Friday, March 30, 2012

Nigeria: Boko Haram claims responsibility for attacks in northern states

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's Boko Haram militant sect has claimed responsibility for the attacks on a police station, an army lodge and a satellite prison in the two northern states of Kano and Yobe.

The sect launched multiple attacks in Tudun Wada last week and the northeastern town of Damagun in Yobe State, killing scores of people.

The spokesman of the sect, Abu Qaqa, on Thursday said the attack on Damagun was executed to free one of their members held in a satellite prison in the sleepy community.

Qaqa also claimed that three and not eight of the Islamic militia were killed in the attack on Tudun Wada in the Nigeria northwest city of Kano.

The Nigerian police had claimed that they killed eight members of the sect after an attack on a police station.
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Afghan policeman kills 9 sleeping fellow officers

An Afghan policeman killed nine of his fellow officers as they lay sleeping in a village in the eastern Paktika province on Friday, police said, blaming the attack on the Taliban.
Provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran said the incident took place in Yayakhil town of Yayakhil district.

Bowal Khan, chief of Yayakhil district, identified the gunman as Asadullah, who goes by one name. He said the gunman was assigned to a small command post when he woke up at 3 a.m. for guard duty. He then used his assault rifle to kill the nine men sleeping inside the post, took their weapons and piled them in a pickup truck.

According to Khan, Asadullah then sped away in the truck.

Khan said the victims included one of his brothers and the commander of the post, identified as Mohammad Ramazan. He said two of the dead were Ramazan's sons.

The motive for the killing was not known, but police in the area blamed the Taliban for the attack. Paktika is a stronghold of the Haqqani network, a Pakistani-based group with ties to the Taliban and al-Qaida. Although they mostly attack U.S.-led coalition forces, they have often carried out assaults and bombings against the Afghan army and police.

"This man is a coward. What he did is part of the Taliban conspiracy," Khan said.

Khan and Zadran said the killer's two brothers were being held for questioning.

The village police is also known as the Afghan Local Police, or ALP. It is a village-level force that provides security in areas where the Afghan army and police cannot. 

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US Predator strike kills 4 'militants' in North Waziristan

Unmanned US Predator or Reaper strike aircraft killed four "militants" in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan today. The strike is the first in more than two weeks.

The US drones fired a pair of missiles at a house in the bazaar in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan, in the middle of the night, according to AFP. "The compound is located in the money changers market in the Miramshah commercial district," the news agency reported.

Pakistani intelligence official said that four "militants" were killed and two more were wounded. The Taliban are reported to be conducting recovery operations at the site of the attack, which is said to be "located in the money changers market."

No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders or fighters have been reported killed in today's attack.
Al Qaeda's external operations network has been a prime target of the covert US air campaign in Pakistan's tribal areas. The US has targeted al Qaeda and Taliban camps designated to train operatives holding foreign passports, while the leadership of the external operations branch has also been hit hard. Additionally, the drone program has targeted Taliban and other terror groups who attack NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network, a Taliban group that operates in North Waziristan as well as in eastern Afghanistan, administers the Miramshah area. Al Qaeda leaders and operatives, who are closely allied with the Haqqani Network, shelter in the area, as do other terror groups.

The US has added eight top leaders of the Haqqani Network, Including Sirajudin Haqqani, the terror group's operational commander, to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists [see LWJ report, UN adds 2 Haqqani Network leaders to terrorist list]. The Haqqani Network has not been officially designated as a terrorist group despite its overt support for al Qaeda and other terror groups.

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Dozens of Taliban killed in fighting in west Afghanistan

Districts of Farah.
Districts of Farah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Reuters) - Dozens of Taliban fighters were killed in U.S. air strikes and a gunbattle in western Afghanistan after an insurgent attack on an Afghan army patrol, NATO and Afghan officials said on Friday.

A spokesman of the International Security Assistance Force said the patrol came under attack in Gulistan district in western Farah province on Wednesday, prompting a call for air support.

"Numerous insurgents were killed, and several motorbikes were damaged or destroyed" following two strikes by coalition aircraft, he said.

Abdul Raoof Ahmadi, a police spokesman in western Afghanistan, said 30 Taliban were killed and another 15 wounded in the fighting in the remote area.

Officials have warned of a hard summer ahead as the fighting season resumes and Afghan national forces assume responsibility of security in more parts of the country from NATO combat forces set to leave by the end of 2014.

Taliban are active in parts of Farah including Gulistan, which falls on a desert highway connecting both Kabul and Kandahar to the western city of Heart.

Mohammed Yunus Rasouli, the deputy governor for Farah, said five vehicles of the Afghan national army came under attack when they were crossing Gulistan and three soldiers were burnt inside the vehicle.

"In response, ISAF, the national army and police started a joint operation which still continues," he said, adding he could not give a number of the militants killed.

A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said in a text message to reporters that its fighters had killed 40 guards in the attack in Gulistan which he said was carried out on a convoy carrying supplies for
foreign troops.

(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani and Sharafuddin Sharafyar; Editing by Michael Perry)
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Mar.30., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Mar. 30) — An Afghan-led security force captured a Haqqani leader during an operation in Khost district, Khost province, today.The leader organized roadside bombings and other attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces throughout the district. He also supplied insurgents with materials for building explosive devices. The security force detained one additional suspected insurgent as a result of this operation. 
In other ISAF news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation in Nad ‘Ali district, Helmand province, today. The leader organized roadside bombings and other attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces in the province. During a search of the compound, the security force also seized material used in the construction of improvised explosives including multiple bags of fertilizer and a large drum of gasoline.

An additional insurgent was also detained.
In Maiwand district, Kandahar province, an Afghan led security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation today. The leader coordinated insurgent movement in western Kandahar province for attacks against Afghan and coalition troops. The security force detained two additional insurgents as a result of this operation.


Finally, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to capture a Haqqani leader in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province, today. The leader coordinated the manufacturing of roadside bombs and attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces in the district. The security force detained multiple suspected insurgents as a result of the operation.
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NATO base comes under attack in Kunar

Districts of Kunar.
Districts of Kunar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ASADABAD (PAN): The Taliban on Thursday attacked a base of NATO-led troops in the Watapur district of eastern Kunar province, an official said.

Four attackers were killed and two others detained as foreign troops acted in self-defence, an ISAF spokesman in the eastern zone, Sabawoon Hotak, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The firefight lasted several hours. Resident Abdul Jalil confirmed the NATO base had been attacked, but he had no information about casualties.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said two fighters were killed in the attack, that also inflicted heavy losses on foreign soldiers.

from Pajhwok

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R.I.P. - Capt. Francis D. Imlay

DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Capt. Francis D. Imlay, 31, of Vacaville, Calif., died March 28 from injuries received in an accident involving an F-15 aircraft near a base in Southwest Asia.  He was assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

            For more information media may contact the Air Force 366th Fighter Wing public affairs office at 208-828-6800.
Capt. Francis Imlay, 391st Fighter Squadron pilot, does a pre-flight inspection on an F-15E Strike Eagle at Mountain Home Air Base in August 2001. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward)

The Idaho Statesman newspaper is reporting that the pilot died in a crash and that another crewman from the Idaho base suffered minor injuries in the incident.

In a press release this afternoon, his commander expressed deep sorrow for the loss of the pilot who was nicknamed "Piston."

"It is with a heavy heart I inform you we lost a valued member of the Gunfighter family yesterday," said Col. Ron Buckley, 366th Fighter Wing commander. "Today we mourn the loss of one of our warriors, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and coworkers during this time. He was a true professional and his dedication to the Gunfighter family will not soon be forgotten."

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