Posts Tagged ‘Israel grossman attorney Articles’

Sanctions Against Russia Have Failed To Achieve Political Goals

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 31 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

For more on a possible diplomatic solution in Ukraine, we turn to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer. Welcome to the program.

STEVEN PIFER: Thank you for having me.

RATH: First off, you know, there’s a basic disagreement about the facts here. Russia is still not acknowledging the forces that NATO and Ukraine insist are there in Eastern Ukraine. How does a diplomatic dialogue even begin?

PIFER: Well, that’s one of the difficult things. But it’s becoming increasingly untenable for the Russians to maintain that there are not Russian forces operating in Ukraine. There’s just too much evidence of this coming not only from U.S. sources – from NATO, from the Ukrainians – to disbelieve that the Russian are now on the ground.

RATH: So far the U.S. and the E.U. have said that economic sanctions are their main tool in deterring Russia from further incursions into Ukraine. Yesterday on NPR, the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Alexander Vershbow, implied that it’s unlikely to escalate to military intervention anytime soon.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ALEXANDER VERSHBOW: Obviously a direct conflict with Russia could escalate. I think at the moment we’re trying to steer things by increasing the costs to Russia through economic sanctions, through increasing international isolation, so that we can steer things towards a political solution.

RATH: Mr. Pifer, are current sanctions working?

PIFER: Well, I think current sanctions, which have been primarily economic, are definitely having an impact on the Russian economy. But so far, they’ve failed to achieve their political goal, which is to get Vladimir Putin to shift his policy course towards Ukraine. So I would argue for two things now. First, I think it would be appropriate for the West to adopt more stringent, more robust economic sanctions on Russia. But also it’s time for the West to be in considering supplying to the Ukrainians lethal military assistance – things like light anti-tank weapons, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles – things that would allow the Ukrainian Army to perform better in terms of defending Ukrainian territory against what increasingly looks like a Russian invasion.

RATH: In terms of the stricter economic sanctions, is that something that might be difficult given that it could potentially hurt E.U. economies that benefit from trade with Russia?

PIFER: Well, certainly there has been caution on both sides of the Atlantic about how far and how fast to go with regards to economic sanctions. It’s now very clear that there has been the crossing of a threshold with regards to this crisis, where you now have such evidence of overt Russian military involvement in Ukraine. And that’s having an impact, I think, on the thinking on both sides of the Atlantic.

RATH: What do you think a diplomatic solution in Ukraine would look like? Would it involve land concessions?

PIFER: Well, this is the point. I mean, the goal of the sanctions and even providing military assistance is not to necessarily win the war, but to cause a change in the calculation in Moscow and bring the Russians away from their current course towards some kind of an approach that would facilitate a negotiated settlement. Ukraine and the European Union have already had a conversation with the Russians about how to ameliorate any economic impact on the Ukraine-Russian trade relations from Ukraine’s drawing closer to the European Union. So there are pieces out there that clever diplomats could put together and form the basis for a settlement that I think would allow all parties to say they’ve won, but they would also allow Ukraine to maintain sovereignty over Eastern Ukraine.

RATH: Do you have a sense of what Russia’s goal is in the diplomatic talks and is there any concern that they might just be trying to run out the clock with the diplomacy?

PIFER: Well, again there hasn’t been much Russian real diplomacy in this case. The problem thus far seems to be that Mr. Putin’s objective is simply to create a degree of chaos in Eastern Ukraine that destabilizes the government in Kiev and among other things makes it more difficult to for them to proceed with a more normal relationship with the European Union and deal with the other very real economic challenges and political challenges that it has to face.

RATH: Steven Pifer is a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Steven Pifer, thank you very much.

PIFER: Thank you.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/30/344585043/sanctions-against-russia-have-failed-to-achieve-political-goals?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Saavy PR Campaign Has Lured Many To Fight In Syria’s Civil War

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 31 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Douglas McCain was 33-years-old, an American citizen raised in Minnesota and until recently living in San Diego. But this week, U.S. officials confirmed that he was killed in Syria in combat, fighting on the side of the so-called Islamic State or ISIS. McCain is one of many young men from the U.S. and Western Europe who have made the journey to Syria to join the fight. Yesterday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that at least 500 people may have left Britain to fight in Syria and says it’s likely that the man who beheaded journalist James Foley made the same trip.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

DAVID CAMERON: We need to do more to stop people traveling, to stop those who do go from returning and to deal decisively with those who are already here.

RATH: Jessica Stern studies terrorism. And she says the civil war in Syria has been uniquely appealing to Westerners.

JESSICA STERN: We’ve never seen this many Westerners traveling abroad to join a so-called jihad.

RATH: Why do you think that is? What’s motivating these young people to travel halfway around the world to fight in a war they’re not really directly connected with?

STERN: I think there are lots of reasons. One is that the group is incredibly skilled at making this jihad look like a very exciting adventure. They’re using social media in a way we’ve never seen a group use it before. They’re flaunting their successes. They’re claiming, come on in – it’s so easy to get here. If you don’t have big muscles, well, maybe you can help us with Internet requirements. Maybe you’re a doctor. Maybe you can send money. And they show pictures of what it’s like to live in their caliphate with nice streets and cars and houses. So it definitely looks a lot more appealing than going to Afghanistan.

RATH: Well, they’re flaunting their success in social media but they’re also flaunting their brutality. I mean, just really horrific images and video that have come out. Why wouldn’t that turn off young people, you know, again in Western countries?

STERN: Well, I’m sure that it does turn off most young people. But at the same time clearly there are some people who really feel that their fellow Muslims are in desperate need and that this kind of violence, which is a violation of every religious tradition – under these conditions, they claim, is justified. So some people – thrill seekers, people who want a violent adventure – this seems to be a very effective recruitment tool. Obviously, you know, it’s disgusting for most of us.

RATH: But it sounds like these are not necessarily true believers – people who are deep into the Quran necessarily – you use the term thrill-seeker.

STERN: It appears that a surprising number of converts are being drawn into this jihad and also people who are relatively ignorant about Islam. And we have the recent case of a couple of British citizens who, before going to Syria, had ordered “Islam For Dummies” and “The Quran For Dummies.” So clearly these are not people who are Islamic scholars. It seems to be people who are seeking belonging to something bigger than themselves. And suddenly there’s a global caliphate that they can join, whether they’re converts or Muslims who are sort of born again, but born again into a very distorted version of Islam.

RATH: That’s Jessica Stern. She’s a fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard and the author of “Terror In The Name Of God: Why Religious Militants Kill.” Jessica, thanks very much.

STERN: Thank you.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/30/344585050/saavy-pr-campaign-has-lured-many-to-fight-in-syrias-civil-war?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Liberia’s Ebola Routine: Wear Your Temperature On Your Lapel

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 31 2014

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Body collectors come to the home of four children in Monrovia who lost both parents to Ebola.

Tommy Trenchard for NPR


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Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Body collectors come to the home of four children in Monrovia who lost both parents to Ebola.

Body collectors come to the home of four children in Monrovia who lost both parents to Ebola.

Tommy Trenchard for NPR

After 10 days in Liberia, NPR producer Nicole Beemsterboer has just landed in London. “You don’t realize how much has been hanging over your head until you’re out,” she says.

She’s talking about Ebola, the virus raging in Liberia as well as Sierra Leone and Guinea. “It was silent and invisible,” she says. “So you’re always on edge, always careful.”

How did you protect yourself?

I got used to not touching anyone, no handshakes. And there are buckets of chlorine solution everywhere — outside every office building, police station, government office, hotel, store. Everywhere. I washed my hands dozens of times a day, and was careful never to touch my face.

At government buildings, officials watch you wash your hands and then take your temperature with an ear-gun thermometer. They write your temperature on a piece of paper and actually staple it to your lapel so it’s visible to everyone inside. You can’t get in the building if you have a temperature, and it sends a message: We’re being vigilant; you need to be vigilant, too. Hold yourself and others accountable.

And you were careful right down to the soles of your boots?

We were concerned that if anything was contaminated, it was the bottom of our boots, so we were constantly rinsing them in the chlorine solution.

I don’t know that we started a trend, but on the last day we were there, our hotel added a shoe wash — a box with a big foam pad inside, soaked in chlorine so you didn’t have to soak your shoes but were getting enough chlorine on [the soles] to decontaminate them. We started seeing this more and more, at Redemption Hospital and other places around the city.

Does the chlorine cause any problems?

Only minor ones, and under the threat of Ebola, they didn’t bother me at all. All my clothes are spattered with bleach. I would dry my hands on my pants; my pants have bleach stains all over them. And it did smell like a pool everywhere you went.

Headlines emphasize how hard it is to keep up with the outbreak.

For people in Monrovia, if they do show symptoms, there are still limited options for where they can go. The MSF (Doctors Without Borders) facility is expanding, but as soon as they have more beds, they are immediately filled. There simply isn’t enough room for all the people who are sick, and until there are, people who get sick will stay home, get sicker and put those around them at risk.

You were part of the team that did a very moving story on body collectors.

These young guys started this job because it paid well, and now they are complete converts to the fact that Ebola is real and that it is putting people at risk. They know if the contaminated bodies aren’t removed, they put other people at extreme risk, and they are trying to spread the word. It’s become a passion for them.

And you saw the reaction of four children who’d just lost both parents to the disease.

These kids — the youngest is 15, the oldest 22 — looked so alone and heartbroken and you could see they had no idea what they were going to do next. Instead of anyone comforting them, there were people from the body collector team saying, “If any of you touched your mom, you need to go right now to be tested for Ebola.” It was as if they were being sentenced to death.

Any new twists to the way airports are screening people?

When we landed in Casablanca, instead of someone taking your temperature with the ear gun, they had us stand about 20 feet away from a staff person in nurses scrubs in front of an infrared camera. If anyone does have a fever, the airport staff doesn’t have to be anywhere near you.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/30/344330000/liberias-ebola-routine-wear-your-temperature-on-your-lapel?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

The Spectacle Of The Beheading: A Grisly Act With A Long History

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 30 2014

Videos and other images of beheadings have appeared with increasing frequency in recent weeks. Dawn Perlmutter, director of the Symbol Intelligence Group, discusses the symbolism of this grim ritual.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/29/344327974/the-spectacle-of-the-beheading-a-grisly-act-with-a-long-history?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Week In Politics: Ukraine And The Islamic State

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 30 2014

Regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times, discuss the latest in Ukraine and the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/29/344327919/week-in-politics-ukraine-and-the-islamic-state?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Chinese High-Rise Worker Left Dangling After Annoyed Boy Cuts Rope

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 30 2014

A worker in southern China was left hanging from 100 feet up the side of a high-rise apartment building when a 10-year-old boy, apparently annoyed at the construction racket outside his window, decided to cut the safety line on the man’s rappelling apparatus.

Xinhua says the boy was watching cartoons in his eighth-floor apartment in Guizhou province as the worker was outside installing lighting. So, the boy took a knife and sliced through the rope that allows the worker to move up and down.

According to an English translation of the Xinhua article on the Shanghaiist website, the worker was left dangling midair. He yelled down to a co-worker, who called firemen; he was rescued about 40 minutes later. You can view photos here.

Xinhua quotes the worker, surnamed Liu, as saying:

” ‘When I was using the electric drill, I felt my lower rope shaking. Then I saw the boy cutting the rope with a knife.’

” ‘I shouted at him to stop but he didn’t listen and soon after, the rope was broken. That’s when I called to my workmate for help,’ Liu said.”

Shanghaiist says that after speaking with police, “the boy finally admitted to what he did”:

“His father, surnamed Tang, was called to come back home from work. He gave Liu a sincere apology on behalf of his son and compensated him with … a new safety rope.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/08/29/344337153/chinese-high-rise-worker-left-dangling-after-annoyed-boy-cuts-rope?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Foley’s Mother: We Didn’t Want Him To Go Back To Syria

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 29 2014

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Journalist James Foley in 2011. He was killed by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this month.

Steven Senne/AP


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Steven Senne/AP

Journalist James Foley in 2011. He was killed by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this month.

Journalist James Foley in 2011. He was killed by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this month.

Steven Senne/AP

The mother of slain journalist James Foley says in an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered that the family did not want him to return to Syria after a brief trip back to the United States in 2011.

“We really did not want him to go back,” Diane Foley tells host Melissa Block. “I must be honest about that,” she says of her son, who was killed by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this month.

“Jim’s multitalented, and he could have done so many other things. But he, I think, was drawn to some of the drama, some of the rawness of the conflict zones. He also really was very touched by the suffering of the civilians in the midst of it all,” she says.

“Jim was very interested in human rights and had grown into an incredibly compassionate man,” Foley says.

(GlobalPost, which Foley freelanced for, has published this remembrance of the journalist.)

Since the brutal, videotaped beheading, Diane Foley has spoken with fellow captives of her son who were released. Some spent as long as a year with him. One of them, Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye Ottosen, memorized a letter that James Foley dictated to him.

In it, the U.S. journalist recalls his happy childhood and how much he cared for his siblings, nephews and niece.

Ottosen and others have told Diane Foley how her son “brought some of his fun-loving spirit to that dark place,” she says.

“They played games and gave lectures to one another and hugged one another, tried to lift each other’s spirits,” she says.

“Jim had several degrees, and … I know [he] gave lectures on American literature,” she says. “Some of the [other captives] were gourmet cooks, gave cooking lectures. One of the others was teaching them how to sail,” she says. “So they helped each other in those ways.”

Foley says she understands that the question of paying a ransom for hostages, as some European nations have done, is a “very, very complex issue, but I agree and I know our country agrees that more has to be done to protect American journalists.

“Our country feels strongly that paying ransom encourages hostage-taking, and that certainly is a concern. And so I understand that, however I would hope we would have some way to quietly protect and negotiate for these brave young people,” Foley says.

The family is working out the details of a James W. Foley Foundation that would, among other things, help freelancers: “We want his legacy to continue. That’s our hope,” she says.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/08/28/344036631/foleys-mother-we-didnt-want-him-to-go-back-to-syria?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Tom Frieden’s Ebola Assessment: The Risk Is Increasing

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 29 2014

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Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, talks with staff from Doctors Without Borders during a visit to the nonprofit group’s newest Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Tommy Trenchard for NPR


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Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, talks with staff from Doctors Without Borders during a visit to the nonprofit group's newest Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, talks with staff from Doctors Without Borders during a visit to the nonprofit group’s newest Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Tommy Trenchard for NPR

The Ebola outbreak has crippled local health systems. It’s flooded wards with patients, killed doctors, scared away medical staff and forced some hospitals to shut down entirely.

That’s the grim assessment of Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who’s visiting West Africa this week for a firsthand look at the situation. Frieden spoke to Goats and Soda by cell phone as he was traveling by car from the hard-hit eastern Sierra Leone city of Kenema back to the capital, Freetown.

Frieden says there’s now a vicious cycle around Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia, which is amplifying the spread of the disease. “More cases are leading to less adequate management of each case, which is leading to more cases,” he says. “That cycle has got to be broken for us to stop this.”

The best hope lies in a new $489 million plan proposed by the World Health Organization, with the goal of stopping Ebola transmission within nine months. The ambitious plan would deploy hundreds of international experts and thousands of local medical staff. But first, Frieden stresses, the money has to be raised.

Meanwhile, the bad news is mounting. “The number of cases is spiraling upward,” he says. “There’s an urgent need to get patients into isolation and start to get better control of the disease.”

But there aren’t even enough isolation beds for current Ebola patients, and the World Health Organization predicts that the outbreak will get far worse before it gets better. So far, WHO says, over 3,000 people have been infected with the virus this year and roughly half have died. WHO estimates that some 20,000 people could fall ill with Ebola before this current outbreak is over.

“This is a threat not just to West Africa and to Africa, this is a threat to the world,” Frieden says, emphasizing the need to fund WHO’s effort. Every day the outbreak continues “increases the risk of spread to other countries.”

West African health departments don’t have the staff, training or equipment to control this disease on their own, Frieden says. That means the international community must pick up the pace of its response to the crisis.

“Literally every day that we don’t make more progress controlling the outbreak,” Frieden says, “is another day that the outbreak will not just continue — but grow much larger.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/28/344017921/tom-friedens-ebola-assessment-the-risk-is-increasing?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Obama Says U.S. Will Aid Iraqis Who Are Marooned On Mount Sinjar

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 29 2014

President Obama announced that he has authorized a humanitarian mission to aid religious minorities stranded on Mount Sinjar in Iraq. Airstrikes will be a component of that mission.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/07/344089428/obama-says-u-s-will-aid-iraqis-who-are-marooned-on-mount-sinjar?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Before Leaving Afghanistan, U.S. Troops Must Declutter

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 28 2014

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A construction excavator demolishes a B-hut at the huge Bagram Air Field north of Kabul. The military used the structures as bunks and offices during the 13-year war but is tearing them down as most of the military prepares to leave by year’s end.

Sean Carberry/NPR


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Sean Carberry/NPR

A construction excavator demolishes a B-hut at the huge Bagram Air Field north of Kabul. The military used the structures as bunks and offices during the 13-year war but is tearing them down as most of the military prepares to leave by year's end.

A construction excavator demolishes a B-hut at the huge Bagram Air Field north of Kabul. The military used the structures as bunks and offices during the 13-year war but is tearing them down as most of the military prepares to leave by year’s end.

Sean Carberry/NPR

Sgt. 1st Class Tom Albert is with the Army’s 2nd Engineers at the massive Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, and he’s overseeing operation Clean Sweep here. It’s a huge job, because American troops and equipment are scheduled to be out of Bagram and other bases by the end of the year.

The U.S. and Afghanistan are still trying to work out a deal that would allow nearly 10,000 military personnel to stay, but even that would be just a fraction of the force that’s been here for the past 13 years.

Soldiers are in the process of tearing down small wooden barracks known in military speak as B-huts. Some of these huts have been standing here at Bagram since the earliest days of the war.

“There’s probably around 400 B-huts left [on the Bagram Air Field] right now that need to be torn down,” Albert says.

One is a B-hut nestled against the concrete barriers that line the airfield. Albert says it’s too cramped here to fit an excavator. “We can tear down eight B-huts a day by excavator, and this right here is going to take about a week to tear down by hand,” he says.

Even though these B-huts were originally built as short-term housing, they’ve weathered more than a decade of use as bunks and offices.

Staff Sgt. Dominic Koehl with the 304th Engineers out of Lima, Ohio, is leading the crew doing the deconstruction.

“A lot of this wood can easily be reused — it’s practically brand new,” Koehl says.

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A shipping container is filled with excess equipment and supplies in March as the U.S. military draws down in Afghanistan.

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

A shipping container is filled with excess equipment and supplies  in March as the U.S. military draws down in Afghanistan.

A shipping container is filled with excess equipment and supplies in March as the U.S. military draws down in Afghanistan.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tearing the hut down by hand means more of the wood can be recycled and given to Afghans.

Koehl’s unit is actually deployed to Kuwait to build up U.S. facilities there, but two companies have been lent out to Bagram for this tear-down mission.

“We were more than willing to come up here and use our construction knowledge to put it to good use here,” he says, adding that while it’s fun to build, it’s even more fun to tear down.

Across the base is a lot covered with 25 graying B-huts. Sgt. William Mesing is in charge of knocking those down.

“When we first got this project, we started seeing some signatures on the walls. A lot of them were dated back to ’04,” he says.

And once they clear out the wiring and other reusable materials, they bring in the excavator. The raptorlike claw of the John Deere machine quickly chews up a B-hut and spits out the debris into a growing pile. Mesing says it’s a lot of fun to spend his days knocking down B-huts.

“You can definitely get some stress out of your system,” he says. “But at the end of the day, then you look at the pile of mess you’ve got to pick up, then it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, man.’ “

And a few hundred yards away, another crew is carrying out the cleanup part of Operation Clean Sweep.

Sgt. Robert Duncan of the 876th Engineer Company says its job is to clean up debris and return the land on the base to its natural state. “We’ve found anything from commode seats to engine blocks out here,” he says. “You name it, we found it.”

Duncan says they’ve cleared about six football fields’ worth of trash and debris and have about four more to go for now.

And while crews are busy knocking things down and clearing away years of debris, there is still new construction going on here.

A few years ago, the military was anticipating a sizable troop presence in the country for years to come. But President Obama has since declared that most will be gone by the end of the year, and only 10,000 troops will stay two more years. That has changed plans for Bagram.

“Some of those things are either built or we’re finishing building them because it’s too late to change that plan,” says Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan. He acknowledges that some of the new structures are overbuilt for the future mission as planned now.

“We’ve actually canceled some projects, and we’ve scaled back,” he says.

Like A NASCAR Pit Crew

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Armored vehicles known as M-ATVs are lined up on the tarmac at Bagram Air Field. They will be flown out to the Persian Gulf on cargo planes and then shipped back to the U.S.

Sean Carberry/NPR


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Sean Carberry/NPR

Armored vehicles known as M-ATVs are lined up on the tarmac at Bagram Air Field. They will be flown out to the Persian Gulf on cargo planes and then shipped back to the U.S.

Armored vehicles known as M-ATVs are lined up on the tarmac at Bagram Air Field. They will be flown out to the Persian Gulf on cargo planes and then shipped back to the U.S.

Sean Carberry/NPR

But Bagram still can’t shrink too much. Other smaller bases are collapsing, and personnel and equipment are temporarily moving here as units sort out what will be scrapped, given to the Afghans or sent home.

Sending things home is the job of Air Force Maj. Chris Carmichael, commander of the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron. He’s overseeing the air transport of personnel and cargo out of the country.

“We’re the busiest aerial port in the Department of Defense,” Carmichael says.

Here on the edge of Bagram’s airfield are dozens of M-ATVs — giant armored tactical vehicles — waiting to be loaded onto C-17 cargo planes.

“All of it is pretty much going back to the U.S. It’ll probably be stored for future wars,” he says.

Many other armored vehicles still remaining in Afghanistan are not fit for future use and are being shredded. And some 200 will be handed over to Afghan forces.

Others will fly to U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf, where they will be later loaded on ships heading to the U.S. This form of transport is more complicated and expensive than the mission to remove cargo and tactical vehicles like MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored personnel vehicles) out of Iraq.

“In Iraq you could easily just drive the MRAPs right into Kuwait,” Carmichael says.

But driving vehicles and cargo out of Afghanistan requires traveling dangerous routes through Pakistan to the port of Karachi, or much longer routes to the north of Afghanistan. So flying everything out is the best option here.

One of Carmichael’s crews is in the process of loading four of these M-ATVs onto a hulking C-17.

“It’s a fast and furious process, because they only have two hours and 15 minutes to get this thing downloaded and uploaded and back in the air,” he says. “It’s just like a pit crew at a NASCAR event.”

And as busy as the crews are now, Carmichael says their capacity has hardly been tested.

“We have not seen the majority of the cargo we’re going to see,” he says. “Based on what I’m seeing on the projections, most of it is going to go in November and December.”

And, he says, they can also fly out more than 1,000 troops a day.

Carmichael says his port dogs will be some of the last ones to leave Afghanistan. “Somebody’s got to load the plane,” he says.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/08/27/343676159/before-leaving-afghanistan-u-s-troops-must-declutter?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world