Friday, June 23, 2017

Senate Obamacare repeal bill would slash federal healthcare funding for Medicaid

Senate Republicans unveiled a draft bill on Thursday to roll back the Affordable Care Act, including a drastic reduction in federal healthcare spending that threatens to leave millions more Americans uninsured, drive up costs for poor consumers and further destabilize the nation’s health insurance markets.

The legislative outline, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s team wrote largely behind closed doors, hews closely to the Obamacare repeal bill passed last month by House Republicans, though it includes important differences. The House version was first celebrated by President Trump in a White House Rose Garden ceremony, though he later criticized the bill as “mean.”

Like the House bill, the Senate plan would eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes over the next decade, with large benefits for the wealthiest Americans. And like the House bill, it would pay for those cuts by dramatically reducing federal money for Medicaid, likely forcing states to make deep cuts in their healthcare programs for the poor. Trump promised during his campaign not to reduce Medicaid.

Although the Senate bill preserves premium subsidies that help some low-income buyers purchase insurance, it would scale them back significantly.

The reductions in federal spending for healthcare, which would be the largest rollback of the federal health safety net in history, drew sharp criticism from patient groups, doctors and some insurers. - Read More, latimes

Senate Obamacare repeal bill would slash federal healthcare funding for Medicaid


What the Senate healthcare bill could mean for Californians - latimes

Senate leaders have released their Obamacare repeal bill, which would slash federal funding for healthcare and could leave millions of Americans uninsured.

Though the plan has not yet been analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office, it isn’t too different from the one passed by the House last month. The CBO projected the House bill would save the federal government $119 billion over the next decade, raise insurance deductibles and leave 23 million fewer Americans with health coverage.

Both bills would also undo several taxes on high-income Americans that are used to fund Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act has had a huge impact on California, where roughly 4 million people have gained insurance and the percentage of uninsured residents has dropped more than half.

Below is a breakdown of some of the ways the Senate bill could affect healthcare coverage in California if it becomes law.

If you’re on Medi-Cal
Medi-Cal would arguably be the most affected. Medi-Cal, a joint program between the state and federal governments, was expanded under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

The program has since grown to cover 13.5 million Californians, which is more than 1 out of every 3 people in the state.

For those who gained Medi-Cal coverage through the Affordable Care Act: Now anyone in California can sign up for Medi-Cal if their annual income is low enough: $16,395 or less for a single person or $22,108 or less for a couple. Medi-Cal is free for participants.

he Senate bill recommends slowly undoing the Medi-Cal expansion starting in three years, which could ultimately leave 3.9 million Californians without insurance.

It’s a move that would save the federal government roughly $13 billion annually, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Lowell Brown, a healthcare attorney in Los Angeles, said the coverage rollback may not end up being quite as drastic, because federal legislators have said they plan to replace coverage cuts with other options.

“Will those people have some other kind of coverage, and what would it be?” Brown said. “I think that’s what everybody’s going to be looking at.”

For those who were part of Medi-Cal before Obamacare: Currently, the federal government reimburses states for Medicaid expenses, regardless of size. Critics of this funding model say it’s too open-ended and leads to out-of-control costs.

The Senate bill would cap Medicaid funding, instead giving states fixed pools of money to pay for their program. Experts say this would force California and other states to make tough decisions about how to maintain their programs. Enrollees could receive fewer benefits, take on some cost-sharing or be fully pushed out — though it’s unclear exactly how many Medi-Cal patients might be affected.

The Senate bill would cap Medicaid funding, instead giving states fixed pools of money to pay for their program. Experts say this would force California and other states to make tough decisions about how to maintain their programs. Enrollees could receive fewer benefits, take on some cost-sharing or be fully pushed out — though it’s unclear exactly how many Medi-Cal patients might be affected.

Dylan Roby, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said California has historically been generous with eligibility and benefits but less so with how much medical providers are paid.

“This will just create further pressure,” he said. “We’re going to have to juggle all of those things.” - Read More

What the Senate healthcare bill could mean for Californians

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Prince Harry Says Serving In Afghanistan Forced Him To Deal With Princess Diana's Death - Elleuk

The 32-year-old prince has revealed his work as a soldier in Afghanistan helped him deal with his grief over his mother's untimely death.
Last month, we learned that Prince William and Prince Harry feel they let down their mother when they were younger. 'We couldn't protect her,' they revealed in a new BBC One documentary to honour the late Princess, out later this summer.

And it seems Prince Harry is sharing his emotions regarding his mother yet again, having just revealed his time in Afghanistan triggered him to get help dealing with Diana's death.

In a conversation for Forces TV with Paralympic medal winner and former Invictus Games captain Dave Henson, the Prince admitted: 'I've got plenty of issues but none of them really relate to Afghanistan, but Afghanistan was the thing that triggered everything else.

'Not to get too personal, if you lose your mum at the age of 12 then you've got to deal with it and the idea that....15, 17 years later I still hadn't dealt with it, Afghan was the moment. I was like 'right—deal with it,' he added.

The admission comes three years after Prince Harry's second tour - following his first tour of duty in 2008 and a 20-week tor of duty from September 2012 to January 2013 - around the same time he created the international Paralympic-style multi-sport event, the Invictus Games, in which wounded, injured or sick members of the armed forced and associated veterans compete.

Having created the games, with the support of his grandmother and world leaders, Harry says he's been able to start healing and is coming to terms with his mother's death.

'Going through Invictus and speaking to all the guys about their issues has really healed me and helped me. - Read More

Prince Harry Says Serving In Afghanistan Forced Him To Deal With ...


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DOD Releases Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan - defense.gov

Release No: NR-233-17 
June 20, 2017

Today the Department of Defense provided to Congress a report on “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” covering events during the period from December 1, 2016, through May 31, 2017.  The report was submitted in accordance with requirements in Section 1225 of the Fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as amended by Sections 1231 and 1531 of the Fiscal 2016 NDAA and Sections 1215 and 1521 of the Fiscal 17 NDAA. 

Afghanistan is at a critical point in the fight against the insurgency.  The plan to modify the force structure and develop a more agile and lethal force is underway.  The ANDSF must weather the storm from the insurgency and deny the Taliban strategic victories on the battlefield, fight ISIS-K, and grow and train the defense forces.  With renewed interest in planning for the future, Afghanistan has demonstrated its resolve to face these challenges, furthering its commitment to be a viable security partner to the United States.  The United States and its NATO allies and operational partners remain committed to supporting the Afghan people and institutions in partnership with the Afghan Government and to furthering the promise of a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan. - Read More

The report is posted at https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Enhancing-Security-and-Stability-in-Afghanistan-June-2017.pdf

DOD Releases Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in ...


Saudi king empowers young reformer son in succession shake-up

Saudi Arabia's King Salman made his son next in line to the throne on Wednesday, handing the 31-year-old sweeping powers as the kingdom seeks a radical overhaul of its oil-dependent economy and faces mounting tensions with regional rival Iran.

Although Mohammed bin Salman's promotion to crown prince had long been expected among those who follow the royal family closely, the timing was a surprise and puts the kingdom's future in relatively untested hands.

Mohammed bin Salman replaces his cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran security chief who led the Saudi campaign against Islamic State and al Qaeda, at a time when Riyadh faces tensions with Qatar and Iran and is locked into a war in Yemen.

His appointment may make Saudi policy more hawkish against arch-rival Iran and other Gulf rivals such as Qatar, increasing volatility in an already unstable region, analysts said.

"Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies (Yemen, Qatar) and he has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran," said Olivier Jakob at Switzerland-based oil consultancy Petromatrix.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who last month made Saudi Arabia his first foreign stop since his election, telephoned Mohammed bin Salman to congratulate him on his promotion. - Read More, Reuters

Saudi king empowers young reformer son in succession shake-up


PRINCE HARRY ON WHY THE WORLD NEEDS 'MAGIC' OF ROYALTY - Newsweek

It is one of the most poignant images of mourning in modern times, and perhaps one of the cruelest: a 12-year-old Prince Harry, head bowed and fists clenched, marching in the funeral procession behind his mother’s coffin. He, along with his older brother, Prince William; his father, Prince Charles; his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh; and his maternal uncle, Charles Spencer, walked slowly through the heart of London on September 6, 1997. Seven days earlier, the beautiful, charismatic and unpredictable Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris. She was 36.

Her funeral was nearly 20 years ago, but Harry’s recollection of that tragic day can still overwhelm him. “My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he tells Newsweek . His face hardens. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

The prince readily admits that he was scarred by that day, by his mother’s death, and was adrift for decades. He ran with a wealthy, fast set, and smoked and drank too much. He also once wore Nazi clothing at a fancy dress party and was photographed in 2012 partying naked in Las Vegas, with scantily clad women. He was the world’s most eligible bachelor—and a royal pain.

Now, however, he exudes a combination of royal stardust, accessibility, confidence and mischief, a mixture that reminds many people of his mother. His journey from rebellious outsider to one of the world's most popular royals has required much soul-searching, and there is still some way to go, but he is proud of what he has accomplished and restless to do much more. He tells me several times that he aches to be “something other than Prince Harry.”

“My search began when I was in my mid-20s,” Harry tells me. “I needed to fix the mistakes I was making.” In April, he revealed on a podcast that bottling up his grief over his mother’s death led to two years of “total chaos,” and that he was “very close” to a breakdown several times. When he was 28, on William’s advice, he sought professional help.

“My mother died when I was very young. I didn't want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good. I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh,” he says. “I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl, but I now manage it better. I still have a naughty streak too, which I enjoy and is how I relate to those individuals who have got themselves into trouble.”

He says maintaining his “ordinary life” is a high priority. “My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people. Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live. I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone. But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too.” He pauses, then adds, “Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.” - Read More

Prince Harry on Why the World Needs 'Magic' of Royalty


As U.S. Adds Troops in Afghanistan, Trump’s Strategy Remains Undefined - nytimes

WASHINGTON — When President Trump made his first major decision on the war in Afghanistan, he did not announce it in a nationally televised address from the White House or a speech at West Point.

Instead, the Pentagon issued a news release late one afternoon last week confirming that the president had given the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, the authority to send several thousand additional troops to a war that, in its 16th year, engages about 8,800 American troops.

Mr. Trump, who writes avidly on Twitter about war and peace in other parts of the world, said nothing about the announcement. But its effect was unmistakable: He had outsourced the decision on how to proceed militarily in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, a startling break with how former President Barack Obama and many of his predecessors handled the anguished task of sending Americans into foreign conflicts.

The White House played down the Pentagon’s vaguely worded statement, which referred only to setting “troop levels” as a stopgap measure — a tacit admission of the administration’s internal conflicts over what to do about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

With a president who ran for office almost never having talked about the war, a coterie of political advisers who bitterly oppose deeper American engagement in it, and a national security team dominated by generals worried about the consequences if the United States does not act quickly, the decision could succeed in buying time for Mr. Trump and his advisers to fully deliberate over what to do in Afghanistan.

“A commander in chief keeps control of limited wars by defining missions, selecting commanders and setting troop levels,” said Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired lieutenant general who was a top commander and the American ambassador in Afghanistan. “To delegate any of these is dangerous.”

Those objections stymied the troop proposal several weeks ago. But officials said the White House was rattled by a huge truck bomb in Kabul, the Afghan capital, that killed more than 150, as well as by fears that military trends are running against the government of President Ashraf Ghani, an American-friendly former World Bank official, to the point that it might be in danger of collapse.

General McMaster — who served in Afghanistan as the head of an anti-corruption task force and is closely allied with Mr. Mattis, another former general with Afghanistan experience — argued passionately to Mr. Trump that the military effort had to be expanded without further delay, according to one official.

“What we are seeing now is that the president has acknowledged that the Afghan mission is important, and we ought to do it right,” said James Jay Carafano, a national security specialist at the conservative Heritage Foundation who advised Mr. Trump’s presidential transition.

White House officials say they are still debating America’s role in Afghanistan — one senior adviser said they would consider issues as basic as whether the country needs a strong central government, rather than the warlords who have historically divided power there. In the meantime, the Pentagon is moving ahead with plans to send 3,000 to 5,000 troops to try to stabilize the country. - Read More

As U.S. Adds Troops in Afghanistan, Trump's Strategy Remains ...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Refugees deserve praise for resilience and courage - UNHCR

GENEVA – The world’s 65 million refugees deserve praise for their resilience and courage and those who receive them should be recognized for welcoming them into their communities, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday.

In a statement marking World Refugee Day, Grandi said the uncertainties of today’s world could make people want to shut their eyes to the plight of those displaced by war, persecution and violence. However, he added that fear and exclusion would only lead to “barriers, alienation and despair”.

This week, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, issued its annual Global Trends report which showed the number of people displaced worldwide had risen to 65.6 million by the end of 2016, its highest level ever.

“On June 20, World Refugee Day, we honour the resilience and courage of more than 65 million people who have been forced to flee war, persecution and violence,” Grandi said. - More

UNHCR - Refugees deserve praise for resilience and courage

On World Refugee Day, UN urges support, solidarity for record number of displaced people

20 June 2017 – With a record 65.6 million people last year forcibly uprooted from their homes by violence and persecution, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today called on the international community to provide support and solidarity.

“We reflect on the courage of those who fled and the compassion of those who welcome them,” the Secretary-General said in his video message for World Refugee Day, marked annually on 20 June.

He noted that more people than ever in our lifetimes are fleeing war, disasters and persecution.

“Hardship, separation, death,” Mr. Guterres said, recalling nightmare stories heard from refugees and displaced persons, whose number rose 300,000 since the end of 2015.

Conflicts have displaced 12 million Syrians, 7.7 million Colombians, 4.7 million Afghans and 4.2 million Iraqis, according to a report released yesterday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Despite the hardships of fleeing with nothing, “they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world,” Mr. Guterres said. “They ask for little – only our support in their time of greatest need and our solidarity.”

The UN chief said it is “so inspiring to see countries with the least doing the most for refugees.” - Read More

On World Refugee Day, UN urges support, solidarity for record number of displaced people

Retired MI5 Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘I Killed Princess Diana ’ - Antinews.in

An 80-year-old retired MI5 agent, John Hopkins, has made a series of astonishing confessions since he was released from hospital in London on Wednesday and told he has weeks to live. Hopkins claims to have been involved in 23 assassinations for the British intelligence agency between 1973 and 1999, including Princess Diana. 

Mr. Hopkins, who worked for M15 for 38 years as an operative, claims he was often used as an hitman by the agency, to discreetly assassinate individuals considered a threat to the domestic security of the United Kingdom.

Trained as both a mechanical engineer and munitions expert, Mr. Hopkins claims he also has extensive experience of less conventional methods of inflicting death and destruction, including chemicals and poisons.

The 80-year-old British man claims he was involved with MI5 assassinations between June 1973 and December 1999, during a period he says “the MI5 operated with less external oversight.” Hopkins says he was part of a cell of seven operatives who were trusted to carry out political assassinations across the UK. Most victims were politicians, activists, journalists and union leaders.

Mr. Hopkins says Princess Diana is unique among his victims, as she is the only female he ever assassinated, as well as the only Royal. She is also the only victim that the Royal Family themselves ordered to be taken out.

He claims to feel “ambivalent” about Princess Diana’s death. On the one hand, Diana was “a beautiful, kind-hearted woman” who did not deserve to have her life cut short. But according to Mr. Hopkins, she was also placing the British Crown at risk:

She knew too many Royal secrets. She had a huge grudge and she was going to go public with all sorts of wild claims. My boss told me she had to die – he’d received orders directly from Prince Philip – and we had to make it look like an accident. I’d never killed a woman before, much less a princess, but I obeyed orders. I did it for Queen and country.”

The next stage of the high-level conspiracy involved the media, under tight Palace control, talking to each other to “square their stories, make sure everybody was on the same page. It was a well run operation.” - Read More, antinews

Retired MI5 Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘I Killed Princess Diana’


Retired MI5 Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘I Killed Princess Diana’ - Antinews

BREAKING: Retired MI5 Agent Reveals Princess Diana Secret at His Deathbed Confession



BREAKING: Retired MI5 Agent Reveals Princess Diana Secret at His Deathbed Confession. - Read More

BREAKING: Retired MI5 Agent Reveals Princess Diana Secret at His ...

Exclusive: Trump eyes hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review

President Donald Trump's administration is exploring hardening its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, two U.S. officials tell Reuters.

Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding U.S. drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other U.S. officials are skeptical of the prospects for success, arguing that years of previous U.S. efforts to curb Pakistan's support for militant groups have failed, and that already strengthening U.S. ties to India, Pakistan's arch-enemy, undermine chances of a breakthrough with Islamabad.

U.S. officials say generally they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, once the administration finishes a regional review, due by mid-July, of the strategy guiding the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The discussions include officials from across the Trump administration, including the White House and the Defense Department, both of which declined comment on the review before its completion.

Precise actions have yet to be decided.

"The United States and Pakistan continue to partner on a range of national security issues," Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said. - Read More, Reuters

Exclusive: Trump eyes hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review

Trump gives U.S. military authority to set Afghan troop levels: U.S. official

EXPOSED: WSJ reports that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been secretly giving money to ISIS in Syria

The WSJ reports that Israel has been “supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”

The Israeli army is in regular communication with rebel groups and its assistance includes undisclosed payments to commanders that help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons, according to interviews with about half a dozen Syrian fighters. Israel has established a military unit that oversees the support in Syria—a country that it has been in a state of war with for decades—and set aside a specific budget for the aid, said one person familiar with the Israeli operation.

This news comes as a major surprise because while it was well known that Israel has provided medical help for Syrian civilians and fighters inside its own borders in the past, with the IDF retaliating to occasional stray rockets in the restive border region with reprisals, it was previously thought that the Israeli authorities largely stay out of the complicated six-year-old conflict next door.

That now appears to have been dead wrong. “Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” said Moatasem al-Golani, spokesman for the rebel group Fursan al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

Al-Joulan is the main rebel group coordinating with Israel, according to fighters. It told the WSJ that Israel’s support began as early as 2013 under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, with the goal of creating a ‘buffer zone’ free of radical militants such as Isis and Iranian-allied forces along Israel’s border. A special Israeli army unit was created to oversee the costly aid operation, the WSJ reported, which gives Fursan al-Joulan – Knights of the Golan – an estimated $5,000 (£3,900) a month. The group of around 400 fighters receives no direct support from Western rebel backers, and is not affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the official rebel umbrella organisation. - More, theduran

EXPOSED: WSJ reports that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been secretly giving money to ISIS in Syria

Monday, June 19, 2017

USAID PROVIDES $20 MILLION TO SUPPORT THE ACUTE FOOD ASSISTANCE NEEDS OF VULNERABLE AFGHANS - usaid.gov

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kabul, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s most vulnerable populations will receive much needed relief concerning food security thanks to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

On May10, USAID announced a cash contribution of $20 million to the United Nation World Food Programme’s (UNWFP) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO).  The PRRO is designed to enhance food and nutrition for 3.4 million vulnerable Afghans in 250 districts across all provinces of Afghanistan.

USAID’s contribution is designed to respond to the food-security and nutritional needs of people displaced by conflict, returnees, and people affected by natural disasters and economic stress. USAID has been the largest donor to the World Food Programme in Afghanistan. So far, in fiscal year 2017 (FY17), USAID provided $40 million to WFP/Afghanistan to support emergency food and nutrition operations in Afghanistan.

"With this cash contribution, WFP can purchase wheat flour from local millers thereby supporting the local economy while meeting food assistance needs of the most vulnerable,” said Kathryn Stevens, USAID Acting Mission Director.  “USAID, the World Food Programme and the Government of Afghanistan remain committed to fighting hunger and malnutrition in Afghanistan.”

In addition, USAID is working with 15 United Nations and NGO partners, as well as the State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs to provide immediate relief and assistance to vulnerable Afghans affected by the complex emergency.  So far in FY17, USAID’s Office of Humanitarian Assistance has programmed $70 million to support the acute needs of conflict and natural disaster IDPs and returnees in water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and food, non-food items, health and nutrition assistance.

With almost $17 billion spent on development programs in Afghanistan since 2002, USAID provides the largest bilateral civilian assistance program to Afghanistan. USAID partners with the government and people of Afghanistan to ensure economic growth led by the country’s private sector, to establish a democratic and capable state governed by the rule of law, and to provide basic health and education services for all Afghans. - Read, USAID
                                         

Trump Administration Expected To Release New Afghan Strategy

The Trump administration is weighing whether more troops will help the U.S. defeat militants in Afghanistan. Rachel Martin talks to Gen. John R. Allen, who commanded NATO and U.S. forces in 2011-2013.

When the U.S. went into Afghanistan after 9/11, President George W. Bush vowed not to get the U.S. bogged down in an unwinnable war like the Soviets did.

GEORGE W. BUSH: It's been one of initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We're not going to repeat that mistake.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Well, it is now 15 years later, and the U.S. is still in Afghanistan. It is the longest war in American history, and it's really not even close to being over yet.

MARTIN: The Trump administration is expected to soon release a new Afghanistan strategy, which will reportedly include some 4,000 additional troops. I recently spoke with General John Allen. He led NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013, which was the height of the troop surge there. I asked him whether President Bush was naive about what it would take to win that war.

JOHN ALLEN: I don't think he was naive, but I think we need to be realistic when we become involved in long-term efforts to deal with insurgencies, long-term efforts to give nations stability. We've got to be realistic about the timelines associated with those. You know, we have U.S. military forces that have been in countries for a very long time in the aftermath of conflict, and the presence of those forces was about creating the stable platform upon which, then, incredible governance could evolve and economic progress could be accomplished.

MARTIN: Donald Trump talked on the campaign trail about just getting out of Afghanistan altogether. As president, he has uttered the word Afghanistan hardly at all. Do you think the U.S. should just leave?

ALLEN: No, no. And I believe that the American partnership with Afghanistan and the - more broadly, the partnership as a community of nations with Afghanistan deserves to continue to provide Afghanistan the capacity to create that security platform necessary for long-term stability of the governance. And as long as we're able to stay on that trajectory - and it won't be a short-term commitment. It's going to be a long-term commitment, as we have done in other countries - we'll be able to establish stability in Afghanistan and turn this country over to the Afghans to run.

But if we cut and run just as we did at the end of the Soviet war, I don't think that we can have any expectation that the outcome will be different, which was a horrible civil war, the rise of the Taliban and all of the reasons that the Taliban ultimately created the platform for al-Qaida to do the planning necessary to attack us on the 11 of September, 2001. There's a direct-line relationship between those circumstances and what could happen again if we don't stick with Afghanistan in this case. - Read More

Trump Administration Expected To Release New Afghan Strategy