Joe Biden keeps Donald Trump’s policy retaining landmines in US arsenal, for now

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The Defense Department announced Tuesday that it would retain the Trump administration’s policy and keep antipersonnel land mines in its arsenal, reserving the right to use them in war.

In a statement, Mike Howard, a Pentagon spokesman, called such weapons “a vital tool in conventional warfare” that the military “cannot responsibly forgo, particularly when faced with substantial and potentially overwhelming enemy forces in the early stages of combat.”

The announcement drew swift condemnation from human-rights groups. The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, subsequently addressed the issue with reporters, saying Howard’s words were “accurate and factual,” but he added that the land-mine policy was under review.

The current policy dates to Jan. 31, 2020, when Mark Esper, secretary of defense under President Donald Trump, announced a major change to the Pentagon’s…

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