Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Afghanistan related news .... September 2014

From Xinhuanet:
2 suicide attacks kill 3 ISAF soldiers, destroy oil tankers in Afghanistan
Two suicide bombings conducted by militants in Afghanistan since Monday night have claimed the lives of three soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) besides turning to ashes more than 20 oil tankers.
In the latest suicide bombing occurred in central part of Kabul city Tuesday morning, at least three ISAF soldiers were killed and 13 Afghan civilians sustained injuries.......

.........Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media via telephone from unknown location accepted responsibility for the attack, saying a Taliban suicide bomber targeted foreign forces convoy destroying two military vehicles on the spot.
In a similar incident hours earlier, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a parking lot of oil tankers in the border town of Torkham linking Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province to Peshawar of Pakistan late Monday night, burning to ashes more than 20 oil tankers.
Confirming the incident, spokesman for Nangarhar's provincial government, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai told reporters that 22 oil tankers were burned due to the attack...........

Rod Nordland writing at NYTimes:
base-in-kabul.html">Blast at U.S. Base in Kabul Kills 3 Coalition Soldiers  
Three soldiers with the American-led coalition were killed and five were wounded on Tuesday after a suicide car bomber struck their convoy at the gates of an American military base in Kabul, according to Afghan and American officials.
The attack took place just outside an American Special Operations base. There was no confirmation from the International Security Assistance Force about the nationalities of the victims.

On the same day, the Afghan interior minister confirmed in testimony before Parliament that the past six months had been the deadliest of the 13-year-long conflict with the Taliban, with 1,368 Afghan police officers killed and 2,370 wounded since March 21, the beginning of the current Afghan year. Police casualties have generally run at twice the level of Afghan Army casualties through much of the war.

The minister, Mohammad Omar Daudzai, also said the Taliban had carried out 700 attacks against the police during that period, and he blamed foreign fighters — a formulation commonly understood to mean Pakistani militants — working with Taliban forces for many of the assaults.....

Emma Graham-Harrison writing at GuardianUK:
Taliban advance into Sangin threatens British military gains in Helmand
Summer offensive overruns checkpoints as Afghan security forces struggle to contain insurgency.
The gains from Britain's bloodiest battles in Afghanistan are now at risk after Taliban fighters swarmed into Sangin and nearby parts of northern Helmand, taking control of villages, overrunning checkpoints and threatening the dusty towns that serve as the only government outposts in the area.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured and thousands have fled their homes because of the fierce fighting, less than a year after David Cameron declared "mission accomplished". The military setback in an area that became symbolic of the wider battle for Afghanistan raises uncomfortable questions about Helmand's future and the British sacrifices meant to secure it from insurgent fighters......

James Rosen writing at SacramentoBee:
U.S. Inspector: Billions in failed programs wasted in Afghanistan

 The top U.S. official for monitoring aid to Afghanistan painted a grim portrait of the country’s future Friday, saying it is riddled with corruption and graft.

With most Americans’ attention riveted on Iraq and Syria, John F. Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan, said the United States’ unprecedented $120 billion reconstruction investment there is at risk.
“The country remains under assault by insurgents and is short of domestic revenue, plagued by corruption, afflicted by criminal elements involved in opium and smuggling, and struggling to execute the basic functions of government,” Sopko said in a speech at Georgetown University.
President Barack Obama’s vow that only 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan by year’s end, Sopko said, has left many Americans unaware the the United States will spend up to $8 billion a year on reconstruction projects for years to come.

“If corruption is allowed to continue unabated, it will likely jeopardize every gain we’ve made so far in Afghanistan,” Sopko said..........

Rod Nordland writing at NYTimes:
Brutal Year for News Media in Afghanistan,  a 7th Journalist Is Killed
An Afghan woman has become the seventh journalist killed in Afghanistan so far this year, an Afghan media group said Wednesday, adding to a toll that has already made 2014 by far the deadliest year for the news media here since the fall of the Taliban.
Palwasha Tokhi, who worked for Bayan Radio in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, was called out of her home purportedly to receive a wedding invitation from a visitor on Tuesday night. (Wedding invitations are typically delivered by hand in Afghanistan.)
She was then stabbed to death by the visitor, who fled, according to Hafizullah Majidid, the head of Bayan Radio. Ms. Tokhi had just returned to Afghanistan after earning her master’s degree in Thailand.....

Robert Sibley writing at NationalPost
Master Cpl. Denis Demers, a veteran Canadian soldier who served two tours in Afghanistan, commits suicide
Master Cpl. Denis Demers, a veteran Canadian soldier who served two tours in Afghanistan, is the latest serving member to commit suicide.
The body of the 44-year-old medical technician was found last Friday evening on a road near his home on Labine Crescent in Petawawa.
No foul play is suspected, according to Ontario Provincial Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kristine Rae, but the matter is under investigation by the coroner’s office.....

From RadioGovPak:
Pakistan protests over Afghan attack from across border
The attack was successfully repulsed by the Pakistan Military troops inflicting casualties to the terrorists.
A strong protest has been lodged with Afghanistan over a physical attack launched by terrorists from across the border in the North Waziristan area.
According to the Foreign Office Spokesperson, between 90 to 100 terrorists entered Pakistan territory yesterday from recently established sanctuaries and safe havens across the border in Khost, Afghanistan, opposite North Waziristan.
The attack was successfully repulsed by the Pakistan Military troops inflicting casualties to the terrorists who fled back to Afghanistan leaving behind three dead bodies. Four Pakistani Military soldiers embraced shahadat while repulsing the attack....

Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg at ISAF:
Afghan women attend first Rule of Law training  
KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 17, 2014) — More than 20 Afghan prosecutors, intelligence analysts, and interrogators attended the first all-female Rule of Law training at the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul, Sept. 16.
The students attending the one-day training represented the Ministry of Interior and National Security Directorate. The training consisted of evidence collection, intelligence gathering, crime scene collection, preservation and recovery of evidence, as well as police and prosecution cooperation.....

From ISAF:
ISAF casualty, September 16, 2014  
For Immediate Release
KABUL, Afghanistan (September 16, 2014) — We can confirm one International Security Assistance Force member died as a result of an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turning his weapon against ISAF members in western Afghanistan yesterday. Currently, Afghan officials and ISAF are reviewing the incident.
ISAF continues to train, advise and assist the ANSF, and does not view these incidents as representative of the positive relationship between our forces.
It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities......

AND  .... an immigrant to Canada finds that the violence he thought he had escaped catches up with him, and perhaps through no fault of his own.  Was this a deliberate murder or a robbery of a pizza outlet gone bad?   I am gonna go with murder by another Afghan or an Afghan-funded contract killing. Collaborating with the invaders in Afghanistan is not taken kindly by non-collaborators.

From TorontoStar:
 Man shot dead in Scarborough had recently arrived from Afghanistan
A double shooting just after midnight near Markham Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E. has left one man dead and another in critical condition.

Toronto’s 35th homicide victim was a father-of-two who recently came to Canada from Afghanistan to find work, police said Sunday.
Abdul Monir, 31, arrived in Toronto this May and began working at Scarborough’s Halal Pizza Time Restaurant just two weeks ago.
A few minutes after midnight on Sunday morning, police received a call from an employee at the restaurant near Markham Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E. claiming he’d been shot. When emergency responders arrived they found the shop’s owner just outside the front door suffering from bullet wounds. Monir was found inside, also shot, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The restaurant’s owner was taken to Sunnybrook hospital and underwent emergency surgery. He is currently in critical care and police have not yet been able to speak with him because of his condition, homicide Det. Graham Gibson told reporters Sunday morning......

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