U.S. ready to do more to help retake Ramadi
Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the U.S. is prepared to assist the Iraqi army with more personnel and equipment to help them fight Islamic State militants.
Carter said Dec. 9 that the U.S. would provide attack helicopters and additional military advisers in the fight to retake a key city in western Iraq.
Iraqi forces advanced on Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, earlier this week, capturing a military operations center and a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. IS fighters captured Ramadi in May in a major setback for Iraqi troops.
Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that tough fighting remains ahead and if requested by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the U.S. will provide helicopters and advisers to help “finish the job. AP
Search underway for Afghan trainees missing from air base
Two Afghan men who were training with the U.S. military are missing from a base in south Georgia, but officials say that they were screened before entering the country and that there’s no indication they pose a threat.
“There’s zero evidence that these guys are terrorists,” said Brian Childress, police chief in Valdosta, which is near Moody Air Force Base.
The men didn’t report Dec. 7 to maintenance training with the 81st Fighter Squadron, base officials said in a statement Dec. 8.
Federal, local and state agencies are working with the military to find the men, Childress said Dec. 9. Moody officials informed him Dec. 8 the men were missing, he said. The men’s names and other details about them have not been released.
The two had been at Moody since February 2015 as part of a training program aimed at improving the Afghanistan air force, according to the base’s statement. The men were screened before arriving in the U.S. more than a year ago, according to the statement.
The program aims to train a total of 30 Afghan pilots and 90 Afghan maintenance personnel during a four-year period, Moody Air Force Base said in an August 2014 release when the program was announced. It was not clear how many trainees from Afghanistan are currently at the base. AP