Monday, February 4, 2013

Feb. 04., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban improvised explosive device facilitator in Nad ‘Ali district, Helmand province, today.

The facilitator is an IED specialist believed responsible for the procurement, construction and distribution of IEDs and other forms of weapons to Taliban leaders operating in the district. He is alleged to have overseen the acquisition and delivery of heavy weapons to insurgents for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

The security force also detained two suspected insurgents and seized multiple firearms as a result of the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


In Maiwand district, Kandahar province, Sunday, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban leader. The leader is believed to have overseen nearly 30 Taliban fighters and is suspected of being responsible for coordinating complex attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

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Feb. 04., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security Forces cleared one improvised explosive device during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Feb. 3.

Laghman province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED in Mehtar Lam district.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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Mali Tuaregs seize two Islamist leaders fleeing French strikes

map by Evan Centanni (
(Reuters) - Tuareg rebels in northern Mali said on Monday they had captured two senior Islamist insurgents fleeing French air strikes toward the Algerian border, and France pressed ahead with its bombing campaign against al Qaeda's Saharan desert camps.
Pro-autonomy Tuareg MNLA rebels said they had seized Mohamed Moussa Ag Mohamed, an Islamist leader who imposed harsh sharia law in the desert town of Timbuktu, and Oumeini Ould Baba Akhmed, believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of a French hostage by the al Qaeda splinter group MUJWA.

"We chased an Islamist convoy close to the frontier and arrested the two men the day before yesterday," Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, spokesman for the MNLA, told Reuters from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. "They have been questioned and sent to Kidal."

France has deployed 3,500 ground troops, and warplanes and armoured vehicles in its three-week-old Operation Serval (Wildcat) in Mali which has broken the Islamists' 10-month grip on northern towns, where they imposed sharia law.

Paris and its international partners want to prevent the Islamists from using Mali's vast desert north as a base to launch attacks on neighbouring African countries and the West.

The MNLA, which seized control of northern Mali last year only to be pushed aside by better-armed Islamist groups, regained control of its northern stronghold of Kidal last week when Islamist fighters fled French airstrikes into the nearby desert and rugged Adrar des Ifoghas mountains.

The Tuareg group says it is willing to help the French-led mission by hunting down Islamists. It has offered to hold peace talks with the government in a bid to heal wounds between Mali's restive Saharan north and the black African-dominated south.

"Until there is a peace deal, we cannot hold national elections," Ag Assaleh said, referring to interim Malian President Dioncounda Traore's plan to hold polls on July 31.

Many in the southern capital Bamako - including army leaders who blame the MNLA for executing some of their troops at the Saharan town of Aguelhoc last year - strongly reject any talks.

French special forces took the airport in Kidal on Tuesday, reaching the most northern city previously held by the Islamist alliance. Though the MNLA says it controls Kidal, a Reuters reporter in the town saw a contingent of Chadian troops - part of a U.N.-backed African mission being deployed to help retake northern Mali - backing up French special forces there.


French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said warplanes were continuing bombing raids on Islamists in Mali's far north to destroy their supply lines and flush them out of remote areas.

"The objective is to destroy their support bases, their depots because they have taken refuge in the north and north-east of the country and can only stay there in the long-term if they have the means to sustain themselves," Fabius said.

"The army is working to stop that," he told French radio.

Jets attacked rebel camps on Sunday targeting logistics bases and training camps used by the al Qaeda-linked rebels near Tessalit, close to the Algerian border.

French President Francois Hollande made a one-day trip to Mali on Saturday, promising to keep troops in the country until the job of restoring government control in the Sahel state was finished. He was welcomed as a saviour by cheering Malians.

The rebels' retreat to hideouts in the remote Adrar des Ifoghas mountains - where Paris believes they are holding seven French hostages - heralds a potentially more complicated new phase of France's intervention in its former colony.

"We are still in the same war, but we're entering a new battle," said Vincent Desportes, a French former general and now associate professor at Science-Po university in Paris.

"We will look to gradually wear out and destroy the terrorists that are sheltering in the Ifoghas. It's now a war of intelligence (services), strikes and probably action by special forces in the background."

Hollande said on Saturday that Paris would withdraw its troops from Mali once the landlocked West African nation had restored sovereignty over its territory and a U.N.-backed African military force could take over from the French soldiers.

Drawn mostly from Mali's West African neighbours, this force is expected to number more than 8,000. But its deployment has been badly hampered by shortages of kit and airlift capacity and questions about who will fund the estimated $1 billion cost.

Fabius said French soldiers may soon pull back from Timbuktu. Its residents had celebrated their liberation from the Islamists, who had handed down punishments including whipping and amputation for breaking sharia law.

The rebels also smashed sacred Sufi mausoleums and destroyed or stole some 2,000 ancient manuscripts at the South African-sponsored Baba Ahmed Institute, causing international outcry.

"A withdrawal could happen very quickly," Fabius said. "We're working towards it because we have no desire to stay there for the long-term.


By Cheikh Diouara
KIDAL, Mali | Mon Feb 4, 2013 11:38am GMT
(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris, Daniel Flynn in Dakar and David Lewis in Timbuktu; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Jon Boyle)

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Six suspected suicide bombers arrested in capital Kabul

(file photo)
Afghan police forces arrested at least six suspected suicide bombers were arrested in capital Kabul, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

The suicide bombers were reportedly equipped with suicide bombing vests, weapons and hand grenades, and were arrested by Afghan security forces before they manage to carry out attacks.

Kabul security chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi quoted by Voice of America (VOA) said the suspected suicide bombers were being followed by Afghan security forces and were arrested from fourth district of Kabul city.

He did not disclose further information regarding the detained suspected bombers however he said that investigations are in process.

This comes as a number of suicide bombers carried out coordinated attacks in capital Kabul last month killing and injuring at least 44 people including Afghan security forces.

At least 35 people were killed or injured after a group militants including suicide bombers targeted Afghan spy agency compound in Kabul city on 16 January, 2013.

In the meantime a group of suicide bombes attacked traffic department on 21 January, 2013 where at least 16 people were killed or injured.

By Mirwais Adeel - 03 Feb 2013, 9:08 pm

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22 killed in suicide bomb north of Baghdad

A suicide bomber has blown himself up near Taji, north of Baghdad prison in Iraq. (warning graphic image!)(Reuters)
A suicide bomber detonated himself outside an Iraqi prison near Taji, north of Baghdad, on Monday, Al Arabiya's correspondent reported.
Details of the attack are still developing.

Meanwhile, another suicide bomber discharged near a group of anti-Qaeda militiamen as they were receiving their salaries in the town of Taji. The death toll is still unconfirmed, 22 have allegedly been killed, according to AFP.

The attack in Taji, follow a day after separate attacks killed 30 people in north Iraq.

A medic working in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya hospital confirmed the toll.

Sahwa militiamen, mostly Sunni Muslims who helped turn the tide of violence which engulfed Iraq in the wake of the US invasion, took up arms against Al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2006. They have often been targeted by the extremist group.

The Sahwa fighters recently saw their monthly salary, paid by the government, rise to 500,000 dinars ($415) from 300,000 dinars.

Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government is hoping this gesture will appease Sunni protesters who have been demonstrating against his rule for more than a month.
Violence was also reported in other parts of Iraq on Monday and during the night.

A police lieutenant, in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Jihad, was killed and three of his colleagues wounded in a blast caused by an improvised explosive device, the ministry official and medics said.

Four people were also shot dead overnight in Kirkuk, hours after a coordinated assault on a police headquarters in the north Iraq city left 30 people dead, officials said.
The security and medical officials said that at around midnight a gunman opened fire on four men sitting in a caravan adjacent to a neighborhood electricity generator, killing all of them.
Districts nationwide are serviced by private generators which fill the large power gap, as most Iraqis get fewer than 10 hours of electricity per day.

Typically, the generator operator and some of his friends stay in a caravan next to the machine to ensure it operates constantly.

The violence comes as Iraq grapples with a political crisis pitting premier Maliki against his government partners amid weeks of protests calling for him to resign.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but local security officials blame Al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq, which often targets security forces and officials in a bid to
Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city 240 kilometers north of Baghdad, lies at the heart of a swathe of disputed territory claimed by both the central government and Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region.

The unresolved row is persistently cited by diplomats and officials as the biggest threat to Iraq’s long-term stability.
The violence was the latest in a spike in unrest that saw 246 people killed last month, the most since September, according to an AFP tally.

Last Updated: Mon Feb 04, 2013 15:24 pm (KSA) 12:24 pm (GMT)

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