Saturday, January 12, 2013

5 tonnes of drug recovered in Nimroz

Districts of Nimruz.
Districts of Nimruz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
HERAT CITY (PAN): A huge drug cache was seized in the Khashrod district of southwestern Nimroz province, an official said on Saturday.

Afghan and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) personnel recovered the drugs from a compound during a joint operation, the district chief said.

Mohammad Hashim Noorzai told Pajhwok Afghan News the Iran-bound cache contained 100 kilograms of opium and 4,900 kg of hashish.

One smuggler was shot dead after he confronted the security forces. It was the biggest drug cache recovered ever in the province, Noorzai revealed.

Another suspected smuggler, who was passing by in a car, was killed in an ISAF airstrike, he concluded.

from Pajhwok
By Pajhwok Report Jan 12, 2013 - 19:31   

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Civilian among 3 dead in Helmand attacks

LASHKARGAH (PAN): Two militants were killed and five others wounded during a clash with security forces in the Marja district of southern Helmand province, the governor’s office said on Saturday.

Two fighters were captured alive during an operation by police on Friday afternoon on the outskirts of the district, a statement from the governor’s office said. Three motorcycles and two Kalashnikovs were seized by police.

Also on Friday, a nine years old girl was killed and two other civilians were wounded in an insurgent attack in the Nad Ali district of the province.

from Pajhwok
By Shams Jalal Jan 12, 2013 - 16:24   

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Taliban attack security check post in Badghis province

According to local authorities in western Badghis province of Afghanistan at least 10 Afghan police officers were killed or injured following Taliban militants attack.

Provincial police chief Sharafuddin Sharaf confirming the report said the incident took place after a number of Taliban militants attacked a security check post in Moqor district.

Mr. Sharaf further added the clashes continued for almost two hours leaving at least four police officers dead, 2 injured and another office was disappeared.

He said a Taliban militant was also killed following the clashes.

In a separate incident Taliban militants attacked a security check post in Ab-Kamari district leaving at least 3 Afghan police officers injured.

Taliban militants group yet to comment regarding the reports.

By Sayed Jawad - January 12 2013, 11:45 am

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Jan. 12., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces killed three insurgents and cleared two improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Jan. 11.

Khowst province

Afghan Uniformed Police and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Sabari district.

Logar province

Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Pul-E-Alam district.

Nuristan province

Afghan National Army soldiers killed three insurgents during an engagement in Kamdesh district.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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France says hostage killed during rescue bid in Somalia

Denis Allex was filmed by his captors( intelligence photo)
(Reuters) - A French intelligence officer held hostage in Somalia since 2009 was killed along with at least one other soldier during a botched rescue attempt by French troops on Friday night, the French Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

But the Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen insurgent group who were holding Denis Allex said in a statement that he was still alive and being held at a location far from the base where French military helicopters attacked overnight.

The al Qaeda-linked insurgents also said they were holding an injured French soldier.

Both sides described a fierce firefight during the raid on the Horn of Africa country that French said was carried out by the DGSE intelligence agency that Allex worked for.

The French Defence Ministry said 17 Somali fighters were killed in the fighting, which came on the same day France carried out air strikes against al Qaeda linked rebels in Mali in west Africa.

"Faced with the intransigence of the terrorists, who refused to negotiate for three and half years and who were holding Denis Allex in inhumane conditions, an operation was planned and carried out," the ministry said.

"During the assault, violent combat took place. Denis Allex was killed by his captors and in trying to liberate their comrade, two soldiers lost their lives."

The government later told a news conference one soldier was killed and one was missing.

Allex was one of two French intelligence officers from the DGSE who were kidnapped by al Shabaab in Mogadishu in July 2009 but one, Marc Aubriere, escaped a month later. Allex had been held ever since.

Authorities in Bula Mareer, a town about 120 km (75 miles) south of Mogadishu, said helicopters attacked on early on Saturday.

"Helicopters attacked al Shabaab at 2.00 a.m. this morning. Two civilians died in the crossfire," Ahmed Omar Mohamed, deputy chairman for lower Shabelle region, told Reuters.

An al Shabaab official who asked not to be named said they exchanged fire with French commandos.

"Three helicopters dropped French commandos. We exchanged fire," the official told Reuters.

The ministry said on Saturday Allex was kidnapped when he was carrying out an official aid mission with the Somalian government. France has previously said the two men were in the Somali capital to train local forces.

After his abduction al Shabaab issued a series of demands, which included an end to French support for the Somali government and the withdrawal of African Union peacekeepers, whose 17,600-strong troops are helping battle the rebels.

A video of Allex pleading with French President Francois Hollande to negotiate his release and save his life appeared on a website in October used by Islamist militant groups around the world. Reuters could not verify its authenticity.

Hollande said at the time the government was seeking to start talks with any party able to facilitate Allex's release.

By John Irish and Abdi Sheikh
PARIS/MOGADISHU | Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:12am GMT
(Additional reporting by Feisal Omar and Leila Abboud; Editing by George Obulutsa and Alison Williams)

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R.I.P. - Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

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

            Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, of Chester, Va., died Jan. 10, in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by small arms fire while on mounted patrol.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

            For more information, media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at 912-210-9375.


from wtoc:
Posted: Jan 12, 2013 12:27 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2013 12:29 AM 

HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) - Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, of Chester, Va., died Jan. 10 in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from the injuries he sustained after his unit was attacked by small arms fire while on mounted patrol.

Wittman was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID. He joined the Army in Oct. 2008 and arrived at Fort Stewart in February 2012. This was Wittman's second deployment. His awards include the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals.

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Mali and France 'push back Islamists'

Government forces in Mali say they have regained territory from Islamist militants following air strikes by the French military.

Malian officials said they had taken back the strategic central town of Konna, which rebels had secured just a day earlier as they pushed south.

The news came hours after France announced it had begun military operations in support of Mali's army.

Armed groups, some linked to al-Qaeda, took control of northern Mali in April.

The Islamists have sought to enforce an extreme interpretation of Islamic law in the area.

Regional and western governments have expressed growing concern about the security threat from extremists and organised crime.
'Crushing retaliation'

Announcing France's military intervention, French President Francois Hollande said Islamists had been trying to turn Mali into a "terrorist" state.

He said the intervention complied with international law, and had been agreed with Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore. It would last "as long as necessary", he added.

French officials gave few operational details. When asked whether there had been French air strikes, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that there had been "an aerial operation".

Residents in Mopti, just south of Konna, told the BBC they had seen French troops helping Malian forces prepare for a counter-offensive against the Islamists.

Mr Traore declared a state of emergency across Mali, which he said would remain in place for an initial period of 10 days.

He used a televised address to call on Malians to unite and "free every inch" of the country.

"Our choice is peace... but they have forced war on us," he said. "We will carry out a crushing and massive retaliation against our enemies."

Late on Friday Malian officials said they gained control of Konna.

"Konna is under our control this evening but we are still conducting mopping-up operations," said Lt Col Diarra Kone, though he warned that some rebels might still be in the town.

The British government expressed its support for the French operation. US officials said Washington was considering providing intelligence and logistical support to French forces.
'Crusader intervention'

The west African bloc Ecowas said it was authorising the immediate deployment of troops to Mali "to help the Malian army defend its territorial integrity", AFP reported.

The UN had previously approved plans to send some 3,000 African troops to Mali to recapture the north if no political solution could be found, but that intervention was not expected to happen until September.

Mr Fabius said the aim of the operation was to stop Islamist militants advancing any further.

It was not clear how far the French would go in helping Mali's government retake territory in the north.

At least seven French hostages are currently being held in the region, and Mr Fabius said France would "do everything" to save them.

A spokesman for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said he considered the French operation a "Crusader intervention", and told France it would be "would be digging the tombs of [its] sons" if the operation continued, according to the Mauritania-based Sahara Media website.

France ruled Mali as a colony until 1960.

from BBC
 12 January 2013 Last updated at 01:04 GMT

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