Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blast kills at least 14 civilians in Afghanistan

Dec 30 A roadside bomb blew up next to a minibus at a crowded intersection on a major highway in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least 14 civilians, officials said.

Kabul, Afghanistan
A minibus packed with civilians, including women and children, was blown apart by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province on Thursday, and officials said 14 passengers were killed and at least four wounded.
Afghan and NATO military officials blamed Taliban insurgents for what a NATO spokesman called a “despicable attack” meant to kill innocents.
It was at least the second time this month that a roadside bomb had killed more than a dozen civilians in Helmand, where American-led NATO forces have intensified their campaign against the Taliban over the past six months and insurgents have increasingly turned to roadside bombs known as IED (improvised explosive devices).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

US : failed missile defence tests costs $100bn

Late on Wednesday, the US tested its newest round of interceptors, spending $100m to blast a missile from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean towards California.
The anti-ballistic missile system failed, as the kill vehicle designed to blow the projectile out of the sky missed its target, adding to a long-list of unsuccessful tests for the expensive weaponisation scheme.
Since the end of the cold war the US has spent "approximately $100bn" on missile defence systems, Richard Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defence Agency, told Al Jazeera.
Wednesday’s failed long-range test was important because it involved an attempt to intercept a dummy warhead, rather than the usual testing scheme of just maneuvering the missile to a particular point in space, said Ian Anthony, the research coordinator for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think-tank in Sweden.

Despite constant technological problems with the system, the White House has requested $9.9bn for missile defence programmes for the next fiscal year (2011), Anthony told Al Jazeera.
Those vast sums of money concern Theodore Postol, a professor of science and international security at MIT and a former scientific adviser to the head of US naval operations. The weapons expert, hardly a liberal dove, just doesn’t believe missile defence can work technologically.

Technological failures and massive financial costs aside, if Barack Obama, the US president, is serious about reducing the possibility of nuclear war, then it seems developing new missile systems isn’t the best way to inspire international trust.

"The US will always say that missile defence is a defensive system," said Tom Sauer, a professor of international relations at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. "The problem is that the Russians or Chinese may perceive it as threatening or offensive. When it comes to missile defence, perspective is everything."
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister and a former KGB agent who is well versed in cold war history, called US plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe "very similar" to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.
"The Bush administration planned to have a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland," Dr. Sauer said. Obama has not ended the missile programme in Eastern Europe, he has just amended it slightly.
"Current plans call for deployment of land-based SM-3 interceptors (a modified surface to air missile) in Poland and Romania to defend Europe against short to medium range ballistic missiles," said Missile Defense Agency spokesman Lehner.

Waste in U.S. Afghan aid seen at billions of dollars

Waste and fraud in U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan while fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban may have cost taxpayers billions of dollars, a special investigator said on Monday.
Arnold Fields, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said the cost of U.S. assistance funding diverted or squandered since 2002 could reach "well into the millions, if not billions, of dollars."
"There are no controls in place sufficient enough to ensure taxpayers' money is used for the (intended) purpose," said Fields, whose independent office was created in 2008 to energize oversight of what U.S. auditors have described as a giant, poorly coordinated aid effort that has sunk some $56 billion into Afghanistan since 2002.
Of that sum, some $29 billion has gone to building up Afghanistan's nascent security forces, many of whose members cannot read and are just learning to shoot.
Another $16 billion has gone to trying to develop this poor country, where life expectancy is just 45 years and only 28 percent of people are literate, and to strengthening governance, said Fields, a retired Marine Corps major general.

Experts believe it will take years to build an effective government that can provide basic services in Afghanistan, where corruption and the lack a functional justice system have driven many villagers into the arms of the Taliban.
Efforts to bolster Afghanistan's weak central government and in many cases its dysfunctional local leadership took center stage last week when a White House review of the nine-year-old war reported some military success but cautioned there was more to be done on improving governance and curbing corruption.

President Barack Obama is under pressure to show results in Afghanistan in the first half of 2011 so he can start bringing U.S. troops home in July.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

War in Afghanistan News reports.  Operations are reported in the following provinces:  Paktiya, Zabul, Paktika and Wardak.
Afghan and Coalition Forces were busy in Wardak Province last night with one Taliban leader killed, another captured, 605 kg of hashish, artillery shells, detonation fuses, RPG boosters, mortars and more were also recovered.
Paktiya Province
Afghan National Police and ISAF forces retrieved an IED from a local hospital in Tsamkani District, Paktiya province today. The IED, covered in a scarf and placed in a trash bag, consisted of two mortar rounds connected to a cell-phone trigger. ANP and ISAF removed the IED from the hospital courtyard and secured the area.
A suicide bomb detonated at a bazaar near an International Security Assistance Force operating base in Gardez District, Paktiya province today.More information will be released when it is available.
Zabul Province
An Afghan National Police patrol discovered two drug caches in Qalat District. The Afghan police clearing operation, conducted in two different compounds, resulted in a discovery of 1,333 pounds (605 kg) of hashish and one detained suspected insurgent in possession of drugs.
Paktika Province
Afghan and coalition forces detained one suspected insurgent and killed another during an operation targeting a Taliban leader in Paktika province last night.The targeted individual plans and implements improvised explosive device ambushes and attacks, as well as provides guidance to fighters in his network.
Based on intelligence reports, the security force targeted a compound in Yosuf Khel District. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully before moving to clear the building. During initial clearance, the security force killed an individual who threatened the security force.
After the area was secure, the security force conducted initial questioning at the scene before detaining the suspected insurgent. The security force also found a machine gun on target.
The assault force ensured the safety of the women and children for the duration of the search.

Wardak Province
An Afghan civilian tip led an ISAF patrol to a weapons cache in Maidan Shahr District, Wardak province. The cache consisted of two 140 mm artillery shells, one 107 mm rocket, one 122 mm rocket warhead, one 122 mm shell, one 125 shell, one 57 mm shell, two 82 mm mortar shells, 100 detonation fuses, 200 small arms rounds, 10 rockets-propelled grenade boosters and motors.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Afghanistan, 25th november

Sorry for not being able to update this blog in 10 days now, but i've been really busy.

 Afghanistan War: US Says Violence Reaches All-Time High

Violence in Afghanistan has reached an all-time high, with clashes up fourfold since 2007, the Pentagon has said.

In a twice-annual report to the US Congress, the Pentagon said progress had been "uneven", with only modest gains against the Taliban insurgency.
The Pentagon also reported gains in security, governance, and development in key areas.
But it warned the Taliban was exploiting perceptions Nato countries would soon withdraw combat forces.
'Resilient insurgency' In a report covering the period between 1 April and 30 September, the Pentagon attributed much of the increase in violence to the growth in the coalition force after US President Barack Obama's escalation this year.
"Efforts to reduce insurgent capacity, such as safe havens and logistic support originating in Pakistan and Iran, have not produced measurable results." the report states.
"The insurgency has proven resilient with sustained logistics capacity and command and control."
But it cited evidence Nato counter-insurgency efforts had "localised" effects in areas of Helmand and Kandahar provinces, and said the Nato strategy had yielded "cumulative effects".
"Security is slowly beginning to expand," the report states.
"Indications of local resistance to insurgents continue to emerge alongside positive indications, such as newly opened schools and police stations."
The Pentagon also said Taliban fighters were exploiting moves among Nato countries to withdraw combat forces.
Canada is due to pull its combat forces out in 2011, and President Barack Obama has also said he will begin removing US troops in July 2011, with security duties to be turned over to Afghan police and army units.
"The Taliban's strength lies in the Afghan population's perception that coalition forces will soon leave, giving credence to the belief that a Taliban victory is inevitable," the report says.
"The Taliban is not a popular movement, but it exploits a population frustrated by weak governance."
America would deny it is going to leave, says the BBC's Mark Mardell in Washington, but a handover by collation forces in four years' time is exactly what was agreed at the Nato summit last weekend.
Very indirectly, the US defence department is suggesting the strategy of American, British and other politicians is the cause of the Taliban's success, our correspondent adds.

Approximately 97,000 US troops and 48,800 troops from other countries are in Afghanistan at present.
Since January 2009, when Mr Obama took office, the US has more than tripled the number of civilians in the country, to 1,100, including diplomats, criminal investigators and drug enforcement agents and agricultural experts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

15th november, Afghanistan

US military base attacked in Afghanistan

A US military base has come under heavy rocket attack in eastern Afghan province of Kunar, blowing up a fuel tank there and destroying six armored vehicles in the base.

“The forward operating base in Kunar province in the district of Asadabad received small arms fire and a round from a rocket-propelled grenade,” an ISAF spokesperson said on Monday.

No injuries or fatalities were reported, the spokesperson added on condition of anonymity.

“The RPG struck a fuel bladder. The fire is under control at this time. The fire did destroy six MRAPs (mine-resistant armored protected vehicles) and an ambulance.”

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the Monday attack, NATO says.

Taliban spokesperson Zabillulah Mujahid said the group was responsible and claimed that a helicopter and an ammunitions dump were also destroyed in the attack.

“Heavy casualties were also inflicted on foreign soldiers in the base,” he added, although the Taliban regularly exaggerates details of its attacks, particularly foreign fatalities.

Taliban militants have stepped up attacks on foreign forces as the US is intensifying operation against the Taliban in the war-torn country.

Eastern Afghanistan is the scene of fierce fighting between Taliban-led militants and forces.

Meanwhile, eleven US-led foreign soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan over the weekend.

More than 640 foreign troops have been killed in war-torn Afghanistan so far in 2010.

Five NATO troops killed as Afghanistan violence soars

KABUL (Reuters) –
Five troops serving with the NATO-led forces in Afghanistan were killed on Sunday, including three in a clash with Taliban fighters (who are referred to by Reuters as insurgents) in the east, the coalition said, one of the worst daily tolls in a month.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) gave no other details about the clash in the east, including the nationalities of those killed. The majority of troops serving in the volatile east are American.
Earlier on Sunday, ISAF said two of its soldiers had been killed in separate explosions in the south.
The deaths send a sobering message to NATO leaders holding a summit later this week in Lisbon with Afghanistan top of the agenda. Many European NATO leaders are under increasing pressure to justify their continued support for the drawn-out war.
U.S. President Barack Obama is set to review his Afghanistan war strategy in December amid sagging public support, after his Democratic party suffered a mauling in mid-term elections.
Violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since US-backed Afghani forces overthrew the Taliban nine years ago, with civilian and military casualties at record levels despite the presence of about 150,000 foreign troops.
The Washington Post newspaper reported on Sunday that Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants the U.S. military to reduce its visibility and the intensity of its operations in Afghanistan and end the use of night raids.
Such raids incite Afghans to join the insurgency, he said.
"The time has come to reduce military operations," Karzai told the Post in an interview. "The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan ... to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life."
Obama plans to begin withdrawing some U.S. troops from July 2011, and Karzai has set 2014 as the target for Afghanistan to take over complete security responsibility from foreign forces. About 100,000 of the foreign troops in Afghanistan are American.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that they viewed Karzai's 2014 plan as a realistic goal.
The five casualties on Sunday were the worst suffered by ISAF since October 14, when eight of its troops were killed in five separate incidents.
At least 642 ISAF troops, about 440 of them American, have been killed in Afghanistan in 2010, by far the deadliest year of the war. Three were killed on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the fall of the Taliban in Kabul.
The spike in violence is largely a result of increased NATO operations against the Taliban-led insurgency, and U.S. and NATO commanders have been talking up recent successes.
Acceptance of the need for a negotiated settlement is growing among NATO members, amid tentative steps toward peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders.
However, insurgents have also stepped up attacks against Afghan and foreign targets in recent weeks.
On Saturday, Taliban fighters attacked a NATO base at the main airport in Jalalabad, the latest in a series of incidents across the country over the previous 24 hours.
Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, and civilian casualties caused by foreign forces hunting militants have long been a major source of tension between Karzai and Washington and led to a falling-out last year.
Also on Sunday, ISAF said one Afghan child had been killed inadvertently and one wounded by artillery fire. The wounded child was taken to an ISAF hospital for treatment.
An ISAF patrol had come under fire in the Zharay district of southern Kandahar province, a Taliban stronghold and returned fire with artillery, the coalition said.
"Our thoughts and concerns are with the families of this terrible accident," U.S. Army Colonel Rafael Torres, an ISAF spokesman, said in a statement.
In a mid-year report, the United Nations said civilian casualties had risen 31 percent in the first six months of 2010 from the same period last year, with more than three quarters of the deaths blamed on insurgents.
In contrast, deaths attributed to "pro-government" forces -- Afghan and foreign troops -- fell sharply, the U.N. report said, largely because commanders had tightened engagement rules, particularly the use of airstrikes and night raids.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

14th November, Afghanistan

JALALABAD – NATO claims a body count of eight insurgents, including two suicide bombers. They were killed in an attack on a ISAF forward operating base. Taliban spokesmen claim 60 or more foreign troops were killed. NATO denies any casualties occurred.
KUNAR – ISAF troops came under attack killing three insurgents and suffering no casualties.
KUNDUZ – A bomb hidden in a motorcycle exploded killed 10 civilians and wounded 18.
S. AFGHANISTAN – Three ISAF soldiers were killed in an insurgent attack according to a NATO statement. The statement did not provide any further details of the attack or the nationality of the service members killed.

US troops killed in Afghanistan and Africa

The Associated Press
Eric Newman was so respected by his commanding officer that the leader greeted the soldier in public with a reference to the TV show "Seinfeld" — "Hello, Newman."
The greeting was frequently uttered by Jerry Seinfeld to his nemesis on the show, Newman. Brig. Gen. Robert Ashley's respect, though, was no joke.
"The highest praise I can give to him is to say, 'I served with him in combat,'" Ashley said at Newman's funeral. Ashley's remarks were reported by The Hattiesburg (Miss.) American newspaper.
Newman, 30, of Waynesboro, Miss., was killed in a bombing Oct. 14 in Akatzai Kalay, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Bragg.
Newman had gotten his start in public service with the Waynesboro police department several years ago.
"He was an outstanding individual," Waynesboro Police Chief James Bunch said. "And it doesn't surprise me at all that he would sacrifice himself for his country."
Newman's sister, Kimberly Del Bosco, said Newman was a "great big brother and always tried to protect me."
"He always tried his best to do everything the best possible way that he could," she said.
Army Sgt. Justin A. Officer
As a youngster, Justin Officer wasn't very fond of school, but he had a natural talent for art and drawing.
His father, Timothy Officer, said the soldier requested art supplies during his deployments, though he wasn't sure if his son got around to finishing any drawings or paintings. It wasn't his only hobby.
Justin Officer "liked typical boy adventures, like camping, fishing and playing video games," his father, who was in the Air Force, told The Wichita Eagle.
The 26-year-old from Wichita, Kan., died Sept. 29 in Kandahar province. He joined the Army in 2004, had served two tours of duty in Iraq and was assigned to Fort Campbell.
His father told the newspaper that Officer planned to leave the Army and pursue school but changed his mind and extended his enlistment long enough to take the deployment.
"I asked him why many times, until he left," his father said. "His only reply was he could help the new kids that were assigned to his unit and might save their lives."
Survivors include his mother, Stacy; brother, Timothy; and sister, Kylea.
Army Spc. Ronnie J. Pallares
Ronnie Pallares liked writing, music and following his favorite teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers.
When he was growing up in Rancho Cucamonga, his family saw him going into journalism or becoming a police officer. They didn't know he had any interest in joining the military, his mother told the Los Angeles Times.
So, it came as a surprise in 2008 when a 17-year-old Pallares asked his mother for permission to enlist in the Army.
"I looked him straight in the eye and asked him, 'You are telling me that you are willing to die for this country?' He stood up and said, 'Yes, Mom. Either you sign this or I will sign up when I am 18.' I decided to support him," Brenda Pallares told the Times.
Ronnie J. Pallares, 19, of Rancho Cucamonga, was killed in an explosion on Oct. 23 in Ghazni, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Bragg.
His mother said he was weeks away from leaving Afghanistan, and they both were eager for his return home.
Pallares had a positive attitude, said his Little League coaches Dawn and Ronald Smith, and on a recent trip home, he had talked about also coaching one day.
"Things could be looking bad, and he would say, 'Let's turn it around!'" Dawn Smith said. "He was always trying to help the other guys on the team."
Army Sgt. Brian J. Pedro
Brian Pedro wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and stepfather. He wanted to make the Army his career, his mother said.
In April, he deployed on his second Afghanistan tour. He was 27 and based out of White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
He died nearly a half a year later in an Oct. 2 attack on his unit in Pol-e-Khumri, and despite his family's grief, Pedro's mother said his grandfather and stepfather are proud he died doing what he wanted to do.
"He was loved by all and will be missed by a whole lot of people," his mother told KGET-TV in Bakersfield, Calif.
Pedro, who lists his hometown as Rosamond, Calif., attended Twentynine Palms High School and graduated from El Camino High School, Oceanside, Calif., in 2002. He enlisted in the Army in 2006.
Pedro had been a utilities equipment repairman in the Army, the military said. He will be posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge.
Pedro's survivors include his wife, Shanna; parents Lululima and David Nelson; and grandmother, Carol Nelson.
Army Spc. Matthew C. Powell
Matthew Powell was a "big teddy bear" who kept working hard until he met with success, friends and family said.
He wasn't the strongest student, and he wasn't a starter on Northshore High School's football team. But he attended every summer workout to sweat with a purpose, and he held his head high when he walked on the field in September with his former coach.
"He seemed to realize that he was doing something good, and that was good to see, that he was proud of what he was doing, that he was proud of his accomplishments," the coach, Mike Bourg, told The Times-Picayune newspaper.
Shelly Jones, who taught Powell in Sunday school, likened him to the teddy bear: "So sweet, so strong, so tall," she said.
Powell, 20, of Slidell, La., died Oct. 12 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a bombing. He was assigned to Fort Campbell.
Jones' 17-year-old daughter, Bethany, recalled Powell as "the sweet big brother figure in my life" whom she could always count on to cheer her up, even if he was serving overseas.
"He was always the funniest one," she said, "the one doing the random dancing in the middle of the party, always being goofy."
Army Spc. Joseph T. Prentler
Joseph "Joey" Prentler was in elementary school when he began telling his family he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a soldier, just like his grandfather.
It was a career choice he stuck with through the years, and one that would take him far from his family's farm in Fenwick, Mich. — first to Georgia for basic training and then to Vilseck, Germany, where his squadron was based.
"Going from when you're 8 and making that decision and sticking with it, that's really honorable," Prentler's cousin, Sonya Jakeway, told The Daily News of Greenville.
The 2008 graduate of Carson City-Crystal High School was killed in Mama Kraiz, Afghanistan, on Oct. 4 after being injured by an improvised explosive device.
Teachers said Prentler was often quiet in school, but friends and family said they'll remember the 20-year-old for his goofy and fun-loving attitude — especially when he spent time with his family and his 13-year-old brother, Dakota.
"I want to be like him," Dakota Prentler told WOOD-TV, saying he plans to join the military one day, too.
He's also survived by his parents.
Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph E. Rodewald
Joe Rodewald grew up in a small town not far from the University of Oregon in Eugene.
When he graduated from South Albany High School several years ago, he was such an avid fan of the UO football team that he was voted "Most Devoted Duck Fan" by his senior class.
"He was a very special kid," said Rodewald's high school football coach Andy Lusco.
On Oct. 13, Rodewald, 21, was killed in combat in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
"He grew into being one of the finest young men I ever coached," Lusco said.
KVAL-TV in Eugene reported that hundreds of people attended Rodewald's memorial service at an Albany church last month, including Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Oregon football coach Chip Kelly.
"I recognize there are dignitaries here like the Governor," said Rodewald's father John Rodewald. "And it's hard to say that right up there is Head Coach Chip Kelly."
Rodewald would have been "so excited" to know the Oregon football coach would attend his memorial, his father said.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles M. Sadell
Charles Sadell was just out of Missouri's Harrisburg High School in 1995 when he enlisted in the Army. A family friend told station KBIA that Sadell, known as "CJ" to his friends, was searching for direction.
He found it, along with a lengthy and decorated career that took him from his home in Columbia, Mo., to Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Germany, Iraq and most recently to Afghanistan, where he was deployed this spring.
An avid outdoorsman who loved to spend time hunting, fishing and nailing balls on a golf course, the 34-year-old intelligence analyst married Kristin Dawn McMillan in 1999. The couple have two sons, Cameron and Hunter. They lived in Weston, Mo.
"He was just a very stand-up guy," the friend, Kristen Adams told KBIA Radio. "He was very respectful. He was a great husband, an amazing father; just an all-around great guy. Everyone that met him just fell in love with him because he was just a charmer."
Sadell was hurt Oct. 5 when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Arif Kala, Afghanistan. He died Oct. 24 at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He was assigned to Fort Drum.
Army Sgt. Mark A. Simpson
Mark Simpson was the youngest in his family but could go toe-to-toe with his four siblings, whether they were exchanging pranks or debating professional football teams and his beloved New England Patriots.
"We would razz each other over who would win, and when the Patriots did win, oh, he'd rub it in really good," his sister Carol Goewey told the Peoria Journal-Star in Illinois.
The 40-year-old Star Trek fan from Peoria, Ill., graduated from Richwoods High School in 1988, and later worked in several states.
Simpson did construction and worked as a bailiff in Colorado and had been in law enforcement in Texas before joining the military in 2004 to support his family and see the world, the newspaper reported.
"He was going to do this until he could retire or they kicked him out," his sister said. "He knew he needed to do this."
Simpson, known by comrades as "Pappy," died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Sept. 26, a day after his vehicle was hit with an explosive. He was assigned to Fort Hood and had served in Iraq.
He and his wife, Aletha, have three daughters. He's also survived by his parents, George and Carol.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam O. Smith
Adam Smith was a steady kind of guy, at ease when he was playing sports or just hanging out with family and friends.
"Adam was a courageous warrior with an unflappable attitude who earned the respect and admiration of his teammates and fellow citizens alike, and he took great pride and passion in being a Navy SEAL," said Capt. Tim Szymanski, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 2, according to a statement.
He enjoyed playing all sorts of sports and hanging out with his family, according to his obituary.
The 26-year-old sailor from Hurland, Mo., was killed Sept. 21 in a helicopter crash during combat operations in Zabul province. He was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team.
The 2002 Bevier High School graduate entered the Navy in 2004. He had been stationed at Virginia Beach, Va., and also served in Iraq with his brother Andrew and two of his cousins, his obituary said.
Survivors include his parents and their spouses, as well as his seven sisters and three brothers.
Marine Cpl. Stephen C. Sockalosky
Stephen Sockalosky — who was known by his middle name, Coty — loved the Atlanta Braves. One of his teachers loved the baseball team, too, and Sockalosky used that to his advantage.
The Rev. Roy Gibbs, who taught Sockalosky at Crisp County High School, said his former pupil would start chatting him up about the team before a test. It was his way of trying to put it off, the Cordele Dispatch newspaper reported.
Sockalosky also was in the Junior ROTC program at the high school, the beginning of his career in the armed forces. In a statement read by U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall at Sockalosky's memorial service, Staff Sgt. Royzell Cooper recalled the young man's dedication. Sockalosky received more than 80 awards in the program and made a list of goals.
"They included joining the Marines, getting married and living a happy life," Cooper said. "He also said that he wanted to be better with God."
Sockalosky was a Marine when he died Oct. 6 after he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune.
He also had a chance to get married. He leaves behind his wife, Brittany.
Marine Lance Cpl. John T. Sparks
John Sparks found his comfort zone operating machine guns, so much that it prompted one comrade to say Sparks "loved" the weapons.
He also loved to drive snazzy cars, watch WWE wrestling and chow down on pizza, tacos or macaroni and cheese, according to his obituary.
"He always carried his weight, and when others couldn't, John would pick up their slack," his roommate, Cpl. Jeffery Holsey, said during a memorial in Afghanistan, according to an account of the event posted online by the 1st Marine Division.
"He was a selfless person," Holsey said. "He always gave everything and never asked for anything in return."
The military said the machine gunner from Chicago was killed Oct. 8 — days after his 23rd birthday — during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He had enlisted in 2008 and was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
Sparks attended Chicago's Paul Robeson High School, where he played football and ran track, and went on to Westwood College, where he studied criminal justice.
Survivors include his mother, father and brother.
Marine Sgt. Ian M. Tawney
When he was 15, Ian Tawney organized a yearlong trip to Argentina and returned speaking fluent Spanish, his mother said.
He was full of life, added his wife. The Dallas, Ore., native liked hunting, snowboarding and riding motorcycles. "He loved to laugh," his wife, Ashley Tawny, told The Oregonian.
"He just knew what he wanted in his life, and he went for it," his mother, Theda, said. "He was a man of great integrity."
Tawney, 25, was killed in combat on Oct. 16 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
He is remembered as a devoted husband and friend who loved the outdoors.
In addition to his wife and mother, Tawney is survived by his father, John Tawney; brothers Shayne Chandler and Jacob Tawney; and sisters Stacy Barham, Karin Lamberton and Karla Cowan.
Tawneys wife is expecting the couple's first child, a daughter, in January.
"It's going to be a real blessing to have a part of him through her," Theda Tawney said.
Marine Cpl. Jorge Villareal Jr.
Before he went to war, Jorge "JV" Villarreal Jr. sometimes acted as the peacemaker among a close-knit group of friends in Texas, settling disputes among buddies.
"He was like our brother, actually," friend Eric Gutierrez said, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Villarreal, a 22-year-old vehicle operator from San Antonio, was killed by a roadside bomb on Oct. 17 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
He had been an honors student at Kennedy High School and was buried not far from there. Friends and fellow classmates said he served as class treasurer, played football in a green and white uniform for the Rockets, and made the halls a friendlier place before graduating in 2006.
He joined the Marines the next year, and the military said he had deployed to the western Pacific before serving in Afghanistan.
"He had that inner strength that people admire and respect," his cousin Jorge Suarez said, according to TV station KSAT. "A strong man that stood up for what's right."
Survivors include his wife, Reyna Rodriguez; a stepdaughter; his parents, Yolanda and Jorge; and a sister, April.
___ Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip D. Vinnedge
Phillip Vinnedge once downloaded a list of "impossible" tasks from the Internet that he set out to prove could be done, such as eating a spoonful of cinnamon, friends said.
"Phil kept checking things off the list," Zach Will, who grew up with Vinnedge, shared in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. "He achieved everything he went for in life."
Vinnedge, 19, of St. Charles, Mo., tackled everything with a special focus: Boy Scouts, wrestling, skydiving, welding, trap shooting.
He displayed the same drive as a Marine.
Scout leader Mike Long said Vinnedge gave up wrestling his senior year to make sure he started his Marine Corps training injury-free after graduating from Francis Owell High School in 2009.
He loved challenges, according to his obituary. "From simple childhood bets and dares, to personal goals and accomplishments, Phillip never backed down from a challenge," it said.
The Camp Pendleton-based Marine was killed Oct. 13 in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Survivors include his parents, Dave and Julie Vinnedge, and his brothers, Corey and Jason.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Lance H. Vogeler
Even as a young Boy Scout, Lance Vogeler had the makings of a leader, according to his childhood pals.
Ryan Heffner, in an e-mail to the Frederick (Md.) News-Post, recalled a trip to Cunningham Falls when he was 10 or 11 — Vogeler would have been 13 or 14 at the time. Some of the kids decided to climb a waterfall instead of taking the easy way around.
Heffner said he became unsteady on the rocks and feared he might fall, especially because the others had made it up. Vogeler was there to calm him down and pull him up to safer ground.
"He told me no matter what happened, he wouldn't let me fall," Heffner wrote.
Vogeler, 29, of Frederick was killed Oct. 1 in Bastion, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit. He was assigned to Georgia's Hunter Army Airfield. He was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School.
Vogeler had two children, 11-year-old Madison and 10-year-old Kyle, and he and wife Melissa is expecting a child.
As a high school student, Vogeler was fluent in sign language because his parents are deaf. That meant he had to translate during parent-teacher conferences, his French language teacher, Teresa Wilson, told the newspaper.
"You're telling them exactly what I'm saying, aren't you, Lance?" she would joke.
He would reply: "Oh, oui, madame."
Marine Sgt. Frank R. Zaehringer III
Frank Zaehringer's high school baseball team used to have an honor called the "Hustle Award."
Now, that honor is called the "Frank Zaehringer Award."
"He would always ask the same three questions," Malcolm said. "Number one: How was I? Number two: How was the team going to be? And number three: Are there any players anymore that are as tough as him, hustled like him, and had the long, flowing, white hair like him?" said Ron Malcolm, the baseball coach at Wooster High School in Reno, Nev.
Zaehringer, of Reno, was killed in combat on Oct. 11 in Helmand province. He was 23 years old and assigned to Camp Lejeune.
KTVN in Reno reported that his friends and family remembered him at a memorial service last month as an active young man with a good sense of humor. He also had a strong work ethic, Malcolm said.
"Frank showed himself to be a rare individual, endowed with intelligence, warmth, common sense, and an intense desire to give of himself for others," Malcolm said. "When Frank would come home on his leaves from the military, he would always come by the baseball field to see me. I loved him for that."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10th november, afghanistan.

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama’s pledge that he’d begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July, administration and military officials have told McClatchy Newspapers.
The new policy will be on display next week during a conference of NATO countries in Lisbon, Portugal, where the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the year when Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said Afghan troops could provide their own security, three senior officials told McClatchy, along with others speaking anonymously as a matter of policy.
The Pentagon also has decided not to announce specific dates for handing security responsibility for several Afghan provinces to local officials and instead intends to work out a more vague definition of transition when it meets with its NATO allies.
What a year ago had been touted as an extensive December review of the strategy now also will be less expansive and will offer no major changes in strategy, the officials said. So far, the U.S. Central Command, the military division that oversees Afghanistan operations, hasn’t submitted any kind of withdrawal order for forces for the July deadline, two of those officials said.
The shift already has begun privately and came in part because U.S. officials realized that conditions in Afghanistan were unlikely to allow a speedy withdrawal.
“During our assessments, we looked at if we continue to move forward at this pace, how long before we can fully transition to the Afghans? Of course, we are not going to fully transition to the Afghans by July 2011,” said one senior administration official. “Right now, we think we can start in 2011 and fully transition sometime in 2014.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3rd, Afghanistan

President Barack Obama recently announced that he was determined to "finish the job" in Afghanistan, and aides signaled to allies that he would send as many as 25,000 to 30,000 additional American troops there. Obama will formally announce his decision in a national address at 8 p.m. Tuesday from the Military Academy at West Point. As casualties mount on both sides, 2009 is shaping up to be the deadliest year yet for coalition troops - twice as deadly as 2008. American and Afghan officials have been encouraged by the recent rise of independent anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan, even though their emergence is recent and supporting them raises fears of the consequences of arming and training Islamic militants.

Helmand Province
Afghan and coalition forces targeting the Taliban district leader for Musa Qal’ah, who also acts as an improvised explosive device expert and facilitator, detained two suspected insurgents and killed one during an overnight operation in Helmand province.
The targeted individual leads his own personal network of IED experts, supplying Taliban senior leaders in the area with lethal IED technology and training.
Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound in Kajaki district to search for the district leader. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the compound peacefully, and then the joint security force cleared and secured the area.
After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained two suspected insurgents, one of whom identified himself as an opium farmer.
As the security force was preparing to depart the area, they shot and killed an armed insurgent carrying an AK-47 and grenade, after he threatened the security force.
The security force also discovered and destroyed a pressure-plate IED and multiple grenades at the scene.
The security force protected the women and children for the duration of the search.
Khost Province
In Khost province, a separate joint security force targeting a Haqqani Network facilitator of weapons and IED materials, detained two suspected insurgents during an overnight operation.
Intelligence reports led the security force to a compound in Zambar in Sabari district to search for the facilitator. After an Afghan call-out, the joint security force cleared and secured the area.
After initial questioning of the residents at the scene, the security force detained the suspected insurgents.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1st November Afghanistan

Special Forces protected, treated, and medevaced two Oruzgan Elders wounded by the Taliban.
The enemy death toll continues to mount in the attack on COP Margah.  At last count it was 38 confirmed and another 40 probables.
While in Kunar, Coalition Forces started a new operation in the Pech River Valley.
ISAF confirmed the death of a Taliban Commander as he was showing off his new anti-aircraft gun.  He was killed by an airstrike in Zabul.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security and International Security Assistance Forces began clearing operations in the western portion of the Pech River Valley early Sunday.

The operation involved the insertion of combat forces by helicopter and vehicles in the Darah-ye Pech District and focused on villages west of Nangalam.

Earlier this month, combined forces conducted operations in the Pech Rever Valley resulting in the death and capture of numerous insurgent fighters, their weapons and bomb-making materials.

The insurgent forces still have a choice, and if they fight against Afghan National Security Forces, they will be destroyed,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph Ryan, commander, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment. “The ANSF will pursue the insurgents until they can be assured that the security situation in the Pech Valley improves.”

Operations are ongoing.

KABUL, Afghanistan – The International Security Assistance Force confirmed Mullah Abdullah Kakar, a senior Taliban leader who planned attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and facilitated the movement of foreign fighters, was killed during a precision air strike in Zabul province Thursday.

Mullah Abdullah Kakar was killed as he showed subordinate Taliban leadership his newly acquired anti-aircraft heavy machine gun, which was mounted on the back of his vehicle.

Based on intelligence sources, coalition forces tracked Mullah Abdullah Kakar, who was recently linked to an improvised explosive device attack, with his vehicle in a remote area in Shah Joy district. After verifying insurgent activity and ensuring no civilians were present, coalition forces conducted the precision air strike on the vehicle, destroying it and killing Mullah Abdullah Kakar along with one of his associates.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces detained several suspected insurgents during two operations aimed at capturing Taliban leadership in southern and eastern Afghanistan Saturday.

An Afghan and coalition security force targeting the Taliban district leader for Garm Ser, who also acts as an improvised explosive device cell leader, detained several suspected insurgents during an overnight operation in Helmand province. The targeted individual conducts direct fire and IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and facilitates IED components, ammunition, weapons and various supplies from Pakistan.

Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound near Sar Banader in Garm Ser District to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the security force cleared and secured the area. After initial questioning at the scene, the security force detained the suspected insurgents.

A separate security force targeted a Taliban improvised explosive device facilitator, detaining one suspected insurgent during an overnight operation in Ghazni province.

Intelligence reports led the security force to a compound in Rayat Godalay in Ghazni District. As the security force approached the targeted compound, one male tried to escape the area, but the security force pursued and captured him peacefully. After initial questioning of the individuals at the scene, the security force detained the suspected insurgent.

The assault force did not fire their weapons during any of the operations and they protected the women and children for the duration of the searches.

KABUL, Afghanistan – The International Security Assistance Force confirmed the capture of a Taliban senior leader who planned and coordinated attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, during an overnight operation in Helmand province Friday.

Intelligence tips led the security force to a compound in Nad ‘Ali district to search for the targeted individual. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to call for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully, and then the security force cleared and secured the area.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

26th october : Afghan Chopper Crashes Kill 14 Americans

KABUL  – Two helicopter crashes killed 14 American troops and civilians in Afghanistan on Monday in one of the blackest days for the United States since its 2001 invasion, officials said.

As anti-US protests erupted in Kabul over the alleged burning of a Koran, Afghan President Hamid Karzai also questioned Washington's commitment to the war-torn nation ahead of a run-off election in less than a fortnight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Afghanistan 25th october

Although the WikiLeaks files released this week are from the US Army in Iraq, they have implications for the war in Afghanistan and the antiwar movement. And there is more to come, including a release of 15,000 documents on Afghanistan withheld from last summer’s release. I’ve written a few preliminary thoughts below, along with links to good analyses of the documents themselves. Especially important in this regard is Aljazeera, which has been running reports on the documents several times a day, and has two very good half-hour specials on their YouTube page.
The United States in now engaged in a two-prong military and PR offensive in Afghanistan. The first three phases of military action against the Taliban in the Kandahar region have now been completed. The military says it has been successful, but informed analysis is becoming more skeptical, noting that the Taliban has simply faded away from battle. The so-called “peace negotiations” in Kabul are still murkey, but again, some analysts are interpreting events as less-than-meets-the eye, with inconsequential “contacts” being hyped as progress in settling the war. For both the military and the diplomatic offensives, news originating from the US/NATO has to be read against important milestones, including the November NATO meeting in Lisbon and the December review by the Obama team of the progress of the war. An independent effort by the military (i.e., not orchestrated by the White House) to stress light at the end of the tunnel would be consistent with last year’s media campaign by McChrystal and Petraeus to pressure Obama into giving them the additional trooops that they wanted. The next goal of the military will be to get more time to win the war, beyond the July 2011 draw-down milestone.
Finally, from what has been publicly released about the high-level meeting in Washington with the Pakistan millitary and political leaders, it seems that the White House has offered the Pakistan military billions more in military aid, while demanding that Pakistan become more aggressive in fighting the Taliban and its allies. Washington has also been presssuring Pakistan to allow more CIA (and perhaps other troops) inside Pakistan, and has restated its interest in using US military personnel against the armed opposition in Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan, the home of the “Quetta Shura,” the leadership circle of Mullah Omar et al.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


the largest leak of secret information in U.S. history -- suggests that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged.
It says analysis by the independent organization Iraq Body Count suggests the logs contain 15,000 civilian deaths that have not been previously disclosed publicly. The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq during the six years, including 66,081 identified as civilians.
the 391,831 secret Defense Department documents released Friday evening “the largest classified military leak in history.”
77,000 U.S. intelligence reports about the war in Afghanistan in July have been leaked, but these additional Afghan files were held back because of their sensitive content.

The Pentagon says these reports are similar to the 70,000 Afghan war documents released this summer, but this time on a much larger scale. Similar to the last time, Morrell said, locals who worked with the U.S. military are at risk of being killed after their names are made public. He said thousands of names could be revealed, and the Pentagon has started to reach out to just over 300 Iraqis it feels are at higher risk.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5 dead in airstrike as claims of Afghan civilian deaths probed 
NATO forces killed five armed men in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, and the command is investigating allegations of civilian casualties, the International Security Assistance Force said.
The incident occurred in the Nadir Shar Kot district of Khost province, when an air weapons team was on patrol.
Helicopters spotted people with weapons moving from a "previously identified enemy position near Sinzai Kalay village." ISAF is sending an assessment team to the region to look into claims of civilian casualties.

News reports provided by ISAF Joint Command regarding operations conducted in the following provinces: Kandahar, Kunduz, Badghis, Paktika and Oruzgan.
Two Afghan males were treated, Oct. 6, after approaching a Bagram Air Field gate with injuries sustained from a detonated landmine.

The wounded teenagers were visiting Jan Qadam village, which borders Bagram’s west side, to attend a wedding. After the wedding, one of the individuals climbed a tree to pick fruit, while the other watched from the ground. When the young man jumped down from the tree, a landmine detonated, injuring both individuals.

Family members brought the wounded to Camp Montrond’s back gate where medics treated them at the scene. One of the wounded sustained a partial foot amputation and the other sustained minor blast injuries to the left side. Both were then transported to Bagram’s Craig Joint Theater Hospital for follow-on treatment.

“We are very glad that the U.S. Soldiers helped them,” said family members through an interpreter.

Minefields remain scattered around Bagram, cordoned off by barbed wire and signs. It is suspected that thousands of mines remain from the Soviet occupation.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Afghanistan 7th october

Watching the worst terrorist attack in the nation's history on a TV at CIA headquarters was like a punch in the stomach for Gary Schroen.
The 35-year veteran of the CIA had just entered the agency's retirement program when planes struck the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Schroen's career had been spent mostly overseas as a covert officer in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Now in his late 60s, he felt he was going to miss what could be the agency's biggest battle in a land he knew well.
Two days later he was at the forefront, summoned back to duty to lead the first U.S. team into Afghanistan. His mission: Hook up with the opposition Northern Alliance, help beat back the Taliban army and, as he was instructed by his CIA boss, "Find [Osama] bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back to the United States in a box on dry ice."
Schroen said it was clear "the gloves were off, that this was a war, and we were going to get the guys who did this terrible deed."
The original end game seemed pretty straightforward -- destroy al Qaeda and eliminate the Taliban.
But nine years later, current and former intelligence officials tell CNN a battle targeted primarily in one region has spread to a worldwide fight with no end in sight

The elusive bin Laden is believed to be hiding somewhere along Pakistan's mountainous border with Afghanistan and a resurgent Taliban is causing havoc in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda affiliates and wannabes have sprung up and scattered, making their presence known in places like Yemen, Somalia, Northern Africa and even Europe and the United States.
A plan to wipe out al quida initially prepared by the CIA during the closing days of the Clinton administration was revised and put into action by the Bush White House just days after 9/11. Former CIA official John McLaughlin, who was the deputy director at the time, called it "a very bold plan with a very bold objective" to destroy both al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
From his perch as CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2001, Bob Grenier was concerned the United States would end up mired in an open-ended insurgent war like the Soviets did in the 1980s. But by early 2002, he had changed his mind.
"The war in 2001 went much better than I dared hoped it would. I thought we would be able to consolidate a victory, that this war was a new beginning for Afghanistan, and the Afghans would preclude a return of the Taliban," said Grenier, who is now a partner in a business consultancy.
McLaughlin seconded that assessment.
"In the first year or so, I think we were very successful in the sense that the Taliban was banished, and al Qaeda fled -- chased them into Pakistan -- and in the next couple of years wrapped up most of their 9/11 era leadership, either captured or killed," he said.
But the situation changed on a number of fronts.
In March 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. Andy Johnson, the former staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said resources were diverted from the unfinished business in South Asia.
"I don't think anybody can reasonably argue that the level of military and intelligence resources and reconstruction resources that were devoted to Iraq did not diminish our ability to seal the deal in Afghanistan, in Pakistan."
Grenier did not think it was so much an issue of resources but rather a lack of what he called command attention. He said, "As far as Washington was concerned, it [Afghanistan] was very much a side show. All of the real effort and thought was being put into Iraq."
A former senior intelligence official said the intelligence community was careful not to take away counterterrorism resources as it responded to the needs in Iraq. But the former official acknowledged the CIA does not have a lot of reserve capability.
Pakistan was always problematic. The current and former intelligence officials CNN spoke with agreed that the cooperation of Pakistani authorities was instrumental in helping track down many of the senior al Qaeda leadership who were captured or killed after they fled to Pakistan. Ramzi Binalshibh, who assisted some of the 9/11 hijackers, was captured in Karachi in September 2002. Six months later, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was taken into custody in Rawalpindi. Both men are being held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But Grenier said despite the success, it was becoming apparent that some of the suspected terrorists fleeing Afghanistan were finding a safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border.
"It was something the Pakistanis were very reluctant to acknowledge simply because they were concerned about the prospect of triggering tribal warfare in those areas, if they tried to track down al Qaeda members in a heavy-handed manner."
"There's a duality to the problem with Pakistan," said former Deputy Director McLaughlin. "Pakistan has often been our best ally against al Qaeda even as its territory has provided safe harbor for this terrorist movement," he said, adding that the situation continues today.
The failure of the Pakistan government to take action led to the CIA use of unmanned aerial vehicles to fire missiles targeted at killing suspected militants operating out of the ungoverned areas of the country. That effort started during the Bush administration and has increased dramatically under President Obama.
The situation appeared to be going fairly well in Afghanistan for the first few years. Al Qaeda was driven out and the Taliban was routed. Elections were held. There was a new president in place. However, it became increasingly evident the Afghan government had little control beyond the capital of Kabul.
Grenier said the CIA could have done more.
"The CIA could have played a more prominent role in consolidating support behind responsible leaders, warlords if you will, in different parts of the country," Grenier said.
McLaughlin said Afghanistan began to be affected by the terrorist safe haven created across the border in Pakistan.
"The things that have turned Afghanistan into what it is today are essentially the safe havens along the border, which allowed the Taliban to eventually regroup, allowed al Qaeda to seek shelter there -- techniques they learned in Iraq migrating into the training camps in that area, migrating into Afghanistan."
The terrorist problem has become even more complex as militants in various parts of the world began to align with al Qaeda. Grenier said the overall war on terror and the U.S. invasion of Iraq may have contributed to the broadening of the problem.
"The measures taken to deal with extremism have had the unintended consequence of creating more -- and more cohesive -- militants."
Grenier says attacks from regional extremist groups like the bungled Times Square bombing would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
McLaughlin said the terrorist movement today is harder to combat and confront because it is so diverse.
"You have to follow individuals in diverse little movements who hardly have names, because two or three of them might arm some lunatic to come here to set a bomb off in Times Square," McLaughlin said, referring to Faisal Shahzad, the man who bungled an attempt to set off a car bomb in New York.
A current U.S. intelligence official said the battle being waged by the intelligence community is causing the enemy to feel the heat.
"Aggressive, precise and effective operations have chewed through al Qaeda's senior leadership ranks," the official said.
But the efforts by the intelligence community and military to take the terrorists off the battlefield will not completely solve the problem.
"Radicalization is an issue to deal with. Strengthening counterterrorism laws in some countries is required," the intelligence official said.
Grenier said he believes that bin Laden's and other militants' safe haven in Pakistan will not be eliminated until those ungoverned areas are fully incorporated into Pakistan -- an effort he says will take a generation.
McLaughlin said terrorism can't be stamped out completely -- just like crime, it dates back to Biblical days.
"It ends when we get to a point where terrorism has shrunk to almost a nuisance level -- still there, but not having the impact in terms of deaths and destruction that it has today."
McLaughlin said it will take three things to get there: destroying the al Qaeda leadership, denying safe haven, and changing conditions that give rise to the movement -- the problems of education, unemployment and the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Former Senate staff member Johnson thinks the terrorism problem will diminish with a robust intelligence operation, which ensures "the flames of terror have been tamped down to the point they are embers and those embers are not allowed to flame again."
The U.S. intelligence official said it is tough to define victory.
"It's not Yorktown or Iwo Jima, where identifying the winners was easy," the official said. "Perhaps, from an American perspective, the best way to assess progress is to note the fact that there hasn't been a 9/11-style attack since that terrible day."
How does Schroen, who led the first team into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, feel about not getting the perpetrators of 9/11?
"It's the only thing I regret in my long career with the CIA, that we didn't get Osama bin Laden in 2001 when we had a chance. That son of a bitch is out there still plotting to kill Americans."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Afghanistan 4th and 5th october

Obama Says No Big Shift Now In Afghan War Strategy -- Yahoo News/Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has told congressional leaders he has no plans for any major changes in his Afghanistan war strategy for now, a letter released by the White House showed on Monday.

Obama asserted his intention to stick with his already-revamped policy for the war, which is increasingly unpopular among lawmakers and the American public, as part of a regular assessment for Congress required for war funding.

As we begin the 10th year of the war against Afghanistan, the epicenter of the war shifts to Pakistan, where multiple crises raise doubts about US policy and, indeed, the longevity of civilian rule there. Pakistan’s affliction by floods and its deep economic problems would be enough to destabilize most governments. Now a succession of events, most immediately the escalation of US drone attacks inside Pakistan, has brought US-Pakistan relations to their highest level of tension since the start of the war. Last week’s US cross-border attack on Pakistan soldiers, Pakistan’s closing of one of the two main transportation routes for supplies entering Afghanistan, and now the torching of approximately NATO 50 fuel delivery trucks waiting to cross the border are the most recent signs that all is not well.
Among the immediate questions are: Has the United States decided to send substantial numbers of ground troops over the Pakistan border? Will the United States try to gain greater control of the supply operation inside Pakistan? Will the current Pakistan government sustain its resistance to US aggression and demand that the US and its drones stay out? Is the announced return of former President, General, and Dictator Musharraf orchestrated with/by the Pakistan military? And where does the Pakistan military stand in relation to the growing tensions with the United States?
There has been little news about the US offensive in and around Kandahar this week, but there have been further developments exposing the corruption of the Karzai family, and there is more evidence that the recent parliamentary election was very corrupt. Articles on both these topics are linked below, as are articles on the coming winter food crisis in Afghanistan and the difficulties in controlling supply routes inside Afghanistan, a problem that is likely to be made worse with the shutting down of private security companies, which began this past week.

 a new estimate from Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes raising the likely cost of the Afghanistan war to as much as $6 trillion

Monday, October 4, 2010

Afghanistan 2 Romanians killed

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO said Friday it captured several insurgent leaders in recent days and detained at least 438 suspected militants over the last month, as three coalition soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan.
Afghan and coalition forces also killed at least 15 insurgents in a firefight in eastern Kunar province who were trying to set up an attack position, the coalition said. It said initial reports indicated there were no injuries to civilians.
NATO said Afghan and international forces captured a senior Taliban leader based in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province Thursday. A military operation called "Dragon Strike" is under way in Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban insurgency, to clear the area of militants.
The captured Taliban leader helped militants obtain weapons and bomb components and provided training and bed-down locations for the Taliban leadership, NATO said. It said the security force did not fire its weapons in taking the leader into custody.
NATO also said that Afghan and coalition security forces captured a Haqqani Network operative involved in explosive attacks and providing support to Taliban insurgents. He was captured in Khost, in the east near Pakistan, on Thursday.
The Haqqani Network is based in Pakistan and is believed to have links to al-Qaida.
NATO said in a statement that the suspect was detained along with three of his associates. The security force found an automatic weapon, ammunition and a hand grenade at the scene, it said.
Also in Khost, another Haqqani senior leader and six insurgents were killed in an operation Thursday, NATO said. It said the leader was directly involved in the planning and coordination of attacks against forward operating bases Salerno and Chapman in August in which more than 30 Haqqani Network insurgents were killed.
In a separate statement Friday, NATO said more than 438 suspected insurgents were detained in September and 114 insurgents were killed.
NATO said security forces last month captured or killed more than 105 Haqqani Network and Taliban leaders, including shadow governors, leaders, sub-leaders and weapons facilitators. It said Afghan and coalition forces completed 194 missions, 88 percent of them without shots fired.
Among the killed was Abdallah Umar al-Qurayshi, an al-Qaida senior leader who coordinated the attacks of a group of Arab fighters in Kunar and Nuristan provinces, NATO said. He was killed in an airstrike in Kunar, near Pakistan, on Saturday, along with Abu Atta al Kuwaiti, an al-Qaida explosive expert, and several Arab foreign fighters, it said.
Just north of Kandahar, two Romanian soldiers were killed and one was injured Friday when their Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Qalat in Zabul province, according to Romania's defense ministry. Romania has about 1,660 troops in Afghanistan — mostly in the restive south. It has lost 17 service members in the conflict there, including Friday's casualties.
NATO also reported two deaths Friday in eastern Afghanistan, and the death of another service member from a non-battle injury in southern Afghanistan. No details of the deaths or the nationalities of the service members were disclosed.
This year has already become the deadliest of the nine-year war for the coalition.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Capital Punishment

What are your thoughts about Capital punishment?

Here's mine:

I’m against the death penalty but not out of sympathy for criminals. The death penalty isn’t an effective way to prevent or reduce crime, costs a whole lot more than life in prison, and, worst of all, risks executions of innocent people.

The worst thing about it. Errors:
The system can make tragic and irreversible mistakes. In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas for starting the fire that killed his children. Multiple forensic experts have since found that the arson "science" his conviction was based on was actually just junk science. As of today, 138 wrongly convicted people who were sentenced to death have been exonerated. DNA, is rarely available in homicides and can’t guarantee we won’t execute innocent people. Obviously, if someone is convicted and later found innocent you can release him from prison, but not from the grave.

Crime reduction (deterrence):
The death penalty doesn't stop others from committing murder. Homicide rates are consistently higher in states and regions with the death penalty than in those without it. The most recent FBI data confirms this.

Keeping killers off the streets for good:
Life without parole, on the books in 49 states (all except Alaska), also prevents reoffending. It means what it says, and spending 23 of 24 hours a day locked in a tiny cell is no picnic. Two advantages:
-an innocent person serving life can be released from prison
-life without parole costs less than the death penalty

Costs, a surprise to many people:
The death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison. The high costs of the death penalty are for the complicated legal process, with the largest costs at the pre-trial and trial stages. The point is to avoid executing innocent people. There are tremendous expenses in a death penalty case whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death.

Who gets it:
Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty isn't reserved for the worst crimes, but for defendants with the worst lawyers. It doesn't apply to people with money. When is the last time a wealthy person was on death row, let alone executed?

People assume that families of murder victims certainly want the death penalty imposed. It just isn't so. Some are against it on moral grounds. But even families who have supported the death penalty in principle have testified that the drawn-out death penalty process is painful for them and that life without parole is an appropriate alternative.

Race and the death penalty:
The key factor is actually the race of the victim. Abouyt the same number of whites and blacks have been murder victims. But 80% of all executions have been for murders of whites. That means that the murderer of a white person is about 4 times as like to be executed as the murderer of a black person.

It comes down to whether we should keep a system for the sake of retribution or revenge even though it isn’t effective in reducing violent crime, costs much more than alternatives and, worst of all, can lead to the nightmare of executing someone for a crime he didn’t commit.