Sunday, March 11, 2012

Drugs and weapons seized in northern Baghlan province

Local security officials in northern Baghlan province on Sunday announced Afghan police forces seized at least 40 kg of opium and drugs along with 16 weapons.

Provincial security chief Gen. Asadullah Shirzad speaking during a press conference on Sunday morning said, Afghan police seized at least 40 kg of hashish, 3 grams of heroin and 16 pistols.

Gen. Shirzad further added, the drugs and weapons were seized from various regions of northern Baghlan province.

Afghan security forces also captured two suspects in connection to the smuggle of the drugs and weapons, Gen. Shirzad said.

According to provincial security officials, at least 40 cases of drugs and weapons smuggle have been registered in this province since the beginning of the Afghan fiscal year where dozens of suspects have also been captured.

Author: Ajmal Omeri, Baghlan province.

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Hungary PRT distribute aid to reconciled militants in Baghlan

Around 92 anti-government armed militants who joined peace process received food and winter clothing at Baisqal district in northern Baghlan province.

Provincial police Gen. Asadullah while distributing the aid to the reconciled militants said, the aid package which has been arranged by Hungarian provincial reconstruction team in coordination with the Baghlan high peace council, include 50 kg of wheat, 20 kg rice, 5 liters Ghee, 20 kg beans, 4 bed sheets and some amount of sugar, tea and salt.

Gen. Shirzad further added, a military base has also been formed in the area to maintain security and further bases will be constructed in the future if needed.

In the meantime tribal elders and the reconciled militants urged for the implementation of welfare projects including schools, health clinics, wells and construction of roads in this district.

A member of the provincial peace council Shams-ul-Haq said, rural development officials have vowed to complete the gravel work of the highway which connects Baisqal district with the northern Pul-e-Khumri city.

At least 100 militants have joined peace process in northern Baghlan province during the past 2 months.

Author: Ajmal Omeri, Baghlan province.

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At least three killed, 15 injured as bus station explosions rock Kenyan capital

by Daniel and Christine Lagat

NAIROBI, March 10 (Xinhua) -- At least three were killed and 15 others seriously injured as several hand grenades were thrown at a busy bus station in Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Saturday night, local police have confirmed.

A wounded man is brought into the hospital on March 10 after a bomb at a bus station in Nairobi that left at least 6 dead.
Nairobi Provincial Police Officer Anthony Kibuchi said an unidentified man hurled several hand grenades in the middle of commuters who were waiting to board their public passenger vehicles near the Country Bus Station which is usually overcrowded by passengers.

"We can confirm three people have been killed and 15 others wounded in grenade explosions near Country Bus station. The injured have been rushed to the hospital," Kibuchi told journalists at the scene of the incident.

He said the police have launched investigations to ascertain the motive behind the attack which is widely blamed on Al-Shabaab sympathizers.

Initial reports indicated that the grenades were thrown by a person who was on a speeding vehicle at commuters who were rushing home after day-long work and those who were planning to travel up country.

The place where this accident happened has been sealed off by anti-terrorism police who are trying to establish the cause of the attack in downtown Nairobi.

The latest explosions came after two earlier explosions rocked Nairobi in last October near the scene of the current one. Both of them were blamed on Al-Shabaab sympathizers.

In the previous attack, an unidentified man hurled a hand grenade in another bus terminal near the Machakos Bus Station and another was hurled on a nightclub in the centre of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, killing two and injuring more than 25 others.

The Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility of the previous two incidents.

The explosions also came amid intensified security checks in the city in an effort to eradicate Al-Shabaab militia in the east African nation.

Al-Shabaab is a Somali-based terrorist group that at one time controlled large administrative areas of the lawless country. It has claimed links to the global al Qaida terrorist network.

However, the group's territorial control has come under attack in the last six months from the Kenya Defence Forces after a series of abductions targeting tourists and aid workers that were blamed on the group.
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US soldier kills Afghan civilians in Kandahar

A US soldier has killed more than a dozen civilians in a shooting spree in southern Afghanistan before being detained, officials say.

He left his military base in the early hours of the morning and opened fire after entering local homes; women and children are said to be among the dead.

Nato said it was investigating the "deeply regrettable incident".
Anti-US sentiment is already high in Afghanistan after US soldiers burnt copies of the Koran last month.

US officials have apologised repeatedly for the incident at a Nato base in Kabul, but they failed to quell a series of protests and attacks that killed at least 30 people and six US troops.

Local people have reportedly gathered near the base in Panjwai district to protest about Sunday's killings, and the US embassy is advising against travel to the area.


The soldier, who has not been named, is said to have suffered a nervous breakdown.
He walked off his base at around 03:00 local time (22:30 GMT Saturday).

According to a resident quoted by Associated Press, he opened fire in three separate houses in the village of Alkozai.

"I heard gunshots and then silence and then gunshots again," Abdul Baqi said.

Local tribal leaders said women and children were among the dead.

A delegation from the provincial governor's office has arrived in the village to determine what has happened, a spokesman said.

After carrying out the killings, the soldier reportedly handed himself over to the US military authorities.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said in a statement that US officials in Afghanistan would work with their Afghan counterparts to investigate what happened.

"This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved," Isaf added.

Sediq Seddiqi, the spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, told Al Jazeera the incident was under investigation. He could not confirm any reports of casualties.

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Herat, said the soldier entered three houses near the base and opened fire on civilians

Meanwhile, in Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government still expects to sign a strategic partnership with the United States in the next couple of months.

In a televised speech, he said discussions would continue on the precise role the US will play in Afghanistan after Nato hands over security responsibility to Kabul at the end of 2014.

On Friday, Kabul and Washington reached a deal to transfer US-run prisons in the country to Afghan control.

from bbc and aljazeera

ISAF releasse:

For Immediate Release

 Service member detained in Kandahar

 KABUL, Afghanistan (Mar. 11) - A United States service member was detained today in connection to an incident that resulted in Afghan casualties in Kandahar province.

 This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved.

 U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), in cooperation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident and release additional information as appropriate.

 Requests for information regarding Afghan casualties should be referred to the Ministry of Interior.
ISAF Deputy Commander Statement on Civilian Casualties in Kandahar

KABUL, Afghanistan (Mar. 11, 2012) – The Deputy Commander, International Security Assistance Force, Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, released the following statement today:

“In my role as in-theatre Commander of ISAF in General Allen’s temporary absence on duty, I wish to convey my profound regrets and dismay at the actions apparently taken by one coalition member in Kandahar province. One of our soldiers is reported to have killed and injured a number of civilians in villages adjacent to his base. I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorized ISAF military activity. An investigation is already underway and every effort will be made to establish the facts and hold anyone responsible to account. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with those caught in this tragedy. I wish once again, on behalf of General Allen and all members of ISAF, to convey our deep regrets and sorrow at this appalling incident.
ISAF Commander Statement on Civilian Casualties in Kandahar



WASHINGTON (March 11, 2012) -
The Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, Gen. John R. Allen, released the following statement today:

"I was shocked and saddened to hear of the shooting incident today in Kandahar Province. I offer my profound regret and deepest condolences to the victims and their families. I pledge to all the noble people of Afghanistan my commitment to a rapid and thorough investigation.

In the meantime, we will continue to offer medical care for those who were injured in this shooting. We will maintain custody of the U.S. service member alleged to have perpetrated this attack. And we will cooperate fully with local Afghan authorities as we ascertain all the facts.

This deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of ISAF and coalition troops or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people. Nor does it impugn or diminish the spirit of cooperation and partnership we have worked so hard to foster with the Afghan National Security Forces.

The men and women of ISAF join me in my sadness and they join me in extending their condolences.

I am absolutely dedicated to making sure that anyone who is found to have committed wrong-doing is held fully accountable."
from DOD

March 11, 2012

Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta on the Tragic Incident in Kandahar Province

            “Today I spoke to President Karzai to offer my deepest condolences and profound regret for the tragic incident in Kandahar province that resulted in the loss of life and injuries to innocent Afghan civilians, including women and children.
             “A full investigation is already underway.  A suspect is in custody, and I gave President Karzai my assurances that we will bring those responsible to justice.  We will spare no effort in getting the facts as quickly as possible, and we will hold any perpetrator who is responsible for this violence fully accountable under the law.
             “I condemn such violence and am shocked and saddened that a U.S. service member is alleged to be involved, clearly acting outside his chain of command.  I told President Karzai that the American people share the outrage felt by President Karzai and his fellow citizens.  This tragic incident does not reflect the commitment of the U.S. military to protect the Afghan people and help build a strong and stable Afghanistan.
             “As we mourn today with the Afghan people, we are steadfast in our resolve to work hand in hand with our Afghan partners to accomplish the missions and goals on which we have been working together for so long.  This terrible incident does not reflect our shared values or the progress we have made together.  As I told President Karzai, I am fully committed to ensuring that our cooperation continues.  It is essential to forging a more peaceful future for the citizens of both our nations.”


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Assassination attempt on Malalai Joya, two guards injured

By Associated Press — A prominent Afghan women’s rights activist says gunmen have attacked her office in a western province in an apparent assassination attempt.

Malalai Joya is a former Afghan lawmaker and vocal critic of corruption and criminality in the Afghan government, as well as the Taliban. She says the overnight attack on her office in Farah province was the sixth attempt on her life.

Joya says armed men tried to storm the compound late on night on Saturday. The attackers did not get into the building but two of her guards were seriously injured and are currently in the hospital.

Joya says she was in Kabul at the time but had planned a trip to Farah soon and news of that may have leaked out. She believes the attackers thought she was in the building.

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Afghan Raids Kill Two Insurgents, Capture Seven

At least two insurgents were killed and seven others were captured in joint Afghan and Nato troops operations conducted in the last 24 hours, the Afghan Ministry of Interior said on Sunday morning.

Operations were launched in Nangarhar, Kunduz, Helmand, Ghazni and Logar provinces, targeting insurgents, the MoI said in a statement.

Across all the operations, one other insurgent was also wounded, it added.

The joint forces have seized weapons, three anti-vehicle mines and a suicide vest, the statement said.
Afghan and Nato forces have been increasing military operations in the provinces to clear areas of insurgents.

from TOLO
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Bomb blast targets Pakistan funeral

(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
At least 13 people have been killed after a bomb exploded at a funeral in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, police officials say.

The blast took place in the Badaber area, on the outskirts of the city, which is the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, senior police officer Kalam Khan told the AFP news agency.

The explosion occurred after mourners had offered prayers for a local woman.

"It was a suicide attack, we have found the head and legs of the bomber," he said. Imtiaz Altaf, the police chief for Peshawar, confirmed that initial investigations indicated that a suicide bombing had taken place, and that eight kilograms of explosives had been used in the blast.

Abid Rehman, a police officer, said the attacker appeared to have gained access to the inside of the house where the funeral prayers had taken place.

At least 31 people are reported to be wounded in the attack. Rahim Jan, a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital where the injured were being treated, said that at least five of them were "in serious condition".

Local politician targeted

Rehman told the Associated Press that the blast appeared to have been targeting Khushdil Khan, the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, who has been critical of armed anti-state groups in the past.

Khan, who belongs to the secular Awami National Party (ANP), escaped unhurt, the police officer said.

The site of blast was littered with human limbs and trails of blood soon after the bombing, witnesses said.

"We lifted the coffin and headed towards the graveyard after the prayers when a huge blast was heard," said Saddam Hussain, 21. "There were body parts and blood stains. People were crying for help.

"There was no doctor and no ambulance. People who had come to attend the funeral put the casualties in their cars and rushed to the hospital. I myself  put one wounded man in a car heading to the hospital," Hussain told AFP.

"We are devastated," said Zahir Khan, 32, weeping while lying in a hospital bed. His elder brother died in the attack.

"I never knew I was going to lose my brother forever."

Peshawar, a city of about 2.5 million people, has long been at the frontline of violence between the Pakistani state and fighters allied with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The Awami National Party controls the provincial government, and its leaders have been targetted by the TTP several times in the past, as revenge for the ANP's support for military operations against them.

In the aftermath of the bombing, Khan, the ANP member, expressed his party's resolve to continue the fight against militancy. "It is a fight for the country's survival," he said.

"How is attacking a funeral Islamic in any way?" Asfanyar Wali Khan, the head of the ANP, told reporters in Islamabad after the attack.

"I say that these people aren't Islam's followers," he added. "I don't even consider them human."

from aljazeera
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