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U.S. charges two Islamic State terrorists for killing U.S. hostages

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it would press charges against two Islamic State terrorists of British origin for their part in the killing of American, British, and Japanese hostages in Syria.

Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, both former British citizens, are expected to appear at a federal courthouse in Virginia Wednesday afternoon, according to the statement. They have been indicted on eight counts.

“These charges are the product of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice for our citizens slain by ISIS. Although we cannot bring them back, we can and will seek justice for them, their families, and for all Americans,” said Attorney General William Barr in a statement Wednesday. “Our message to other terrorists around the world is this — if you harm Americans, you will face American arms on the battlefield or American law in our courtrooms. Either way, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”

At the hands of these terrorists and their collaborators, hostages from many countries faced “a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence” and were subsequently murdered, often by beheading, according to the statement. The U.S. citizens murdered alongside these hostages include James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig.

FBI Director Christopher Wray had some stern words for the terrorists and took a moment to honor the families of the murdered American hostages.

“Today, we remember the victims, Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller, and their families who are forever affected by these senseless acts of violence,” said Wray. “These families have suffered with the painful loss of their loved ones at the hands of brutal killers; today’s charges demonstrate the FBI’s dedication and commitment to giving them the justice they deserve.”

“We, along with our partners in the U.S. Government,” Wray added, “remain steadfast in our duty to bring to justice those who have harmed our citizens — no matter where they are, and no matter how long it takes. I’m grateful to the men and women of the FBI, the victims’ families, and our domestic and international partners, for their tireless efforts to bring us to where we stand today with the prosecution of these men on U.S. soil.”

The two terrorists operated with two other British nationals. One of these other two, Mohamed Emwazi, is deceased and the other, whom the statement doesn’t name, is presently incarcerated in Turkey. The four were nicknamed “The Beatles” by their hostages for their British accents.

Kotey and Elsheikh, while attempting an escape from Syria into neighboring Turkey, were captured by Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2018.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind

As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

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On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.

The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”

Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.

As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.

American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”

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