Metro-East News

Roger That: Obama says troops to remain in Afghanistan through 2017

President Barack Obama will keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, according to senior administration officials, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands the conflict off to his successor, according to Military.com.

Obama had originally planned to pull out all but a small, embassy-based U.S. military presence by the end of next year, a timeline coinciding with the final weeks of his presidency. But military leaders argued for months that the Afghans needed additional assistance and support from the U.S. to beat back a resurgent Taliban and hold onto gains made over the last 14 years of American bloodshed and billions of dollars in aid.

***

The Syrian army and allied Iranian and Hezbollah forces are preparing for a ground offensive against insurgents in the Aleppo area backed by Russian air strikes, two senior regional officials familiar with the plans said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The offensive would expand on a ground attack launched by the same alliance last week that is targeting rebels in Hama province further west.

***

The Islamic State group's spokesman confirmed on Tuesday the killing of the jihadist organisation's second in command in a US air strike earlier this year, according to Defense News.

“America is rejoicing over the killing of Abu Mutaz al-Qurashi and considers this a great victory,” Abu Mohamed al-Adnani said in an audio recording posted on jihadist websites.Adnani did not say, however, in what circumstances Qurashi died.

***

The human brain is wired to fear the sound of people screaming. So the U.S. Air Force tried to weaponize that effect in the form of horrific, unsettling noise bombs that would scare the wits out of enemy troops, according to War is Boring blog.

Beginning in 1964, the Air Force began work on “Pyrotechnic Harassment Devices,” or PHDs. The project derived from the philosophy that it’s better to break an enemy’s morale than to simply kill them. This goes even more so for insurgent wars, when it’s extremely important to avoid harming civilians.

The final design had clusters of blank cartridges to simulate gun sounds. Each canister would fire eight bursts of eight shots total over a period of six hours. The bomblet fired each burst at random intervals. Each time, a special bellow would let out a screaming whine.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

  Comments