Friday, December 30, 2011

Powerful blast kills 9, injures 18 in Quetta

QUETTA: A powerful blast on Arbab Karam Khan Road near Raisani Chowk has killed nine and injured 18 people in Quetta, Geo News reported.

The blast ripped through a residential neighborhood outside the house of former federal minister Naseer Mengal's son Shafiq Mengal.

Many houses caught fire after the blast.

A senior police official, while talking to Geo News feared a sharp rise in the death toll.

Emergency was declared in the area in the wake of the blast, the bang of which was heard miles away. Such was the intensity of the explosion that most of the windowpanes in the nearby housing blocks and market place fell apart.

Ambulances are doing rounds between the hospitals and the blast site.

Firefighters also reached site of tragedy and were busy fighting flames.

Two of the injured are in critical condition, rescue sources told Geo News.

A shootout between unknown gunmen and police was also reported after the blast. Eyewitnesses say the armed men opened fire at police and media who arrived on the scene after the blast. Gunmen also manhandled a private TV channel's cameramen and broke his camera.

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Dec. 30., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 30) — An Afghan led and coalition supported security force captured two Taliban leaders during an operation in Zharay district, Kandahar province, today. Both leaders planned attacks against Afghan forces and moved weapons and explosives to include rocket-propelled grenades throughout Zharay district. Multiple firearms were confiscated during the operation.
In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:
In the Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, an Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader today. The leader was involved in multiple attacks against coalition forces and served as a judge for the Taliban. Two additional suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.
A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache during a routine patrol in Panjwa‘i district, Kandahar province, today. The cache consisted of approximately 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of marijuana. The security force seized the drugs, which will be destroyed at a later date.

An Afghan led and coalition supported security force captured a Haqqani facilitator during an operation in Sabari district, Khost province, today. The facilitator moved rockets and roadside bombs from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Multiple weapons were confiscated and three additional suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.
In Nerkh district, Wardak province, an Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban facilitator during an operation today. The facilitator supplied bomb making materials, acquired weapons and ammunition, and participated in attacks in the Maidan Shahr district.
An Afghan led and coalition supported security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation in Baraki Barak district, Logar province, today. The leader distributed weapons, specialized in the construction of roadside bombs, and conducted attacks against Afghan forces. Two additional suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

An Afghan-led security force supported by coalition troops conducted an operation in search of insurgent leaders in Bakwah district, Farah province, earlier this week. As the combined force approached an identified enemy position, several insurgents opened fire. Assessing an immediate threat, the security force engaged the insurgents. Mullah Toyeb, a high-level insurgent leader, was killed along with insurgent commanders known as Iliyas and Delawar, as well as a number of additional insurgents.

Security forces also recovered several weapons, ammunition, rockets and bomb-making equipment from the scene. No Afghan or coalition forces were injured during the operation.

R.I.P. - Captain Tom Jennings, Squadron Leader Anthony Downing

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Captain Tom Jennings, Royal Marines, who was killed in Afghanistan on 22 December 2011.

Capt Jennings died after the vehicle he was travelling in struck an explosive device whilst on an operation to the south of Kabul.
Squadron Leader Anthony Downing RAF, whose death was announced separately by the Ministry of Defence, had been travelling in the same vehicle.

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Squadron Leader Anthony Downing, who died on 23 December 2011 following an incident in Afghanistan.
He had been seriously wounded when the vehicle he was travelling in was caught in an explosion south of Kabul on Thursday 22 December. He was flown back to the UK where sadly, he died of his wounds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. His family were with him when he died.
Captain Tom Jennings, Royal Marines, whose death was announced separately by the Ministry of Defence, had been travelling in the same vehicle.

Captain Tom Jennings, Royal Marines
Capt Jennings died after the vehicle he was travelling in struck an explosive device whilst on an operation to the south of Kabul.
Capt Jennings, aged 29, was a true leader, selfless in his professional approach serving those who were his responsibility. Dedicated and humble, he was an archetypal Royal Marine with a keen sense of humour even when faced with adversity. Whilst working with the Afghan forces that he partnered, he displayed empathy and a broad cultural understanding that ensured he was highly valued by the Afghans as well as his Royal Marine brothers.
He was devoted to his wife and their two young sons whose loss cannot be portrayed in words. The Royal Marines have lost a brother, they have lost their world.
Capt Jennings family have asked that their privacy is respected.

Squadron Leader Anthony Downing RAF
Known as Ant, 34-year-old Squadron Leader Downing was, by trade, an Engineering Officer in the Royal Air Force. He ran the last Nimrod Line Squadron before its disbandment.
His unassuming and modest demeanour belied a hugely professional officer and an extremely determined individual. His work in Afghanistan typified this as he had studied hard at the Defence School of Languages, Beaconsfield, coming top of his language course, and travelled to Tajikistan in his own time to further his studies. However, Ant was no book-worm and found the time to train for, and compete in, a series of Iron Man Triathlons and Ultra Marathons.
This physical and professional drive lent him a rare confidence, the sense of being comfortable in his own skin that made him an utterly charming individual with whom it was so easy to pass the time. This dynamic allowed him to interact effectively with the Afghans and his British colleagues alike.

R.I.P. - Petty Officer Stacy O. Johnson

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Petty Officer Stacy O. Johnson, 35, of Rolling Fork, Miss., died July 18, while supporting operations in Bahrain. Johnson was a master-at-arms assigned to Naval Security Force Bahrain.

For further information related to this release, contact Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs at 011-973-1785-4520.

At least 30 people killed in Turkish Air Raid

Thursday, December 29, 2011 – At least 30 people have been reported killed following air raids by Turkish warplanes near a Kurdish village close to the with Iraq.

Mayor of Uludere in Sirnak province Fehmi Yaman said, “We have 30 corpses, all of them are burned. The state knew that these people were smuggling in the region. This kind of incident is unacceptable. They were hit from the air.”

According to local officials, drums of diesel carried by the group had exploded.
Turkish warplanes strike militant targets regularly in the region in their battle against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas, and have stepped up raids after a PKK attack in August.

In the meantime, a Turkish security official said, “There were rumors that the PKK would cross through this region. Images were recorded of a crowd crossing last night, hence an operation was carried out.”

The source further added, “We could not have known whether these people were (PKK) group members or smugglers.”

Turkish military launched an operation in northern Iraq in October after a PKK attack killed 24 soldiers in the town of Cukurca near the Iraqi border, the army’s biggest loss since 1993.
PKK fighters usually launch attacks on Turkish targets from their rear bases in northern Iraq.

Afghan Intelligence detain 2 Pakistani militants

Thursday, December 29, 2011 – Officials in Afghan Intelligence Department, National Directorate for Security announced to detain at least two Pakistani militant suspects in eastern Kunar province.

The Afghan Intelligence Department named the detained suspects as Mohsen Shah resident of Charasada at Peshawar Pakistan and Bashir also known as Ibrahim resident fo Qadam Khel at Mardan Pakistan.

The officials further added, the detained militants were involved in plotting insurgency activities in eastern regions of the country and the militants have confessed to their crimes during the preliminary stage of the investigations.

The militants said that they were hired by Qari Zafir a resident of Panjab in Pakistan and were trained for at least 40 days at training center in Miranshah.

The Intelligence officials also said, another criminal suspect was detained in the charges of forgery in the same province.

The detained suspect was named as Hedayatullah resident of Kamish district at eastern Kunar province.
According to intelligence officials, the suspect was struggling to exchange around USD 7,000 at Asadabad district of eastern Kunar province.
The suspect has also confessed to his crimes, the officials said.
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R.I.P. - Sgt. Noah M. Korte, Spc. Kurt W. Kern, Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Dec. 27, in Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Killed were:

Sgt. Noah M. Korte, 29, of Lake Elsinore, Calif.,

Spc. Kurt W. Kern, 24, of McAllen, Texas, and

Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire, 20, of Easley, S.C.

For more information related to this release, the media may visit or contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9993 or 254-287-0106.

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