U.S. Navy SEALs Attempt Hostage Rescue in Afghanistan

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Street in Kabul where professors were abducted

U.S. Navy SEALs attempted to rescue an American professor who had been kidnapped by the Taliban from American University of Afghanistan in Kabul last month. The SEALs engaged Afghani militants in a firefight during the attempt, but no hostages were found. Seven militants were killed, but all of the American forces were unharmed. It is believed the rescuers missed the hostages by a few hours.

This was the second rescue attempt. The first mission, a day earlier, was aborted when President Obama denied the request. The next day, Obama approved the mission.
According to a Defense Department official, “They turned back that first night because they didn’t have authority. They could have gone on without permission if they thought hostages’ lives were in imminent danger.”

The two professors were taken hostage on August 7. Kevin King is an American and Timothy Weeks is an Australian. A few weeks later, 12 people were killed at that same campus during a terror attack.

Why this Matters: There are conflicting reports of the reason for the delay in the president’s approval. One source says White House bureaucracy is to blame, and another said the intelligence reports on the situation were not confirmed.

Taliban targets within Afghanistan are being hit by NATO airstrikes. The government and police forces are trying to “clean up” the country. The Haqqanis are thought to have taken the men. They frequently capture Westerners and wealthy Afghanis for ransom. Most hostages are quickly moved into the tribal areas of Pakistan where they are beyond the reach of U.S. and European forces. Therefore, the hours immediately following an abduction are the most critical.

The Haqqanis captured U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and traded him in a prisoner swap with the U.S. in 2014.

Pray for the safety of the professors and that the next rescue attempt will be successful.

Who is Gary Johnson and Why doesn’t He Know about Aleppo?

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Gary Johnson is running for President as a Libertarian. He made headlines this week because in an interview, he did not know what Aleppo is.

Q:  “What would you do about Aleppo?”
GJ: “And what is Aleppo?”
Q:  “You’re kidding.”
GJ: “No.”

Johnson spent the day on Thursday explaining his foreign policy flub. He is at anywhere from 9 to 12 percent in the polls and needs to reach 15 percent in order to be on the stage in the upcoming presidential debates.

Aleppo was also in the headlines this week because that city is experiencing the worst of the conflict between rebel forces and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

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Rescue workers in the rebel-held section of Aleppo claimed the Assad government dropped two chlorine bombs in a crowded neighborhood.
Twenty-two were killed and at least 120 were injured. There have been many accusations of the use of chlorine and other poisonous gases throughout the six-year history of Syria’s civil war. Both the rebels and the government have denied its use.

Why this Matters: Putin and Russia are on the side of President Assad of Syria; the U.S. is supporting the rebel forces trying to overthrow Assad’s regime. International pressure to establish a cease-fire has failed and the fighting has intensified in Aleppo. Turkey has pushed for a safe zone in Syria to protect civilians. Last month Turkey sent tanks to support rebel forces who were battling ISIS in the town of Jarablus, Syria. Over the weekend, Turkey expanded their operation. At times, Turkey has sided with Russia instead of their NATO allies and has recently allowed Russia use of an airbase to conduct missions in Syria.

Pray for God’s direction and His intervention in Syria. Pray for any Christians who are still in that country to escape to safety. Pray for a solid, godly U.S. policy in the Middle East.

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