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Afghanostan War is Obama's Viet namMilitary Honors, Homeless Marine saves 5, Dead in Afganistan
Jan 2010 ARLINGTON, Virginia - Marine Laid to Rest
Homeless Ex-Marine Laid to rest after losing his life saving 5 others from a house fire
61-year-old Ray Vivier had been an adventurer, an ex-Marine who explored the country from South Carolina to Alaska, the father of five children.
Ray was getting his life back together. After living beneath a Cleveland bridge for years, he had found a welding job, friends and a place to stay at a boarding house.
He rescued 5 people from that house when arsonists set it ablaze. But he and 3 others died, and two people have been charged in their deaths.
Vivier's body lay unclaimed and unidentified for weeks, destined for an anonymous, modest burial.
But a volunteer at a soup kitchen heard that Vivier may have died, and contacted their friend who tracked down his family.
On Friday, Vivier's ashes were inurned at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
3 U.S. service members killed by bombs in southern Afghanistan
3 U.S. service members have been killed in two bombings in southern Afghanistan. The Americans died in separate strikes.
At least 25 American deaths have been reported so far in January, compared with 14 for January 2009.
0bama killed them - not Bush. This is 0bama's war now.
Afghan War nears end with Pakistan, Taliban victor
see page 3
Obama's NEW RULES of ENGAGEMENT (ROE) FAVOR the ENEMY!
Afghanistan Operation Moshtarak
13 February 2010
1. No night or surprise searches.
2. Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.
3. ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.
4. U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
5. U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.
6. Only women can search women.
7. Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.
Suicide bomber hits Nato convoy west of Kandahar
3 American service members have been killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan
Operation Moshtarak - combined forces are serving alongside one another.
15,000 Afghan, U.S. Marines and intl troops from the US, UK, Canada and Afghanistan push into Helmand province of Afghanistan.
NATO troops enter Marjah where Taliban had set up a shadow government. As 200 U.S. Marines moved to increase
foothold in Marjah, Taliban fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades at them. In another part of town, soldiers were
in a fierce gunbattle. 5 Taliban were killed and 8 arrested. Taliban are still holding out in Marjah.
PAKISTAN, AFGANISTAN, NATO, USA WAR
Gulf war syndrome, Morgellons Disease
Taliban are Deobandi Sunni Muslims
Deobandi is like a weird mix of Salafi and Sufi. They hate Shia.
Afghanostan War is Obama's Viet nam
PAKISTAN, AFGANISTAN, NATO, USA WAR **
Posted <*))))>< by
ZionsCRY NEWS with prophetic analysis
Taliban Cowards Using Human ShieldsTaliban Cowards Using Human Shields
February 17, 2010 Taliban ordering women and children to stand on roofs and in windows as NATO forces carry out painstaking house-to-house searches.
This is typical dirty fighting of Islamic cowards everywhere, hiding behind civilians.
0bama has ordered U.S. troops not to fire at the terrorists with civilians nearby.
Consequently, 0bama is killing many of our troops needlessly. I am sure 0bama wants them all killed.
YOU CANT WIN a politicly correct war!
U.S. Marines found the Taliban cowards using civilians as human shields as military squads resumed house-to-house searches.
Taliban firing at troops from inside or next to compounds where women and children were ordered to stand on a roof or in a window.
Marines call in gunships
US Marines battling the Taliban in southern Afghanistan have had to call in helicopter gunships for support, as a major offensive enters its fifth day.
They face sustained machine-gun fire from Talibans hiding in bunkers.
British forces discovered a cache of stolen Afghan army and police uniforms, suggesting the Taliban were planning disguise attacks.
BEYOND TREASON, US Military mistreated, misused
If you have a story of a vet mistreated, blog here
U.S. Marine Walks Away
February 16, 2010 Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig was shot in the head, the bullet bounced off him,
in one of those rare battlefield miracles. A Taliban sniper hit Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet,
and he walked away from it with a smile on his face. The company had landed by helicopter in the predawn dark.
RULES of ENGAGEMENT (ROE)RULES of ENGAGEMENT (ROE)
These WILL NOT WORK. These ROE only help the enemy.
The REAL ENEMY is IN THE WHITEHOUSE!
Strict war rules slow Afghan offensive
Feb 15, 2010 yahoo news MARJAH, Afghanistan – Some American and Afghan troops say they're fighting the latest offensive in Afghanistan with a handicap — strict rules that routinely force them to hold their fire.
Although details of the new guidelines are classified to keep insurgents from reading them, U.S. troops say the Taliban are keenly aware of the restrictions.
"I understand the reason behind it, but it's so hard to fight a war like this," said Lance Cpl. Travis Anderson, 20, of Altoona, Iowa. "They're using our rules of engagement against us," he said, adding that his platoon had repeatedly seen men drop their guns into ditches and walk away to blend in with civilians.
If a man emerges from a Taliban hideout after shooting erupts, U.S. troops say they cannot fire at him if he is not seen carrying a weapon — or if they did not personally watch him drop one.
What this means, some contend, is that a militant can fire at them, then set aside his weapon and walk freely out of a compound, possibly toward a weapons cache in another location. It was unclear how often this has happened. In another example, Marines pinned down by a barrage of insurgent bullets say they can't count on quick air support because it takes time to positively identify shooters.
"This is difficult," Lance Cpl. Michael Andrejczuk, 20, of Knoxville, Tenn., said Monday. "We are trained like when we see something, we obliterate it. But here, we have to see them and when we do, they don't have guns."
NATO and Afghan military officials say killing militants is not the goal of a 3-day-old attack to take control of this Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. More important is to win public support.
They acknowledge that the rules entail risk to its troops, but maintain that civilian casualties or destruction of property can alienate the population and lead to more insurgent recruits, more homemade bombs and a prolonged conflict.
But troops complain that strict rules of engagement — imposed to spare civilian casualties — are slowing their advance into the town of Marjah in Helmand province, the focal point of the operation involving 15,000 troops.
"The problem is isolating where the enemy is," said Capt. Joshua Winfrey, a Marine company commander from Stillwater, Oklahoma. "We are not going to drop ordnance out in the open."
That's a marked change from the battle of Fallujah, Iraq in November 2004. When Marines there encountered snipers holed up in a building, they routinely called in airstrikes. In Marjah, fighter jets are flying at low altitude in a show of force, but are not firing missiles.
Politically, it's not the best time to campaign for relaxing the rules in Afghanistan. On Sunday, two U.S. rockets struck a house and killed 12 Afghan civilians during the offensive in Marjah, NATO said. On Monday, a NATO airstrike accidentally killed five civilians and wounded two in neighboring Kandahar province.
It was public outrage in Afghanistan over civilian deaths that prompted the top NATO commander, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, last year to tighten the rules, including the use of airstrikes and other weaponry if civilians are at risk.
Afghan civilian deaths soared to 2,412 civilians last year — the highest number in any year of the 8-year-old war, according to a U.N. report. But the deaths attributed to allied troops dropped nearly 30 percent as a result of McChrystal's new rules, according to the report.
Under the current rules of engagement, troops retain the right to use lethal force in self defense, said U.S. Col. Wayne Shanks, a spokesman for the international force.
The rules seek to put the troops in the "right frame of mind to exercise that right," Shanks said. They require troops to ask a few fundamental questions:
• Even if someone has shot in my general direction, am I still in danger?
• Will I make more enemies than I'll kill by destroying property, or harming innocent civilians?
• What are my other options to resolve this without escalating the violence?
On Monday, Marines in the northern part of Marjah followed the rules of engagement, but a civilian still ended up dead.
As troops fought teams of insurgent snipers throughout the day in heavy gunfights, a young Afghan man ran toward the Marines. More than once, the troops warned him to stop, but he kept running.
Following the rules, the Marines uttered a verbal warning, and fired a flare and a warning shot overhead. Still the man didn't stop. Marines shot him dead.
Afterward, Marine officers said the victim appeared to be a mentally ill man who had panicked during the gun battle.
"Sadly, everything was done right," said Lt. Col. Brian Christmas, commander of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. "The family understood."
Christmas said his troops might be frustrated, but understand the reasons behind the strict rules. As he spoke, Cobra attack helicopters fired Hellfire missiles nearby. Ground forces under intense fire had requested the air support 90 minutes earlier, but it took that long to positively identify the militants who were shooting at the allied forces.
"We didn't come to Marjah to destroy it, or to hurt civilians," Christmas said.
That message was drilled into the troops in the run-up to the offensive.
"What are we here for?" Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, the top Marine commander in Afghanistan, would shout to his troops.
"The people!" was the troops' refrain.
Afghan forces cite examples of the restrictions too.
Col. Shrin Shah Kohbandi, commander of the new Afghan army corps in Helmand province, told reporters that his troops saw militants running away from the battlefield toward a village in Nad Ali district where they disappeared among villagers. "They hid their weapons so they became `civilians,'" under the rules, he said. "We didn't kill them and we weren't able to arrest them."
Khan Mohammad Khan, a former Afghan Army commander in neighboring Kandahar province, said being able to use heavy weapons and conduct air strikes only in selective situations has hamstrung troops in Marjah.
But Brig. Gen. Sher Mohammad Zazai, commander of Afghan army troops in the south, said there is no plan to revise the rules.
"The aim of the operation is not to kill militants," he said. "The aim is to protect civilians and bring in development."
Obama's NEW RULES of ENGAGEMENT (ROE)Obama's EVIL NEW RULES of ENGAGEMENT
These WILL NOT WORK. These ROE only help the enemy.
The REAL ENEMY is IN THE WHITEHOUSE!
Current U.S. Rules Of Engagement In Afghanistan Problematic
December 17, 2009 The response to president Obama's much delayed announcement regarding increased troop levels in Afghanistan has been predictable, with opinion divided predominantly along ideological lines and less concern devoted to matters of military necessity.
Generally, the left hates the idea of committing as many as 30,000 additional troops to the Afghan theater by next summer with many on the political right, though basically supportive of the mission, in large part demanding the full complement of 40,000 troops that Gen. McChrystal had originally requested [that number did not represent the upward limit of the General's most ambitious plan which took form in a much larger surge, comprised of possibly 85,000 troops].
But warfare is more than a game of numbers, depending on many less quantifiable and sometimes more important factors.
Among those which are deservedly receiving much greater prominence now is the matter of the critical guidance issued to U.S. forces that serves to define what constitutes the appropriate use of force when engaging the enemy - the Rules of Engagement [ROE].
The issue comes under scrutiny now that the decision has been made to substantially increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, but with the daunting caveat that they will only be allotted about a year to prove their effectiveness before the withdrawal process is set in motion, in July of 2011, not surprisingly in consideration of the 2012 presidential election.
The exact content of U.S. Rules of Engagement are necessarily classified, but can be stitched together and approximated with a reasonable degree of accuracy from various sources, media and otherwise. The most trustworthy of these come from statements - seldom for attribution - made by active U.S. combat forces and returning vets.
The military itself will comment, with a certain sense of vagueness, about the general outlines of the ROE, but will not address specific elements of the directive.
To those who believe that the West is embroiled in an epic conflict between civilization and Islamic jihad, the ROE loom large. If the rules are overly restrictive, U.S. combat efficiency will be negatively affected and American casualties will quickly rise. On the other hand if the ROE are too wide open then they might well serve to quash popular support for the mission among the Afghani people, a matter of prime concern in counterinsurgency warfare.
There are two official military documents which provide relevant guidance on the use of lethal force.
1. ISAF Commander's Counterinsurgency Guidance
2. Unclassified July 2, 2009 guidance regarding the Tactical Directive [ROE]
At the beginning of December, PipeLineNews.org opened a line of communication with a senior ISAF spokesman in Afghanistan in order to more fully understand the ROE. What follows in this section is a verbatim transcript, our questions appear in bold. The response begins with a general statement of policy; we made the decision not to attribute the comments to a particular individual, though that was not part of the ground rules going into this process.
"In general, our troops retain the right to use lethal force in self-defense. COMISAF's [Editor's note: Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force] tactical directive is mostly about putting our forces in the right frame of mind to exercise that right. So, for example, in the past if a group of insurgents fired on soldiers and then retreated into a compound or mosque, the "troops in contact" situation might not end until we waited them out or, if we'd taken reasonable but not foolproof steps to ensure civilians weren't present, dropped a bomb or artillery round on the building.
The tactical directive requires troops, to the best of their ability, to ask a few fundamental questions in that situation. Even if someone might be shooting in my general direction, am I still in danger? Will I make more enemies than I'll kill by destroying property or, if I've missed something, innocent civilians?
What are my other options to resolve this without escalating the violence? As unfortunate as they were, the incidents that have become emblems of perceived problems with the tactical directive were not situations in which the decisions discussed in the tactical directive ever came into play."
What is the current directive regarding ROE in Afghanistan?
"All forces operating under the authority of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan are subject to Rules of Engagement (ROE) issued by Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters Brunssum. The ROE are consistent with NATO publication MC 362/1 NATO Rules of Engagement. Non-ISAF US forces operate under similar ROE promulgated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. US ROE are based on CJCSI 3121.01A. All US units, ISAF and non-ISAF, retain the inherent right of self defense. The ROE are classified and their content cannot be released to or discussed with members of the public."
Would you please describe the process under which this policy was determined, by whom the final policy was set and how long it has been in effect?
"As stated in response to the first question, the ISAF ROE has been issued by Joint Force Command Headquarters Brunssum consistent with NATO publication MC 362/1. The content of the ROE is influenced by a variety of factors. ROE must be lawful, and international law defines the lawful limits for the use of force during military operations. The ROE have been in effect since NATO assumed the lead for ISAF in August 2003 and the current ROE were issued in May 2006, but are under constant review.
US ROE is also under constant review by commanders at all levels of command. The Secretary of Defense, with input from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chain of command, determines the ROE applicable to all US units. General McChrystal has recently issued a tactical directive designed to reduce civilian casualties while maintaining the inherent right of self defense for all units. While the tactical directive, like all orders is always subject to review, there are currently no plans to alter it."
To what degree, if any, was the civilian government in Afghanistan a party to ROE being set?
"ISAF operates in Afghanistan at the request of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and in accordance with resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. The ROE is an ISAF military document applicable only to ISAF forces, but it is consistent with ISAF's mandate and the Afghan Government's request that ISAF support it in meeting its responsibilities to provide security, stability and development. US ROE are contained in a classified military document. Although Commanders consider the concerns of the Afghan Government, the Afghan Government plays no direct role in development of the ROE."
Are there plans to modify the current ROE to possibly be more consistent with the Afghan surge?
"ROE are constantly reviewed and, if appropriate, amended, to ensure that they provide ISAF and US forces with the ability to carry out its mandate and support the Afghan Government in meeting its responsibilities to provide security, stability and development."
Under what circumstances are battlefield captures/detainees 'Mirandized'?
"'Mirandize' is a US term about notification of a person's rights under law upon arrest by a US law enforcement officer. It is not a term that is applicable to the detention of a person in Afghanistan by ISAF forces. Law enforcement, such as arrest for a criminal offence, is the function of the Government of Afghanistan. However, persons detained by ISAF forces are advised as soon as circumstances permit of the grounds upon which they are detained and may make representations to the detaining authority about their detention. US Service-members do not Mirandize personnel captured or detained. Detention by US service-members is conducted under the Law of Armed Conflict and not under criminal law and thus Miranda is not applicable. Detainees questioned by US law enforcement personnel for possible prosecution in US Court's may Mirandize the detainees where appropriate."
Under current policy, at what point does custodial interrogation begin for battlefield captures/detainees?
"The questioning of individuals detained by ISAF forces is undertaken in accordance with ISAF and national rules and policy and complies with obligations under international law. As stated above detention by US service-members is conducted under the Law of Armed Conflict and not under criminal law and thus Miranda is not applicable. US law enforcement personnel would determine if Miranda warnings are required prior to any interview they conduct."
It's difficult to read through the above guidance and not get the sense that an extraordinary degree of judgment and hence restraint is being required of the U.S. military in the Afghan theater, to a degree seldom if ever seen in warfare.
A few enterprising U.S. media sources [in this case, an article published November 16, 2009 in the Washington Times] have expended much effort to piece together specific components of the ROE [source, U.S. troops battle both Taliban and their own rules]
"1. No night or surprise searches.
2. Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.
3. ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.
4. U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
5. U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.
6. Only women can search women.
7. Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid."
In a recent interview carried on NPR [seldom characterized as a pro-war media source] Rules Of Engagement Are A Dilemma For U.S. Troops one of the interviewees, Tom Bowman, relates his first-hand experience during a trip to Afghanistan, where he observed a detachment of Marines which was forced by the ROE to break off engaging a group of insurgents who were caught dead to rights placing a roadside IED.
"...we were inside this center, a command center, watching a video screen. They were watching live while these guys were digging a hole for a roadside bomb. And there were other indicators, too, besides digging the hole. There was a guy swimming across a canal with this wire, and the wires are used to detonate the bomb... They had all the indicators that these guys were insurgents planting a bomb. So they thought about using a machine gun to shoot these guys. There was another combat outpost not too far away. The problem was there was a compound of houses between where the Marines were with their machine gun and the guys planting the bomb. So then they decided to bring in the helicopters and use the machines guns and the helicopters to shoot these guys. As the helicopters came in, these guys look up in the air and start walking away. One of the guys was carrying a yellow jug - and that's become the icon of the roadside bomb. They mix fertilizer and diesel fuel in this, and that becomes a part of the bomb. And then we saw one of these guys throw this jug into a haystack."
The anecdote ends with the gunship showing up and the insurgents responding by simply walking away unscathed, because the Marines no longer had the authority to engage the now "harmless" enemy.
We have noted similar occurrences in our previous coverage, for example this September 29 piece Obama's Afghan Rules Of Engagement Prove He Has No Interest In Winning
"...When it gets to the point that even Afghan tribal leaders start demanding that U.S. and NATO ground forces take off the silk gloves and start killing more Taliban fighters, something must indeed be wrong with the way our rules of engagement hamper battlefield operations. The tribal leader referred to above was quoted in a Washington Post article as countenancing more of the type of airstrikes which took place in Khunduz province on September 4 which along with killing significant numbers of the enemy also unfortunately resulted in civilian casualties. Rather than decrying the incident, Ahmadullah Wardak, the provincial council chairman confronted U.S. theater commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, bitterly protesting the reticence of U.S. forces to engage the enemy under Obama's new rules of engagement, 'If we do three more operations like was done the other night, stability will come to Kunduz...If people do not want to live in peace and harmony, that's not our fault...We've been too nice to the thugs.'" [source, Washington Post, Sole Informant Guided Decision On Afghan Strike]
Such incidents are unfortunately not isolated.
In a statement made during a national security briefing, sponsored by Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, by Lt. Col. Allen West [Retired, having served 2 1/2 years in Afghanistan at Kandahar Air Base as Sr. Advisor to the Afghan Army] he said, "The Rules of Engagement have been so terribly drawn up now that we are allowing the enemy to pin down our forces...before we will engage with all available weapon systems. The Taliban knows what we will and will not do. I'll give you a great example. You go outside the gate of Kandahar Air Base and you will have people that are sitting right outside the gate, that are watching convoys, that are counting, but you can't engage them because they don't have weapons and therefore they're not conveying any hostile intent..." [Col West's statement begins about 7:50 into the video]
Other examples abound. One involves American units coming under attack, taking small arms fire from enemy forces which are operating near a village. In previous wars one of the main options would be to call in close air support and resolve the matter with finality, however in this conflict special legal clearance [which sometimes fail to materialize, despite the justifiability of the proposed action] must often be obtained before acting.
As noted early in this piece, one of the key notions in U.S. counterinsurgency theory is that though the enemy can be militarily defeated, the conflict can nonetheless still be lost through inappropriate application of force which results in enough collateral [civilian] casualties to turn the populace against the effort, rendering liberators into occupiers in their minds.
This concern was made clear by our military source in a follow up note:
"...We can't win this battle by bombing or shooting everything. Our leaders must make hard choices on employment of their troops and weapons in order to accomplish their mission. Protecting the Afghan people is one of our top priorities - we cannot win this battle without them. Preventing civilian casualties is a fabric which runs through all our operations..."
It seems clear that in Afghanistan some primary elements of the ROE must be viewed as being largely discordant with traditional war-fighting doctrine, making guidance subservient to political considerations which may or may not be wise, yielding a military strategy of yet undetermined effectiveness.
One effect the current ROE has is to make all concerned overly cautious, cognizant of potential legal complications. When everyone from the commander on the ground to the command center on up to the Sec. of Defense and CIC becomes risk averse to an extreme degree, the real possibility of insufficient application of force becomes compounded exponentially, the higher the decision making process goes, if only because of increasing estrangement from the battlefield.
The enemy undoubtedly has a very good understanding of our rules of engagement, after all they are the ones being targeted, and they routinely take advantage of them. The ease with which they game the system gives pause for concern that the ROE place questionable constraints on the use of lethal force by our troops.
It's not breaking news that the Afghanis have now been at war continuously for 30 years and no one in that unfortunate country has any misconceptions regarding the brutality of warfare. Those in political authority, at least those at the local level who are not particularly allied with the enemy ideologically [questions of Islamic brotherhood and political hedging aside] want this conflict to end, resolved with a defeated Taliban.
The goal of these players, many of them local chieftains and tribal leaders then intersects with the United States' major foreign policy objective which is to establish a mechanism in Afghanistan whereby the country can best avoid backsliding into its previous role as a base for Islamic jihad directed against the U.S. interests and the West in general.
The only way to do this is to defeat the Taliban, something unquestionably within our military power.
Failing to do so in the most effective manner invokes an event horizon fraught with unacceptable risk:
One, if the Afghans get the sense that we are not serious about this matter, that we are so concerned with world opinion and its media drivers that we are not fully committed to defeating the jihadis, then they will necessarily hold back and not burn bridges with the Taliban and their sponsors.
Who could blame them?
Two, if the American public [increasingly restive about the Afghan operation, though in our opinion that is by no means a hardened position] is once again bombarded with daily body counts appearing above the fold on the front page of the New York Times et al., as U.S. troops suffer unneeded casualties while the war turns increasingly hot next spring and summer, then there will be considerable pressure, perhaps irresistible, given president Obama's apparent lack of genuine commitment to U.S. force projection anywhere, to end the conflict and leave the Afghans to the tender mercies of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the terrorist network.
Three, though American troops have already proven themselves, beyond measure, as unfailingly courageous and effective, we can't expect them to maintain the requisite level of morale forever in the face of overly restrictive ROE and waning political support.
For these reasons an urgent, immediate and thorough review of the ROE in Afghanistan is called for. This assessment should be done outside the extant "constant review" process referred to in the ISAF spokesman's statement. Attention must be directed to deemphasizing concern over what really amounts to public relations, crafted to assuage players who will never support the mission and don't like us in the first place, and instead move with all deliberate haste to assure maximization of American force effectiveness by optimizing the ROE. The key here must be to decisively defeat the Taliban and whatever remnants of al-Qaeda which might still be present and minimizing [while accepting the inevitability of] U.S. military and civilian Afghan casualties. As part of this process we must not ignore the opinions of those in positions of natural influence at the most elemental level in Afghan society, the tribal elders and imams [mirroring what was done in the successful Iraq surge] who eventually and understandably want us out, but on terms which can still be largely consistent with our legitimate foreign policy goals in the region.
We realize that our military leaders have been presented with a supreme challenge in this matter, fighting a barbaric, totally committed and clever enemy in such a way as to navigate around the numerous obstacles, many of our own construction, placed along the way.
We remain confident that if reasonableness prevails, something not entirely in evidence at this point, then we will achieve our goals and avoid fighting a pretend war which does disservice to this country our troops and the Afghan people.
8 Americans Die in Afghanistan8 Americans Die in Afghanistan
February 20, 2010 12 NATO service members, including 8 Americans*, have died in the first week of the offensive in Marja.
* There are brave heroes dying uncounted in foreign wars. Many military are suffering in many ways once they return home.
Most suffer a lonliness of soul the rest of us cannot understand. A part of them dies on the battlefield. Remember them all in your prayers.
The Dutch government collapsed over disagreements on extending troop deployments in Afghanistan.
Christian Democratic PM Balkenende said the Labour Party was quitting the government.
He had been considering a NATO request for Dutch forces to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2010.
But Labour opposed the move.
Pakistan air strike kills 30
Afghanistan’s Marjah handed over to civilian authorities1,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Feb 25, 2010 Afghan wounded tell of those left in Marjah
Distinguishing between civilian and Taliban casualties is especially difficult
Taxis turned into ambulances ferry wounded civilians out of the combat zone in southern Afghanistan,
but one man's long trip to a hospital began with a two-hour wheelbarrow ride.
Mohammad's legs were peppered with shrapnel when a bomb exploded nearby.
His brother found him unconscious and lifted him into the only thing he could find, pushing him in the wheelbarrow before he flagged a taxi.
Mohammad, who is from the Nad Ali district around Marjah, is one of 40 civilians treated at Emergency Hospital in
Lashkar Gah since the Afghan-NATO offensive in Marjah began on Feb. 13. Both of his legs were in casts. Steel pins protruded from his right leg.
U.S. bomb squad on Afghanistan front line
The IED menace is constant.
The Taliban hide crude bombs in culverts, doorways, walls, wherever they think Western troops will pass.
Sometimes, soldiers clear an area, and terrorists go back and plant another bomb.
Just about every U.S. soldier operating in support of a Marine offensive in the southern Afghan town of Marjah
knows someone who was hit by an IED, often in a Stryker infantry vehicle.
That someone got lucky, or was wounded, or died.
A lot of soldiers were blown up themselves, recovered and went back to their unit.
Afghanistan’s Marjah handed over to civilian authorities after huge operation. Afghan and international forces have
handed over control of the southern Afghanistan town of Marjah to civilian authorities, however, Taliban fighters are still active.
US plans to oust Taliban from KandaharUS plans to oust Taliban from Kandahar
Feb 26, 2010 The US has said it is planning a new offensive later this year to drive the Taliban from the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar.
The current action against the Taliban stronghold of Marjah was a "prelude" to a bigger operation, a US official said.
The US general in charge of Nato forces in Afghanistan has said the local population in Kandahar is at risk.
Kandahar is Afghanistan's second largest city, and was once a Taliban stronghold.
A major offensive there would follow the current military operation in neighbouring Helmand province.
"If the goal in Afghanistan is to reverse the momentum of the Taliban... then we think we have to get to Kandahar this year," an official in the White House told reporters.
The US goal was to bring "comprehensive population security" to the city.
Suicide attacks are frequently carried out in Kandahar, with one at the beginning on February killing three people.
He described Marjah as "a tactical prelude to a comprehensive operation in Kandahar City."
The Marjah offensive by Nato forces began in mid-February, and has several more weeks to go.
It was "pretty much on track", the official said.
In Kabul on Friday, explosions and shooting took place in an area of hotels and guesthouses popular with foreigners. Up to nine Indians, a Frenchman and an Italian were killed.
Three gunmen and two policemen died in a gun battle that lasted several hours. Taliban militants said they had carried it out.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the violence. India called it "barbaric".
Kabul has been relatively quiet since 18 January, when Taliban bombers and gunmen attacked government targets and shopping malls, killing 12 people.
Friday's attack is also the Taliban's first major raid since the arrest of key leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan this month.
50 Killed in Battle in Afghanistan50 Killed as Taliban, Rival Militants Battle in Afghanistan
March 07, 2010 KABUL — Gunbattles between the Taliban and another Islamist faction have killed at least 50 people in northeastern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday. The militants are apparently fighting for control of several villages where the central government has almost no presence.
The fighting was continuing Sunday, with militants using heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the governor of Baghlan province said.
Local police official Zalmai Mangal said the fighting in the northeastern province appears to be a power struggle between local Taliban forces and the Hezb-e-Islami militia loyal to warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Violent clashes between anti-government Islamist factions are rare, although various militias have their own agendas and power struggles are relatively common.
Mangal, the province's deputy police chief, said reports from the area indicate that at least 50 militant fighters were dead, 35 from Hezb-e-Islami and 15 from the Taliban. He spoke by telephone from a district near the fighting where government forces have rushed to observe and try to help any wounded civilians.
It was unclear what touched off the fighting, which erupted Saturday morning and continued late into the night, resuming Sunday, Mangal said. However, he said that Taliban fighters reportedly had moved into villages that traditionally were controlled by Hezb-e-Islami.
Provincial Gov. Mohammad Akbar Barakzai also said that 50 militants were reported killed, though he did not have a breakdown of the casualties.
The fighting centered around five to six villages west of Baghlan-e-Jadid district in the central part of the province, Barakzai said.
"We don't know yet about casualties among civilians or damage to civilian houses," he said.
US troop deaths double in AfghanistanUS troop deaths double in Afghanistan
March 27, 2010 KABUL (AP) - The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year as Washington has added tens of thousands of additional soldiers to reverse the Taliban's momentum.
Those deaths have been accompanied by a dramatic spike in the number of wounded, with injuries more than tripling in the first two months of the year and trending in the same direction based on the latest available data for March.
U.S. officials have warned that casualties are likely to rise even further as the Pentagon completes its deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and sets its sights on the Taliban's home base of Kandahar province, where a major operation is expected in the coming months.
"We must steel ourselves, no matter how successful we are on any given day, for harder days yet to come," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing last month.
In total, 57 U.S. troops were killed here during the first two months of 2010 compared with 28 in January and February of last year, an increase of more than 100 percent, according to Pentagon figures compiled by The Associated Press. At least 20 American service members have been killed so far in March, an average of about 0.8 per day, compared to 13, or 0.4 per day, a year ago.
The steady rise in combat deaths has generated less public reaction in the United States than the spike in casualties last summer and fall, which undermined public support in the U.S. for the 8-year-old American-led mission here. Fighting traditionally tapers off in Afghanistan during winter months, only to peak in the summer.
After a summer marked by the highest monthly death rates of the war, President Barack Obama faced serious domestic opposition over his decision in December to increase troops in Afghanistan, with only about half the American people supporting the move. But support for his handling of the war has actually improved since then, despite the increased casualties.
The latest Associated Press-GfK poll at the beginning of March found that 57 percent of those surveyed approved his handling of the war in Afghanistan compared to 49 percent two months earlier. The poll surveyed 1,002 adults nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said the poll results could partly be a reaction to last month's offensive against the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Helmand province, which the Obama administration painted as the first test of its revamped counterinsurgency strategy.
Some 10,000 U.S., NATO and Afghan forces seized control of the farming community of about 80,000 people while suffering relatively few deaths. But the Taliban continue to plant bombs at night and intimidate the locals, and the hardest part of the operation is yet to come: building an effective local government that can win over the loyalty of the people.
"My main thesis ... is that Americans can brace themselves for casualties in war if they consider the stakes high enough and the strategy being followed promising enough," O'Hanlon said. "But such progress in public opinion is perishable, if not right away then over a period of months, if we don't sustain the new momentum."
A rise in the number of wounded - a figure that draws less attention than deaths - shows that the Taliban remain a formidable opponent.
The number of U.S. troops wounded in Afghanistan and three smaller theaters where there isn't much battlefield activity rose from 85 in the first two months of 2009 to 381 this year, an increase of almost 350 percent. A total of 50 U.S. troops were wounded last March, an average of 1.6 per day. In comparison, 44 were injured during just the first six days of March this year, an average of 7.3 per day.
The increase in casualties was partly driven by the higher number of troops in Afghanistan in 2010. American troops rose from 32,000 at the beginning of last year to 68,000 at the end of the year, an increase of more than 110 percent.
"We've got a massive influx of troops, we have troops going into areas where they have not previously been and you have a reaction by an enemy to a new force presence," said NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale.
The troop numbers have continued to rise in 2010 in line with the recent surge. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that a third of the additional forces, or 10,000 troops, are already in Afghanistan. They plan to have all 30,000 troops in the country before the end of the year.
U.S. officials have said they plan to use many of the additional forces to reassert control in Kandahar province, where the insurgents have slowly taken territory over the past few years in an effort to boost their influence over Kandahar city, the largest metropolis in the south and the Taliban's former capital.
Many analysts believe the Kandahar operation will be much more difficult than the recent Marjah offensive because of the greater dispersion of Taliban forces, the urban environment in Kandahar city and the complex political and tribal forces at work in the province.
The goal of both operations is to put enough pressure on the Taliban to force them to the negotiating table to work out a political settlement to end the war - a process the U.S. believes will only gain momentum once the militant group has lost traction on the battlefield.
"Until they transition to that mode, then we will have fighters ready to take shots at us and plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices)," said Lt. Col. Calvert Worth Jr., commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines Regiment in central Marjah.
NEW Afghanistan OperationObama Secret Afghanistan Trip
March 29, 2010 Some people are very angry at Obama's pretentious Commander in Chief jacket
After weeks dominated by health care, President Barack Obama's secret trip to Afghanistan turned attention back to another issue whose progress this year could help define the success of his presidency.
By deciding in December to order a massive buildup to the war he inherited, Obama placed a big bet. Nearly tripling the U.S. presence with 30,000 more troops, he escalated an unpopular war that has seen few gains in its eight years.
NEW Afghanistan Operation, The battle for Kandahar
April 25, 2010 Elite U.S. units step up drive in Kandahar
Small bands picking up or picking off insurgent leaders ahead of offensive
Small bands of elite American Special Operations forces have been operating with increased intensity for several weeks in Kandahar,
southern Afghanistan’s largest city, picking up or picking off insurgent leaders to weaken the Taliban
in advance of major operations, senior administration and military officials say.
The looming battle for the spiritual home of the Taliban is shaping up as the pivotal test of Obama’s Afghanistan strategy,
including how much the United States can count on the country’s leaders and military for support, and whether a possible increase in
civilian casualties from heavy fighting will compromise a strategy that depends on winning over the Afghan people.
It will follow a first offensive, into the hamlet of Marja, that is showing mixed results.
And it will require the United States and its Afghan partners to navigate a battleground that is not only much bigger than Marja but also militarily, politically and culturally more complex.
Nobody is Winning Afghan War YetNobody is Winning Afghan War Yet
May 14, 2010 Obama predicted the war will get worse before it gets better.
In a blunt assessment of the war in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal declared in a TV interview Thursday that "nobody is winning," though he also pointed to progress in stopping the momentum of insurgents.
The assessment by McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, comes a day after Obama,
while hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House, predicted the war will get worse before it gets better.
McChrystal was responding to a question posed in an interview that aired on PBS' "News Hour."
"I think I would be prepared to say nobody is winning, at this point," McChrystal said.
"Where the insurgents, I think, felt that they had momentum a year ago, felt that they were making clear progress, I think that's stopped."
Now it is the U.S. and Afghan forces that have "made a lot of progress," he said.
"I think the insurgency is serious. And it's serious because it has a relative reach around the country, so it can bring a lot of violence on the Afghan people. It's also not popular."
U.S. and Afghan forces are coming off the relative success of a major offensive in the Taliban stronghold of
Marjah intended to sweep the enemy out of that region and restore stability to the local population.
A similar approach is planned later this year for Kandahar.
On Wednesday, Obama spoke with Karzai at his side.
"What I've tried to emphasize is the fact that there is going to be some hard fighting over the next several months," Obama told reporters in the White House after meeting with Karzai in the Oval Office.
"There is no denying the progress," Obama said. "Nor, however, can we deny the very serious challenges still facing Afghanistan."
Suicide Talibomber kills Americans in Afghanistan
Afghan passenger plane crashes
17 May 2010 Plane With 44 Passengers Crashes in Afghanistan
An Afghan passenger plane with 43 people on board has crashed between Kunduz and Kabul, officials say.
The Pamir Airways plane is thought to have gone down near the Salang Pass, a mountainous area about 60 miles (100 km) north of the capital, Kabul.
The plane had been missing since early morning. A number of foreigners were thought to be on board the flight.
The Salang Pass is a major route through the Hindu Kush mountains connecting the capital, Kabul, to the north of the country.
Kabul suicide car bombing kills at least 19Suicide Bomber kills Americans in Afghanistan
May 18, 2010 Suicide car bomb strikes Kabul bus, killing 12
5 of the dead in attack claimed by Taliban are reportedly Americans.
At least 12 people, including five Americans, were killed when a suicide car bomb struck a public bus in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday, officials said.
Recent reports show 47 civilians wounded and 12 others killed in this terrorist suicide attack.
We do not have information on (NATO-led) ISAF casualties.
Taliban was responsible for the attack and had used a van packed with explosives.
President Hamid Karzai told a news conference that there there had been both Afghan and ISAF casualties, but did not give details.
Police cordoned off the road near Darulaman palace, a derelict building that once housed Afghanistan's royal family, state television showed. Foreign troops were in the area.
An increasingly resurgent Taliban announced a spring offensive in May against government officials and foreign diplomats and troops.
Karzai has recently returned from a trip to Washington where he met U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss strained ties between the two countries amid a rising Taliban insurgency.
U.S. vehicles targeted
Initial reports of the explosion in western Kabul indicated that U.S. vehicles were targeted,
Abdul Ghafor Sayedzada, the chief of the city police's criminal investigation unit, told the AP.
The area around the blast site also is home to Afghan government buildings, including the Ministry of Energy and Water.
An AP reporter on the scene saw the wreckage of a public bus and four sport utility vehicles.
The SUVs were painted beige and gray but no markings identifying them as American were immediately discernable.
At least one of the vehicles had a large antenna mounted on it of the type commonly used by foreign governments or international contractors in Afghanistan.
NATO forces also sometimes use this type of unmarked SUV in the city.
The U.S. Embassy and NATO forces both declined to comment on whether any of their vehicles were involved in the attack.
U.S. soldiers and Afghan police worked to secure the site as news trickled out of deaths and injuries.
A police officer at the scene, Habibullah Mohammadi, said he saw three dead bodies and an AP reporter saw one dead body carried away by police.
A spokesman for the Health Ministry said that two dead and 21 wounded civilians had been brought to Afghan government hospitals but stressed that this was not a complete tally because
some people were taken to private hospitals. He did not provide details on the nationalities of the dead or wounded.
The Feb. 26 attack against two residential hotels killed six Indians, along with 10 Afghans.
Afghan authorities blamed the attack on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the same Pakistan-based Islamist militia that India blames for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed 166 people.
Kabul suicide car bombing kills at least 19
18 May 2010 A suicide car bomb that targeted a Nato convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed at least 19 people, including six foreign troops.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the rush hour attack in the west of the city, where parliament and other government buildings are located.
More than 50 people - mostly Afghan civilians - were hurt in the explosion.
It is the deadliest attack on foreign forces in the heavily-guarded capital since a Taliban assault last September.
Despite tight security, the suicide bomber managed to drive into the city with a car laden with explosives.
The Isaf (Nato-led) convoy was attacked on the Darulaman Road. An Isaf spokesman confirmed that six of its soldiers were killed and several wounded.
Spokesman Brig Gen Josef Blotz condemned the "desperate brutality",
and said the "aggression reminds us of the pessimism of an enemy who seek to kill the innocent and to stop the progress necessary for a better Afghanistan."
Five military vehicles were damaged and more than a dozen civilian vehicles, including a bus, were also caught in the blast.
The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kabul says that, as is often the case in such attacks, Afghan civilians seem to have borne the brunt of the explosion.
Eyewitness Obiadullah Saddiqyar was on his way into work when the bomb detonated. He described the scene as "totally chaotic".
He told the BBC: "I witnessed the bomb this morning at around 0815. I saw many people dead and many injured who were taken to hospital.
"Among the dead there were lots of women and girls - I heard later that they were students going to university.
I also saw one of my colleagues full of blood in the back of a police car, also being taken to hospital," he said.
"This situation really made me cry for the bloodshed and the innocent people who were killed and injured."
Isaf said it was assisting the Afghan security force with its investigation.
The Afghan police have set up extra checkpoints throughout the city this year, following a series of attacks by gunmen and bombers on government offices and hotels, our correspondent says.
But it is impossible to stop and search every car that enters the city, so these attacks seem certain to continue, he says.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai described the attack as "heartbreaking".
"We are condemning the attack in the strongest terms. I hope Afghanistan will soon get out of this suffering, God willing," he said at a news conference broadcast on national television.
President Karzai has recently returned from a trip to Washington where he hoped to gather support for his policy of reconciliation with certain elements of the Taliban.
Afghan officials are also preparing for a "jirga", or a grand council, of tribal leaders, during which ways to promote peace in Afghanistan will be discussed.
Meanwhile a military offensive in the southern province of Kandahar, a key Taliban stronghold, is being planned.
Earlier this year Nato and Afghan forces launched a major offensive against militants entrenched in neighbouring Helmand province and security forces are still engaged in operations around Helmand.
Nato and the US have deployed thousands of extra troops in Afghanistan, where numbers are expected to peak at 150,000 in August under a strategy designed to bring a swift end to the long-running insurgency.
Taliban attack Bagram Air FieldTaliban attack Bagram Air Field
May 18, 2010 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Insurgents launched a brazen pre-dawn assault Wednesday against the giant U.S.-run Bagram Air Field,
the second Taliban strike at NATO forces in and around the capital in as many days.
At least 10 insurgents were killed and seven U.S. service members wounded in the attack on Bagram, which started at about 3 a.m.
with rockets, small arms and grenades fired into the base, said Maj. Virginia McCabe, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces at Bagram.
The gunfire finally subsided around midday, said another spokesman, Master Sgt. Tom Clementson.
"It's been a little while since we've heard any gunfire but we're still maintaining a heightened security posture," he said.
The attack came a one day after a suicide bomber struck a U.S. convoy in the capital of Kabul, killing 18 people.
The dead included five American troops and a Canadian, making it the deadliest attack on NATO in the Afghan capital in eight months.
The back-to-back attacks appeared part of a Taliban offensive that the insurgents announced earlier this month —
even as the U.S. and its partners prepare for a major operation to restore order in the turbulent south.
The insurgent attacks against both the capital and a major American military installation show the militants are prepared to strike at the heart of the U.S.-led mission.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for both the Kabul bombing and the attack at Bagram, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Kabul. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said 20 suicide attackers were involved.
A building was damaged in the attack but it was "not a mission-essential building," McCabe said.
She said that while they could still hear occasional small-arms fire around the base late in the morning, "it is becoming more and more sporadic."
NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan said that insurgents had been repelled from an attempt to breach the base's defenses.
"We know that a group of insurgents sought to penetrate the air base and that's been dealt with," Mark Sedwill told reporters.
An Afghan provincial police commander, Gen. Abdul Rahman Sayedkhail, said the attack began when U.S. guards spotted would-be attackers in a car just outside the Bagram base.
The Americans opened fire, triggering a gunbattle in which at least one militant triggered his suicide vest. Running gunbattles broke out as U.S. troops hunted down the other attackers.
In February 2007, a suicide bombing killed more than 20 people at a Bagram security gate while Vice President Dick Cheney was inside the base. Cheney was unhurt but the Taliban said he was the target.
The Bagram assault occurred following the deadliest day of the year for U.S. forces in Afghanistan with 7 Americans dead
including two who died in separate attacks in the south.
Twelve Afghan civilians also died in Tuesday's blast — many of them on a public bus in rush-hour traffic
along a major thoroughfare that runs by the ruins of a one-time royal palace and government ministries.
Suicide attack hits Afghan policeSuicide attack hits Afghan police
21 May 2010 A group of suicide bombers launched an attack on a police base in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, officials say.
At least one policemen and four militants were killed during the raid and the gun battle that ensued in Paktika's Urgun district.
It is the latest in a series of attacks on security targets across the country.
On Wednesday suspected Taliban attacked one of Afghanistan's largest and most heavily fortified US bases.
Ten insurgents were killed and seven US troops injured in a battle at Bagram airbase that raged for several hours.
That attack came one day after a suicide bomb attack in Kabul killed 18 people, including five US soldiers and a Canadian colonel.
Volatile tribal areas
Four suspected Taliban fighters were involved in the raid on the police base in Urgun. One drove a lorry carrying explosives into the entrance, killing a policeman in the blast, local officials say.
The three others militants were killed only after a prolonged gun battle with police.
Urgun is close to Paktika's border with Pakistan. Correspondents say that militants have carried out attacks from the volatile tribal areas across the border in the past.
In Kandahar, at least two people were killed when a car belonging to Afghanistan's intelligence agency was attacked.
Coalition forces are preparing to launch an offensive in the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.
Earlier this year Nato and Afghan forces launched a major offensive against militants entrenched in neighbouring Helmand province and security forces are still engaged in operations around Helmand.
6 NATO Troops killed in Afghanistan6 NATO Troops killed in Afghanistan
NATO may be the 'teeth' of the Revelation 13 beast from the sea
May 24, 2010 KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan authorities Monday announced the arrest of seven people in last week's car suicide car bombing that killed six NATO soldiers -- including three American colonels and a Canadian colonel.
A total of 18 people were killed in the Tuesday bombing near the destroyed royal palace, the deadliest attack against coalition forces in the Afghan capital in eight months.
The spokesman for the Afghan intelligence service, Saeed Ansari, told reporters the seven, including a schoolteacher, were taken into custody separately over the last week and were
under the command of the Taliban's "shadow governor" of Kabul, Daoud Surkha, who the Afghans allege is hiding in Pakistan.
It was unclear what role the seven played in the attack.
"We are saying that they have been trained on the other side of the border, so it is clear that the intelligence service of our neighboring country has its role in the training and supporting of this terrorist group," he said in a clear reference to Pakistan.
Taliban fighters still use the lawless border areas of Pakistan as a sanctuary despite Pakistani military operations and U.S. drone attacks.
Ansari said the seven were part of a Taliban cell responsible for numerous other attacks in the capital, including last February's assault against guesthouses frequented by Indians in which six Indians were killed. Previously Ansari blamed the attack on the Pakistan-based insurgent group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India blames for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that claimed 166 lives.
The Tuesday car bombing was followed a day later by a ground assault against the U.S.-run Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, and Saturday's attack on the giant Kandahar Air Field, the biggest NATO base in southern Afghanistan.
Those attacks appeared part of a Taliban operation announced this month, even as NATO gears up for a major offensive around Kandahar, the largest city in the south and a longtime Taliban stronghold.
Elsewhere, officials said insurgents on motorbikes shot and killed a tribal elder in northern Afghanistan who had resisted Taliban in the region and who planned to attend an upcoming government-organized peace conference.
Tribal elder Horal Mohammad Zabet was watching over his flock of grazing sheep with his son Saturday when about 15 gunmen on motorbikes drove up and surrounded Zabet.
"They started shooting from two directions at my father. He took out his gun and fired back at them, but after 20 minutes of shooting he was dead," said the son, Abdul Qayum Halimi. He tried to call for help but it was about 6 p.m. -- the time Taliban shut off phone service in the area -- so he couldn't get through to anyone.
Zabet, a former mujahedeen fighter against the Soviets, was the leader of about 100,000 families in Dawlat Abad district of Faryab province.
Recently, Zabet received an invitation to attend the upcoming peace conference in the capital and planned to attend, Halimi said. The meeting, organized by Karzai, aims to bring together tribal elders and community leaders to discuss ways to end the war.
Conference spokesman Gul Agha Ahmedi said Monday that the meeting, known as a "peace jirga," would now be held on June 2 to allow the nominations for an upcoming parliamentary election to finish and to give delegates from remote districts more time to arrive.
No Taliban leaders are expected to attend but some of the delegates may include people sympathetic to the insurgents.
President Hamid Karzai plans to unfold his program for peace overtures to the Taliban during the meeting, but the insurgent group has said it will not consider reconciling with the government as long international forces are in the country.
The jirga, or traditional meeting of elders, has also run into snags among its supporters. Originally scheduled for early May, it has been postponed twice. It was first pushed back after Karzai's visit earlier this month to Washington, where he discussed his peace plans with Obama and other top U.S. officials.
On Monday, the secretary of parliament, Mohammad Saleh Suljoqi, said the threat to boycott the peace jirga was made because parliament was angry that Karzai has not submitted nominees for 11 of 25 Cabinet posts. Parliament rejected 11 nominees in January but they have served ever since in an acting capacity, despite a legal requirement for the legislature to confirm appointees.
Suljoqi said the full parliament would discuss the issue Tuesday. Participation by parliament members at the jirga is not required, but a boycott could call into question the degree of support for any decisions taken at the conference.
The Obama administration supports economic and other incentives to individual insurgents willing to give up the struggle and abandon al-Qaida. But Washington is skeptical of peace talks with the Taliban leadership, hoping to first weaken the militants on the battlefield.
In the west, meanwhile, five Afghan civilians were killed when their minivan hit a roadside bomb in Farah province Monday, the Interior Ministry said. Eight people were also wounded, many in serious condition.
Pakistan-Afghan warPakistan-Afghan war
26 May 2010 I have been calling this the Afgan war but apparantly its both Pakistan and Afganistan
Pakistani Taliban attack Afghan province
Hundreds of Pakistani Taliban have attacked a district in the eastern Afghan province of Nooristan and a fierce fight is on, officials say.
Nearly 300 insurgents, led by Pakistani Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah, entered Barg Matal district on Monday.
Seven Taliban fighters and two policemen have been killed, an Afghan interior ministry spokesman said.
Meanwhile the Red Cross says it has been providing first aid training to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that more than 70 members of what it called the armed opposition received such training last month.
The Afghan interior ministry spokesman said that police in Nooristan had asked the authorities in Kabul for support and forces were sent to help them out.
Officials have described the attack - on a district of eastern Nuristan Province - as "brazen".
They say that intense fighting between police and the insurgents is still raging in the Barg-e Matal district and that police are facing a shortage of men and ammunition.
Maulana Fazlullah led the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan's north-western Swat valley in 2008.
When that was re-captured by the Pakistani military he was reported to have been killed, but in an interview with the BBC in November 2009 he said that he had escaped to Afghanistan.
The tribal areas in western Pakistan have long been a safe haven for Taliban militants who cross the border at will to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
A statement released by the ICRC said that it had provided basic first aid training and first aid kits to "arms carriers" and to civilians living in conflict areas.
"In April, it reached over 100 Afghan security forces personnel, over 70 members of the armed opposition, taxi drivers involved in the transport of wounded people, first-aiders and its own staff."
An ICRC spokesman told the BBC that that the term "armed opposition" meant insurgents fighting Nato forces.
Battle for KandaharBattle for Kandahar
May 25, 2010 Since arriving in Afghanistan one year ago, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff have had their eye on one prize above all others: the southern province of Kandahar,
the ancient fault line between civilizations where the Soviet Union lost its final battles, the Afghan Taliban was born, and where the group first reemerged after the U.S. invasion.
Since arriving in Afghanistan one year ago, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff have had their eye on one prize above all others: the southern province of Kandahar.
Over the next few months the U.S. presence in Kandahar will crescendo into Operation Hamkari Baraye Kandahar --
"Cooperation for Kandahar" -- an attempt to protect residents from insurgents and provide them with a functioning government.
It will feature tens of thousands of American troops and hundreds of civilians, the single largest operation since the war began.
U.S. commanders have struggled to find a crisp description of the campaign, reaching for phrases like "a series of activities," "thickening the battlespace," "restoring order," and "a rising tide of security."
But they have agreed on its paramount importance: the campaign is aimed at the Taliban's spiritual heartland.
It has no backup plan, and it must show immediate results before the White House reviews its Afghan policy in December.
"Our intent is to take away from [the Taliban] access to the population where they are traditionally strongest.
And that will take away from them some of their credibility as well as recruiting, funding, access to narcotics," McChrystal told ABC News in a March interview.
"It won't be decisive. But it's a pretty severe blow to them if they lose what we would consider their most important area."
Many have been more blunt. The campaign is the most significant test of the new American counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and
if it fails in any way, risks further alienating a skeptical population that is desperate for security.
"We've got a few months," says one senior military official who has helped plan the campaign, "to make a giant difference."
Geographically, the campaign will focus on three areas: the rural districts outside Kandahar City that insurgents have used as staging grounds; the circular edge of the city; and the city's heart.
In many ways, the campaign becomes increasingly challenging as it moves toward the center of the provincial capital.
Unlike the Marja operation, where U.S. Marines invaded an area, cleared it of a few hundred Taliban, and
set up a government and an economy largely from scratch, the U.S. Army will not roll its armored vehicles into the city of 1 million residents.
That has to be left to the Afghan police, which is still struggling to find autonomy.
Car bomb hits outside Kandahar NATO baseCar bomb hits outside Kandahar NATO base
May 26, 2010 AP KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
A car bomb exploded Wednesday outside a small NATO military base in southern Afghanistan's largest city, wounding two Afghans and destroying several cars, police said.
It was the latest in a string of bold attacks on high-profile NATO targets in the past two weeks, following a Taliban announcement of a spring offensive against alliance and Afghan forces.
The announcement was their response to the Obama administration's vow to squeeze the militants out of Kandahar province strongholds.
The blast occurred around 11:30 a.m. in a parking lot used by Afghans visiting Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, said Gen. Shafiq Fazli, the police commander for southern Afghanistan.
The base houses a few hundred Canadian soldiers, along with American military police and U.S. and Canadian government employees working on development projects.
Fazli said no one was killed. A police officer said at least one security guard and one Afghan who works at the base were wounded. The officer gave only one name, Khalid.
Wednesday's blast destroyed 11 cars that were parked in the lot, along with about 50 motorcycles and more than a dozen bicycles,
the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The bomb was placed in a Toyota Corolla in the lot, it said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Kandahar is a Taliban stronghold. NATO has announced plans in the coming months for a major push to shore up government control of the city.
People reached by phone inside Camp Nathan Smith said they had been ordered into bunkers but that the area appeared quiet since the explosion. They spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the attack had not been released.
The string of attacks on NATO targets began on May 18, when a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy in the capital, killing 18 people including six NATO service members — five Americans and a Canadian.
The next day, dozens of Taliban militants attacked the main U.S. military base, Bagram Air Field, killing an American contractor in fighting that lasted over 7 hours.
Saturday, insurgents firing rockets, mortars and automatic weapons tried to storm Kandahar Air Field, NATO's main base in the south. Kandahar Air Field is about
12 miles (20 kilometers) outside of the city, while Camp Nathan Smith is in downtown Kandahar.
The chief NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, German Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, said the recent attacks were to gain "worldwide public attention" and to
show their own supporters "that they're still there and able to do something."
Blotz said the campaign to gain the initiative against the Taliban "is still bumpy" but was going better than "a couple of years and even a couple of months earlier."
Also Wednesday, a British soldier was killed in a firefight in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, the British Ministry of Defense said.
In eastern Nuristan province, police have been battling hundreds of insurgents for four days, officials said.
At least 7 militants and one police officer have died so far in the fighting in Nuristan's Barg-e-Matal district, the Interior Ministry said in statement.
The insurgents attacked the district government building on Sunday and a small police force has been trying to keep them at bay since then, said Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangulbagh, the provincial police chief.
"There are many fewer police than attackers but we have the locals helping us," Jangulbagh said, explaining that villagers have grabbed their guns and joined the police in the fight.
He said police have asked for reinforcements, but none has arrived yet.
Nuristan Gov. Jamaludin Badar said they also have asked NATO forces for help. He said the attackers were Taliban militants, including Pakistani Taliban under the leadership of Maulana Fazlullah,
nicknamed the "Radio Mullah" for his hard-line anti-Western broadcasts on a militant radio station in northwestern Pakistan.
He led Pakistan Taliban forces in their takeover of the Swat Valley until the Pakistan military routed them from the area last year.
10 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan10 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan
June 8, 2010 Ten NATO service members, seven of them American, were killed in separate attacks Monday on the deadliest day of the year for foreign forces in Afghanistan.
A U.S. civilian contractor who trains Afghan police also died in a suicide attack.
The bloodshed comes as insurgents step up bombings and other attacks ahead of a major NATO operation in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar that Washington hopes will turn the tide of the war.
Half the NATO deaths — five Americans— occurred in a single blast in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks said without giving further details.
It was a grim reminder that the insurgents can strike throughout the country — not simply in the south, which has become the main focus of the U.S. campaign.
Two other U.S. service members were killed in separate attacks in the south — one in a bombing and the other by small arms fire.
NATO said three other service members were killed in attacks in the east and south but gave no further details.
The American police trainer and a Nepalese security guard were killed when a team of three suicide bombers attacked the main gates of the police training center in the southern city of Kandahar, U.S. officials said.
Afghan officials said one bomber blew a hole in the outer wall, enabling the two others to rush inside, where they were killed in a gunbattle. Afghan officials said three police were wounded.
It was the deadliest day for NATO since Oct. 26, when 11 American troops were killed, including seven who died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. The crash was not believed a result of hostile fire.
U.S. commanders have warned of more casualties as the alliance gears up for a major operation to secure Kandahar, the former headquarters of the Taliban and the biggest city in the south with a half million people.
Last December, President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan to try to stem the rise of the Taliban, who have bounced back since they were ousted from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Obama has shifted the focus of the U.S. campaign against Islamist terror to Afghanistan from Iraq, where the U.S. is expected to draw down to 50,000 troops by the fall.
As fighting escalates, the Afghan government is reaching out to the insurgents in hopes of ending the nearly nine-year war.
Last week, President Hamid Karzai won endorsement from a national conference, or peace jirga, for his plan to offer economic and other incentives to the militants to lay down their arms, and to seek talks with the Taliban leadership. The leadership has so far publicly shunned the offer, and the U.S. is skeptical whether peace can succeed until the Taliban are weakened on the battlefield.
The Taliban have branded Karzai a U.S. puppet and say thre will be no talks while foreign troops are in Afghanistan.
Karzai's decision Sunday to replace two of the country's top security officials fueled speculation about divisions within the Afghan leadership over reaching out to the Taliban. The government said the two officials were replaced because of an armed attack on the peace jirga, which caused no casualties among the delegates but proved embarrassing to the Karzai administration.
Both officials had a long background of opposition to the Taliban.
Intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh was a senior figure in the Northern Alliance, which helped the U.S. oust the Taliban regime in 2001. Interior Minister Hanif Atmar served in Afghanistan's Communist-era intelligence agency and fought mujahedeen opposed to the Soviet occupation.
In the wake of the shake-up, members of the former alliance, made up mostly of northern ethnic minorities, speculated that the changes were political and would weaken the security services at a key moment in the war.
"I would say it's a hasty and irrational decision by a president of Afghanistan who has deprived his own government of professional capacity to combat the insurgency," said Abdullah Abdullah, a key Northern Alliance leader and former foreign minister.
"The only party that will benefit is the Taliban," Abdullah, who lost to Karzai in last year's fraud-marred presidential election, told The Associated Press.
Karzai's spokesman, Waheed Omar, insisted the security lapse was the only reason for the resignations.
"This could have been national chaos, a national crisis," Omar told reporters of the jirga attack. "Somebody had to take responsibility for this."
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking to reporters on his way to London, said the security posts were for the Afghans to decide.
"I would just hope President Karzai will appoint in the place of those who have left people of equal caliber," Gates said.
U.S. officials had singled Saleh and Atmar by name as examples of competent leadership in a government riven by corruption and patronage. Both Saleh and Atmar accompanied Karzai on a trip to Washington last month to patch up strained ties with Obama's administration — a point that reinforced the surprise of Sunday's announcement.
50 NATO trucks burned near Islamabad50 NATO trucks burned near Islamabad
June 9, 2010 Unprecedented attack on supply vehicles underscores growing insecurity
Taliban gunmen in Pakistan set fire to more than 50 trucks carrying supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan, killing at least seven people in the first such attack near the capital, police said on Wednesday.
The damage was widespread and clearly visible, with most of the vehicles appearing to be military-style trucks, NBC News reported from the scene.
The Taliban have previously attacked trucks carrying supplies for U.S.-led foreign forces in Pakistan's volatile northwest and southwest bordering Afghanistan, but this raid, less than 30 minutes' drive from Islamabad late on Tuesday, was unprecedented.
At least 10 gunmen arrived on motorbikes and small pickup trucks at a depot near Tarnol village, killing drivers and workers. The militants escaped, leaving the shells of supply trucks in flames.
"Seven people were killed and more than 50 trucks were set on fire," police official Ghulam Mustafa said. Six people were wounded.
The trucks were due to carry fuel, food and other supplies to Afghanistan. The trucks do not usually carry arms.
The assault underscores growing insecurity in Pakistan where the Taliban have unleashed a wave of suicide and bomb attacks across the country in retaliation for military offensives on their strongholds in the northwest.
Militants allied to the Pakistani Taliban killed more than 80 people in two brazen attacks on Ahmadiyya, a minority religious sect, in the eastern city of Lahore late last month.
But the latest attack comes after months of relative calm around the heavily guarded Pakistan capital and throws into question how safe Islamabad is from attack.
"This is surprising how close to Islamabad a group of so many militants have come, and got away with it," said Talat Masood, a retired general who is now a security analyst. "It shows there are serious security lapses."
The U.S. military sends 75 percent of its supplies for the Afghan war through or over Pakistan, including 40 percent of the fuel for its troops.
5 Killed After Helicopter Shot Down in Afghanistan5 NATO Troops Killed After Helicopter Shot Down in Afghanistan
June 09, 2010 Afghanistan
NATO says a helicopter has been shot down in southern Afghanistan and four troops have been killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
NATO said in a statement the helicopter was brought down by hostile fire Wednesday in volatile Helmand province. The coalition gave no further details.
5 coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan
5 coalition service members were killed in southern Afghanistan Wednesday, military officials said.
Four were killed when their helicopter was downed in Helmand province by hostile fire and the other was killed after being struck by a roadside bomb, the International Security Assistance Force said.
ISAF did not release the nationality of the service members killed or any other details of the deaths.
Twenty-nine coalition service members, including 15 Americans, have been killed this month, according to a CNN tally, putting June on pace to be one of the deadliest months since the war effort started.
Afghan War nears end with Taliban victoryAfghan War nears end with Pakistan, Taliban victor
AMERIKA - and the world - LOST!
The Afghan War nears end with Pakistan-aided Taliban victory
June 13, 2010 DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis
After eight years and four months, America's longest war is about to end, debkafile's military and intelligence report - although not in victory for the US-led NATO forces but at best in a draw, or at worst, in a win for the Taliban, al Qaeda's extremist partner. The repercussions of the US exit in these circumstances will impinge on American influence worldwide including the Middle East.
The allies owe their reverses to five factors: Postponement of the Kandahar offensive, Taliban's acquisition of anti-air missiles and ability to strike anywhere in Kabul, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency's extensive support for the Taliban, and a UN proposal to "de-list" some key Taliban and al Qaeda figures designated as terrorists. debkafile elaborates on these factors:
1. The big Kandahar offensive in southern Afghanistan this month, the centerpiece of the new strategy Barack Hussein Obama approved last December along with a 40,000-troop surge, has been postponed until the fall - at the earliest. With the participation of American, British, Canadian and Afghan forces, this offensive was billed as the operation for turning the tide of the Afghanistan war.
Washington was understandably reluctant to announce the postponement although, according to debkafile's military analysts, it was unavoidable after the disappointment of Operation Mushtarak in Marjah, which was to have been a dress rehearsal in another part of the South, Helmand Province, for the big show in Kandahar.
In Marjah, the combined US-UK force and the Afghan army, which most of the time refused to fight, were unable to loosen the Taliban's grip on the town or prevent the insurgents from using it as a springboard for grabbing the whole of southern Afghanistan.
Sunday, June 13, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal paid a visit to Kandahar to assure the local tribes they had not been abandoned. Karzai spoke with gusto about the coming offensive; he only "forgot" to mention a date.
With the Kandahar delay, the bottom is about to drop out of Obama's overall war strategy.
2. Another deadly turning-point in the conflict was marked last week with the discovery that Taliban had acquired the missiles for downing Western helicopters and low-flying aircraft.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron had to cancel his helicopter flight to the main British base of Camp Bastion on June 12 after receiving intelligence that the Taliban was preparing to shoot it down.
Three days earlier, on June 9, an American Chinook crashed near Sangin in the Helmand Province killing all four US servicemen aboard. It was then that US and NATO commanders first realized that an unknown party had given the Taliban those anti-air missiles and instructed them in their use.
This means that US helicopters can no longer provide ground forces with close air support and must fly at higher altitudes out of missile range.
3. In their White House talks of May 10-14,Karzai and Obama glossed over their differences by agreeing that the Afghan president would convene a "peace jirga" (a conference of tribal leaders) that would include chieftains and commanders associated with the Taliban as the first step toward national reconciliation.
The conference did take off in Kabul on June 2, attended by 1,400 heads of tribes and factions. But when President Karzai's speech was in full flow, Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen burst in, hurling rockets and grenades. The President just managed to finish his speech before being whisked off the platform by security guards and driven away in a convoy of armored cars.
The tribal chiefs saw for themselves that neither Afghan nor American forces were capable of promising security for any peace conference, whereas the Taliban were clearly able to operate freely in the Afghan capital and any other part of the country.
4. At the same time, Staffan de Mistura, the top U.N. representative in Afghanistan, put in a good word for the Taliban when he told reporters Saturday, June 12. "The U.N. is listening to what the peace jirga is saying. Some of the people in the list may not be alive anymore. The list may be completely outdated."
Fueling momentum for a political solution to the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war, a U.N. committee is reviewing whether certain people could be removed from blacklist that freezes assets and limits travel of key Taliban and al-Qaida figures, the top U.N. representative said Saturday.
5. On Sunday, June 13, The Sunday Times of London ran a long article under the heading: Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers. It was based on a new report by the London School of Economics according to which Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency is providing extensive funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The report cites concrete evidence suggesting that support for the Taliban is the "official policy" of the ISI, which not only trains and funds the Afghan insurgents, but is officially represented on the their leadership council.
Washington was shocked by this evidence so soon after President Asif Ali Zardar assured President Obama when they met in Washington last month that he could count on the commitment of the Pakistani government and intelligence resources to fight Taliban and al Qaeda, as a solid prop of US strategy for the Afghan war.
But all the time, it transpired, behind their false face to US military and intelligence chiefs, the ISI has been collaborating with Taliban commanders in their operational planning and selection of targets, supplying them with weapons, explosives and roadside bombs and making grants to the bereaved families of suicide killers who murdered American and British troops.
According to the LSE report, half at least of the 15 members of the Taliban's Quetta Shura (the council which runs the war from its seat in Quetta, the capital of Pakistani Baluchistan) are active officers of Pakistani military intelligence.
"It is impossible to be a member of the Quetta Shura without membership of the ISI," said a high-ranking Taliban fighter.
Given the depth of the ISI's integration in the Afghanistan Taliban's war effort against NATO, the US military might as well drop their efforts to cut the Afghan Taliban's weapons supply route from Pakistan.
The revelations of the LSE are not new, debkafile reports, except for the fact that a prominent Western publication was willing to print them.
They were covered fairly exhaustively in previous issues of DEBKA-Net-Weekly in the past two years.
Most recently, on February 28, 2010, DNW 434 exposed a shady Pakistan intrigue behind the handover to the Americans of Abdul Ghani Baradar, whom they represented as Mullah Omar's first lieutenant the lost of whom would seriously impair Taliban's fighting ability - so they claimed
It was in fact an ISI trick. Baradar was no longer important to the Taliban and his handover no great loss because he had turned coat and was looking for an opening for peace talks with the Americans. The ISI needed to get rid of him before he succeeded to keep the Afghan War on the boil, because as long as it lasts, both the Taliban and the Americans will be dependent on Islamabad and the Pakistanis will carry on pulling wires and playing one side against the other.
The longer the Obama administration clings to the assumption that cooperation with Pakistan and its intelligence agency is the only course for beating the Taliban and al Qaeda, the more elusive an Afghanistan triumph will be for the US and its allies.
Afghanistan mineral resourcesAfghanistan's resources could make it the richest mining region on earth
What this article DOES NOT say is that lithium is a key element in the
RFID chips they wish to implant in every human world wide.
June 15, 2010 Afghanistan, often dismissed in the West as an impoverished and failed state, is sitting on $1 trillion of untapped minerals,
according to new calculations from surveys conducted jointly by the Pentagon and the US Geological Survey.
The sheer size of the deposits – including copper, gold, iron and cobalt as well as vast amounts of lithium, a key component in batteries of Western lifestyle staples such as laptops and BlackBerrys –
holds out the possibility that Afghanistan, ravaged by decades of conflict, might become one of the most important and lucrative centres of mining in the world.
* The geologist's view: It could be a gold mine, but not for a long time
* Cuts will leave Britain's military stronger, says Fox
* Patrick Cockburn: Their mineral wealth is impressive, but it won't benefit Afghans any time soon
* Simon Carr: No hidden agenda? This is a big change
* Search the news archive for more stories
President Hamid Karzai's spokesman, Waheed Omar, said last night: "I think it's very, very big news for the people of Afghanistan and we hope it will bring the Afghan people together for a cause that will benefit everyone."
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan, told reporters that the economic value of the deposits may be even higher. "There's ... an indication that even the £1 trn figure underestimates what the true potential might be," he said.
Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium", with one location in Ghazni province showing the potential to compete with Bolivia, which, until now, held half the known world reserves.
Developing a mining industry would, of course, be a long-haul process. It would, though, be a massive boost to a country with a gross domestic product of only about $12bn and where the fledgling legitimate commercial sector has been fatally undermined by billions of dollars generated by the world's biggest opium crop.
"There is stunning potential here," General David Petraeus, the US commander in overall charge of the Afghan war, told the US newspaper. "There are lots of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant."
Stan Coats, former Principal Geologist at the British Geographical Survey, who carried out exploration work in Afghanistan for four years, also injected a note of caution. "Considerably more work needs to be carried out before it can be properly called an economic deposit that can be extracted at a profit," he told The Independent. "Much more ground exploration, including drilling, needs to be carried out to prove that these are viable deposits which can be worked."
But, he added, despite the worsening security situation, some regions were safe enough "so there is a lot of scope for further work".
The discovery of the minerals is likely to trigger a commercial form of the "Great Game" for access to energy resources. The Chinese have already won the right to develop the Aynak copper mine in Logar province in the north, and American and European companies have complained about allegedly underhand methods used by Beijing to get contracts.
The existence of the minerals will also raise questions about the real purpose of foreign involvement in the Afghan conflict. Just as many people in Iraq held that the US and British-led invasion of their country was in order to control the oil wealth, Afghans can often be heard griping that the West is after its "hidden" natural treasures. The fact US military officials were on the exploration teams, and the Pentagon was writing mineral memos might feed that cynicism and also motivate the Taliban into fighting more ferociously to keep control of potentially lucrative areas.
Western diplomats were also warning last night that the flow of money from the minerals is likely to fuel endemic corruption in a country where public figures, including Ahmed Wali Karzai, the President's brother, have been accused of making fortunes from the narcotics trade. The Ministry of Mines and Industry, which will control the production of lithium and other natural resources, has been repeatedly associated with malpractice.
Last year US officials accused the minister in charge at the time when the Aynak copper mine rights were given to the Chinese, Mohammed Ibrahim Adel, of taking a $30m bribe. He denied the charge but was sacked by President Karzai.
But last night Jawad Omar, a senior official at the ministry, insisted: "The natural resources of Afghanistan will play a magnificent role in Afghanistan's economic growth. The past five decades have shown that every time new research takes place, it shows our natural reserves are far more than what was previously found. This is a cause for rejoicing, nothing to worry about."
According to The New York Times, the US Geological Survey flew sorties to map Afghanistan's mineral resources in 2007, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a 3-D profile of deposits below the surface. It was when a Pentagon task force – charged with formulating business development programmes and helping the Afghan government develop relationships with international firms – came upon the geological data in 2009, that the process of calculating the economic values began.
"This really is part and parcel of General [Stanley] McChrystal's counter-insurgency strategy," Colonel Lapan said yesterday. "This is that whole economic arm that we talk about but gets very little attention."
General McChrystal TOLD the TRUTH!!
NOTHING is HATED in this demonic 0bama mafia more than - GASP! - THE TRUTH!
June 30 update Several circumstances surrounding this situation are highly suspicious.
WHY would troops allow Rolling Stone, a magazine of ill repute, to be with troops? Irrational.
Will HELLary Clinton challege B Hussein Obama in 2012 - with McChrystal as her V.P?
The general likes Hellary - and voted for Obama.
Taliban attack Nato base in AfghanistanTaliban attack Nato base in Afghanistan
Afghan airport gunbattle
June 30, 2010 Insurgents have attacked Nato forces in eastern Afghanistan.
Several attackers were killed in the Taliban attack on a base at an airfield outside Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan.
Gunmen set off a car bomb and fired rocket-propelled grenades. There were no Nato casualties.
The attack came a day after US Gen David Petraeus warned of an "industrial strength insurgency" in the country.
Gen Petraeus, who is set to take over command of the US military in Afghanistan, also warned that fighting "may get more intense in the next few months".
He is expected to take up his post as Nato commander in Afghanistan following the dramatic departure of Gen Stanley McChrystal last week.
The attack began at 0730 local time (0330 BST), with insurgents attacking the airport from different directions.
A Nato spokesman said the perimeter of the base was not breached.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said six suicide attackers had taken part in the assault.
The attack is yet another example of the increasingly sophisticated assaults favoured by the Taliban, says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul.
These commando-style operations are increasing in numbers, and often result in higher civilian and military casualties.
A total of 100 Nato troops serving in Afghanistan were killed in June, making it the deadliest month for the alliance since the US-led invasion of 2001.
An Afghan army-led operation is taking place in nearby Kunar, where 600 troops are attempting to rout about 250 insurgents thought to have links to al-Qaeda.
Jalalabad is one of Nato's largest bases in Afghanistan, after Kandahar in the south and Bagram near Kabul.
Both of those bases have been attacked by insurgents in recent months.
Militants set off a car bomb and stormed the entrance to an airport in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday in a failed attempt to enter the air field used by Afghan and international forces, authorities said. Eight insurgents died in the ensuing gunbattle.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, part of an upswing in violence in the nearly 9-year-old war.
Using light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, the militants battled international forces for 30 minutes on the outskirts of Jalalabad city, according to information provided by the media office at the airport.
An Afghan solider and one international service member were wounded in the fighting, NATO said.
"They were not able to breach the perimeter. They were fought off by a combination of Afghan and coalition security forces," German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a spokesman for NATO, told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.
The air field, shared by Afghans and the international force, is situated on a main road that leads to the Pakistani border
In a text message to The Associated Press in Kabul, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said six suicide attackers killed 32 foreign and Afghan security forces at the airport, about 125 kilometers (78 miles) east of the Afghan capital. The insurgents often claim higher numbers of deaths in their attacks than the official toll.
Explosion hits NATO convoy in east Afghanistan
July 10, 2010 Officials say an explosion has ripped through a NATO convoy on a road in eastern Afghanistan. The attack is the latest targeting international troops, but there is no immediate word on casualties.
Local government spokesman Mubarez Zadran says a suicide car bomber struck the convoy Saturday morning as it rolled through Khost province's Mando Zayi district. He says foreign troops quickly cordoned off the road. (AP)
Australian soldier killed
]Afghanistan bomb attacks kill 21 US soldiers in 48 hours
August 31, 2010 21 American troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Friday in one of the bloodiest periods of the summer.
A series of bomb attacks have badly hit US troops in eastern and southern Afghanistan in the past 48 hours.
The death toll among in the Nato-led coalition has reached 484 this year and is predicted to far surpass 2009’s total of 521.
Deaths have risen consistently each year since 2001. Afghan police and civilians have suffered far higher casualties.
The coalition blames the rise in troop deaths partly on the influx of reinforcements,
which is allowing commanders to target previously untouched insurgent safe havens where rebels are mounting stiff resistance.
Gen David Petraeus, senior US and Nato commander in the country, warned last week fighting would get harder before it gets easier.
In two of the most deadly recent incidents, three Americans died in eastern Afghanistan on one bomb attack on Tuesday.
Five died in a single bomb attack in the south on Monday.
Military spokesmen would not say if the bombs hit vehicles or foot patrols.
End of Britain's military cooperation with the USA
September 21, 2010 NATO troops killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash day after British quit Sangin
The helicopter crashed early Tuesday, Sept. 21 in southern Afghanistan, east of Kandahar on the border with Pakistan.
Neither the cause of the crash nor the nationalities of the fatalities were initially given out. But the troops fighting there are mostly American and British.
An Afghan soldier and US civilian also injured.
This has been the deadliest year for NATO in the 9 year war. With Tuesday's crash, the alliance lost 529 troops, compared with 521 in 2009.
The south is the most active battle front of the Afghan War and Sangin in the Helmand Province,
which US Royal Marines handed over to US commandos Monday, Sept. 20, the most dangerous.
They lost 107 men there in four years - the last on Saturday - almost one third of total British losses in Afghanistan.
For this contingent, reassigned now to central Helmand, it was the third withdrawal from combat duties on the Afghan front lines in 4 years,
first from Musa Qala, then Kajaki and now Sangin.
UK defense secretary Liam Fox said the British units who served in Sangin "should be very proud of the achievements they have made in one of the most challenging areas of Afghanistan." But some military observers found the withdrawal reminiscent of the British pull-out from the Southern Iraqi province of Basra at the end of 2008 after a quiet deal with the radical al-Mahdi militia to refrain from attacking UK troops if they withdrew from active combat.
debka sources report no sign of any such deal with the Taliban for Sangin, although the British handover to US marines may be taken to imply this understanding.
It would appear, in fact, that the entire 10,000-strong British contingent in Afghanistan is pulling in its horns and withdrawing to bases in central Helmand with no word about their new combat duties anywhere else. Our sources understand that London is only waiting for political and logistical conditions to be right for the final drawdown of the entire force.
What this means for US Gen. David Petraeus, overall NATO commander in Afghanistan is the phased disappearance of the largest contingent after the Americans in Afghanistan While some US defense officials and commanders have said that the 18,000 "surge" troops reaching the country since August will have no difficulty in filling the gap, debkafile's military sources say they are over-simplifying the reality in the field.
The roughly 100,000 Americans deployed in Afghanistan, about two-thirds of the Western force, will be stretched even thinner to cover the new battlefronts Taliban has opened in recent weeks in the West, North and East. Seeing the Americans piling on strength in the explosive South, the Taliban have refocused their efforts in new , faraway sectors.
Our sources add that the Cameron government is not only phasing out its war effort in Afghanistan, it is in the throes of drastic defense spending cuts at large. Britain's days as a world military power are over. The coalition government headed by the Conservative David Cameron and Lib-Dem Nicolas Clegg appears to have lost the will, and not just the wherewithal, for maintaining a large, modern and effective military.
Experts warn that the Britain is forfeiting its ability to secure national interests abroad, or even defend the British Isles against nuclear attack or a large-scale terrorist strike.
On the chopping board at present are the scale of the Trident submarine fleet, the scope of British armored and tank forces and the future of such ambitious naval vessels as aircraft carriers - along with their hi-tech armaments and equipment. Therefore, the British parting with Sangin goes beyond a tactical setback for the US-led war in Afghanistan.
It marks the beginning of the end of Britain's military cooperation with the United States.
9 Americans Killed in Afghan Chopper Crash
September 21, 2010 9 American service members died in a helicopter crash Tuesday in southern Afghanistan.
2010 is the deadliest year thanks to Obama's ROE which favor the enemy.
Two other service members, along with an Afghan National Army soldier and an American civilian, sustained injuries in the crash. They were taken to a NATO medical facility.
Battle for Kandahar
Our troops are being needlessly killed! Get out of there!
September 27, 2010 International and Afghan troops have begun a key combat phase against insurgents in southern Afghanistan and expect heavy fighting, officials said Monday, in an operation that is crucial to the U.S. strategy to turn around the nine-year war against the Taliban.
The allied forces were moving into two or three areas around Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan at once to pressure the Taliban "so they don't get the chance to run away," Shah Mohammad Ahmadi, chief of Arghandab district northwest of the city, said Monday.
"Before, when we have tried to get rid of the Taliban, when we cleaned one area we found more Taliban in a different one," he said.
A top NATO officer said Sunday that the alliance a few days ago had launched its "kinetic," or combat, phase of "Operation Dragon Strike," a joint military push with Afghan forces around Kandahar intended to rid the area of insurgents and interrupt their ability to move freely and stage attacks.
"It is a significant ground operation with air support," German Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a NATO spokesman, said at a news conference. "We expect heavy fighting."
Afghanistan NATO Base Attacked
November 13, 2010 Every NEWS report I read on most any subject, the truth depends on what you wish to believe.
TWITTER - Afghan airport update: Taliban claims 62 Coalition/Afghan forces killed, a jet and 4 helicopters destroyed, NATO says no casualties - NBC
A group of would-be suicide bombers tried to storm a major NATO base in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday but were repelled before they could enter.
Taliban militants have attacked a Nato military outpost near the airport in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said the attack on its forward operating base in Nangahar province lasted two hours.
Eight militants, one of whom was wearing a suicide belt, died. The Taliban said it was behind the assault.
Later, at least eight people were killed by a bomb on a motorbike in Kunduz province, local officials said.
Another 18 people were wounded in the attack on a crowded market, which appeared to target a local militia leader in Emam Sehab district.
District chief Ayub Haqyar told Reuters news agency the militia leader was among the dead. He said the bomb was hidden on the motorbike and could have been detonated remotely.
'Showered with bullets'
The attack near Jalalabad's airport began at about 0530 (0100 GMT) on Saturday.
Witnesses said they heard explosions and saw smoke rising in the area.
An Isaf statement said that Forward Operating Base Behsud "received small arms fire from an unknown number of insurgents".
It said the assault was repelled by Isaf and Afghan troops, who sustained no casualties. Helicopters were also called in.
Afterwards, a nearby residential district was showered with bullets, witnesses said, and a number of bodies were seen lying on the ground.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said 14 suicide bombers had been involved in the attack.
"They entered the airport. Some of them have blown themselves up," he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
The assault comes a day after a suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of Isaf troops in Kabul. The explosives were detonated before the car reached the convoy, killing one Afghan civilian.
OBAMA in AFGHANISTAN
Dec 2010 [/b]- The very FINANCIAL FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY HANGS IN THE BALANCE and what does our fearless leader do? Jumps on Air Force One and runs.
It never ceases to amaze me how he picks the strangest times to leave the country. It's beginning to look like this person(?) has a terrible ALLERGY to the United States of America.
Heads UP! We may be attacked anytime now. Really, every time he decides to leave I refuse to get very far away from FOX News. Keep waiting on "BREAKING NEWS" to say we've been HIT!
|Poppajoe wrote: |
|Why are we in Afghanistan??
Karzai Says Afghanistan Would Back Pakistan if U.S. Attacks
Oct 2011 Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said if the United States and Pakistan ever went to war, his country would back Islamabad, drawing a sharp rebuke Sunday from Afghan lawmakers who claimed the country's top officials were adopting hypocritical positions.
"If fighting starts between Pakistan and the U.S., we are beside Pakistan," Karzai said is an interview with private Pakistani television station GEO that aired Saturday. "If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan's help, Afghanistan will be there with you."
Afghanistan Hospital lets US troops die
July 28, 2012 US ignored Auschwitz-Like Conditions in Afghanistan Hospital.
Investigation into corruption and horrible conditions at a U.S.-funded Afghan military hospital.
Caldwell did not want an investigation of the Dawood National Military Hospital Auschwitz-like conditions before elections.
U.S. officers found that patients at the hospital were routinely dying of simple infections and starving to death,
while corrupt doctors and nurses demanded bribes for food and basic care.
2 Marines killed in attack in southern Afghanistan
9/14/12 Heavily armed insurgents attacked a British air base in southern Afghanistan Friday, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding several other troops, U.S. officials said.
Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is stationed at the base on a four-month combat tour. There was no immediate word on his whereabouts at the time of the attack.
U.S. officials said the attack at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's Helmand province involved a range of insurgent weaponry, possibly including mortars, rockets or rocket-propelled grenades, as well as small arms fire.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan had not yet announced the battle.
Camp Bastion is a British air base and is adjacent to Camp Leatherneck, the main base for U.S. Marines in Helmand.
These "attacks" seem to be on the rise in recent days...
Afghan girls' school feared hit by poison gas
April 22, 2013 - As many as 74 schoolgirls in Afghanistan's far north fell sick after smelling gas and were being examined for possible poisoning, local officials said on Sunday. While instances of poisoning are sometimes later found to be false alarms, there have been numerous substantiated cases of mass poisonings of schoolgirls by elements of Afghanistan's ultra-conservative society that are opposed to female education. Local officials said the girls became ill after smelling gas at their school, Bibi Maryam, in Takhar province's capital, Taluqan. The city is about 250 kilometres north of the country's capital, Kabul. The Takhar governor's spokesman, Sulaiman Moradi, blamed "enemies of the government and the country" for the mass illness and said the aim was to stop girls from going to school. The girls were taken to the provincial hospital and most were released after being treated, though several remained in a critical condition on Sunday evening, the head of the hospital, Dr Jamil Frotan, said. "We have already sent samples of their blood to the Ministry of Public Health and it will soon become clear what the reason for their illness was," Frotan said. The apparent poisoning came three days after more than a dozen students fell ill in another girls' high school in Taluqan. No-one has claimed responsibility for either incident. Between May and June last year there were four poisoning attacks on a girls' school in Takhar, prompting local officials to order principals to stay in school until late and staff to search the grounds for suspicious objects and to test the water for contaminants. Takhar has been a hotbed of militancy and criminal activity since 2009, with groups such as the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan active. Since the 2001 ousting of the Taliban, which banned education for women and girls, females have returned to schools, especially in Kabul. But periodic attacks against female students, their teachers and their school buildings, continue. Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and employment since 2001, but fears are growing that such gains could be traded away as Western forces prepare to leave and the Afghan government seeks peace talks with the Taliban.
PAKISTAN, AFGANISTAN, NATO, USA WAR, several pages
Woman drags 6 men to safety in Afghanistan
September 7, 2012 - Air Force Capt. Jennifer Curtis, a nurse with the 75th Medical Group at Hill Air Force Base, is being recognized for her actions during her first deployment. The U.S. Air Force recognized her for her bravery for putting herself in harm’s way while helping others in Afghanistan.
It showcased her in this year’s edition of Portraits in Courage.
Curtis was deployed to Firebase Chamkani, Afghanistan, in April 2011. Her mission was to assist with village stability operations. She quickly learned that her assignment on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan was going to be dangerous.
Army nurse describes moment she single-handedly dragged 6 men to safety after rocket attack on base in Afghanistan.
In April 2011, Captain Jennifer Curtis received a short-notice deployment to Firebase Chamkani, Afghanistan, where she embedded with U.S. Army Special Forces to assist with village stability operations. Captain Curtis quickly realized that her deployment would be dangerous when she first arrived at the firebase located in the mountains on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan and her helicopter was targeted by mortar rounds. After being on the receiving end of more than 126 mortar rounds over the course of her deployment, Captain Curtis became accustomed to this hazardous way of life.
As the female treatment team provider, assisted only by a medic and interpreter, she travelled to villages and schools to teach local women basic medical care and childbirth. The operation not only provided education, but also built relationships between NATO forces and the local Afghan citizens. While deployed, Captain Curtis developed a series of 11 medical messages that were aired on the local radio station. Their popularity prompted the locals to request that she provide more such messages.
One evening, enemy forces fired rockets at her encampment. Because the camp was on lockdown, Captain Curtis was the only medic available for the first 20 minutes of the attack. She rapidly identified six troops who had shrapnel wounds or had sustained concussions from the blasts and dragged them into the medical facility where she initiated lifesaving medical care until other medics arrived. Once the patients were stabilized, they were evacuated to the trauma center at Bagram Airfield.
Afghan Taliban strike U.S. consulate
Sept. 13, 2013 A car bomb triggered a huge explosion near the U.S. consulate in Afghanistan during a heavy gunfight.
Major damage to the front gate. There were no U.S. casualties.
3 more US troops killed by insider
Sept. 22, 2013 WE DO NOT BELONG in Afghanistan!
This is what we get by allowing Muslims and foreigners into the U.S. military.
An Afghan wearing a USA uniform shot and killed 3 American troops in eastern Afghanistan.
The attack took place inside a base of the Afghan army
Insider attacks have killed 62 Americans.
WHY ARE WE STILL THERE!?
Taliban kill 21 in Kabul restaurant
Jan 18, 2014 An IMF representative in Afghanistan and 3 UN officials were among the 21 people killed in a Taliban attack in the most exclusive and well guarded part of Kabul Friday night. First a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a restaurant popular with foreigners, then two gunmen fired on the busy dining room until they were shot dead by security guards. 13 of the 21 killed were foreigners, including two Canadians, and civilians from Europe, Britain and Russia.
The attack began around 7.30 pm at a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul.
Taliban claimed the attack was to avenge the killing of a group of civilians in a US air raid earlier this week.
Killing our own!
June 10, 2014 - 5 NATO-US killed in Afghanistan by Friendly Fire
5 NATO-USA troops were American members of a special operations unit in southern Afghanistan.
This is one of the most serious cases involving friendly fire during the 14 year Afghan war.
The incident is under investigation.
GOD bless their families.
A US air strike dropped a bomb from a coalition plane in Zabul Afghanistan.
Taliban terrorists have stepped up attacks after Obama frees the 5 Taliban brains to Qatar.
Southern Afghanistan is the heartland of the Taliban Muslim terrorists.
Five killed when a coalition jet called in to help ward off a Taliban attack mistakenly bombed them. The troops were conducting a security operation and came in contact with Taliban and called in air support. But the airstrike mistakenly bombed their own friends too.
WAS IT a MISTAKE?
This occurs right after Obama releases 5 Taliban chiefs from GITMO
Its not above Obama evils to order our US military to kill our own.
There are enough Muslims, queers and turncoats in the US military to intentionally assassinate our own.
A PAYLOAD WAS DROPPED ON THEM.
There is a checklist - you DO NOT - accidently - drop bombs!
Afghanistan, the poppy (opium) war
June 28, 2014 Thanks to the blood of U.S. Military.
The amount of land used for cultivating opium poppies around the world is at an all-time high, says a UN report. Afghanistan is largely behind the increase, with its crop growing by 36%, producing 80 percent of the world’s opium. The major increase was in Kandahar.
American General Killed in Afghanistan
August 5, 2014 This is HUGE and inexcusable beyond most Americans ability to comprehend.
An American general was killed and 15 other soldiers wounded in an attack at a military academy in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, in which a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire on Americans and other Afghans at Camp Qargha, a military academy near Kabul. The camp trains hundreds of Afghan forces a month.
The two star major general is the highest ranking official to be killed in the Afghanistan war. American generals usually have their security detail.
Afghanistan soldier shoots dead a US major general
An Afghan soldier opened fire on NATO troops at the Camp Qargha base west of Kabul, killing a US general and wounding 15 NATO servicemen, including a German brigadier and American troops. The shooter was shot dead.
US general Harold Greene killed by Afghan soldier
Maj Gen Harold Greene is the highest ranking US military official to have been killed since combat operations in Afghanistan began.
At least 15 soldiers, two British, several Americans and generals from Germany and Afghanistan were wounded.
The Afghan soldier who opened fire had been shot dead. (Hamas lovers will say it was wrong to kill the attacker.)
Gen Greene was the commanding general for the Security Transition Command, involved in preparations for the withdrawal of coalition troops at the end of the year.
Man in Afghan uniform kills US general, wounds 15
An American major general was shot to death in one of the bloodiest insider attacks of the long Afghanistan war when a gunman dressed as an Afghan soldier turned on allied troops.
The American officer was Maj. Gen. Harold Greene. An engineer by training, Greene was on his first deployment to a war zone and was involved in preparing Afghan forces for the time when U.S.-coalition troops leave at the end of this year. He was the deputy commanding general, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
An American major general was shot to death Tuesday in one of the bloodiest insider attacks of the long Afghanistan war when a gunman dressed as an Afghan soldier turned on allied troops, wounding about 15 including a German general and two Afghan generals.
The American officer was Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, a U.S. official said. An engineer by training, Greene was on his first deployment to a war zone and was involved in preparing Afghan forces for the time when U.S.-coalition troops leave at the end of this year. He was the deputy commanding general, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
This is suspicious. The Obama regime wanted this many killed.
UK base in Afghanistan handed over
October 26, 2014 - Camp Bastion, the last UK military base in Afghanistan, has been handed over to the control of Afghan security forces. Camp Leatherneck, the adjoining US base, has also been handed over to Afghan control. About 2,700 troops are currently in Afghanistan.
Afghan kill list leak
December 30, 2014 - NATO risked civilian lives by targeting low-level Taliban fighters.
Besides targeting top Taliban leaders, NATO forces in Afghanistan included low-ranking fighters and drug dealers on their list of “legitimate” targets, risking civilian lives in a wider airstrike campaign. The material covers the period from 2009-2011, when US General Stanley McChrystal and then-General David Petraeus led operations during the beginning years of Obama’s presidency.
Contrary to the declared objective of winning the fight against the insurgency, the 'Kill List' – or Joint Prioritized Effects List, with names numbering at times as high as 750 – proves for the first time that NATO and US forces didn't just target Taliban leadership, but also eliminated mid- and lower-level members of the group on a large scale, according to Spiegel.