US dispatches hundreds of troops to southern Afghanistan

In this photograph taken on February 24, 2010, a US army special forces soldier takes cover as a Blackhawk helicopter transporting NATO officers lands in the Balakino Bazar neighborhood of the Afghan town of Marjah. AFP

Here is a round-up of global news developments:

  • The US is dispatching hundreds of troops to the southern Afghan province of Helmand allegedly to help the Afghan army against Taliban militants. Washington insists that the soldiers will not engage in active combat. Kabul has confirmed that the forces will be training and advising the Afghan army.
  • The Pentagon has requested about 146-million dollars of U-S taxpayer money to fund the Israeli military, including its missile program, in fiscal year 20-17. The U-S Defense Department budget request includes over 100-million dollars for Israeli cooperative programs. The rest would be allocated to Tel Aviv’s Iron Dome missile system.
  • Britain plans to send five extra ships to the Baltic and additional troops to join a NATO buildup against Russia. This will be Britain’s first contribution to a permanent NATO naval force since 20-10. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has said the new deployments show the U-K is ready to defend its allies.
  • Yemen’s Ansarullah fighters and allied army units have launched fresh retaliatory attacks against Saudi Arabia. Yemeni snipers have killed a Saudi soldier inside a military base in the kingdom’s Jizan region. On Tuesday, the Yemenis killed several Saudi troops during clashes in the neighboring Najran region.
  • A Syrian presidential advisor says combating terrorism and restoring stability should be the main components of any solution to the crisis in Syria. Bouthaina Shaaban says the international community has not put enough pressure on Turkey and other regional states to stop funding and supporting terrorists in Syria.
  • A pro-Kurdish rally near the Turkish embassy in Paris has turned violent. French police resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the mob while protesters threw stones at officers. The protest followed media reports that Turkish forces killed about 60 people in the southeastern Kurdish town of Jizre.
  • The third consecutive year of drought in Haiti has driven people in the Caribbean nation into deeper poverty and hunger. According to the UN World Food Program, roughly one and half million Haitians are grappling with the most serious food crisis.
  • The Iraqi prime minister has announced a cabinet reshuffle in a bid to strengthen national unity and improve the ailing economy. Haider al-Abadi called for the inclusion of technocrats and academics in the government. Abadi, however, did not give any details about the timing of the changes.

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