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Ukraine and Afghanistan:

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    Washington (CNN)The US intelligence community is carrying out a sweeping internal review of how it assesses the fighting power of foreign militaries amid mounting pressure from key lawmakers on Capitol Hill who say officials have failed twice in one year on the two major foreign policy crises faced by the Biden administration in Ukraine and Afghanistan. The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday sent a classified letter to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Department and the CIA pointing out that the agencies broadly underestimated how long the Ukrainian military would be able to fend off Russian forces and overestimated how long Afghan fighters would hold out against the Taliban last summer after the US withdrawal from the country, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. They questioned the methodology behind the intelligence community's assessments, and the underlying assumptions behind them, the sources said.CNN has learned that one smaller intelligence agency within the State Department did more accurately assess the Ukrainian military's capability to resist Russia. But while that assessment was shared within the US government,...
    The U.S. intelligence community overestimated the capabilities of both the Afghan and Russian militaries, and the director of national intelligence pointed to the difficulties of assessing people’s “will to fight” as one of the main factors in getting these assessments wrong. The United States expected the Afghan army to withstand the Taliban for months, and officials expected the Russian military to conquer the capital of Ukraine in a matter of days. Both turned out to be significant overestimations of the respective militaries' performances on the battlefield. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, when they were questioned about the inaccurate timelines. IN VICTORY DAY SPEECH, PUTIN SEEKS RUSSIAN UNITY FOR LONG-TERM STRUGGLE AGAINST WEST "I would say that it's a combination of will to fight and capacity in effect, and the two of them are issues that are, as you indicated, quite challenging to, you know, provide effective analysis on, and we're looking at different methodologies for doing...
    The US and Russia, faded relics of the Cold War, unable to accept their terminal decline, launch futile and self-defeating wars to reclaim their lost imperial power. Blinded by what Barbara Tuchman calls “the bellicose frivolity of senile empires,” we are marching ominously towards war with Russia. How else might we explain Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s public declaration that the US goal is to “weaken Russia” and Joe Biden’s request for another $33 billion in “emergency” military and economic aid (half of what Russia spent on its military in 2021) for Ukraine? The same cabal of generals and politicians that drained the state of trillions of dollars in the debacles in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia and learned nothing from the nightmare of Vietnam, revel in the illusion of their omnipotence. They have no interest in a diplomatic solution. There are billions in profits to be made in arms sales. There is political posturing to be done. There are generals itching to pull the trigger. Why have all these high-priced and technologically advanced weapons systems if you can’t...
    Russian citizens have slammed two TV pundits as 'traitors' and 'disgusting' after they defied Vladimir Putin's propaganda campaign on state TV and described the invasion of Ukraine as 'like Afghanistan, but even WORSE'. Russian filmmaker Karen Shakhnazarov and academic Semyon Bagdasarov used an appearance on Russia 1's prime-time talk show 'An Evening with Vladimir Soloviev' - a man referred to as Vladimir Putin's propagandist-in-chief - to criticise the ruthless invasion. Bagdasarov called on the Russian leader to end the attack, while Shakhnazarov sought to bust the Kremlin's narrative that it is conducting a limited 'special operation' in the Donbass region by referencing attacks on the capital of Kyiv. Their comments came despite the Russian government threatening 15 years in jail for anyone publishing 'fake news' about the war - though the definition of 'fake' is set by the government, meaning any criticism of the Kremlin's actions is likely to be classed as such. Russian filmmaker Karen Shakhnazarov and academic Semyon Bagdasarov (pictured) used an appearance on Russia 1's prime-time talk show 'An Evening with Vladimir Soloviev' - a man referred to as Vladimir Putin's propagandist-in-chief...
    Fifty-six per cent of Americans believe President Joe Biden's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. Nearly an idential percentage of Americans fear Putin could use nuclear weapons as the conflict escalates.  A I&I/TIPP Poll released Monday found that Americans are 'deeply unsettled' by Putin's moves against Ukraine.   Fifty-six per cent of Americans believe President Joe Biden's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. A photo from Tuesday shows a burned out car and buildings damaged in Putin's assault A majority of American adults believe Russian President Vladimir Putin was emboldened to invade Ukraine after the U.S.'s disorderly exit from Afghanistan - but Republicans and conservatives agreed in larger numbers  Overall, 56 per cent of respondents said it was very or somewhat likely that Putin could use nuclear weapons in the conflict.  On that question, there wasn't a major divide between Republican and Democratic, and liberal and conservative responses, with 59 per cent of Democrats in agreement, compared to 53 per cent of Republicans. And 59 per cent of conservatives versus...
    Nikki Haley, a veteran and former United Nations ambassador, slammed President Joe Biden's leadership in the Ukraine conflict on Sunday. In an interview with FOX News' Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures, Haley said the United States never should have trusted Russia or Putin.  'This all happened because of us,' she said. 'This happened from the way the US left Afghanistan,' she explained, saying the US abandoned its allies. 'This happened when Biden waived Nord Stream 2, which President Trump fought,' Haley continued, referring to a Russian-owned pipeline that spans Europe. 'This happened by falling all over himself by getting the Iran deal,' she said. 'Now, we need strength and deterrence and we're not getting it.'  Instead, she said, it is time for the president to 'stop reacting and start leading. In an interview on Sunday morning, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed President Joe Biden for his leadership during the Ukraine crisis Haley, right, told Maria Bartiromo, left, the president needs to provide Ukrainians with better intelligence and stop taking Russian oil money She said that Biden's foreign policy...
    If you’ve been gathering proof that white supremacy drives western media coverage of international affairs, look no further than coverage of the Russian invasion into Ukraine. Charlie D’Agata, a CBS News senior correspondent in Kyiv, described Ukrainian citizens hiding in bomb shelters and tens of thousands of people trying to flee the city of Kyiv on Friday. Those people have been getting nonstop media coverage since Russian military forces launched a major attack on Ukraine on Thursday, but by activists’ estimates, they likely would’ve been ignored completely if they were Black, brown, or Muslim. D’Agata’s synopsis of the attack seemed to lend evidence to that estimation. “But this isn’t a place—with all due respect—like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades,” D’Agata said of Ukraine. “You know, this is a relatively civilized, relatively European—I have to choose those words carefully, too—city where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen.” Saad Mohseni, director of the media company Moby Media Group in Afghanistan, called the statement "utterly stupid and ill informed" in a tweet on Saturday. “Afghanistan was also a peaceful...
    The Taliban has called on Russia and Ukraine to 'resolve the crisis through peaceful means' months after massacring innocent people as they took over Afghanistan. In a statement posted to the Taliban's official Twitter account, which now goes by the name of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the militant group said it was concerned 'about real possibility of civilian casualties.' Under the seal of the Emirate's Ministry of Foreign Affairs - that closely resembles the seals used by US government departments - the Taliban called for dialogue to be held between Russia and Ukraine and to safeguard Afghans in Ukraine. In a statement (pictured) posted to the Taliban's official Twitter account, the militant group said it was concerned 'about real possibility of civilian casualties' in Ukraine The Taliban, as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, has yet to be recognised by any country as Afghanistan's new government since its brutal takeover in August. Its foreign ministry posted its 'Statement concerning crisis in Ukraine' on Friday morning, and was shared on Twitter by key Taliban figures. 'The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is closely...
    DONALD Trump blasted President Joe Biden over Vladimir Putin's military "invasion" of Ukraine and said the Russian leader saw the United State's "weakness in Afghanistan." Speaking on a phone call with Fox News Wednesday night, Trump said Putin "saw the weaknesses... the weakness in Afghanistan." 1Speaking on a phone call with Fox News Wednesday night, Trump said Putin 'saw the weaknesses... the weakness in Afghanistan'Credit: AFP "I really believe that's where he started thinking 'I can do this.'" In regards to Biden monitoring the Ukrain invasion, Trump said: "I don't think he's monitoring. "I think he's sleeping right now." Overall, Trump called the Ukraine invasion a "very terrible situation." "It's a situation that should have never happened," he added. Most read in The US Sun'SO CUTE' Tristan Thompson's baby mama reveals their son's face for first timeFOR PETE'S SAKE Pete fans go wild as he posts and deletes Instagram video amid Kanye feudSPY IN THE HOUSE I found a hidden camera in my Airbnb bathroom disguised as a CHARGERDEADLY BREAK-IN Ex-Kentucky rep's daughter killed in home invasion and parents 'shot...
    In the push to avert war in Ukraine, the Biden administration used an unpredictable weapon, divulging confidential intelligence to reporters while saying: Just trust us, and ignore the backdrop of historical errors. Dare to question the high-octane allegations, and you may find yourself lumped on the side of America’s enemies, as happened when the Biden administration said it had evidence of a Russian plot to fabricate a pretext for invading Ukraine by staging a bloody genocidal attack that framed Ukrainian forces. As part of the propaganda effort, Russia would showcase a graphic explosion, featuring corpses and crisis actors depicting mourners and implicating Ukraine and NATO allies with Western military materials, and all caught on video, a senior administration official said. Pressed for evidence supporting the claims, however, Biden’s State Department spokesman, Ned Price, yielded little. “We declassify information only when we’re confident in that information,” Price said. “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments, and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is...
    The Army general selected to take command of U.S. troops in the Middle East warned on Tuesday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could spill over into Syria, where Moscow might try to act as a 'spoiler.' But Lt. Gen. Erik Kurilla told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran remains the biggest threat to U.S. interests in the region. And he said China was expanding its reach across the Central Command region, including countries that the U.S. was reliant on for gathering intelligence on terrorist groups in Afghanistan. In his opening statement, he described a changing world where the U.S. faced the expanding reach of competitors.  'The United States faces a new era of strategic competition with China and Russia that is not confined to one geographical region and extends into the (Central Command) area of responsibility,' he said 'As the United States rightfully prioritizes competition with China, we must remain engaged in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.' He appeared before the committee as the world waits for President Vladimir Putin's next move. Lt. Gen. Erik Kurilla...
    On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Ingraham Angle,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said that President Joe Biden’s botched handling of Afghanistan, “emboldened Vladimir Putin to prepare for an invasion of Ukraine” and that Biden “basically green-lighted Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine when he started speculating about minor incursions.” Cotton stated, “I also heard today a lot of members who were astonished that Joe Biden would not only refuse to express any regrets about the impotence and the incompetence he displayed in Afghanistan, which, has, by the way, emboldened Vladimir Putin to prepare for an invasion of Ukraine. He also basically green-lighted Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine when he started speculating about minor incursions.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
    Donald Trump shared a closer relationship with Putin than his White House successor Former President Donald Trump said Vladimir Putin is 'not worried' about any threats or warnings from President Joe Biden after the two world leaders spoke for roughly two hours on Tuesday about the increasingly tense situation in Ukraine. Biden and the Russian president met via video chat to discuss his country amassing troops at its border with Ukraine. Kyiv officials have pled with the United States military to send more weapons, fearing an imminent invasion. The president told Putin that any attack on the former Soviet satellite state's sovereignty would be met with real costs - including harsh sanctions.  Trump, who shared a considerably warmer relationship with Putin than Biden does, mocked his Democratic rival's assertive stance and pointed to the widely-criticized US military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. 'Vladimir Putin looks at our pathetic surrender in Afghanistan, leaving behind dead Soldiers, American citizens, and $85 billion worth of Military equipment. He then looks at Biden. He is not worried!' Trump declared in a statement via his...
    BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to hold talks in Moscow on Friday amid the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan and as Russia’s treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and Ukraine remain a source of ongoing tension between the two leaders’ countries. Other challenging issues that are certain to play a role in the meeting are a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany opposed by the United States, the repression of dissent in Belarus, and allegations that the Belarusian government has channeled migrants into Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with the aim of destabilizing the European Union. Merkel’s visit to Moscow comes as the chancellor is nearing the end of her almost 16-year-long leadership of Germany. She and Putin, who has served as Russia’s president or prime minister since 2000, managed to maintain a line of communication over the years despite their many political differences. However, the personal relationship between the two has deteriorated since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, and as a result...
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