News Briefs – January 27, 2020

German military resumes training troops in northern Iraq

The German military resumed training Iraqi troops in the country’s Kurdish north on Sunday, about three weeks after it was suspended following the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad.
The military said the commander of the international operation fighting the Islamic State group lifted the suspension. Germany resumed training in Irbil on Sunday morning together with its partners. The Bundeswehr has about 90 soldiers in Irbil.
However, Germany’s training mission in central Iraq is still suspended and there was no immediate word on whether or when it might resume. Germany flew 35 soldiers out of Iraq from bases in Taji and Baghdad on Jan. 7, most of them to neighboring Jordan. That was described as a temporary measure.
The decision was made after the Jan. 3 killing by the United States of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani drastically raised regional tensions and escalated a crisis between Washington and Tehran. AP

Survey: Nearly half of Afghans want U.S. troops out after deal

Nearly half of all Afghans want U.S. and NATO troops to leave Afghanistan once a peace deal to end the country’s 18-year war is signed with the Taliban, according to a survey released Jan.23.
The American Institute of War and Peace Studies also found that an overwhelming 80% of Afghans surveyed said a political solution was the only way to bring about an end to fighting, Twenty percent said a military solution was possible.
The survey found that 46 percent of Afghans want U.S. and NATO troops out of the country once a deal is struck, while 33% would have them stay.
The survey polled 5,038 Afghans in 34 provinces. It was conducted between Nov. 23-Dec. 20 and has a 5 percent margin of error. Sixty-one percent of participants answered online with the remaining 39 percent were interviewed in person.
While 57 percent of those surveyed wanted the Taliban to evict the foreign fighters among them. Many of those foreigners are believed to have links to al Qaeda and other militant organizations.
Washington has been talking directly with the Taliban since September 2018, when the White House appointed Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad to start peace talks. The talks are aimed at finding an agreement to end America’s longest conflict and allow the U.S. to bring home its troops.
The Taliban control or hold sway over roughly half of Afghanistan and continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and U.S. forces, Kabul government officials or those seen as linked to the government. AP

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