Friday, August 17, 2012

ISAF Commander’s Eid ul-Fitr Message

ISAF Logo. de: Schrift in Paschtu: کمک او همکا...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
KABUL, Afghanistan - The following is a statement from Gen. John Allen, commander of ISAF:

“On the eve of the most blessed celebration of Eid ul-Fitr, when the pious people of Afghanistan celebrate their faith and the Holy words of the Koran, once again Mullah Omar has issued an unmistakable message of death, hate and hopelessness for the Afghan people.

For normal members of the faithful, this should be a message of congratulations on the occasion of the ending of the holy period of Ramazan, but instead this message speaks to insurgent operations, revenge, death, lies and false unity among the killers.

Repeating the same insane language of previous years, Omar once again writes that his thugs should “pay close attention to the protection of life, property and honor…employ tactics that do not cause harm to life and property of the common countrymen.” Yet, as we saw in Nimroz and Kunduz Provinces just days ago, Omar sent his assassins to slaughter dozens of innocent Afghan men, women and children. In 2012 alone, hundreds of innocent Afghans have been killed by bombs built and detonated by Omar’s people. Either Omar is lying, or his henchmen are not listening to him, but it is clear that innocent Afghan civilians are paying the price for his corrupt leadership.

While Omar rests comfortably from afar, he continues to send young brain-washed men to carry out attacks in a fruitless cause. He professes love for his fighters, yet he sends them to their deaths by the hundreds. Where is the vision that Omar speaks of? Where is the love he professes for the Afghan people? Are these not the acts of a deranged man who puts his own goals of personal domination ahead of the future of the Afghan people?

This latter point is most apparent when Omar speaks about education in this year’s Eid message. He insults the Afghan people when he says his movement “…considers education as a main factor for advancement of its beloved people in this world and a cause for their prosperity in the world to come.” Not true. Omar’s people have burned numerous schools, built by the Government of Afghanistan and the Coalition, as examples of his true belief in education for the Afghan children.

Omar also says his thugs have infiltrated the ranks of Afghanistan’s legitimate armed forces. The pride of the Afghan people has been smeared by killers who pose as Soldiers and police, yet they represent the worst of humanity. Today, the Afghan Army and National Police are trying to build a better future for the Afghan people, yet Omar wants to stop these efforts. Coalition forces are here to help the people; we have no other reason for being here other than to make Afghanistan a stable country, founded on educated and healthy citizens.

If Omar’s Eid message were true to his written word, he would stop slaughtering innocent Afghans. He would recognize that his movement does not have the will or capability to make Afghanistan a prosperous state, at peace with its neighbors, and a viable member of the international community.”

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UPDATED: Afghanistan police officer kills 2 U.S. troops in latest "green-on-blue" attack

Districts of Farah.
Districts of Farah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(CBS News) LONDON - Two U.S. troops were killed Friday in the western Afghan province of Farah when an Afghan Local Police officer turned his gun on them in the most recent incident in a string of so-called green-on-blue attacks, which have increased dramatically during the last year.

The police officer was shot and killed, according to NATO, which said an investigation was underway.

Friday's attack in Farah marks the 30th time in 2012 that Afghan security forces working in partnership with Western troops have turned weapons on their allies. At least 39 coalition forces have been killed in green-on-blue attacks this year, according to NATO, including 23 Americans.

The shooting comes one day after a statement released by the head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, claimed that militants had successfully infiltrated Afghan security forces to carry out such attacks.

"Thanks to the infiltration of the Mujahideen (holy warriors), they are able to (safely) enter bases, offices and intelligence centers of the enemy," claimed Omar in the statement, released to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid al Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Taliban often claim responsibility for the green-on-blue attacks, but the U.S. Defense Department maintains the attacks are not generally not carried out by insurgents, but rather individual members of the Afghan security forces who may develop a grudge against their Western allies.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced earlier this week that new counter-intelligence measures had been adopted during the past year to try and prevent the green-on-blue attacks. While he acknowledged that some of the incidents have been connected to insurgent groups, he insisted that the vast majority of the attacks appear to be carried out by people with no known links to, or coordination with, the Taliban or other militant organizations.

Even the Taliban leader conceded in his written statement that not all of the attacks were carried out by his militants, but he expressed his appreciation to the "conscious Afghans in the rank and files of the enemy," some of whom, he claimed, had gone on to "join the ranks of Mujahideen, carrying their heavy and light weapons and ammunition."

U.S. military officials note that the majority of the attackers in green-on-blue incidents are actually killed or captured soon after they turn their weapons on their colleagues.

In conjunction with Afghan commanders, the U.S. has used an eight-point vetting process to try and identify and exclude Afghan recruits who pose a threat, but neither Panetta nor other U.S. commanders have elaborated on what news steps are being taken to confront the problem.

The number of international forces killed in green-on-blue attacks in 2012 has already surpassed the toll from 2011, when 35 Western forces were killed.

By Tucker Reals
August 17, 2012 4:06 AM
Updated at 4:40 a.m. Eastern

U.S. Forces Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Two U.S. Forces-Afghanistan service members died this morning as a result of an insider threat attack in Farah province, Afghanistan today. A member of the Afghan Local Police turned his weapon against two USFOR-A service members. The attacker was shot and killed.

Officials are investigating the incident to determine the facts and as more information becomes available it will be released as appropriate.

It is USFOR-A policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Date Taken:08.17.2012
Date Posted:08.17.2012 03:53

2012-08-17 16:01:14

FARAH, Afghanistan, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A man in police uniform opened fire and killed three people including two foreign soldiers in Farah province, 695 km west of capital city Kabul, on Friday, provincial police chief Aqa Noor Kintoz said.

"Personnel of U.S. Special Force were giving training to local police in Balablok district this morning. However, during the training, a local police namely Mohammad Ismael opened fire and killed three soldiers including two Americans and one Afghan on the spot," Kintoz told Xinhua. The deadly incident took place at 8: 30 a.m. local time, he further said.

The attacker was also killed by the troops on the spot, he added.

However, he did not say if the attacker was Taliban protege, adding investigation has been initiated.

This is the third such so-called green-on-blue attacks over the past two weeks in the militancy-hit Afghanistan. In the previous incidents, six foreign soldiers had been killed in the southern Helmand province, the Taliban former stronghold region.
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Aug. 17., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban leader in Alisheng district, Laghman province, today.

The Taliban leader supplied heavy weapons and explosives to insurgents in the area and directed insurgent attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. In the weeks leading up to his arrest, the Taliban leader was involved in planning attacks against local Afghan citizens.

The security force also detained two suspected insurgents and seized several weapons and 3 kg of opium during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


In Chahar Bolak district, Balkh province, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested numerous suspected insurgents during an operation to detain a Taliban leader today. The Taliban leader finances Taliban fighters in Chimtal district and provides them with weapons.

An Afghan and coalition security force detained a suspected insurgent during an operation to arrest a Taliban leader in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, today. The Taliban leader plans and directs improvised explosive device attacks, and acquires suicide vests for use in attacks on Afghan and coalition forces.

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Aug. 17., 2012. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained three insurgents, located a weapons cache and cleared seven improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Aug. 16.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Ghazni district.

Khowst province
Afghan Border Police and coalition forces found and safely cleared two IEDs, one in Terezayi district and one in Khowst district.

Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces detained an insurgent during an engagement in Khowst district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Laghman province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared two IEDs, one in Mehtar Lam district and one in Alingar district.

Logar province
Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces found and safely cleared two IEDs in Pul-E Alam district.

Nangarhar province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces detained an insurgent during an engagement in Behsud district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Paktiya province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces detained an insurgent during an engagement in Gardez district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Wardak province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces discovered a weapons cache in Chak-E Wardak district. The cache contained mortar rounds.

Operations in RC-East are still ongoing.

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At least 45 killed in Iraq attacks

A wave of attacks in Iraq on Thursday killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 180 people, security and medical officials said.

Last Updated: Fri Aug 17, 2012 00:00 am (KSA) 21:00 pm (GMT)

The deadliest attacks struck in and around Baghdad, where 18 people were killed in multiple bombings.

Attacks also struck Tal Afar, Kirkuk, Daquq, Dibis, Kut, Al-Garma, Al-Baaj, Badush, Tuz Khurmatu, Mosul, Taji, Khales and Baquba.

The violence was the deadliest since July 23, when 113 were killed in what was the deadliest day of nationwide unrest in two and a half years.

Thursday's violence took to 190 the number of people killed in attacks in August, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical officials.

While violence has decreased from its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common across Iraq. There were attacks on 27 of the 31 days in July, and there has been at least one shooting or bombing every day this month.

Official figures put the number of people killed in attacks in July at 325, the highest monthly death toll since August 2010.

In the north Baghdad neighborhood of Husseiniyah, a car bomb killed at least six people and wounded 26, according to an interior ministry official and a medical source.

Later in the evening gunmen with silenced weapons attacked a checkpoint in Massud, north of Baghdad, killing at least six soldiers and wounding seven others, security forces and medical officials said.

Meanwhile in the town of Daquq, north of Baghdad in Kirkuk province, a suicide attacker blew himself up at an anti-terrorism department’s compound, according to provincial police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader.

In the province’s eponymous capital, meanwhile, at least four car bombs were set off across the city -- including two at the offices of the state-owned North Oil Company.

“I came to investigate one of the attacks near the company compound,” said police Colonel Abdullah Kadhim, head of Kirkuk city’s sniffer dog unit.

“Suddenly, another bomb went off near me, and it damaged lots of cars and company property inside the parking lot.”

Kadhim suffered wounds to his leg.

Provincial health chief Sadiq Omar Rasul put the toll from the attacks in Daquq and Kirkuk city at eight dead and 56 wounded. Qader said the victims included six police killed in the Daquq attack.

The violence in ethnically-mixed Kirkuk city was concentrated in its Kurdish-majority areas, and came on the anniversary of the founding of Iraq’s most powerful Kurdish party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

In the same province, two roadside bombs near the home of a police captain in the town of Dibis killed his brother and wounded four others, including the captain himself, police and a doctor at nearby Kirkuk hospital said.

In Kut, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded on Thursday evening, police Colonel Dhargham al-Assadi said. Five people were killed and 20 others wounded, according to Dhia al-Din Jalil al-Ibboudi, the head of the Kut health directorate.

Attacks also struck Al-Garma, Al-Baaj, Badush, Tuz Khurmatu, Mosul, Taji, Khales and Baquba, leaving seven dead and dozens wounded.

In Al-Garma, near the former insurgent bastion of Fallujah west of Baghdad, four policemen were killed and three others wounded in a shooting at a checkpoint, according to police Major Enes Mahmud and Dr Omar Dalli at Fallujah hospital.

As emergency responders and civilians rushed to the scene, a roadside bomb exploded, wounding four others.

Gunmen shot dead two people driving in Al-Baaj, west of Mosul, while two children were wounded by bombs that targeted the under-construction house of a police officer in Badush, also west of the restive north Iraq city, police Second Lieutenant Abed Ghayib and Dr Mohammed Tawfik said.

Three roadside bombs exploded in Tuz Khurmatu near the home of a district chief, or mukhtar, killing his wife and leaving him and his three sons wounded, according to police and a local medic.

Explosions in Mosul, Taji, Khales and on the outskirts of Baquba left 22 others wounded, security and medical officials said.

A day earlier, 13 people were killed in attacks north of Baghdad.

On Monday, British security firm AKE Group warned that “terrorists in Iraq may be planning mass casualty explosive attacks against large gatherings of civilians to mark the end of Ramadan later this week.”

“We haven’t received any specific intelligence on the matter but they (insurgents) may be ‘saving up’ their willing bombers for the closing period of the month, due around 17-18 August,” AKE analyst John Drake said.
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73 Shabaab Killed, KDF Suffers Two Fatalities in Somalia (+video)

Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) have killed 73 Al Shabaab militants in an attack at a remote region of Fafadun in Somalia, a military source said on Thursday.

"There was an attack in Somalia at a place called Fafadun. Seventy three Al Shabaab were killed and there are two KDF casualties," the source said.

Three other KDF soldiers were wounded in Thursday afternoon's attack.

The KDF headquarters in Nairobi referred our queries to AMISOM which is the umbrella body for all the troops fighting Al Shabaab in Somalia.

The wounded soldiers were expected in Nairobi later on Thursday after being airlifted from the battleground.

"It was a very violent confrontation because the Al Shabaab militants were heavily armed and ready for war. Forty AK-47 rifles were seized from the slain militants," a source told Capital FM News from Somalia.

The KDF soldiers who are part of the AMISOM force are preparing for a major assault in the coming days when they will liberate Kismayu, a key stronghold for the militant group.

On Tuesday, the United Nations warned of an impending assault on the southern Somali port of Kismayu, the largest remaining stronghold of the country's Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab insurgents.

"Fighting for control of the town appears imminent," said Mark Bowden, the top UN humanitarian aid official for the war-torn nation, noting reports of recent naval artillery bombardment as well as air strikes.

African Union troops, Ethiopian forces and various Somali militia forces have wrested a string of towns from the hardline Al Shabaab, with the capture of Kismayu - a crucial revenue source for the fighters - seen as a key target.

Last week, Al Shabaab officials and residents said three civilians were killed by missile strikes on the port, reportedly by a naval barrage from an unidentified ship.

Several foreign navies operate anti-piracy patrols off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation, including European, US, Russian and Chinese forces.

Neighbouring Kenya has smaller vessels operating offshore from Kismayu, supporting its ground troops, who invaded southern Somalia last year, before joining the 17,000-strong AU force.

"I am deeply concerned by recent reports of civilian casualties in Kismayu caused by naval gunfire and air strikes," Bowden said.

"I reiterate my call for all parties to the conflict to make every effort to minimise the impact of conflict on civilians, and to allow full humanitarian access to all people in need," Bowden added in a statement.

The reports of the long-awaited assault come as the corruption-riddled government wraps up eight years of infighting, with a UN-backed selection process for new leaders due to be completed by an August 20 deadline.

Three Ugandan army helicopters en-route to Somalia to support the AU force crashed in Kenya on Sunday leaving seven soldiers dead.

from allAfrica / Capital FM (Nairobi)
By Bernard Momanyi, 16 August 2012

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R.I.P. - Pfc. Andrew J. Keller

DOD Identifies Army Casualty
            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Pfc. Andrew J. Keller, 22, of Tigard, Ore., died Aug. 15, in Charkh, Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy. 

            For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army Europe public affairs office at 011-49-162-271-6685.

from KATU:
By Anna Canzano KATU News and Staff Published: Aug 16, 2012 at 7:07 PM PDT Last Updated: Aug 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM PDT

Beaverton soldier killed in Afghanistan

BEAVERTON, Ore. – A local soldier from Beaverton has died in combat in Afghanistan, according to his father who spoke with KATU News on Thursday.

Andrew Keller, 22, had just been deployed about a month ago, according to family friends.

According to the Department of Defense, Keller was killed by small arms fire when his unit came under attack Aug. 15 in Charkh, which is about 50 miles south of Kabul.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, according to the military.

Keller was a standout member of the Southridge High School’s football team, a team captain and a multi-sport varsity athlete.

His father, Jeff Keller, was manager of the Murray Hill Little League team that went to the Little League World Series in 2006. His younger brother, Derek Keller, was a member of that Little League team.
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