This Week at War: Another Easter at War

The Stream's weekly look at the ongoing sacrifices of U.S. troops and military families around the world.

An M249 machine gun faces out of a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter overlooking the diverse terrain of Afghanistan on March 21, 2019.

By Tom Sileo Published on April 19, 2019

Afghanistan

For the 18th consecutive year, thousands of U.S. troops are spending Easter Sunday at war in Afghanistan. As stateside funeral preparations continue for three American heroes killed in action earlier this month, many of their fellow warriors are spending Holy Week in harm’s way.

Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan is one of the few American television news reporters still covering America’s longest war. Harrigan reports that in spite of peace talks, the Taliban went ahead with its annual spring offensive targeting coalition troops and innocent Afghan civilians.

“In last year’s spring offensive the Taliban said its prime target was U.S. forces,” Harrigan writes. “Now it says the focus is on attacking anyone connected with the Afghan government.”

The approximately 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan have no choice but to ignore the ongoing political negotiations and focus on their daily jobs, which in many cases involve training Afghan National Army soldiers and police officers.

“I started early on with my (Afghan) counterpart by saying, ‘I don’t know when we’re leaving the country. It could be 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years. I can’t tell you that. I can tell you at some point in time we are leaving, and the reliance on us to provide air support can’t be the only solution,'” U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 William Knox said this week. “So let’s work to figure out an Afghan solution that will endure past us.”

Regardless of how long the war ends up lasting, the deeds of America’s volunteer warriors will indeed endure past any of us. Thank you to our nation’s troops, veterans and military families for your continued sacrifices in Afghanistan.

Yemen

American forces will continue supporting Saudi Arabia’s war against Houthi rebels and terrorist groups in Yemen. The news came after President Trump vetoed a Congressional resolution to end U.S. involvement in the conflict.

While there are no known American troops on the ground in Yemen, the U.S. military has been providing intelligence and logistical support to Saudi forces.

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Iraq and Syria

The fight against ISIS continues in Iraq and Syria, with a combined 52 coalition strikes reported against the terrorist group between March 24 and April 6, which represents the latest available Department of Defense data.

The report said 72 ISIS vehicles and 17 fighting positions were destroyed by coalition strikes in Syria, with seven tunnels and four supply routes eliminated in Iraq.

Please keep praying for the valiant American patriots serving in Iraq and Syria, the entire Middle East and around the world.

Coming Home

A group of U.S. Navy sailors is back home after a six-month overseas deployment.

Pilot Comes Home

A U.S. Navy sailor greets his family at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island shortly after returning from deployment to the Indo-Asia Pacific region on April 10, 2019, in Washington State.

Thank you for your service and welcome home, heroes! Happy Easter to you and your families.

 

Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of three books about military heroes: 8 Seconds of CourageBrothers Forever and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo.

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