Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mali: France to Send Drones to Mali As Jihadists Flock to North, Report

France is to send surveillance drones to back up west African intervention in northern Mali and is meeting top US diplomats in Paris this week to discuss the fighting the Islamist presence there, the AP news agency reports.

Citing an anonymous source in the French Defence Ministry, AP says that France plans to move two surveillance drones to west Africa from Afghanistan before the end of the year as part of an increasing role in the Malian conflict.

France is not believed to have any armed drones.

Hundreds of jihadists arrived in northern Mali over the weekend to help fight a military intervention there, according to residents, Malian security forces and Islamists.

The Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad denied the report, however.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and other American diplomats are meeting their French counterparts for two days in Paris, starting Monday.

They will discuss intelligence-gathering and security in the Sahel.
The French defence official told AP that Washington has "conferred to us the role of leader" in the crisis.

France, the former colonial ruler of Mali, has airpower and hundreds of troops in Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad and Gabon, which were also once French colonies, French and US officials said, while the US has only trainers and advisers on temporary missions, according to Africom, the US military Africa command based in Stuttgart, Germany.

France is also reported to have special forces in the region and to have contracted out surveillance of Mali to a private company.

US awareness of Islamist presence in the Sahel has increased since the attack on its consulate in Beghazi, Libya, which saw the US ambassador and three other Americans killed and Washington has started satellite and spy-flight surveillance to track rebel movements.

France and the UN, which ordered secretary general Ban Ki-moon, want west African countries to organise a direct military invention in northern Mali, where armed Islamist groups have taken control following Tuareg separatist rebellion.

President François Hollande has promised not to send French troops while offering logistical support and training to the west African force.

Read or Listen to this story on the RFI website.

from allAfrica/RFI
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Heavy clashes reported in Nuristan province of Afghanistan

Kamdesh District in the Nuristan Province in A...
Districts of  Nuristan Province in Afghanistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to local authorities in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan, heavy clashes between Afghan security forces and anti-government armed militants started in this province early Tuesday morning.

The officials further added the clashes started in Barg-e-Matal district and the militants are still resisting Afghan security forces.

Provincial security chief Ghulamullah Nuristani said militants started attacking Afghan security forces in cooperation with the Pakistani military.

Mr. Nuristani further added militants are fighting Afghan security forces and are armed with modern and heavy military equipments.

He said an Afghan child has been killed following the clashes and the militatns have also suffered casualties however he did not disclose exact details of the militants casualties.

Taliban militants group yet to comment regarding the report.

By Sadaf Shinwari - Tue Oct 23, 2:02 pm

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8 people killed in bomb attacks in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Up to eight people were killed and 15 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in northern and western Baghdad of Iraq on Tuesday morning, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.

The deadliest attack occurred when several mortar rounds landed in a residential area of Chikouk in Baghdad's northern district of Kadhmiyah, killing up to seven people and wounded two others, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, the source put the toll at one killed and seven wounded.

In a separate incident, a car bomb ripped through Baghdad's northwestern district of al-Shulla, killing a civilian and wounding 10 others, the source said.

In addition, another mortar round landed on a highway in Abu Ghraib area, some 20 km west of Baghdad, damaging a civilian car and wounding three people aboard, the source added.

Violence and high profile attacks are still common in the Iraqi cities despite a notable decrease of violence over the past few years.

2012-10-23 15:29:39

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2 Armed Taliban Killed and 12 Arrested by ANP (23.Oct.2012.)

Publish Date: Oct 23, 2012
Two Armed Taliban Killed and 12 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 Kabul, Nangarhar, Paktiya, Balkh, Kandahar, Helmand and Logar provinces.

As a result of these operations, two armed Taliban were killed and 12 others were arrested by Afghan National Security Forces.
Also, during these operations, Afghan National Police discovered and confiscated 10 different types of weapons, 184 heavy rounds, one remote control mine and one motorcycle.

Additionally, Afghan National Police discovered and defused an anti-vehicle mine as a result of security operation in the main road of Mohammad Agha District of Logar province, yesterday.

The 101 Kabul Zone National Police detained a man accused of trafficking in the 9th District of Kabul-City.
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Somali pirates release MV Orna, detain six crew

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali pirates said on Monday they have freed the Panama-flagged merchant ship MV Orna after receiving a ransom of $400,000, but detained six of the crew to get more money for them.

The ship, a bulk cargo vessel with a deadweight of 27,915 tonnes, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was stopped by pirates firing rocket-propelled grenades about 400 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles in December 2010.

Pirates said they released MV Orna held at Haradheere in central Somalia, but were still holding the captain, the engineer and four others of its 19 mostly Indian crew.

"We now hold six men, including the captain and the chief engineer," pirate Mohamed told Reuters from Haradheere

The amount of the ransom for release of the ship could not immediately be verified independently.

"We have taken $400,000 and released MV Orna. The owners towed it with other ships," pirate Abdiweli told Reuters.

"We want ransom for them, but I cannot say the amount now."

Seaborne gangs are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international navies have struggled to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean owing to the vast distances involved.

However, naval ships have intensified their crackdown, including strikes on the pirates' coastal bases, and shipping firms are increasingly using armed guards and defensive measures on vessels, including barbed wire.

This has helped to reduce the number of incidents involving Somali pirates to 69 in the first half of 2012, compared with 163 in the same period last year, the International Maritime Bureau has said.

By Mohamed Ahmed
Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:14am GMT

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NATO troops convoy attacked in Laghman province

According to local authorities in eastern Laghman province of Afghanistan, a relatively heavy explosion rocked Mehtarlam city in this province early Tuesday morning.

Provincial governor spokesman Sarhadi Zwak confirming the report said the incident took place in Basram village while a convoy of the coalition forces were crossing the area and were attacked by Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers. The NATO troops convoy were moving from Noor Gram district to Mehtarlam city when the incident took place.

Coalition security forces did not suffer any casualties following the incident, provincial governor spokesman Sarhadi Zwak confirmed.

This comes as Mr. Zwak earlier said a NATO vehicle was damaged following the blast however there is no report regarding the casualties.

Sarhadi Zwak said the area has been cordoned off and NATO aircrafts are moving on the area.

In the meantime a spokesman for the Taliban group Zabiullah Mujahid said all NATO troops in the vehicle were killed following the blast.

NATO-led International Coalition Security Forces yet to comment regarding the report.

By Sayed Jawad - Tue Oct 23, 9:17 am

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Oct. 23., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition security forces killed Taliban leader Ghulam Ali during a security operation in Wardak province Monday.

Ghulam Ali was a Taliban leader directly responsible for coordinating attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, facilitating the transfer of weapons throughout Wardak province, and developing Taliban network attack plans with other Taliban leaders.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban fighter in Kunduz province today. The arrested fighter is suspected of organizing and executing attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout Kunduz province. During the operation, the security force also detained two other suspected insurgents.

Afghan Special Police members of Provincial Response Company Balkh, enabled by coalition forces, arrested several suspected insurgents while executing an Afghan search warrant in Balkh province, yesterday. After conducting a search of the immediate area the combined force found and seized several weapons and improvised explosive device-making materials.


Afghan and coalition forces today confirmed the death of Taliban leader Qasim during a security operation in Kandahar province Sunday. Qasim was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of weapons and ammunition for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces based in the area.

An Afghan and coalition force detained a number of insurgents during a security operation in search of a Taliban facilitator in Helmand province today. The facilitator coordinates and assists in IED attacks in central Helmand province.

An Afghan and coalition force detained a number of insurgents during a security operation in search of a Taliban leader in Kandahar province today. The Taliban leader is responsible for conducting IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout Kandahar province.

Afghan Special Police members of Provincial Response Company Uruzgan, enabled by coalition forces, killed two enemy fighters and seized a cache of weapons, ammunition and narcotics in Uruzgan province yesterday.

Afghan and coalition forces Sunday confirmed the death of a senior Taliban leader in Uruzgan province Saturday. The leader, directly linked to IED and checkpoint attacks in the area, was killed along with a number of insurgents after they engaged the combined force.


Afghan and coalition forces killed two insurgents during an operation in Logar province Monday. During the operation, the security force positively identified the insurgents conducting a mortar attack against Forward Operating Base Shank.

An Afghan and coalition security force killed Haqqani leader Niaz Mohammad during a security operation in Paktiya province Monday. Niaz Mohammad was responsible for planning and participating in ambush attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the area.

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UK doubling armed drones over Afghanistan

Britain is doubling the number of armed RAF drones in Afghanistan to 10 with the new aircraft to be operated remotely from Lincolnshire.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman confirmed that pilots based at RAF Waddington would fly the five recently-bought unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The hi-tech Reaper drones are primarily used to gather intelligence on enemy activity on the ground, but they also carry 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles for precision strikes on insurgents.

The spokeswoman said the new batch, known as 13 Squadron will be officially "stood up" at a ceremony on Friday although operation will not start immediately.

"Reaper is the only remotely-piloted aircraft that is armed," the spokeswoman said.

"On the rare occasions that weapons are used, the same strict rules are followed that govern the use of weapons on manned aircraft.

"The vast majority of unmanned aircraft flying is surveillance and reconnaissance in support of our frontline troops, providing them with vital intelligence and helping to save lives in Afghanistan.

"Since 2006 they have provided over 100,000 hours of persistent intelligence."

Operations of the five new UAVs are expected to begin within six weeks, the Guardian reports.

RAF crews will continue to fly the other UK Reaper aircraft remotely from the USA Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

from British Forces News
23 October 2012

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R.I.P. - Corporal Scott James Smith

It is with deep regret that the Australian Defence Force announces
the death of Corporal Scott James Smith on operations in Afghanistan on 21 October 2012.

Corporal Smith was a member of the Special Operations Task Group and was from the Special Operations Engineer Regiment based at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney, New South Wales.

Corporal Smith is survived by his partner Liv, his parents Katrina Paterson and Murray Smith and sister Roxanne.

Scott Smith was born in the Barossa Valley South Australia in 1988.  He joined the Army in February 2006 and upon completion of his initial employment training, was posted to the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, Darwin.  In 2008, Corporal Smith was posted to the then Incident Response Regiment as a search operator. 

Corporal Smith was an exceptional soldier who possessed all the qualities and charisma of a great junior leader. He is described by his unit as a genuine, honest and dedicated member who was probably one of the best Junior Non-Commissioned Officers that the unit has seen. His loss will be deeply felt.

Corporal Smith has been awarded the following honours and awards:
  • Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism,
  • Afghan Campaign Medal,
  • Australian Service Medal with Clasp Solomons 2,
  • Australian Service Medal with Clasp – Counter Terrorism / Special Recovery,
  • Australian Defence Medal,
  • NATO International Stabilisation Assistance Force Medal with Multi-Tour Indicator 2,
  • Army Soldiers Medallion,
  • Army Combat Badge,
  • Returned from Active Service Badge.
During Corporal Smith’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following operations:
  • Operation ANODE (Solomon Islands) – November 2006 – December 2006,
  • Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – February 2010 – July 2010,
  • Operation NORWICH (Australia) – November 2011,
  • Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – July 2012 – October 2012.

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3 IED planters perish in airstrike

KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Three mine planters were killed during an airstrike by foreign forces in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces, officials said on Monday.

An insurgent commander, who wanted to plant a roadside bomb, was killed in an air raid by foreign troops in the Bolan area of Lashkargah late on Sunday, the governor's office said. 

Two other mine planters were killed in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province, said the governor's spokesman, Jawed Faisal. He told Pajhwok Afghan News the men were killed before they could plant the landmines.

Separately, one Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier was killed and another injured in a roadside bombing in eastern Laghman province, said Sarhadi Zwak, the governor's spokesman. The explosion took place in the Badiabad area of Alingar district.

from Pajhwok
by Bashir Ahmad Naadim on Oct 22, 2012 - 19:22

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More Islamist Fighters Deploy in Northern Mali

Hundreds of additional Islamist fighters have deployed in northern Mali, as neighboring countries make plans to send troops to the troubled nation.

According to witnesses, the fighters began deploying last week, after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution asking West African bloc ECOWAS to submit its plans for a Mali force.

Residents report seeing hundreds of Tunisian and Egyptian militants in the city of Gao, while many other militants went to the central town of Douentza, close to Malian army positions in Mopti.

Mali's interim government has called for help to oust Islamist militants who seized control of the north after a March military coup in the capital, Bamako.

In an interview with VOA Monday, a spokesman for Islamist group Ansar Dine said he could not confirm an influx of foreign fighters.

But the spokesman, Sanda Ould Bouamama, said Muslims have an obligation to help the militants in what he called an unjust and illegal war against Islam.

On Friday, Mali's interim president called for swift foreign intervention to retake the north.

The al-Qaida linked militants in the region have carried out public executions, amputations and floggings in an effort to enforce their strict version of Islamic law.

ECOWAS has proposed sending some 3,000 military personnel to Mali to help stabilize the country, train the army, and oust the militants.  However, some Malians object to the idea of foreign intervention.

from VOA News
October 22, 2012

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