Archive for Taliban

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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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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Pakistani Taliban kill 4 boys, wound 6

Posted in terrorist attacks with tags , , on September 8, 2009 by admin

The boys were Shiite while the Talibans are Sunni.

The students were going to school in Atmankhel town of Orakzai district when the militants opened fire, killing four boys and wounding six others, local administration official Asmatullah Khan told AFP.

“It appears to be a sectarian attack as the slain students belonged to the minority Shiite sect of Islam,” he said. “The attackers were Taliban.”

Residents said the dead students were all younger than 16, but were not able to give the exact ages of the victims.

It’s just another attack of their ongoing campaign against schools, in which they have burned buildings, while their Afghan colleges have also thrown acid in girls’ faces.

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
.”

Pakistani ex-MP, accused of Stanczak’s beheading, alleges abduction

Posted in counterterrorism, hostages with tags , , on September 6, 2009 by admin

A former Pakistani lawmaker says he was kidnapped by security agencies after he refused to act as a Taliban informer.Shah Abdul Aziz told the BBC he was “dragged” into the case of the kidnapping and murder of a Polish engineer after his refusal. He was released on bail on Thursday and denies any involvement in the case.

He has been accused of the beheading of Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak.

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.

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.