[Stars & Stripes] KABUL, Afghanistan — No U.S. troops have died in combat in Afghanistan for a year as of Monday, but the Taliban have threatened to target them again if Washington opts to keep international forces in the country after a May withdrawal deadline.
Army Sgts. 1st Class Javier Gutierrez and Antonio Rodriguez were the last Americans to die in battle in Afghanistan on Feb. 8, 2020. Two other service members — Army Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin and Army Pfc. Miguel Villalon — were killed in combat there in January last year.
Weeks after their deaths, the U.S. and Taliban signed a deal under which Washington pledged to fully withdraw U.S.-led international forces from the country by May 1 of this year provided the Taliban held up its end of the agreement, including stopping attacks on foreign troops, and barring terrorist groups such as al-Qaida from using Afghanistan as a springboard to attack the U.S. or its allies.
Several military officials and lawmakers have said the Taliban also agreed verbally to reduce violence in the country, although that is not included in the text of the agreement made public last year.
Despite the February deal, which was brokered by the Trump administration, violence surged last year and United Nations’ officials have said al-Qaida remains "heavily embedded" with the Taliban.
[Aljazeera] The purchase of air defence system has put extra strain on US-Turkey relations, which have also been complicated by the conflict in Syria.
Turkey might be willing to refrain from the full deployment of the Russian air defence system whose purchase led to United States sanctions, according to the country’s defence minister.
The US wants Turkey to decommission the S-400 missiles, which were originally built to target NATO hardware and acquired by Ankara in July 2019. The purchase has put extra strain on US-Turkey relations, which have also been complicated by the conflict in Syria.
[Telegraph via Pirates Cove] Palestinians stand to reap major benefits from Israel’s peace agreements with the Arab world, the Jewish state’s first official ambassador in the Gulf has claimed, as he began his historic posting in Abu Dhabi.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Eitan Na’eh, the new Israeli ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said the accords could lead to major investments in Arab-majority towns in Israel and in East Jerusalem, the home of many Palestinians.
"When you connect the dots from the Emirates to Israel there are a few more people along the way, and Palestinians are on the way, and will be there to benefit," he said.
Signed in September on the lawns of the White House, the Abraham accords set up full diplomatic ties between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as direct [Telegraph via Pirates Cove] flights and a raft of trade deals.
Israeli officials say one of their major goals is to bring more wealth to the Arab population on their side and heal tensions between Jews and Muslims, though Palestinian leaders have strongly condemned the treaty as act of betrayal.
"It’s early now but when you...create jobs, and people are starting to work together, rather than against each other, the increase in trade and investments in areas such as infrastructure, energy, [it] will affect Palestinians too," Mr Na’eh said.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.