Saturday, December 17, 2011

11 Afghan Police Kidnapped by Militants Freed

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan security forces and international troops freed 11 Afghan policemen kidnapped by militants nearly two weeks ago, the Defense Ministry said Saturday. 

Militants abducted the Afghan policemen Dec. 5 during an ambush in Wardooj district of Badakhshan province. Two policemen were killed and four others wounded during the kidnapping, said Sayed Hussain Safawi, deputy provincial police chief.

Afghan border police and international troops rescued the policemen on Friday after local elders' attempts to mediate their release failed. About two dozen suspected insurgents were arrested during the rescue.
Separately, in the east, the U.S.-led coalition and local Afghan officials have released differing accounts of a raid on a home around 1 a.m. Saturday in Ahmadaba district of Paktia province.
The governor of Paktia province condemned what he said was a raid on the home of the Afghan government's counternarcotics chief in the province, the governor's spokesman, Rohullah Samon, said. He said local authorities, who believe the counternarcotics chief has not committed any crime, have contacted the coalition about getting him released.

After international troops exchanged gunfire with guards at the house, they detained the counternarcotics chief and two of his sons, he said. An Afghan woman and another member of the counternarcotics chief's family were killed and three other women were injured, Samon said.

The coalition said the three men detained included a leader with the Haqqani militant network, which is affiliated with al-Qaida and the Taliban. Two AK-47 assault rifles, a bolt-action rifle, ammunition and a grenade were confiscated from the compound.

A joint Afghan-NATO force returned gunfire coming from the house, the coalition said. After the shooting stopped, they called for those inside to come out.
Two Afghan women inside were wounded and evacuated to a medical facility and one later died of a gunshot wound, the coalition said.
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Syrian Forces Kill 17; Huge Protests in Homs

Activists say Syrian security forces killed at least 17 people on Friday as more than 200,000 protesters rallied against President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Activists say most of the deaths took place in the flashpoint Homs region, where a huge crowd gathered to voice opposition to the Arab League's decision to postpone an emergency meeting on Syria that was set for Saturday.

News organizations say the league postponed the foreign ministers' meeting to give Damascus more time to avoid sanctions by agreeing to a plan that could end the unrest.

The Syrian government countered the activists' account saying there were no deaths or "human rights injuries" on Friday. The state-run SANA news agency also said a pro-government rally took place in a western region.

Russia's Interfax news agency said Friday that a Syrian official, Vice President Faruq al-Shara, has been invited to Moscow for talks with Kremlin officials. On Thursday, Russia proposed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would condemn both the Syrian government and the opposition for violence linked to anti-government protests.

The U.N. estimates that some 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in February. Syria's U.N. ambassador has rejected that figure as "incredible."

In another development Friday, the United Nation's refugee agency [UNHCR] said more than 4,000 Syrians fleeing the government crackdown have poured into Lebanon. The agency said several hundred Syrians had crossed into the neighboring country within the past week.

for video and interactive map, visit the source: VOANEWS

U.S. drones allowed in Iraqi skies

ANKARA, Turkey – American troops are almost gone from Iraq, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. military will cease its operations there entirely.

Baghdad has given Washington permission to keep flying Predator drones on surveillance missions over northern Iraq, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Friday. The unmanned airplanes, which operate out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, are being used to look for fighters from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK.

The U.S. military had flown the Predators on anti-PKK missions since 2007 from Iraqi bases, but had to move them out of the country this fall as part of the American withdrawal from Iraq. U.S. defense officials had previously acknowledged relocating the drones to Turkey, but Panetta’s statement was the first confirmation that they were still authorized to fly in Iraqi airspace.

The Kurdish group, which is fighting to create an autonomous enclave in Turkey, has launched cross-border attacks from its camps in northern Iraq for years. Turkey has responded with airstrikes and artillery attacks and has also sent ground troops into Iraq, further destabilizing a volatile area.

The U.S. government officially labels the PKK a terrorist organization, although the group has not targeted American interests. Turkey is a key NATO ally of the United States.

The Predators based at Incirlik are unarmed. The U.S. military shares video surveillance from the planes with the Turkey, which considers the data a valuable tool for its anti-PKK operations.

The military assistance has been a key factor in strengthening U.S.-Turkish relations in recent years. Panetta said he stressed to President Abdullah Gul and Turkish military leaders that Washington’s efforts to counter the PKK would not end after the United States pulls out of Iraq this month.

“I made very clear the United States will continue to assist Turkey in confronting this threat,” Panetta told reporters in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

By from the

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3 Yemeni Officers Killed in Southern City

SANAA, Yemen (AP) —
Yemeni security officials say three military officers, including two from a renegade unit, were killed by unknown assailants in the southern city of Taiz.

Friday's attack came days after the vice president announced a security plan calling for militia and military units to withdraw from the streets in an attempt to restore order after months of protests seeking
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster.

The security officials said the slain officers from the renegade unit were shot in the center of Taiz. The other officer was shot in his car in a separate incident. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

4 militants killed 24 injured in joint military operations

Saturday, December 17, 2011 –
Officials in the ministry of interior affairs of Afghanistan following a press release on Saturday said, at least four militants were killed and 24 others were detained in joint military operations across the country during the past 24 hours.

The source further added, the operations were conducted by Afghan security forces and NATO-led international security assistance force in Kabul, Kunduz, Kandahar, Helmand and Maidan Wardak province.

According to officials, Afghan and NATO forces also seized some weapons and ammunitions during the operations.

In the meantime, officials in Kandahar provincial governor media office said, at least two militants involved in planting roadside bombs were killed and another one was injured following a NATO air raid in Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province on Friday night.

In a separate operation, Afghan intelligence forces detained a suicide bomber with a truck in northern Parwan province. The suicide bomber was detained in Kabul-Parwan highway on Friday night.
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Commander Kaftar release 3 hostages in Nahrin district

Saturday, December 17, 2011 –
 Officials in northern Baghlan province announced the release of at least three civilians including an Afghan child, who were kidnapped by a local Jihadi leader few days back.

Baraki district chief Mawlana Fazal Rahman said, the three individuals were kidnapped by commander, a female tribal Jihadi commander in Nahrin district of northern Baghlan province.

Mr. Rahman further added, the three individuals including a child was freed as a result of tribal elders negotiation efforts.

In the meantime, Syed Zamanuddin Hussaini northern Baghlan provincial security chief said, efforts have been put in place to pursuade commander Kaftar to lay down arms and join peace process.

He also said, negotiations between commander Kaftar and Afghan government have been 80% successful to encourage her for preventing insurgency activities in the region.

According to reports, commander Kaftar had joined peace process and stopped illegal armed operations following peace negotiations two years back, but resumed illegal militant activities in Nahrin district recently.

Report by Ajmal Omeri, Baghlan province.

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2 militants detained in Afghan army operations

Districts of Wardak.Image via Wikipedia
Saturday, December 17, 2011 –  Officials in the ministry of defense of Afghanistan following a press release on Saturday said, at least two militants were arrested by Afghan national army soldiers following a military operation in eastern Wardak province.

The source further added, the operations were conducted by Afghan army soldiers after a number of militants attacked an Afghan army check post at Haft Asyab in Syedabad district of eastern Wardak province.

According to Afghan security officials, Afghan security did not suffer any casualties during the militants attack.

Afghan security forces also seized some weapons and ammunitions including a vehicle being used by the militants during the cleanup operations.

The press release by Afghan defense ministry also added, Afghan national army soldiers also seized some weapons and ammunitions from the Jalriz district of Wardak province during a separate military operations.
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Dec. 17., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 17) — A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province, yesterday.

During the operation, the security force observed an armed individual displaying hostile intent.  Assessing an immediate threat, the force engaged, killing one insurgent.  An AK-47 assault rifle was recovered by the security force and one additional suspected insurgent was detained.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban facilitator during an operation in Khanabad district, Kunduz province, today. The facilitator was involved in a recent suicide bomb attack in Baghlan province. No civilians were injured during the operation.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader in the Kajaki district, Helmand province, today. The leader coordinates shipments of explosives and weapons in support of insurgent operations in the Helmand province. Multiple suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

Coalition forces discovered a weapons cache during a patrol in Tarin Kot district, Uruzgan province, yesterday. The cache consisted of five 107 mm rockets with fuses. The security force confiscated all rockets for destruction at a later date.

In Arghandab district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache during a routine patrol, yesterday. The cache consisted of approximately 800 pounds (363 kilograms) of marijuana. Security forces burned the marijuana on site without incident.

In Sabari district, Khost province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani leader during an operation, today. The leader conducted attacks on Afghan forces and coordinated the movement of bomb making materials throughout the area. The security force seized multiple firearms and detained four additional suspected insurgents during the operation.

Local Taliban Commander Killed in Kunar Operation

A local Taliban commander and seven of his men were killed in a joint Afghan and Nato operation in eastern Kunar province on Thursday, a spokesman for the provincial governor said on Saturday.

Commander Wazir Khan was killed during a clearing operation in Choki district. Two Taliban insurgents were also arrested during the operation that continued into Friday, spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi said.

Afghan and Nato forces also seized many weapons during the raid.

There were no Afghan, Nato or civilian casualties, Mr Wasifi said.

Kunar province shares a border with Pakistan and insurgents are active there, frequently targeting Afghan police checkpoints.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011 –
  According to local authorities in eastern Afghanistan, at least eight militants including a senior militants commander were killed following a joint military operation in eastern Kunar province.

Kunar provincial governor spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi said, the military operations were launched in Suki district on Thursday evening and was completed on Friday evening.

Mr. Wasifi further added, a militant commander recognized as Wazir Khan was killed along with his fighters in Dewagul area during the military operations.

He also said, the joint military forces did not suffer any casualties during the operations.

In the meantime, Zabiullah Mujahid a spokesman for the Taliban militants group confirmed the operations by foreign and Afghan forces but he did not confirm the Taliban militants casualties during the operations.

Upgraded Army Lynx helicopter fleet complete

At a ceremony yesterday, Thursday 15 December 2011, at AgustaWestland's Yeovil plant in Somerset, the handover of the last upgraded Lynx Mk9A took place three months ahead of the contract end delivery date.
The first upgraded Lynx Mk9A helicopters with more powerful engines were delivered to Afghanistan on 25 May 2010, only 18 months after the project was started under the urgent operational requirement system to provide commanders with a far more versatile, light helicopter.

The last of 22 upgraded Lynx support helicopters has been handed over to the Army Air Corps on budget and three months ahead of schedule.
A Lynx Mk9A helicopter
A Lynx Mk9A helicopter at AgustaWestland's Yeovil plant in Somerset
[Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

At a ceremony yesterday, Thursday 15 December 2011, at AgustaWestland's Yeovil plant in Somerset, the handover of the last upgraded Lynx Mk9A took place three months ahead of the contract end delivery date.
The first upgraded Lynx Mk9A helicopters with more powerful engines were delivered to Afghanistan on 25 May 2010, only 18 months after the project was started under the urgent operational requirement system to provide commanders with a far more versatile, light helicopter.
The upgraded helicopters performed so effectively that a further £42m contract was approved covering the remaining 10 aircraft in March 2010.
The upgraded helicopters can operate all year round in the hot and high conditions on the front line, providing fire support, troop transport and casualty evacuation in the most demanding conditions.
As well as the more powerful T800 engine, the upgrade includes updated instruments and digital displays, a modified gearbox and a strengthened rear fuselage to deal with the extra power.
The new systems have been designed for ease of maintenance, enabling faster servicing and turnaround between missions.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, welcomed the milestone:
"I am delighted that this programme has swiftly equipped the Army with a helicopter that can play a valuable support role in theatre all year round, free of the performance restrictions that affected its predecessor.
A Lynx Mk9A helicopter
A Lynx Mk9A helicopter flying over Afghanistan
[Picture: AgustaWestland/MOD]

"Commanders are already feeling the benefits of this more versatile development of the excellent Lynx."
MOD Defence Equipment & Support's Director Helicopters, Adrian Baguley, said:
"The delivery of this urgent operational requirement to enhance the Lynx Mk9 fleet has given theatre commanders a much more capable and versatile light helicopter. It is a truly outstanding example of joint working between the MOD's Lynx project team and AgustaWestland."
The Commanding Officer of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Keating, added:
"The Lynx Mk9A has revolutionised the provision of light utility helicopter support in Afghanistan. Operationally credible and capable, its performance and reliability enable the enduring provision of escort and overwatch to support helicopters and ground troops alike.
"A delight to operate and maintain, the platform's utility continues to expand as its versatility in theatre increases on a daily basis."
The current Lynx fleet will be withdrawn from service during the next decade and is being replaced by the Lynx Wildcat AH Mk1 for the Army and the Wildcat HMA Mk1 for the Royal Navy that will enter service in January 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Lynx and other support helicopters from all three Services come under the overall control of Joint Helicopter Command.

An Equipment and Logistics news article

16 Dec 11

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