A top military official said Thursday that he expects to see an increase in suicide bombers in Afghanistan.
“I would expect more suicide-type, high-profile, spectacular attacks,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and serves as the deputy commanding general for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. ISAF is a NATO group comprised largely of U.S. forces.
A explosion killed at least 16 people in a Kabul restaurant earlier this month. The attack comes as Taliban violence in the capital has decreased in recent months.
And those attacks, Milley believes, will likely target Afghan security forces, civilians, and ISAF and U.S. troops. Afghanistan has almost 350,000 security forces, which includes police and military officials.
But Milley said the attacks aren’t undermining Afghan support for the country’s military or government, which he said polling and intelligence suggest a vast majority of citizens support.
The U.S-Afghan relationship has been strained since Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States last year. Milley largely sidestepped questions about getting a BSA signed, saying it would be “inappropriate”¦ to put out deadlines.”
“I would tell you that we have a base plan, and everything that we have planned is built upon an assumption that an agreement will be reached,” Milley added.
For now, forces will start to ship their focus to helping Afghan security forces with functional — rather than combat or tactical — advising, which he said includes helping build the institutional framework of the country’s security forces.
“Tactics an army does not make,” Milley said, but noted that at the tactical level NATO and U.S. officials are “pretty much satisfied.”
Afghan forces “clearly held their ground” during the most-recent summer fighting season, he said, but added that “we have got to continue to build the institutions to ensure that this security force can continue to stand on their own, and then that security force provides the shield to buy the time and space for the rest of this society to develop.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”