Saturday, February 9, 2013

US airstrike in Waziristan tribal area kill 4 suspected militants

According to Pakistani intelligence sources, at least four suspected militants have been killed in a US drone strike in the Babar Ghar area on the border of North and South Waziristan Agency.

Sources further added, at least two missiles were fired on a house which left four people, believed to be militants, dead. Two others were also injured.

The area is inhibited by the Hakimullah Mehsud-led TTP fighters and also foreigners but the identity of the suspected militants could not be ascertained yet.

This comes as Pakistan is holding talks with the United States to end drone strikes against suspected Taliban fighters, which sometimes also kill civilians, a senior Pakistani official has said.

The attacks, which are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have strained Pakistan’s relations with the US. Pakistan says the attacks violate its sovereignty.

According to Jalil Abbas Jilani, the administrative head of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan have killed 1,900 to 3,000 people. Some 80 percent of the victims were suspected al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

By Ghanizada - 08 Feb 2013, 10:14 pm

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French Troops Capture Key Airport in Northern Mali

French forces battling Islamist militants in northern Mali have taken a strategic airport near the Algerian border.
The French defense ministry said Friday that special forces have seized the airport at Tessalit, a small town in Mali's Kidal region, and are moving to secure the town itself with the help of Chadian troops.

The airport would give French-led forces another base in their fight against the militants, who have fled into the Sahara after losing control of northern Mali's major cities.

Fighting continued elsewhere in Mali Friday.  Outside the city of Gao, a suicide bomber driving a motorcycle blew himself up near a military checkpoint.  One soldier was wounded in the blast.

A local journalist, Soumalia Maiga, ran to the scene as soon as he heard the explosion.

He says the explosion happened less than 10 meters from the checkpoint.  He says people in the town are afraid to go to the market and some are even afraid to go to the mosque for Friday prayers.  He says it is impossible to know whether the bomber was trying to hit the checkpoint or was trying to get inside the town.

The French news agency, AFP, reports that the Islamist group MUJAO claimed responsibility for the attack.

continue and read more from VOA News with some nice photos
February 08, 2013

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Feb. 08., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces killed Taliban leader, Hamid Gul, during a security operation in Chahar Darah district, Kunduz province, Feb. 7.

Hamid Gul was a Taliban leader within Chahar Darah district that conducted attacks against Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officials, as well as, Afghan and coalition forces. He oversaw 25 insurgent fighters who were responsible for the acquisition of improvised explosive device-making materials, IED construction and emplacement in the district. The security force conducted a precision strike, killing him.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


In Yangi Qal‘ah district, Takhar province, Feb. 8, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) leader. The leader was an explosives expert assisting with the planning of an impending high profile attack. He coordinated the construction and movement of improvised explosive devices in the province. During the operation, the security force also detained one suspected insurgent.


An Afghan and coalition security force detained three insurgents during a security operation in search of a Taliban leader in Panjwa’i district, Kandahar province, Feb. 8. The leader is responsible for organizing improvised explosive device operations against Afghan and coalition forces. He coordinates the movement of IED materials into the province.


During a security operation, an Afghan and coalition security force detained five insurgents in search of a Taliban leader in Baraki Barak district, Logar province, Feb. 8. The leader oversees multiple insurgent fighters and executes multiple attacks against Afghan and coalition force patrols.

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Feb. 08., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces killed one insurgent, cleared three improvised explosive devices and discovered one weapons cache during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Feb. 7.

Kapisa province

Coalition forces killed one insurgent during an engagement in Tagab district.

Khowst province

Afghan and coalition forces discovered a weapons cache during an operation in Spera district. The cache contained two rocket propelled grenade rounds.

Coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Sabari district.

Laghman province

Coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Alishing district.

Nangarhar province

Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED in Achin district.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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Taliban leader killed in Kunduz airstrike

Districts of Kunduz.
Districts of Kunduz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
KABUL (PAN): A notorious Taliban leader named Hamid Gul was killed during a joint Afghan-coalition security operation in the Chahar Darah district of northern Kunduz province on Thursday, the alliance said on Friday.

Gul, who oversaw 25 insurgent fighters, conducted attacks against Afghan officials and Afghan and coalition forces in the district, an ISAF statement said.

His group was responsible for the acquisition of improvised explosive device-making materials, IED construction and emplacement in the district. He was killed in a precision strike.

Kunduz police spokesman Syed Sarwar Hussaini said a man had been killed in a NATO airstrike in the Nawabad area of Chardara, but it remained unclear if the slain person had links with the militants.

The ISAF statement further said an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) leader was arrested in Yangi Qal‘ah district of northern Takhar province. The detainee, an explosives expert, assisted planning an impending high profile attack, the alliance claimed.

Three insurgents were detained in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province and another five in the Baraki Barak district of central Logar, the statement said.

By Pajhwok Report
Feb 8, 2013 - 16:52

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Blast kills ten in lower Orakzai; TTP claims responsibility

PESHAWAR: At least ten people were killed Friday in a blast near a security check-post in Kalaya, the agency headquarters of the restive northwestern Orakzai tribal region, officials said.

According to local administration official Fazl-i-Qadir, around 30 others were also injured in the remote-controlled bombing, which appeared to target a gathering of the anti-Taliban Ferozkhel tribesmen near the busy Ferozkhel Chowk in Kalaya.

The Ferozkhel tribes, who oppose the Taliban and have also formed anti-Taliban militias, are frequently targeted by the militants.

An army check-post is also located near the site of attack and some officials said it could also be a possible target for the bombing.

The injured were shifted to the agency headquarters hospital and Hangu hospital.

Meanwhile, by claiming responsibility of the attack, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told that they wanted to target Pakistani security forces.

Orakzai is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants are said to have carved out strongholds.

The agency was the original base of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he moved to South Waziristan to take up the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership after the death of his predecessor, Baituallah Mehsud.

Unlike the six other tribal agencies, Orakzai does not border Afghanistan. The rugged mountainous territory provides a crucial link for militants operating in other tribal regions, as it borders Khyber and Kurram on the Afghan frontier.

It also borders Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Pakistan’s main northwestern city, as well as the garrison town of Kohat.

from DAWN
Zahir Shah Sherazi

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Nine Killed In Shootings at Nigerian Polio Clinics

ABUJA — Police say nine female health workers were shot and killed in northern Nigeria Friday as they were giving out polio vaccines.  At least one person was reported injured in the attack.  No one has claimed responsibility and police say they have no suspects, but analysts say it was consistent with others by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Police say the women workers were giving out polio vaccines at two community health centers in the city of Kano when men on three-wheeled motorcycles opened fire.

Salisu Ibrahim Fagge is a journalist in Kano, a city that was hit by Boko Haram’s largest single attack to date in January 2012 when nearly 200 people were killed in coordinated bombings. 

He says the shootings Friday also appeared to be coordinated, both happening around 9 o'clock Friday morning. 

The crime scenes are now surrounded by security, he says, and while people are shocked, the rest of the city is open for business.

Aid workers say attacks on health clinics could cripple Nigeria's ability to fight polio.

Last fall, John Campbell, a former American ambassador to Nigeria, said ideology and insecurity is already contributing to the rise of polio in Northern Nigeria, with some fundamentalists saying the vaccine can produce infertility or cause HIV.

“When the local residents hear the vaccine is coming, they start handing particularly their male babies out over the back fence so they’re not there when the polio workers arrive," said Campbell.

He also said Boko Haram attacks can keep aid workers out of the areas hardest hit by polio.

Nigeria had 121 recorded polio cases last year, more than the rest of the world combined.  Pakistan and Afghanistan were the second hardest hit countries, while six cases were reported in Niger and Chad.

In Pakistan, gunmen killed seven polio workers early this year and, last year, the Pakistani Taliban blocked vaccinations for over 150,000 children in protest of U.S. drone strikes.

While you don’t hear the expression much any more, Boko Haram used to be known as the “Nigerian Taliban."  The group is fighting to impose strict Islamic law across northern Nigeria, and is blamed for more than 1,500 deaths across the region since launching an uprising against the government in 2009.

from VOA News
Heather Murdock
February 08, 2013

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At least 29 killed in car bomb attacks in Iraq

A series of car bombs in Shiite areas of Iraq, including two explosions at a popular bird market in Baghdad, killed at least 29 people and wounded 69 others on Friday, officials said.

Two car bombs struck in the north Baghdad neighborhood of Kadhimiyah, while two others were detonated in Shomali, a town south of the capital in mostly Shiite Babil province, the security and medical officials said.

Twin blasts struck just after 9:00 am (0600 GMT) at the market in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiyah, an interior ministry official and a medical source said.

At least 11 people were killed and 30 others wounded in the explosions at the bird market, which is often crowded with visitors on Fridays, the weekly holiday in Iraq.

And in the predominantly-Shiite Iraqi province of Babil, two car bombs in the town of Shomali, south of Baghdad, killed five people and wounded 11 others, according to security and medical officials.

Sunni militants, including Al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq, often target Shiite neighborhoods with deadly attacks in a bid to push the country back to the sectarian bloodshed that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

The violence is the latest in a spike in unrest in Iraq, which has been struck by waves of car bombs and suicide attacks in recent weeks amid a political crisis and weeks of rallies in Sunni-majority areas calling for the ouster of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

By Al Arabiya with agencies
Last Updated: Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:18 am (KSA) 08:18 am (GMT)

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