Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seven al-Qaida suspects captured in Yemen's Aden

ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Seven suspected members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot were captured by security authorities in the port city of Aden on Friday, a Yemeni government official told Xinhua.

Security soldiers apprehended seven al-Qaida terror suspects in the Cerater neighborhood in Aden after they infiltrated from neighboring southern Abyan province, the local government official said on condition of anonymity.

"The captured terrorists were armed. They numbered seven and they were hiding in a house that included a lab to prepare explosives and other bombs," the official said.

"We are sure that they belong to the al-Qaida terrorist group... They were trying to recruit young men in order to carry out terrorist attacks in the strategic port city of Aden," he added.

The arrested al-Qaida suspects have been taken to the Mansoura central jail in Aden for further investigation, according to the official.

On Thursday, Yemeni authorities stepped up security measures in the strategic port city of Aden, following intelligence reports that al-Qaida could attempt to target government compounds with armed attacks and suicide bombings.

Backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni government waged a month-long intensive offensive in May against hundreds of al-Qaida militants, driving them out of strongholds they had controlled for nearly a year in the country's south.

The Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), claimed responsibility for several gun raids and deadly suicide attacks that took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

2012-08-24 21:55:03

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TTP commander arrested from Nowshera

English: Pakistan Administrative Units - Tier ...
English: Pakistan Administrative Units - Tier 1. This map is based on the Pakistan location map and district maps obtained from respective government websites of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NOWSHERA: An important Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Wajihuddin Mehsud was arrested from Nowshera on Saturday, DawnNews reported.

According to government sources, the TTP commander was arrested from Kheshgi area of Nowshera district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

During the raid, Maulvi Abdul Qadeer, a local mosque imam, was also arrested.

Government sources moreover claimed that during the operation, security forces recovered maps and important documents from the militant’s possession.

Local police said they were unaware of the operation.

from DAWN

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Badruddin Haqqani rumored killed in US drone strike

Badruddin Haqqani.
Click to view slide show
of the Haqqani Network leader.

US officials believe that Badruddin Haqqani, one of the top leaders of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, may have been killed in a recent US drone strike in North Waziristan.

US officials have told The New York Times that intelligence from the region indicates that Badruddin was killed in one of the five drone strikes that have taken place in the past week. Intelligence officials are attempting to confirm that Badruddin was indeed killed.

Yesterday, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that the remotely piloted Predators and Reapers were targeting an "important jihadi leader" the region, but his name was not disclosed.

The US launched five drone strikes in Pakistan's Taliban controlled-tribal agency of North Waziristan since Aug. 18. Four of the strikes have taken place in the Shawal Valley, a terrorist haven near the Afghan border, and one more occurred in Miramshah. Badruddin may have been killed in the Aug. 21 strike near Miramshah, which is the the traditional area of operations for the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan. However he may have been traveling in the Shawal Valley to coordinate activities in the area. The Shawal Valley, which is administered by North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar, is used to train fighters and stage attacks in Afghanistan.

Badruddin is one of the Haqqani Network's most senior leaders. He is considered to serve as the top deputy to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group's operational commander.

The US State department added Badruddin to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on May 11, 2011. In the designation, State said that he "sits on the Miramshah Shura [council], which has command and control over all Haqqani Network activities, and helps lead insurgents and foreign fighters in attacks against targets in southeastern Afghanistan."

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Air strikes kill 12 militants in eastern Afghan town

Districts of Kunar.
Districts of Kunar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ASSADABAD, Afghanistan, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Air strikes have killed 12 Taliban fighters in the eastern Kunar province, provincial police chief Awaz Mohammad Nazari said Saturday.

"The strikes carried out by ISAF pilotless plane in Sholtann village of Shigal district on Friday evening killed 12 Pakistani Taliban militants on the spot," Nazari told Xinhua.

He also noted that seven civilians were injured in the raid.

Meanwhile, head of health department in Kunar's provincial capital Assadabad, Farooq Sahak confirmed that six injured civilians including two elders and three youngsters had been taken to hospital for medical treatment.

On the other hand, residents in Sholtan village said that Mullah Dadullah, a Pakistani Taliban commander, along with his deputies Abdul Rahman Ghalib and Usman were also killed in the deadly air raid.

Taliban militants fighting the Afghan and NATO-led troops have yet to make comment.

2012-08-25 14:07:25

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Bajaur Taliban leader, deputy killed in airstrike in eastern Afghanistan

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Afghan police kill 17 Taliban, capture 26

KABUL, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Afghan police backed by the national army and the NATO-led troops have killed 17 Taliban militants and arrested 26 others over the past 24 hours across the country, Interior Ministry said in a statement released here on Saturday.

"The national police backed by the national army and the NATO- led coalition forces have killed 17 armed Taliban militants and arrested 26 others during series of operations conducted in Kabul, Kunar, Logar, Ghazni and Paktika provinces over the past 24 hours," the statement contended.

Two more insurgents were wounded during the operations, it furhter said.

No casualties have been reported on the security forces, it stressed.

Taliban militants fighting the government are yet to make comment.

2012-08-25 13:49:05

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Aug. 25., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition officials confirmed today that the Tehrik-i Taliban leader Maulawi Dadullah was one of several insurgents killed in a precision airstrike in Shigal wa Sheltan district, Kunar province, yesterday.

Maulawi Dadullah, also known as Jamal, was responsible for the movement of fighters and weapons, as well as attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

Dadullah’s deputy, Shakir, was also killed in the airstrike.

After the strike, the Afghan and coalition security force conducted a post-strike assessment and determined no civilians had been injured and no civilian property had been damaged.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a senior Taliban financier in Kandahar district, Kandahar province, today. The financier oversaw the financial operations for Taliban insurgents, and purchased weapons and ammunition for Taliban attacks in the area.

Afghan and coalition officials confirmed today that a Taliban weapons dealer was one of several insurgents detained during an operation in Now Zad district, Helmand province, Aug. 22. The weapons dealer was responsible for acquiring weapons and ammunition for Taliban fighters in Marjah and Washer districts. He also directed and led attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.


An Afghan and coalition security force conducted a second operation in Shigal wa Sheltan district, Kunar province, yesterday. During the operation, the security force engaged a group of armed insurgents with a precision airstrike, killing several of them. After the strike, the Afghan and coalition security force conducted a post-strike assessment and determined no civilians had been injured and no civilian property had been damaged.

Afghan and coalition officials confirmed today that a Haqqani facilitator was one of several insurgents detained during an operation in Khost district, Khost province, Aug. 19. The Haqqani facilitator planed and coordinated complex attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Sabari and Khost districts. At the time of his detention, the facilitator was coordinating the shipment of weapons to insurgents for future attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

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Aug. 25., 2012. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces killed eight insurgents, detained three, located a weapons cache and cleared two improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Aug. 24.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces discovered a weapons cache in Ghazni district. The cache contained homemade explosives and items being used to construct improvised explosive devices.

Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces found and safely cleared an improvised explosive device in Andar district.

Khowst province
Afghan Border Police and coalition forces detained an insurgent during an engagement in Khowst district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Kunar province
Afghan Uniformed Police and coalition forces killed two insurgents during an engagement in Pul-E Alam district.

A coalition airstrike killed four insurgents in Charkh district in response to an imminent threat to Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces.

Paktika province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared an improvised explosive device in Sar Rowzah district.

Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces killed two insurgents and wounded two during an engagement in Sharan district. The wounded were provided medical treatment and transferred to a base for questioning.

Operations in RC-East are still ongoing.

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Four Australian soldiers hurt in bomb blast

ONLY the quick reactions of his fellow soldiers has saved the life of one of four Australian Diggers wounded in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

The soldier was seriously injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated during operations alongside the Afghan National Security Force in Uruzgan Province.

He was given immediate medical assistance on the ground before being evacuated by air and taken to a Kandahar medical facility for specialist treatment. He was then transferred to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
Australian troops assemble at Forward Operating Base Chuckajuy, Afghanistan. Picture: Craig Greenhill

Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) Task Group, Lieutenant Colonel Trent Scott, said the soldier was lucky to be alive.

"The application of immediate medical assistance meant that a soldier's life was saved," he said. "The training our soldiers receive in preparation for deployment, together with access to first-class medical support, meant that our wounded soldiers received the best possible care at the earliest opportunity."

The other three soldiers were not as badly injured in the blast. One was being assessed by specialists in Kandahar, while the other two remained under observation after being treated at the scene and evacuated to Tarin Kot.

"The thoughts of all members of Combined Team Uruzgan and 3 RAR Task Group are very much with the families and loved ones of those wounded in this incident," Lt. Col. Scott said.

The Australian Defence Force said it does not release personal details of wounded personnel but had informed next of kin and was offering them support.

News of the blast came as New Zealand held a memorial service for three of its soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.The bodies of Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, were returned to Christchurch on Thursday ahead of Saturday's service at Burnham Military Camp.

Read more from
Josh Whittington
News Limited Network
August 25, 2012 1:11PM 

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Kashmiri jihadist commander killed in North Waziristan drone strike

A jihadist commander known to have fought in Kashmir was one of several "militants" killed a US drone strike in the Shawal Valley in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan last weekend. His funeral was attended by the head of the Hizbul Mujahideen and by a prominent Pakistani politician.

The commander, who was known as Engineer Ahsan Aziz, died in the Aug. 18 strike in the village of Shuwedar in the Shawal Valley that killed six people, according to a report in Geo News. The jihadist's father, Abdul Aziz, who is also "a former militant commander," told the Pakistani news service that his son and his son's wife were killed in the airstrike.

Engineer Ahsan has been based in the Waziristan tribal areas for a decade and fought in Afghanistan, according to his father.

"Aziz said his son had moved with his wife to Waziristan in 2002 to participate in the jihad in Afghanistan," The Daily Excelsior reported.

Engineer Ahsan "was part of the deep bench of Pakistani jihadists who have stepped in to fill mid and senior level leadership positions in al Qaeda" as the terror group's legacy leaders have been killed in drone strikes, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

"There are many more like him [Ahsan], serving as the backbone of al Qaeda, in the tribal areas and throughout Pakistan," the intelligence official said.
A senior Pakistani politician and the leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, an al Qaeda-linked terror group, both attended Engineer Ahsan's funeral service, which was held in Kashmir, according to The Daily Excelsior.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the former emir of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party that supports the Taliban, led the prayer service.

Syed Salahuddin, the emir of Hizbul Mujahideen, was also in attendance, as were several "leaders of the Hurriyat Conference and Jamaat-e-Islami."

Hizbul Mujahideen is a jihadist group with close ties to other Pakistani terror groups that focuses on fighting in Jammu and Kashmir, but also supports al Qaeda and other jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It receives support from Pakistan's military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). In May 2011, Salahuddin admitted that the Pakistani military allows him to run "hundreds of training camps in the state where we recruit and train the mujahideen."

Salahuddin is also the chairman of the United Jihad Council, which is supported by the Pakistani military and the ISI, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. The Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, two groups that are on the US and United Nations lists of terror organizations, are part of the United Jihad Council. Salahuddin has close ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

In July, Salahuddin spoke at a fundraising and recruiting drive for jihad in Afghanistan and India, and said Pakistan is the victim of a US and Israeli conspiracy. At the conference, which was held in Rawalpindi, he stated that his fighters were waging jihad against the US.

"Pakistan is the target of the US-Israeli nexus. Our fighters are defending Pakistan at a time when its geographical boundaries, its security and Islamic identity are at risk," Salahuddin said. "We are fighting in Kashmir. It doesn't matter to us if we are labelled terrorists. We are proud to be called terrorists for fighting the US and its allies in Afghanistan."

The Pakistani government refuses to act against Salahuddin and other terrorist leaders, despite their direct involvement in terrorist activities.

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Lejeune Marine awarded Silver Star during change of command ceremony

The 2nd Marine Division commander’s last act as leader of the over 24,000 Marines was to award one of them the Silver Star at an elaborate change of command ceremony aboard Camp Lejeune Thursday morning.

At quite possibly the largest ceremony to take place on Lejeune this year, 5,000 of the 24,000 total 2nd Marine Division Marines bid farewell to their commander of two years, Maj. Gen. John Toolan — but not before he had the opportunity to award one of the Marines, Cpl. Jason Hassinger, the Silver Star for his heroic acts in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr. shakes hands with Cpl. Jason M. Hassinger after presenting citation and Silver Star medal during the 2nd Marine Division change of command ceremony at W.P.T. Hill Field Thursday.
Don Bryan/The Daily News

During a security patrol in northern Marjah, Afghanistan, Hassinger’s squad became engaged in machine gun fire, and Hassinger took four shots to the chest of his personal protective equipment. Hassinger disregarded his injuries and calmly and fearlessly directed his team to overtake the enemy. He repeatedly refused medical evacuation until he finally collapsed from his wounds, according to the citation signed by the Secretary of the Navy.

“By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and complete dedication to duty, Cpl. Hassinger reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps,” the citation read.

“I’m shocked,” Hassinger told The Daily News after the ceremony. “It’s still sinking in ... I just did what my fallen sergeant, Sgt. Garrison, told me to do.”

Hassinger added that he felt he didn’t deserve the award, and that Garrison was the one who truly deserved the award.

“Sgt. Garrison did things for us every day over there, and if it wasn’t for him there would be a whole squad of us who wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

Hassinger was awarded the medal by Toolan just before the commander relinquished responsibilities to Brig. Gen. James Lukeman, who comes to Camp Lejeune from the U.S. Africa Command, where he served as Deputy Director for Strategy and Plans.

Toolan spoke of Hassinger’s courageous acts during his speech, calling it the “the kind of heroism that makes it a little hard to leave these guys.”

“Courage is being able to act in the face of fear,” Toolan said. “Imagine every single day, every patrol, (the Division Marines) are out there doing that.”

After the passing of the colors to signify the transfer of authority and responsibility from the old commander to the new, Lukeman spoke briefly to the crowd about his and his family’s excitement about being at Camp Lejeune, as well as his plans for his next two years at the helm of 2nd Marine Division.

Brig. Gen. James W. Lukeman, left, takes the colors from Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr. during the 2nd Marine Division change of command ceremony Thursday at W.P.T. Hill Field at Camp Lejeune.
Don Bryan/The Daily News

“To the Marines and sailors of 2nd Marine Division, I want you to know I’ll do everything I can to ensure you continue to get the best training, the best equipment, the best leadership — that we take care of your families — so we can continue to do whatever the nation asks of us, and continue to be the finest fighting force on the face of the Earth,” he said.

August 24, 2012 7:12 AM

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Mali Islamists warn Algeria after hostage swap rejected

Islamic fighters stand guard at the entrance of the Gao hospital in Mali. (AFP)
An al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group based in northern Mali warned Algeria of deadly reprisals on Friday after Algerian officials rejected a hostage swap, a statement released by the group said.

The so-called Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) is one of several emergent Islamist groups that seized control of northern Mali after a disastrous March coup in the capital Bamako.

Earlier this month, three armed Islamists were arrested by Algerian security forces in a special operation near the southern Algerian town of Ghardaia, according to official Algerian news service APS.

The detainees belong to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), to which MUJAO is allied, MUJAO said in a statement sent to AFP on Friday.

MUJAO said it has asked the Algerian government “to free our brothers” in exchange for MUJAO freeing one of the Algerian hostages.

“The Algerian government rejected the offer. Consequently, Algeria will be subject to all the consequences of this refusal,” the statement said.

MUJAO has claimed the April 5 kidnapping of seven Algerian diplomats from a consulate in Gao, in central Mali. Three of the hostages have been freed so far.

MUJAO said among those arrested in Algeria as Abd Arrahmane Abu Ishak, who heads AQIM’s legal commission.

“We are giving an ultimatum of less than five days, starting from now, to save the life of the (Algerian) hostage,” MUJAO official Abu Walid Sahraoui said in the statement.

“We intend to treat the Algerian authorities firmly. We will defend our mujahedeen brothers ... until the fall of the military regime in Algeria.”

Islamists swept across northern Mali after a March 22 coup carried out by troops protesting the government’s response to the Islamist presence in the vast desert north.

Several towns have since been placed under hardline sharia law, which has seen the carrying out of extreme punishments including the stoning to death of an unmarried couple.

Last Updated: Fri Aug 24, 2012 21:58 pm (KSA) 18:58 pm (GMT)

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Taliban kill 4 security men after kidnapping

Districts of Paktia Province
Districts of Paktia Province (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
GARDEZ (PAN): The Taliban pulled four security officials on their way back to work after Eid holidays off a vehicle and killed them in southeastern Paktia province, police said on Friday.

The four men, including three Afghan National Army service-members, were forced out at gun-point from the vehicle and kidnapped in the Aryub Zazi area of Ahmadkhel district, deputy police chief Col. Mohammad Zaman told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Their bullet-ridden bodies were found lying on a road late Thursday, he said, adding the three ANA troops were returning to duty after celebrating the religious festival with their families.

The fourth victim’s identity was unclear, he said, adding an investigation had been launched into the incident, but no arrest could be made so far.

A resident of the area, Rafiullah, said the soldiers were gunned down by the armed Taliban in a nearby mountainside. The rebels then asked villagers to hand over the bodies to the government, he said.

There has been no comment on the incident from the ANA authorities.

A Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the killing of three ANA soldiers and a policeman by the fighters.

from Pajhwok
by Noor Ahmad HairanonAug 24, 2012 - 18:45

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