Nearly two decades following 9/11 and the initial invasion of Afghanistan which ostensibly had as its objective the removal and destruction of the hardline Islamist Taliban government, the United States military is providing covert support to the same “outlawed” Taliban with the latest aim of booting ISIS from the country.
A report in The Washington Post on Thursday details that this secret assistance focuses on the Pentagon providing air power to the Taliban as the group wars against against ISIS in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar Province.
The setbacks keep piling up in the long-delayed 9/11 case in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
A new U.S military court judge has canceled all hearings in the case until next year and delayed the start of the trial of the five defendants charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks until at least August 2021.
Jury selection had been scheduled to begin in January 2021, but the new judge — Col. Stephen F. Keane, who began overseeing the case in September — said a delay is necessary due to pandemic travel restrictions and his need to familiarize himself with the case.
Many Guantánamo attorneys say even the revised start date isn’t realistic, given that legal proceedings there have been at a virtual standstill since February, when the coronavirus began limiting access to the island.
“I do not expect that the trial will begin in August of 2021 because there’s just too much ground to cover between now and then,” said James Connell, lead attorney for Guantánamo prisoner Ammar al-Baluchi, who is accused of funding the 9/11 hijackers.
Tuesday’s delay order by Judge Keane, the fourth judge to oversee the 9/11 case, is the latest stumbling block at Guantánamo’s problem-plagued military court and prison, which NPR found has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $6 billion since 2002.