Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Tuesday, 24 October.
SECDEF Mattis is at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Minister Meeting this week, meeting with his counterparts from the Philippines, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Korea. Mattis is scheduled to discuss North Korea with defense officials from Japan and South Korea. The Japanese Defense Minister was recently quoted as saying, “[The] threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level,” but did not imply that war was imminent. There have been unsubstantiated reports that most officials at the White House support a preemptive strike on North Korea. Meanwhile, SECSTATE Tillerson has been in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is headed to Pakistan.
A report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows an alarming rate of foreign military officials going Absent Without Leave (AWOL) in the United States. Nearly 50 percent of those going AWOL are from Afghanistan. The SIGAR reported that of the 152 Afghan soldiers who went AWOL in the U.S., 70 left the country, 13 have not been accounted for, 39 have obtained legal status, and only 27 have been arrested or removed from the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has warned that these Afghan soldiers are “high risk because they involve military trained individuals of a fighting age”. [source]
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