Saturday, January 28, 2012

US drone crash in eastern Ghazni province

According to local authorities in eastern Afghanistan, a US drone on Friday crashed in eastern Ghazni province.

Provincial governor spokesman Modasir Afghan said, the drone crashed at Janjat village in Deh-Yak district, due to technical problems.

In the meantime a spokesman for the Taliban group Zabiullah Mujahid claimed that the drone was shot down by the Taliban fighters.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid also said that they have taken the damaged drone with them.

This is the firt time a US drone crashes in eastern Ghazni province.

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force yet to comment regarding the incident.

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Gunmen kill senior police officer in southeastern Yemen

Yemen governorates map
Image via Wikipedia
ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Gunmen shot dead a senior police officer in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout on Friday evening, a provincial security official told Xinhua.

Two unidentified gunmen believed to be linked to al-Qaida militants fired at a security checkpoint in the Shaher district in Hadramout province, killing a high-ranking police officer, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"A barrage of bullets hit the military vehicle of Colonel Mubar Barfah, head of the police investigations in the city, and killed him," the official said.

The attackers managed to escape after the shooting, he said.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the attack bore the hallmarks of the al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP), according to the security official.

Taking advantage of Yemen's unrest to bolster their presence in the country's southern and eastern regions, the AQAP militants have been launching sporadic shoot-outs and motorbike attacks on security and intelligence officials during the past several months.

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Afghanistan Signs Strategic Pact with France

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday met his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy and signed a strategic partnership agreement.

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently said the strategic partnership with France will span 20 years and cover economic, security and political co-operation.

Saturday, 28 January 2012 10:26
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 10:34
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France on Friday announced it will pull its combat forces out of Afghanistan one year ahead of the scheduled Nato withdrawal.

Mr Sarkozy said France had told the US of its plan and will present it at a February 2 meeting of Nato Defence Ministers in Brussels.

"We have decided in a common accord with President Karzai to ask Nato to consider a total handing of Nato combat missions to the Afghan army over the course of 2013," Mr Sarkozy said.

The US plans to withdraw the 33,000 "surge" troops sent to Afghanistan in 2010 by the end of the summer.

The military believes that the remaining 68,000 should stay until the end of the 2014 summer fighting season to maintain and expand what they say are gains against the Taliban.

Mr Sarkozy said France will withdraw combat troops by the end of 2013. He said France will start training Afghan troops again on Saturday.

France halted its training mission on January 20 after an Afghan National Army soldier shot and killed four French soldiers and wounded 17 others in eastern Kapisa province.

After the attack Mr Sarkozy immediately suspended the training and joint French military patrols with Afghan forces.

France has around 4,000 troops in Afghanistan; it lost 82 soldiers during the war.

Meanwhile, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the timetable announced by France was worked through by both the Afghans and Nato as part of efforts to transfer security authority to Afghanistan.

"We, obviously, want to continue to work together to ensure that this is implemented in a way that is consistent with the efforts of all of Nato to give increasing authority to the Afghans, and that it is smooth," she said.

Nato said it had "taken note" of Mr Sarkozy's statement.

Nato first set the 2014 target 14 months ago and has scheduled a summit in Chicago in May to begin to flesh out withdrawal plans.

Mr Karzai said: "We hope to finish the transition, to complete this transition of authority to the Afghan forces, to the Afghan government, by the end of 2013 at the earliest or by the latest as has been agreed upon by the end of 2014."

Afghan security forces took over responsibility for providing security in seven areas in the first phrase of transition. The second phase of transition has started, with Afghan troops taking control of 18 new areas from foreign troops.

There are around 130,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan fighting insurgents; 90,000 of them are from the US.

To watch the whole speech, please click here:

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Soldier from 1 YORKS killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a soldier serving with 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment was killed in Afghanistan today, Friday 27 January 2012.

A Military Operations news article

27 Jan 12

Serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North), the soldier was a member of an International Security Assistance Force foot patrol to disrupt insurgent activity in the Khar Nikah region of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, when he received a fatal gunshot wound.
Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie, said:
"It is my very sad duty to inform you that a soldier serving with 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment was fatally wounded in an insurgent attack while on a foot patrol to disrupt insurgent activity in the Khar Nikah area of Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand province.
"Our deepest condolences are with his family and friends at this tragic time."
The soldier's family have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released.

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Jan.28., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Jan. 28) – An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation in Maiwand district, Kandahar province, today.
The leader was part of an explosives cell and coordinated the shipment of weapons and ammunition for use by insurgent fighters.
The security force confiscated multiple bomb-making materials and detained two suspected insurgents during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

In Nadir Shah Kot district, Khost province, an Afghan led and coalition supported security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader today. The leader directs insurgent operations throughout Nadir Shah Kot district. The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents during the operation.

An Afghan led and coalition supported security force conducted an operation in Ghazni district, Ghazni province, yesterday. During the operation, the Afghan security force identified a group of individuals engaged in suspicious activity. The security force investigated and detained several suspected insurgents. The detainees were taken in by Afghan security forces for further questioning.

In Ahmadabad district, Paktiya province, an Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Haqqani Network leader today. The leader is responsible for multiple attacks in Gardez province and directs insurgents in roadside bomb and complex attacks throughout the area. The security force seized bomb-making materials and detained one suspected insurgent during the operation.
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