Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yemen's army says recaptured rebel positions

(Reuters) - The Yemeni army battled al Qaeda-linked militants deep inside Zinjibar on Saturday, recapturing key positions inside the southern rebel-held city and killing at least 62 Islamist fighters, including Somalis, a military official said.

The official said three government soldiers died and four were wounded in the fighting, part of an offensive that began earlier this month to uproot Islamist militants from southern Yemen.

He said many of the dead militants were Somalis, but gave no precise figures.

Al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law)have exploited last year's popular protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-years in office and captured large swathes of territory in the province of Abyan, including the provincial capital Zinjibar.

The expansion of the militants' area of control has unsettled the United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of failed attacks by Yemen's al Qaeda wing which earlier this week claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Sanaa on Monday that killed more than 100 soldiers.

Both countries have been pushing new Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Hadi Mansour, who took over after Saleh stepped down in February, to unite the army and roll back the militants' gains.

Washington considers Qaeda in Yemen, which has attracted foreign fighters from places like Somalia and Saudi Arabia, the world's most active terror cell.

Yemeni forces last week recaptured parts of the strategic city of Zinjibar and fought militants in the city of Jaar, another militant stronghold, leaving 33 militants and nine soldiers dead.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Sophie Hares)
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AU troops seize strategic Somalia town

Afgoye town captured from al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters, as AU and Somalia troops clear areas around Mogadishu.
African Union and Somali troops have captured the strategic town of Afgoye from al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters without major resistance, declaring a military breakthrough, officials have said.

an ALJAZEERA article

"We have crossed the River Shabelle and we are now there in Afgoye. We hold the town," AU army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said on Friday. "We have been fighting since Tuesday to achieve this objective and we have achieved it now."

"There was some brief resistance but we have crushed that," said Somali army commander Mohamed Abdullah.

Columns of AU and Somali troops backed by tanks launched the long-awaited attack on Afgoye four days ago, marching northwest 30km from the capital Mogadishu to the town, an area crowded with displaced people.

"The Shabab are fleeing the town, they are running away into the bush," said Ankunda, adding that AU troops had also secured the roads leading from Afgoye, which controls a key route from southern Somalia to the capital.

"There is some shooting here and there, but mostly it is calm ... We control all the road junctions out of Afgoye," he said.

More than 400,000 people were living in the Afgoye region at the start of the year, the world's largest concentration of displaced people, according to the UN.

Impoverished settlements of plastic and rag huts crowd an area that was last year gripped by famine. Its capture is hoped to allow access by aid workers, until now banned from helping the people by draconian orders from al-Shabab.

The UN refugee agency reports over 6,000 civilians have fled since the assault on Afgoye began, although aid workers fear that more people not included in that assessment may have fled into the bush.

Isolating base

Officials hope that the taking of Afgoye will deny al-Shabab a base from which to continue its recent spate of attacks on the capital.

Many fighters had shifted to the area after pulling out of fixed positions in Mogadishu last August and launching a campaign of suicide and grenade attacks.

Elsewhere, Somali troops were reported to be pushing northward toward the al-Shabab-held town of Balad, which lies some 35km north of Mogadishu.

Balad controls a key bridge across the River Shabelle, and lies on the road to the important city of Jowhar.

The loss of Afgoye to al-Shabab is another major blow for the group, which have been on the backfoot for several months.

AU and Somali troops have made significant gains in recent months against fighters, although the group remains a major security threat.

Somalia's weak and Western-backed transitional administration has less than three months to set up a permanent government, but the leaders have been riven by bitter internal divisions and tarnished by accusations of gross corruption.

The international community has expressed concern it is failing to meet key deadlines, but leaders this week committed themselves to choosing a new parliament by July 20, and a new president by August 20.
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Ghazni residents kill 2 (or 12) rebels, capture 25

English: Map of the districts of Ghazni provin...
English: Map of the districts of Ghazni province of Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
GHAZNI CITY (PAN): Two Taliban fighters were killed and another 25 were held hostage by residents during a clash in the Andar district of southern Ghazni province, an official said on Saturday.

Sher Khan Yousafzai, the district chief, confirmed there were clashes between residents and the insurgents in Painda Mohammad and Ibrahimkhel areas, where residents had previously warned the rebels against continuing their activities, including closing schools.

The clashes that lasted several hours broke out after militants were seen moving around the areas, the district chief said, adding one local was also killed and four children wounded in the armed conflict.

Haibat Khan, a local tribal elder, said they would not allow anyone to close schools and create unrest in their areas.

from Pajhwok

Local residents kill 12 Taliban militants in Ghazni province

According to local authorities in eastern Ghazni province at least 12 Taliban militants were killed following clashes with the local residents in Andkhoi district.
Deputy provincial council Abdul Jame Jame said the clashes started on Friday afternoon and continued till Saturday morning.
Mr. Jame also said the local residents were backed by Islamic Party of Afghanistan (Hezb-e-Islami) and at least 12 Taliban militants were killed and 15 others were detained following the clashes.
The clashes took place at Ganderi, Gadwal Mullah Mohammad, Adro Khel, Payenda and Kanosuf villages, Mr. Jame said.
In the meantime Sher Khan Yousufzai district chief for Ankhoi confirming the report said a local resident was also killed and another individual was injured following the incident.
On the other hand reports suggest the clashes between the militants and local residents started two weeks back.
Taliban militants group yet to comment regarding the reports.

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13 armed insurgents killed, 3 wounded and 15 others arrested by ANP

Publish Date: May 26, 2012
13 armed insurgents killed, three wounded and 15 others arrested by Afghan National Police

During the past 24 hours, Afghan National Police, Afghan National Army, NDS and Coalition Forces launched seven joint clearance operations in Laghman, Kandahar, Zabul, Maidan Wardak, Logar, Ghazni and Farah provinces.

As a result of these operations, 13 armed insurgents were killed, three wounded and 15 others were arrested by Afghan National Police.
Also, during these operations, Afghan National Police discovered and confiscated one rocket launcher, two PKM machine guns, one AK-47 assault rifle, 300 light rounds, 21 heavy rounds, three radio handsets and two motorbike.

The Afghan National Police dedicate their lives to protecting the people.
The 101 Kabul Zone National Police detained four individuals accused of murder, theft and carrying illegal weapon without license in the 9th, 11th and 17th Districts of Kabul-City.
Working together, we can defeat criminals and create a safer more prosperous future.
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R.I.P. - Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan J. Wilson

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty

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

            Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan J. Wilson, 26, of Shasta, Calif., died of complications associated with a medical condition May 20 in Manama, Bahrain.  Wilson was assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command headquarters in Bahrain.

            For further information related to this release, contact U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. Fifth Fleet Public Affairs at 011-973-1785-4027.


A Navy sailor from Shasta has died, officials with the Department of Defense announced Friday.
Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan J. Wilson, 26, of Shasta, died Sunday in Manama, Bahrain, because of complications associated with a medical condition, DOD officials said.

Wilson, who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, was assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command headquarters in Bahrain, the DOD said.

Wilson, the son of Tracie and James Wilson, of Redding, was a 2004 graduate of Shasta High School in Redding, according to a 2005 Record Searchlight article.

A Navy website said Wilson was named in March as the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Sailor of the Quarter for the first quarter of the 2012 fiscal year.

Wilson, who was identified as an intelligence specialist, was "recognized for the exemplary performance of his duties as indications and warnings leading petty officer on the maritime operations center watch floor, from October to December 2011."

Wilson joined the Navy in 2004 and reported to the Naval Forces Central Command in August 2011.
A letter of commendation, which accompanied Wilson's Sailor of the Quarter award, reads in part: "Your enthusiastic leadership emphasized the responsibility of Sailors to mentor junior personnel, eliminate communication problems, enhance career development, and inspire senior petty officers to assume leadership roles."

Wilson's supervisor, Chief Intelligence Specialist Jeremy Embree, said Wilson was selected based on his merits and professionalism.

Wilson's participation in two community relations projects also contributed to his selection, the Navy website said.

He was part of a group of sailors who met and spoke with American studies students from the University of Bahrain in an effort to increase cultural understanding. He also volunteered to tutor elementary schoolchildren at the Department of Defense Dependents School in Bahrain.

CNN reported that Wilson's death was the 3,000th death among coalition forces in the Afghanistan war, according to its count based on information provided by the U.S. Defense Department and the International Security Assistance Force.

He was the 1,974th U.S. death in the war that started Oct. 7, 2001, and the 3,000th overall death from the U.S.-led international coalition engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The coalition includes 50 countries. Britain has the second-largest number of dead from the mission at 414, according to the CNN figures.

But, which tracks military casualties in Afghanistan, reports there have been 3,011 coalition military fatalities there since 2001.

Funeral services for Wilson are pending at Allen & Dahl Funeral Chapel in Redding.
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US drone strike kill 4 militants in North-West Pakistan

According to Pakistani security officials, a US drone attack has killed at least four militants in a northwestern Pakistani tribal district bordering Afghanistan early Saturday morning.

The officials further added, the strike came before 4:30 am local time on Saturday and the target was a house suspected of being a militant’s hideout in Miranshah, a main town in North Waziristan.

A Senior Pakistani official quoted by AFP said, “A US drone fired two missiles at a house and at least four militants were killed. The identities of the militants killed in the drone strike were not immediately known.”

This was the third US drone strike in North Waziristan within last four days and the 15th of its kind (counted on daily basis) in Pakistan since the beginning of this year.

Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

However Pakistan views the US drone strike on its soil as a serious violation of its sovereighty and a contravention of the international law, but the United States insists that it is an effective way to fight against the terrorists.

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May 26., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to capture a senior Taliban leader In Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, today.

The leader controls multiple Taliban commanders and coordinates their attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces.

He is responsible for several roadside bombings along highways between Kandahar and Zabul provinces and for attacks against Afghan police forces throughout the district.

During the operation, the Afghan and coalition force was attacked by insurgents. The security force returned fire killing two insurgents.

As a result of this operation, the security force detained two suspected insurgents.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


In Kandahar district, Kandahar province, an Afghan-led security force, supported by coalition troops, conducted an operation to capture a Taliban facilitator today. The facilitator operates in Kandahar and Farah provinces providing weapons, explosives and vehicles to insurgents, which are used in attacks against Afghan government officials, Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops. As a result of the operation, the security force detained multiple suspected insurgents.


An Afghan-led security force, supported by coalition forces, conducted an operation to capture a Haqqani leader in Sabari district, Khost province, today. The leader conducts attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces throughout the district. He also provides weapons, ammunition and equipment to insurgents operating in the district. As a result of this operation, the security force detained several suspected insurgents and seized multiple weapons.

In Jalrayz district, Wardak province, an Afghan-led security force, supported by coalition forces, conducted an operation to capture a Taliban leader today. The leader conducts attacks against Afghan and coalition convoys traveling throughout Maidan Shahr district, Wardak province. He also distributes weapons, ammunition and funds to the insurgents under his control. As a result of the operation, the security force detained two suspected insurgents and seized multiple mortar rounds and one shotgun.

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