Archive for the ‘Afghan’ Category

NATO in Afghanistan fire on militants in Pakistan

November 18, 2008

The NATO-led alliance in Afghanistan said its troops fired at militants inside Pakistan in coordination with Pakistani soldiers.

French soldiers of ISAF on patrol near Kabul on November 8.

Above: French soldiers of ISAF on patrol near Kabul on November 8.
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The coordination, announced Monday by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, was noteworthy since Pakistan has, in recent months, complained that international forces were violating the country’s sovereignty by going after militants on its soil.

ISAF said Sunday’s artillery fire was in response to an attack on an allied base in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan. Militants twice fired rockets into the base from across the border, the alliance said.

Once ISAF soldiers pinpointed the origin of the rocket launches, they fired 20 artillery rounds in coordination with the Pakistani military.

“ISAF and Pakistani soldiers observed all fired artillery rounds,” an alliance statement said. “The Pakistan soldiers assured ISAF that they would engage any insurgents attempting to flee deeper into Pakistan.”

No NATO soldiers were hurt in the rocket attack.

Read the rest from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/18/
pakistan.nato/index.html?section=cnn_latest

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US military: 10 militants killed in Afghan raids

November 16, 2008

A raid by U.S. coalition troops in eastern Afghanistan killed five al-Qaida associated fighters and detained eight others, including a militant leader, the U.S. military said in a statement Sunday. Two U.S. troops were wounded in a suicide attack in the west.

Another five insurgents were killed in a firefight in a southern province, said the U.S. military, which has vowed to keep up attacks throughout the winter to keep pressure on insurgents trying to overthrow Afghanistan‘s pro-Western government.

The detained al-Qaida associated militant leader is accused of assisting the Taliban with the movement and training of Arab and other foreign fighters into Afghanistan, the coalition statement said, without identifying him.

The troops made the raid in Paktia’s province Zurmat district Saturday. Five armed militants were killed and eight detained, the coalition said.

Afghan police officers look at the wreckage of a car used by ... 
Afghan police officers look at the wreckage of a car used by a suicide bomber in the western city of Herat November 16, 2008. Two U.S. soldiers were wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on their convoy in the western city of Herat, a U.S. military spokesman said.REUTERS/Mohammad Shoaib (AFGHANISTAN)

Violence by various insurgent groups has spiked this year to the highest level since a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban’s hard-line Islamist regime in 2001 for sheltering Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

Attacks are up 30 percent from 2007, military officials say. More than 5,400 people — mostly militants — have died in insurgency-related violence this year in Afghanistan, according to a tally by The Associated Press of figures provided by Afghan and international officials.

A suicide car bomber, meanwhile, struck a U.S. convoy in the western Herat province on Sunday, wounding two troops and damaging two of their vehicles, said Col. Greg Julian, the spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081116/ap_on_re_as/
as_afghanistan;_ylt=AsC.SzAvG905.catgmRivCGs0NUE

US says Afghanistan insurgent leader captured

November 15, 2008

Afghan and coalition forces captured an insurgent leader in eastern Afghanistan, and in a separate operation 10 militants were killed in a firefight, the U.S. military said Saturday.

U.S. forces said they grabbed a “key insurgent leader” in a joint raid with Afghan police Friday in a village in eastern Ghazni province. No shots were fired in the raid, the statement said.

By HEIDI VOGT, Associated Press Writer

Policemen outside Kabul. The US-led force in Afghanistan said ... 
Policemen outside Kabul. The US-led force in Afghanistan said Saturday its troops had killed 10 militants, including foreign fighters, in an operation against the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani militant network(AFP/File/Massoud Hossaini)

The captured man is responsible for the deaths of Afghan troops, bomb attacks on coalition forces and the kidnapping of aid workers, according to the statement. A spokesman declined to give further information on the leader’s identity while they search for his confederates.

Coalition forces also killed 10 militants in a strike against a bomb-making cell in the eastern Paktya province Friday, the U.S. military said.

The troops were targeting several key figures in a network run by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a militant leader believed to operate out of Pakistan, the military statement said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081115/ap_on_re_as/as_
afghanistan;_ylt=ArC9xsoxOh1T33MQ2AqSpWms0NUE

Afghanistan: Taliban Attacks School Girls With Acid

November 14, 2008
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Nov. 14) – No students showed up at Mirwais Mena girls’ school in the Taliban’s spiritual birthplace the morning after it happened.
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A day earlier, men on motorcycles attacked 15 girls and teachers with acid.

Associated Press

The men squirted the acid from water bottles onto three groups of students and teachers walking to school Wednesday, principal Mehmood Qaderi said. Some of the girls have burns only on their school uniforms but others will have scars on their faces.
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One teenager still cannot open her eyes after being hit in the face with acid.
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“Today the school is open, but there are no girls,” Qaderi said Thursday. “Yesterday, all of the classes were full.” His school has 1,500 students.

Afghan teenager Shamsia rests on a hospital bed in Kabul after ... 
Afghan teenager Shamsia rests on a hospital bed in Kabul after Islamic extremists sprayed her with acid in Kandahar on November 12. Shamsia — whose face was burned in an acid attack — has vowed to continue going to school even if it put her life in danger.(AFP/Shah Marai)

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Afghanistan’s government condemned the attack as “un-Islamic” and blamed it on the “country’s enemies,” a typical reference to Taliban militants. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, denied the insurgents were involved.
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Girls were banned from schools under the rule of the Taliban, the hard-line Islamist regime that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Women were only allowed to leave the house wearing a body-hiding burqa and accompanied by a male family member.

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/article/acid-attacks-scar-afghan-
schoolgirls/248141?icid=100214839x1212958094x1200818333

U.S. Needs To Push For Bigger Afghan Army, Then Withdraw

November 7, 2008

The Bush administration, in the midst of a wide review of its war strategy in Afghanistan, is likely to recommend soon to the incoming Obama administration that the U.S. push for further expansion of the Afghan army as the surest path to an eventual U.S. withdrawal.

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

Afghan men work on a house destroyed in alleged airstrikes in ... 
Afghan men work on a house destroyed in alleged airstrikes in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said airstrikes had caused deaths in the district. The U.S. military said it was investigating the report.(AP/Photo/Allauddin Khan)

It’s too late in President Bush’s tenure for a major change of direction in Afghanistan, but the White House wants to produce a kind of road map for the next administration, not just in terms of military effort but also in other areas such as integrating U.S. and international civilian and military aid.

The strategy review, which began in September amid increasing militant violence and a growing U.S. and allied death toll, is being coordinated at the White House and is expected to be presented by December. Defense officials would discuss emerging conclusions only on condition of anonymity because it is not yet completed.

The Bush administration is likely to endorse fulfilling a standing request by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, for about 20,000 additional U.S. troops in 2009. But it has concluded that the emphasis increasingly should be on Afghan forces taking the lead.

A chief advocate of focusing more on speeding the training and equipping of a bigger Afghan army is Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said last week that it represents the long-term answer in Afghanistan.

Gates also has emphasized limiting the depth of U.S. military involvement in a country that has ground down foreign armies over centuries of conflict.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) speaks with Central ... 
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) speaks with Central Intelligence Dircetor Michael Hayden during the swearing in ceremony for Mike McConnell as National Intelligence Director in Washington, DC in 2007. Hayden said Wednesday that the US intelligence agency would begin sharing classified information with president-elect Barack Obama during a transition phase up to his inauguration.(AFP/File/Jim Watson)

“We will be making a terrible mistake if this ends up being called America’s war,” Gates said Oct. 31 after presiding at a ceremony in Tampa, Fla., where Gen. David Petraeus was installed as head of U.S. Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

“What I would like to see, and, I think, what everybody would like to see, is the most rapid possible further expansion of the Afghan military forces because this needs to be an Afghan war, not an American war and not a NATO war,” Gates told reporters.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081107/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_afghanistan;
_ylt=AqHhPEGT2xCCthJ5EmNCnR6s0NUE

Suspected U.S. missile hits Pakistan

November 7, 2008

Despite urgings from pakistan to the United States to halt the drone air attacks in the tribal areas, the US continues to rain down death on the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other militants inside Pakistan….

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US Department of Defense (DOD) image of a Predator surveillance ... 
US Department of Defense (DOD) image of a Predator surveillance drone. At least 10 Al-Qaeda-linked militants were killed Friday in a suspected US missile strike on a tribal area in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, a senior security official told AFP.(AFP/DoD/File/Jeffrey S. Viano)

Reuters

A suspected U.S. drone fired a missile on Friday into Pakistan‘s tribal region of Waziristan on the Afghan border, killing 10 people, security officials said.

It was the latest in a string of nearly 20 suspected strikes by pilotless U.S. drones since the beginning of September but the first since Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.

Pakistan objects to the strikes as not only a violation of its sovereignty but counter-productive to its efforts to tackle militants behind surging violence in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A Pakistani intelligence agency official said the strike was on a house in North Waziristan but a military official said the attack was in South Waziristan. Both regions are al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries on the Afghan border.

“It happened close to the border. We have reports of 10 dead but it will take time to get more information,” said a military officer.

U.S. forces have stepped up attacks on militants in Pakistan in response to concern about worsening security in Afghanistan.

Scores of people have been killed in missile strikes and a September 3 cross-border commando raid, but no top al Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported to have died.

Nuclear-armed U.S. ally Pakistan is also battling militants on its side of the border but says cross-border U.S. strikes undermine efforts to isolate the militants and rally public opinion behind the unpopular campaign against them.

The United States has shrugged off Pakistani protests. It says the attacks are needed to protect U.S. troops in Afghanistan and kill Taliban and al Qaeda militants who threaten them.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081107/ts_nm/us_pakistan_violence_2

Security officials inspect the site of an earlier suicide attack ... 
Security officials inspect the site of an earlier suicide attack in Mingora. At least 10 Al-Qaeda-linked militants were killed Friday in a suspected US missile strike on a tribal area in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, a senior security official told AFP(AFP/Chand Khan)

Afghan Officials Aided an Attack on U.S. Soldiers

November 4, 2008

An internal review by the American military has found that a local Afghan police chief and another district leader helped Taliban militants carry out an attack on July 13 in which nine United States soldiers were killed and a remote American outpost in eastern Afghanistan was nearly overrun.

By Eric Schmitt
The New York Times
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Afghan and American forces had started building the makeshift base just five days before the attack, and villagers repeatedly warned the American troops in that time that militants were plotting a strike, the report found. It said that the warnings did not include details, and that troops never anticipated such a large and well-coordinated attack.

NATO should borrow lessons from Iraq and work with local tribes ... 
NATO should borrow lessons from Iraq and work with local tribes in Afghanistan, to improve security there, Major General Marc Lessard, the outgoing Canadian commander of foreign troops in the south of the country, seen here in February 2008, said Saturday.(AFP/File/Shah Marai)

The assault involved some 200 fighters, nearly three times the number of Americans and Afghans defending the site.

As evidence of collusion between the district police chief and the Taliban, the report cited large stocks of weapons and ammunition that were found in the police barracks in the adjacent village of Wanat after the attackers were repelled. The stocks were more than the local 20-officer force would be likely to need, and many of the weapons were dirty and appeared to have been used recently. The police officers were found dressed in “crisp, clean new uniforms,” the report said, and were acting “as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.”

The attackers were driven back after a pitched four-hour battle, in which American artillery, warplanes and attack helicopters were ultimately called in. Still, the militants fought in ways that showed imaginative military training, if not sophisticated weapons.

In the midst of the battle, American soldiers were at times flushed out into the open when they fled what they thought were grenades, but were in fact rocks thrown by Taliban attackers, the report said. The day before the attack, the militants began flowing water through an irrigation ditch feeding an unused field, creating background noise that masked the sounds of the advancing fighters.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/world/asia
/04military.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Pakistan warns US troops after exchange of fire

September 26, 2008

By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan warned U.S. troops not to intrude on its territory Friday, after the two anti-terror allies traded fire along the volatile border with Afghanistan.

Thursday’s five-minute clash adds to already heightened tensions at a time the United States is stepping up cross-border operations in a region known as a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

The clash — the first serious exchange with Pakistani forces acknowledged by the U.S. — follows a string of other alleged border incidents and incursions that have angered many here.

Speaking in New York, Pakistan’s president tried to downplay the incident, saying only “flares” were fired at foreign helicopters that he said strayed into his country from Afghanistan.

See Pakistan’s President saying his borders cannot be violated:
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/
?rn=3906861&cl=9908889&ch=4226714&src=news

U.S. and NATO military officials said the ground troops and helicopters were in Afghan territory.

The escalating violence in Pakistan was also felt as far south as Karachi.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080926/ap_on_re_as/as_
pakistan_us;_ylt=AnGAbn3_PR022mLBnDYFIais0NUE

Woman Earns Silver Star in Afghan War

March 12, 2008
Dodging insurgent gunfire, a 19-year-old Lake Jackson soldier used her body to shield five injured comrades after a roadside bomb struck her convoy in Afghanistan last spring. That act of bravery has earned her the Silver Star.

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown is only the second woman since World War II to receive the medal, one of the nation’s highest military awards given for gallantry in combat.
 

”She just did what she was trained to do,” her 74-year-old grandmother, Katy Brown, said from her Lake Jackson home on Sunday.

Monica Brown, a medic, was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia when a bomb struck one of the Humvees on April 25, military officials said.

After the explosion, she braved insurgent gunfire and mortars to reach five wounded soldiers. She shielded them as she administered aid and helped drag them to safety, the military said.

“I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there,” Monica Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday from a U.S. base in the province of Khowst.

Katy Brown said her granddaughter graduated from Brazos River Charter School in Morgan at 15. She joined the Army with her brother, Justin Brown, in November 2006 to get a college education, Katy Brown said.

She said she is not surprised by her granddaughter’s heroics.

”She’s just a strong, strong young woman, and she’s very caring,” Katy Brown said.

Monica Brown told her grandmother she didn’t have time to be scared.

She just jumped into action and ”made medics out of those infantry men,” Katy Brown said.

Monica Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.

“So, we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit,” she said. “I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of.”
Monica Brown knew all five wounded soldiers. She said they eventually moved the wounded about 500 yards away and treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.

She is expected to leave Afghanistan on April 15, but Katy Brown didn’t know when her granddaughter would arrive home or where she would receive the medal.

Mary Moreno, founder of Military Moms in Lake Jackson, said Monica Brown deserves the medal because she is a giving person.

”When she came home last April, she was an inspiration to all of us,” Moreno said. “She became one of us and said, ‘What can I do?’ ”
Monica Brown helped the group pack care packages for soldiers, Moreno said. She also helped them tie yellow ribbons on trees along Oyster Creek Drive in Lake Jackson in honor of the soldiers, she said.

”She is just an amazing young woman who is very down to earth and full of life,” Moreno said.

The military said Brown’s “bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat.”

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from Hester’s unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.

Political Correctness Gone Mad

March 7, 2008

By James Zumwalt
March 6, 2008

Democracy today suffers from political correctness gone mad. Whether motivated by innocence or ignorance, idealists push for unbridled tolerance. They do so without a reality check, failing to see how it can then be manipulated against us by those seeking to do us harm.

Last month, for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury called for theapplication of Islamic law, in some instances, for England’s growing Muslim population. Putting aside the nightmarish conflict of laws issues this would create, such a call demonstrates a total lack of appreciation for a basic, irresolvable difference between Islamic and Western law — one making it impossible for both to co-exist within the borders of the same democratic state.

Western law, predicated upon the U.N.’s 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, recognizes such rights as being universal to all mankind; Islamic law, predicated upon the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, recognizes only those human rights sanctioned by Shariah — which means women and non-believers have no such rights.

The good Archbishop may well possess the heart of a saint, but he possesses the logic of one so focused on political correctness as to blind him to the damage Shariah would do in destroying the very multiculturalism he seeks to promote.

Under Shariah, as interpreted by extremists, it is either the Islamic way or the highway — the highway of death.

Granting Shariah a foothold in England would begin a push for fewer and fewer rights for non-believers — eventually to include their right to life. It would mark the beginning of the end for organized, civilized societies, as today’s fast growing Islamic populations in Europe continue to outpace native populations in growth — the former eventually destined to become a majority. When that happens, we might well see the replacement of all Western laws with Shariah. The Archbishop’s call for Shariah to be recognized in England came as two Muslim-dominated societies very recently demonstrated their inability to tolerate any religion but Islam.

In January, Malyasian Customs officials confiscated 32 Bibles from a Christian woman arriving at Kuala Lumpur Airport. While just last week, it was reported, Christian missionaries in Jordan are actively being denied visas or deported for proselytizing Christianity — an illegal activity under Islamic law. Thus, the tolerance towards Islam the Archbishop seeks to promote bygranting Shariah a foothold into Europe is not being reciprocated in Muslim-majority countries — even where Islamic extremists are not in control.

If Muslim-majority countries – not controlled by extremists – are showing such intolerance now towards the introduction of other religions, one can only imagine the impact awaiting Western laws and values once Muslim populations gain majority control in European states.

Just as the Archbishop appears blinded to the realistic impact of his call for the introduction of Shariah, Hollywood too promotes its own idealistic and irresponsible version of political correctness – glossing over the reality of the enemy’s brutality.

A newspaper article about Alex Gibney’s Oscar-nominated documentary, “Taxi tothe Dark Side,” describes the film as investigating “some of the mostegregious abuses associated with the so-called ‘war on terror.’” It allegedly tells the story of “an Afghan taxi driver who was detained by the United States, then tortured to death.”

The stories of al-Qaeda’s brutality are endless; yet filmmakers fail to tell these stories, choosing instead to bash America and her warriors in their fight against evil. In doing so, the Muslim anger generated by such anti-American films is then directed against our servicemen and women fighting to set these same Muslims free of the evil-doers. We are at war with an enemy lacking limits on his barbarity.

It is this story — one of al-Qaeda’s abject brutality relative to the occasional harsh treatment of terror suspects by the U.S. — that needs to be told.

Not one film has been produced to tell the story of al-Qaeda’s use of mentally disturbed women and children as unwary suicide bombers. Not one has been produced to tell the story about al-Qaeda’s practice of “baking” children of parents who, having resisted joining the terrorist group, are then served their dead child for lunch. A “relative lens” by Hollywood would compare the treatment of U.S.-held prisoners to those held by al-Qaeda.

At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for example, al-Qaeda suspects held in U.S. custody have gained weight — an average of 20 pounds and one prisoner more than 100. Such weight gains are unheard of during wartime captivity.

Meanwhile, not a single American prisoner captured by al-Qaeda remains alive to tell us about their treatment.

U.S. servicemen have been tortured, decapitated, mutilated and their bodies rigged with explosives to kill those attempting to recover their remains.

Our system is far from perfect. But Hollywood needs to start putting a“relative” lens on its cameras and shining its lights into the dark recesses of al-Qaeda’s brutality.

A society exercising political correctness – not tempered by reason – ultimately will lose all it seeks to gain.
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James Zumwalt is a former senior U.S. military officer who operates his own consulting firm.

Peace and Freedom sincerely thanks the author for this and all his service.