Pentagon Correspondent
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Nov 6, 2014

U.S. launches fresh strikes on Khorasan group in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said it conducted air strikes on Wednesday night against the so-called Khorasan group, an al Qaeda-linked militant faction based in Syria, and said the group was plotting to attack Europe or the United States.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a target of the strike was David Drugeon, a French-born militant and convert to Islam who some U.S. officials say is a bomb maker for the group.

Nov 5, 2014

Afghan casualties on battlefield at unsustainably high level: U.S. general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 4,600 Afghan troops have been killed in the war against the Taliban this year, a 6.5 percent jump over last year and an unsustainably high figure that underscores the need for better medical evacuation, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, a top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, said 4,634 Afghan security personnel were killed in action this year, compared with 4,350 in 2013, despite a 25 percent dip in Taliban attacks from 24,000 to 18,000 over the same period.

Oct 30, 2014

U.S. military says advisers needed in embattled Iraq province

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States needs to expand a limited advise-and-assist mission in Iraq into embattled Anbar province, where some Iraqi forces are isolated and in defensive positions against Islamic State, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

But General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraq’s government must be ready to arm Sunni tribes as a precondition for getting outside advisers into the western Iraqi province.

Oct 28, 2014

U.S. isolates troops, Australia imposes visa ban on Ebola-hit West Africa states

WASHINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. military has
isolated soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission in
West Africa and Australia imposed a visa ban on the affected
countries, policies that critics said would have little benefit
but could feed a global panic.

Ebola has killed nearly 5,000 people since March, mostly in
West Africa, but nine cases in the United States prompted states
such as New York and New Jersey to ignore federal advice and
quarantine all health workers returning from the region.

Oct 28, 2014

US isolates troops, Australia slaps visa ban on Ebola-hit West Africa states

WASHINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. military has
started isolating soldiers returning from an Ebola response
mission in West Africa and Australia became the first rich
nation to impose a visa ban on the affected countries amid
global anxiety about the spread of the virus.

The latest measures, along with decisions by some U.S. states
to impose mandatory quarantines on health workers returning home
from treating Ebola victims in West Africa, have been condemned
by health authorities and the United Nations as extreme.

Oct 27, 2014

U.S. isolates soldiers after Ebola response mission in West Africa

WASHINGTON/ROME (Reuters) – The U.S. Army has started isolating soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission in West Africa, even though they showed no symptoms of infection and were not believed to have been exposed to the deadly virus, officials said on Monday.

The decision goes well beyond previously established military protocols and came just as President Barack Obama’s administration sought to discourage precautionary quarantines being imposed by some U.S. states on healthcare workers returning from countries battling Ebola.

Oct 27, 2014

Pentagon isolates soldiers, nurse quarantined in N.J. to go home

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military was isolating personnel returning from their mission to help West African countries curb Ebola even though they showed no sign of infection and a nurse who treated patients was being allowed to go to her home state after New Jersey forced her into quarantine.

The decision by the Pentagon goes well beyond previously established military protocols and came just as the White House pushed to roll back steps by U.S. states to quarantine healthcare workers returning from the three countries at the center of the Ebola epidemic even if they were asymptomatic.

Oct 24, 2014

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The commander of U.S. forces
in South Korea said on Friday he believes Pyongyang has the
capability to build a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a
ballistic missile, but added there were no tests or other
evidence it has taken that step.

Army General Curtis Scaparrotti said he thought North
Korea’s connection with Iran and Pakistan meant it probably had
access to the expertise needed to miniaturize and mount an
atomic weapon on a missile.

Oct 24, 2014

Ground offensive against Islamic State months away in Iraq: U.S.

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Florida (Reuters) – Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start waging any kind of sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State and any similar effort in Syria will take longer, officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command said on Thursday.

In Iraq, the timing will depend on a host of factors, some out of the military’s control – from Iraqi politics to the weather. Iraqi forces also must be trained, armed and ready before major advances, like one to retake the city of Mosul, which fell to the Islamic State in June.”It’s not imminent. But we don’t see that that’s a years-long effort to get them to a place to where they can be able to go on a sustained counter-offensive,” a military official said, instead describing it as a “months-long” endeavor.

Oct 23, 2014

Syria’s Kobani less at risk but could still fall: U.S. officials

By Phil Stewart

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Fla. (Reuters) – The Syrian border town of Kobani appears in less danger of falling to the Islamic State, but the threat still remains, U.S. officials said on Thursday, offering a measured view of a key battle against the militant group.

Officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command warned the Islamic State could ultimately capture the town, even after coalition air strikes and air drops of weapons and medical supplies to help Syrian Kurdish fighters fend off the militants in street battles.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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