Middle East

Afghan National Army soldiers stand in position, in the Sangin district of Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan on Thursday, June 13, 2013. Afghan officials said Thursday, March 23, 2017, that the Taliban have captured the Sangin district in southern Helmand province.<br>Allauddin Khan/AP

Taliban forces seize strategic district in embattled Helmand province

Taliban insurgents captured a strategic district in embattled Helmand Province on Thursday, Afghan officials said, while Afghan troops were evacuated from the area and Air Force planes bombed military installations there to prevent the Taliban from using them.

Critics say scrapping Mi-17 fleet could undermine Afghan air force

U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Smith is one of a few Americans trained to fly and work on the Mil Mi-17s. He does so for basically one reason — to pass the knowledge on to Afghans. His work is part of broader NATO efforts to help build a sustainable Afghan air force, which is seen as vital for Kabul to counter the Taliban insurgency.

Egypt says Sinai fighting kills 12 security forces

Militants killed 10 Egyptian soldiers and two policemen in the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, underscoring the challenge security forces face in combatting an Islamic State affiliate in the restive area bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Syrian troops besiege Islamic State stronghold

Syrian government forces are besieging the last Islamic State stronghold in the northern province of Aleppo, weeks after launching an offensive to retake the entire province, state media and an opposition monitoring group reported Thursday.


US combat airlift marks deepening involvement in Syria

The United States is deepening its involvement in the war against the Islamic State group after an unprecedented American airlift of Arab and Kurdish fighters to the front lines in northern Syria, supported by the first use of U.S. attack helicopters and artillery in the country.

Egypt says fighting in central Sinai leaves 10 soldiers dead

Islamic extremists killed 10 Egyptian soldiers in fighting in a central part of the restive Sinai Peninsula during an army raid on a militant hideout early Thursday, the military said, a toll that underscored its continuing challenges to rein in insurgents in the area.

Aid group says medical assistance needed in Iraq's Mosul

A leading international relief organization has appealed for more medical assistance to cope with the increasing numbers of civilians fleeing the intensified fighting between Iraqi government forces and the Islamic State group in western Mosul.

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Turkey warns Russia following sniper fire from Syria

A senior Turkish official says his country has warned Russia that Ankara will retaliate against any new cross-border attack on Turkish troops from Syrian Kurdish-held areas in Syria.

First US aircraft carrier of Trump presidency enters Gulf

American sailors watched as the first Revolutionary Guard vessels appeared on the horizon of the Strait of Hormuz, beginning a daylong face-off that has become familiar to both Iranian paramilitary and U.S. naval forces that pass through the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf. But these routine, if tense encounters may soon grow even more perilous.

US airlifts Syrian rebels into key Islamic State-held city near Raqqa

The U.S. military airlifted hundreds of Syrian fighters into a key area west of Raqqa held by Islamic State group to launch an assault on a strategically vital town and nearby dam, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

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