US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Voice of America




"Blackwater Founder Meets With Afghan Powerbrokers, Aims to Privatize War"

Der Gründer des privaten Sicherheitsunternehmens Blackwater, Erik Prince, versucht Hasib Danish Alikozai zufolge derzeit, afghanische Politiker in direkten Gesprächen von seiner Idee einer Privatisierung des amerikanischen Kriegs gegen die Taliban zu überzeugen. "Prince, based in United Arab Emirates, has reportedly been holding regular meetings with influential Afghans, including some who have an eye on Ghani’s job as he faces reelection in less than a year. Prince told the Times he is not trying to interfere in Afghan politics. 'The Afghan people will have an election, and they will make the choices that they are going to live with,' Prince said. 'But I will talk to whichever party in Afghanistan that wants to think about a different way to this that actually stops the bleeding.'"

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"How a Blunder Unmasked 305 Russian GRU Agents"

Die Enthüllung der Identitäten von 305 mutmaßlichen Agenten des russischen Militärgeheimdienstes GRU wird von Sicherheitsexperten als größter russischer Geheimdienstlapsus seit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges eingestuft. "And the cause for the bungling comes down, they say, to the simple 'human factor' of wanting to avoid traffic fines, including for drunken driving. (...) The disclosure of the list of 305 GRU operatives has added to a growing debate among analysts and Western intelligence officials about the professionalism — or lack of it — of the GRU when it comes to standard tradecraft. (...) Russia's Foreign Ministry has described the allegations about GRU operatives mounting so-called active measures in Europe and elsewhere as 'fantasies.' But Moscow’s denials have not been helped by the trail to the GRU the four men left and the surprising story of failed spycraft revealed by Dutch authorities Thursday, which is undermining Russia’s fearsome reputation in the field of espionage, say analysts."

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"Report: African Countries Struggle to Contain Terror Groups"

Einem neuen Bericht des US-Außenministeriums zufolge haben viele Länder in Afrika Probleme, der Ausbreitung terroristischer Gruppen effektiv entgegenzutreten. "'African countries expanded their efforts to develop regional counterterrorism solutions while they struggled to contain the expansion of terrorist groups, affiliates, and aspirants involved in attacks or other activities in 2017,' according to the report, released last week. Experts offer different explanations as to why terror groups have been able to expand in the continent. Jacob Zenn, a terrorism expert with the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, said he believes that when it comes to ideology and development, the former should be given more attention. 'When it comes to extremism, intolerant religious teachings need to be countered. If not, jihadists would exploit intolerance and encourage people to express grievances through violence,' Zenn said. 'Thus, countering the ideology must be paramount.'"

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"Central African Republic Continues Slide to Full-Scale War"

UNO-Vertreter haben in einem neuen Bericht vor einer dramatischen Ausweitung des Konflikts in der Zentralafrikanischen Republik gewarnt. Ehemals sichere Gebiete wie die Hauptstadt Bangui haben sich demnach mittlerweile in Kriegszonen verwandelt. "Aid agencies note the country’s critical situation has dramatically worsened during the past year. They say an upsurge in violence has driven up the number of internally displaced people by 70 percent, to nearly 690,000 in less than a year. Refugee numbers also have gone up 25 percent to more than 575,000. U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in the CAR Najat Rochdi says an upsurge of violence in April and May has sent many returning refugees fleeing to neighboring Cameroon and Chad. She says one in four people in the country is now displaced."

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"Grass-Roots Peace Movement Spreads Across Afghanistan"

In der Helmand-Provinz habe sich eine Friedensbewegung gebildet, die in Afghanistan wachsenden Zulauf finde, berichten Mohammad Habibzada und Hasib Danish Alikozai. "A group of young local men began a sit-in at the capital of the province and demanded an end to violence. Later, women joined the sit-in and urged the warring sides to end the vicious cycle of violence that has been tearing through the nation. 'Stop making us widows and making us cry over the death of our children,' a woman said at the rally in Helmand last month. The initial anti-war sit-in turned into a hunger strike after the Taliban rejected the protesters’ pleas for peace and instead warned them not to go near Taliban territory. (...) The hunger strike did end. The sit-in, however, continues, gaining momentum and rapidly expanding to other provinces. Iqbal Khyber, an activist from Helmand and a key member of the sit-in, told VOA demands for peace would not end. (...) While the Taliban initially rejected the local plea for peace, the insurgent group has since softened its stance. A Taliban official requesting anonymity told VOA that his group is looking forward to meeting and talking with the protesters."

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"Turkey Poll Shows Strong Support for Ankara's Military Campaign in Syria"

Die türkische Militäroffensive gegen die Kurden im Norden Syriens wird einer neuen Umfrage zufolge von einer breiten Mehrheit der türkischen Bevölkerung unterstützt. "The poll conducted by A&G found Operation Olive Branch, the name of the military operation, had 90 percent support among the Turkish population. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been unwavering in his message that Operation Olive Branch is a national struggle. 'Only Allah is victorious, and faith is more important than arms. If needed, we’ll fight against the world,' he said Wednesday to an enthusiastic parliament. Turkey’s mainstream media have all rigidly echoed Erdogan’s stance, following a patriotic line with heavy religious overtones and constant reference to Turkey’s imperial past. Dissenting voices, particularly on social media — one of the few remaining platforms for independent and critical views — have faced arrest. On Tuesday, 24 people were arrested for postings criticizing the Syrian offensive. More than 400 have been detained."

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"US Military Blames 'Human Error' for Refusal to Share Key Data on Afghanistan"

Der neue Quartalsbericht des Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) zeichnet ein ernüchterndes Bild von der aktuellen Situation in Afghanistan. John Sopko von SIGAR kritisierte auch, dass wesentliche Informationen der Öffentlichkeit vorenthalten worden seien. Das Pentagon bestreitet, dass dies eine bewusste Entscheidung war und macht dafür "menschliches Versagen" verantwortlich, berichtet Jeff Seldin. "In a tweet Tuesday, SIGAR called the district control numbers 'one of the last publicly available indicators for Congress — many of whose staff don't have access to classified info — & for American people to know how US effort in #Afghanistan going.' Even without having the latest data on the extent of government or insurgent control across Afghanistan, the new SIGAR report painted a bleak picture of U.S. efforts to secure the country (...). The report found the recent increase in U.S. military attacks on the Taliban and other insurgent groups had failed to bolster the Afghan government's control over its population. In October alone, the U.S. dropped 653 munitions on enemy combatants, a record since 2012 and three times the figure from October 2016, the report said."

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"Taliban Looking for New Means to Support Insurgency in Southern Afghanistan"

Die verstärkten Luftangriffe auf ihre Drogenlabore im Süden Afghanistans hätten die Taliban offenbar gezwungen, sich nach neuen Finanzierungsmöglichkeiten umzusehen, berichten Khalil Noorzai und Habibzada Mohammad. "Taliban officials say they have established a new customs house in the Delaram district of southern Nimruz province in the southwestern part of Afghanistan. The new effort to collect revenue follows joint Afghan-Coalition airstrikes on Taliban narcotics processing labs in the Helmand province last November. U.S-led coalition says such attacks will continue. (...) Desperate to finance their insurgency, the Taliban has been using many illegal ways of making money, including kidnapping and extortion, and smuggling drugs, minerals and precious stones, according to Afghan officials. Local security officials tell Voice of America that the militant group is using the money to purchase weapons and strengthen itself against Afghan security forces."

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"Militant Convoy That Left Raqqa Contradicts America’s New Counter-IS Strategy"

Nach einem BBC-Bericht hat das US-Militär bestätigt, dass IS-Kämpfer nach einer Vereinbarung mit Anti-IS-Kräften vor Ort die syrische Stadt Raqqa in einem Konvoi kampflos verlassen haben. "'This [convoy] is not our ideal,' U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the counter-Islamic State coalition, told VOA on Tuesday. 'We did not want a negotiated surrender.' According to Dillon, the convoy included about 300 potential IS fighters and 3,500 civilians who were relatives of the militants. (...) The convoy deal was brokered by the Raqqa Civilian Council, the Syrian Democratic Forces and tribal elders in the area. While the U.S. did not take part in the deal, it was aware of the convoy agreement and carefully watched the convoy as it left the city. (...) BBC’s sources report that the convoy included dozens of foreign fighters, along with tons of weapons and ammunition. Dillon told reporters at the Pentagon he did not know why there was such a discrepancy between the U.S. data and the BBC reporting on the number of foreign fighters in the convoy."

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"Trump on Putin, US Presidential Election and Joint Syrian Statement"

US-Präsident Trump und Russlands Präsident Putin haben sich bei ihrem Treffen in Vietnam in einer gemeinsamen Erklärung darauf verständigt, dass der Konflikt zwischen der Assad-Regierung und der Opposition in Syrien nicht militärisch gelöst werden könne. "The statement, first released by the Kremlin, said the two leaders 'confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce cease-fire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict.' It also said that Putin and Trump 'agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS,' or the Islamic State group. Putin told reporters in Danang on Saturday that the joint statement was one of extraordinary importance, confirming the principles of the fight against terrorism."

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"Pentagon: Invasion Only Way to Destroy North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal"

Das US-Militär könnte das nordkoreanische Atomwaffenarsenal im Kriegsfall nur mit einer Bodenoffensive zerstören, so die nüchterne Stellungnahme des Pentagons in einem Brief an Kongressabgeordnete. "The Pentagon made that assertion in a letter to lawmakers who wanted to know about the logistics and human cost of any conflict with North Korea. The letter from Rear Admiral Michael J. Dumont of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the lawmakers that a classified briefing 'would be the best place to discuss in detail the capability of the U.S. and its allies to counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities.'"

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"Analysts: Islamic State’s Global Reach Shrinking"

Trotz der Terroranschläge in Europa und den USA wird die operative Reichweite des "Islamischen Staates" nach Ansicht von Experten des Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium auch künftig begrenzt bleiben. "In an exhaustive study of attacks claimed outside Iraq and Syria from May to September for the past three years, TRAC found a disparity between IS’s worldwide propaganda campaign and actual attacks. 'IS's highlighting of terror attacks against civilians in Western Europe, and the mainstream media's obsession with those attacks, serves to obscure important aspects of Islamic State strategy,' said Veryan Khan, TRAC’s editorial director. The consortium’s assessment 'reveals as much about Islamic State's limitations as its aspirations,' she said. More than half of all IS claimed attacks outside the Levant are focused on just three countries: the Philippines, Afghanistan and Egypt. (...) During 2017 the group could not claim repeat attacks, either directed or inspired in 10 countries that had seen attack claims in 2015, Bangladesh went from six claims in 2016 to none in 2017; Saudi Arabia had three in 2015 but none since. 'The inability to repeat attacks in the same location summer after summer highlights the Islamic State's lack of sustainability,' the TRAC argues."

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"New Details Emerge About Attack That Killed US Soldiers in Niger"

Nach dem Tod von vier US-Soldaten in Niger sind neue Details über die dortige Mission des US-Militärs veröffentlicht worden. "On the eve of the attack, about 30 Special Forces, mostly Nigeriens and eight U.S. Green Berets, set off in pickup trucks toward the border village and arrived at night, according to Almou Hassane, mayor of Tongo-Tongo, in the Tondikiwindi district. (...) 'These Nigerien soldiers are part of a security and intelligence battalion that has been trained by the U.S. forces during several U.S.-led training exercises known as Flintlock,' said Moussa Aksar, director of the newspaper l'Évènement in Niamey, and a terrorism specialist in the Sahel. The soldiers were trying to track down an accomplice of Abu Adnan al-Sahraoui, a former member of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), who joined the Islamic State terror group in the Sahara Desert."

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"Turkey Hints at Military Operation Against Syrian Kurds"

Die Türkei bereite möglicherweise eine Militäroperation mit Bodentruppen gegen die Kurdenmiliz YPG in Syrien vor, berichtet Dorian Jones. "Turkey is building up military forces on the Syrian border, while Turkish President Recep Erdogan steps up his rhetoric suggesting an imminent military operation into Syria. Ankara is reportedly courting Moscow for its support for a possible operation into Syria's Afrin enclave, which is now under the control of the Kurdish YPG militia. (...) The prospect of a military operation has been praised across Turkey’s pro-government media. (...) Erdogan is courting nationalist voters, with one eye on looming presidential and parliamentary elections which could be held as early as next year."

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"IS Says It Has Captured E. Afghan District From Taliban"

Im Osten Afghanistans ist es dem "Islamischen Staat" offenbar gelungen, die Taliban aus einem umkämpften Gebiet zu vertreiben. "A spokesman for the provincial government, Ataullah Khogyani, has confirmed the clashes between the rival militant groups. He said 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants were killed in the fighting. He added that civilians were also caught in the cross-fire, leaving three people dead and five others wounded. None of the claims could be verified independently. Separately, the Taliban and IS have both taken credit for a suicide car bombing of an American military convoy they said took place Monday in the Bati Kot district of Nangarhar."

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"US Increasingly Concerned About Nexus of Terror, Criminal Networks"

Die US-Regierung beurteilt die Sicherheit der US-Grenze zu Mexiko nicht nur unter dem Aspekt der illegalen Einwanderung, sondern auch im Kontext einer möglichen Terrorgefahr, schreibt Jeff Seldin. Die kriminellen Netzwerke, die Drogen und Immigranten schmuggeln, wären demnach auch in der Lage, Terroristen, biologische Waffen oder "schmutzige" Bomben in die USA zu bringen. "American officials worry that with Islamic State's self-declared caliphate falling apart, the pressure to make even better use of these networks is only likely to increase, especially as once-loyal foreign fighters start to think about making their way to the U.S. 'We're already seeing large numbers of the fighters go home,' Homeland Security's Kelly warned Tuesday, expressing specific concern about those aiming to return to European countries that have visa-waiver agreements with the U.S. Yet, thanks to the growing synergy between criminal networks and terrorists, even those foreign fighters who are not able to use Europe as a gateway can still wind up on America's borders. (...) 'The nexus between criminal networks and terrorist networks is real and, I would predict, will get more sophisticated,' Kelly cautioned. 'They're not doing it in huge amounts yet, I don't believe, but to me, it would be a next step.'"

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"UN Aid Chief: 20 Million People in 4 Countries Face Starvation, Famine"

Die UNO benötigt eigenen Angaben zufolge bis zum Juli etwa 4,4 Milliarden US-Dollar, um die größte Hungerkatastrophe in der Geschichte der Organisation abwenden zu können. Bei allen betroffenen Gebieten handle es sich um Konfliktzonen, so der UN-Nothilfekoordinator Stephen O'Brien. "U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien, who just returned from field missions to the affected countries, told Security Council members Friday that the United Nations is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since the organization's creation. He said that without the necessary funding and full, safe and unimpeded access for aid workers, people will die. 'We stand at a critical point in history,' O'Brien told council members. 'Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death.' He said all the regions on the brink of famine have one thing in common: They are conflict zones."

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"UN: Both Sides in Syrian Conflict Committed War Crimes"

Ein neuer UN-Bericht zum Bürgerkrieg in Syrien wirft beiden Seiten vor, in Aleppo für Kriegsverbrechen verantwortlich gewesen zu sein. "The U.N.'s latest report on the six-year conflict said the Syrian government's aerial bombing and strafing of a humanitarian convoy that killed 14 aid workers and halted relief operations were among the war crimes that were committed. Syrian and Russian forces executed indiscriminate 'daily air strikes' using cluster munitions on the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo between July and the and the fall of the city in late December, the report said. (...) Opposition groups killed and injured dozens of people when they shelled government-controlled western Aleppo, the report said. The groups also stopped civilians from leaving eastern Aleppo and used them as 'human shields,' and attacked a Kurdish residential district, both of which are war crimes."

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"'Weak' Taliban Leadership May Present Opportunity for Peace"

Britische Experten des Royal United Services Institutes haben für eine neue Studie mit dutzenden Taliban-Insidern gesprochen und sind diesem Bericht zufolge zu dem Schluss gekommen, dass die Taliban-Führung gegenwärtig gespalten und geschwächt sei. Daraus könne sich die Möglichkeit neuer Friedensgespräche ergeben, so ein Fazit der Studie. "There were 'senior commanders who were, in a sense, using suicide attacks to build up their reputation,' said professor Theo Farrell of the Royal United Services Institute, a co-author of the report. 'So there are large parts of the Taliban that are fully committed to the fight, but there is a potential here, nonetheless, to de-escalate the conflict.' That potential, according to Farrell, lies in the weakness of the Taliban's leadership. The new leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, is widely seen as 'weak and divisive leader,' Farrell said. 'Many of our interviewees referred to him simply as a symbolic leader. The real power in the Taliban lies elsewhere. And so, therefore, there is a view among the rank and file that, effectively, the movement has become

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"White House Disavows 'Enhanced Interrogation' Order"

US-Senator John McCain hat angegeben, dass Verteidigungsminister James Mattis und CIA-Direktor Mike Pompeo ihm versichert hätten, sich an das geltende Feldhandbuch der US Army, das die Folter von Gefangenen untersagt, halten zu wollen. "Even if Mattis were to believe that torture is an effective interrogation tool, former State Department official P.J. Crowley told VOA that Trump faces a 'formidable legal and political obstacle,' because the U.S. Army Field Manual clearly outlaws torture. (...) 'The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes,' McCain said. 'But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.' McCain said he had been assured by defense chief Mattis and new CIA Director Mike Pompeo that they would adhere to the Army Field Manual's limits on interrogation of terrorist suspects."

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"Trump Pledges War on Radical Islamic Terrorism"

Viele Experten sind nicht sicher, welche Ankündigungen Donald Trumps dem Wahlkampf geschuldet und welche tatsächlich ernst gemeint sind. Masood Farivar ist davon überzeugt, dass der Kampf gegen den "radikalislamischen Terrorismus" zum festen Bestandteil der Außenpolitik des künftigen US-Präsidenten werden wird. "More than campaign rhetoric, it seems to be a deeply held view. In the weeks since his Nov. 8 election, Trump has steadfastly stuck to his hardline position on terror even as he's softened his views on other hot-button issues. (...) Blaise Misztal, director of the national security program at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, said Trump sees radical Islam as an ideological threat to his nationalistic vision of 'making America great again.' 'I think by seeing the threat as an ideological one, President Trump will see the problem as not just stopping attacks but stopping the spread of that ideology and stopping the potential for further radicalization,' Misztal said."

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"Iran's Launch of Shia Army Threatens to Escalate Sectarian Tensions"

Die Gründung einer überregionalen "Vereinigten Schiitischen Befreiungsarmee", forciert durch die iranischen Regierung, soll die machtpolitische Rolle Teherans in der Nahostregion erweitern, schreiben Mehdi Jedinia und Noor Zahid auf Voice of America. "'Using a sectarian Shi'ite identifier with the title of the new army will inflame sectarian tensions in the region,' Talha Abdulrazaq, a researcher at the University of Exeter's Strategy and Security Institute, told VOA. 'Iran is asserting itself as a regional or even an imperialistic power.' The new force, announced Thursday by a veteran military commander who leads Iranian forces in Syria, is designed to fight in Arab countries and would recruit heavily from non-Iranian Shi'ite Muslims across the region."

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"US Warns Islamic State Has Passport-printing Capability"

Die US-Regierung hat davor gewarnt, dass der "Islamische Staat" in der Lage sei, syrische Reisepässe zu fälschen, die IS-Anhängern eine verdeckte Einreise in den Westen ermöglichen könnten. "The U.S. government is issuing a fresh warning that the Islamic State group may have the ability to create increasingly genuine-looking fake Syrian passports, raising fears that extremists could sneak into the West. Islamic State has access to Syrian passport-printing machines, blank passport booklets and authentic biographical data on Syrian citizens, according to a report by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency."

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"World Bank: Gaza's Economy on 'Verge of Collapse'"

Die Weltbank warnt in einem neuen Bericht vor dem wirtschaftlichen Kollaps des palästinensischen Gazastreifens. Die Arbeitslosenrate sei mit 44% die höchste in der Welt, fast 40% der Bevölkerung lebe unterhalb der Armutsgrenze. Verantwortlich seien weniger fehlende Finanzmittel als die Blockadepolitik Israels und Ägyptens. "Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt have severely restricted the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza since 2007, after the Hamas Islamic militant group took over the Palestinian territory. The blockade has cut Gaza's gross domestic product in half, according to the report. 'Gaza's GDP would have been about four times higher than it currently is if it weren't for the conflicts and multiple restrictions,' it says."

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