Sunday, November 23, 2008

Extra US troops due near Afghan border with Pakistan

A brigade of 3,500-4,000 extra US troops due in Afghanistan in January will be deployed in the east amid efforts to stop infiltration of militants from Pakistan, the US military said Sunday. The brigade has been approved as part of requested US troop reinforcements for Afghanistan's fight against extremists that could amount to about 20,000 personnel, US military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian told reporters in Kabul. "The first brigade that is coming will go into the (NATO-led) RC-East (Regional Command East) and they are going to move into areas that are currently not covered," Julian said. The area includes about a dozen provinces, many of which are on the border with Pakistan where Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other militants are said to have training camps and safe havens.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Afghan mine blast kills French soldier

A French soldier was killed and another seriously wounded Saturday in Afghanistan when a mine exploded some 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Kabul, an armed forces spokesman said in Paris. "The explosion happened mid-morning, near the Darulaman camp south of Kabul during a reconnaissance on foot," naval captain Christophe Prazuck told a foreign news agency. Prazuck said the two soldiers were demining specialists making their way towards a firing range. The wounded man was evacuated by helicopter to a nearby military hospital. "He was operated on and his life is not in danger," he added.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Pak-US deal over tribal area air raids

ISLAMABAD, : US Ambassador in Islamabad N.W. Patterson has denied any deal between Islamabad and Washington about air strikes in the tribal areas.

The US envoy refuted a report published in an American newspaper.

The envoy refused to reply a question about the causes of US air strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Karzai links Mulla Omar’s security with peace talks

KABUL, : Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday he would guarantee security for Taliban leader Mullah Omar if he ever wanted to negotiate and said Western allies should remove him or leave if they disagreed with that.

With the Taliban insurgency spreading seven years after the hardliner Islamists were forced from power, the possibility of talks with more moderate Taliban leaders is increasingly being considered, both in Afghanistan and among its allies.

The Afghan government said it is willing to talk to anyone who recognizes the constitution.

A tentative first step towards talks was taken in September when a group of pro-government Afghan officials and former Taliban officials met in Saudi Arabia for discussions on how to end the conflict.

But the Taliban rejected any suggestion of talks as long as foreign troops remain.

Karzai told a news conference he would guarantee the safety of notorious Taliban leader Mullah Omar, if he ever wanted to talk peace.

“If I hear from him that he is willing to come to Afghanistan or to negotiate for peace … I, as the president of Afghanistan, will go to any length providing protection,” Karzai said.

“If I say I want protection for Mullah Omar, the international community has two choices: remove me or leave if they disagree,” he said.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taliban vows to win the war of Afghanistan

KABUL, : The Taliban’s senior spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has called on all foreign forces in Afghanistan to leave the country or be ready for defeat.

In a rare radio interview with the BBC by telephone from a secret location in the region, , Mujahid derided US President-elect Barack Obama for his call of a troops surge.

Fielding questions from BBC World Service listeners, he said Mr. Obama’s plans to deploy more troops would not defeat the valiant Afghans and Taliban would succeed in forcing the occupation forces to leave the country.

Mujahid answered listeners for almost an hour, and took follow-up questions from the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner.

He said the Taliban now controlled more than half of Afghanistan, and were running those areas in a more tolerant fashion than in previous years.

Mujahid told the BBC that the Taliban had stopped beheadings and were educating girls in areas under their control. He denied they were behind this week’s acid attack on schoolgirls in Kandahar.

The spokesman denied his movement financed itself from the drugs trade, a statement our correspondent says is unlikely to be taken seriously in Western capitals.

He criticized the US for attacking Afghanistan in 2001, and said there was no proof that Osama Bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Al-Qaeda, he said, had been brought to Afghanistan by the Americans, not by the Taliban.

He said he had no idea where Osama Bin Laden was but did confirm that the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar - who has not been seen since 2001 - was hiding “in a secure place”.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Convoy attack kills US soldier

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. military convoy passing through a crowded livestock market in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least eight civilians and an American soldier and wounding 74 people, Afghan officials said.

The American patrol was hit in the Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province, said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a U.S. military spokesman. The convoy was about 90 miles east of Kabul on the main road linking the capital to the Pakistan border at Torkham.

Hours after the attack, the charred and twisted remains of cars still smoldered on the tree-lined street.

No one took responsibility, but the attack bore the hallmarks of those conducted by Taliban militants, who regularly use suicide attackers and car bombs.

Stop suicide attacks in afghanistan is difficult

Ahmadi also offered a seemingly contradictory defence of an increased spate of suicide attacks across Afghanistan, saying the group never intended to target civilians.

"Our target is not to kill the civilian people. We are fighting for the freedom of Afghanistan, and until we … get the freedom of Afghanistan, we will fight," Ahmadi said.

"Taliban are brave and we are just looking where to attack on NATO forces or American forces or Canadians or the Afghan people who are working for the internationals," he said.

His comments came on the day eight civilians and a coalition soldier were killed following a suicide car attack on a U.S. military convoy in eastern Afghanistan. Three civilians, including one child, were killed in another suicide attack in Kandahar on Wednesday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack. No group has yet said its responsible for the Thursday attack.

Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan, Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, has said the Taliban have shifted away from directly engaging NATO and Afghan troops in favour of higher-profile suicide and improvised explosive device attacks.

Meanwhile, Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan, Ron Hoffman, said in a Wednesday interview with CBC-TV's Politics that the increasing attacks were desperate acts of rebellion against progress.

Custom Search