Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pakistan orders key US airbase to close after ISAF troops conduct cross border attack

Image said to be Predator drone aircraft at Sh...Image via Wikipedia
Within 24 hours of a US attack helicopters strike inside Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of Mohmand that killed more than 20 Pakistani troops, the Pakistan government has ordered the US to vacate a key airbase in Baluchistan and has closed NATO's supply lines through the Khyber Pass.
The Defence Committee of the Cabinet, a Pakistani committee chaired by Prime Minister Yousef Gilani, issued a statement calling for US personnel to leave the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan province and the closure of NATO's supply chain to Afghanistan.
"In accordance with the resolution of the Joint Session of the Parliament of May 14, 2011, the DCC decided to close with immediate effect the NATO/ISAF logistics supply lines. The DCC also decided to ask the United States (US) to vacate the Shamsi Airbase within 15 days," according to the statement which was published by the Associated Press of Pakistan.
"The DCC decided that the Government will revisit and undertake a complete review of all programmes, activities and cooperative arrangements with US/NATO/ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence, according to a statement issued from the Prime Minister House after the DCC meeting," the statement continued.
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Deadly explosions hit multiple Iraqi cities

At least 12 killed and 38 hurt in bombings in Baghdad and near Abu Ghraib, according to Iraqi officials.

Iraqi officials say at least eight people have been killed by a roadside bomb in central Iraq, near the town of Abu Ghraib, and four were killed in Baghdad after three explosions hit the city's central Tahrir Square.

An interior ministry official said on Saturday that a roadside improvised explosive device hit a minibus carrying labourers, killing eight people and wounding 13 others. A health official at Abu Ghraib general hospital confirmed the casualty figures.

The ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the road where the attack occurred is frequently used by the Iraqi armed forces.

A police source said that two bombs had exploded minutes apart in an area where construction workers gather in the Sunni village of al-Zaidan.
"It was a roadside bomb that went off near a pick-up carrying construction workers in Zobaa village west of Abu Ghraib," he said.

The interior ministry official also said that three bombs exploded in the Baab al-Sharqi area of central Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 25 others. More information was not immediately available

Violence has ebbed across Iraq, but deadly bombings and shootings still occur almost daily as US troops prepare to leave by the end of the year.

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Some 20 killed in 24 hours across Syria: report

DAMASCUS, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Some 20 people were killed in the past 24 hours across Syria, including law-enforcement members, gunmen and a civilian, the official SANA news agency reported Friday.
Two law-enforcement members were killed Friday when a mine planted by armed groups blasted in central Hama province, SANA reported, adding that another sergeant was killed in southern Daraa province when a group of gunmen opened fire at a vehicle that was ferrying food to the law members.
In central Homs province, specialized forces conducted a qualitative operation on Thursday in the al-Rastan area, during which 16 gunmen were killed and dozens arrested, SANA said. The operation also led to the confiscation of large quantities of arms and ammunition, including diverse Israeli-made weapons, mines and mortar shells, the report said.

Meanwhile, SANA said that three explosive devices went off on Friday in several neighborhoods in Hama, but no injuries were reported. It reported that explosives experts managed to dismantle four devices that were set to go off in several crowded areas in Daraa.

In northern Idlib province, a roadside bomb exploded at Taftanas town on Thursday, killing a 13-year-old boy who was herding sheep, according to SANA.

On the opposition side, the Local Coordination Committees, an activists' network, said that as many as 26 people, including two kids, were killed Friday across Syria, as anti-government protesters rallied under the title "the Free Syrian Army Protects Us."

The so-called Syrian Free Army, which is composed of army defectors, has attacked many army bases over the past weeks. Their recent assault targeted a bus carrying elite army pilots on Thursday, which led to the killing of 10 officers.

The Syrian Army said in a statement on Friday that the attack on the pilots was considered a dangerous terrorist escalation, " which unveiled the scheme that aims to weaken and target our army forces."

"We affirm the involvement of foreign parties with the aim of weakening the fighting ability of the army," said the statement.

The beneficiaries are the enemies of Syria such as Israel, it said, stressing the army's full readiness to carry on with its mission to protect the citizens' lives.

Currently, there are mounting cries among Syrians, even from anti-government activists, to halt all kinds of violent acts whether they are against government's targets or not, as armed resistance, which the Syrian government has claimed to be fighting to justify its crackdown on protesters and which has been dismissed by many other countries, has practically become true.


Nov. 26., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
For Immediate Release

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 26) — A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a weapons cache during an operation in Reg-e Khan district, Helmand province, Friday.
The cache consisted of 11 pressure plates, approximately 50 pounds (22.5 kilograms) of explosives and various components used to manufacture improvised explosive devices.

All of the materials were destroyed on site and no civilian casualties or damages were reported as a result of the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

In a separate event in south west Afghanistan, a Taliban leader and a suspected insurgent were captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force during an operation in Garm Ser district, Helmand province, yesterday. The leader directed spectacular attacks against Afghan government officials and distributed roadside bombs to subordinate insurgent fighters in Helmand province.


Insurget forces attacked an ISAF facility in Nikeh district, Paktika province, Thursday. The insurgents fired at the post using mortar and small arms fire. Responding to the attack, coalition forces used ground-based munitions and called for close air support assets to engage the insurgent position resulting in multiple insurgents being killed. No ISAF forces, civilian casualties and no damages were reported as a result of the incident.

US helicopters kill 26 Pakistani troops on Afghan border (updated!)

Updates meanwhile: 
- Pak government stopped all NATO fuel and other supply conveys going to Afghanistan in protest for killing Paki soldiers
- Torkham border gate closed after NATO helicopters killed Pak soldiers near Afghan border of Mohmand Dara district
- Pakistan state TV said the helicopters killed 25 Pakistani soldiers. Two government officials in Mohmand confirmed the death toll and said 14 other soldiers were wounded.
- Pakistani soldiers casualties increased to 35 and more in critical condition
- ISAF spokesman addresses AFG/PAK border incident- video
- Pakistan: 26 troops dead in NATO helo attack


a report from LWJ/Bill Roggio

US attack helicopters killed 14 Frontier Corps troops manning a border outpost along the Afghan border, according to Pakistani military officials.
The US helicopters struck an outpost in the Baizai area of the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of Mohmand, Pakistani officials said. The attack took place at the Salala check post, which is just over a mile on the Pakistani side of the border.
"NATO helicopters carried out an unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on a Pakistani check post in Mohmand agency, casualties have been reported and details are awaited," Pakistani military spokesman told Reuters. Up to 14 Pakistan troops are said to have been killed and seven more have been wounded.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was aware of reports of US helicopters engaging Pakistani force and that it was investigating.
The reported attack took place just across the border from Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, a known stronghold of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terror groups. Afghan troops are currently conducting an operation in neighboring Nuristan province, another Taliban and al Qaeda bastion. US forces have mostly withdrawn from Kunar and Nuristan, and are relying on airstrikes and sweeps to keep the Taliban at bay.
The reason for the US attack in Mohmand is unclear. The border is unmarked and the terrain is rugged. Pakistan and Afghanistan also dispute the international border, which is known as the Durrand Line.
The US has also conducted several cross-border attacks while in "hot pursuit" of Taliban forces. ISAF has also maintained that it has the right to pursue retreating Taliban forces who "after following the proper rules of engagement under inherent right of self defense." [See LWJ report, Pakistan closes NATO supply route after latest US cross-border attack]
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ABCNews Nightline Trip to Afghanistan: Tip of the Spear (+video)

Soldiers based in a remote part of Afghanistan risk it all to build a road

Forward Operating Base Bostick: the 2-27 Infantry, a battalion known as the Wolfhounds

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During the broadcast, ABCNews invited viewers to submit messages to the troops, whether it was to wish them a happy Thanksgiving, good luck or just simply say thanks. We received dozens of messages and thought we would share a few here. Thanks for watching!

Viewer messages to the Wolfhounds:

From Karen Popovich, Hammond, Indiana: I want to wish all of you a very Happy and safe Thanksgiving! My family and I would also like to thank you for all the sacrifices you make everyday! In our opinion…’re ALL heroes! God Bless You!!! Sincerely, Karen & Rich Popovich & Cindy Aube
From Kelly Merkle, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: I saw the story on Nightline tonight. All day today i’ve been thinking about how blessed I am to spend Thanksgiving with my family and freedoms. Thank you doesn’t even begin to express the gratitude I have for your sacrifices. My prayers are with you Wolfhounds. God Bless.
From Arlene Patrick, Woodbridge, New Jersey: First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your service! I hope you all were able to make the best of your Thanksgiving under the circumstances. As soldiers, you sacrifice so much, especially the time away from your family, friends, and loved ones. My heart is sadden that my son could not spend Thanksgiving with us. He is stationed at Ft. Bragg with the 82nd Airborne. He will be deployed soon to Afghanistan for his 1st tour of duty. As a mother, words cannot express the feelings that I have inside. Always realize how important it is to stay in touch with your family as much as you can. Stay safe! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! God Bless!
From Kent Gansel, Evergreen Park, Illinois: To the Wolfhounds, Greetings from Evergreen Park, Illinois: All of you are in our thoughts constantly. My son Eric is there with you. The Gansels, the Easterhouses, the Whitlocks, and the Svecs send their love and best wishes for a safe return. God bless all of our troops. Find your way home safely. We are all praying for you and your families at this time. Thank you for your dedication and your service to our country. We all realize that our freedom comes at a great cost. We realize that it dificult for you to be away from your loved ones for such a long time. Your efforts are not unnoticed or unappreciated. YOU are making a difference in the world. Above all, protect yourselves from harm no matter what. You are the real heros of our world. God Bless the United States of America and the men and women of our armed forces. Pave the road to Freedom for all the world to travel.
From Aidan O’Donnell, Lowell, Massachusetts: I just want to wish all of you a happy and safe thanksgiving. I appreciate all that you men and women are sacrificing for our freedom. You are all the epitome of a hero and deserve to be treated accordingly. I hope you make it home safe. Thank you so much for all you have done. Ryan can’t wait to see you bro. Keep your head low and stay safe bro. See you when you get home

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ABCNews Nightline Trip to Afghanistan: Angels in Hell (+video)

U.S. Army medics respond to all emergency cases, sometimes amidst enemy gunfire.‬

the all-American Dustoff MedEvac Company:

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Viewers Send in Messages of Thanks to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
During the broadcast, ABCNews invited viewers to submit messages to the troops, whether it was to wish them a happy Thanksgiving, good luck or just simply say thanks. :

From Rick Snyder, Piqua, Ohio: Dustoff MedEvac Company, Thank you for your service in Afghanistan, I can’t imagin what it must be like to be so far away from home, family, and friends. Your dedication to take care of the wounded and injured while risking your own lives is an awesome task that is greatly appreciated. For my second cousin, Medic Erin Gibson, your the best! Several of my family members and I sat in front of the tv tonight to watch your MedVac group in action. It was great to see you and to see what you are up against every day. Congradulations on the special honor you received. Great job Erin. I will continue to keep you and your unit in my prayers. Thanks for protecting our Freedom that we all enjoy here at home. The Great United States of America. GOD Bless you all, in all that you do.
From Ken and Bonnie Ratzloff, Merced, California: Thank you all so much for risking your lives to save the lives of others. May God bring you all home safely. Thank you for your service, your dedication and the sacrafices you have made being away from your families during your deployments.
From Wayne Root, Concord, California: (Actually, I’m writing to you from Japan, but….) Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the States, and I want to use this time to say “Thanks” for you men and women over there, and for all your buddies, especially the ones that can’t be there with you. Thanks to all of you for your service. You’ve got about the toughest task I can think of. God Bless Wayne R Root (Old Vet, US Army, 1957-60)

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USS Enterprise: 50 Years of Service

Enterprise underway in the Atlantic Ocean duri...Image via Wikipedia

Today one of the most storied ships in U.S. Navy history broke another record.  The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) became the first aircraft carrier in history to celebrate 50 years of active service.  The oldest warship still in active service, ENTERPRISE has participated in every major naval conflict from the Cuban Missile Crisis through six arduous tours in Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and today’s effort to rid the world of terrorism and piracy.

The following post is written by CAPT William C. Hamilton, 22nd Commanding Officer of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in honor of the carrier’s 50th birthday, November 25, 2011.

Today one of the most storied ships in U.S. Navy history broke another record.  The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) became the first aircraft carrier in history to celebrate 50 years of active service.  The oldest warship still in active service, ENTERPRISE has participated in every major naval conflict from the Cuban Missile Crisis through six arduous tours in Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and today’s effort to rid the world of terrorism and piracy.

To serve as Commanding Officer of the Big E is nothing less than an honor and a dream fulfilled.  To carry the name ENTERPRISE is a great responsibility and one that I hold dear.  As a Student Naval Aviator in 1985, I was qualified to operate from carriers while flying from her deck.  As an F/A-18 Hornet squadron Department Head in 1995, I flew patrol and combat missions from her deck.  As Executive Officer in 2004, I learned to appreciate the heritage and legacy of the ship and the challenge of operating and maintaining her.  And now, as her Commanding Officer, I fully understand that ENTERPRISE is not a piece of steel, pointed at one end and blunt at the other.  Rather, ENTERPRISE is the pride, spirit, dedication, and hard work of the 200,000 Sailors that have served aboard and flown from her deck.
There is something special about being an ENTERPRISE Sailor.  We have a saying onboard… “There is tough, and there is Enterprise tough.”  The reputation is well known throughout the Fleet and well deserved.  Sailors studying at Nuclear Power School are often met with chuckles and false condolences when it is learned they will be serving on ENTERPRISE.  When they transfer following their tour aboard, the chuckles and false condolences become respect and congratulations.  ENTERPRISE Sailors have to work a little harder and a little longer than their peers on other ships.  They have to overcome and adapt to the challenges of maintaining a 50 year old piece of hardware for which there are precious few spare parts.  And at the end of the day, ENTERPRISE Sailors walk a little taller knowing they kept her “Ready on Arrival” for half a century.
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) s...Image via Wikipedia
Through three tours in ENTERPRISE, I have been fortunate to have a part in several milestones, but today is like no other and I expect the days ahead will be moving, to say the least.  In the days ahead, I look forward to welcoming home so many of our shipmates, hearing first-hand the many stories of those who served throughout Big-E history, and sharing the bond that each and every ENTERPRISE Sailor knows.

CAPT William “Boomer” Hamilton
Commanding Officer
USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

from Navy Live Blog

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Nov. 24., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Evening Operational Update

ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
For Immediate Release

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 24, 2011) — A combined Afghan and coalition patrol detained two suspected insurgents and confiscated a weapons cache during a routine patrol in Khost district, Khost province, Thursday.
The two suspected insurgents were discovered with the cache which consisted of eight grenades, two bayonets and 1,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.
The cached was recovered by the combined force as evidence and the suspected insurgents were detained for further questioning.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


A combined Afghan and coalition patrol discovered a drug cache today in Maiwand district, Kandahar province. The drug cache consisted of 2,000 pounds (909 kilograms) of hashish. The Afghan portion of the security force destroyed the drugs at the scene.
In Tarin Kot district, Uruzgan province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a weapons cache today. The weapons cache consisted of two rocket-propelled grenade launchers and six RPG warheads with motors. The weapons were seized by the security force for safe destruction at a later date.


A weapons cache was handed over at a coalition base today by a local Afghan in Kahmard district, Bamyan province. The weapons cache consisted of 31 mines, 13 grenades, 12 grenade fuses and three mine fuses.  The weapons will be scheduled for destruction at a later date.

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