Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taliban abduct 9 Afghan deminers in Kandahar province

According to officials in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, at least nine Afghan deminers were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in this province.
The officials further added, the incident took place in restive Maiwand district.

Provincial governor spokesman Jawid Faisal confirming the report said the deminers were held while they were on their way back from the minefield on Monday.

Mr. Faisal further added the deminers were returning from the field in two vehicles and were abducted by unknown gunmen.

Provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq also confirmed the report and said Afghan security forces have launched a search operation to rescue the deminers.

Taliban militants group claimed responsibility behind the abduction.

By Sayed Jawad - 23 Apr 2013, 3:15 pm

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Canada thwarts "al Qaeda-backed" train plot, Iran denies role

VIA 66 leaving Toronto on its way to Montreal
VIA 66 leaving Toronto on its way to Montreal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested two men and charged them with plotting to derail a Toronto-area passenger train in an operation that they say was backed by al Qaeda elements in Iran.
"Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured," Royal Canadian Mounted Police official James Malizia told reporters on Monday.

U.S. officials said the attack would have targeted a rail line between New York and Toronto, a route that travels along the Hudson Valley and enters Canada near Niagara Falls.

The RCMP said it had arrested Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto in connection with the plot. Authorities said it was not linked to last week's Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 200.

Neither suspect is a Canadian citizen, and police did not reveal their nationalities. Two sources following the investigation said one was Tunisian.

Canada's intelligence agency has long expressed concern about the possibility that disgruntled and radicalized Canadians could attack targets at home and abroad.

Police gave little detail about the alleged plotters, but said a tip from the Muslim community had helped their year-long investigation.

Esseghaier has been a doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique near Montreal since 2010 and was about midway through his degree, the school said.

"He is doing a PhD in the field of energy and materials sciences," said Julie Martineau, the school's director of communications.

A bail hearing for the two men was due to take place in Toronto on Tuesday morning.

Read the full article here, on REUTERS website

By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp
TORONTO | Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:43am BST
(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington, Louise Egan in Ottawa and Marcus George in Dubai; writing by Cameron French; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Afghans protest against US special forces in Baghlan province

According to local authorities in northern Baghlan province of Afghanista, US special forces arrested a Mullah Imam (cleric) of a mosque in Doshi district on Monday night.

Doshi district chief Shamsuddin Sarhadi said hundreds of local residents protested against the detention of Mawlavi Baaz Mohammad on Tuesday.

Mr. Sarhadi further added that protesters have also blocked Kabul-Baghlan highway.

In the meantime the protesters warned that they will launch a widespread demonstration if US special forces does not free Mawlavi Baaz Mohammad.

The Mullah Imam has reportedly been arrested for having connections with the militants in this province however the protesters denied his link with any insurgent groups.

Local officials are also saying that Mawlavi Baaz Mohammad had close cooperation with the government.

This comes as hundreds of Wardak residents protested against the US special force over military operations and urged them to leave the province.

from KHAAMABy Meena Haseeb - 23 Apr 2013, 1:59 pm
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Apr. 23., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security and coalition forces detained 10 suspected insurgents, discovered one weapons cache and found and safely cleared six improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, April 22.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Security and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED during operations in the Andar district.

Laghman province
Afghan National Security and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED during operations in the Alingar district.

Afghan National Security and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED, detained 10 suspected insurgents and discovered a weapons cache during operations in the Mehtar Lam district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning. The cache contained 34 IEDs and homemade explosive materiel.

Paktika province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared three IEDs during operations in the Khoshmand district.

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Car Bomb Wounds 2 at French Embassy in Tripoli

Libyan security forces gather outside the French embassy building in Tripoli following a car bomb attack, April 23, 2013.
France has condemned a car bombing at its embassy in the Libyan capital, calling the attack a heinous act.

Officials say the explosion early Tuesday at the embassy in the Hay Andalus area of Tripoli wounded two guards and caused extensive damage. The Libyan Foreign Ministry calls the attack a "terrorist" incident.

French President Francois Hollande says his government expects Libyan authorities to help make the circumstances of the attack clear in order to bring those responsible to justice.

He also says the bombing targets all countries involved in fighting terrorism.

Libya has struggled with instability and violence since the ouster of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi in late 2011.

An attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

from VOA News
April 23, 2013

more photos from XINHUA:

Libyan security personnel gather outside the French embassy following a car bomb blast, in Tripoli, Libya, April 23, 2013. A car bomb exploded early Tuesday near the French embassy in the Libyan capital, injuring at least two guards, security sources said. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

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R.I.P. - Pfc. Barrett L. Austin

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

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

            Pfc. Barrett L. Austin, 20, of Easley, S.C., died April 21 in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, April 17.  He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

            For more information media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at 912-435-9874 during duty hours.  After duty hours call 912-767-8666 and ask for the on-call public affairs officer.


Posted: Apr 22, 2013 3:32 AM Updated: Apr 22, 2013 10:18 PM
By Dal Kalsi

DACUSVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - An Upstate soldier serving in Afghanistan died after his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device.

Pfc. Barrett Austin, 20, of Easley, died from injuries he sustained last Thursday, according to his grandfather, Donald Austin.
Family said Barrett Austin was driving a military vehicle when he ran over an explosive device. The device detonated, leaving Barrett Austin severely injured.
According to the military, the attack happened in the Wardak Province on April 17. He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA.
According to Donald Austin, his grandson was flown to an Army hospital in Germany. His parents and his wife, Heather, were at his bedside when Barrett Austin passed away Sunday afternoon, according to family.
The family is expected to return with Barrett Austin's remains on Wednesday.

Funeral plans have not yet been announced.

According to a memorial Facebook group set up in Barrett Austin's memory, he attended Dacusville and Pickens high schools, where flags were flown at half-staff on Monday.
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