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Taliban mock U.S. as Afghan war enters 12th year

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America’s longest war entered its 12th year Sunday, with the anniversary marked by a Taliban statement claiming that NATO forces are “fleeing Afghanistan” in “humiliation and disgrace”.

The US led the invasion on October 7, 2001 to topple the Taliban government for harbouring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

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The Taliban were quickly routed, but launched an insurgency that grew in strength over the years until NATO had some 130,000 troops from 50 countries defending the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

The troops have now begun pulling out and all foreign combat forces will be gone by the end of 2014 according to a withdrawal schedule agreed by the US and NATO.

“With the help of Allah, the valiant Afghans under the Jihadi leadership of Islamic Emirate defeated the military might and numerous strategies of America and NATO alliance,” the Taliban said in a statement Sunday.

“And now after eleven years of unceasing terror, tyranny, crimes and savagery, they are fleeing Afghanistan with such humiliation and disgrace that they are struggling to provide an explanation”.

A total of 3,199 NATO soldiers have been killed in the war, more than 2,000 of them Americans. Most deaths occurred in the past five years as Taliban attacks escalated, according to icasualties.com.

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This year, official statistics showed that deaths in the Afghan security forces are running five times higher than those for NATO, as the Afghans take on increasing responsibilities before the Western withdrawal.

The US and NATO say Afghan forces will be capable of taking over the fight against the Taliban after 2014, but many analysts predict a bloody new multi-factional civil war.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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GOP scrambles to save it’s only Latina congresswoman as she heads towards a ‘fatal collision’ with Trump’s tribal politics

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Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) is female, Hispanic, and a rare sight when it comes to Republicans on the West Coast, who have seen their female ranks in the House cut in half since 2011. As she prepares to run for reelection, the fact that she doesn't represent the typical GOP ideals in 2019 creates challenges in and of themselves. But as a report from POLITICO this Wednesday points out, Republicans are committed to protecting her.

"But as the daily war machine hits overdrive with the impeachment proceedings, Herrera Beutler is wary of what message she is expected to deliver," POLITICO's Rishika Dugyala and Melanie Zanonaes write. "Yes, she voted against the impeachment inquiry in October, but she is far from an unquestioning supporter of President Donald Trump. In fact, she is open about the fact she wrote in former House Speaker Paul Ryan's name on her ballot in 2016. And yes, she subscribes to the party’s beliefs on Obamacare repeal and a barrier on the southern border. But she voted against the GOP’s health care bill to replace much of Obamacare, which would have left millions uncovered. And she was one of 13 Republicans who rebuked Trump for his national wall emergency, saying it set a 'dangerous' precedent to circumvent Congress. Matt Gaetz, she is not."

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Fox News has always been bad — but this week shows it’s willing to destroy democracy for Trump

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Fox News has been detrimental to democracy all along, but one journalist and historian believes it's gone fully off the rails this year and become a threat to national security.

Talk show host Stephen Colbert has been mocking the conservative network's commitment to "truthiness" for nearly 15 years, but 2019 has seen Fox News push out Russian disinformation campaigns and attack democracy itself to defend President Donald Trump from impeachment, reported Garrett Graff for Wired.

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Donald Trump Jr. got special permission from the Mongolian government to kill endangered sheep — on your tax dollars

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The rocky highlands of Central Asia, in a remote region of Western Mongolia, are home to a plummeting population of the largest sheep in the world, the argali. The endangered species is beloved for its giant curving horns, which can run over 6 feet in length.

On a hunting trip this August, Donald Trump Jr. shot and killed one.

His adventure was supported by government resources from both the U.S. and Mongolia, which each sent security services to accompany the president’s eldest son and grandson on the multiday trip. It also thrust Trump Jr. directly into the controversial world of Mongolian trophy hunting — a polarizing practice in a country that views the big-horned rams as a national treasure. The right to kill an argali is controlled by an opaque permitting system that experts say is mostly based on money, connections and politics.

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