U.S. President Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, opening the door for future troop increases requested by the U.S. commander. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no immediate decision had been made about the troop levels, which are now set at about 8,400. The Pentagon declined to comment. The decision is similar to one announced in April that applied to U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Syria, and came as Mattis warned Congress the U.S.-backed Afghan forces were not beating the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war. "We are not winning in Afghanistan right now," Mattis said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier on Tuesday. "And we will correct this as soon as possible." Mattis said the Taliban were "surging" at the moment, something he said he intended to address. A former U.S. official said such a decision might allow … [Read more...] about Trump gives US military authority to set Afghan troop levels: U.S. official
Military time right now
WASHINGTON, Jan 20 - Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday and pledged to end what he called an "American carnage" of rusted factories and crime in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry. WASHINGTON, Jan 20 - Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday and pledged to end what he called an "American carnage" of rusted factories and crime in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry. Striking a defiant tone, Trump said American workers have been devastated by the outsourcing of jobs abroad. "From this day forward it's going to be only America First," the Republican told thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to see him take over from Democrat Barack Obama. With Obama and three other former presidents sitting nearby, Trump accused previous U.S. administrations of enriching Washington at the expense of struggling American families. Underscoring … [Read more...] about Trump, now president, pledges to put ‘America First’ in nationalist speech
The Pentagon said on Thursday it was focusing for now on Ukrainian requests for non-lethal support, as opposed to any weaponry, as a senior U.S. official said Washington wanted to avoid further militarizing the standoff with Russia. Ukraine's government has put its heavily outnumbered and outgunned forces on alert for an invasion from Russia in the east following Moscow's seizure of Crimea. Kiev has asked for military support from the United States, which U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say includes small arms, as well as non-lethal assistance, such as medical supplies. So far, the U.S. government has only approved providing military food rations, officials say, as President Barack Obama's government instead focused on financial support for Ukraine and pressuring Russia diplomatically. "I think it's safe to say that right now, the focus of that review (of Ukraine's military requests) is on the non-lethal side of things," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John … [Read more...] about U.S. eyes military supplies for Ukraine, seeks to avoid escalation
VietNamNet Bridge – Building up rocky areas, changing reefs into islands, and building runways and infrastructure on illegally occupied islands are part of China’s "artificial islands" strategy. What impact will this change of geographical entities in the East Sea have on the area? How will this affect strategic and military calculations of the parties involved? What are the other purposes behind the military objective? Dr. Truong Minh Huy Vu, from the Faculty of International Relations of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, talked with VietNamNet about the issues. China's acceleration of turning reefs in Vietnam’s Truong Sa Archipelago (Spratly Islands) into islands is now a concern of the whole region. Are they the "military fortresses" that can change the situation and the strategic calculations in the East Sea (South China Sea)? With an area of up to 3.5 million km2, a relatively enclosed waters, military experts … [Read more...] about Artificial islands: ‘military fortresses’ or ‘sandcastles’?
CPV: The judge Jack B.Weinstein of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York said the Court needed more time to study the legal evidence provided by both sides in the Agent Orange lawsuit after more than eight hours' hearing (the scheduled time was seven hours). During the hearing on February 28, the judge Weinstein said the lawsuit raised important issues and had to be taken seriously, suggesting that it might eventually need to be decided by the US Supreme Court, according to New York Times. Attending this hearing were about 50 lawyers representing the Vietnamese Agent Orange victims, the American companies and the American Vietnam veterans. The defendants' lawyers submitted evidence in accordance with the American laws in order to ask for the cancellation of more than one hundred Agent Orange victims' petitions. And the plaintiff lawyers gave proofs confirming the legality of the lawsuit, and rejecting the proposal for cancellation. The lawyers representing the American Vietnam … [Read more...] about More time to be given to study legal evidence of both sides, says Agent Orange judge