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  1. #31
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    Re: The other war thread

    Timing it up today.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...1850-1,00.html

    The Truth About Talibanistan
    Thursday, Mar. 22, 2007 By ARYN BAKER / KABUL, AFGHANISTAN


    Afghan Border Police officers patrol near the Pakistani border in Gurbuz district
    Balazs Gardi for TIME


    The residents of Dara Adam Khel, a gunsmiths' village 30 miles south of Peshawar, Pakistan, awoke one morning last month to find their streets littered with pamphlets demanding that they observe Islamic law. Women were instructed to wear all-enveloping burqas and men to grow their beards. Music and television were banned. Then the jihadists really got serious. These days, dawn is often accompanied by the wailing of women as another beheaded corpse is found by the side of the road, a note pinned to the chest claiming that the victim was a spy for either the Americans or the Pakistani government. Beheadings are recorded and sold on DVD in the area's bazaars. "It's the knife that terrifies me," says Hafizullah, 40, a local arms smith. "Before they kill you, they sharpen the knife in front of you. They are worse than butchers."

    Stories like these are being repeated across the tribal region of Pakistan, a rugged no-man's-land that forms the country's border with Afghanistan--and that is rapidly becoming home base for a new generation of potential terrorists. Fueled by zealotry and hardened by war, young religious extremists have overrun scores of towns and villages in the border areas, with the intention of imposing their strict interpretation of Islam on a population unable to fight back. Like the Taliban in the late 1990s in Afghanistan, the jihadists are believed to be providing leaders of al-Qaeda with the protection they need to regroup and train new operatives. U.S. intelligence officials think that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, may have found refuge in these environs. And though 49,000 U.S. and NATO troops are stationed just across the border in Afghanistan, they aren't authorized to operate on the Pakistani side. Remote, tribal and deeply conservative, the border region is less a part of either country than a world unto itself, a lawless frontier so beyond the control of the West and its allies that it has earned a name of its own: Talibanistan.

    Since Sept. 11, the strategic hinge in the U.S.'s campaign against al-Qaeda has been Pakistan, handmaiden to the Taliban movement that turned Afghanistan into a sanctuary for bin Laden and his lieutenants. While members of Pakistan's intelligence services have long been suspected of being in league with the Taliban, the Bush Administration has consistently praised Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for his cooperation in rooting out and apprehending members of bin Laden's network. But the Talibanization of the borderlands--and their role in arming and financing insurgents in Afghanistan--has renewed doubts about whether Musharraf still possesses the will to face down the jihadists.

    Those doubts are surfacing at a time when Musharraf confronts his biggest political crisis since grabbing power eight years ago. Since March 12, Pakistani streets have been the scene of clashes between police and thousands of lawyers and opposition activists outraged by Musharraf's decision to suspend the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, for alleged abuse of office. Musharraf's critics say the President is attempting to rig the system to ensure he stays in power. Their ire boiled over when Pakistani police raided a television station to prevent it from covering protests outside the Supreme Court. Some Pakistanis who have excused Musharraf's authoritarianism in the past now portray him as a jackbooted dictator. "I think he has ruined himself," says retired Lieut. General Hamid Gul, former director general of the Pakistani intelligence organization Inter-Services Intelligence. "He's not going to be able to placate the forces he has unleashed."

    Because Musharraf also heads Pakistan's army, it's unlikely that he will be forced from office. But a loss of support from his moderate base could deepen his dependence on fundamentalist parties, which are staunch supporters of the Taliban. If the protests against Musharraf continue, he will be even less inclined to crack down on the militants holding sway in Talibanistan--grim news for the U.S. and its allies and good news for their foes throughout the region. Says a senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan: "The bottom line is that the Taliban can do what they want in the tribal areas because the [Pakistani] army is not going to come after them."

    In fact, the territory at the heart of Talibanistan--a heavily forested band of mountains that is officially called North and South Waziristan--has never fully submitted to the rule of any country. The colonial British were unable to conquer the region's Pashtun tribes and allowed them to run their own affairs according to local custom. In exchange, the tribesmen protected the subcontinental empire from northern invaders. Following independence in 1947, Pakistan continued the arrangement.

    After 9/11, Islamabad initially left the tribal areas alone. But when it became obvious that al-Qaeda and Taliban militants were crossing the border to escape U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan sent in the first of what eventually became 80,000 troops. They had some success: the Pakistani army captured terrorist leaders and destroyed training camps. But the harder the military pressed, the more locals resented its presence, especially when civilians were killed in botched raids against terrorists.

    As part of peace accords signed last September with tribal leaders in North Waziristan, the Pakistani military agreed to take down roadblocks, stop patrols and return to their barracks. In exchange, local militants promised not to attack troops and to end cross-border raids into Afghanistan. The accords came in part because the Pakistani army was simply unable to tame the region. Over the past two years, it has lost more than 700 troops there. The change in tactics, says Gul, was an admission that the Pakistani military had "lost the game."

    The army isn't the only one paying the price now. Since Pakistani forces scaled back operations in the border region, the insurgency in Afghanistan has intensified. Cross-border raids and suicide bombings aimed at U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan have tripled, according to the senior U.S. military official. He concedes that "the Pakistanis are in a very difficult position. You could put 50,000 men on that border, and you wouldn't be able to seal it."

    The troop drawback has allowed Pakistani militants allied with the Taliban to impose their will on the border areas. They have established Shari'a courts and executed "criminals" on the basis of Islamic law. Even Pakistani-army convoys are sometimes escorted by Taliban militants to ensure safe passage, a scene witnessed by TIME in North Waziristan one recent afternoon. "The state has withdrawn and ceded this territory," says Samina Ahmed of the International Crisis Group. "[The Taliban] have been given their own little piece of real estate."

    ...
    [story continues below]
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  2. #32
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    Re: The other war thread

    [story continues from above]

    ...

    The militants are using sympathetic mosques in Talibanistan to recruit fighters to attack Western troops in Afghanistan, according to tribal elders in the region. With cash and religious fervor, they lure young men to join their battle and threaten local leaders so they will deliver the support of their tribes. Malik Haji Awar Khan, 55, head of the 2,000-strong Mutakhel Wazir tribe of North Waziristan, was approached a year ago to join the Taliban cause. When he refused, militants kidnapped his teenage sons. "They thought they could make me join them, but I am tired of fighting," says Khan, who battled alongside the Afghan mujahedin in the war against the Soviets. "This is a jihad dictated by outsiders, by al-Qaeda. It is not a holy war. They just want power and money."

    Tribal leaders interviewed by TIME say they do not support the aims of the jihadists. But the Taliban's campaign of fear has worn down local resistance. Malik Sher Muhammad Khan, a tribal elder from Wana, says, "The Taliban walk through the streets shouting that children shouldn't go to school because they are learning modern subjects like math and science. But we want to be modern. It's not just the girls. In my village, not a single person can even sign his name." Khan estimates that only 5% of the inhabitants of Waziristan actively support the militants. Others benefit financially by providing services and renting land for training camps. The rest, he says, acquiesce out of fear. A few months ago, militants stormed his compound in retaliation for his outspoken criticism of their presence in the area. During the melee, a grenade killed his wife. "If I had weapons, maybe I could have saved her," he says. "We have no way to make them leave."

    The emergence of Talibanistan may directly threaten the U.S. Locals say the region The emergence of Talibanistan may directly threaten the West too. Locals say the region has become one big terrorist-recruitment camp, where people as young as 17 are trained as suicide bombers. "Here, teenagers are greeted with the prayers 'May Allah bless you to become a suicide bomber,'" says Obaidullah Wazir, 35, a young tribesman in Miranshah. National Intelligence Director John McConnell told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that "al-Qaeda is forging stronger operational connections that radiate outward from their camps in Pakistan to affiliated groups and networks throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe." Muzafar Khan, a headman from one of the local tribes, told TIME that Uzbek commander Tahir Yuldashev, leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and a suspected confidant of bin Laden's, commands some Uzbeks, Chechens, Arabs and local fighters from his base in the borderlands. "We know they are al-Qaeda," says Khan. "They are foreigners, they have different faces, and they don't speak Pashto." He claims that "their camps are easy to find. Even a child could show you."

    The camps hold from 10 to 300 militants and are usually hidden deep in the forest, according to local residents. They have simple structures, low concrete-and-brick buildings with high walls. Some have underground bunkers for protection in case of attack. Outsiders easily mistake them for traditional village housing. "We know they exist," says the U.S. military official in Afghanistan. "But it's like finding a needle in a haystack." A Pakistani intelligence official says there are training camps in the region and that Pakistan is doing everything it can to find them and destroy them. "I don't say that [foreigners] are not here, but wherever we know of their presence, we go after them and take action," he says. The best hope for dislodging al-Qaeda from the region may be local tribesmen, who have recently engaged in heavy clashes with foreign and local militants around the town of Wana.

    Will Musharraf join the fight? Though the U.S. is pressing Musharraf to do more to rout terrorists in Pakistan, his political survival still depends on parties that resent his ties to Washington. There is a widespread view in Pakistan that Vice President •••• Cheney, during his trip to Pakistan two weeks ago, reprimanded Musharraf for failing to rein in the militants. But officials on both sides say the partnership between Bush and Musharraf remains solid. "Is it doing more? Well, yeah, it's doing more. We all gotta do more, do better, do different. It's a war," says a senior Western diplomat in Pakistan. "But for folks to sit there in Washington or London or wherever and say, 'Damn it! We're tired of this. Go fix it,' is not hugely helpful."

    That may be true. But the Bush Administration is beginning to recognize that to stabilize Afghanistan and prevent the rebirth of al-Qaeda, it has to contain the growth of Talibanistan. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher announced in Islamabad that the U.S. intends to give an extra $750 million to Musharraf over the next five years to support development in the tribal areas. "I think this commitment to the development of Pakistan, this commitment to a long-term relationship, is another example of the very broad and deep relationship we have and that we are developing with Pakistan," Boucher said. "We have a fundamental interest in the success of Pakistan as a moderate, stable, democratic Muslim nation."

    That infusion of U.S. money would go far toward developing a region nearly devoid of civil infrastructure. There's no doubt that in the long run, schools, hospitals, roads and electricity would do much more to quell militancy than would an increased military presence. But that kind of development takes years. As the militants consolidate power, Musharraf needs to take bolder steps. The judicial crisis and the resulting protests have weakened Musharraf's credibility among the moderate, secular Pakistanis who could provide a bulwark against the threat of jihadism. Musharraf has pledged to hold general elections at the end of the year, but regaining the support of moderate groups may require him to go further and open up the vote to opposition leaders Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, who have both been exiled. If Musharraf can prove that he is committed to democracy, Pakistanis may well choose to keep him in power. Armed with such a mandate, Musharraf would be better poised to tackle militancy in the tribal areas. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri concedes that the peace agreement with the tribes in Waziristan has "weaknesses" that the government is addressing. An official says Islamabad intends to send two new brigades of troops to seize back the initiative.

    Last month the same mountain passes used by militants set on attacking U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan served as passage for an unlikely delegation of 45 tribal elders from Pakistan's borderlands. They were headed for a meeting with Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, who has openly criticized Musharraf's failure to stem Pakistani support for the Taliban. "We have had too many years of war, too many widows, too many orphans, too many amputees. If this jihad continues, it will destroy Afghanistan and Waziristan," said an elder. "We need help, and we no longer trust the Pakistani government." The leader of the delegation presented Karzai with a traditional Waziri turban, a great soft-serve swirl of butter-yellow silk. As he placed it on the President's head, he said, "You are our President. You can free us from this disaster. We are at your service, and we support you." That the tribesmen would turn to one of Musharraf's rivals for help against the Taliban is a telling indictment of his leadership. And if Musharraf doesn't find a way to re-establish control over Talibanistan, he may find his backers in Washington giving up on him too.

    With reporting by WITH REPORTING BY SIMON ROBINSON/ ISLAMABAD, GHULAM HASNAIN / DARA ADAM KHEL
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  3. #33
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    Re: The other war thread

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapc....ap/index.html

    Taliban behead Afghan officer
    POSTED: 7:22 a.m. EDT, April 23, 2007


    Afghan policemen stand at the site of a suicide attack in Khost province, east of Kabul.

    Story Highlights
    Taliban operatives beheaded an Afghan intelligence officer
    Six intelligence officers were killed, three injured in a bomb attack on a vehicle
    Two policeman were killed in a roadside bomb attack in the south
    NATO, Afghan troops continue largest-ever offensive launched last month

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Assailants abducted and beheaded an Afghan intelligence service employee and struck one of the agency's vehicles with a remote-controlled bomb in a separate attack, killing six employees and wounding three, officials said Monday.

    Another roadside bomb attack in the south killed two policemen, while a large car bomb was found and defused in the capital, Kabul. On Monday, in Laghman province's Alingar district, an intelligence service vehicle driving from neighboring Nuristan province was hit by a remote-controlled bomb, said provincial police chief Abdul Karim.

    He said six of the agency's workers were killed, while three others were wounded. An intelligence service vehicle was also bombed in the same province on Sunday, in an attack that killed two intelligence service officers, a soldier and a driver in the provincial capital Mehtar Lam.

    In Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul, an intelligence service employee was invited into a home, then kidnapped and beheaded Sunday by the Taliban, said deputy governor Mohammad Kazim Allayar. He said the owner of the house is currently under investigation.

    In southern Zabul province, a roadside bomb hit police Monday as they were patrolling in Shamulzayi district, killing two policemen and wounding five others, said district chief Wazir Mohammad Khan.

    Intelligence officers in Kabul discovered a large car bomb Monday in a battered, old taxi parked in a crowded civilian area where NATO and U.S. convoys often drive past. Authorities found inside the car a tank of gasoline, three gallons of explosive chemicals, three grenades and a mortar, an official said on condition of anonymity because of the agency's policy.

    "Fortunately the intelligence service discovered it, otherwise it would have caused an enormous calamity in the area," the official said.

    There have been at least three suicide bomb attacks in Kabul this year, but the areas worst plagued by violence are the southern and eastern provinces. There have been 39 suicide attacks in the first three months of 2007, a threefold increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office.

    On Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the eastern city of Khost, killing six civilians and wounding 40 others, officials said.

    NATO and Afghan troops, meanwhile, pressed ahead with their largest-ever offensive launched last month in southern Afghanistan to flush out Taliban militants from the northern tip of opium-producing Helmand province.

    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  4. #34
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    Re: The other war thread

    Rebel commander killed in Afghanistan

    Rebel commander killed in Afghanistan
    [24 Apr, 2007 l 2108 hrs ISTlIANS]

    SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates
    KABUL: A Taliban commander was among 16 people killed in Afghanistan, as Afghan and NATO forces surrounded around 200 Taliban fighters in southern Uruzgan province, officials said on Tuesday.

    Eleven Taliban were killed when Afghan and NATO forces attacked their hideout in the Seuri district of southern Zabul province Monday night, General Rahmatullah Raoufi, army commander for regional south said.

    He said joint forces acting on a tip-off surrounded the Taliban compound and asked them to surrender, adding that the joint forces opened fire after being fired on by the insurgents from inside the compound. The ensuing battle left eleven Taliban dead. None of the Afghan or NATO troops was wounded.

    In western Farah province, Afghan and US-led coalition forces killed two suspected Taliban and wounded another two during an operation in the Bakwa district, Sayed Agha Saqib, provincial police chief, said.

    He said two Afghan police were wounded and seven suspected Taliban were captured for questioning.

    Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said the militants came under siege when they gathered for a meeting in the Chora district of the province and were warned to surrender or face attack.

    He said the surrounded militants included some top Taliban commanders, but did not name any. However, Deputy Interior Minister Abdul Hadi Khalid told the security commission of the upper house of parliament Monday that it was possible that Mullah Dadullah, the top rebel commander for the southern region, could be among the fighters under siege.

    Dadullah is believed to have been responsible for the recent beheading of an Afghan journalist and his driver.

    The Taliban rejected the claim that their fighters, including Mullah Dadullah, are surrounded by Afghan forces, saying there was no need for such a large number of their fighters to gather in one place.

    "These are contradictory claims and are baseless propagandas which are not true," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousif Ahmadi was quoted as saying in an Internet statement.

    A known Taliban commander was arrested in Uruzgan province Tuesday, an interior ministry statement said. Three vehicles, one of them packed with explosives, were also seized.

    Meanwhile, Gul Haqparast, a rebel leader with extensive ties to Hekmatyar Gulbuddin - the former Mujahideen government's prime minister and currently leader of a rebel group - was killed during a US airstrike in Laghman province Friday, the US military said Tuesday.

    "Coalition sources described Haqparast as a significant regional Taliban leader involved in assassinations, improvised explosive device attacks and assaults on Afghan and Coalition facilities in Laghman and Kapisa provinces," the US statement said.

    Haqparast was responsible for orchestrating recent attacks against US forces as well as the bombings of civilian and military targets, the statement added.

    In another incident, two policemen were killed and five wounded when their vehicle was blown up by a remote-controlled bomb in the Shamelzo district of Zabul province Monday morning, said Abdul Ghafar Safi provincial police chief.

    There has been a sharp surge in violence by Taliban-led militants since the beginning of spring after a calm period during the winter. The violence so far this year has left around 1,000 people dead, mostly insurgents, but also Afghan civilians and at least 30 international force troops.
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  5. #35
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    Re: The other war thread

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapc...ack/index.html

    Pakistan suicide bomb kills at least 28, injures minister

    (CNN) -- A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday at a public gathering in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 28 people and injuring at least 37 others, police said.

    The injured included the Pakistani interior minister and his son, according to police.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  6. #36
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    Re: The other war thread

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapc....ap/index.html

    Taliban release French aid worker

    PARIS, France (AP) -- One of two French aid workers held hostage in Afghanistan for nearly a month was released Saturday, the French Foreign Ministry said.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  7. #37
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    Re: The other war thread

    Afghan infant deaths fall by 40,000 a year since ousting of Taleban

    INFANT mortality in Afghanistan has fallen dramatically since the demise of the Taleban, according to a new study, with 40,000 fewer babies dying every year.

    Improvements in women's access to medical care since the Taleban were ousted from power five years ago was cited as the main reason for the death rate becoming significantly lower.

    Grim infant and maternal mortality rates have been regularly cited as evidence of Afghanistan's backwardness after decades of war.

    They were also seen as a sign of the slow progress of the internationally funded reconstruction effort.

    According to the preliminary results of a Johns Hopkins University study, the infant mortality rate has declined to about 135 per 1,000 live births in 2006, down from an estimated 165 per 1,000 in 2001.

    The researchers "found improvements in virtually all aspects of care in almost every province," the public health ministry and World Bank said in a joint statement on the findings.

    Mohammad Amin Fatimi, Afghanistan's public health minister, said the news was welcomed. "Despite many challenges, there are clear signs of health sector recovery and progress throughout the country," he said.

    "But there is a long way to go to provide access to basic health services for Afghans in far remote, under-served and marginalised areas across the country. These infants are the future builders of our country."

    Benjamin Loevinsohn, a World Bank health specialist, said the survey results probably underestimated the improvement in infant mortality.

    "It's a conservative estimate. This is the situation two and a half to three years ago ... It should be better than that now," Mr Loevinsohn said.

    He said children were benefiting from a push in 2004 to improve health care and access to vaccinations for diseases such as measles, polio and tetanus.

    The researchers studied more than 600 health facilities annually since 2004.

    Doctors and health professionals visited 8,278 households, using a standardised questionnaire to interview one mother per household about her birth history.

    The study found the number of women receiving prenatal care increased to 30 per cent in 2006 from 5 per cent in 2003.

    Nineteen per cent of pregnant women were attended by a skilled health worker last year, up from only 5 per cent in 2003.

    The survey was conducted in 29 of the country's 34 provinces - excluding Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar, Zabul and Nuristan because of security concerns, Mr Loevinsohn said.

    The ministry is working to set up small clinics, deploy mobile teams in remote rural areas, expand community midwifery training, and increase the number of female staff at health facilities.

    However Afghanistan still has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates.

    One in 60 Afghan women dies of pregnancy-related causes, said UN Population Fund executive director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid.

    "No woman should die giving life," she said during a visit to Afghanistan this week.

    "No nation can be developed when its women are dying giving birth."

    TALEBAN militants have seized control of a district in south-east Afghanistan after a clash that killed five people, including the local mayor and his police chief, it was reported yesterday.

    The Taleban launched the attack on Thursday evening on the Giro district of Ghazni province, setting fire to several buildings and cutting communication lines, according to the provincial deputy governor, Kazim Allayer.
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  8. #38
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    Re: The other war thread

    NATO launches offensive against Taliban

    SANGIN VALLEY, Afghanistan - Hundreds of British troops swept into the lush poppy fields of southern Afghanistan Monday, drawing hostile fire at the start of a NATO operation to expel the Taliban from a valley stronghold.

    More than 3,000 NATO and Afghan troops are participating in the operation, the latest effort to bring Helmand province under the control of President Hamid Karzai.

    A long column of armored vehicles brought several hundred British soldiers to the Sangin Valley, near the town of Gereshk and Afghanistan's strategic ring road that links the cities of Kandahar and Herat.

    "It is all part of a longer-term plan to restore the whole of Helmand to government control," said Lt. Col. Stuart Carver, a British commander. "You have to do it a piece at a time."

    The British soldiers came under attack from mortar rounds and machine-gun fire after they fanned out to patrol on foot.

    An Associated Press reporter traveling with the troops heard officers ordering British artillery units to respond. Three Apache helicopters flew overhead but didn't immediately open fire. There were no reports of casualties.

    The operation will not touch Helmand's poppy fields, which supply much of the world's opium and its more potent derivative, heroin. That could antagonize the 2 million farmers whose livelihoods depend on growing poppy, something the alliance wishes to avoid.

    In western Afghanistan, U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces battled with Taliban insurgents over three days, leaving at least 136 suspected militants dead, a coalition statement said Monday.

    The clashes in Herat province were the deadliest reported in Afghanistan since January and provoked angry protests by hundreds of villagers Monday, chanting "Death to America!"

    Acting on intelligence about Taliban activity in Herat's Zerkoh Valley, coalition and Afghan forces attacked the insurgents and called in an airstrike, destroying seven Taliban positions and killing 87 fighters during a 14-hour engagement on Sunday, the statement said.

    Another 49 Taliban were killed two days earlier by a combination of gunfire and an airstrike, it said, adding that a U.S. soldier also was killed in the engagement.

    The coalition statement said there were no reports of civilians wounded in the two battles. It was not immediately possible to confirm the casualty figures independently.

    On Monday, hundreds gathered in front of the police station and government headquarters in Shindand district where Zerkoh Valley is located, said district police chief Gen. Gul Aqa.

    Aqa confirmed that the attack had killed "a large number of people" but did not have figure for the number of dead. Contrary to coalition claims, Aqa said the Afghan police and army were not involved in the clashes.

    "The Americans carried out an independent operation in the Zerkoh," he said, adding that protesters were demanding to know why Americans did not inform Afghan forces beforehand.

    Recent weeks have seen an surge in violence in Afghanistan after a winter lull, with Taliban-led militants stepping up attacks, and coalition and NATO forces launching a series of offensives against around the country.

    The clashes in Herat appear to be the deadliest in the once-stable west of the country since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001. Most of the fighting has been concentrated in the volatile south and east.

    The fighting is also the deadliest reported nationwide since January, when NATO said that about 150 suspected Taliban crossing from Pakistan were killed by an airstrike and ground fire in eastern Paktika province.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Alisa Tang in Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to this report.
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  9. #39
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    Re: The other war thread

    CNN doing their usual bang-up job of aiding our enemies to win the misinformation war.. check this headline:

    2,000 troops deployed after scores killed in Afghanistan

    Read the article and you'll find that 136 Talibani fighters were killed, with no collateral damage, and the loss of only a single US soldier. No bias or agenda pushing to see here... move along..

    Dan Rather would be proud...
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  10. #40
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    Re: The other war thread

    Quote Originally Posted by AMDScooter View Post
    CNN doing their usual bang-up job of aiding our enemies to win the misinformation war.. check this headline:

    2,000 troops deployed after scores killed in Afghanistan

    Read the article and No bias or agenda pushing to see here... move along..

    Dan Rather would be proud...
    Were we reading the same article?

    First this was an AP story, not CNN.

    Second it reports about the activity of coalition forces against Taliban forces, Taliban losses, coalition wins, and even you point out that in one paragraph "you'll find that 136 Talibani fighters were killed, with no collateral damage, and the loss of only a single US soldier."

    The only bias I see is yours in your war against the MSM and desire for us to only get news from right wing bloggers who have no accountability except when someone takes out the time to drag them into court and make them print a retraction.

    Considering the bumper poppy crop this year and how the proceeds fund terror I applaud these latest moves by the coalition as something overdue.

    I'm surprised you didn't invoke Clinton with the Rather comment.

    The scores killed that the AP headline was referring to were Taliban, btw.

  11. #41
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    Re: The other war thread

    Quote Originally Posted by otoc View Post
    Were we reading the same article?

    First this was an AP story, not CNN.

    Second it reports about the activity of coalition forces against Taliban forces, Taliban losses, coalition wins, and even you point out that in one paragraph "you'll find that 136 Talibani fighters were killed, with no collateral damage, and the loss of only a single US soldier."

    The only bias I see is yours in your war against the MSM and desire for us to only get news from right wing bloggers who have no accountability except when someone takes out the time to drag them into court and make them print a retraction.

    Considering the bumper poppy crop this year and how the proceeds fund terror I applaud these latest moves by the coalition as something overdue.

    I'm surprised you didn't invoke Clinton with the Rather comment.

    The scores killed that the AP headline was referring to were Taliban, btw.
    The headline and story can both be found on CNN's website. That you see nothing wrong or misleading with the headline is not surprising. Still keeping with the "all about me" theme I see.

    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  12. #42
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    Re: The other war thread



    btw rather is on assignment!

    and for the news: Afghans Protest After U.S. Raid Deaths

    Hundreds of angry protesters chanting ``Death to Bush'' demonstrated in eastern Afghanistan after six people - including a woman and a teenage girl - were reportedly killed when U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces raided a suspected car bomb cell early Sunday.

    The U.S. said four militants were among the dead, but it was the civilian deaths that infuriated the protesters, who carried five bodies to a main highway and blocked traffic with felled trees during the demonstration. The bodies of the women were entirely covered by sheets, while the men's faces were revealed.

    Afghan officials have repeatedly pleaded with the United States and NATO to take care during operations that might harm civilians, and the latest violence is sure to deepen distrust among Afghans, whose support for international forces and the shaky U.S.-backed government is waning.
    In the March 4 shootings, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said the Marines, after being hit by an explosives-rigged minivan, violated international humanitarian law by using excessive force when they opened fire at civilians along a 10-mile stretch of road, leaving 12 people dead.

    A U.S. military commander has also determined that the Marines used excessive force and referred the case for possible criminal inquiry.
    i guess we're even then with no civilian casualities with these two raids but then again we may be counting women and children taliban.

    US to make history trying alleged child war criminal

    A human rights group today attacked a US decision to file murder charges against a Canadian national and alleged Taliban fighter who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15.
    well he looked 18.


    Afghan fury over UK troops telling farmers they can grow poppies

    Afghan officials have reprimanded British diplomats over a campaign by UK troops in Helmand telling farmers that growing poppies was understandable and acceptable.

    A radio message broadcast across the province assured local farmers that the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would not interfere with poppy fields currently being harvested.

    "Respected people of Helmand. The soldiers of ISAF and ANA do not destroy poppy fields," it said. "They know that many people of Afghanistan have no choice but to grow poppy. ISAF and the ANA do not want to stop people from earning their livelihoods."

    The advertisement, which was drafted by British officers and carried on two local stations, infuriated Afghan officials as high up as President Hamid Karzai, who demanded an explanation
    there appears to be a bit of mixed messages going on with the poppy fields.




    bb

  13. #43
    Joined
    Mar 2002
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    California
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    25,331

    Re: The other war thread

    US aircrews show Taliban no mercy

    Caught in the middle of the Helmand river, the fleeing Taliban were paddling their boat back to shore for dear life.

    Smoke from the ambush they had just sprung on American special forces still hung in the air, but their attention was fixed on the two helicopter gunships that had appeared above them as their leader, the tallest man in the group, struggled to pull what appeared to be a burqa over his head.

    As the boat reached the shore, Captain Larry Staley tilted the nose of the lead Apache gunship downwards into a dive. One of the men turned to face the helicopter and sank to his knees. Capt Staley's gunner pressed the trigger and the man disappeared in a cloud of smoke and dust.

    By the time the gunships had finished, 21 minutes later, military officials say 14 Taliban were confirmed dead, including one of their key commanders in Helmand.

    The mission is typical of a new, aggressive, approach adopted by American forces in southern Afghanistan and particularly in Helmand, where British troops last year bore the brunt of some of the heaviest fighting since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

    American commanders believe that the uncompromising use of airpower in recent weeks has been a key factor in preventing the Taliban from launching their expected full-scale spring offensive against coalition forces and forcing them to rethink their tactics.
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    Aircrews say they have been told to show no mercy, but to press home their advantage until all their targets have been destroyed. The Apache attack was one of five in three days in -Helmand, where British troops operate alongside a much smaller contingent of American infantry and special forces.

    Capt Staley, the commander of the Apache unit based at Kandahar airfield, described how his helicopters had arrived just after an ambush by Taliban fighters with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, on a detachment of American special forces and an infantry unit. In the second Apache, 1st Lt Jack Denton, 26, was in radio contact with the special forces unit, Scorpion 36, on the ground.

    The soldiers said they had information that the Taliban were escaping across the river. "Look out for any boats," they said. He spotted a small aluminium fishing boat pushing out from the eastern shore of the 200-yard-wide river. In it were six or seven people. When they caught sight of the Apaches, they started to paddle back towards shore.

    The aircrew hesitated. "It seemed a little premature," said Lt Denton. "We didn't have hostile intent or a positive ID from the ground commander." But the special forces soldiers were adamant that, although they could not themselves see the men on the boat, they must be the Taliban who had attacked them. That, said Lt Denton, was good enough for the Apache crews.

    By then, most of the men were ashore, walking quickly towards the tree line. They appeared to be pulling clothing over their heads - burqas, Capt Staley thought, and Lt Denton concurred. As the helicopters came in to attack, Lt Denton said, one of the men turned to face him and dropped to his knees. "I think he knew that there was no hope," he said. "He was making his peace."

    Capt Staley's helicopter hit them with its rockets while Lt Denton, the gunner in the other helicopter, opened up with his 30mm cannon. Three or four of the Taliban died where they stood and the rest made a dash for the trees. "They were trying to get to their bunkers," Capt Staley said. "We started a diving run and destroyed four of the six people we could see, including the Taliban commander."

    From 500ft up, Lt Denton said: "You can see the person but you can't see the features of his face. The 30mm explode when they hit and kick up smoke and dust. You just see a big dust cloud where the person used to be."

    As the Apaches came in for another run, Capt Staley said, he saw the muzzle flashes of automatic weapons among the trees. A rocket-propelled grenade screamed towards his helicopter, but it passed by harmlessly.

    The Apaches made eight attacking runs and, by the end, the bodies of 14 Taliban littered the shore. Another two were spotted floating down the river. Any survivors did not hang about. "They usually extricate their dead but this time they left them there," Capt Staley said.

    American intelligence named the dead commander as Mullah Najibullah, who, they said, had been responsible for leading attacks against British forces in and around the town of Sangin, in Helmand.

    The attack, and four other missions against suspected Taliban compounds, are clearly effective, but the stakes are high. Coalition attacks on mistakenly identified targets here, as in Iraq, have left dozens of civilians dead and wounded and can act as a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists.

    But Capt Staley said he had no qualms about pressing home such attacks until no one was left standing and claimed that American pilots were more effective than their British Apache counterparts, who he said flew higher and were less ruthless in finishing off their targets. "The Brits are good but they don't have the extreme aggression that we do."

    Lt Denton, too, believed they were striking the right balance.

    "Usually, right before the engagement, you stop and think, 'Are you sure?', because you are going to be taking someone's life, but everything happens so fast you have to make quick decisions."

    On Monday, the Apaches struck again, killing 12 Taliban whom they had caught in the open near Qalat, in Zabul province.

    Lt Denton and Capt Staley were in one of the two-man aircraft, escorting two Black Hawk helicopters, when they spotted eight motorcycles, with a rider and passenger on each. It seemed unusual and the Apache broke away to take a closer look.

    Dropping to 200ft, it swooped close to the motorcyclists - and the two men could not believe their luck: some of the passengers were holding the parts of a long-barrelled heavy machine-gun.

    Six of the bikes slewed to a stop, their passengers leaping off and aiming their weapons at the helicopter in what appeared to be a well-practised drill, while the others took off across country. The Apache banked away to begin its attack run.

    "Some of them were trying to get the heavy machine-gun up a small hill to engage us," Lt Denton said. "Capt Staley used the 30mm gun to take out the two guys who had taken off, and then we fixed on the ones with the heavy machine-gun. They were huddled around a large boulder and we shot them. We put as many rounds around it as we could, because if they got to it they could cause us trouble. But they never had a chance to set it up."

    Using its cannon and then its rockets, the Apache finished off all the Taliban fighters it could find, then launched nail-filled rockets and dropped white phosphorous to destroy the motorcycles and the machine guns. After the shooting stopped, 12 Taliban were confirmed dead.

    Not surprisingly, the Apache assaults have forced the Taliban to adopt a lower profile. For the coalition to continue to be successful, commanders must hope that the Taliban do not get their hands on the weaponry that has made life so perilous for pilots in Iraq, where more than 50 helicopters have been shot down since the start of the war.

    But for now, the American airmen are not losing any sleep over it. "When you are on top of the enemy you look, shoot and it's, 'You die, you die, you die'," Lt Denton said.

    "The odds are on our side. I really enjoy it. I told my wife, if I could come home every night then this would be the perfect job."
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  14. #44
    Joined
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,616

    Re: The other war thread

    Quote Originally Posted by AMDScooter View Post
    The headline and story can both be found on CNN's website. That you see nothing wrong or misleading with the headline is not surprising. Still keeping with the "all about me" theme I see.

    lol, the only theme is about what you write

  15. #45
    Joined
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    8,887

    Re: The other war thread

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/.../edhaggani.php

    With nuclear weapons, the seventh largest standing army in the world and impressive economic growth rates, Pakistan projects a powerful image. But the country lacks the strength of an effective state at home.

    Attacks by armed supporters of the government against opposition activists in Karachi and frequent terrorist bombings raise fears about Pakistan's future. The country faces increasing demands from religious extremists, and doubts are growing among Pakistan's Western allies about the regime's ability to handle these pressures.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

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