Archive for Afghanistan

To send more troops or not to send them: that is the Afghan question

Posted in counterterrorism, foreign policy with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by admin

That is the central question the NYT wants to answer in this article:

In deploying 68,000 American troops there by year’s end, President Obama has called Afghanistan “a war of necessity” to prevent the Taliban from recreating for Al Qaeda the sanctuary that the terrorist group had in the 1990s.
….In interviews, most counterterrorism experts said they believed the troops were needed to drive out Taliban fighters from territory they have steadily reclaimed in recent years. But critics on both the right and the left say that if the real goal is to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States, there may be alternatives to a large ground force in Afghanistan. They say Al Qaeda can be held at bay using intensive intelligence, Predator drones, cruise missiles, raids by Special Operations commandos, and even payments to warlords to deny haven to Al Qaeda.
…But most specialists on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, both inside and outside the government, say the threat of terrorism cannot be confronted from a comfortable distance, such as by airstrikes or proxy forces alone. While it may take years to transform Afghanistan into a place that is hostile to Al Qaeda, they say, it may be the only way to keep the United States safe in the long term. Many agree with the classified strategy for a troop buildup that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, has presented to Mr. Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent days. 

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NATO troops free reporter, while Afghan translator and UK soldier are killed

Posted in hostages with tags , , , on September 9, 2009 by admin

NYT reporter freed; Afghan aide killed in rescue – Yahoo! News

British commandos freed a New York Times reporter in an early Wednesday raid on a Taliban hide-out in northern Afghanistan. The journalist’s Afghan translator and one of the troops were killed in the rescue, officials said. 

Reporter Stephen Farrell was taken hostage Saturday along with his translator in the northern province of Kunduz when they went to cover a German-ordered airstrike of two hijacked fuel tankers. The bombing, carried out by U.S. jets, caused a number of civilian casualties.

A UK soldier was also killed. He is believed to be a paratrooper. Another two civilians were killed in the cross-fire (What were doing several civilians on a cross-fire there?).

About the Kunduz mission, Angela Merkel has defended the raid, while underlining she deeply regreted any civilian lifes lost after German actions. The difficulty in separating Talibans from civilians makes it,  in turn, very difficult to know how many of each were killed.

German Defense Minister on Afghan NATO’s air strike.
Scores killed after NATO air strike on tanks of petrol, hijacked by Afghan Taliban.

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Taliban killed, 15 arrested in Pakistan

Posted in counterterrorism with tags , , , on September 7, 2009 by admin

A local Taliban commander was killed on Saturday as seven others – including a 12-year-old would-be suicide bomber – surrendered and six were arrested in Swat. The ISPR said the young bomber surrendered along with his father – who is a schoolteacher – in Kuzshaur.

Taliban Expands Grip Over Northern Afghanistan. “since last year, the Taliban have pressed ahead to try to reclaim their former northern fiefdoms — a setback for U.S.-led forces already struggling to contain an increasingly fierce insurgency in the south.
“There are certainly some areas, including Kunduz, where the insurgency has been strengthening,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Greg Smith, head of public affairs for U.S. and NATO troops

Van Jones, the “Green Jobs” former Czar, on AQ in 1998

Posted in ideology with tags , , , , , , , on September 6, 2009 by admin

all (demonstrations) included a large dose of cynicism about President Clinton’s motives for ordering the cruise missile attacks at a reputed chemical weapons manufacturing facility in Sudan and what was described as a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

This is using dead Third World bodies to cover up his own unzipped pants,” declared Van Jones, director of Bay Area PoliceWatch, an organization that until now has focused on alleged misconduct by law enforcement officers. Jones spoke at a demonstration at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco that drew 400 people, according to police estimates.

via Van Jones Defended Al Qaeda In 1998 | Sweetness & Light.

Van Jones resigned today after being generally known that he considered 9/11 as “an inside job”. Of course, he blames it on a “vicious smear campaign on him“.

Van Jones Helpfully Explains Al Qaeda, Clinton.

German Defense Minister on Afghan NATO’s air strike

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2009 by admin

The air strike was absolutely necessary,” Jung told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “I can’t comprehend how some can so quickly criticize the military action without knowing what the situation was or the background information.”

…Jung, who has repeatedly said Germany is not engaged in “war” in Afghanistan, said German officers had “very detailed information” collected over several hours about the two hijacked fuel trucks.

“We had clear information that the Taliban had seized both fuel trucks about six kilometers away from our base in order to launch an attack against our soldiers in Kunduz,” Jung said of the attack, ordered by a local German commander.

If that had succeeded, it would have had horrible consequences for our soldiers. That’s why, in my view, the commander made the right decision … Based on the information I got, only Taliban terrorists were killed in the strike.”

Related: UN probes fiery German battle with the Taliban. A Defence Ministry spokesperson said the bombing mission would not have been ordered if civilians were known to be present.

Bomb explodes near German convoy in Afghanistan

Posted in terrorist attacks with tags , , on September 5, 2009 by admin

A roadside bomb exploded Saturday near a convoy of German troops in northern Afghanistan, a day after German military commanders ordered a NATO airstrike in the region, killing up to 90 people, many of them civilians.  Authorities say the blast damaged vehicles, but there are no report of any serious injuries from Saturday’s explosion.

One of the “Toronto 18” sentenced to 14 years in prison on terrorism charges

Posted in counterterrorism, court decisions with tags , , , , on September 4, 2009 by admin

A Canadian man was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison for his role in a foiled bomb plot by Islamic extremists which was hoped would prod Canada to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Saad Khalid, 23, is the second of the so-called “Toronto 18” to be sentenced for planning three days of attacks on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Canada’s spy agency headquarters and a military base using rented vans stuffed with explosives.

The attacks were designed to try to force the Canadian government to pull its 2,800 troops out of Afghanistan where they are routing insurgents as part of a NATO-led force.

The 18 alleged plotters were arrested during a police sting operation in 2006.Khalid entered a guilty plea earlier this year, avoiding a trial.”This was a conspiracy that would have had a devastating impact on the country,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno said in court.