Wednesday, August 10

David Cameron to commit more Bitish troops to Aghanistan



David Cameron is to send more British troops to Afghanistan amid concerns about the deteriorating security situation.

The Prime Minister, attending the Nato summit in Warsaw, will announce that he is to deploy up to 50 additional personnel to help build up the beleaguered Afghan security forces.

They will join the 450 British troops already in the country who had been due to return at the end of this year but will now have their mission extended into 2017.

The move follows the announcement by President Barack Obama that he is to keep the remaining 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan for the remainder of his presidency, further slowing the draw-down of US forces.

Arriving in Warsaw, Mr Cameron said it was essential that Nato continued “to work with the Afghan government and the Afghan security forces to help keep terrorists out of that country”.

British officials stressed that the UK personnel would be engaged in “training and mentoring” and would not be taking part in combat operations against the resurgent Taliban.

“It is not mission creep because they are not engaged in a combat capacity. They are engaged in training and mentoring,” one official said.

However, the move will be seen as another setback for Mr Cameron, as he nears the end of his premiership, having hoped to end Britain’s lengthy military involvement in the county.

Of the additional troops to be deployed, 21 will join the counter terrorism mission, 15 will be involved in a leadership development at the Afghan army’s officer training academy – dubbed “Sandhurst in the sand” – and 13 will join the Nato Resolute Support Mission.

In addition, Britain is to extend the £70 million a year funding it provides for the Afghan security forces to 2020, committing an extra £178 million direct to the Afghan government of president Ashraf Ghani.

“It is a reflection of the fact that there is still a job to be done in Afghanistan,” a British Government source said.

“While they have made tremendous strides in recent years – it is clear that they still need our support. Not in a combat capacity, but in a Nato mission capacity of training and mentoring and generally improving their means of operation.”

Mr Cameron said that underlined his determination that Britain should continue to play a leading role on the world stage despite the referendum vote to leave the European Union.

“Britain is not going to be playing a lesser role in the world. We will make sure that we use our strength, including through Nato, to spread British values and the things that we believe in,” he said.

US Administration: Online struggle against ISIS led to 45% drop in twitter followers

The US established the coalition against ISIS in September 2014, and has since been investing efforts not only in the military battle against the organization – but also in the online struggle. According to data published by the US government, ISIS has seen a 45% drop in twitter followers in the last 2 years as a result

The activity on the Islamic State’s twitter pages and other websites supporting the extreme terror organization has dropped by 45% throughout the last two years, according to information published by the American Administration. The US insists that this trend is the result of the government’s persistent online struggle against the organization, claiming that this battle has also had results on the ground.

The online campaign against ISIS, operated by a US government organization whose goal is to fight messages supporting terror on the web, includes the publication of a growing number of posts and photos denouncing the terror organization, such as the recent photo of a teddy bear constructed of Arabic inscriptions stating that ISIS “slaughters children and “murders innocent people.”

In another photo published recently, the hand of a man is seen covering the mouth of a woman with the caption: “ISIS prevents women from making their voice heard.” A second photo shows a woman wearing a veil with tears of blood dripping down her bruised face with the caption: “Women under ISIS: beaten, enslaved and humiliated.”

The US’s online campaign against ISIS started off rather slowly, amongst others because the messages against the terror organization were originally published in English, which resulted in only limited exposure, and the move to block off terror-related accounts on social media was only in its infancy.

Today, almost all the US’s messages are published in Arabic and they are also being proliferated with the help of Arab governments, religious leaders, schools and other elements with an influence on local communities, rather than only by the US itself.

According to AP News, there is currently an average 6 accounts opposing ISIS for every account that supports it, while the average number of online ISIS followers currently stands at 300, as opposed to 1,500 in 2014.

According to Twitter, their ability to identify terror-related content has been substantially improved and more than 125 thousand terror-supporting accounts have been deleted since 2015. Meanwhile, the US’s focus on twitter in their battle against ISIS has led the terror organization to move its activity to other apps with much smaller circulation.