USA Today reports that veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be suffering from a 20-year-old set of symptoms known as Gulf War Illness. “Preliminary data suggest that (chronic multisymptom illness) is occurring in veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well,” says a report from the Federal Institute of Medicine. USA Today notes that this is the first time vets of the current wars are showing symptoms suffered by vets of the 1991 Gulf War, which may mean that Veterans Affairs’ definition of who qualifies for Gulf War veterans’ benefits should include those who served in Afghanistan.
In other news:
- The New York Times reports: A weak command structure and a climate of fear among female personnel created the conditions that led to widespread instances of sexual assault of Air Force recruits by their instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, senior Air Force commanders said Wednesday.
- The Guardian reports that there has been a spike in Afghan security forces’ casualties as NATO forces have pulled back: The Taliban have killed 1,100 members of the Afghan security forces in the past six months as Nato troops have stepped back and left the local army and police to fight the insurgency, it has emerged. Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, admitted there had been a doubling of casualties among Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) over the past year, as well as spikes in desertion rates from the army.
- The U.N. says Syrians are facing a dramatic downturn in food stocks while 20,000 Syrian refugees fled to Jordan in one week.
- Foreign Policy reports: Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United States, quietly floated the idea of organizing a U.N. peacekeeping force to help stabilize Mali after France puts down the Islamist insurgency there.