Thursday, December 1, 2011

It is Better to Give than to Receive

December 1, 2011 from
There are officially 24 days left before Christmas! While we hustle and bustle to put up our tree and buy gifts for the family, let us not forget about the men and women who will be deployed this season defending our country.
And while they may not be in the comforts of their own homes, we can send them a little “touch of the holidays” through care packages.
The the Military Postal Service Agency has established a range of deadlines to ensure before-Christmas delivery of packages and letters to service members in deployed locations. 

To get mail to a service member by Christmas at APO/FPO/DPO AE 090-092, 094-098, 340, or 962-966, the latest package can be sent to arrive on time is Dec. 17 — that means senders have to pay for Express Mail. If senders have already got packages ready and they want to send earlier — and pay less — they can put them in the mail by Dec. 10 and pay for either 1st Class or Priority mail. Mail to APO/FPO/DPO AE 093 must be sent by Dec. 3, regardless of the class of mail service used.
Wondering what you should include in your care package this year? Check out some great ideas from various online sources.

Send your soldier a small Christmas tree that they can decorate for themselves.  Send lights that can be put on the tree as well as hung around their living area.  Be sure to pack fun ornaments that can be hung on the tree.  If you got your soldier any small gifts for Christmas, wrap them up and write a note saying to put these gifts under the tree and they are not to be opened until Christmas morning!

Hard candies and firm homemade sweets such as pralines and toffee are safe to mail because their high sugar content prevents bacterial growth.
Dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots, and commercially-packaged trail mix and nuts, need no refrigeration.
Dried beef or poultry, such as beef jerky, turkey jerky or beef slims, are safe to mail. Bacteria cannot multiply in food preserved by removing moisture.
Dehydrated soups and fruit drink mixes are lightweight and safe to mail.
Regional condiments, such as hot sauce and Cajun seasonings in packets, are useful for spicing up Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).
Dense and dry baked goods, such as fruit cakes and biscotti, are good choices for mailing because they will not become moldy.
Commercially-packaged cookies in airtight tins, dry cookies such as ginger snaps and specialty crackers are good choices.
 -Clemson University

Send a small stocking for him to have as well and of course include his gifts. You can also send Christmas CDs or your favorite Christmas movies. One family I know watches “A Christmas Story” during the 24 hour marathon on TBS each year so they sent they soldier the DVD so he could watch too. Another I know attends a church service each Christmas Eve, knowing he was deploying, they recorded the service last year and he’ll receive the recording in his package so he can be there at least in spirit.
 -Married to the Army

Santa hat
Stuffed reindeer
Christmas movie
Kid’s craft – paper snowflakes
Fake snow
Fake tree
Handmade ornaments
String popcorn and cranberries
Tiny wrapped packages (use gum, mints, or small items to go under the tree)
Advent calendar
Picture book (include pictures from past holiday gatherings)
Small wrapped items to the theme of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”
A box of Christmas Cards stamped and addressed to the soldier’s family

Young boy injured by IED, treated by coalition forces near Siab Jan


A pressure-plate improvised explosive device near Siab Jan malfunctioned but still exploded, Nov. 21, injuring a young boy whose injuries could have been drastically worse. The boy was brought by a relative to a nearby coalition forces’ base where he was treated and released the same day.

Soldiers from Combined Task Force Spartan’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, heard an audible explosion directly east of their position near Siab Jan. Moments later, a man named Abdul Kayum brought the boy to the Soldiers’ position. The boy had shrapnel wounds in his right calf, as well as other residual cuts and lacerations. Combat medics immediately began treating the boy and then evacuated him to Combat Outpost Ahmad Khan for further treatment.

Afghan Soldiers from the 1st Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps provided Abdul Kayum with fresh bandages and encouraged him to pursue additional medical support at a hospital in Kandahar City. They also vowed to follow-up with the child and his relatives after their return to the district.

Residents living in Siab Jan, Nalgham, and Tor Jan are increasingly turning in IEDs to Afghan and coalition security forces, and have turned in over 100 devices. Citizens who turn in IEDs, insurgents’ weapons, and high-value insurgents are eligible to receive a cash reward through the Department of Defense Rewards Program.

The DoD Rewards Program is a U.S. government-funded initiative that pays civilians up to $10,000 for information leading to the seizure of insurgents’ weapons and caches, as well as the capture of insurgents themselves.

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs
Story by Capt. Kevin Sandell

Second Phase of Security Transition Starts from Northern Province

afghanistanImage by The U.S. Army via Flickr
Afghan government started the second phase of security transition on Thursday from northern Parwan province, officials said.

Afghan troops, in a ceremony today, took security responsibility of Parwan.
Afghan officials, US ambassador Ryan Crocker, US General John Allen, commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan and tribal leaders attended the ceremony.
Seven out of nine districts, as well as the provincial capital, were handed over to local troops.
Abdul Basir Salangi, governor of Parwan, said he was happy to have Afghan forces take over the security of the province.
Local troops will take security responsibility of 18 new areas in the second phase of transition. Afghan troops have been taken security responsibility of seven areas in the first phase.
The handover comes ahead of Bonn conference to be held on December 5 that will discuss Afghanistan's future after foreign combat troops leave the country by the end of 2014.
Delegates from more than 100 countries and international aid organisations are to meet in Bonn to discuss about Afghanistan's future.

Thursday, 01 December 2011 15:56
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2011 16:41
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Combined Forces locate drug cache in Panjwa’i

110223-M-5160M-119Image by JIEDDO via Flickr
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (November 30, 2011)

 The Afghan National Civil Order Police and Afghan National Police, combat advised by coalition Special Operations Forces (SOF), conducted a joint security operation in Panjwa’i district, Nov. 25-27.
            During the operation, the joint force seized and destroyed large quantities of marijuana, hashish, homemade explosives and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components. 
            On the initial discovery of more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, explosives ordnance disposal technicians at the scene determined the marijuana was too dangerous to be moved, so the team burned the drugs in place. 
According to a representative from coalition SOF, as the marijuana was burning, the joint force observed 14 detonations coming from within the fire, most likely caused by ammunition, IED components and other explosives hidden by insurgents.
            In all, the operation yielded a total of 1,500 pounds of marijuana, 1,300 pounds of hashish, a rocket propelled grenade round, 140 pounds of homemade explosives and other various IED components.  All of the items were seized and destroyed by Afghan forces.
The joint force also discovered and destroyed four IEDs planted throughout the village by insurgents in an attempt to strike against Afghan and coalition forces in the area.
            The operation allowed Afghan forces to displace insurgents from their fighting positions as well as secure the village and the surrounding areas, said a representative from coalition SOF.  It also allowed forces to challenge the insurgents’ freedom of movement in the area as well as deny their safe havens within the district.
No civilian casualties or property damage resulted from these operations.
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8 Pakistani citizens kidnapped in Logar province

Thursday, December 01, 2011 –
 Local security officials in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday said, Eight Pakistani workers have been kidnapped in an area troubled by the Taliban near the Afghan capital Kabul.

Mohammad Jan Abid Chief of the fight against crime department in provincial security commandment for Logar province said, the detained Pakistanis included 2 engineers and 6 workers assigned to a hospital construction project in Logar province.

The incident took place while they were returning to their accommodation after work when they were snatched at gunpoint on Wednesday.
Provincial police chief for eastern Logar province Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai said, they were going home from work. Along the road, their minivan was stopped by unknown gunmen, their driver was forced out of the car and all were taken away to an unknown location.

This comes as tensions between Pakistan, United States and Afghanistan has already heightened after NATO air raid on two Pakistani check posts early Saturday morning, which killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai further added, Afghan security forces have launched a search operation to find and rescue the abducted Pakistani citizens.
No group including the Taliban militants have so far claimed responsibility behind the kidnapping but local security officials believe that criminals gangs would possibly be behind the kidnapping with a motive to gain a ransom in exchange of the abducted Pakistani citizens.
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Explosion kills at least 10 Iraqi town of Khalis

 Thursday, December 01, 2011 –
According to Iraqi security officials, a car bomb exploded in a street market in the Iraqi town of Khalis on Thursday, killing 10 people and wounding 25.

Major Ali al-Temimi of the Khalis police said, “according to the witnesses, there was a parked civilian car bomb in the street market and it blew up and led to the deaths of 10 people.”
Meanwhile, A local hospital official says 22 persons were wounded in the blast.

The blast underscored Iraq’s fragile security as the remaining 13,000 US troops pull out in the next few weeks, nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Authorities immediately imposed a curfew in Khalis, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad soon after the explosion.

Khalis, a Shiite enclave north of Baghdad, is surrounded by the largely Sunni province of Diyala. The province is a former stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq.
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Yemeni Forces Shell City of Taiz, 5 Killed

Saleh finally gave in to international pressure and 10 months of protests against him, handing power over to his deputy to end 33 years of rule, during which he enmeshed family, friends and allies in the nation's economy and military.
The plan's sponsors hope it will halt a slide into civil war on the doorstep of the world's biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and prevent al Qaeda's regional branch from jeopardizing shipping routes through the Red Sea.
But the deal has so far failed to stop bloodshed in the impoverished Arab state.
"We are living in an atmosphere of real war. We couldn't sleep from the intensity of the blasts. We came to the aid of five residents of the quarter, whose house a shell landed on," resident Abdullah al-Sharaabi told Reuters by telephone.

Published: December 1, 2011 at 5:06 AM ET

Read more:  at NYTimes

Somali Pirates Release Singaporean Tanker, Keep 4 Hostages

English: I have taken an image of the MV Faina...Image via Wikipedia
Somali pirates have released a Singapore-owned hijacked chemical tanker, but continue to hold four South Korean sailors as hostages.

The Singapore-based firm Glory Ship Management, which owns the ship, said Thursday that the pirates had promised to release all 25 crew members, but instead took the remaining four “ashore at the last moment.”

The company says the released crew members are in good health and that it is working to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

Pirates seized the tanker off the east African coast in April while it was travelling from Indonesia to Kenya.

The crew consisted of 13 Indonesians, five Chinese and three Burmese, in addition to the South Koreans.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry says it is also working to have the remaining hostages released, but reiterated its position not to negotiate with pirates.

In January, South Korean military commandos rescued the crew of a hijacked freighter in the Arabian Sea, killing eight Somali pirates.

Five other pirates were captured in the raid and given long prison sentences.

from VOA News
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Oliver North, US Troops Veterans Day Video

this video is posted by Omega on Apacheclips

so now i'm sharing this great speech here too....

This video tribute on the front lines is the story of true patriots, told by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North at the NRA Annual Meetings in 2009. It's a stirring profile of the spirited, courageous guardians of our precious freedoms. America's best ...

absolutely actual today....
over "just" 4mill views on youtube

12 Insurgents Renounce Violence in Balkh

A 12-member insurgent group laid down its weapons and surrendered to Afghan forces in northern Balkh province on Wednesday, local officials said.

Now that these men have joined the peace process, security will be improving in Balkh province, officials added.

Local officials said the armed insurgents under Sardar Mohammad handed over their weapons to security authorities in Nar-e-Shahi district of Balkh.

More than 150 insurgents have been laid down their weapons and surrendered to Afghan security forces in the past six months in Balkh province, officials said.

The surrender comes as Afghan and Nato forces conduct clearing operations around the country in advance of handing over responsibility for providing security to local troops.

Thursday, 01 December 2011 10:57
 Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2011 12:03
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Russia may block NATO supply routes over missile shield dispute

Česky: Vlajka Severoatlantické aliance (NATO)....Image via Wikipedia
Russia has threatened that it might not allow NATO to use its territory for supplying troops in Afghanistan if the alliance does not seriously consider its objections to a US-led missile shield for Europe, Russia's ambassador to NATO has confirmed.

If NATO doesn't give a serious response, "we have to address matters in relations in other areas," The Nation quoted Ambassador Dmitri Rogozin, as saying.

He added that Russia's cooperation on Afghanistan might be an area for review.

Last week, Russia threatened US to deploy its own ballistic missiles on the border of the European Union to counter the anti-missile3 system. NATO says the shield is meant to thwart an attack from a rogue state such as Iran, that it poses no threat to Russia, and that the alliance will go ahead with the plan despite Moscow's objections.

Threats to NATO supply lines through Russia has come at a crucial times when Pakistan has asked the US to vacate the Shamsi Air Base in protest against a NATO attack that killed 28 Pakistani soldiers. (ANI)
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Bomb targets official in Pakistan's Peshawar: police

Photographers stand overhead as a police official surveys the site of a bomb explosion which struck the walls of the district coordination officer building in Peshawar on December 1, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz
PESHAWAR, Pakistan | Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:54pm EST
(Reuters) - A bomb exploded near the office of a regional government official in the often restive northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar early on Thursday, police officials said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
A wall of the district coordination officer's building collapsed after the blast, which was heard throughout Peshawar, the last major city on the route to Afghanistan.
Peshawar is also not far from Mohmand, the district where a strike by NATO-led forces at the weekend killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and plunged often uneasy relations between Washington and Islamabad to new lows.
Taliban militants have often launched suicide attacks in and around Peshawar in their campaign to topple the Pakistani government for its support of the U.S.-led war against militancy.
The army has launched a series of offensives against the Pakistani Taliban but have failed to subdue the group, which is close to al Qaeda and is blamed for many of the suicide bombings across Pakistan, an unstable, nuclear-armed U.S. ally.
Pakistani Taliban officials have said the group is holding exploratory peace talks with the Islamabad government.
Since the weekend strike in Mohmand, Pakistan has announced it will boycott an international conference on the future of Afghanistan in Germany next week, depriving the talks of a central player in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.
Pakistan has labelled that attack as a deliberate act of aggression, although that has been categorically denied by senior U.S. military officials.
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by _Paul Tait)

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Anti-Taliban leader killed in Pakistan car bombing

Pakistan News: Islamabad, Nov 30 (IANS) Hashim Khan, an anti-Taliban tribal leader in northwest Pakistan, was killed Wednesday when a bomb hidden in his car detonated, CNN reported.

Two of Khan's colleagues travelling with him were injured, said police official Abdul Rashid.

The explosion took place around 1 p.m. in Hangu city in Orakzai agency, a tribal region known to be a hotbed of militancy.

CNN said Khan was an influential tribal elder who led a local resistance against the Taliban and its many factions.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack.

Jihadists announce deaths of 21 Turks linked to the Haqqani Network

Mujahideen crossing in from Pakistan border, A...Image via Wikipedia
a report from Bill Roggio at LWJ
just added some wikipedia and maps links

A jihadist media outlet that supports Turkish terrorists fighting along the Afghan-Pakistan border said that 21 of its fighters were killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan, while another fighter was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan. All of the Turkish fighters who were killed were linked to the Haqqani Network.

Gazavat Media, a jihadist propaganda website that caters to Turkish jihadists belonging to the Taifatul Mansura, or the Victorious Sect, released a statement that announced the deaths of 21 "Turkish mujahideen affiliated with the Haqqani group," according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The statement was released on jihadist web forums on Nov. 30. The date of the death and the exact location was not disclosed.

"It was confirmed that the number of the Turkish mujahideen affiliated with the Haqqani group was 21, and that there were also mujahideen heavily wounded in the attack," the statement said. The Turkish fighters were killed in a so-called "low-intensity chemical weapon attack," but did not provide any further details. Eighteen of the fighters were identified by name, however three have yet to be named. The statement said the 21 Turkish fighters were members of one of several "mujahideen units" that operate along the Afghan-Pakistan border who attack the "occupiers."
In a separate statement released on Nov. 28, Gazavat Media said that another Turkish fighters was killed in a US Predator airstrike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.

"The mujahid of Turkish citizenship, who fought with the Haqqani group known as the Pakistani Taliban, was reported to have been affiliated with the group for the last three years," according to the Nov. 28 statement, which was translated by SITE. "The sources have reported that the Turkish citizen, M.E., who was martyred in a house hit by NATO drones, resided in Istanbul and was a registered resident of Gaziantep.

A number of al Qaeda linked groups from outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan flock to the region, and are known to fight alongside the Haqqani Network. Among those groups are the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan and its offshoot, the Islamic Jihad Union; the Caucasus Mujahideen in Khorasan; Jund al Khilafah; and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement.

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ANP and ANA discover four IEDs and 100 kg of homemade explosives

ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan (November 30, 2011) –

 The Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) discovered four pressure-plate Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and homemade explosives near the Yosef Kheyl village, Nawbahar district, Nov. 26.
            The ANP and ANA were conducting a route clearance for a Coalition Forces convoy in an area known for IEDs.
During the clearance, they discovered and safely destroyed the four IEDs and approximately 100 kg of homemade explosives. 
            “All of the IEDs had been in the ground for a considerable time,” said a coalition SOF team member. “All of the IEDs were then remotely removed and the homemade explosives were destroyed.”
            No civilian injuries or property damage occured during the reduction. 

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Dec. 01., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 1, 2011)
While on patrol in Sharan district, Paktika province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force encountered two armed suspected insurgents displaying hostile intent, yesterday.
Assessing an immediate threat, the security force fired, killing the individuals.

When the force moved in closer, they discovered the insurgents were carrying two AK-47s, four grenades, 90 rounds of small arms ammunition and five blasting caps. 
The force then searched an adjacent building and found two suspected insurgents along with three rocket-propelled grenades, 200 rounds of machine gun ammunition and various IED components. 
The two suspected insurgents were detained for questioning and all of the weapons were recovered by the Afghan security force as evidence.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


Today, in Musa Qal’ah district, Helmand province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader. The leader places roadside bombs throughout Helmand province and plans ambush attacks against Afghan forces. Multiple suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.
In Arghandab district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache while conducting a patrol, yesterday. The cache consisted of approximately 540 pounds (270 kilograms) of hashish. All of the drugs were destroyed at the scene.  No civilians were harmed during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a weapons cache while on patrol in Zurmat district, Paktika province, Tuesday. The cache consisted of two 122mm rockets, three 82mm mortars, one anti-tank mine, four rocket-propelled grenades, five hand grenades, one AK-47 rifle, more than 4,000 rounds of machine gun and small arms ammunition and various improvised explosive device-making components. All of the weapons were destroyed on site and no civilians were harmed during the operation.
Today, a Taliban leader was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force during an operation in Khugyani district, Nangarhar province. The leader distributed bomb making material and planned roadside bomb attacks against coalition forces. The security force detained one additional suspected insurgent during the operation.
A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader in Nerkh district, Wardak province, today. The leader coordinates attacks against Afghan forces in both Maidan Shahr and Nerkh districts.  The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents during the operation.
In Sabari district, Khost province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Haqqani network leader, today. The leader plans roadside and indirect fire attacks against Afghan forces. Multiple suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.
Today, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader in Andar district, Ghazni province. The leader directs insurgent fighters in planned attacks in Andar and Deh Yak districts. Multiple suspected insurgents were detained.
A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Haqqani network leader in Jani Khel district, Paktiya province, today. The leader coordinates attacks against Afghan forces. The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents and confiscated weapons to include an RPK machine gun.
Yesterday, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a weapons cache while on patrol in Baraki Barak district, Logar province. The cache consisted of one IED, 20 mortar rounds, six mines and various IED components. All of the weapons were confiscated by the security force to be destroyed at a later date.

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