The AfPak Reader

September 5, 2009

AfPak 2009 – Week 2 – Summer Notes

Filed under: Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 10:08 am

AfPak Summer 2009 Notes

Week 2 – Afghanistan

June 28, 2009

The Taliban killed seven policemen during two ambushes in Farah province. Afghan and Coalition forces detained six Haqqani Network fighters and conducted an airstrike against a group of fighters during separate operations in the Musa Khel district of Khost province. The Afghan police force will be expanded by an additional 10,000 officers. US envoy Richard Holbrooke described anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan as a failure.

Posted by Bill Roggio on June 28, 2009 10:52 AM

Taliban Militants Kill 7 Afghan Police
By VOA News
28 June 2009

Afghan officials said Sunday Taliban insurgents killed at least seven police officers in separate attacks in western Afghanistan on Saturday.

Authorities say militants attacked a police post in Farah province Posht-e-Rud, and five officers and at least seven Taliban fighters were killed in the ensuing clash.

Elsewhere in Farah Saturday, Taliban fighters ambushed Afghan police in Bala Boluk, triggering a battle in which two police officers and at least five insurgents were killed.

In policy news, Afghanistan’s counter-narcotics minister General Khodaidad has defended his nation’s counter-narcotics program, one day after a senior U.S. official slammed its own poppy-eradication efforts.

Khodaidad told journalists in Kabul Sunday that his nation has had a lot of success with its counter-narcotics program, which he says involves capacity building, and regional and international cooperation.

He also said the Afghan government is waiting for the United States to introduce its new anti-drug strategy.

On Saturday, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told the Group of Eight foreign ministers that efforts to destroy poppy crops have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars.

He called such efforts “a failure” that boosted support for Taliban insurgents.

Holbrooke said the U.S. will now spend more money to support legal crops and agricultural development.

Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, the main ingredient in heroin. The illicit drug trade provides a key source of revenue for Taliban insurgents.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
Afghan, Coalition Forces Conduct Operations Against the Haqqani Network in Khost
U.S. Forces Afghanistan
Courtesy Story
Date: 06.28.2009
Posted: 06.28.2009 10:42

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces conducted two operations in the Musa Khel District of Khost province yesterday, targeting a key commander in one operation and searching a compound in another.

Coalition forces used precision air strikes in a remote area of Musa Khel District targeting a key Haqqani commander responsible for planning militant attacks against coalition forces.

Intelligence sources indicated his location in this mountainous district, approximately 45 km northwest of the city of Khost. Coalition forces observed and identified suspected militants gathering at this location and called for precision air strikes to eliminate the target.

A coalition patrol conducted a battle damage assessment of the area and confirmed there were no non-combatant casualties. The patrol recovered multiple weapons consisting of small arms, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, ammunition, grenades, radios and military load-bearing equipment. All of the items were destroyed in place.

In a separate engagement in Musa Khel District, Khost province, Afghan and coalition forces patrolled to a compound near the village of Wech Paray, about 40 km northwest of the city of Khost. Intelligence sources indicated militant activity at this compound. The forces searched the compound without incident and detained six suspected militants.

The Haqqani network, a Taliban organization, focuses operations against the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Afghan national security forces and seeks to expel coalition and NATO forces from Afghanistan to maintain its influence in eastern provinces.

No Afghan or coalition forces or noncombatants were injured in either operation.
10,000 Provincial Afghan National Police Growth Approved
Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan
Courtesy Story
Date: 06.28.2009
Posted: 06.28.2009 03:18

CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan — At a recent meeting of the International Police Coordination Board, the international community approved Afghan national police growth of up to 10,000 to meet security needs for the upcoming August elections in 14 key provinces.

According to Col. Bradley K. Nelson, the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan ANP Force integration officer, the training for the additional police will be divided into two phases, much like the training for the additional 4,800 police that are already being trained for duty in Kabul. The officers will attend three weeks of training prior to the elections and will receive an additional five weeks of training after the elections.

“This is a critical component in election security,” stated Nelson, “as we continue to build police forces throughout Afghanistan.”

The additional police will provide site security to polling stations throughout the 14 selected provinces. With approximately 10 ANP assigned to a station, this will allow the ANP to secure nearly a thousand additional polling stations in Afghanistan.

The training of the 10,000 is the second phase of the plan to train 15,000 new police and will take place after the 4,800 new Kabul police are trained.

“There is a lot of hard work going on all across Afghanistan, from the Ministry of Interior to the coalition forces, to enable the Afghan national police to perform their duties and ensure a safe election,” stated Nelson.

Afghan Drug Policy a “Failure”:  US Envoy
Written by Rahim Aria
Sunday, 28 June 2009 13:38

The US anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan have been a failure, said US envoy Richard Holbrooke while addressing the G8 summit Saturday

“The anti-drug policy did not result in any damage to the Taliban, but they put farmers out of work,” Richard Holbrooke told the Group of Eight (G8) foreign ministers summit in Trieste, Italy.

The special envoy of President Obama to Afghanistan and Pakistan said the US no longer supports crop eradication.

Effective efforts for minimising drug production in Afghanistan include going after drug lords and putting serious restrictions on drug trade.

According to Holbrooke, millions of dollars spent on the Afghan anti-drug war should have been used to bolster the country’s economy.

The new policy is focusing on boosting efforts to fight trafficking and promoting alternative crops for the Afghan farmers, Holbrooke added.

Despite international efforts to reduce poppy cultivation in the country, Afghanistan remains one of the world’s top drug producers.

European-Style Polls

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, who represented Afghanistan in the G8 summit, said the situation is challenging to the upcoming August 20, 2009 elections.

He said that the US and the Europeans should not expect European-style polls in Afghanistan.
June 29, 2009

The Kandahar police chief and four policemen were killed in a shootout with what appears to be Afghan guards who work for the US. The US military denied involvement in the incident. An explosion at an IED factory in Paktika province killed at least 9 Haqqani Network fighters. One ISAF soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan.

Posted by Bill Roggio on June 29, 2009 10:03 AM
Deadly shootout an ‘Afghan-on-Afghan’ incident: U.S.
Updated Mon. Jun. 29 2009 12:45 PM ET News Staff

Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused Afghan guards, purportedly working for U.S. coalition forces, of engaging in a gunbattle Monday that killed a provincial police chief and at least four security officers.

In a statement, Karzai demanded that coalition forces hand over the guards involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says it was not involved, calling the shootout an “Afghan-on-Afghan” incident.

CTV’s South Asian Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer, reporting from Kabul, said details of the incident are still murky.

“This gunfire broke out after Afghan forces moved towards a government complex in Kandahar,” Frayer reported Monday.

“They’re apparently Afghan nationals who are employed by an American security company and they wanted to demand the release of a man who was held there.

Frayer said the gunfight apparently broke out after the Afghan police refused to hand over the man.

Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, the top Canadian commander in Afghanistan, said Monday that international forces were not involved in the incident.

Vance said it was “an altercation between Afghan security forces” and that coalition forces were only involved in “containing” the perpetrators.

He said those involved that are in Canadian custody would be handed over to the proper Afghan authorities.

Kandahar Gov. Tooryalai Vesa said Monday that 41 people were disarmed and arrested and would be sent soon to Kabul for a military trial.
In Karzai’s statement, he suggested that the guards were given refuge at a coalition base. He “demanded that coalition forces prevent such incidents, which weaken the government.”

Frayer said private security companies often receive contracts from coalition forces to carry out security-related duties in certain areas.
She said the latest incident highlights the tension brewing between Karzai and the U.S. presence in the country.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press
U.S., International Forces Not Involved in Kandahar Incident
U.S. Forces Afghanistan
Courtesy Story
Date: 06.29.2009
Posted: 06.29.2009 08:30

KABUL, Afghanistan – There was no involvement of coalition or ISAF forces in the attack at a Kandahar police station today.

The incident was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident, and did not involve U.S. or international personnel or equipment.

For all queries on this incident, please contact the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of the Interior at 020 220 2967.
Blast at Taliban Compound Kills 9
Written by Neyazullah
Monday, 29 June 2009 17:25

A bomb blast killed at least 9 militants in Paktika province while rigging explosive devices, an official said

The explosion occurred Monday inside a house in Yousuf Khail district, south of the provincial capital, Sharan.

“It was a Taliban compound where they were making bombs. Suddenly, the explosives went off and killed nine of them,” a spokesman for the provincial government, Hamidullah Zwakh, said.

Three of the militants were foreign nationals, the spokesman said, without naming a specific country.

The Taliban confirmed the incident in which, according to them, only three Taliban militants were killed.

A Taliban spokesman denied the casualties of any foreign fighters in the Paktika incident.
Paktika, an Afghan eastern province on the Pakistani border, has been suffering from a growing insurgency movement over the past two months.

The mounting Taliban-led insurgency has increased the people’s concerns as the country is set to hold presidential and provincial council elections in August 20.
Coalition Service Members Killed in Eastern Afghanistan
International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs
Courtesy Story
Date: 06.29.2009
Posted: 06.29.2009 08:10

KABUL, Afghanistan — An International Security Assistance Force service member was killed in an IED strike in eastern Afghanistan this morning.

“On behalf of ISAF, I offer our condolences to the loved ones and comrades of this brave service member,” said Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette, ISAF Spokesperson. “On this difficult day, we renew our commitment to support and protect the Afghan people as they battle for stability, prosperity and peace.”

It is ISAF policy not to release the nationality of any casualty prior to the relevant national authority doing so.


June 30, 2009

The US military killed “more than a dozen militants” from the Haqqani Network during airstrikes in Khost province. Afghan police killed 15 Taliban fighters in Baghlan province. A suicide bomber dressed as a woman crossed over the Torkham border from Pakistan and detonated his vest in Nangarhar province, killing two people.

Posted by Bill Roggio on June 30, 2009 10:50 AM
Coalition strikes at Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan
By Bill RoggioJune 30, 2009 9:34 AM

US and Afghan forces have stepped up attacks against the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan over the past several days. More than a dozen fighters have been killed and 21 more were captured, including a commander, during airstrikes and raids since June 27.
The US military reported that “more than a dozen militants” were killed during a series of airstrikes against “a pair of command bunkers” in a mountainous region in Khost province near the border of Pakistan.

Targeted in the airstrikes were senior Haqqani Network leaders who are “responsible for aiding in the movement of foreign fighters through the Khost-Gardez Pass and throughout Afghanistan.”

Yesterday’s airstrikes have been accompanied by a series of raids against the Haqqani Network.

Today Afghan police detained 11 Haqqani Network fighters during an operation in the Sabari district in Khost. Six of the fighters were captured wearing burqas while trying to escape.

On June 27, US and Afghan forces conducted a pair of operations in the mountainous Musa Khel district. US forces targeted a Haqqani Network commander in an airstrike. It is unclear if any fighters were killed. In a separate raid, Coalition forces detained six Haqqani Network fighters.

Also on June 27, Afghan and Coalition forces detained Said Marjan Jawed, a mid-level Haqqani Network tactical commander, and three of his fighters during a raid in the Zirok district in Paktika province. Jawed is “responsible for planning and leading ambushes and attacks in Paktika province,” the US military said.

The Haqqani Network took another hit yesterday when nine of its fighters, including three “foreign nationals” were killed in an explosion at an IED factory in the Yousuf Khail district in Paktika province.

Targeting the Haqqani Network

The US military has heavily targeted the Haqqani Network over the past month. Led by the respected mujahedeen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj, the network is well-organized in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Haqqani Network has been behind some of the most deadly attacks inside Afghanistan.

Over the past month, the US military has targeted Siraj and also Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a senior deputy, several times in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On May 28, US and Afghan forces assaulted a heavily defended fort in the mountains in the Wor Mamay district in the eastern province of Paktika near the Pakistani border.

Twenty-nine Haqqani Network fighters, including six failed suicide bombers, were killed during the raid. Sangeen, who was the target of the raid, escaped.

Siraj and Sangeen were also the targets of two recent US airstrikes inside Pakistan. In mid-June, the US conducted several strikes in South Waziristan. The strikes occurred after the US received information that Siraj was attending a high-level al Qaeda and Taliban meeting to advise a Pakistani Taliban leader on his options against the Pakistani military [see LWJ report Senior Taliban leaders targeted in yesterday’s Predator strikes].

Sangeen was also one of several senior Taliban leaders, including Baitullah and his deputy Qari Hussain Mehsud, targeted in an airstrike at the funeral of a mid-level Taliban commander in South Waziristan.

The US military has identified the Haqqani Network as one of the most dangerous outfits in Afghanistan. The US government placed a $5 million bounty on Siraj earlier this year [see LWJ report, US places bounty on senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders].

Just as the US has finally admitted that Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his senior commanders are running their Afghan operations from Quetta in Pakistan, the Haqqanis have been labeled as operating from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“The Haqqani network remains one of the most lethal Taliban organizations operating out of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas,” the US military admitted in its latest press release.

Fighting Leaves Taliban and Civilian Casualties
Written by
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 13:22

At least 15 Taliban militants were killed and a dozen more were wounded Monday in northern Baghlan province, an official said

The provincial police force launched a massive operation in Baghlan-e Markazi district, 30 km north of the provincial capital Pul-e Khumri, where two locals have been killed and two others were wounded, Baghlan police chief Gen Abdul Rahman Sayed Khaili said.

The provincial police chief added that the fighting burst out after the Taliban militants were collecting money as the ‘Islamic tax – ten percent of income’ from the villagers.
A local Jehadi commander, Mohammad Jalil, said around 20 locals and police were wounded in the firefight.

They have been taken to a district hospital, he said.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said they killed three policemen and captured three more in the firefight.

He confirmed the injuries of only two Taliban fighters.

The Baghlan operation lasted almost 14 hours and left a high number of casualties, an unusual incident in the relatively stable northern region of the country.

The provincial police chief said the militants have removed their fellow fighters’ dead bodies and wounded fighters from the villages.

Taliban militants have spread their influence in Baghlan province over the past six months.
Mr Jalil added that the Taliban is present in large groups in at least six villages around the Baghlan-e Marzaki town, where he called the situation ‘horrible’.

Baghlan-e Markazi was a key power centre for the Taliban in the Afghan north ahead of the US invasion in 2001.

Blast Kills 2 on Afghan-Pakistan Border
Written by Zeerak Fahim
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 15:59

A suicide bomber dressed as a woman struck a checkpoint Tuesday morning at Torkham border crossing, killing and hurting 9, officials said

The suicide attack in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar killed one and wounded four policemen, as well as a number of civilians.

The Afghan Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that the bomber blew himself up in a room at the Torkham border post that is used for searching women travelers.

Gen Mohammad Zaman Momozai, chief of border police in Nangarhar province, confirmed the incident and said the victims have been taken to a hospital.

Torkham is one of the main international border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan, leading to Pakistan’s Khyber Pass in the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Taliban militants, who have vowed to intensify their attacks against Afghan and international forces in Afghanistan, have not immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.


July 1, 2009

General Jones said US troop levels will not be increased, and the emphasis will be placed on economic development, governance, and greater Afghan participation in security operations. Two ISAF soldiers were killed and six more were wounded in an IED strike in southern Afghanistan. Coalition forces killed a local Taliban commander in Jawzjan province.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 1, 2009 5:09 PM
Troop Levels to Remain Flat in Afghanistan
Washington Post’s Bob Woodward: Administration says Economic Development Key, Not Additional U.S. Troops

(Washington Post) This story was written by Bob Woodward.

National security adviser James L. Jones told U.S. military commanders here last week that the Obama administration wants to hold troop levels here flat for now, and focus instead on carrying out the previously approved strategy of increased economic development, improved governance and participation by the Afghan military and civilians in the conflict.

The message seems designed to cap expectations that more troops might be coming, though the administration has not ruled out additional deployments in the future. Jones was carrying out directions from President Obama, who said recently, “My strong view is that we are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops.”

“This will not be won by the military alone,” Jones said in an interview during his trip. “We tried that for six years.” He also said: “The piece of the strategy that has to work in the next year is economic development. If that is not done right, there are not enough troops in the world to succeed.”

Jones delivered his message after a 30-minute briefing by Marine Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, who commands 9,000 Marines here, nearly half the new deployments Obama has sent to Afghanistan.

The day before in Kabul, Jones delivered the same message to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the new overall commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal has undertaken a 60-day review designed to address all the issues in the war. In addition, Jones has told Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that they should focus on implementing the current strategy, completing the review and getting more Afghan forces involved in the fight before requesting additional U.S. troops for Afghanistan.

The question of the force level for Afghanistan, however, is not settled and will probably be hotly debated over the next year. One senior military officer said privately that the United States would have to deploy a force of more than 100,000 to execute the counterinsurgency strategy of holding areas and towns after clearing out the Taliban insurgents. That is at least 32,000 more than the 68,000 currently authorized.

Nicholson and his senior staff, 20 Marine colonels and lieutenant colonels, sat around a table made of unfinished plywood the size of at least three ping-pong tables in a command headquarters that stands where there had been nothing but desert six months ago. The headquarters is located in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, 370 miles from the capital, Kabul, in a region known as the Desert of Death because of its scorching heat and choking fine, dustlike sand. The province is facing a rising and lethal Taliban insurgency.

During the briefing, Nicholson had told Jones that he was “a little light,” more than hinting that he could use more forces, probably thousands more. “We don’t have enough force to go everywhere,” Nicholson said.

But Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. “At a table much like this,” Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, “the president’s principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan.” The principals — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair — made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson’s Marines.

Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, “oops,” we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.

“They then said, ‘If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,’ ” Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.

Now suppose you’re the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?

Jones let the question hang in the air-conditioned, fluorescent-lighted room. Nicholson and the colonels said nothing.

Well, Jones went on, after all those additional troops, 17,000 plus 4,000 more, if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have “a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment.” Everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference to WTF — which in the military and elsewhere means “What the [expletive]?”

Nicholson and his colonels — all or nearly all veterans of Iraq — seemed to blanch at the unambiguous message that this might be all the troops they were going to get.

Jones, speaking with great emphasis to this group of Iraq veterans, said Afghanistan is not Iraq. “We are not going to build that empire again,” he said flatly.

A Question Not Settled

Obama sent Jones last week to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to make an assessment and explain the president’s thinking.

As a presidential candidate and as president, Obama stressed that the Afghan war was neglected in the Bush administration. In announcing the first additional 17,000 troops on Feb. 17, Obama said that “the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan” and that al-Qaeda “threatens America from its safe haven” in neighboring Pakistan.

“We don’t need more U.S. forces,” Nicholson finally told Jones. “We need more Afghan forces.” It is a complaint Jones heard repeatedly. Jones and other officials said Afghanistan, and particularly its president, Hamid Karzai, have not mobilized sufficiently for their own war. Karzai has said Afghanistan is making a major effort in the war and is increasing its own forces as fast as possible.

In an interview, Nicholson said that in the six months he has been building Camp Leatherneck and brought 9,000 Marines to the base, not a single additional member of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) has been assigned to assist him. He said he needed “Afghanistan security forces — all flavors,” including soldiers, police, border patrol and other specialists.

The evening before the Jones meeting, a Marine was killed during a patrol in Now Zad, a town in Helmand where people had fled the fighting.

“If we had several ANA in Now Zad, we might not have lost that Marine,” said one civilian official, noting that the Afghan army could supply the “eyes and ears” that were badly needed to sound warnings and scout on patrols. One senior U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan estimated that the military needs one member of the Afghan security forces for every 10 U.S. troops to operate safely and stabilize the area. That would mean Nicholson should have approximately 900 Afghans, and he effectively has none.

At the briefing for Jones, Nicholson pointed to the mission statement, which said that “killing the enemy is secondary.” His campaign plan states, “Protect the populace by, with and through the ANSF,” the Afghanistan National Security Forces, which makes the absence of the additional Afghans particularly galling to Nicholson.

Though the United States supplies most of the funding for the Afghan army, the force is controlled by the Defense Ministry. Jones said he would press Karzai and others to deploy more of the Afghan soldiers to work here in Helmand.

‘The Razor’s Edge’

Jones said repeatedly on this trip that the new strategy has three legs, all of which he said had to be dramatically improved: security; economic development and reconstruction; and governance by the Afghans under the rule of law.

“The president realizes it’s on the razor’s edge,” Jones said, suggesting not only a difficult, dangerous time but also a situation that could cut either way. “And he’s worried that others don’t.”

The National Security Council is developing a series of measurements to assess the effectiveness of the strategy and the capability of the Afghan government and Afghan security forces. This is expected to be presented to Congress soon.

Jones made it clear in his visit to Afghanistan that it is a new era and that Obama will not automatically give the military commanders whatever force levels they request — the frequent practice of President George W. Bush in the Iraq war.

“This is a decisive moment,” Jones told U.S. military leaders, diplomats and the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan, “a strategic moment, and we better get it right.”

In early 2007, when Gen. David H. Petraeus took command in Iraq, he declared that the situation, nearly four years into the war, was “hard” but “not hopeless.” Jones and his staff use similar words to describe Afghanistan today.

The U.S. military and the 32,000 other NATO troops are engaged in a robust effort to improve security in Afghanistan, but insurgent attacks have escalated, reaching an all-time high of more than 400 attacks during one week in May.

Though that does not rival the violence in Iraq, which peaked at 1,600 attacks in one week during the summer of 2007, it represents a trend that has alarmed U.S. military leaders.

‘The Golden 500’

It is a 25-minute helicopter ride from Camp Leatherneck to Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, where Jones met with the leaders of a provincial reconstruction team, a unit of about 160 British, U.S., Afghan and other civilians and military officers working to rebuild the economy, improve security and increase effective government.

In a meeting, the reconstruction team leaders told Jones that there had been 58 makeshift-bomb attacks in the past week in the province. They stressed that the biggest problem was “Afghan capacity” because the government had not provided sufficient Afghan military, police and civilians.

The British, who lead the team, said the key to progress in Helmand, the largest Afghan province with 1.2 million people, has been provincial Gov. Gulab Mangal. They said that in the past 15 months, he had moved on nearly all fronts to modernize, improve governance and launch a war on corruption.

The British have identified what they call “the golden 500” — government and other officials beginning with Mangal whom they want to stay in their positions in Helmand so progress can continue.

U.S. and British officials believe that Karzai, who is running for reelection in August, plans to replace Mangal. To ensure his reelection, one official said, Karzai is making deals with a number of Afghan politicians.

Jones and the British voiced their distress at the possibility that Mangal would be ousted, and Jones promised to intervene personally with Karzai. As a first step, Jones called in about a dozen Afghan reporters and sat down on a couch next to Mangal for a news conference at team headquarters. Mangal, 52, is a soft-spoken leader with black hair and a neatly trimmed beard.

First, Jones publicly embraced Mangal’s leadership and said he was there “on behalf of the president, who is committed to a new strategy. I know of no place in Afghanistan that has more potential.”

He said “the cornerstone is the Afghan people, the Afghan military and the Afghan police,” adding, “We want to make sure Afghans control their own destiny.”

Jones noted that he had been coming to Afghanistan since 2003. He was NATO commander when the alliance took over the Afghanistan war. “I know what to do,” Jones said glancing at Mangal.

In a brief interview, Mangal said of Karzai, “He sent me as a soldier to Helmand province.” Mangal noted that he had previously been a governor in two other provinces. Did he hope to continue? Mangal nodded yes.

After retiring as NATO commander in 2007, Jones became co-chairman of the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. In 2008, the council issued a report that began, “Make no mistake, the international community is not winning in Afghanistan.”

Flying back from his three-country trip Friday night, Jones cited the report and said most of its bleak conclusions still apply — insufficient reconstruction, weak economic development, the continuing “epidemic in opium production” and “disorganized, uncoordinated and at present insufficient” international efforts.

“We are doing the same things well and the same things poorly,” he said. It was not mission impossible, he said, causing him to feel “urgency but not panic.”

Researcher Evelyn Duffy contributed to this report.

by Bob Woodward
Staff writer Ann Scott Tyson contributed to this report
© 2009 The Washington Post. All rights reserved.
Coalition Service Members Killed in Southern Afghanistan
International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs
Courtesy StoryDate: 07.01.2009
Posted: 07.01.2009 10:56

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two International Security Assistance Force service members were killed and six wounded in an IED strike in southern Afghanistan this afternoon.

“On behalf of all ISAF personnel, I wish to convey our most sincere sympathies to the family members and friends of these brave Soldiers. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this most difficult time” said Brigadier-General Éric Tremblay, ISAF spokesperson. “ISAF’s efforts are dangerous and difficult but we are committed to helping build a safe and prosperous Afghanistan and we will succeed in this endeavour.”

It is ISAF policy not to release the nationality of any casualty prior to the relevant national authority doing so.
NATO Troops Gun Down Militant
Written by Hangama Hanifi
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 15:01

A local Taliban commander was killed Tuesday during a NATO-led operation in the northern Jawzjan province, the forces said

The firefight burst out after Taliban militants attacked a convoy of the NATO-led Swedish and Finnish troops in Darzab district of the relatively stable northern province.

According to a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) press release, the forces called for the nearest air support and, consequently, a militant was killed and two more were injured.

The Swedish and Finnish troops remained unharmed in the fighting that lasted about an hour.

Jawzjan is a relatively peaceful Afghan province bordering Uzbekistan. Taliban militants, who vowed to spread their attacks throughout the country, have not immediately commented on the incident.

A week earlier, two aid workers were killed in a bomb blast in Aqcha district of Jawzjan.
July 2, 2009

The Haqqani Network captured a US soldier who left his post in Paktika province. US Marines and Afghan troops took control of the Khanishin district in Helmand province during the first day of a large scale operation in southern Afghanistan.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 2, 2009 4:18 PM
Haqqani Network captures US soldier in Afghanistan
By Bill Roggio
July 2, 2009 1:23 PM

The Haqqani Network has captured a US soldier who was based in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika. The soldier, who has not been identified, had reportedly been captured after walking off of his small outpost.

The US military has confirmed a solider has been missing since June 30 and believes he has been captured by the Taliban.

“A US Soldier, who has been missing since June 30 from his assigned unit, is now believed to have been captured by militant forces,” US Forces Afghanistan said in a press release.

“We are exhausting all available resources to ascertain his whereabouts and provide for his safe return,” the US military continued. “We are not providing any further details at this time in order to protect the welfare of the Soldier.”

The soldier apparently walked away from a small combat outpost in Paktika province and was quickly captured by Haqqani Network fighters driving in a truck, Stars & Stripes reported.

The US military has launched a massive manhunt in eastern Afghanistan, and has devoted one to two platoons per battalion to the search operation.

“All activities in the region other than force protection have ceased because the effort now is to find our soldier,” Major Jose Aymat, the executive officer at Camp Clark in Khost province, told Stars & Stripes.

Haqqani Network behind the kidnapping

Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a senior lieutenant to Sirajuddin Haqqani who controls Paktika province, took credit for capturing the US soldier and said his fate is in the hands of Sirajuddin and the Taliban leadership.

“The case will be referred to Sirajuddin Haqqani and other Taliban top leadership,” Sangeen told CBS News. “They have to decide the future of the US soldier, but we would not mind a prisoner exchange in this case.”

Led by the respected mujahedeen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj, the network is well-organized in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Haqqani Network has been behind some of the most deadly attacks inside Afghanistan, and it receives direct support from elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency and military.

Over the past month, the US military has targeted Siraj, Sangeen, and the network during a series of raids and airstrikes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan [see LWJ report, Coalition strikes at Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan].

Sangeen was almost captured during a raid on a Haqqani fortress in Paktika province, while both Siraj and Sangeen were the targets of US Predator airstrikes inside the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan in Pakistan. Since June 27, the US military has killed and captured dozens of Haqqani Network fighters and a mid-level commander.

Late last year, the Haqqani Network kidnapped a reporter for the New York Times and brought him to North Waziristan in Pakistan. The reporter escaped from the compound last month.

US, Afghans take first district in major assault
(AFP) – Jul 1, 2009

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) — US Marines and Afghan troops captured a remote southern district from the Taliban Thursday in one of the first successes of a major operation in militant strongholds, commanders said.

The soldiers took Khanishin district in the south of Helmand province with no resistance and hoisted the Afghan flag hours just after they launched Operation Khanjar, they said.
“The district is in total control of the government. The enemies have fled,” Afghan army corps commander General Shair Mohammad Zazai told AFP.

Afghan troops told locals they would work hard to secure the district and that development projects were planned, he said.

Brigadier General Muhayadin Ghori, the most senior Afghan general involved in Operation Khanjar, said no blood was shed in the capture of Khanishin, which lies on the Helmand River.

“We captured the district without any resistance,” he said. “Government control is established all over the district and the Afghan flag has been raised.”

Afghan security forces read out a message from President Hamid Karzai to a local gathering. “We assured them that from now they will be living in peace and security,” the general said.

Khanishin was one of a handful of districts in opium-growing Helmand where the Taliban held sway, establishing a proxy administration and justice system, an AFP reporter said.

Operation Khanjar involves nearly 4,000 US Marines and about 650 Afghan security forces in a major push to secure parts of Helmand before the August 20 presidential elections.

It is the US Marines’ second-largest operation after one that took back the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.
July 3, 2009

US Marines killed more than 30 Taliban fighters during a shootout and subsequent airstrike on a compound in Helmand’s Garmsir district. One Marine was killed during the fighting in Helmand. Russia has agreed to allow NATO weapons shipments to pass through its territory.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 3, 2009 5:06 PM

Insurgents Step Up Attacks on Marines

U.S. Has No Casualties but Must Alter Plans to Meet Afghan Leaders, Residents

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 4, 2009

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, July 3 — Taliban insurgents stepped up attacks Friday against U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand River valley, forcing troops in some areas to spend the day fighting instead of carrying out plans to meet with residents and local leaders.

The stiffest resistance occurred in the district of Garmser, where Taliban fighters holed up in a walled housing compound engaged in an eight-hour gun battle with troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment. The Marines eventually requested a Harrier fighter jet to drop a 500-pound bomb on the compound, which was believed to have killed all fighters inside.

The commanders directing the huge Marine security operation here had said they hoped not to rely on airstrikes, which have resulted in numerous civilian casualties in Afghanistan over the past seven years. Officers here noted with pride Thursday that they had not used bombs or artillery in the first 24 hours of the mission.

But they were left with little choice after the insurgents refused to surrender. Even so, senior officers emphasized that they had watched the building — from the ground and with surveillance aircraft — for almost a day before concluding there were no civilians inside.

There was no immediate count of insurgents killed, although ground commanders reported that 30 to 40 were shooting from in and around the compound early in the day. The airstrike also resulted in several secondary explosions, leading Marines at the site to suspect that the house may have contained homemade bombs.

The fight began Thursday, when insurgents attacked the 2nd Battalion’s Echo Company, which was conducting a foot patrol after arriving in the area by helicopter. The insurgents subsequently retreated into the housing compound, whereupon an hours-long gunfight ensued.

The firing stopped Thursday evening, after Marine AH-1 Cobra helicopters fired Hellfire missiles into the compound. It resumed Friday morning when a Marine transport helicopter landed to deliver Echo Company pallets of food and water. The helicopter was unscathed, but the fusillade soon escalated to large-caliber machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

The incident, which the overall commander of Marine forces in southern Afghanistan called “a hell of a fight,” did not result in any U.S. casualties, but it kept Marines in Garmser from meeting with village elders and other residents.

Officers at the combat operations center here noted that their counterinsurgency effort will involve similar offensive actions against insurgents they encounter. But such engagements effectively delay key elements of the Marine stabilization strategy, which is focused on winning the allegiance of the local population by promising protection from the Taliban.

Other Marine units in Garmser were also attacked Friday. But when the Marines returned fire, those insurgents broke contact and retreated. “They’re not decisively engaging us,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Rule, who supervises the combat operations center at this vast desert base west of the river.

In other parts of Helmand, Marines encountered different obstacles as they sought to introduce themselves to residents. To the north of Garmser, in the district of Nawa, troops have hit several roadside bombs. In the town of Khan Neshin, in the southern part of the river valley, Marines had hoped to meet with town elders, but they did not show. Most people in the town simply stayed indoors, uncertain whether the troops were there to stay and fearful of retribution attacks from the Taliban.

“They’re acting cautiously,” said Col. Eric Mellenger, the operations officer for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which is commanding all Marine units in Helmand. “They don’t want to get caught in the middle.”

Although some Marine units have yet to accomplish initial objectives of the mission, including finding homes to rent and convert into troop outposts, Mellenger said the forces have succeeded in disrupting Taliban activities. In many parts of Helmand, Taliban members had moved around freely for years because local police units had fled and the British military, which was responsible for the province until the Marines arrived, did not have enough manpower to patrol every major town along the river valley.

British forces have since focused their efforts on the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah, and surrounding towns, where they are mounting a large operation aimed at pressuring the Taliban in conjunction with the Marines. British forces have suffered significant casualties in that mission, including the death of a lieutenant colonel commanding a battalion of the Welsh Guards. He was killed in an explosion Wednesday, British officials said.

Taliban fighters have been “totally destabilized by the number of coalition forces now operating in Helmand,” Mellenger said. “They can no longer move around and link up as they want.”

Marines, Afghan’s Continue Operation Khanjar
2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade  
Courtesy Story
Date: 07.03.2009
Posted: 07.03.2009 10:53

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers and police are continuing clearing operations in key population centers along the Helmand River valley in an effort to secure the local population from the threat of Taliban and other insurgent intimidation and violence.

Almost 4,000 Marines and Sailors from Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, along with more than 600 Afghan national security forces, are currently operating in the districts of Nawa and Garmsir in central Helmand province. MEB forces are operating as far south as the vicinity of Khan Neshin, the capital of Rig district in the region of the Helmand River valley known as “The Fishhook.”

The Marines and Afghan forces are continuing to patrol and have begun engaging with key leaders in the districts in order to better understand the concerns and needs of Afghans in the area. Once security is established, civil affairs personnel and other non-governmental organizations and agencies will begin establishing programs aimed at building long-term governance and development throughout the Helmand River valley.

One Marine has been killed in action, and several others have been injured or wounded since the operation began. Yesterday, south of Garmsir, one Afghan man began to approach a group of Marines and was warned to stop. He did not stop, despite a series of warning indicators being employed. The man continued to walk toward the Marines at a rapid pace without saying anything to them. A warning shot was fired, and when he still did not stop, a Marine fired a single shot, wounding the man. U.S. Navy corpsmen immediately treated the man, and he was evacuated by MEB forces to Bost hospital in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, where he is in stable condition.

MEB-Afghanistan is a subordinate unit of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The combined U.S. and Afghan mission is to provide security for population centers along the Helmand River valley and connect local citizens with their legitimate government while establishing stable and secure conditions for national elections scheduled for August as well as enhanced security for the future.
Russia to allow U.S. weapons to pass through to Afghanistan
by Nataliya Vasilyeva/Associated Press
Friday July 03, 2009, 9:17 PM
Moscow — Russia said Friday it will allow the United States to ship weapons across its territory to Afghanistan, a long-sought move that bolsters U.S. military operations but potentially gives the Kremlin leverage over critical American supplies.

The announcement by a top Kremlin aide came ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow next week, when the deal is expected to be signed during a summit aimed at improving the nations’ strained relations.

Russia’s concession on arms shipments also came as the Obama administration is shifting the U.S. military’s focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, where a massive American offensive is currently under way in Taliban-controlled areas of Helmand province.

Russia has been allowing the United States to ship nonlethal supplies across its territory for operations in Afghanistan, and Kremlin officials had suggested further cooperation was likely.

Kremlin foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko told reporters Friday that the expected deal would enable the United States to ship lethal cargo and would include shipments by air and land.

He said it was unclear if U.S. soldiers or other personnel would be permitted to travel through Russian territory or airspace.

“They haven’t asked us for it,” he said.

The normal supply route to landlocked Afghanistan via Pakistan has come under repeated Taliban attack, and the United States and NATO have been eager to have an alternate overland supply route through Russia and the Central Asian countries.

Confirmation of such a deal appeared aimed at setting a constructive tone for the meetings between Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday and Tuesday. After years of increasing strain, both governments have expressed hope the summit will put ties between the former Cold War rivals back on track.

Military analyst Alexander Golts, however, said the United States should be under no illusion about Russia’s intentions. Although Medvedev has set a warmer tone in relations with the West, his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, retains considerable power as prime minister.

“The least impression you should get from this is that Putin’s foreign-policy style foresees gestures of goodwill,” Golts said.

The Russian leadership still has the mind-set of “19th-century Realpolitik” and seeks the ability to hold its partners “by the throat,” he said.

“If something goes wrong in Russian-U.S. relations, this transit will cease as quickly and suddenly as it started,” Golts said.

While Russia has stressed a willingness to work with the West to bring stability to Afghanistan, it has shown that it can use its clout in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia to hobble U.S. efforts.

Russia was seen as the instigator of Kyrgyzstan’s decision earlier this year to evict the United States from an air base used to ship military hardware and troops to Afghanistan.

The decision was reversed only after the United States agreed to pay three times the price.
No comment was immediately available from the Pentagon on Friday, a federal holiday.

The expected deal would be the first time Russia has allowed U.S. military shipments through its territory during the Afghan campaign, said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine. “This may actually be the first time they will do this since World War II,” he said.

Serious rifts remain over other defense issues. The United States and Russia want to forge a nuclear arms reduction agreement to replace the 1991 START treaty, which expires in December.

But talks on a new treaty are complicated by Russia’s push for the United States to scrap the previous administration’s plans for missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe.

The United States says missile interceptors based in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic — if built — would be aimed to counter a potential Iranian threat and would not threaten Russia. Russia rejects those arguments and says the facilities would be aimed to weaken Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

Prikhodko said Medvedev and Obama are expected to sign a declaration of understanding that would set out guidelines for a new arms reduction treaty and would likely include specific target numbers.

He insisted that plans for further nuclear arms cuts and a possible U.S. missile shield in Europe are inextricably linked and that Russia wants the Obama administration to acknowledge that. U.S. officials have rejected Russia’s argument that cuts in offensive weapons must be linked with U.S. plans for missile defense.

“We would like the interconnection between START and missile defense to be described” in the declaration signed at the summit,” he said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s spokesman also said that the two issues are interconnected and indicated Russia’s leaders would repeat their arguments in meetings with Obama, who is to hold talks with Putin as well as Medvedev.

***Compiler’s Note*** Original AP link to Russia story was disabled.
July 4, 2009

Twenty-two Haqqani Network fighters and two US soldiers were killed during a complex assault on a US combat outpost in Paktika province. Seven policemen were killed in an IED attack in Kandahar province. An ISAF soldier was killed during an IED attack on July 3. Afghan police will launch an operation against the Taliban in Herat province.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 4, 2009 2:12 PM
US forces repel Taliban suicide assault, kill 22 Taliban fighters
By Bill Roggio
July 4, 2009 12:42 PM

US soldiers in eastern Afghanistan beat back a complex attack on a combat outpost by the Haqqani Network in Eastern Afghanistan.

The attack began as Haqqani Network fighters launched rockets and mortars at a small US base in the Zarok district in Paktika province. As the rockets and mortars were fired, a suicide bomber attempted to ram a truck packed with explosives into the combat outpost, but soldiers shot and killed the driver before he could penetrate the base. The attackers also fired assault rifles and machine guns during the assault.

Reports indicate that two US soldiers were killed during the attack. Quqnoos claimed the soldiers were killed when the suicide bomber detonated at the main gate. Other reports indicated the soldiers were killed during the mortar attack. The US military stated that two soldiers were killed during an IED attack, but it is unclear if they were killed during the attack on the base.

The US Army counterattacked with “with counter fire, close air support and attack helicopters,” according to a press release. Ten Haqqani Network fighters were killed and one was detained, the US military said. The Afghan Interior Ministry put the number of terrorists killed at 22, while some reports put the number killed at more than 30.

The large number of enemy fighters killed during the counterattack indicates that an assault team was prepared to enter the combat outpost if the suicide bomber created a breach in the wall.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, took credit for the attack. Mujahid claimed that more than 8,000 kg of explosives were used in the attack.
In the past, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terror groups have conducted numerous attacks of this nature in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen.

The rocket attack is designed to cause the defending troops to take cover. The suicide bomber, or in many cases, bombers, is assigned to create a breach in the outer wall so that a backup suicide bomber or an assault team can follow through to overrun the base. The Taliban have had some success in these attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and used this method to penetrate the outer gate of the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen.

Haqqani Network and Mullah Sangeen behind the attack

Today’s attack was carried out by members of the Haqqani Network under the command of Mullah Sangeen Zadran. The assault force may have been backed up by the Shadow Army, or Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda’s paramilitary Army that operates along the Afghan and Pakistani border.

The Haqqani Network has been behind some of the most deadly attacks inside Afghanistan, and it receives direct support from elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency and military.

Mullah Sangeen is a senior lieutenant to Sirajuddin Haqqani and is the commander of the Haqqani forces in Paktika province.

Sangeen took credit for the kidnapping of a US soldier who apparently stepped away from his post at a combat outpost in Paktika on June 30. US forces in eastern Afghanistan have launched a massive manhunt for the soldier.

But the soldier may have already been moved into North Waziristan in Pakistan, where the Haqqani Network controls a large swath of territory.

Over the past month, the US military has targeted Siraj, Sangeen, and the Haqqani Network during a series of raids and airstrikes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan [see LWJ report, Coalition strikes at Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan].

Sangeen was almost captured during a May 28 raid on a Haqqani fortress in Paktika province, and on June 23, both Siraj and Sangeen were the targets of US Predator airstrikes inside the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan in Pakistan. Since June 27, the US military has killed and captured dozens of Haqqani Network fighters and a mid-level commander during raids and airstrikes in Paktika, Paktia, and Khost provinces.
Seven policemen perish in Kandahar IED strike
Javed Hamim Kakar – Jul 4, 2009 – 14:02

KABUL (PAN): Seven policemen and a civilian were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in the volatile southern province of Kandahar, the Interior Ministry announced here on Saturday.

The blast happened in Haji Redi area of Registan district at 6.00am, the ministry said in a statement emailed to Pajhwok Afghan News. Another two policemen were wounded in the explosion.

According to the press release, the policemen suffered the casualties when their vehicle hit the improvised explosive device (IED). Provincial authorities said they were barred by the ministry from speaking to media people.

As usual, Taliban militants moved swiftly to assert responsibility for the deadly remote-controlled bomb attack. Rebel spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said Ghami Khan, the district’s deputy police chief, was among four policemen killed in the assault.
ISAF Service Member Killed in Southern Afghanistan
International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs  
Courtesy Story
Date: 07.04.2009
Posted: 07.04.2009 12:08

KABUL, Afghanistan — An International Security Assistance Force service member was killed in an improvised explosive device strike that occurred yesterday in southern Afghanistan.

“We mourn the loss of another courageous soldier, who died for the honorable cause of Afghanistan and of its people. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family, friends and comrades during this difficult time,” said Brig. Gen. Éric Tremblay, ISAF spokesperson.

“Although it will be hard, we will not be deterred from succeeding in this U.N.-sanctioned, NATO-led mission. The enemies of Afghanistan cannot be allowed to once again plunge this country into a state of repression and fear.”

It is ISAF policy not to release the nationality of any casualty prior to the relevant national authority doing so.

Next of kin have been notified.
Pro-Election Offensive to Open in Herat
Written by Reza Shir Mohammadi
Saturday, 04 July 2009 12:59

A massive operation is to launch in Taliban strongholds in the Afghan western province of Herat prior to August polls, officials said

The major offensive will target any militant elements known as a threat to the upcoming Afghan polls in the relatively peaceful Herat province, said provincial police chief, Brig Gen Esmatullah Alizai.

“Afghan and International troops will be reinforced to open the operation in the outskirts of Herat city,” Gen Alizai added.

Although the targeted locations have not yet revealed but insurgents’ presence is reported in the provincial capital’s nearby districts of Guzara, Robat Sangi and Khosh-e Kohna.

The operation is termed similar to the on-going US offensive in the southern Helmand province where more than 5,000 multinational troops, mostly American, are battling the Taliban militants.

Herat police chief voiced of preparations to safeguard the national polls in the restive districts, added that tribal elders vowed to support the operation.

“If the security situation gets better, we welcome the elections and will take part in it,” Ahmad, 34, a resident of Herat city said.

At least 100 policemen are under special training in the province to protect the ballots and pave the ground for people to cast their votes.

Despite the mounting Taliban-led insurgency over the past few days in Herat, provincial officials do not consider the attacks ‘a serious challenge’.

Militants, mostly affiliated to the Taliban movement raided police stations and military convoys in the districts of Ghoryan, Khosh-e-Kohna and Poshtoon Zarghoon of Herat province.


Week 2 – Pakistan

June 28, 2009

Eighteen Taliban fighters and 10 soldiers were killed during a Taliban ambush in North Waziristan. The government issued bounties for Baitullah Mehsud and 10 senior Taliban commanders. The military killed 11 Taliban fighters during airstrikes in South Waziristan. Security forces detained three terrorists in Swat and two more in Charsadda. The Taliban killed two soldiers in South Waziristan.

Posted by Bill Roggio on June 28, 2009 11:17 AM
Pakistan places bounties on Baitullah and other senior Taliban leaders
By Bill Roggio
June 28, 2009 9:11 AM

The Pakistani government has put out bounties for the capture or death of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and 10 of his senior commanders operating in the lawless tribal agencies. Three senior Taliban leaders in North and South Waziristan were noticeably excluded, indicating that the government does not intend to take on these warlords.

The government announced the bounties in an advertisement in Pakistani newspapers.
Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, topped the list at an estimated price tag of $615,000.

Faqir Mohammed, the leader of the Taliban in Bajaur, came in second at $181,000.
Hakeemullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain Mehsud of South Waziristan, Omar Khalid and Qari Shakeel of Mohmand, and Commander Tariq Afridi of Darra Adam Khel each command a $123,000 bounty [see list below].

Qari Zia Rahman and Waliur Rahman of Bajaur, Fazal Saeed Utezai of Kurram, and Mufti Ilyas of Darra Adam Khel rounded out the list at $61,500 each.

The bounties for Baitullah and his deputies come a month after the government issued bounties for Swat Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah, his deputy Shah Doran, spokesman and military commander Muslim Khan, and 18 other leaders from the region. So far, those bounties have not led to the arrest or capture of the leaders.

Both Fazlullah and Shah Doran are rumored to have been killed, but the reports have not been confirmed. The government has arrested Falzullah’s family.

Siraj Haqqani, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, and Mullah Nazir are absent from the wanted list

Baitullah is the primary target of an ongoing operation in South Waziristan [see LWJ report, Analysis: Waziristan operation to focus on Baitullah Mehsud]. In its briefings, the military has singled out Baitullah and has not mentioned important Taliban leaders Mullah Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar or the powerful Haqqani family. Siraj Haqqani, the son of respected Mujahideen commander Jalaluddin, commands the Haqqani network’s military.

Nazir, Bahadar, and the Haqqanis are not included in the operation even though each host their share of training camps and safe houses for al Qaeda and allied terror movements and conduct attacks against Pakistani security forces. The groups also conduct cross-border attacks against Coalition and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

Nazir and Bahadar’s forces fight mainly in the southern and southeastern Afghanistan provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Ghazni, and Uruzgan, while the Haqqanis are active in Khost, Paktika, and Paktia. Siraj Haqqani, the son of famed mujahedeen commander Jalaluddin, is one of the most wanted men in Afghanistan, as his network has been responsible for some of the most deadly attacks in the country.

Nazir and Bahadar have formed an alliance with Baitullah at the behest of Osama bin Laden, Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and Jalaluddin Haqqani. In February, Nazir, Bahadar, and Baitullah formed the United Mujahideen Council and vowed to pool forces to fight the Pakistani state if the military moved into the tribal areas. The council also agreed to continue the jihad in Afghanistan and to strike at the US and India.

Because they have opposed fighting the Pakistani military and prefer to focus their attention on Afghanistan, Nazi and Bahadar are considered “pro-government Taliban” by the Pakistani military and government. The military has cut peace deals with Nazir and Bahadar in the past. Despite the formation of the United Mujahideen Council and the declaration against the Pakistani state, these deals are still in effect. The Pakistani military also openly supported Nazir as he sought to eject elements of the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek terror group, from his tribal areas.

The Haqqanis have been virtually untouchable. The group operates openly in North Waziristan and runs a network of madrassas in the region.

And the Haqqanis are widely supported by the Pakistani military. In May 2008, General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s senior military officer, was overheard by the CIA referring to Jalaluddin Haqqani as “a strategic asset.” The CIA also found evidence linking the Pakistani military and intelligence service to last summer’s suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

The Haqqanis are well-respected by all of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban groups. The Haqqanis have mediated tribal disputes between Baitullah and Nazir and Bahadar, as well as settled the contentious issue between Nazir and the Uzbeks.

The Pakistani military is seeking to cut deals with Nazir, Bahadar, and the Haqqanis to keep them on the sidelines as the Army takes on Baitullah’s forces in the upcoming operation.

The bounties and their targets
$615,000 Bounty:
Baitullah Mehsud is the overall leader of the Pakistani Taliban. He has led a campaign of suicide and military attacks against the Pakistani military, government, and civilians for more than two years. His forces have defeated the Pakistani Army during two offensives in South Waziristan since 2007.
$181,000 Bounty:
Faqir Mohammed is a senior deputy to Baitullah and leads the Taliban in Bajaur. His forces have defeated the Pakistani Army in Bajaur in two offensives in 2008 and fought the military to a stalemate earlier this year. He is a close ally to Ayman al Zawahiri, and Bajaur serves as an al Qaeda command and control center for operations in northeastern Afghanistan.
$123,000 Bounty:
Hakeemullah Mehsud is a senior deputy in Baitullah Mehsud’s Pakistani Taliban movement, and is a candidate to be his successor. He commands Taliban forces in Arakzai, Kurram, and Khyber agencies. He has taken credit for several high-profile terror attacks in Lahore, Peshawar, and other major cities.
Qari Hussain Mehsud is Baitullah’s deputy and cousin. He runs suicide training camps for children in Spinkai in South Waziristan. The military destroyed one of these camps during a brief operation in January 2008 but Qari reopened the camp months later. He is considered a candidate to take over the Pakistani Taliban in the event of Baitullah’s death.
Commander Tariq Afridi leads the Commander Tariq group. He is a deputy to Hakeemullah and leads what is considered the most powerful force in the city of Darra Adam Khel. His group was behind the kidnapping and the eventual beheading of a Polish engineer earlier this year.
Omar Khalid, who is also known as Abdul Wali, leads the Taliban in Mohmand. He is a deputy in Baitullah Mehsud’s Taliban movement. He is considered one of the most effective and powerful leaders in the tribal areas after Baitullah and Hakeemullah Mehsud.
Qari Shakeel is a deputy commander to Omar Khalid in the Mohmand tribal agency.
$61,500 Bounty:
Qari Zia Rahman is an al Qaeda leader who operates in Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal agency as well as in Afghanistan’s Nuristan and Kunar provinces. He is allied with Faqir Mohammed, the leader of the Taliban in Bajaur, as well as with overall Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and Osama bin Laden. Rahman’s fighters are from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and various Arab nations. He commands a brigade in al Qaeda’s paramilitary Shadow Army, or the Lashkar al Zil, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.
Waliur Rahman is a deputy military commander to Faqi Mohammed in Bajaur. He leads the Jaish-i-Islami Pakistan, a Taliban subgroup. He has led negotiations with the tribes and also is reported to have been named as a possible successor to Baitullah.
Fazal Saeed Utezai is a deputy to Hakeemullah and leads Taliban fighters in the Kurram tribal agency. His forces have been behind some of the worst sectarian violence against the Shia tribes.
Mufti Ilyas commands Taliban forces in Darra Adam Khel and is a deputy to Hakeemullah Mehsud. He formed a group that is assigned to assassinate Shia leaders.
GEO Pakistan

Forces nab 3 including suicide bomber trainer: ISPR
Updated at: 1535 PST, Sunday, June 28, 2009

RAWALPINDI: The security forces have arrested three extremists including suicide bomber trainer and recovered prepared suicide car and a Rickshaw in Swat during last 24 hours. While, a Non Commissioned Officer embraced shahadat in South Waziristan Agency.

Security forces cleared Swat area around Kokarai and successfully established link up at Jambil, while apprehended local terrorist commanders Akbar and Saleem and a suicide bomber trainer Abdul Rehman. A prepared suicide car and rickshaw were also recovered from Kokarai.

On a tip from locals, security forces recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition including IEDs from a grave yard in Garai, 4 KM north east of Shamozai.

Security forces secured areas around Khazana, Zarra Khela, Gamkot, Chalera, Rangeela, Shah Dheri – Maira Band and Garai and commenced search operation in surrounding areas of Mangalton.

Security forces carried out search operation at Bala Sar, Chuprial and Bartana and recovered three 12 Bore guns and three 30 Bore Pistols.

Security Forces conducted road-opening operations on Wana-Khamrang road in South Waziristan Agency.

Terrorists training centers and hide outs including arms and ammunition dumps at Ladha, Makeen and Sararogha were targetted. Terrorists fire raided on Tanai Fort, resultantly a Non Commissioned Officer embraced shahadat.

The forces continued the relief activities and restoration services today, as one truck carrying water dispenser units was dispatched for IDPs at D I Khan and 16 other trucks of rations and non food items dispatched for IDPs at Bannu.

At least ten truckloads of ration and non food items distributed amongst the IDPs at Palko Deri, Hathian, Sherghar, Mohabbatabad, Hoti Mardan, Jamal Garthi, Mardan Rural and Charsada.

Electricity, PTCL, Mobile Phone Services and Sui Gas maximum services have been functional at Buner and Swat.

So far fifty thousand five hundred and eleven cash cards have been distributed amongst the IDPs of Malakand Division, while Rs. 500.655 Million has been drawn by the IDPs.
GEO Pakistan

Two miscreants nabbed in Charsaddah
Updated at: 1837 PST, Sunday, June 28, 2009

PESHAWAR: Charsaddah police arrested Sunday at least two people including the mastermind of bomb blasts at shrines.

Talking to Geo News, DPO Charsaddah Muhammed Riaz Khan said Qari Roohullah, who is mastermind of bomb blasts at the shrines in various areas of the province, has been arrested in Batgram Tarkha along with his accomplice Syed Badshah.

The extremists were arrested on a prior tip-off, he further told.

The DPO said the extremists belonged to a group of commander Shakeel in Mohmand Agency, adding the police are conducting more raids for the arrest of accomplices of the accused.

The DPO said the accused are involved in the bomb blast at the shrine of Rehman Baba in Peshawar.

***Compiler’s Note***Two Roggio Links were down as of this exercise.  Hence the importance of copying and pasting articles, before they are lost to the uncharted folds of the internet’s space time continuum.
June 29, 2009

The Taliban dissolved the North Waziristan peace agreement with the government. The military said it killed 15 Taliban fighters during airstrikes in South Waziristan and eight more in Swat, while a tribal lashkar killed 21 more in Kurram. Sixteen civilians and two policemen were wounded in a bombing in Buner. The military will not deploy forces to the northwest from the Indian border.

Posted by Bill Roggio on June 29, 2009 10:14 PM
Taliban end North Waziristan peace agreement
By Bill Roggio
June 29, 2009 9:00 PM

The Taliban in North Waziristan have ended a peace agreement with the government, putting in jeopardy the military’s plan to isolate Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan.

The Taliban shura, or council, in North Waziristan decided to terminate the 16-month-old peace agreement because the Taliban’s demands that the government withdraw troops from the tribal agency and end the US-led and Pakistan-supported Predator campaign have not been met.

“We will attack forces everywhere in Waziristan unless the government fulfills these two demands,” said Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban.

The announcement took place just one day after the Taliban ambushed a military convoy in the town of Wacha Bibi near the main town of Miramshah in North Waziristan. The military claimed that 16 soldiers and 10 Taliban fighters were killed in the ambush, but security officials put the number at 27 soldiers killed, according to a report in Dawn.

“The place where the convoy had been attacked was littered with wrecked army vehicles,” local tribesmen told Dawn.

In early 2008, the government signed a peace agreement with North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar, Saddiq Noor, and the powerful Haqqani family after the Army was defeated by Baitullah Mehsud in neighboring South Waziristan.

Under the agreement, the government withdrew forces from the tribal agency and returned weapons to the Taliban. In exchange, the Taliban promised to halt attacks against security forces, prevent al Qaeda from sheltering in the region, and end cross-border attacks into Afghanistan. The Taliban did not live up to the agreement.

Military’s plan to isolate Baitullah Mehsud in doubt

The Taliban’s dissolution of the North Waziristan pact may have damaged the Pakistani military’s strategy to isolate and attack Baitullah Mehsud.

The military and the government have signaled from the onset of the operation in South Waziristan that Baitullah was the target, while they have ignored Bahadar, the Haqqanis, and South Waziristan commander Mullah Nazir [see LWJ report, Analysis: Waziristan operation to focus on Baitullah Mehsud]. Just yesterday, the government issued bounties for Baitullah and 11 of his deputies, but did not list Bahadar, the Haqqanis, or Nazir among the wanted.

Today the military publicly stated that Baitullah was the only target of the operation, despite the fact that he, Nazir, and Bahadar openly formed an alliance to defend against military incursions into the tribal areas. In February of this year, the three Taliban warlords formed the United Mujahideen Council at the behest of Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and the Haqqanis.

“When we do move in, it must be only against Baitullah and his group. We cannot afford to provoke a tribal uprising,” Major General Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman, told the Washington Post.

The Pakistani military appears to be limiting the operation to preserve its option of “strategic depth” as well as out of concerns of overstretching the military.

Bahadar, the Haqqanis, and Nazir are considered “pro-government Taliban” because they focus their operations against Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The government has also refused to deploy additional troops from the eastern border with India, despite an ongoing offensive in the Swat Valley that has occupied tens of thousands of troops.

“We cannot and will not do it,” Qamar Zaman Kaira, the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, said at a press conference, referring to moving forces westward.

Kaira also attempted to play down recent comments by President Asif Ali Zardari, who said that India is no longer a threat to Pakistan.

15 militants killed in S Waziristan bombardment
Updated at: 1250 PST, Monday, June 29, 2009

WANA: At least 15 militants were killed when fighter jets bombarded militants’ hideouts in Ladha and Sam areas of South Waziristan during ongoing operation ‘Rah-e-Nijat’.

According to sources, three major hideouts of militants including one established in a school were destroyed and 15 militants were killed during jets bombardment in Ladha and Sam areas. Three persons were killed and seven hurt when a shell hit a house in Kari Khel area of Azam Warsik.

On the other hand, a man gunned down by unknown persons in Garapathar area at Wana-Tank Road. The man was identified as a commander of Baitullah Mehsud group.\30\story_30-6-2009_pg1_1
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
45 Taliban killed in airstrikes, clashes
* 21 Taliban, 4 tribesmen killed in Kurram clash
* 8 Taliban killed in Swat
* Lashkar kills two Taliban, apprehends 14 in Upper Dir

ISLAMABAD: At least 45 Taliban were killed as jet aircraft bombed suspected Taliban hideouts in Waziristan and in clashes with the security forces and pro-government tribal militias in Swat and Kurram on Monday.

The airstrikes hit a guesthouse used by Taliban in the village of Kani Guram in South Waziristan Agency, killing four Taliban, according to intelligence officials.

Twenty-one Taliban were killed in overnight clashes with an anti-Taliban militia in Kurram Agency, tribal elder Ali Akbar Toori and lawmaker Sajid Toori said. Four militiamen were also killed.

Security forces launched an early morning raid on a suspected Taliban hideout in Tank, killing two suspected Taliban and arresting nine others, senior police officer Abdul Rasheed said.

Chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said security forces raided a compound in Khawazakhela area of Swat on a tip-off, killing eight Taliban and seizing weapons and explosives.

A lashkar in Upper Dir closed in on the Taliban trapped in the Shortkas Dogdarra village. Citing a private TV channel, APP said the lashkar killed two Taliban and arrested another 14 from the area and demolished their five houses.

In Swat, the Taliban “command structure has been totally dismantled, their training centres discovered and destroyed, their recruits either killed or driven away, their ammunition dumps destroyed and their headquarters … destroyed,” the military spokesman said.
sajjad malik/agencies–two-policemen-hurt-in-buner-bazaar-blast–il–05

Buner bazaar blast injures 16 civilians, two policemen
By Abdur Rehman Abid
Monday, 29 Jun, 2009 | 09:03 PM PST |

BUNER: A bomb blast rocked the Swari bazaar on Monday, injuring at least 18 people, two among them policemen, and damaging a car here, officials said.

Security forces stationed in two camps near Swari bazaar started indiscriminate firing into the air after the blast, which continued for some time. Within minutes, the busy bazaar was deserted and shopkeepers pulled down shutters and vendors and shoppers ran for cover.

District coordination officer Yahya Khan, DPO Abdur Rashed Khan arrived at the blast site with heavy contingents of police and army and cordoned off the area. The army and police also launched a joint search operation to nab the culprits.

The bomb disposal squad also reached the site and collected evidence. The bomb was a time device weighing between five and eight kilogram and was planted on the roof of a traffic shelter in the College Chowk in Swari bazaar, officials said.

A majority of the injured people were taken to the nearby Sultan general hospital Swari while some were rushed to the district headquarters hospital Daggar.

According to hospital sources, all the people shifted to the hospitals had received minor injuries and they discharged after the first aid. However, a traffic constable, Rajjibat Khan, was admitted in the hospital for eye injury. The other policeman was identified as Havaldar Said Farosh. Most of the injured included small-time businessmen and vendors.

The explosion was of heavy intensity and was heard in a five kilometer radius. This correspondent was also present in the Swari bazaar when the blast occurred. Dust covered the entire bazaar after the explosion.

The DCO and the DPO told this correspondent that it was a sabotage bid to destabilize the peace in the district, especially discouraging the retuning IDPs and normalcy in the main business center of the district.

The army further intensified its search operation on the check points and all those going out and coming to the district were thoroughly checked while the vehicles were also searched.–08

Pakistan not to relocate troops from eastern border
By Iftikhar A. Khan
Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009 | 10:45 AM PST |

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has ruled out the withdrawal of troops from the eastern border for deployment at the western border.

‘We cannot and will not do it,’ he said at a press briefing along with military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas here on Monday.

The minister said Pakistan could not remain oblivious to the conventional threat. ‘It is up to the local commanders to decide about the strength of troops required to conduct a counter-insurgency operation in Swat and tribal areas of the NWFP.’

Mr Kaira said Pakistan did not want to create problems for India and urged it to fulfil its international obligations. He said Pakistan wanted resumption of the composite dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

He said President Asif Ali Zardari’s statement that India was no more a threat for Pakistan had been reported out of context. What the president meant was that there was no imminent threat of a war, he added.

Asked why did the government not openly say what it had told parliamentarians during an in-camera briefing that India was among the countries which were arming militants in tribal areas, he said Islamabad was not scared of New Delhi, but it could not say so without having a concrete evidence of this.

‘We will not only raise the issue but will also take an appropriate action when a solid evidence is in hand. The government is behaving responsibly.’

About allegations that terrorists are crossing into Afghanistan to carry out attacks on US troops, Maj-Gen Abbas said: ‘We are trying to stop all those who cross into Afghanistan.’
He pointed out that Pakistan had 1,100 posts on its border with Afghanistan and 40,000 to 50,000 troops were manning the border. He, however, said that about 60 per cent area of Afghanistan was not under the control of its government.

‘We cannot chase terrorists inside Afghanistan and appropriate measures are needed to be taken by the Afghan government.’

In reply to a question, he said Pakistan disapproved of drone attacks in its tribal areas and termed these counter-productive.


He said that 16 security personnel, including three officers — Lt-Col Tahir, Captain Abid and Lt Zeeshan — had laid down their lives during an attack by terrorists on a convoy of security forces on Sunday in North Waziristan.

Maj-Gen Abbas said that 12 soldiers had died on Sunday while four died of injuries later in the Combined Military Hospital. He said that troops had returned fire and killed 10 terrorists.

He described the attack as ‘unprovoked and uncalled for’ and said there was no military operation in the area. He said that security forces reserved the right to respond in an appropriate manner.

He said the action would be in accordance with local customs and the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).

He replied in the negative when asked if a military operation in South Waziristan had begun. He said the operation was neither against any tribe nor any region but against a group that had challenged the writ of the government.


The army spokesman said that security forces had secured Biha valley, in the north, and Shamozai, in the west of Swat, and cleared several areas previously occupied by terrorists.
He that militants’ command structure had been dismantled, their training centres destroyed, their recruits either killed or driven away and their ammunition dumps and headquarters in Peochar, Chaprial, Matta, Khawazakhela, Mingora, Kabal, Banai Baba Ziarat, Sakhra Valley, Saidu Sharif and Biha areas had been destroyed.

He said that security forces operating in Swat had established link-up at Khel Kandao while operating in Buner and were consolidating their positions in areas around Dangram, Kukarai and Jambil.

Troops also secured Khazana, Zarra Khela and Garai areas and are consolidating their positions in Kabal, Dhadara, Akhun Khalle, Rangeela and Zarra Khela areas. Security forces began clearance and search operation from Shalkosar to Jukhtai and Balasur to Shah Dheri.

A terrorist, identified as Mohammad Raheem alias Bhai, was captured. Maj-Gen Abbas said that eight terrorists had been killed when security forces raided a compound in Khawazakhela area. Weapons and explosives were seized.

The military spokesman said that hundreds of youths had shown their willingness to join the community police force in Upper Dir and appropriate steps were being taken to recruit them.

In Upper Dir, armed villagers of a tribal lashkar closed in on terrorists trapped in the village of Shortkas-Dogdarra.

Troops recovered 11 tons of wheat stolen from the World Food Programme on May 4 during a raid on the house of one Nek Ikthair in Lower Dir. The wheat has been distributed among the displaced people.
June 30, 2009

The military killed 18 Taliban fighters in Swat and Dir; the Taliban killed three soldiers in Swat. A lashkar in Dir killed 8 Taliban fighters. Four civilians were killed in a bombing in Kalat. The military relaunched an offensive in Buner.

Posted by Bill Roggio on June 30, 2009 2:03 PM
GEO Pakistan

Forces kill 18 extremists in last 24 hours: ISPR
Updated at: 1624 PST, Tuesday, June 30, 2009

RAWALPINDI: The security forces killed at least 18 terrorists were killed in the ongoing operation during the last 24 hours. While, 23 extremists were apprehended from Swat and Dir. Also, three soldiers embraced shahadat and 8 others including 3 officers were injured. Security forces also recovered one explosive-laden vehicle.

According to a press release issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), it has been reliably learnt that during clearance of Biha valley, 18 wounded terrorists, who could not have been taken to safety, were slaughtered by their own people on orders of their commanders.

Security forces commenced operation to secure Swat’s Shah Dheri from two directions. From north, Samai Killile was secured. In the process 3 soldiers embraced shahadat and 5 soldiers including 2 officers got injured. From the east security forces secured Bhoka, Dande and Yakh Tangai Sar. During this operation 3 soldiers including an officer were injured.

Security forces commenced clearance and search operation around Rahatkot, and Jukhtai south east of Fatehpur and recovered 1 explosive laden vehicle from the house of Dua Khan and 1 red colour Double Cabin vehicle was also blown up. During exchange of fire with terrorists, 8 terrorists were killed.

Security forces conducted search and sweep operation in areas around Matta and Wanai. On a tip off by locals, 8 terrorists were engaged and killed.

Security forces conducted clearance and search operation at Balasur and apprehended two suspected terrorists Mian Afil Zada and Aziz Ahmed.

Security forces conducted clearance and search operation at Sambat in which terrorist Muhammad Raheem alias Bhai son of Gulpur Jan was apprehended.

Lashkar conducted house to house search and burnt 15 terrorists hideouts. During exchange of fire with terrorists 2 terrorists were killed and 20 were apprehended.

An IED exploded near traffic police check post at Swari Bazaar in Buner, resultantly 2 policemen and 2 civilians were injured.

Reportedly, parents of young boys, who were forcibly taken for suicide training by Baitullah Mehsood group, have demanded release of their siblings. However, Baitullah Mehsood has flatly refused to release them at any cost.

The ISPR pres release also reported that 8-10 individuals impersonating as army officials searched luggage of IDPs at Fazal Kallay Camp, Mardan and took away gold ornaments, Rs. 25,000/- and other valuables on 18 June 2009.

In another incident, at Garhi Gohati, Swabi, unknown persons reportedly checked cards of IDPs on 23 Jun 09.

IDPs are requested to contact on following telephone numbers on any suspicion and help. (091-5287457, 0300-355177 or 0923-631494-6)

The security forces continued the relief activities, as at least 16 trucks carrying food and relief items dispatched for IDPs to Bunnu. As many as 1000 IDPs residing at Rawalpindi / Islamabad have been provided food items.

Electricity, PTCL, Mobile service and Sui Gas facilities have been made functional in Besham, Darmal, Shung and Darmang in Shangla District.

Most of the IDPs of Buner have returned to their villages.

National lashkar kills 8 militants in Malakand
Updated at: 1037 PST, Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SWAT: Eight militants were killed and seven injured by national lashkar in Upper Dir as operation ‘Rah-e-Rast’ is underway in Malakand Division.

The national lashkar also regained control of Shotkas. Curfew has been relaxed in different parts of Dir and Swat.

Eight militants were killed and seven injured during overnight clashes between lashkar and militants in Shotkas and Ghazigai. Three persons of lashkar were also wounded in the action whereas eleven houses of militants were demolished. National lashkar restricted militants to Ghazigai area and took control of Shotkas. Migration from troubled areas is continued.

According to Swat media center, curfew will be relaxed from 9:00 am till 5 pm in Shangla, Madeen and Khawazakhela and Chakdara-Mardan Road whereas Dir media center announced relaxation in curfew till 8:00 pm in tehsil Maidan and Adeenzai.

Four killed in Kalat bomb explosion

Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009 | 02:07 PM PST |

QUETTA: A bomb blast killed at least four people and wounded five others Tuesday near a hotel in Balochistan province’s Kalat district.

The blast occurred on the main highway linking Quetta to Karachi.

‘Four people were killed and five others were injured,’ Kalat police chief Nazir Kurd told AFP.

According to initial reports and witnesses, the bomb exploded near a hotel along the highway when a white Suzuki car pulled up, Nazir said.

‘It is not clear whether the bomb was planted in the car or on the roadside,’ he said.

Police suspect the target was trucks carrying supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

‘Some trucks carrying Nato supplies were also stopping over at the hotel for tea or lunch and we suspect that the bomb was targeted at them. However, no damage was caused to any truck,’ the police official said.

Among the dead were the hotel owner and the driver of a small truck, he said.
No group claimed immediate responsibility for the incident.

Nato and US-led forces in landlocked Afghanistan are hugely dependent on Pakistan for supplies and equipment, about 80 per cent of which is transported through the troubled country.–02

Fresh offensive launched in parts of Buner

Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009 | 07:38 PM PST |

BUNER: The security forces on Tuesday launched a fresh offensive against militants in the remote hilly region of Chaghorzai and targeted hideouts with heavy artillery from Ambela, Hashim Sar and Swari.

The mountainous regions of the area including Riyal, Budal, Ghazi Banda, and Sar Qila came under intense firing, forcing the locals to leave their homes.

The district administration enforced curfew in the area right from Kaplani to Topai to facilitate forces to hit the target.

The locals were asked a week before to leave for safe places elsewhere while a plan of setting up a tent camp in Swari yet to be materialized. Displaced people have had to put up with their relatives, friends and vacant houses in low-lying parts of the district. Most of them have taken shelter in the villages of Rega, Takhtaband, Suni Gram, Krapa, Naway Kalay, Mullah Yousaf, Cheena, Dherai and Swari.

The militants are still present in the area right from Kalpani to Topai in Chaghorzai, a local told this correspondent. The source confided that militants are patrolling aboard vehicles with latest weapons and retain control of the area.

The fresh offensive against militants would make their existence difficult in the area and they are expected to leave for the neighboring Kala Dhaka, a lawless area, political figures commented.

A source in official circles told this correspondent that forces have moved towards Kalpani from Swari and would further advance on appropriate time. The source added that the offensive against militants would be continued till its logical end.

It’s pertinent to mention that on Monday curfew was imposed in the area of Nawagai to Nagrai in Chamla and a last offensive is expected in Gokand Valley.

Meanwhile, a beheaded body of army personnel was found in front of destroyed police station in Pir Baba on Tuesday. He was identified from his service card as Qaisar Ali of village Sapal Bandi, Swat. His family members took his corpse to his native village for burial.


July 1, 2009

The military said 28 Taliban fighters were killed in Khyber and five more were killed in Bannu. Twenty-eight Taliban fighters and seven tribesmen were killed in Kurram. The Taliban killed a policeman in Hangu and a civilian in Dera Ismail Khan, and bombed a school in Bajaur. A suicide bomber killed himself in Peshawar.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 1, 2009 10:18 PM\story_2-7-2009_pg1_7

Thursday, July 02, 2009
FC kills 28 LI activists in Tirah

ISLAMABAD: At least 28 members of a militant group, including an important commander, were killed by security forces in Khyber Agency on Wednesday evening, said FC sources. The sources said that those killed by troops were members of Lashkar-e-Islam’s (LI) Mangal Bagh group. The sources said the security forces had also destroyed five vehicles and hideouts of the militant group in the operation in Sandapal area of Tirah valley. app\story_2-7-2009_pg7_10

Thursday, July 02, 2009
Troops kill five Taliban in Bannu

RAWALPINDI: Security forces said on Wednesday that they had killed five Taliban in a clash in Bannu. “The Taliban … raided a checkpost near Hindi Khel in Bannu … one soldier was killed and six injured, while five Taliban were also killed,” said the ISPR, adding that a lashkar in Dir had taken control of over half of Shatkas village. The laskhar also engaged holed up Taliban in a gunbattle, killing “a number of Taliban”. At least 22 tribesmen were also injured in the clash. The security forces also cleared Shah Dheri in Swat. In an exchange of fire with the Taliban, five soldiers were injured in Devolai village. Troops also conducted a search operation around Matta and arrested three Taliban. staff report\story_2-7-2009_pg1_6

Thursday, July 02, 2009
28 Taliban killed in clash with Kurram tribesmen
* Tribesmen appeal for troops’ help amid intensifying battles
* Seven tribesmen also killed in gunbattle

PARACHINAR: Tribesmen attacked Taliban hideouts in Kurram Agency, killing 28 Taliban on Wednesday as the intensifying battles prompted them to ask for army troops to help, said a local lawmaker.

At least seven tribesmen were also killed in the clash in Kurram which was the latest in two weeks of battles between the Taliban and tribesmen there that have killed 141 people – including more than 100 Taliban, said two government officials.

Sajid Hussain Toori, a lawmaker from Kurram, said the Taliban were moving into Kurram from the Swat valley. He said hundreds of tribesmen took part in the attack early on Wednesday, triggering a gunbattle that killed 28 Taliban and seven tribesmen.

“Kurram is an important place because the Taliban can cross the Afghan border from here easily,” said Toori. “The lashkar is facing these armed Taliban, but we request that the government send troops to Kurram to fight the Taliban as quickly as possible.” ap\story_2-7-2009_pg7_29

Thursday, July 02, 2009
Taliban kill cop in Hangu

HANGU: A policeman was killed and nine others injured in Hangu when the Taliban attacked a police contingent in Doaba police precincts on Wednesday. Deputy Superintendent of Police Farid Khan said the Taliban attacked Doaba Police Station early on Wednesday morning. Upon receiving the information, Khan said he rushed towards the station but his contingent was attacked on the way by the Taliban. Halwaldar Hamzaullah was killed and nine policemen were injured in the ensuing gunbattle. staff report\story_2-7-2009_pg7_26

Thursday, July 02, 2009
Bomb misses local police chief in DI Khan, 1 dead

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A roadside bomb intended to target a local police chief’s vehicle killed a passer-by on Wednesday, said police. Police chief Bahawal Khan escaped the blast in Dera Ismail Khan, but his bodyguard was wounded, said police official Miran Shah. Bhawal Khan, chief of a police precinct in Dera Ismail Khan, has played a major role in arresting suspected Taliban in the city, said Shah. ap\story_2-7-2009_pg7_32

Thursday, July 02, 2009
School blown up in Bajaur

BAJAUR: The Taliban in Bajaur Agency blew up a primary school in Fajja area of Khar on Wednesday. The incident puts the number of schools destroyed in the agency in the past one year at 54. Meanwhile, security forces launched a successful operation in Chaharmang area of Nawagai and assumed complete control of the area. app\story_2-7-2009_pg7_39

Thursday, July 02, 2009
Suicide bomber kills himself, police foil ‘car blast’ in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber blew himself up on Wednesday, but two others managed to escape, said police officials. CCPO Safwat Ghayur told Daily Times that when police in Mashogagar area signalled a car coming from Darra Adamkhel to stop, one of the three passengers in the vehicle lobbed a hand grenade towards the policemen. He said the grenade did not go off. The CCPO said policemen and the passengers of the car then engaged in a gunbattle, during which one of the men blew himself up. The other two, however, managed to escape, said the CCPO, adding that police were now searching for them. akhtar amin
July 2, 2009

A Waziri tribal leader said Mullah Nazir would sit out the fighting in South Waziristan; Nazir denied the report. The military killed 23 Taliban in Swat and moved troops to the border of Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The Taliban wounded 37civilians in a suicide attack on a bus used by a nuclear facility in Rawalpindi, two policemen in an IED attack in Peshawar, and two civilians in a grenade attack in Dera Ismail Khan.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 2, 2009 7:13 PM–bi-06

Ahmadzai Wazirs to abide by peace deal
By Our Correspondent
Friday, 03 Jul, 2009 | 03:22 AM PST

WANA: The Ahmadzai Wazir tribe of South Waziristan announced on Thursday that it would abide by the peace deal signed with the government in 2007 and would not attack security forces in its areas.

The tribe took the decision after its 120 elders and notables met Political Agent Syed Shahab Ali Shah and other senior officials in Wana.

Officials claimed that a group of elders had earlier met militant commander Maulvi Nazir and held ‘successful’ talks with him.

However, sources close to Maulvi Nazir, a staunch supporter of the Taliban movement, expressed ignorance about any such meeting.

Maulvi Nazir, who won government backing after he had launched an armed campaign against Uzbek militants in 2007, joined Baitullah Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadur and formed a united front in February this year, pledging to fight their common ‘enemy’.

The sources said the Ahmadzai Wazir jirga was a part of government’s attempt to isolate Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

The government came under pressure when Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who was in its good books, scrapped the peace agreement in North Waziristan and claimed responsibility for the June 28 attack on a military convoy in which 27 soldiers were killed.

Assistant Political Agent Abdul Ghafoor Shah described Thursday’s jirga as successful and said that Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen would work for peace in their area.

The political administration released six tribesmen as a goodwill gesture at the request of the jirga.

The jirga decided that Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen would fulfill their collective and territorial responsibilities and support government’s effort for peace in the area.

APP adds: The Ahmadzai Wazir tribe announced that it would cooperate with the government in its efforts to restore peace in South Waziristan. The jirga was held in the office of assistant political agent in Garmai Wana.

Jirga members Malik Ghazi Mohammad and Malik Sorat Khan told reporters that Maulvi Nazir had agreed to stand by the peace agreement in view of the situation in South Waziristan and to work for peace in Wana under the prevailing laws.

Political Agent Syed Shahab Ali Shah confirmed that the peace agreement would remain intact.

The tribesmen said the decision would be of great help in restoring peace in South Waziristan and eradicating the menace of terrorism.\story_3-7-2009_pg1_4

Friday, July 03, 2009
Security forces kill 23 Taliban in Swat
* Army consolidates positions around Shah Dheri
* Demolishes two Taliban hideouts in Meragai

Staff Report

RAWALPINDI: Security forces said on Thursday they had killed 23 more Taliban in various areas of Swat over the last 24 hours.

“The security forces consolidated their positions around Shah Dheri, where 17 Taliban were killed in a clash,” said the ISPR in the latest update of the Malakand offensive.

Another five Taliban were killed during a search operation in Kanju. One Taliban was killed and two arrested when troops raided hideouts in the area around Miana, Ahingro and Baba Ziarat.

The army also conducted an operation to clear Meragai area, demolishing two Taliban hideouts and recovering eight rifles, 66 rounds, four pistols with 48 rounds and one binocular. Also, the Taliban fired three rockets from Mandan at Jandola Fort in South Waziristan.

Pakistan moves troops to Afghan border

Thursday, 02 Jul, 2009 | 02:55 PM PST |

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army has deployed troops to a stretch of the Afghan border to stop Taliban militants fleeing a major US offensive in southern Afghanistan, a spokesman said Thursday.

Nearly 4,000 US Marines plus 650 Afghan forces moved into Afghanistan’s Helmand province early Thursday to take on the Taliban in one of their strongholds.

Pakistani and US officials have expressed concern the American troop build up in southern Afghanistan could push the militants across the poorly guarded and mountainous border into Pakistan.

‘We’ve mustered more troops from the other areas of the border’ to deploy opposite the Helmand region, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. ‘It is sort of a reorganisation.’

He said the threat of militants crossing over had been ‘visualised.’ He gave no more details.

Pakistan shares a 1,600-mile border with Afghanistan. The section opposite Helmand is around 160 miles long and lies in Baluchistan province, where US officials believe the Taliban’s top leadership are hiding out. — AP\story_3-7-2009_pg1_5

Friday, July 03, 2009
2 policemen killed in Peshawar blast

PESHAWAR: Two policemen were killed and as many people injured when Taliban targeted a police vehicle with a remote-controlled device in the provincial capital on Thursday, said police. A police official told Daily Times that the Taliban targeted the vehicle with a roadside bomb in Chushtiabad area at around 5:45am. The policemen were in the area to investigate a robbery attempt by the Taliban. manzoor ali shah\story_3-7-2009_pg7_13

Friday, July 03, 2009
2 killed in hand grenade attack in DI Khan

LAHORE: At least two people were killed and eight others injured in a grenade attack in Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday, a reported private TV channel. According to the channel, police said unidentified men hurled a hand grenade at a butcher’s shop in Gali Gul Zaman near Ghas Mandi area. No group had so far claimed responsibility for the attack. daily times monitor

***Compiler’s Note*** Link to Bus Bombing story inoperable.


July 3, 2009

Forty-one Pakistani troops were killed after a helicopter crashed in Arakzai. Thirteen Taliban fighters were killed in two US airstrikes in South Waziristan; another seven were killed in Pakistani airstrikes. Tribes agreed to a peace deal in Dera Ismail Khan.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 3, 2009 10:10 PM

Helicopter crash kills 41 security personnel
Bureau Report
Saturday, 04 Jul, 2009 | 12:30 PM PST |

PESHAWAR: Taliban militants Saturday claimed responsibility for a military helicopter crash that killed 41 people in the rugged tribal area in the country’s north.

‘We shot down the helicopter,’ a spokesman for Taliban insurgents based in the nearby Darra Adam Khel region said in a telephone call to AFP.

The spokesman identifying himself as Muhammad said it was in retaliation for the Pakistani military operation in South Waziristan, a Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold.
A military spokesman rejected the claim, reiterating Saturday that the helicopter had crashed due to a ‘technical fault.’

‘Taliban militants frequently make false claims,’ he added.

Forty-one security personnel on board a military transport helicopter were killed when it crashed in Chapri Ferozkhel area on the border of Khyber and Orakzai tribal regions on Friday afternoon, credible sources said.

According to officials, the helicopter crashed because of some technical fault.

Those killed included 19 personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Crops, 18 regulars from the army and four crew members, the sources said. However, officials said that 26 personnel had been killed.

According to the sources, most of the personnel on board were proceeding on leave.

The army spokesman was not available for comment, but a government official said the Russian-made M-17 transport helicopter had crashed in a mountainous area, some 20km from Peshawar, on the border between Khyber and Orakzai because of some technical fault.

‘All those on board the helicopter have been killed,’ the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release information to the media.

He said that paramilitary forces had cordoned off the area and efforts were being made to retrieve the bodies. ‘The area is remote and inaccessible.’

The sources said that pilots of the ill-fated helicopter had requested for emergency landing before the crash. ‘The copter might have come down because of overloading,’ they said.

The government official said the actual cause of the crash would be determined after a detailed examination of the wreckage. ‘It is a lengthy exercise.’

Witnesses said the helicopter was flying at a low altitude in an area of high mountains. It was going to Peshawar from Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency.

The official said: ‘The weather was bad and the copter was flying low. It could either be because of the bad weather or excess weight. But nothing can be said with certainty until we retrieve the wreckage.’

He said that militants had 12.7mm machine-guns which could easily hit helicopters flying at low altitude. ‘Combat and transport helicopters usually fly high to avoid fire from the ground.’

He said that paramilitary forces and helicopters had been sent to the area to retrieve the bodies and the wreckage.

The official said that helicopters had to fire some warning shots to keep the locals away from the crash site. ‘The area is infested with militants, so all precautionary measures are being taken to secure the area.’
13 Taliban fighters killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan
By Bill Roggio
July 3, 2009 7:37 AM

The US killed 13 Taliban fighters in a pair of airstrikes in Baitullah Mehsud’s territory in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan.

Unmanned US Predator strike aircraft struck a Taliban training camp in the village of Kotat Khel and a madrassa, or religious school, in the Mantoi region. The 13 Taliban fighters were killed at the Kotat Khel camp, according to reports. The madrassa in Mantoi was reported to have been empty.

A senior trainer of suicide bombers was reported to be among those killed in the Kotat Khel strike.

“The missiles hit an office of Mufti Noor Wali who was once in charge of training militants for suicide attacks,” a Pakistani intelligence official told Dawn.

Today’s strikes are the first since June 23, when US Predators killed a mid-level Taliban commander loyal to Baitullah Mehsud, then followed up with an attack on his funeral procession. The second strike on June 23 killed 83 Taliban fighters and civilians, according to reports. Along with Baitullah, Qari Hussain Mehsud, a senior commander in Baitullah’s network, and Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a field commander in the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, were the targets of the June 23 strikes. The three Taliban leaders survived the attack.

One week earlier, the US launched a flurry of Predator strikes in South Waziristan that coincided with an important meeting between Baitullah and a senior delegation of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders to discuss the military’s operation in South Waziristan. Among those in attendance were Siraj Haqqani, Abu Yahya al Libi, Abdul Haq, and two senior deputies of Mullah Abdullah Zakir. The US appears to have targeted al Qaeda’s senior leadership as it met with Baitullah.

Today’s Predator strikes also take place as the Pakistani military is in the opening phase of its operation to destroy Baitullah’s network in South Waziristan. The military has conducted air and artillery attacks to soften up Taliban positions and is moving ground troops forward while working to secure the main road in the tribal agency.

The Pakistani military has delayed the launching of the ground operation, and senior Taliban leaders are believed to have fled the region in anticipation of the attack. Baitullah is rumored to have left South Waziristan and is said to be sheltering in Mir Ali in neighboring North Waziristan, under the care of Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar, who has ended his peace agreement with the government.

South Waziristan is a major focus of the US air campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Of the 26 US strikes carried out in Pakistan this year, 18 of them took place in South Waziristan. Baitullah Mehsud’s territory has been hit 10 times and Mullah Nazir’s areas have been hit eight times. Both Nazir and Baitullah host al Qaeda training camps and shelter senior leaders of the terror group.

The US is well on its way to exceeding last year’s total of 36 airstrikes in Pakistan.

Background on US strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban networks in northwestern Pakistan

US intelligence believes that al Qaeda has reconstituted its external operations network in Pakistan’s lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal areas. This network is tasked with hitting targets in the West, India, and elsewhere. The US has struck at these external cells using unmanned Predator aircraft and other means in an effort to disrupt al Qaeda’s external network and decapitate the leadership. The US has also targeted al Qaeda-linked Taliban fighters operating in Afghanistan, particularly the notorious Haqqani Network.

As of last summer, al Qaeda and the Taliban operated 157 known training camps in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. Al Qaeda has been training terrorists holding Western passports to conduct attacks, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal. Some of the camps are devoted to training the Taliban’s military arm; some train suicide bombers for attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan; some focus on training the various Kashmiri terror groups; some train al Qaeda operatives for attacks in the West; some train the Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda’s Shadow Army; and one serves as a training ground for the Black Guard, the elite bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and other senior al Qaeda leaders.

There were 36 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan during 2008, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-nine of those attacks took place after Aug. 31. There were only 10 recorded strikes in 2006 and 2007 combined.

During 2008, the US strikes inside Pakistan’s tribal areas killed five senior al Qaeda leaders. All of the leaders were involved in supporting al Qaeda’s external operations directed at the West.

Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan in January 2008.

Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda’s external operations chief, was killed in a strike in Bajaur in March 2008.

Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda’s weapons of mass destruction chief, and several senior members of his staff were killed in a strike in South Waziristan in July 2008.

Khalid Habib, the leader of al Qaeda’s paramilitary Shadow Army, was killed in a region controlled by Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan in October 2008.

Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and a member of al Qaeda’s top council, was killed in North Waziristan in October 2008.

In 2009, US strikes have killed two senior, long-time al Qaeda leaders. Osama al Kini and his senior aide, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, were killed in a New Year’s Day strike in South Waziristan. Kini was al Qaeda operations chief in Pakistan. Both men were behind the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others.
GEO Pakistan

7 killed in N Waziristan bombardment
Updated at: 1446 PST, Friday, July 03, 2009

MIRANSHAH: Seven people were killed and 14 injured when security forces jets pounded militants positions in bordering areas of North Waziristan.

Sources said jets bombarded militants hideouts in bordering areas Wacha Bibi and Degan of North Waziristan. Seven people were killed and 14 hurt in the action that were rushed to different hospitals.

Sixteen security men were killed and several injured in an attack on security forces convoy in Wacha Bibi area few days ago.\story_4-7-2009_pg7_12

Saturday, July 04, 2009
Jirga reaches peace agreement in DI Khan
Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Parties to a peace jirga chaired by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman have agreed to establish peace in Dera Ismail Khan, a private TV channel reported on Friday.

Addressing a press conference after the jirga held at the Circuit House in DI Khan, Fazl said the parties had agreed to handover the wanted individuals to the police within ten days from the date of the agreement. The local administration and police officials, besides clerics from different sects, were also present on this occasion.

The parties presented their demands and suggestions in the jirga, which reached a six-point formula to restore peace in the city hit by sectarian violence for the past year and a half. The parties to the agreement had been made responsible for ensuring peace in the city. A 17-member committee, consisting of five members from each party and remaining from the local administration, had also been constituted to ensure implementation of the peace accord. According to the six-point formula, the parties agreed that their representatives would ensure they handed over the wanted people to the police.


July 4, 2009

The military said 12 Taliban fighters were killed during airstrikes near the helicopter crash in Arakzai. Nine lashkar fighters and three Taliban fighters were killed during clashes in Mohmand. A Taliban fighter was killed after the Taliban ambush a lashkar in Dir. The military shelled Taliban hideouts in Lakki Marwat.

Posted by Bill Roggio on July 4, 2009 5:16 PM

Taliban stronghold in Orakzai shelled
By Abdul Sami Paracha
Saturday, 04 Jul, 2009 | 11:30 PM PST |

KOHAT: Twenty-six militants were killed when jets shelled headquarters of the Tehrik-i-Taliban in Orakzai Agency on Saturday afternoon.

The jets targeted camps and strongholds of commander Tariq Afridi of Darra Adamkhel and commander Nazar of Khyber Agency in Sam Ghar area, where a military helicopter crashed on Friday, killing 41 personnel and crew.

Military personnel started retrieving the bodies from the scene on Saturday.

Helicopter gunships shelled suspected hideouts of militants to protect the troops engaged in rescue activities.

However, the wreckage of the helicopter is still lying scattered all over the area as the political administration could not send its staff to negotiate with the Taliban to recover it.

Sources said the area where the incident took place was a ‘danger zone’ and under complete control of the Taliban.

‘They (Taliban) train suicide bombers in government buildings in the area. Militants are heavily armed and the administration did not allow the Levies or Khasadar personnel to go near the place for security reasons,’ they added.

However, top military officials and the political administration were working to recover the wreckage and launch an inquiry into the incident.

Local people told officials collecting evidence that the MI-17 helicopter had caught fire before crashing into the ground along the border between Orakzai Agency and Khyber Agency.

Meanwhile, Khasadars belonging to 11 of 12 tribes of upper Orakzai have ignored a warning given to them by Tehrik-i-Taliban to resign from jobs and continued to attend their duty at various places.

However, khasadars of Mamozai tribe have packed up their belongings and left offices and barracks in the region.–bi-06

Lashkar comes under attack in Mohmand; nine dead
By Fauzee Khan Mohmand
Sunday, 05 Jul, 2009 | 02:09 AM PST |

GHALANAI: Nine members of a tribal volunteer force (lashkar) and three militants were killed during a clash in Mohmand Agency on Saturday.

According to officials, a group of armed militants attacked members of the Qaumi Lashkar in Pamp Pokha area of Ambar tehsil late on Friday night when they were returning to their base.

Lashkar sources said that militants had captured three tribesmen and taken them away. They said militants might have fled to Bajaur. Five militants were injured in the fighting.

‘We have asked the Mohmand administration to take up the matter with the Bajaur administration to block the infiltration of miscreants into the region,’ they said.
‘Militants from Bajaur often cross into Mohmand for attacks.’

Lashkar volunteers demolished dozens of houses of militants and captured several suspects in Shati Maina, Adam Kor and Omarkhel areas of Ambar tehsil on Saturday.

They also claimed to have controlled a number of strategic villages and destroyed several militant hideouts.

Sources said that the Qaumi Lashkar, led by Chandi Khan and Sadat Khan, had over 1,500 volunteers and their number was rising.

Soon after the Taliban attack, a jirga of 200 elders and volunteers held a meeting with Mohmand political agent Amjad Ali Khan.

They urged the government to set up security checkposts in Shati Kandao, Danish Kool Khward and Sar Lara Sar areas.

The political agent announced a compensation of Rs100,000 for families of each of the lashkar fighters killed in the clash with militants.

He claimed that security forces had arrested Taliban commander Fazal Hadi outside the Nadra office in Ghalanai and 36 suspects in Khwaizai and Bazai areas. He said that Alingar area had been cleared of militants.

Mr Amjad said that about 2,000 militants were still in Mohmand. About 600 of them have surrendered to the political administration and 300 have been killed during operations in different areas of the region.

A large number of militants had fled the area because of the action by security forces, he added. He said that most of the militant hideouts had been destroyed.

Syed Zahid Jan in Upper Dir adds: Clashes between a tribal lashkar and militants erupted again on Saturday in Doog Darra area of Upper Dir after a two-day break.

According sources, about 40 to 50 militants attacked the lashkar’s positions in Tutam Khwar area in the village of Badarkanai.

Lashkar fighters repulsed the attack and killed one foreign militant and injured another.–il–06

Fresh clashes break silence in Upper Dir
By Syed Zahid Jan
Saturday, 04 Jul, 2009 | 08:38 PM PST |

UPPER DIR: Fighting between the lashkar and militants resumed on Saturday after a two day break in the Doog Darra area of Upper Dir distirict in which one foreign militant was reported killed and another injured while a fighter of the lashkar went missing.
According to lashkar sources, around 40 to 50 militants attacked a position held by armed villagers on Saturday night, at Tutam Khwar in Badarkanai village Doog Darra.

The attack was repulsed by a two-dozen fighters of the lashkar and resulted in the death of an Afghani militant and injured another.

‘The militants attack was severe and we had to send reinforcement to the area to repulse it,’ a lashkar member said, requesting anonymity.

Lashkar sources said that the exchange of fire continued for hours. They conceded that one of their fighters, identified as Iqbal Hussain of Miana Doog had gone missing.

A member of the lashkar, however, claimed that he was not captured by the militants.

‘He is hiding in a house and had contacted us. We hope he will be able to reach back by tomorrow (Sunday),’ he said by phone.

The sources also claimed that the lashkar advancing towards the militants from the neighbouring areas of Sogya and Baganro Manzai.–bi-05

Militant hideouts shelled in Lakki
By Our Correspondent
Sunday, 05 Jul, 2009 | 01:47 AM PST |

LAKKI MARWAT: The army and police on Saturday conducted a joint house-to-house search operation in Shah Hasankhel, a village believed to be stronghold of militants.

Sources said that the security forces surrounded the village and pounded hideouts of militants in the mountainous area with mortar shells.

There were no immediate report of any casualty but one suspect identified as Imran was reportedly arrested in the day-long operation. The forces moved towards the village in the early morning.

‘Several hideouts used by the militants were destroyed as a result of artillery shelling,’ a source said, adding that security forces also demolished at least four houses and a ‘so called’ seminary of the militants in the village with the help of excavators.

‘Militants used the seminary as a shelter and chalked out plans for carrying out subversive acts in the district. Security forces are targeting the hideouts of militants with mortar shells,’ said a villager from Zangikhel.

Residents said that police closed shops and markets on both sides of the Lakki-Mianwali road.

The link road leading to Shah Hasankhel and other villages were completely sealed and residents were directed to stay indoors.

Eyewitnesses said that bazaars and business places in the Meenakhel and Mela Mandi localities of Lakki city, however, remained open but the shoppers were in less number. The Bannu-Mianwali road and the Indus Highway also remained open for traffic.

‘We heard sounds of artillery firing,’ a villager said, adding that people had been restricted to their homes due to the search operation in the area. ‘Fear gripped the surrounded villages as the forces launched operation in Shah Hasankhel.’

Residents of the surrounding villages could not go to Lakki city for works on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the district police officer has said that law enforcement personnel had been deployed on the road leading to the area.

He said police and army had jointly launched the operation to clear the area from militants. ‘It is a routine action against militants,’ he told a TV channel. ‘However, no hardcore terrorist was present in the area.’


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