Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mini Battlefield Digest: Afghanistan, Week 1

n.b. This update covers a period since the last one, much longer than a week.


An Afghan family walks on a snow-covered street in Kabul January 7, 2008. Dozens of people have been killed by heavy snow and freezing weather in recent days in Afghanistan, an official said on Saturday.)

REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Battlefield News, Afghanistan

Political Developments and Major Campaign Resource Shifts

  • NYTimes: Deeply concerned about the prospect of failure in Afghanistan, the Bush administration and NATO have begun three top-to-bottom reviews of the entire mission, from security and counterterrorism to political consolidation and economic development... -Sunday, December 16, 2007
  • Roggio: The CENTCOM commander arrived in Kabul to discuss the Afghan strategy. President Karzai will visit Pakistan in late December. -Wednesday, December 19, 2007
  • AP: The U.S. military's top officer acknowledged on Tuesday that for all the importance of preventing Afghanistan from again harboring al-Qaida terrorists, Washington's first priority is Iraq. -Tuesday, December 11, 2007
  • Roggio: US Secretary of Defense Gates said there would be no troop surge for Afghanistan.-Saturday, December 22, 2007
  • NYTimes: As the Bush administration struggles for a way to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a similar effort to scale down a larger and more secretive American detention center in Afghanistan has been beset by political... -Monday, January 7, 2008
  • AP: Estonian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a one-year extension of the Baltic country's military deployment in Afghanistan. The 101-seat Riigikogu, or parliament, supported the government's proposal to keep a maximum 150 troops in Afghanistan through 2008. -Tuesday, December 4, 2007
  • AP: The U.S. general in charge of NATO's Afghanistan mission said Wednesday he expects another year of "explosive growth" in the country's poppy fields. -Thursday, January 3, 2008
  • AP: Several hundred Pakistani families have fled to neighboring Afghanistan in recent days to escape the turmoil in their country, officials said Wednesday. -Wednesday, January 2, 2008
  • AFP: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said yesterday the US-led "war on terror" should be directed at Islamist sanctuaries outside his country which he said was not a "hideout for terrorism" but a victim. -Thursday, December 20, 2007
  • reliefweb: The G8 countries are contributing to an improvement in Afghan-Pakistan relations with a joint action plan consisting of 70 different projects. Closer cooperation between these two neighbouring countries is a key factor in enhancing stability... -Friday, December 28, 2007
  • csmonitor: A senior United Nations official and the acting head of the European Union's mission in Afghanistan were expelled from the country Thursday after the government accused them of holding talks with the Taliban and giving the group cash... -Thursday, December 27, 2007
  • AJC: The United States supports reconciliation talks with Taliban fighters who have no ties to al-Qaida and accept Afghanistan's constitution, U.S. Ambassador William Wood said Thursday. He said the United States is in favor... -Friday, December 28, 2007
  • AFP: British intelligence agents held secret talks with Taliban leaders on several occasions this year, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Wednesday. Officers from MI6 met senior insurgents in the middle of the year... -Wednesday, December 26, 2007
  • AFP: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview that his war-torn country will need foreign troops for at least another decade. "I believe it will take another 10 years, at least 10 years," he told Bild newspaper when asked... -Friday, December 21, 2007
  • AFP: The Netherlands has announced that Dutch troops will leave Afghanistan from July 2010: a decision that may have implications for Australia's commitment there -Wednesday, December 19, 2007
  • AFP : Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar vowed Tuesday to keep fighting throughout the winter and attack Afghan and international troops who drove his forces from a southern town last week. -Tuesday, December 18, 2007
  • WaPo: U.S. officials fear that a renewed campaign by Islamic militants aimed at the Pakistani government, and based along the border with Afghanistan, would complicate U.S. policy in the region by effectively merging the six-year-old war... -Saturday, December 29, 2007
  • KUNA: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who arrived here on a surprise visit Saturday morning, held talks with Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai and assured his country would increase presence in Afghanistan, the presidential palace said. -Saturday, December 22, 2007
  • AP: Shifting tactics, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday that the Bush administration has decided to tone down its appeals to NATO allies for more troops and other aid in the fight against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. -Saturday, December 15, 2007
  • CP: The Foreign Affairs Department has developed plans to keep a Canadian provincial reconstruction base in Kandahar until at least 2015, federal officials say. -Thursday, December 13, 2007
COIN: Actions, Reactions, Counteractions, etc.
  • Roggio: Additional mine resistant armored vehicles, known as MRAPs, are bound for Afghanistan. -Saturday, December 22, 2007
  • BBC: With Afghanistan's fledgling national police deeply unpopular and insufficient in number to impose control in many areas of the country, Western diplomats and commanders have been exploring what they term "Afghan solutions"... -Friday, December 28, 2007
  • AKI/DAWN: Warplanes bombed the suspected locations of militants in the lawless South Waziristan tribal area on Thursday after an intelligence report said that the militant Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud was hiding somewhere in the area. -Friday, January 4, 2008
  • CanWest: Weapons are being smuggled to Taliban insurgents from Afghanistan's neighbours, but there is no clear evidence that the Iranian government is complicit, a high-ranking ISAF commander said Sunday. -Sunday, December 30, 2007
  • CanWest: Taliban insurgents are depending more on foreign fighters because of increased difficulties recruiting locals, Canadian Brig.-Gen. Marquis Hainse said Sunday. -Sunday, December 30, 2007
  • AFP: A key Taliban commander reportedly kicked out of the militia believes the dismissal order is a conspiracy against him and has not been signed off by Taliban leader Mullah Omar, his spokesman said Sunday. -Sunday, December 30, 2007
  • AFP: More than 200 militants were killed in last month's major operation to retake the southern Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala, the Afghan defence ministry said Thursday. Seventeen Taliban commanders were among the dead following the military operation... -Thursday, January 3, 2008
  • CanWest: The death rate among Canadian soldiers fighting around Kandahar has outstripped not only that of U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan, but Americans in the bloody Iraq war as well, the forces' figures indicate. -Thursday, January 3, 2008
  • UPI: A multi-day operation by Afghan and coalition forces has resulted in the removal of a militant command hub in Yakhdan, Afghanistan. -Wednesday, January 2, 2008
  • AP: U.S. military deaths, suicide bombings and opium production hit record highs in 2007...But U.S. officials here insist things are looking up: The Afghan army is assuming a larger combat role, and militants appear unlikely to mount a major... -Tuesday, January 1, 2008
  • AP: Taliban militants killed more than 925 Afghan police, and large swaths of the country remain outside government control. -Tuesday, January 1, 2008
  • GlobeandMail: Roughly a quarter of the prisoners interviewed in Afghan jails as part of Canada's follow-up inspections of transferred detainees said they were tortured or abused, according to documents filed in Federal Court and the statements of senior... -Thursday, December 20, 2007
  • IRIN: Children are being recruited and in some cases sexually abused by the Afghan police and/or various militias that support the police, as well as by private security companies and the Taliban, according to human rights and provincial officials. -Wednesday, December 19, 2007
  • NPR: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen testified before the House Armed Services on military strategy in Afghanistan. Both officials believe there is cautious reason for optimism in Afghanistan. -Wednesday, December 12, 2007
  • AP: U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan have peaked this year at about 26,000, as officials tried to push NATO countries to take on more security responsibility, while keeping enough U.S. forces there to counter the stubborn insurgency -Thursday, December 13, 2007
  • canwest: Canadian Force engineers are planning to build a new forward operating base in Arghandab, a strategically-vital district north of Kandahar City and the site of fierce fighting between coalition forces and the Taliban this fall. -Sunday, December 16, 2007
VIOLENCE: Tactical Developments
  • AP: Taliban militants fired rocket-propelled grenades from their vehicles at a convoy of private security guards on Afghanistan's main highway, killing six guards and two police officers, a police chief said Sunday. -Sunday, December 30, 2007
  • AP: Eight Afghans who ate an infected camel as part of a religious celebration died of what health experts suspect is a rare case of naturally occurring anthrax, officials said Saturday. -Sunday, December 30, 2007
  • AFP: Sixteen policemen were killed when their post in the southern province of Kandahar -- a hotbed of Taliban activities -- was attacked by Islamic rebels on Saturday, the interior ministry said. -Monday, December 31, 2007
  • AFP: Similar bomb attacks killed five Afghan soldiers -- one of them in eastern Paktia on Monday and four others in southern Uruzgan a day earlier, the defence ministry said in a statement. -Monday, December 31, 2007
  • paktribune: A paratrooper who was shot in Afghanistan has become the first tetraplegic to return to duty. Sgt David "Paddy" Caldwell was directing mortar fire from a rooftop in Sangin in August last year when a Taliban bullet passed through his neck. -Sunday, December 30, 2007
  • paktribune: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by the killing of Abdul Munir, the producer and presenter of Afghanistan Radio Television in Jawzjan...while he was travelling from Jawzjan to Mazar-e-Sharif -Saturday, January 5, 2008
  • CP: A rocket landed in a crowd near Kabul's police headquarters Saturday, and a truck full of rockets exploded nearby moments later, killing at least five people. Officials say at least five others were wounded. -Saturday, December 22, 2007
  • LATimes: Striking on one of the year's most important Muslim holidays, a suicide bomber killed at least 50 people and injured dozens more this morning near the home of a former government minister in volatile northwest Pakistan, police said. -Friday, December 21, 2007
  • CP: A surprise raid on some 70 sleeping insurgents early yesterday in the volatile Zhari-Panjwaii district has been described as a short-term success, but a Canadian commander said boosting Afghan government forces is the key to long-term security. -Tuesday, December 18, 2007
  • AFP: A SECOND NATO soldier was killed overnight as Afghan and international troops advanced on the southern town of Musa Qala, which the Taliban has controlled for the past 10 months, defence forces said. -Sunday, December 9, 2007
  • AP: A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a minibus full of Afghan soldiers south of Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 20, officials and witnesses said. -Wednesday, December 5, 2007
US Military Justice/Violence/Casualty
  • AP: A former Marine testified Tuesday that he thinks Afghans were killed needlessly by his special operations unit after its convoy was attacked by a car bomb. -Tuesday, January 8, 2008
  • BBC: The US Marine Corps has opened a special tribunal into the deaths of Afghan civilians last March. As many as 19 Afghan civilians were allegedly killed when marines opened fire in Nangarhar province after their convoy was attacked by a car bomb. -Monday, January 7, 2008
Economic Developments, Reconstruction, and General Good News

[this space purposely left blank because of lack of de-classified, systematic data]

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