Sunday, March 18, 2012

UK Troops In Afghanistan Launch 'Major Offensive' Against Taliban

TF Thunder and ANCOP conduct a training air as...
U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie L. Carl - via Wikipedia
A major offensive on Taliban strongholds has been launched by Afghan security forces, supported by British troops.

Among those overseeing the Afghan-led operation launched on Friday in the area surrounding Helmand's second city of Gereshk were members of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.

The regiment lost five soldiers in a blast which killed six while they were travelling in an armoured vehicle about 20 miles away two weeks ago.

The operation - dubbed Now Roz, meaning New Day in Dari - aims to rid the Taliban from an area which is traditionally regarded as a stronghold for the insurgency.

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) moved into the area on Friday while coalition troops set up observational posts on high ground over the Yakchal valley.

Over the weekend Afghan troops have moved from compound to compound, meeting little resistance as insurgents attempted to flee.

They uncovered a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as compounds were searched.
Second Lieutenant Chris Trezise, from Maidstone, Kent, of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, was among British troops overseeing the operation.

He said the drive was the result of preparatory work to "empower" Afghan forces and "give them the tools to do it for themselves".

Speaking on Saturday, he added: "The objective is to carry out an ANSF clearance operation, with the Afghan National Army clearing north to south and the Afghan National Civil Order Police preventing insurgents fleeing southwards.

"The clearance is going well although it is not yet complete.

"Troops on the ground did not meet much small arms fire but the ANA have found a number of IEDs and suicide vests.

"The Afghan forces are doing very well, we've given them their tasks and they have gone about them very professionally."

The operation comes as coalition troops prepare to withdraw in 2014 and after Afghan president Hamed Khazi called for them to move back to main bases by 2013.

British troops are increasingly moving into mentoring roles, ensuring the Afghan forces are ready to take charge of security.

It is hoped that local security forces will be able to take control of the Gereshk district by the end of this year and this weekend's operation is seen as a vital part of the bid to make the area safe.

A number of suspected insurgents who attempted to flee Yakchal to the south were captured by the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) late on Saturday.

They were held for processing by British troops and will be detained by Afghan authorities to await trial.

Officers from ANCOP, approached by locals alarmed by the heavy military presence and the sound of several blasts, offered reassurances and explained the purpose of the mission.

from huffingtonpost
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2 mine planters killed in NATO air raid at Khost province

According to local authorities in eastern Khost province, at least 2 militant suspects who were planting roadside bombs were killed and another suspect was injured following an air raid by coalition security forces in this province.

The officials further added, the militants were killed and injured at Deri area in central region of eastern Khost province.

Provincial Security Chief for eastern Khost province Gen. Mohammad Yaqoob said, the incident took place around 9 pm local time on Saturday night.

Gen. Yaqoob further added, the militants were recognized by NATO troops while they were conducting air patrol.

He also added, the dead bodies of the militants were handed over to the local residents.

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force officials and Taliban group yet to comment regarding the air raid and militants casualties in this province.

This comes as another 3 militants who were planting improvised explosive device were killed Madikhel area following a NATO air raid ten days earlier.

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Five Insurgents Killed, 35 Captured across Afghanistan

At least five insurgents were killed and 35 others have been captured across Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, the Afghan Ministry of Interior said Sunday.

Sixteen separate Afghan national police operations to clear areas of insurgents were undertaken across 10 provinces - Kapisa, Faryab, Kandahar, Helmand, Maidan, Wardak, Ghazni, Logar, Khost and Paktia, the Ministry said in a statement.

No other information about the operations or those who were killed was given, apart from a mention that the police forces seized many weapons during the procedures.

Joint military forces also seized some weapons and ammunitions including a rocket propelled grenade launcher, a machine gun, a missile, 4 magazines of ammunitions along with 4 motorcycles being used by the militants, officials said.

Afghan interior ministry officials also added, Afghan police forces cleared more than 1,033 acres of land from opium at Helmand province.

from TOLO and KHAAMA
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Yemeni warplanes bomb al-Qaida bases in restive south, 18 killed

ADEN, Yemen, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni warplanes bombed several bases of the al-Qaida terrorist group in the southern province of Abyan on Sunday, killing at least 18 terrorists and injuring dozens of others, a government official told Xinhua.

Heavy shelling by the Yemeni military aircrafts and U.S. naval vessels on the sea hit the al-Qaida bases in and around the city of Jaar, Abayn's second largest city, killing at least 18 terrorists and injuring dozens of others, the local official said on condition of anonymity.

"A number of fortifications and checkpoints belonging to the insurgents were completely destroyed in the bombing," he said.

A witness told Xinhua anonymously that some residential buildings in the city were also damaged in the heavy shelling.

"The strikes demolished more than four houses located in the center of Jaar city. Many people fled their houses for fear of repeated air raids," the witness said.

But it was not clear whether there were any civilian casualties, the official said.

Residents in Jaar's neighboring city of Luader said they could see the jets hovering over the region and hear the bombing sound.

Jaar, along with three other southern towns were seized by al- Qaida militants in May last year.

The Yemeni army and security forces have recently been attacked by the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula who also frequently kidnapped foreigners to force the government to meet their demands across the restive south.

Fears mounted that al-Qaida's regional wing may exploit the security collapse in expanding its foothold and taking control over the southern and eastern lawless parts of the country.
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Militants kill American teacher in Yemen

Yemen division 2011-10-23
Image via Wikipedia

(Reuters) - Two men on a motorcycle shot and killed an American teacher in the Yemeni city of Taiz, south of the capital Sanaa, on Sunday morning, a local police source said.

A gunman riding on the motorcycle driven by an accomplice shot the man, an English-language teacher and deputy director of a local language school called the Swedish Institute, the source said.

He said the gunmen, who escaped after the attack, were believed to be militants linked to al Qaeda.
Yemen has seen an escalation of violence by the Islamist militant network since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office last month vowing to fight al Qaeda's regional wing.

Yemen's commercial hub of Taiz, located some 200 km (120 miles) south of Sanaa, was a flashpoint for protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33 year rule, and where many foreigners in Yemen live and work.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Michael Roddy)


ADEN, Yemen, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The Yemen-based al-Qaida wing said Sunday that it had killed a U.S. English-language teacher in the southern city of Taiz.

"Killing the American teacher by our members is an obvious message to the United States to stop interfering in Yemen's internal affairs. This was a retaliatory attack for killing dozens of our fighters by the American jets," the al-Qaida said in a text message received by Xinhua, which did not mention further details.

Earlier in the day, a security official told Xinhua anonymously that two gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead U.S. national working at an English-language institute in downtown Taiz.

The Yemeni Defense Ministry said in a brief statement posted on its website that "security forces were hunting for suspected al- Qaida gunmen who killed the American national in the neighborhoods of Taiz."

On Friday a local security official said suspected al-Qaida gunmen abducted a Swiss woman working as language teacher in the western province of Hodeida and then moved her to restive Shabwa province.

Foreigners were frequently kidnapped in Yemen as tribesmen in the lawless areas often resort to such acts to force the government to meet their demands. Most of the abducted foreigners were finally released unharmed.

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Two Policemen Killed in Herat Blast

Two Afghan policemen died when their vehicle hit a hidden roadside bomb in western Herat province today, local officials said Sunday.

One other policeman was wounded in the blast.

The police vehicle exploded when it struck a road landmine at around 11:00am in the Shindand district of Herat, provincial spokesman Mahaiuddin Noori said.

No group, including the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Shindand district is considered insecure within the province because of regular insurgent activity targeting Afghan police checkpoints.

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Jets bomb al Shabaab base in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Jets bombed a base run by Islamist al Shabaab rebels north of Somalia’s Kismayu port on Saturday, local residents and officials said, but it was not clear who carried out the raid or whether there were casualties.

Kenya sent troops into anarchic Somalia in October after cross-border raids and kidnappings that it blamed on al Shabaab, which has allied itself with al Qaeda, but regional security has not improved. Somali militants killed nine people in an attack in Kenya’s capital Nairobi last week.

A regional Somali military official said the jets were Kenyan. A Kenyan military spokesman in Nairobi could not confirm this, and neither could U.N. peacekeepers in Somalia.

Al Shabaab confirmed the bombardment and said none of its insurgents had been killed or wounded. But a Somali government official in the area where the attack took place said some militants had been killed in the bombing.

The jets hit the militants’ base near the village of Daytubako, 135 km (84 miles) north of Kismayu, the nerve centre of al Shabaab operations in the Horn of Africa country.

Residents in Jilib, a town 15 km from the scene, described what they saw and heard with respect to the bombing.

“First we saw two jets flying towards Daytubako, and after (some) minutes we heard the thunder of the bombs. The jets bombed, flew past, returned to the same spot and dropped several other bombs,” said Kasim Olow, a Jilib inhabitant.

Al Shabaab said its fighters escaped the bombing.

“The jets bombed Daytubako village, but they killed animals and injured four civilians. No Al Shabaab casualties,” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman.

“One jet targeted a well where civilians were watering their animals. It dropped several bombs on this well.”

Read more at euronews/reuters
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R.I.P. - 2nd Lt. Clovis T. Ray

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

             The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
            2nd Lt. Clovis T. Ray, 34, of San Antonio, Texas died Mar. 15 at Kunar province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
For more information, the media may contact 25th Infantry Division public
affairs at 808-655-6343.

The Department of Defense on Saturday announced the death of a San Antonio soldier who was serving in Afghanistan.

2nd Lt. Clovis T. Ray died Mar. 15 at Kunar province, Afghanistan. He was injured when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, according to an official statement released Saturday.

Ray, 34, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and was serving Operation Enduring Freedom.

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