Today in Afghanistan
In an as-yet unclear incident or series of incidents, 2 U.S. service members, perhaps 30 Afghan civilians, and many Taliban are killed in Kunduz. The linked AFP story says that the U.S. troops were killed in a firefight, apparently followed by an airstrike in which the civilians, including children, were killed. AP says that two additional U.S. troops were injured and gives death toll of Taliban as 65. TOLO says 3 Afghan commandos were also killed. As with previous incidents in which U.S. airstrikes have killed civilians, we can expect a long delay before we get more clarity on these events, but I will update when we know more.
Reading through the United States military and court documents outlining the allegations and evidence against these eight men, one enters a Kafkaesque world of strange, vague accusations, rife with hearsay, secret evidence, bad translations, gross errors of fact and testimony obtained under duress and torture. . . .
AAN senior analyst, Kate Clark, investigated the Afghan experience in Guantanamo and found the Afghan case files full of mistakes, bad translations and fantastical allegations, and evidence made up of hearsay, double hearsay, unsubstantiated intelligence reports and testimony from those who were tortured.
In Iraq, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issues a rare audio recording urging a fight to the death in Mosul. He also calls for action against Saudi Arabia.
Iraqi troops advancing toward Mosul from the south find empty villages, the inhabitants abducted by IS.
Following Baghdadi's speech, heavy fighting is reported in the Intisar, Quds and Samah neighborhoods of east Mosul.
Charlie Winter says that Donald Trump has become an IS asset, reinforcing their false claim that the assault on Mosul is going badly.
Notably, though, this is not the first time that Trump and ISIS have seen eye to eye. Indeed, over the last year in particular, his rhetoric has persistently reflected that of the ISIS propagandists, especially when it came to issues pertaining to Islam and the West. It's in this context that the similarities are most striking: when Trump says “I think Islam hates us,” ISIS is there to back him up as evidence, declaring that “we [and the religion of Islam that ISIS falsely claims to represent] hate you.” At times, it is almost uncanny how closely each affirms the other's worldview. However, this is not because their ideological positions actually resemble each other, and it is certainly not because an active relationship exists between the two. Not by any stretch of the imagination could that be the case.Rather, this strange symbiosis is just indicative of the fact that opposing extremisms sometimes work in each other's favor: the fear that drives Trump's anti-Muslim populism, in a not-so-roundabout way, fuels the fires of ISIS' global jihadist project. While their goals are poles apart, each appeals to their supporters by stoking fears of the “other.” So, when ISIS says the West hates Muslims and Trump says Muslims hate the West, they end up reinforcing and reaffirming the other's system of beliefs.
Today in Afghanistan