Archive for NATO

German general fully support airstrike

Posted in counterterrorism, foreign policy with tags , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by admin

German general backs officer in Afghan airstrike

Germany’s top military commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday he stood “fully behind” the German commander who called in a U.S. airstrike on fuel trucks hijacked by Taliban that killed civilians as well as insurgents.

Brig. Gen. Joerg Vollmer insisted in a phone interview with The Associated Press that Germany’s relations remain good with its NATO allies, including the United States, even after the U.S. military criticized the German officer who requested the attack in northern Kunduz province.

An Afghan official appointed by President Hamid Karzai to examine Friday’s attack said his best estimate of the death toll was 82, including at least 45 armed militants. (Problem here: how to discover who are terrorists and who are civilians, when no terrorist wears an identification?).

The top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has pledged a full investigation.

…Insurgents have stepped up attacks in Kunduz, a province dominated by Pashtuns — the largest Afghan ethnic group from which the Taliban garner their support and recruits. Some analysts say that insurgents have been able to operate with relative freedom because of the German military’s policy to make the security of its own troops its top priority.

Vollmer hinted that operations like Friday’s airstrike — the first German-led action in seven years to cause significant militant deaths — could become more frequent in future.

Vollmer blamed the tense security situation in Kunduz on the lack of Afghan police, the influx of former refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran, and efforts by militant groups to protect lucrative smuggling and extortion rackets from government interference.

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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.

Before:
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.

Related:
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
.”

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.

Scores killed after NATO air strike on tanks of petrol, hijacked by Afghan Taliban

Posted in counterterrorism, foreign policy with tags , , , on September 4, 2009 by admin

Scores of people were feared killed on Friday in a big fuel-tanker blast in northern Afghanistan that followed a NATO air strike in the area, Afghan officials said.

NATO forces confirmed that they had carried out an air strike, and said their target was insurgents. They had no immediate information about the report of the explosion and casualties.

Kunduz province Governor Mohammad Omar said as many as 90 people were feared killed, burnt alive in the giant blast, which took place as villagers gathered to collect fuel from tanker trucks captured by Taliban militants.

Mohammad Sarwar, a tribal elder in the province, said Taliban fighters had hijacked the tankers and were offering fuel to a crowd of people when the crowd was bombed.