Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finland has launched a probe after 69 surface-to-air Patriot missiles were found in a ship bound for Shanghai

A U.S. Patriot Missile launches from a truck m...Image via Wikipedia
AFP - Finland has launched a probe after 69 surface-to-air Patriot missiles were found in a ship bound for the Chinese port city of Shanghai, police said.
"An investigation found 69 Patriot missiles, explosive material and propelling charges," a police statement said.
The missiles, produced by US firm Raytheon, were discovered following a customs search on the British-registered Thor Liberty, owned by Danish firm Thorco, at the port of Kotka, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Helsinki.
Finnish customs are investigating the case as one of illegal export of defence material.
"There are grounds for customs to open an investigation into crime concerning the export of these items to third countries," head of Finnish customs anti-crime unit Petri Lounatmaa told AFP.
Finnish law requires permission from defence officials to move such material across the country's borders.
Lounatmaa noted that Finnish police, who are part of the investigating team, will investigate any other possible misconduct in the case.
A team of customs, police and defence force experts conducted a detailed probe of the ship's cargo Wednesday when routine checks by Finland's traffic safety authority revealed a load of 150 tons of improperly packed nitroguanidine -- a low-sensitivity explosive with a high detonation speed.
Following the discovery, police and customs are now conducting further investigations to determine the reason for the military cache.
"We have started questioning the crew...As the investigation continues decisions will be made about possible arrests," Lounatmaa explained.
The customs official said that there were roughly 32 crew members on board the vessel, and that questioning could continue into Friday.
Thorco managing director Thomas Mikkelsen expressed surprise, telling AFP from Denmark that he was unaware of the case.
Another company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the ship had been detained in Finland and said the missiles could have been loaded on to the vessel by mistake.
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Hungarian PRT implement various projects in Baghlan

110909-O-XXXXX-028Image by isafmedia via Flickr
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – According to officials at Hungary provincial reconstruction team in northern Pul-e-Khumri city of Baghlan province, dozens of medium sized welfare projects including construction of schools, deep well drilling projects, construction of governmental infrastructures, construction of roads, construction of protective walls for schools and clinics have been implemented and a number of projects are in process in this process since the beginning of 2011 in this province.
Construction of the Zaman Khel high school with 24 calssrooms is among the biggest construction projects, which has been financially supported by the ministry of foreign affairs of Hungary.
The construction work of the named school was started at the beginning of August 2011 and completed at the end of February 2012.
Besides, the Hungarian provincial reconstruction team in northern Baghlan province constructed the infrastructure of provincial economy  department which was also financially supported by the ministry of foreign affairs of Hungary.
In the meantime, Hungarian provincial reconstruction team emphasize for the betterment of education services in this province and said, a number of schools will be built in remote areas of northern Baghlan province to pave the way for the provision of education services for thousands of Afghan students.
Local residents at Panjser and Tala in Jelga and Tala Barfak districts of northern Baghlan province are optimistic for the construction of schools to boos the education services and in the meantime, the construction work of schools in Andarab and Deh Salah districts is also under the process.
Also the issue of school students relating to lack of drinking water in Hasan Tal in central Baghlan province has been resolved after the Hungarian provincial reconstruction team complete a deep well drilling project in the area.
Residents of various regions in northern Baghlan province where the welfare projects have been implemented praise the work of Hungarian reconstruction team and said, further implementation of such projects will further improve the confidence of northern Baghlan residents for the NATO-led Hungarian troops.
The Hungarian provincial reconstruction team also implemented a number of other small welfare projects including distribution of winter clothes and shelter for the needy residents of northern Baghlan province, provision of Generators for a number of health clinics and security check posts, provision of furnitures for a number of schools, expanding the infrastructure of Baghlan coal mine hospital in Pul-e-Khumri city and a number of other small projects which have been implemented during the year in this province.
Report by Ajmal Omeri, Baghlan province.
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Prince Harry says he is returning to Afghanistan

The Armed Forces have hit back at reports that Prince Harry has been cleared to fly Apache helicopters in Afghanistan next year.

One senior military source told Sky News: "Someone at Clarence House has been speaking out of turn."
Harry is due to complete his training early in 2012 and is expected to carry out weeks - if not months - of flight duties in the UK before being deployed to theatre.
The source suggested that such a decision could only be made at that point.
The highly decorated senior officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The appropriate time to sign off on whether third-in-line should go is then.
"Who knows what Afghanistan will be like by that point?
"Someone on their side, someone at Clarence House, has been speaking out of turn."

Another source claimed that far from being at an advanced stage, the planning necessary to send a member of the Royal Family into a combat zone had not gone further than preparatory discussions.
The source said: "There are no plans on the table to send Harry to Afghanistan. Pure and simple. He's not even finished his training."
There is a degree of anger at what some in the military view as an attempt by Clarence House to secure Harry's trip to the front.
Whilst the royal might not be at greater risk than other Apache pilots, a number of military sources have suggested reports of the Prince's pending arrival may bring extra attention to those currently in Afghanistan.
A source said: "What you'll find is the Taliban paying extra attention to Apaches in future. Greater attention means a greater risk of contact - and of course that means our pilots fly in greater danger."

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62 militants killed and injured in Afghan military operations

Mohammad Zahir Azimi in 2008                  Image via Wikipedia
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – Officials in the ministry of defense of Afghanistan on Wednesday said, at least 62 militants were killed and injured during the month of November in Afghanistan.
The officials further added, at least 346 others were detained by Afghan national security forces during this month.

A spokesman for the ministry of defense of Afghanistan Zahir Azimi following a press conference on Wednesday said, Afghan national army soldiers have had a number of major achievements during the month of November.

Mr. Azimi further added, at least 62 militants were killed and injured while another 346 militants were detained during the military operations this month.
He also said, at least 138 Afghan national army soldiers were also killed and injured during the month of November.

According to Gen. Azimi, around 153 AK-47 assault rifles and 22 PK-47 Machine guns including 16 rocket launchers, 380 improvised explosive device, 13738 rounds of ammunitions and 3600 kgs of opium and drugs were recovered during the military operations this month.
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Suicide bomber shot dead in eastern Khost province

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – According to local security officials in eastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber was shot dead by Afghan security forces before he reaches his target in eastern Khost province on Wednesday.

Deputy provincial police chief for eastern Khost province Mr. Yaqib Khan said, the suicide bomber was shot dead by Afghan security after he was recognized by Afghan security forces while he was trying to approach the police station to carry out the suicide bomb attack.

The source further added, Afghan police forces have launched a search operation to arrest or eliminate the remaining the companions of the suicide bomber as the Afghan police forces believe that the suicide bomber might have been trying to carry out a mass attack on the police station.

(pic thx 2 HBK from AC)

In the meantime, Gen. Ziarat Gul spokesman for eastern Khost security commandment said, at least four suicide bombers had reported entered the eastern Khost province and wanted to storm the provincial police station after occupying the municipality building.

According to deputy provincial police chief Yaqib Khan, at least one security guard working in the bank was injured during the incident.
Taliban militants group yet to comment regarding the incident.
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4 militants killed in southern Helmand province

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – According to local authorities in southern Afghanistan, at least four Taliban militants were killed in southern Helmand province.
Provincial governor spokesman Mohammad Daud Ahmadi confirming the report said, the Taliban militants were killed following an ambush by Afghan police forces in Adam Khan district of southern Helmand province on Tuesday.

Mr. Ahmadi further added, Afghan police forces also seized a vehicle and two improvised explosive device including an AK-47 assault rifle following the operation.
He also said, Afghan police forces did not suffer any casualty during the clashes with the Taliban militants.

In the meantime, provincial governor spokesman Mohammad Daud Ahmadi said, an civilian was killed after his vehicle struck with a roadside bomb in the same district on Tuesday.

No group including the Taliban militants have so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
Local officials blame Taliban militants for such incidents as the Taliban fighters frequently use improvised explosive device to target Afghan and coalition forces which normally leads to civilian casualties

5 Polish troops killed in east Afghanistan(+video)

Five Polish soldiers were killed Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded in eastern Afghanistan, the alliance and a Polish official said.
It was the deadliest single attack for the Polish military in Afghanistan, spokesman Jacek Sonta said in Warsaw. He said the soldiers were in a convoy headed to Rawza, in eastern Ghazni province, when it struck the bomb.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message to journalists. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said "a Polish tank" was blown up and all its occupants were killed.
Mohamad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor of Ghazni province, said that Polish soldiers were attending a morning meeting in the Rawza district of Ghazni city, about 77 miles (125 kilometers) southwest of the capital Kabul. One of their vehicles was destroyed by a roadside bomb, he said.
AP Television News footage from the scene showed wreckage of what seemed to be a U.S.-made Cougar armored terrain transport vehicle. The blast appeared to have shattered the 19-ton vehicle into three large pieces, which lay scattered around a crater not far from some village homes.
Poland is in the process of withdrawing some 100 out of the 2,600 troops it has in Afghanistan.
So far this year, 532 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan. The attack on the Polish convoy brings the number of NATO troops killed in December to 16.
szer. Krystian BANACH
st.kpr. Piotr CIESIELSKI
st.szer. Łukasz KRAWIEC
st.szer. Marcin SZCZUROWSKI
st.szer. Marek TOMALA

photos (thx 2 partizan at AC):

raw video by AP:

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Dec. 20., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Evening Operational Update

For Immediate Release
KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 20) — In Ghazni district, Ghazni province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a weapons cache during routine operations yesterday. The cache consisted of 156 mortars of varying sizes, 19 rockets, 120 artillery rounds, 535 rounds of small arms ammunition, 50 grenade fuses, 22 anti-personnel mines and 11 anti-tank grenades. Most of the weapons were destroyed on site and a portion was confiscated to be destroyed at a later date.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache on a routine patrol in Panjwa’i district, Kandahar province, today. The cache consisted of approximately 441 pounds (200 kilograms) of hashish. The drugs were confiscated to be destroyed at a later date.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered eight improvised explosive devices during a routine patrol in Kahh Kalay district, Zabul province, yesterday. The security force requested an explosive ordnance disposal team be sent to the site, which successfully destroyed all of the IEDs without incident.

In Nad Ali district, Helmand province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a cache of IED-making materials during a routine patrol, today. The cache consisted of 64 pressure plate detonation devices, six bags of explosive materials, 14 remote detonators, five packs of electrical wire and one role of detonation cord. The security force confiscated all materials for destruction at a later date.

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