has strongly condemned the airstrike in Sawki district as a crime against humanity and against all international values and norms, Al Waght reported.

Karzai also expressed concerns regarding the growing civilian casualties in Afghanistan and called on government leaders to show a strong reaction regarding their violations.

This comes as there are conflicting reports regarding those killed or wounded in the airstrike.

The provincial governor’s spokesman Abdul Ghani Musamim said the information they have received suggests the casualties of the ISIL militants in the airstrike.

He said the raid was conducted on Thursday afternoon and their information shows that several ISIL militants including their commanders were killed.
However, the local residents say that the civilians who were on their way to a wedding ceremony were targeted.

Meanwhile, an Afghan lawmaker said more than a dozen civilians have been killed in a recent US drone strike in Kunar.

On Friday, residents from the Chawki district of Kunar Province held a gathering to pay tribute to the victims of the deadly drone attack a day earlier.

Speaking during the ceremony, Afghan lawmaker Shahzada Shahid said “the villagers are very upset about this incident, people are now busy with the funeral ceremony of the 14 civilians from the area.”

“There is no doubt that they were civilians, they were not armed with weapons and those that were killed were oppressed,” he added.

The US military has escalated attacks in Afghanistan under a new strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August.

Washington currently maintains 8,400 occupation troops in Afghanistan, with NATO troops making up another 5,000. Civilian casualties caused by NATO forces have been one of the most contentious issues during the 16-year aggression on Afghanistan, prompting strong government and public criticism.


The Living Force
The Taliban militants have launched coordinated attacks on police forces in two neighboring provinces in Southern Afghanistan, leaving at least 50 people dead and more than 200 others injured.

Taliban Attacks Leave 50 Dead, 200 Injured in Two Afghan Provinces

The Afghan Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the militants with explosive-laden vehicles initially attacked a police training center in Gardez, the capital of Paktia Province in southeast Afghanistan, claiming at least 32 lives and wounding more than 200 others, presstv reported.

“At first a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives near the training center, making way for a number of attackers to start their assault,” the statement added.

Hospital officials said “women, students and police” were among the victims.

A battle is underway between the attackers, armed with guns and vests, and security forces inside the center located near the Paktia police headquarters, the ministry underlined.

“At the moment the area is sealed by the Crisis Response Unit and efforts are ongoing to eliminate the terrorists,” the statement noted.

In Southern Ghazni Province, the militants attacked a police station and a checkpoint in the center of Andar District, leaving 15 policemen dead and 12 others injured, according to provincial authorities.

Elsewhere in Western Afghanistan, Farah Province’s police chief Abdul Maruf Fulad said the Taliban attacked a government compound in Shibkho district and left at least three security forces dead.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for all the assaults.

The Taliban militants have warned that there will be no let-up in their attacks until foreign forces fully withdraw from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The invasion removed the Taliban from power, but militancy continues to this day.

Taking advantage of the chaos, the Takfiri Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terror group has also emerged in eastern Afghanistan.


The Living Force
According to a security official, the terrorist blew himself up in the Afghan capital.

Suicide Bomber Strikes Shi'ite Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, At Least 30 Dead

Security forces at the scene of the explosion have removed at least 30 dead bodies, the exact number of victims is still unknown. The suicide attack occurred at the Imam Zaman mosque in the western Dasht-e-Barchi part of Kabul, while Shi'ite worshippers gathered for prayers.

According to reports, the attacker walked into the mosque where he detonated his explosives. No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The situation in Afghanistan has worsened noticeably in recent months. The radical Taliban movement, which has already seized considerable territory in rural areas of the country, has launched an offensive against large cities.

Additionally, the influence of the Daesh terrorist group has increased. Afghan Security Forces have been conducting anti-terrorist operations throughout the country.


The Living Force
The second suicide bomber blew himself up in a Sunni mosque in the province of Ghor in Afghanistan, where both the Taliban and Daesh terrorist groups are still active.

Another Mosque Attack in Afghanistan After Blast in Kabul Leaves Dozens Dead

District governor Mohsen Danishyar reported that the attack claimed lives of 30 people, however, the provincial governor confirmed only 10 deaths. Later the police spokesman announced that 33 worshippers were killed.

It is believed that the target of the blast was a senior provincial police commander who is likely dead.

Earlier in the day the terrorist attack was carried out in the Afghan Capital, Kabul, and targeted a Shi'ite mosque. The death toll stands at 32 with 41 injured.

CORRECTION: Initially we reported that blast took place in Kabul.


The Living Force
According to a security official, the terrorist blew himself up in the Afghan capital.

Suicide Bomber Strikes Shi'ite Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, At Least 30 Dead

Security forces at the scene of the explosion have removed at least 30 dead bodies, the exact number of victims is still unknown. The suicide attack occurred at the Imam Zaman mosque in the western Dasht-e-Barchi part of Kabul, while Shi'ite worshippers gathered for prayers.

According to reports, the attacker walked into the mosque where he detonated his explosives. No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The situation in Afghanistan has worsened noticeably in recent months. The radical Taliban movement, which has already seized considerable territory in rural areas of the country, has launched an offensive against large cities.

Additionally, the influence of the Daesh terrorist group has increased. Afghan Security Forces have been conducting anti-terrorist operations throughout the country.

The area that has been reportedly hit by rockets in Kabul was so-called green zone which houses many foreign embassies.

Rockets Hit Near NATO Mission in Afghanistan – Reports

Rockets struck near the headquarters of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday, local media have reported.

The TOLO news agency said projectiles hit the so-called green zone near the Wazir Akbar Khan district which houses many foreign embassies. There were no casualties.


The Living Force
A US service member was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan's Eastern Logar province, NATO said.

US Service Member Killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash

Six other American crew members were injured in the Friday night crash and were all sent for medical treatment, NATO said, reported.

The helicopter had taken troops to the volatile Kharwar district for a night raid and hit a tree, forcing an emergency landing, Salim Saleh, the provincial governor's spokesman, told Stars and Stripes.

The Taliban, who are said to control about half of Logar province, said it shot down the helicopter, killing dozens of Americans, a claim NATO refuted.

"We can confirm the crash was not the result of enemy action," NATO's Resolute Support Mission said in a statement. "We have full accountability for all personnel and the crash site has been secured."

The death brings the total number of US service members killed in Afghanistan this year to 12. More than 2,300 have been killed since the war began 16 years ago.

NATO said an investigation into Friday's incident had been launched.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our comrade," Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan said. "On behalf of all of Resolute Support, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen comrade and those injured in this unfortunate event."

The former chief of the military intelligence of Pakistan, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asad Durrani said that the United States is seeking military presence in Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Ex-ISI Chief: US Seeking Military Presence from Pakistan in Afghanistan

Durrani said US wants Pakistan to establish and maintain a military presence in Afghanistan but will not pay for the cost of such an expedition RT reported.

He went on to claim that there has been no change in the new US policy, apparently suggesting that Washington was supposed to prioritize peace and stability in the country and region rather than opting military presence.

“Essentially the policy remains the same and that is you have to dig in Afghanistan, stay there, keep the bases, keep the military presence. That is more important than either peace there or settlement there,” he added.

He also ruled out that Pakistan is dependent to America as he was gesturing towards the recent US decisions to reduce military help to Pakistan.
“Dependence on America? That finished a long time ago. I think this is a game, one of those myths that have been created. These billions of dollars never came,” he said.

This comes as Washington has increased pressures on Pakistan regarding the safe havens of the terror groups using the Pakistani soil for the attacks, mainly in Afghanistan, carried out by the notorious Haqqani terrorist network.

The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday visited Pakistan and met with the top Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and reiterated President Trump’s message regarding the increased efforts needed by Pakistan to eradicate the militants and terrorists from its country.

“The Secretary reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country,” the Department of State said in a statement.

The statement further added “To address those concerns, the Secretary outlined the United States’ new South Asia Strategy and the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that can bring stability and security to the region.”


The Living Force
On Monday, the Afghan Taliban released a statement claiming that the health of an American hostage they’re holding is rapidly “deteriorating” and that they will not claim responsibility for his death if the US government refuses to release Taliban prisoners.

Taliban Says American Hostage’s Health Has ‘Exponentially Worsened’ (VIDEO)

Kevin King, 60, an American, and Timothy John Weeks, 48, an Australian, both taught at the American University in Kabul before they were kidnapped at gunpoint by the Taliban in August 2016 while leaving campus.

In a YouTube video uploaded last January, the pair, visibly distressed, begged the American government to negotiate with the Taliban.

"If we stay here for much longer, we will be killed. I don't want to die here," Weeks says in the video.

"Donald Trump, sir, I ask you, please. This is in your hands. I ask you please to negotiate with the Taliban. If you do not negotiate with them, we will be killed," Weeks pleaded.

In their statement Monday, the Taliban said that King has heart and kidney complications and that his condition has "exponentially worsened."

"We have periodically tried to treat and care for him but since we are facing war conditions and do not readily have access to health facilities we are unable to deliver complete treatment," the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid added, claiming that King has been frequently fainting.

"We will not be held responsible for [King's death] due to the fact that the opposition does not want to bring an end to the issue," the Taliban added, referring to the holding of its members.

On Monday, the American University in Kabul released a statement saying that the school's faculty and students "are deeply saddened and disturbed to receive the news" of King's bad health and that both King and Weeks "came to Afghanistan to teach Afghan youth and contribute to building a peaceful Afghanistan."

"They have done no harm to anyone," the university statement adds.

A few days after their capture, a US Navy Seal team attempted a rescue operation, raiding a compound in eastern Afghanistan where they believed the hostages were being held, but did not find them there.
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