A bizarre incident unfolded Saturday morning in Wakefield, Massachusetts. According to local police: "during a motor vehicle stop, several heavily armed men claiming to be from a group that does not recognize our laws exited their vehicles and fled into the woodline" near Interstate Highway 95.
The incident unfolded around 1:30 a.m. when a state trooper came across a group of 8 to 10 people refueling on the side of the I-95 highway in Wakefield, a suburb of Boston. The group was dressed in military-style uniforms, carried tactical gear like body cameras and helmets and had long guns slung over their shoulders.
They told officials they were on their way to Maine from Rhode Island for "training," Col. Christopher Mason said.
Officials said they made two initial arrests and the rest of the group, which calls itself "Moorish American Arms," fled into a wooded area that is now surrounded by police. As a result, a stretch of I-95 was closed and shelter-in-place orders were set for people who live nearby.
Police negotiators talked to those hiding in the woods throughout the early morning.
"We're trying to successfully and peacefully resolve this," Mason said.
As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday the "remaining suspects on highway" were taken into custody by MSP Special Tactical Operations Team, Massachusetts State Police said in an update.
Officials had conducted searches of the two vehicles the suspects were in and the surrounding woods.
"Two additional suspects were located in their vehicles, bringing the total number of those arrested to 11 (two initially on North Avenue and nine outside and inside the vehicles)," the MSP tweeted.
"7 additional suspects being transported for booking ... Total of 9 in custody counting the initial 2 arrests," MSP had tweeted earlier.
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Well, the US and its coalition allies really are pulling out of Afghanistan, and there's no bigger symbol of that long, looooooooong overdue withdrawal than the US military unceremoniously leaving Bagram AFB in Kabul, the center of US operations in the country for the last twenty goddamn years.
American troops and their Western allies have departed the U.S. military base that coordinated the sprawling war in Afghanistan, officials said on Friday, effectively ending major U.S. military operations in the country after nearly two decades.
For generations of American service members, the military hub, Bagram Air Base, was a gateway to and from a war that cut across constant changes on the battlefield and in presidential administrations. But the final withdrawal overnight on Thursday occurred with little fanfare and no public ceremony, and in an atmosphere of grave concern over the Afghan security forces’ ability to hold off Taliban advances across the country.
The American exit was completed quickly enough that some looters managed to get into the base before being arrested, Afghan officials said.
The quiet leave-taking from the base weeks before the planned withdrawal of American troops in mid July, and months ahead of President’s Biden announced Sept. 11 departure, highlights Washington’s efforts to signal two different messages: one to the U.S. public that its longest foreign war is ending, and another to the Afghan government that the United States is not abandoning the country in the middle of a Taliban offensive, and would retain some ability to conduct airstrikes if need be.
“We are on track, exactly where we expected to be,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House Friday of the withdrawal.
Bagram was operating at full capacity until the end on Thursday. Fighter jets, cargo planes and surveillance aircraft relied on the twin runways until it was no longer feasible to keep them in the country.
Now, air support for the Afghan forces and overhead surveillance will be flown in from outside the country, from bases in Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, or from an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea. A contingent of 650 troops will remain to protect the American Embassy in Kabul, the capital. How long that type of support will continue is unclear, but the Pentagon has until Sept. 11 — when the American military mission is supposed to formally conclude — to decide.
The departure comes at a perilous time for Afghanistan.
Some U.S. intelligence estimates predict that the Afghan government could fall to its rivals, the Taliban, in from six months to two years after the Americans complete their withdrawal. The Taliban are inching closer to Kabul after having taken about a quarter of the country’s districts in the past two months.
Hundreds of members of the Afghan security forces have surrendered in recent weeks, while their counterattacks have taken back little territory from the Taliban. And as the Afghan forces fracture, regional militias have appeared with renewed prominence, in an echo of the country’s path toward civil war in the 1990s.
“Civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized,” the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, told reporters on Tuesday.
Early Friday morning, looters entered the base, grabbing gas canisters and some laptops, said Darwaish Raufi, a district administrator for Bagram, adding that some were arrested by the police.
Mr. Raufi said the Americans had failed to coordinate their departure with the Afghan forces, leaving a gap in security at the base. But Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said the transfer of the base had been “closely coordinated.”