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Archive for June, 2009

Forces Target Terrorist Networks in Afghanistan

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 30, 2009

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces disrupted Taliban and Haqqani terrorist activities in recent operations in Afghanistan, military officials reported.

Coalition forces launched precision air strikes overnight against senior Haqqani commanders and command posts in the remote mountains of western Khost province.

The militants are believed to have aided in the movement of foreign fighters through the Khost-Gardez Pass and throughout Afghanistan.

Coalition aircraft destroyed a pair of command bunkers, killing more than a dozen militants.

Elsewhere, Afghan forces, assisted by coalition forces, conducted multiple operations in Khost, Ghazni and Kandahar provinces June 28. The operations were intended to disrupt the flow of foreign fighters, weapons and explosives in the country.

In the Sabari district, north of Khost city in Khost province, the force searched a compound where intelligence sources indicated militant activity and detained 10 suspected Haqqani militants.

In the southern province of Ghazni, southeast of the city of Gilan, the force pursued suspected militants who were wearing suicide vests. When they engaged the force, the militants were killed. The force recovered several grenades, an AK-47 assault rifle and a Kalashnikov automatic weapon.

In Kandahar, the combined force assaulted a hideout believed to be the safe haven of a Taliban commander responsible for several roadside-bomb and small-arms attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the region.

The force was engaged by hostile fire during their search of the area and immediately eliminated the threat. The force recovered two AK-47 assault rifles, a Kalashnikov automatic weapon, military load-bearing equipment with magazines, two fragmentation grenades and two radios.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)


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Insurgents Make Afghans Focus of Attacks

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 26, 2009

By Army Pfc. Andrya Hill
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan, June 26, 2009 – Insurgents operating in eastern Afghanistan increasingly are focusing their attacks away from coalition forces and on local residents, military officials here said.

The rate of civilians killed by improvised explosive devices in eastern Afghanistan has risen 117 percent in the last year, while coalition forces deaths from IEDs have decreased by 70 percent, they said.

Army Col. Michael Howard, commander of the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), which controls the battle space of Paktika, Paktia and Khost provinces, explained that anyone who possesses the courage to speak out against the Taliban becomes a target.

Contractors who work with the coalition, Afghan government officials, police, Afghan troops, moderate mullahs, elders and innocent civilians who support their government are all receiving threats and becoming targets, he said.

According to Howard, the insurgents emplace command wire IEDs to attempt to maim or kill selected residents, but through the use of pressure-plate IEDs, they devastate the first innocent person to drive down the road.

“They are targeting civilians,” he said. “IEDs that go off with a command wire are not an accident. Someone pulled a trigger.

“They also are using force in an indiscriminate and irresponsible way,” he continued. “When they put a pressure-plate IED in the road, when there is 10 times more civilian traffic than military traffic, it puts all civilians at risk. This happens all the time.”

Naimatullah Haqmal, a Khost City resident and doctor at the Salerno Hospital, said there has been such an increase in civilian attacks that he is relocating his family to a safer area in Afghanistan, as many other residents are doing.

“The enemy targets civilian people now,” Haqmal said. “They kill all those people who have knowledge, who are educated. They want to hold the people in the dark. They think if the people have knowledge, they will terminate the fighting. Anyone that has sympathy with the government, they will kill.”

The rise in civilian attacks is alarming, but more detrimental is the effect the attacks have on their livelihood.

“When civilians here get injured, it is much more devastating. Things that are not fatal in the U.S. are fatal here,” said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Scott Russi, the trauma chief and lead general surgeon at the Salerno Hospital. “A local national with a 50 percent body surface burn is fatal, where in the U.S. they have an 80-plus percent survival rate.

“Even if they survive here, they become a burden to their family and the majority do not return to functional lives.”

Nazifullah Karimi, from Khost province, said Afghans are angry, and that everyone has been affected by the attacks. At least one member of each extended family has been targeted, threatened or intimidated by the insurgents, he said.

“They don’t march in the streets, but that doesn’t mean that they are not furious,” Howard concurred. “There is such intimidation from the Taliban that they cannot vocalize how disgusted they are. The Afghans that we work with, that we become friends with, tell us there is outrage.”

A resident of the Mandozai district of Gharanai told of his brother, a journalist at a radio station in Khost City, who was targeted by insurgents and killed with an IED.

“We are all being affected by the [insurgent] activities, as I lost my brother. I do not know why they must kill my brother. The IEDs kill or injure too many innocent people,” he said.

Every Afghan here has a story to tell, just like Gharanai’s, said Karimi, and through vehicle-borne IEDs, many people share the same story from a single event.

This spring, two separate vehicle explosions killed 14 Afghans and seriously injured 61.

The attacks create intense fear that runs rampant through the villages. Residents who cannot send their families to a safer place have taken refuge in their own houses, keeping their children home from school and travelling as little as possible, said Rasool Habibi, a local surgeon and scholar who works at the Salerno Hospital and teaches at Khost University.

“It doesn’t matter who — children, teachers, doctors — they kill everyone. Everybody is scared,” Habibi said. “I see my family once a week because from here to there, there is no security, and there is great possibility of assassination.”

The terror that has become prominent in the daily lives of Afghans has evolved into revulsion, as well as a foundation in an adamant quest for answers, and solutions.

“This is an insurgency, so it’s a very weak military organization that has decided to take on a very strong military organization,” Howard said. “They can’t do that going nose to nose, so they have to use insurgent tactics. One tactic is intimidation.

“We hope to show the population that the Afghanistan government is the way of the future: they will provide security, they will provide elected leadership, they will provide roads, hospitals and education,” he said. “The Taliban can’t do any of that, so they have to control the population in another way: through intimidation.”

While the insurgents attempt to send a message of intimidation, Howard illustrated how their ultimate motive goes beyond that message.

“An insurgent beats a counterinsurgent by fighting the war to a stalemate. They make it last 15 years,” he explained. “That’s the insurgent’s strategy. They want to take over Afghanistan, and they want to take over by making us quit. I don’t think they are just making a statement, they actually want political power.”

The Afghanistan National Security Forces are determined to protect their country from the insurgents rising to power. They work diligently to inform the population of preventive measures, as well as providing avenues to report enemy activity anonymously, military officials said.

“The governor responded immediately to an attack this morning,” Howard said. “He condemned it, he sent medical care to the wounded, and he sent his soldiers to chase after the bad guys. They got them.”

Afghan and coalition forces encourage the locals to evaluate the activities of both the insurgents and their government, to arrive at an educated conclusion in order to gather the courage to unite and defend their families, communities and country.

“Look around and see,” Howard said. “Every time there is a fight between your army and the Taliban, who wins and who loses? How many schools and roads and mosques have been built by the army, and then compare that to the Taliban. Look at your government: is it progressing, is it getting bigger, is it getting stronger? Are resources flowing from it? Are they providing some basic services like health care and education? Then look at the Taliban, and see how much of that they are doing.

“You will see that one side has done a lot of good, and one has done a lot of evil,” he said. “You will see an imbalance. Look, and then decide for yourselves how many of these things came from the government and how many came from the Taliban.”

More and more villages are banding together and taking a stand, turning the insurgents’ intimidation into newfound strength and determination.

“The [insurgents] try to control our country. They want to impose their will on us. They want us to live under their harsh rules, but we do not want that to happen,” Gharanai said. “Our village will be safe, because we are uniting.”

(Army Pfc. Andrya Hill serves with the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.

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Forces Disrupt Taliban Activity in Afghanistan

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 25, 2009

American Forces Press Service
KABUL, June 25, 2009 – Afghan and coalition forces killed suspected militants and detained others today in operations to disrupt Taliban activity throughout Afghanistan.

The force raided a compound in Helmand province believed to be the hideout of a Taliban commander with ties to Taliban operations within the province.

Upon arrival at the compound in the province’s Nad Ali district, the force was engaged by small-arms fire from hostile militants. The force used direct fire and close-air support to repel the attack, killing several militants. The force also detained nearly a dozen suspected militants and seized several small-arms weapons, multiple chest racks and ammunition.

Elsewhere, Afghan and coalition forces raided a compound in Wardak province suspected of being the safe house of a Taliban commander. The commander is believed to be responsible for several attacks on Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces along Highway 1.

While clearing a compound in Wardak’s Sayed Abad district, the force came upon and pursued a group of armed militants. As militants attempted to fire on the force, the force engaged them and eliminated the threat. A search revealed a militant wearing a suicide-bomb vest, small-arms weapons, chest racks and grenades. The force completed the search without further incident, detaining suspected militants.

In the Gelan district of Ghazni province, Afghan and coalition forces raided a compound believed to be the safe house of a key Taliban operator involved with the movement and support of foreign fighters into the region. While clearing the compound, the force encountered and eliminated the threat. The force completed the search without incident.

No Afghan, coalition forces or noncombatant injuries were reported.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Forces in Iraq Detain Suspected Terrorist, Seize Weapons

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 25, 2009

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 25, 2009 – Iraqi forces arrested a suspected terrorist and U.S. and Iraqi forces seized a massive weapons cache in Iraq in recent days, military officials reported.

In Anbar province yesterday, the Iraqi special weapons and tactics team in Qaim arrested a man who is suspected of smuggling materials and foreign fighters into Iraq and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of police officers in Ramana, Iraq.

Elsewhere, Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers seized a massive weapons cache June 23 near Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad.

The cache contained 26 grenades, 35 rocket-propelled grenades, five roadside bombs with detonation devices, two antipersonnel mines, a suicide vest, 100 rocket and mortar rounds, and a mix of other ammunition, including thousands of small-arms rounds.

Iraqi and U.S. soldiers also recovered base elements used to produce explosives, including military-grade plastic explosives and the mechanisms for triggering them.

Coalition force explosive ordnance disposal technicians conducted a controlled detonation to dispose of the cache.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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“U.S. strikes kill dozens in Taliban heartland”?

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 24, 2009

By S.H. Khan, Agence France-PresseJune 24, 2009
“Drone aircraft, which are only deployed by U.S. forces in the region..”

The question is who is causing S.H. Khan to lie?
Lies in the News

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Iraqi Police Arrest Extremist Leader

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 22, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2009 – An Iraqi police special weapons and tactics team from Nasiriyah and U.S. advisors arrested two suspects, including a violent extremist leader, during an operation conducted in Fadhiliyah, Iraq, yesterday.

The extremist leader, Walid Abbass, is linked to several acts of violence committed in Dhi Qar province, including several assassination attempts on local officials and a rocket attack that struck a mosque tower in Ur last month.

In other recent operations in Iraq:

— An Iraqi SWAT team accompanied by coalition forces advisors killed a suspected former leader of a criminal network during an operation in Basra province June 20. As the team attempted to serve the warrant, the suspected terrorist came out of the building and began firing a pistol at them. The suspected terrorist was killed during an exchange of gunfire.

— Iraqi soldiers and police, “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group members and U.S. soldiers teamed up to detain 11 individuals wanted for acts of terrorism during a weeklong sweep operation conducted across Kirkuk province that ended June 19. Iraqi forces also discovered components of two possible improvised rocket launchers.

— After receiving a tip from an Iraqi civilian, Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers seized a weapons cache June 17 in the Aqur Quf area, west of Baghdad. The same day, Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers arrested a suspected criminal during a joint operation conducted west of Baghdad.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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Farah Within The Rules Of Armed Conflict

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 20, 2009

Farah Report Recommends Steps to Avoid Civilian Casualties
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2009 – Though U.S. Central Command investigators found a May 4 air strike that caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan’s Farah province was within the rules of armed conflict, they recommended that coalition forces alter tactics, techniques and procedures to safeguard innocent civilians.

In their report, released yesterday, investigators said the bombing outside the village of Gerani killed 78 Taliban fighters and at least 26 Afghan civilians. “The investigation does not discount the possibility that more than 26 civilians were killed in this engagement,” the report says.

The report does not recommend curtailing close-air support, “especially in direct and indirect fire situations that imperil friendly forces.” Still, absent a direct threat, the report does recommend tactical approaches that minimize the chances of civilian deaths, noting that the Afghan government and coalition mission in the country is to protect the people.

The incident unrolled after Afghan forces entered the region in pursuit of Taliban fighters. The security forces came under attack and called for U.S. back-up. A Marine quick-reaction force reinforced the Afghans, and close-air support assets arrived overhead. The report said that FA-18F assault aircraft did not inflict casualties, but that bombs dropped by a B-1 bomber did.

The action lasted for hours, and ground forces were under constant direct fire, according to the report.

The report recommends a reassessment of operational objectives and tactical procedures when using force. “This guidance must apply to planned operations and troops in contact/self-defense operations and must be stand-alone documents,” the report says. Once the guidance is published, all troops – including those not based in Afghanistan – must undergo re-training.

The report calls for better strategic communications between coalition and Afghan officials. It also calls for better communications with nongovernmental organizations such as the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

The report recommends an on-call investigative team led by a general officer that can be at the site of an incident within two hours.

Finally, the report calls for a reassessment of close-air support aircraft.

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Coalition, Afghan Forces Degrade Terrorist Networks in South, East Afghanistan

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 16, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2009 – In separate raids in Afghanistan today, coalition and Afghan forces battled insurgents in southern and eastern provinces and confiscated drugs and weapons.

In Helmand province, forces confiscated 17 bags of black tar opium, AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade rounds, bomb-making materials and ammunition.

Four suspected Taliban militants were detained and several killed in the operation that targeted a senior Taliban commander responsible for organizing bombings and rocket attacks against security forces, officials said.

In Uruzgan province today, forces searched a village known to be a staging area for enemy fighters, recovering 150 pounds of black tar opium, 25 gallons of homemade explosives, several weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. They also found bomb-making materials, including 250 pounds of ammonium nitrate, pressure plates and detonators.

The caches were stored in several false floors and hidden compartments in walls were discovered.

The operations were part of the forces’ increased patrols in southern Afghanistan to prevent attacks against the country’s infrastructure and citizens, officials said.

In other Afghan news, coalition forces detained four suspected militants during an overnight mission in Paktia province to disrupt the Haqqani terrorist network in eastern Afghanistan.

The four suspects were detained in a rural compound near the Salman Kheyl village, about 30 miles west of Khost.

The Haqqani network is one of the most lethal Taliban groups operating out of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area, officials said.

In operations yesterday, forces discovered an explosive-rigged motorcycle and detained two enemy fighters in Uruzgan province.

Forces were searching a militant compound when they found bomb-making materials and a motorcycle rigged with a 107 mm rocket. The bomb was destroyed in place.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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Forces in Afghanistan Detain Suspect, Aid Injured Civilian

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 15, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan forces detained a suspected Taliban leader and provided medical aid to a wounded civilian in recent operations, military officials said.

Afghan and coalition forces captured an area Taliban commander and a suspected associate in a June 13 operation to disrupt Taliban activities in northern Paktika province. The suspect is tied to numerous attacks against coalition forces in the area, military officials said.

The wanted Taliban leader was wounded from debris when forces gained entry into the compound, officials said. Medical specialists treated his wounds, and he was evacuated for further medical treatment.

In a June 12 operation in the Gulistan district of Farah province, coalition forces evacuated an Afghan man who was wounded by militant gunfire.

Troops were patrolling the area when they were attacked by militants using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, which struck and injured the civilian.

On-site medical personnel treated the man, and then evacuated him to a coalition hospital for more advanced medical treatment. He was reported to be in critical condition following the attack, military officials said.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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Troops in Iraq Capture 12 Suspects, Seize Weapons

Posted by Larry Barnes on June 15, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2009 – Coalition and Iraq forces detained a dozen suspects and seized weapons during recent operations in Iraq, military officials said.

Combined forces arrested a suspected criminal on a warrant June 12 in northwest Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah district. The man is suspected of participating in criminal activities throughout the district, military officials said. The suspect was transferred to a secure facility for further questioning.

In a separate operation that day, Iraqi police and coalition advisors arrested a suspect on a warrant in Basra. Military officials said the suspect’s capture will reduce his group’s ability to mount effective attacks and could yield information that leads to more arrests.

In a June 11 operation, combined forces arrested a suspected terrorist on a warrant in Mosul. The man is suspected of organizing attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the area.

Iraqi police and soldiers arrested nine suspects wanted for terrorism in Kirkuk in a June 10 operation.

Troops also discovered weapons caches in the villages of Thalilla and Algair in the Hawijah district of Kirkuk province. The caches included a 57 mm projectile, 82 mm high-explosive mortars and 60 mm mortars.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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