For nearly a year, “Nadia,” who worked as an interpreter for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has been desperately trying to leave, fearful of revenge by the Taliban. Sunday night, as the insurgent group took control of that war-torn nation, her pleas for help reached a fever pitch. Nadia and others who worked with U.S. forces during the nearly 20-year, now-lost war in Afghanistan are seeking a way for them and their families to come to America, the place for which they risked it all. They’ve shared their stories with Military Times, hoping against long odds to be evacuated. Nadia requested anonymity out of fear of retribution by the Taliban.
Advocates are reminding veterans that help is available if headlines about the disastrous end of the U.S mission in Afghanistan and the looming Sept. 11 anniversary are triggering anxiety and mental health issues. “Veterans should be on the lookout for red flags if news of Afghanistan starts changing [their] behavior,” Dr. Sonya Norman, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ PTSD Consultation Program, said in a statement. “These include isolating, using alcohol and drugs, or any increase in unhealthy behaviors compared to normal.”
Military planners sounding the alarm about Afghanistan’s imminent collapse failed to predict the speed with which the Taliban would overrun the country, leaving the Biden administration scrambling to evacuate thousands of American citizens, embassy staffers, and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul’s international airport. Though officials warned repeatedly over the past few weeks that the Afghan government could fall far sooner than previous estimates—weeks or months after the last American troops depart the country—they overestimated the capability and will of the Afghan security forces to fight back as the Taliban seized city after city in recent days, defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive planning, told Politico.
The Pentagon’s desperate plans to evacuate U.S. embassy personnel from Kabul as the Taliban sweep across Afghanistan are generating frequent comparisons to the fall of Saigon in 1975. To Larry Chambers, however, that comparison is a little off. “To be perfectly honest with you, what is happening now is worse than what happened in Vietnam,” Chambers said in an interview with Military Times, several days before the Taliban actually entered Kabul. During the fall of Saigon, Chambers was skipper of the aircraft carrier Midway. Just months after taking command, he oversaw the evacuation of thousands of U.S. personnel and Vietnamese military troops and civilians during Operation Frequent Wind, which took place April 29 and 30, 1975.
The first airplanes were powered by piston engines turning propellers, and when gas turbine engines emerged decades later, they quickly proved able to propel aircraft higher, farther, and faster. The cycle repeated itself with the turbofan in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet as dazzling as any new technology is when first developed, something better eventually surpasses it. Such is the case with GE’s Adaptive Cycle Engine, a new propulsion technology that can deliver either power or efficiency on demand.
Israeli officials are nervously watching the situation in Afghanistan, with a belief that the collapse of the government will enable Al-Qaida to renew its efforts to perform terror attacks against both American and Israeli targets around the world. Defense sources say that the feeling among the Taliban and Al-Qaida is that after defeating the U.S. in Afghanistan, the “gate is wide open” to launch terror attacks from inside Afghanistan.
Lockheed Martin’s proposed $4.4 billion acquisition of rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne is under a cloud of uncertainty after Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan expressed concerns about vertical mergers in which a large corporation seeks to acquire a major supplier. Khan’s views on defense industry consolidation were laid out in an Aug. 6 letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who opposes the merger and has been a longtime critic of defense industry consolidation.
America’s top general said Aug. 15 that the United States could now face a rise in terrorist threats from a Taliban-run Afghanistan. That warning comes as intelligence agencies charged with anticipating those threats face new questions after the U.S.-backed Afghan military collapsed with shocking speed.
“The U.S. military ‘failed miserably’ during a wargame scenario last fall when the opposing force gained control of American networks in the first moments of the simulated battle for Taiwan. Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made this stunning revelation not as a warning about the dangers of networking the entire military, but rather to argue that the U.S. must double down on its biggest point of failure and build an even bigger network. Yet what this failed wargame really proved is that the U.S. needs a strategy that does not hinge on fragile networks,” writes Dan Grazier, military fellow for the Project on Government Oversight.
For the first time ever, a U.S. Air Force T-38 will be outfitted with an augmented reality training system that allows it to dogfight against simulated Russian and Chinese fighters projected inside the pilot’s helmet. The Air Force awarded Florida-based tech firm Red 6 a contract worth up to $70 million over its five-year period of performance, the company announced Aug. 16.
Lt. Gen. Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command, will host the eighth episode of "AETC Real Talk: Muslims Serving in the Air Force," at 3 p.m. CDT Aug. 19 on AETC’s Facebook page. Joining Webb for this discussion will be three Muslim Airmen: Maj. Sadia A. Heil, individual mobilization augmentee to the chief of Force and Unit Level Capabilities, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Directorate; Capt. Abdulaziz H. Ali, theater engagement division chief at the Air Force Special Operations Schoolhouse; and Chief Master Sgt. Gloria L. Weatherspoon, senior enlisted advisor at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.