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Afghanistan general says Taliban gains threaten global security

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Afghan forces are battling the Taliban in Lashkar Gah

An Afghan general has warned of “devastating” consequences for global security if the Taliban win in their fight against government forces.

General Sami Sadat is leading the battle against the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand, where intense fighting has broken out in its capital Lashkar Gah.

At least 40 civilians have been killed there in the past day, the UN says.

The Taliban are reported to have captured most of the city.

However, the fighting is continuing and government forces have vowed not to let Lashkar Gah fall into militant hands.

Gen Sadat told the BBC that while government forces had lost ground, he believed the Taliban would be unable to sustain their assault.

However, he said the Taliban were being reinforced by fighters from other Islamist groups and warned that their gains posed a threat beyond Afghanistan.

“This will increase the hope for small extremist groups to mobilise in the cities of Europe and America, and will have a devastating effect on global security,” he said.

“This is not a war of Afghanistan, this is a war between liberty and totalitarianism.”

The Taliban assault in Helmand province is part of a major offensive across Afghanistan.

The militants have made rapid advances in recent months as US forces have withdrawn after 20 years of military operations in the country.

Helmand was the centrepiece of the US and British military campaign, and any Taliban gains there would be a blow for the Afghan government.

If Lashkar Gah fell, it would be the first provincial capital won by the Taliban since 2016, when they briefly held the northern city of Kunduz.

‘Corpses on the roads’

Residents of Lashkar Gah say they are living in fear as the city faces heavy assault from the militants, who are being targeted with US and Afghan air strikes.

“Neither the Taliban will have mercy on us nor will the government stop the bombing. There are corpses on the roads. We do not know if they are civilians or the Taliban,” one resident told the BBC.

Another said: “I do not know where to go, there are clashes in every corner of the city.”

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) says civilians are “bearing the brunt” of the fighting, with the Taliban ground offensive and Afghan air strikes causing the most harm.

It has called on both sides to do more to protect civilians, including an immediate end to fighting in urban areas.

In addition to the fatalities, dozens of people have been injured and thousands displaced, according to Unama.

Doctors in Lashkar Gah have reported being overwhelmed and running low on supplies. “There is fighting all around,” one told the BBC.

Map shows key locations in Lashkar Gah

Map shows key locations in Lashkar Gah

An Afghan interpreter living in the city said his life was under threat from the Taliban because he had worked for the British forces.

“My own house which I left yesterday has been captured by the Taliban and they are living there and they were asking for me,” he said.

“We don’t know what will happen in [the] future but they are looking from house to house to find the people who worked for Nato.”

Meanwhile, officials in the city said Afghan forces had recaptured the office of the state TV and radio station, which had previously been seized by the Taliban.

What is happening elsewhere?

Lashkar Gah is one of three provincial capitals under attack.

Attempts by the militants to capture Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, have continued after rocket strikes hit its airport on Sunday.

Seizing control of Kandahar would be a huge victory for the Taliban, giving them a grip on the south of the country.

Unama says five civilians have been killed and 42 wounded over the past three days.

In a third besieged city, Herat, in the west, government commandos are battling the insurgents after days of fierce fighting. Government forces have taken back some areas after a UN compound was attacked on Friday.

Videos shared on social media appeared to show residents on the streets and rooftops of Herat shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest”) in support of the government’s gains.

As government forces struggled to contain Taliban advances, President Ashraf Ghani blamed the sudden withdrawal of US troops for the increase in fighting.

“The reason for our current situation is that the decision was taken abruptly,” he told parliament on Monday.

Mr Ghani said he had warned Washington that the withdrawal would have “consequences”.

Although nearly all its military forces have left, the US has continued its air offensive in support of government troops.

President Biden’s administration announced on Monday that because of the increase in violence, it would take in thousands more Afghan refugees who worked with US forces.

The US and UK have accused the Taliban of committing possible war crimes by “massacring civilians” in a town captured near the Pakistan border.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had seen reports of “deeply disturbing” Taliban atrocities.

Gruesome videos that emerged from Spin Boldak apparently showed revenge killings. The Taliban have rejected the accusations.

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Every Day, Biden Smells Like More of a Loser

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Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty

With a hint of confusion in his eyes and a whiff of failure in the air around him, Joe Biden is watching his approval ratings continue to plummet to the point where just 42 percent of Americans approve of his job performance.

Which makes sense, since at least so far Biden really doesn’t seem very good at this whole being president thing despite dreaming of and preparing for it for decades. With his staff trying to hide him from the press, and his penchant for saying confusing things, Biden isn’t rhetorically equipped to talk himself out of this mess. He was elected on a simple mandate to not be Trump, but after promising not to do Trump things, doing his own thing has proven more difficult.

To some degree, he put himself in this corner. By governing as he campaigned (as a competent centrist), Biden might have locked in a governing majority of alienated center-right Americans along with his extant Democratic coalition. However, Biden chose to abandon efforts to transcend the current political paradigm, choosing instead to appease his base. Talk about a tragic plot twist.

His deference to progressives was foreshadowed early on: first when he flip-flopped on taxpayer funding of abortion during the campaign, and then with the partisan passage of his COVID-relief bill in February. But real trouble arrived this summer, when he prematurely declared “independence” from the virus (followed by mixed messaging over boosters), and his Afghanistan withdrawal went dangerously sideways. Then it became clear that allowing progressives to hold his bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage would result in more than just a temporary delay.

One could argue that Biden’s decision to pander to the leftward flank of the Democratic Party caused or exacerbated the various crises he now confronts—ranging from the border crisis (his “compassionate” policies and rhetoric served as a magnet) to violent crime (it’s hard to blame Biden for this, though his party’s “defund the police” rhetoric didn’t help) to inflation, which is now tied with COVID as Americans’ biggest concern (Biden ignored Larry Summers’ warnings about overheating the economy). The current stalemate over his legislative agenda is the clearest example of this deference to progressives. And since his stalled legislative agenda feels especially like a self-inflicted wound, it’s worth spending a little additional time here.

This One Basic Mistake Is Blowing Up Biden’s Presidency

Had Biden aggressively moved to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he would likely have garnered dozens of Republican votes, and progressives would have likely either caved to his will or been shown to be impotent. This is my counterfactual analysis, at least.

Instead, though, Biden let progressives press him into (sort of) linking passage of the bipartisan bill with a $3.5 trillion social welfare reconciliation package. By trying to have it all, there’s now a chance that he could get neither.

Why would an experienced former senator and vice president—who spent his career working across the aisle—make this mistake? Here’s one hypothesis: Ideas have consequences. And the assertion has taken root that Americans are so polarized and ideologically sorted that persuasion is a fool’s errand.

Since Bill Clinton, every U.S. president has essentially bought into this premise, despite all of them except Trump having explicitly campaigned as game-changing uniters. Bush and Obama won re-election with this formula, which probably explains why it isn’t easily abandoned, even as the trajectory of America this time at least feels like it has been headed downard. Biden had a fresh opportunity to break the cycle, but he has instead followed the path of his predecessors.

That aside, his even more fundamental problem is a lack of competence. We saw this in Afghanistan, where the dubious decision to withdraw all U.S. troops was compounded by the hamfisted manner in which the withdrawal was executed. And this same lack of competence is evident when it comes to Biden’s stalled legislative agenda.

If Biden was going to make the foolish decision to link the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the reconciliation bill, he could have first made sure he had all 50 Democratic Senators on board.

It’s no surprise that Manchin, who hails from West Virginia, would pose a roadblock when it comes to passing the Democrats’ “green” agenda items, so discussions with him should have begun on day one. Instead, Biden and the Democrats tried to jam their own framework through—and retroactively sell it to him.

Of course, it’s even more complicated, since Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema is the other holdout. Unlike previous examples where duos like recalcitrant Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine could be won over simultaneously, Manchin’s problems with the bill (mainly climate related) are entirely different from Sinema’s (generally having to do with taxes). And don’t forget the fact that appeasing them too much could alienate other, more progressive, Democratic votes. This is just one big mess.

And the problem for Biden (and America) is that the problems keep piling up. China is menacing Taiwan and testing hypersonic weapons (Biden says we will defend Taiwan if they are attacked). Gas prices are up, with Biden admitting they’re not coming down any time soon. And then there is the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Biden’s problems are piling up so fast that it reminds me of lyrics from Hank Williams, Jr., “The interest is up and the stock market’s down. And you only get mugged if you go downtown.”

Those lyrics, recorded in 1981, reflected those dark times. It’s worth noting that Ronald Reagan went on to win 49 states, three years later.

Joe Biden better hope for a similar turnaround.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Jake Tapper Says Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Has ‘Issues’ After Her Rant On Bannon Vote

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CNN’s Jake Tapper came down hard on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Friday, declaring she has “real issues” and is “not tethered to reality.”

He was referring to Greene’s outburst Thursday when, as described by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), she “started screaming” at Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

The House was voting to support the criminal contempt resolution against Donald Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon after Bannon ignored a subpoena to testify before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Greene blasted fellow lawmakers for not punishing Black Lives Matter protesters and singled out Cheney by calling her a “joke.” Cheney, in turn, said Greene was a “joke” who has pushed the wild claim that Jewish-funded “space lasers” were responsible for wildfires.

“Congressman Raskin and Congresswoman Cheney are talking on the floor and, according to my sources …. Congresswoman Greene goes over to them and she starts screaming at them,” Tapper said to his CNN co-hosts.

“Look, I’m not a licensed psychologist, I don’t know her, but her behavior suggests somebody that has real issues, that is not tethered to reality or basic standards of decent behavior,” Tapper said.

He also referred to Greene’s conspiracy theory that “wealthy Jewish Americans were using laser technology to cause fires in California for some financial incentive.”

“I mean, it is a deranged anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and yet that is somebody with whom many Republicans are siding,” Tapper added.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene and Liz Cheney really represent the two doors for the Republican Party right now. Which one does the Republican Party want to emulate?” he asked.

Greene is known for her outbursts. Last month, she yelled at a group of Democrats as they held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol about legislation to guarantee the right to an abortion. Greene loudly interjected that “unborn women” have a “right to life.”

Greene has repeatedly shouted at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez said Greene needed “help” from a “proper professional.

Check out Tapper’s remarks in the video clip up top. His comments about Greene begin at about 0:36.

Also on HuffPost

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.





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Biden proves himself unaware of basic economics during Baltimore town hall: 'The Five'

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Biden proves himself unaware of basic economics during Baltimore town hall: 'The Five'



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Family’s new dog attacks and kills 7-year-old boy, Oklahoma cops say. ‘Gut-wrenching’

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A 7-year-old boy was killed Wednesday when his family’s new pet dog attacked him, Oklahoma officials say.

Deputies in Creek County were dispatched around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday for reports of a missing child, the sheriff’s office said. Fifteen minutes later and not long after deputies arrived on the scene, a family member found the body of the boy, according to the sheriff.

The boy was identified by KOCO as James McNeelis, who was playing outside with the dog before it attacked him. Family members told KJRH the dog was a sheltie-corgi mix and they only had it for three weeks after rescuing it as a stray.

Shannon Edison, a neighbor of the family, described the incident as “gut-wrenching” in an interview with KOTV.

“We knew something was wrong. As a mother, you know that scream, if anybody has ever heard that scream, you know that scream,” Edison said. “Something was catastrophically wrong.”

The sheriff’s office said an animal control facility has possession of the dog.

Family dog attacks and kills 6-month-old in Tennessee, officials say

Dog with jaws locked on smaller dog’s throat shot by officer, Colorado police say

Young child dashes for help as 120-pound dog kills mom in home, Oregon officials say



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Joey Logano not sure fighting is "ever the right way"

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Joey Logano not sure fighting is "ever the right way"



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Matt Gaetz Gives Himself, Boebert And Taylor Greene A Nickname And It Doesn’t Go Well

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Matt Gaetz Gives Himself, Boebert And Taylor Greene A Nickname And It Doesn’t Go Well



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Ashanti’s Seductive Bikini Video Ignites a Social Media Commotion, Fans Bring Up Singer’s Ex Nelly

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Ashanti‘s month-long birthday celebration known as “Shantober” appeared to be in full effect on Oct. 21 after she uploaded a sultry bikini video.

The singer, who turned 41 last week, is currently in the Bahamas with friends as she commemorates her birthday.

Ashanti’s new bikini video from her Bahamas vacation. (Photo: @ashanti/Instagram)

In the short clip first posted by her stylist Tim B, Ashanti was seen enjoying the festivities as she danced on what appears to be a boat in a beaded turquoise bikini complemented with a tiara and two ribbons pinned to her swimsuit straps.

When “The Shade Room” posted Ashanti’s bikini video on the site’s Instagram page, many flooded the comment section with remarks about her ex Nelly. A few even brought up the infamous hug that occurred between the two last month.

“Y’all better stop before Nelly come thru the phone screen to ask for a Hug.”

“Nelly bout to walk across the Atlantic to get a hug.”

“No wonder Nelly went for that hug trying to rekindle a flame that’s been blazing by itself.”

“Nelly somewhere snatching that band-aid off.”

“Nelly somewhere figuring it out.”

Ashanti commented on her viral bikini video that was posted on “The Shade Room.” Photo:theshaderoom/Instagram

Ashanti commented on her viral bikini video that was posted on “The Shade Room.” Photo:theshaderoom/Instagram

In addition to the Nelly statements, Ashanti commented that the video was all in good fun by saying, “My birthday month!!”

Last week on Oct. 13, Ashanti celebrated her actual birthday by going to dinner with family and friends in New York. The singer also took Instagram to explain how priceless it is to celebrate life with those you love.

She said, “Super overwhelmed with the birthday wishes. I’m grateful to God that I wake up to so much love…and so many blessings. Incredibly grateful for another year. One thing we’ve all seen is that tomorrow isn’t promised… Being surrounded by friends and family, celebrating life is priceless. Thank you to each and everyone of you for all the love!!! I genuinely appreciate it from my heart 10/13.”





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