Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IMU names 87 'martyrs' killed during past year

a report Bill Roggio from LWJ
added some wikipedia and maps links

The al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan released a list of its commanders and fighters who have been killed over the past year. The commanders and fighters were from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Pakistan.
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan released a statement today that is accompanied by short bios, and in some cases photographs, of their members who have been killed on their website, Furqoon. A translation of a portion of the statement and the names and images of the IMU operatives has been provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Afghans dominated the list; 64 of the IMU operatives killed were from Afghanistan. Of the fighters from Afghanistan, 23 were from Takhar province, 20 were from Baghlan, 9 were from Kunduz, 8 were from Samangan, 2 were from Faryab, and 1 each were from Sar-i-Pul and Badakhshan. In mid-October, the IMU said that five of its fighters from Kunduz executed the suicide assault on the US Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Panjshir. [See LWJ report, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claims Panjshir suicide attack]
The Afghan provinces of Baghlan, Faryab, Kunduz, Sar-i-Pul, and Takhar are known strongholds of the IMU. The International Security Assistance Force noted the location of suicide camps in both Sar-i-Pul and Samangan earlier this year. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban's shadow government in the north.
Twenty of the IMU operatives were from the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan (10), Kyrgyzstan (6), and Uzbekistan (4).
The Russian IMU fighter, Abdul Qayyum, is listed as coming from "Tataristan," which presumably is the predominately Muslim Russian republic of Tatarstan. The Pakistani is identified as Saifullah Wazir is said to have originated from Wana in South Waziristan.
Photograph of Abdullah Miqdad, or Abdullah the Essen, a German member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who was killed in Afghanistan this year.
The German is identified as "Abdullah 'Miqdad.'" The IMU had previously announced his death in June. Miqdad was identified as "Abdullah from Essen," and was killed while fighting US forces in Baghlan in March 2011. He was nicknamed "Afghan Lightning," and first arrived in Pakistan's tribal area of Waziristan in November 2010. "In 2011, he concluded his training in a training camp, and traveled shortly after that to northern Afghanistan," the IMU said. [See LWJ report, German jihadi killed in Afghanistan, claims Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan spokesman]
For more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and its activities and Afghanistan and Pakistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan.
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R.I.P. - Sgt. 1st Class Dennis R. Murray

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
            Sgt. 1st Class Dennis R. Murray, 38, of Red Broiling Springs, Tenn., died Nov. 21 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
            For more information the media may contact the Fort Riley public affairs by email at or or at 785-240-6359 or 785-307-0641.

Jack Daniel’s Operation Ride Home

from This ain't Hell

The good folks at the happiest place on earth, The Jack Daniels Distillery, in Lynchburg, TN, wrote to tell us about the launch of their program “Operation Ride Home” in which they’ve contributed $101,000 to help Fort Campbell soldiers spend the holidays with their families. You can watch the video here.

In honor of the decorated 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Jack Daniel’s has donated $101,000 to launch the campaign and is encouraging its friends to visit and contribute what they can to assist in the effort. The Armed Services YMCA will be purchasing plane tickets and providing pre-paid debit cards for gas, lodging and food for soldiers and their families to travel to their family homes. The 101st Airborne Division has members serving from all over the U.S. and has been on multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There are so many enlisted soldiers with families who would love to go to their homes for the holidays, but just don’t have the means to do it,” said Jeff Arnett, Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller. “These heroes have been serving our country on multiple deployments overseas and we just want to do what we can to help reunite them with their families during this special season. After all, it’s not what is under the Christmas tree, but who is around it.”
So, if the feeling moves you, you can donate at this link.
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Terrorist attack foiled in Kabul

Police in the Afghan capital foiled a terrorist attack when they recovered a 20-kg explosive device from a city suburb, the government said Wednesday.

The explosive device was planted in Mulayan area in Sarubi district of Kabul, and was found by police Tuesday, Xinhua reported citing a statement from the interior ministry.

The Taliban have often relied on suicide and roadside bombings in the past couple of years.

One NATO soldier sustained injuries in a roadside bombing Tuesday in northern Baghlan province for which the Taliban claimed responsibility.

Acid thrown at three Afghan sisters

Three sisters were disfigured after acid was thrown at them in Afghanistan's Kunduz province.

The three girls - aged 8, 12 and 17 - were disfigured Tuesday night when attackers threw acid on their faces, Nadira Gia, director of Women Affairs Department in Kunduz province said Wednesday.

'Some unidentified men entered a house in Bulakawal village and after beating the members of the family threw acid on the faces of the three sisters,' Gia was quoted as saying.

The condition of the eldest sister is critical, reported Xinhua.

Gia said the attackers had beaten up the father of the girls before leaving the house.

Violence against women in Afghanistan is on the rise despite government efforts to protect women. More than 2,290 cases of violence against women including forced marriages, under-age marriages, and beating by in-laws and family members had been registered in 2010, according to the Afghan Human Rights Commission.

22 militants detained in Afghan military operations

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 –
 Officials in the ministry of defense of Afghanistan on Wednesday said, at least 22 militants were detained following a joint military operation by Afghan and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force across the country during the past 24 hours.

According to a statement issued by the media department of ministry of defense of Afghanistan, Afghan and NATO forces also seized some weapons including ammunitions and explosive devices during the operations.

The statement further added, the clean up military operations were conducted by Afghan and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Logar, Helmand, Khost, Uruzgan, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni and Kandahar provinces.

The statement also added, at least 22 militants were captured and some weapons including 3 assault rifiles, 1 PK-47 machine gun, 7 hand grenades, 700 rounds of PK-47 machine gun ammunitions, 5 rounds of artillery missiles, 3 boxes of rocket launcher rounds and 6 improvised explosive devices were seized during the operations.

The officials also said, at least 4 Afghan national army service members were injured during the operations in southern Kandahar and northern Kunduz provinces.
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Nov. 30., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan — A Haqqani network leader was captured today by a combined Afghan and coalition security force in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province

The leader conducted attacks against coalition forces and distributed weapons throughout the area.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


In Kandahar district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader, today. The leader directs subordinate fighters in attacks against Afghan forces and distributes explosives in support of insurgent operations in Kandahar province. The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban facilitator in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, today. The facilitator moves heavy weaponry throughout the Kandahar province. The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents during the operation.

A coalition security force discovered a weapons cache while conducting a patrol in Sangin district, Helmand province, yesterday. The cache consisted of one machine gun, one AK-47 rifle, approximately 154 pounds (70 kilograms) of homemade explosives, three meters of detonation cord and various improvised explosive device-making components. All of the weapons and explosives were destroyed on site.

In Maiwand district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache, yesterday. The cache consisted of approximately 165 pounds (75 kilograms) of hashish. All of the drugs were destroyed at the scene and no civilians were harmed or property damaged during the operation.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban facilitator in Marjah district, Helmand province, today. The facilitator coordinates insurgent activities with Taliban leaders throughout Helmand province. During the operation, the security force detained multiple suspected insurgents.


Today, in Chak-e Wardak district, Wardak province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban facilitator during an operation. The facilitator transported suicide vests, weapons and vehicles for use in spectacular attacks in Kabul city. The security force seized multiple weapons and detained three additional suspected insurgents during the operation.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader in Ghazni district, Ghazni province, today. The leader directs attacks against Afghan forces. Two suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

In Sabari district, Kost province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani leader, today. The leader coordinated attacks against Afghan forces. The security force detained two additional suspected insurgents during the operation.

The Salalah check post after NATO/ ISAF attacks

ISLAMABAD: Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Wednesday released a video footage showing Nato air strikes on two Pakistan check posts - Volcano and Boulder - located in Salala area of the Mohmand Agency.

The Salalah check post after NATO/ ISAF attacks footage released by ISPR

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Suspected suicide bomber killed in premature explosion

QUETTA:  A would-be suicide bomber was killed near Kuchlak, in the suburbs of Quetta, on Tuesday when an explosive that he was carrying detonated prematurely.

“The bomber had hired a cab and wanted to go to Chaman (a bordering town with Afghanistan) with the intention of targeting someone, but the explosives he had fixed to his body prematurely went off,” SP Malik Arshid told reporters, while confirming that the man was a suicide bomber.
According to the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), about two-and-a-half kilogrammes of explosive material were used in the bomb.
SP Arshid further said: “The cab driver stopped in Kuchlak to pick a family that also wanted to go to Chaman. However, the bomber got out of the cab soon after which the explosion took place.”
The police took the driver into custody for further investigation.
Kuchlak is a pre dominantly Pashto-speaking area and a stronghold of religious parties. The five foreigners who were gunned down near Kharotabad in May this year had also hired a cab for Quetta from Kuchlak.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sailors celebrate Enterprise’s 50th birthday

A logo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)
The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has turned 50.
Hundreds of current and past crew members gathered Sunday and Monday at Naval Station Norfolk to celebrate Enterprise’s 50th birthday.

There also was a memorial service on Monday to honor those who died while serving aboard “Big E.”
Enterprise was commissioned Nov. 25, 1961, in Newport News. It participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the Vietnam War and launched the first strikes against the Taliban in October 2001. It will deploy one final time in March 2012 and is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015.

A graphic depicting some of the characteristics of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released) - click on it for hi-res

Sailors spell out "E=MC2" on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ship's commissioning. Enterprise is the first and oldest nuclear powered aircraft carrier still in service and is celebrating its 50th birthday on Nov. 25, 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd class Alex R. Forster/Released) - click on it for hi-res

Plank owners of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) gather on the flight deck for a photograph during the ship’s 50th birthday celebration. The term “plank owner” is used to identify members of a ship’s commissioning crew.  Enterprise is the oldest active ship in the U.S. Navy and is making preparations for her final deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Carpenter/Released)- click on it for hi-res

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Explosion injures German soldier in Baghlan province

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 –
 According to local security officials in northern Afghanistan, at least one NATO service member and Afghan child was injured following a roadside bomb explosion in northern Baghlan province.
Gen. Sikar provincial intelligence chief for Baghlan security commandment confirming the report said, the incident took place around 2 pm local time on Tuesday after a NATO-led vehicle belonging to German forces struck with a roadside bomb in central Baghlan district of northern Baghlan province.

Gen. Sikanr further added, the vehicle of the German forces piled up as a result of the explosion which injured one German soldier and an Afghan child who was taken to the provincial hospital for the treatment purposes.

He also said, the highway of Kunduz – Pul-e-Khumri was closed for the traffic due the explosion.
Zabiullah Mujahid a spokesman for the Taliban rebels group claimed the responsibility behind the incident and said, at least 5 International Security Assistance Forces were killed during the explosion.
In the meantime, a health official in provincial hospital Dr. Narmgoi said, a child who was injured during the incident had suffered injuries in his ears and abdomen and was under serious medical follow up.

This comes as another German soldier was injured following a roadside bomb explosion earlier this month in Chaharshanbe Tapa of central Baghlan province.

Report by Ajmal Omeri, Baghlan province

UPDATE: photo of the blowed up truck here
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Taliban commander held in Pakistan

Tehrik-i-Taliban PakistanImage via Wikipedia
A key Pakistani Taliban leader, Commander Toofan, was arrested Tuesday during a search operation in the country's northwest tribal region, police said.

The search operation was conducted in Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province along the border with Afghanistan, the Online news agency reported.

Police said Commander Toofan, leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in Swat region, was arrested along with an aide. The aide was not named.

Police also recovered important documents, a laptop and cash from his possession.

Commander Toofan is wanted in cases related to target killings of security personnel.
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US, Pakistan differ on events leading to Mohmand strike

The US and Pakistan are in a classic war of 'he said, she said' over last weekend's attack by US aircraft on two Pakistani military border outposts in Mohmand that resulted in the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops. US officials are saying US forces struck after taking fire, while Pakistani generals are saying the attack was unprovoked and deliberate.

Iranian students storm British embassy in Tehran (live updates, video)

Iranian student hardliners stormed the British Embassy in Tehran Tuesday to protest the latest sanctions, and to demand the British ambassador’s immediate expulsion. Mehr News Agency initially reported that protesters took six of the embassy staff hostage in the residential compound, a report that Reuters tweeted, but Mehr’s report was quickly taken down. A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that the situation is “fluid.”

The students, chanting “Death to England!” and other slogans, hoisted the Iranian flag in place of the Union Jack, lit fires and scattered papers around the compound for at least an hour before riot police removed them. They also raided the residential compound, according to news reports, and have set cars on fire there.
Watch a video of the storming by students, said to be representatives of the paramilitary Basij organization:

In a statement, the British foreign office said that senior officials have urged Iranian authorities to “act with utmost urgency to ensure the situation is brought under control.” The office continued to describe the situation as fluid and said details were still emerging.

Read more and Live feed: 

UPDATE 1550 GMT: Looks like we may have some clarity on the earlier story of six employees held "hostage" --- Fars reports that these were the people escorted from the Embassy compound by diplomatic police. Alef is also confirming the exit of all British Embassy employees from the building.

Nov. 29., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 29, 2011)

A Haqqani network leader was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force during an operation in Sabari district, Khost province, today. 

The facilitator distributed roadside bombs and planned attacks against Afghan forces.

One additional suspected insurgent was detained during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban facilitator during an operation in Ghazni district, Ghazni province, today. The facilitator directed attacks against Afghan forces. The security force detained one additional suspected insurgent during the operation.

Today, in Yahya Khel district, Paktika province, a combined Afghan and coaltion task force conducted an operation in search of a Haqqani network leader. The leader is responsible for numerous attacks against Afghan forces. The security force confiscated bomb making material and detained two suspected insurgents during the operation.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured an al Qaida facilitator and killed two insurgents during an operation in Surkh Rod district, Nangarhar province, today. The facilitator served as a courier between Afghanistan and Pakistan and delivered supplies to insurgents. During the operation, two individuals were observed displaying hostile intent toward the security force. Assessing an immediate threat, the security force engaged, killing both insurgents. One additional suspected insurgent was detained.

Today, in search of a Taliban leader, in Maidan Shahr district, Wardak province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force killed one insurgent during an operation. The leader plans attacks against Afghan forces in Maidan Shahr district. The security force observed an armed individual exit a building during the operation. The individual positioned himself in a tree line and was engaged by the security force. The insurgent was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and wearing a chest rack with multiple magazines and a grenade. One additional suspected insurgent was detained during the operation.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban facilitator during an operation in Maiwand district, Kandahar province, today. The facilitator distributed roadside bombs, weapons, ammunition, and, provided financial support to insurgent fighters in Kandahar province. The security force detained two additional suspected insurgents during the operation

In Yahya Khel district, Paktika province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache, yesterday. Approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of hashish and 60 pounds (27 kilograms) or poppy seeds were found at the scene. The remaining drugs were confiscated by the Afghan Security Forces to be used as evidence.

A weapons cache was handed over to Afghan and coalition forces by a local Afghan in Tanai district, Khost province, yesterday. The weapons cache consisted of nine grenades, six rocket-propelled grenades, 11 RPG motors, various amounts of small arms and machine gun ammunition, three containers of homemade explosives and more than 100 components used to construct improvised explosive devices.  All of the seized weapons have been scheduled for destruction at a later date.

Mistaken identity could be cause of fatal raid

By Kimberly Dozier - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Nov 28, 2011 17:34:42 EST
WASHINGTON — A case of mistaken identity may have led to the deadliest case of friendly fire with Pakistan since the Afghanistan war began, U.S. officials believe.

The Associated Press has learned details of the raid, which began when a joint U.S.-Afghan special operations team was attacked by militants in Afghanistan.
The team then called for airstrikes, which killed up to 25 Pakistani soldiers at a border post inside Pakistan.
According to U.S. military records, the joint U.S.-Afghan patrol checked with Pakistani before returning fire. Officials described the records on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.
Hunting the escaped militants two hours later, the U.S. commander spotted what he thought was a militant encampment, and called for the deadly air strikes. That encampment was apparently the Pakistani base.

Monday, November 28, 2011

R.I.P. - Cpl. Adam J. Buyes

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
            Cpl. Adam J. Buyes, 21, of Salem, Ore., died Nov. 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
            This incident is under investigation.
            For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the III Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at 011-81-90-6861-4397 or .

List of Pakistani soldiers died in the NATO attack in Mohmand Agency

Twenty-six soldiers, including two officers, were killed and 15 others injured on Saturday when Nato helicopters attacked two security checkposts in a far-flung area near the Pak-Afghan border some 50 kilometres to the west of Mohmand Agency’s headquarters of Ghallanai, official and tribal sources said on Saturday.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), however, confirmed the death of 24 soldiers and injuries to another 13.
All of them belonged to the Azad Kashmir Regiment.

Some of the dead included Major Mujahid, Captain Usman, Subedar Mannan, Havaldar Mumtaz, Havaldar Aslam, Havaldar Mushtaq, Lance Naik Raza Mohammad, Lance Naik Tariq Mehmood and Sepoys Imran Yusuf, Rizwan, Ghulam Abbas, Abdul Razzaq, Hafiz Manzoor, Asghar Abbas, Ahmed Khurshid, Ibrahim, Naeem, Tariq Mehmood, Nasir Mehmood, Kiramat Ali, Najibullah and Tahir Mehmood.

Some of the injured soldiers were identified as Afzal Khan, Kamran, Azim, Waseem, Tanvir Khan, Zubair, Yasir, Akhtar Zaman, Asif, Zahid Shah, Irfan Akhtar and Naveed.

Pakistan army officers and civilians offer funeral prayers of Saturday's NATO attack victims, in Peshawar, Pakistan on Sunday, Nov 27, 2011.

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R.I.P. - Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel

Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan SteelIt is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Rifleman Sheldon Steel, from 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES), who was killed in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on 27 November 2011.

 Rifleman Steel was taking part in a foot patrol to disrupt insurgent freedom of movement and to reassure the local population in Babaji, in the Lashkar Gah district, which is in the Nahr-e Saraj (South) area of operations, when he was caught in the blast from an improvised explosive device (IED). He was airlifted to the field hospital at Camp Bastion where he was declared killed in action.

Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel
Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel, aged 20, from Leeds, joined the Army in November 2009, and underwent his combat training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire. Rifleman Steel passed out of basic training in April 2010 and shortly afterwards joined 5th Battalion The Rifles, based in Paderborn, Germany. During his time with the Battalion, Rifleman Steel had achieved a great deal. He arrived at a busy time in the Battalion's calendar and was immediately thrust into further training, learning the intricacies of the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, while developing the closest of bonds with those whom he would later deploy to Afghanistan with. This training culminated in a six-week, vehicle-mounted exercise in Canada in late 2010. Throughout this testing period, Rifleman Steel demonstrated that he was quickly developing into a skilled, robust and intelligent soldier, in keeping with the Regiment's tradition of the 'thinking, fighting Rifleman'. This early promise was honed through Afghanistan pre-deployment training in the first half of 2011.

Continues at: – Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel killed in Afghanistan

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Dane Leopards Give a Little Help to Our Friends

By Ronny Rasmussen, Press Officer, The Danish Battlegroup, ISAF 12: 

In the British Camp Oulette north of the Danish area of ​​responsibility returns leopard tanks back after a three-day operation. Spirits are high, because tomorrow they head to Camp Price, or Camp "Nice" as it is called in patrol bases. So it's the end of sleeping bags, cold showers, and casseroles. But it is with mixed emotions when the tanks roll out of the British camp.
Pictured: Danish Leopard 2 tank in operation north of Camp Oulette in the British area of ​​responsibility.

- "It's been great to working in terrain so ideal for tanks. We had the opportunity to take the high ground. We have been attacked, returned fire and had a large area under our control. So we did what we do best," says Jacob, who is tank commander on one of the three Leopard 2 tanks.
Since 28 September, the Danish tanks had been loaned to the British-controlled area. Now, 300 British Soldiers have taken responsibility from 1100 American Soldiers. For the first two months the Brits were supported by the Danish tanks. Originally, the tanks were to be pulled back after a month or so, but because of the high insurgent activity the "contract" was extended. The Danish engineering group  attached to the tank platoon was also extended.
- "When we arrived, it was a mess. The camp was rebuilt after the American departure and the first three weeks we had no electricity, hot water or shelter. In return we quickly built the best camp conditions in our part of the camp," says Mikael from the engineering group.
- Grateful thoughts!
"Despite the primitive conditions and lack of post facilities the Danish soldiers return with a good feeling. And they have good reason. Several handshakes, a standing ovation and a speech from the company commander, marks the end of the Danish effort."

- "We are very grateful for your support, even though we were poor hosts and let our guests sleep without power or tents the first week. But you should know that we appreciate your efforts and it is sad to see you leave us. Every time I moved out, the results have been measurable."  Gen. Spoor, Commander of the British company. 

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Free pass to IAV 2012

International Armoured VehiclesInternational Armoured Vehicles 2012 - Free Expo Pass 

 20 - 23 February, 2012, FIVE, Farnborough, UK

hurry up, it is still on:

3 militants killed 15 detained in Afghan army operations

Monday, November 28, 2011 –
 Officials in the ministry of defense of Afghanistan following a statement on Monday said, at least three Taliban militants were killed and 15 others were injured in Afghan national army operations across the country during the past 24 hours.
The statement further added, the operations were conducted in northern Kunduz, southern Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and north-eastern Kapisa provinces during the past 24 hours by Afghan national army soldiers.
The statement also said, Afghan security forces seized some weapons and ammunitions including 13 AK-47 assault rifles, 3 rounds of rocket launcher missiles, communication and video recording equipments, 2 hand grenades, 1 round of mortar missile, 8 sets of mobile phones, 84,000 Pakistani rupees and 10 boxes of explosive devices during an operation in Andar district of eastern Ghazni province.
The statement did not provide further information regarding the casualties of Afghan national army service members during the operations.
Taliban militants fighting the Afghan government and coalition forces yet to comment regarding the operations.
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Car bomb explosion kills 11 in Iraq

Monday, November 28, 2011 –
 Iraqi security officials on Monday said, a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives-packed vehicle at a prison north of Baghdad on Monday, killing 11 people and wounding at least 15.
Iraqi interior and defense ministries officials speaking on the basis of anonymity said, the bomber blew up the car at about 8:00 am (0500 GMT) at the main entrance of the Hout prison in Taji, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Baghdad.
The officials further added, 1 people were killed and 20 wounded, while the defence ministry official put the toll at 11 dead and 15 wounded.
The attack in the town of Taji, about 12 miles north of the capital, is the third major attack in about a week in Iraq, and raises questions about the ability of the nation’s security forces to protect the country after U.S. troops leave in just over a month.
Today’s suicide bomb attack is followed by a series of explosions hit a market in Baghdad and an area on the city’s western outskirts last Saturday, killing at least 15 people.
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Pakistan deny gunfire provoked NATO air raid

Flag of the Pakistan Army                                     Image via Wikipedia
Monday, November 28, 2011 –
Pakistani officials denied reports that the NATO air raid was followed in response to Pakistani troops cross border gun fire on coalition and Afghan forces, heightening tensions between Pakistan, the US and NATO.
This comes as Afghan officials said that NATO forces were retaliating for gunfire from the Pakistani side of the volatile border region on Saturday.
Pakistani officials on Monday also claimed, The NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers went on for almost two hours and continued even after Pakistani commanders had pleaded with coalition forces to stop.
The bodies of at least 24 deceased Pakistani soldiers were buried at military headquarters.
In the meantime, Nato has apologised, calling it a “tragic unintended incident”.
Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the Pakistani troops at two border posts were the victims of an unprovoked aggression.
He also said, he attack lasted almost two hours and that commanders had contacted NATO counterparts while it was going on, asking “they get this fire to cease, but somehow it continued”.
In response to NATO air raid, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called it a “grave infringement of Pakistan’s sovereignty” and officials responded by cutting key supply Pakistani lines to Nato in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal quoted Afghan officials speaking on the basis of anonymity, Saturday’s attack was called in to shield Nato and Afghan forces who were under fire while targeting Taliban fighters.
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Afghan soldier who shot three Australian troops is suspected murderer on the run for ten years

Two Australian soldiers during the Shah Wali K...Image via Wikipedia
 Jeremy Kelly in Kabul, The Daily Telegraph, November 28, 2011 12:00AM

A FUGITIVE Afghan soldier who shot three Australian troops is a suspected murderer on the run for more than a decade.
The claims raise serious doubts about the lax vetting process for Afghan National Army soldiers, who work side by side with Diggers, as it has emerged Australian forces have no oversight of recruitment.
Scores of Australian special forces are leading a manhunt for Mohammad Rozi, who fled after seriously wounding three Diggers in the most recent case of an Afghan soldier turning on his foreign mentors.
Elders and officials from his home village said the only man unaccounted for with his name fled more than a decade ago after turning on a fellow resistance fighter during the country's chaotic civil war.
Mohammad Rozi opened fire at a small patrol base about 30km northeast of the Australians' main base in the Oruzgan capital of Tarin Kowt on November 9. The three Australians were seriously wounded and two Afghan colleagues suffered minor wounds.
It followed soon after the killing of three other Australians, and wounding of seven more, in a separate incident last month.
Australian military officials are hopeful of catching Rozi alive so they can determine a motive for the apparently unprovoked shooting.
It is understood he packed his getaway vehicle with weapons and supplies before going on his rampage. The Humvee he used to escape was found burnt out soon after he fled.
Locals in the area said he had been whisked away by Pakistanis, to the annoyance of the local Taliban commander who wanted to share some of the stolen loot he had with him.
The Afghan Ministry of Defence has said Rozi came from a remote Uzbek-dominated district of Hazar Samoj in northern Takhar province and had been in the army for six years.
Elders and local officials there said the only missing person named Mohammad Rozi was already a fugitive after he killed a warlord's bodyguard back in the 1990s.
"From what people have told me, he was a bad and grumpy boy," said Ghulam Sakhi, district chief of Hazar Samoj.
"He knew that he was about to be caught so he and his family went to Pakistan."
The account was corroborated by several other locals in the area including the head of the district's criminal investigation department, Shah Wali Khan.
"He killed a bodyguard and then he escaped," Mr Khan said.
Rozi's recruitment papers showed a different father's name than they remember.
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Afghan areas covered under second round of transition

Courtesy, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 27, 2011) —
50 percent of the Afghan population will be covered under the second phase. 

According to the proposal and the approval by the president, Balkh, Daikundi, Takjar, Samangan, Kabul and Nimruz provinces will be completely included in the second phase of the transition. Moreover, cities of Jalalabad, Cheigh Charan, Shebregan, Faizabad, Ghazni, Maidan Shar and Qalai Naw will also be covered under the second phase of the transition.

Also, districts of the big cities such as, Yaftal Safli, Arghanj, Baharak, Tashkan, Keshem and Argu’ districts of Badakhshan province as well as Abkamari of Badghis province, Nawah, Nad’Ali, Marjah of Helmand province, all districts of Herat province except for Shindand district, Uobi and Chash Sharif, Qarghai district of Laghman province, Behsud, Quskunar, and Sorkhrud districts of Nangarhar province, all districts of Parwan province except for Shiwari and Siahgherd, all districts of Sar-E-Pul province except for Sayyad and districts of first part of Beh Sud, Jelriz and Center of Behsud of Wardak province are included in the second phase of the transition process.

It is worth mentioning that Bamyan, Kabul and Panjshir provinces are completely covered except Surubi district, Herat City, Lashkargah city of Helmand province, city of Mazar-e-Sharif, city of Mehtar Lam were included in the first phase of the transition, and the transition in these place has been completed successfully.
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Nov. 28., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
For Immediate Release

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 28, 2011) — A Taliban leader was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force during an operation in Marjah district, Helmand province, Sunday.
The leader was involved in narcotics trafficking, financed roadside bombs and coordinated direct fire attacks in Helmand province.
Additional suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban facilitator in Kunduz district, Kunduz province, yesterday. The facilitator distributes roadside bombs and directs attacks against Afghan forces. Two suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation in Dand district, Kandahar province, yesterday. The leader distributed roadside bombs for use in attacks throughout the area. The security force detained additional suspected insurgents during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a cache and detained multiple suspected insurgents during an operation in Dilah district, Paktika province, yesterday. The cache consisted of 50 blasting caps, a six ounce bottle high explosive material, one RPG container, one video camera, six video tapes, wiring and  a hand-held radio. The combined security force secured all materials on a base to be used as evidence. Neither the security force nor Afghan civilians were injured.

Former Airman Saved the Dog Who Saved Him

Former Senior Airman David Sharpe embraces his dog Cheyenne at their home Sept. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Va. Sharpe is the founder of Pets 2 Vets, a nonprofit organization that pairs shelter animals with veterans who live with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sharpe credits Cheyenne with saving his life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
ARLINGTON, Va. – When former Air Force Senior Airman David Sharpe adopted a pit bull puppy from a rescue shelter 10 years ago, he thought he was saving her life. In a dramatic twist of events just a few months later, she ended up saving his.
Sharpe was on the verge of taking his life.
As he sat on the kitchen floor of his apartment with a .45 caliber handgun in his hand — “ready to finish the fight with the demons that followed me back from the war” — that pit bull puppy, named Cheyenne, sat down on the floor next to Sharpe and licked his ear. It made him laugh — something he hadn’t done much. Something clicked for him, he said, and his reason for living became clear at that moment: to care for Cheyenne.
Sharpe had been suffering from an undiagnosed case of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. As a security forces airman stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va., he went on his first deployment in December 2001 to Saudi Arabia, where he came face to face with a Taliban sympathizer who would change his life.
Sharpe said he had been working with the man for a while, though he was mostly quiet and kept to himself. One day he found the man laughing hysterically in the guard shack and asked what was so funny. The local man pointed to a picture in an Arabic newspaper of the planes crashing into the twin towers and he said he praised Allah the day this happened. Sharpe said he got angry with the man and told him to stop talking like that. Then he turned to walk away.
“I turned around and I heard a couple of ‘clicks’ and ‘clacks’ and this little guy is pointing his [submachine gun] right at me,” Sharpe said. “I froze for a few seconds, but it felt like days. I looked at him and pulled my M-16 up and charged it. We were yelling at each other and then a [British] guard came in and pointed his weapon at the guy, and then a French guard came in the side door and pointed his weapon at the British guard.”
Once the incident de-escalated, Sharpe had to recount it to his unit leaders numerous times. With the official procedures for debriefing such an incident completed, Sharpe was referred to the chaplain.
“I went and saw the chaplain, and that lasted for all of about two minutes,” Sharpe said. “[The chaplain said], ‘Tell me what happened, Airman Sharpe.’ I said, ‘I don’t even want to talk to you right now, sir. No offense — I just want to be left alone.’”
Sharpe said the chaplain told him to come back when he was ready, but Sharpe never went back. He finished the rest of his deployment without incident and returned home to Virginia, but things did not go back to “normal” for Sharpe.
“I started having nightmares about this guy taking his weapon and pointing it in my face,” he said. “I had visions of the bullet going through my head and coming out the other side. I woke and I started crying, and then I started calling myself a bunch of names and saying to myself, ‘Suck it up.’ ‘What’s wrong with you?’”
Sharpe said he began having violent outbursts with his family and friends over the simplest of questions, especially about his deployment. He began starting fights with strangers and even turned on his friends. One friend in particular continued to reach out to Sharpe.
“One of my friends came to check up on me and said, ‘Hey, there’s this pit bull rescue I want to check out. Do you want to come with me?’” Sharpe said. “I said, ‘Absolutely. I want to get a fighting dog — I’m a fighter.’ So I went, and there were about eight puppies running around in a pen, and all of them were all over me. But there was one that was off in the corner, and that was the one I chose.”

Cheyenne belongs to former Senior Airman David Sharpe, the founder of Pets 2 Vets. Sharpe adopted Cheyenne from a pit bull rescue when she was just a few weeks old. She has been with Sharpe for more than 10 years and has helped him cope with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
Sharpe said when he took Cheyenne home he felt better immediately. Though he was happier since he had gotten his new companion, he said, he continued to have violent outbursts. During one outburst in the kitchen of their apartment, Cheyenne watched and waited for Sharpe to calm down.
“I picked her up and took her back to my bed, and I just lost it — started crying, bawling,” Sharpe said. “She didn’t say anything. She inched her way up [to my face]. She knew something was wrong. She just started licking the tears off my cheek. It makes you laugh, it tickles, and I immediately starting feeling relief, because I didn’t have anyone [saying] to me, ‘How do you feel now? Are you glad you got that off your chest?’ She never asked. I told her on my own terms.”
Sharpe didn’t realize it at the time, but he and Cheyenne were engaging in a form of pet therapy. She would be his confidant on the road from that lonely night on the cold linoleum floor when he considered suicide to being a champion for other veterans with the same struggles.
“Pet therapy helps people who have PTSD to reconnect with the world,” said Megan O’Connell, a clinical nurse specialist at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center at Fort George G. Meade, Md. “It helps to create a routine, a sense of connection, when you have to feed the dog and make sure the dog is watered, that it has all of its shots. It helps you. It forces you to become part of this world and to start to reintegrate.
“Especially dogs — they react to body language,” O’Connell continued. “If your body language is stressed, they want to come over, because they want you to stop being stressed, so they pay a lot of attention to you. It makes you feel like they care and they’re listening, and that makes you feel comfortable to want to open up more.”
In the meantime, Sharpe separated from the Air Force after six years of service. A few months later, after watching a TV news special about service animals, Sharpe came up with the idea to pair up shelter animals with veterans living with PTSD. He called the program Pets 2 Vets.
Sharpe took $3,500 of his personal savings to get started. Unlike other programs, P2V provided companion animals to veterans versus other programs that provided service animals to perform physical tasks for disabled veterans.
Initially, Sharpe would pick up veterans who were recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and take them to local shelters to interact with the animals. As the program grew, P2V provided an avenue for veterans to adopt their own companion animals as well as give veterans at Walter Reed an opportunity to visit shelter animals during their recovery.
About a year after Sharpe founded P2V, he reached a milestone. He was finally ready to talk to a human about his experiences while deployed. After meeting with doctors from the Veterans Affairs Department, Sharpe was diagnosed with PTSD and depression — five years after he separated from the military, and nine years after the incident in Saudi Arabia.
“One of the problems with PTSD is that it really destroys people’s trust,” O’Connell said. “They feel disconnected. One of the things a dog can do is help to be that bridge to trust. Unless you’ve had a bad experience, most people have very positive feelings toward pets, so people are more willing in a lot of ways to talk to the dog or relate to the dog than they are to another person, especially if they’ve been through a traumatic experience.”
Although the battle with PTSD is never over, P2V has placed more than 50 shelter animals with veterans, and Sharpe is now married to his long-time friend, the former Jenny Fritcher. Later this year, David, Jenny and Cheyenne will welcome a baby boy into their family.
“I always say Cheyenne brought me to Jenny,” Sharpe said. “If it wasn’t for Cheyenne, I wouldn’t have this beautiful wife and beautiful life. She saved me.”

Former Senior Airman David Sharpe and his wife, Jenny, share a family moment with their dog Cheyenne outside their home Sept. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Va. Sharpe is the founder of Pets 2 Vets, a nonprofit organization that pairs shelter animals with veterans. Sharpe came up with the idea for P2V after he realized how Cheyenne’s companionship helped him deal with traumatic events he went through while deployed to Saudia Arabia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes, Defense Media Activity

photos hi-res versions:

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Afghan soldiers called in deadly NATO airstrike

By Rahim Faiez and Sebastian Abbot - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Nov 27, 2011 10:26:46 EST
ISLAMABAD — Afghan troops and coalition forces came under fire from the direction of two Pakistan army border posts, prompting them to call in NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Afghan officials said Sunday. The account challenges Islamabad’s claims that the attacks, which have plunged U.S.-Pakistan ties to new lows, was unprovoked.
It also pointed to a possible explanation for the incident Saturday on the Pakistan side of the border. NATO officials have complained that insurgents fire from across the poorly defined frontier, often from positions close to Pakistani soldiers, who have been accused of tolerating or supporting them.

Pakistan’s political leaders and military establishment, still facing domestic criticism following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, have reacted with unprecedented anger to the soldiers’ deaths. They closed the country’s Western border to trucks delivering supplies to coalition troops in Afghanistan, demanded the U.S. vacate a base used by American drones within 15 days and said they were reviewing all cooperation with the U.S. and NATO.
Despite those actions, a total rupture in what both sides acknowledge is an imperfect relationship is considered unlikely. Pakistan still relies on billions of dollars in American military and civilian aid, and the U.S. needs Islamabad’s help to push Afghan insurgents to engage in peace talks.
The Afghan officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it’s unclear who attacked the forces taking part in the joint operation before dawn Saturday, but that the soldiers were fired upon from the direction of the Pakistani border posts that were hit in the strikes.
NATO officials have previously said a joint Afghan-NATO operation was taking place close to the border and that airstrikes were called in. All airstrikes are approved at a higher command level than the troops on the ground.
The alliance has said it is conducting an investigation to determine the details. It has not commented on Pakistani claims the attacks killed 24 soldiers, but it has not questioned them.
On Sunday, Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and regional political leaders attended the funerals of the victims, including an army major and another senior officer. Soldiers took the coffins, draped with the green and white Pakistani flag, from army helicopters before praying over them.
“The attack was unprovoked and indiscriminate,” said army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. “There was no reason for it. Map references of all our border posts have been passed to NATO a number of times.”
The attack sparked popular anger in Pakistan. There were protests in several town and cities across the country, including Karachi, where around 500 Islamists rallied outside the U.S. Consulate.
NATO’s top official, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, offered his deepest condolences and said the coalition was committed to working with Pakistan to “avoid such tragedies in the future.”
“We have a joint interest in the fight against cross-border terrorism and in ensuring that Afghanistan does not once again become a safe-haven for terrorists,” Rasmussen said in Brussels.
The U.S.-Pakistan relationship took a major hit after the covert American raid that killed bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town. Islamabad was outraged it wasn’t told about the operation beforehand. The U.S. has been consistently frustrated by Pakistan’s refusal to target militants using its territory to attack American and other NATO troops in Afghanistan.
A year ago, a U.S. helicopter attack killed two Pakistani soldiers posted on the border. A joint U.S.-Pakistan investigation found that Pakistani troops fired at the two U.S. helicopters prior to the attack, a move the probe said was likely meant to notify the aircraft of their presence after they passed into Pakistani airspace.
Islamabad closed one of the two border crossing for U.S. supplies for 10 days to protest that incident.
There was no indication of how long Islamabad could keep the border closed this time.
On Sunday, around 300 trucks carrying supplies to U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan were backed up at the Torkham border crossing in the northwest Khyber tribal area, the same crossing that was closed last year, as well as Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province
Militants inside Pakistan periodically attack the slow-moving convoys, and took advantage last year when the trucks were waiting for days to enter Afghanistan, torching 150.
“We are worried,” said driver Saeed Khan, speaking Sunday by telephone from the border terminal in Torkham. “This area is always vulnerable to attacks. Sometimes rockets are lobbed at us. Sometimes we are targeted by bombs.”
Some drivers said paramilitary troops had been deployed to protect their convoys since the closures, but others were left without any additional protection. Even those who did receive troops did not feel safe.
“If there is an attack, what can five or six troops do?” said Niamatullah Khan, a fuel truck driver who was parked with 35 other vehicles at a restaurant about 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Chaman.
NATO ships nearly 50 percent of its non-lethal supplies like fuel, food and clothes to its troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan. Critical supplies like ammunition, are airlifted directly to Afghan air bases.
A NATO official closely involved with the Afghan war said there will likely be no immediate negative effect from Pakistan’s decision to close its border crossings. NATO has built up a large stockpile of military and other supplies that could enable operations to continue at their current level for several months, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
NATO has reduced the amount of non-lethal supplies it ships through Pakistan from a high of around 80 percent by using routes through Central Asia. The northern logistics link could be expanded to make up for the Pakistani closure, but it would leave NATO heavily dependent on Russia at a time when ties with Moscow are increasingly strained.
In addition to closing its border crossings, Pakistan gave the U.S. 15 days to vacate Shamsi Air Base in Baluchistan. Washington uses the base to service drones targeting al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal region when they cannot return to their bases inside Afghanistan because of weather conditions or mechanical difficulty, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
The drone strikes are very unpopular in Pakistan, and Pakistani military and civilian leaders say publicly that the U.S. carries them out without their permission. But privately, they allow them to go, and even help in the targeting for some of them.
Faiez reported from Kabul. Associated Press writers Sebastian Abbot in Islamabad, Abdul Sattar in Quetta, Pakistan, Matiullah Achakzai in Chaman, Deb Riechmann in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Slobodan Lekic in Brussels contributed to this report.
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