U.S. troops sent to South Sudan: Following Tuesday’s announcement the U.S. would deploy 47 combat troops to South Sudan, President Obama told Congress he intends to send an additional 130 to the ravaged capital of Juba on Friday.
Citing the security of American citizens and U.S. embassy personnel, the president informed Congress he intends to send up to 200 troops.
The president also told the federal legislative body he does not have a timetable for a withdrawal and informed congressional leaders the role of combat troops could expand if circumstances in South Sudan changed.
Former Afghan intelligence official says Pakistan aids militants: Meeting with journalists in Kabul on Thursday, the former head of the Afghani National Directorate of Security (NDS) produced documents which he says offers verification Pakistani intelligence assists the Taliban and the Haqqani network.
Documentation released by Rahmatullah Nabil revealed communications between intelligence officials in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) arranging safe havens, transportation and cash payments to Taliban or Haqqani militants.
One letter allegedly originating from the head of ISI indicates Pakistan’s complicity in a terror attack at Kabul airport.
Nabil resigned his position at NDS in late 2015 over Afghanistan’s efforts to improve relations with Islamabad and Pakistani involvement in potential peace talks with the Taliban.
Syria’s Assad blasts U.S. role in Syria: In an interview with NBC News, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad told Bill Neely the United States is not serious about defeating terrorists in his country.
Assailing the airstrikes as “pro-forma” military action, Assad said the U.S.-led coalition aerial campaign is ineffective largely because of Washington’s ulterior motive of controlling terror groups in Syria.
Accusing the air attacks of being illegal, Assad said Russia abetted Damascus through the targeting of terror groups.
Assad also revealed the Kremlin did not place conditions on Assad in return for assistance.
Russia, U.S. agree on plan for long-term ceasefire in Syria: Seeking to save the shaky ceasefire which has held for five months, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed on a series of measures to advance a long-term ceasefire which will eventually lead to a stable peace in the war-torn country.
Although details of the meeting were not revealed, Lavrov emerged from the meeting with Kerry and told reporters the two men reaffirmed their commitment to destroy ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.
Lavrov insisted any ceasefire exclude the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front.
Warning groups which have remained in territory occupied by ISIS and al-Nusra, Lavrov told reporters in Moscow the groups do not “differ” from ISIS and al-Nusra.
Japanese emperor plans to retire: Citing ill health and a 27-year reign, NKH World News is reporting Emperor Akihito will step down from Chrysanthemum Throne in the near future.
No date was given for his eventual departure.
Akihito has suffered from several health issues in the past decade. The 82-year-old emperor overcame prostate cancer and in 2012 underwent successful open heart surgery.
The son of wartime Emperor Hirohito, Akihito married a commoner and has been praised for reshaping the Japanese monarchy.
[RT News] [Reuters] [The Guardian]