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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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."