Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Press TV
November 30, 2011

The United States has used tactical nuclear weapons in its military campaign against Iraq and Afghanistan, a Middle East expert tells Press TV.

“Tactical nuclear weapons were used, at least one in Iraq and several were used in Afghanistan –in the Tora Bora mountains,” Peter Eyre, a Middle East consultant, said.

Eyre pointed out that the atomic bomb dropped on Afghanistan’s Tora Bora region was so powerful that it actually created an earthquake there.

The analyst went on to say that the use of such lethal weapons by US military, which is a gross violation of the Geneva Convention, has been sanctioned by the US presidents; thus they should be prosecuted for war crimes.

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TOM NEWTON DUNN
The Sun
May 31, 2011

DAVID Cameron yesterday announced the start of Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The PM revealed the first 450 troops will be brought home this year.

But the move is bitterly opposed by military chiefs, who claim it risks throwing away the gains made by British forces. Colonel Stuart Tootal, ex-commander of 3 Para, said: “We should only get out when the job is done properly.

“We are on the right track, but if we take our foot off the gas now, we risk all the success and investment we have achieved so far.”

Mr Cameron’s order fulfils a long-standing promise to President Barack Obama to bring the war to an end in step with the US. And the announcement comes just days before the President’s visit to Britain next week.

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The Telegraph
April 12, 2011

A drone missile strike killed a US Marine and a Navy medic last week by mistake, in what appeared to be the first instance US troops had been killed in a “friendly fire” incident involving an unmanned aircraft.

The military has launched an investigation into the incident, which appeared to stem from confusion on the battlefield in the southern province of Helmand, Afghanistan, US officials said.

Fighter jets and combat helicopters are usually called in to provide close air support for coalition troops pinned down by insurgent fire, while drones tend to be used for manhunts targeting Taliban figures.

The strike claimed the lives of Navy Seaman Benjamin Rast, 23, of Niles, Michigan, and Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith, 26, of Arlington, Texas, officials said.

NBC News, which first reported the incident, said that the two service members were part of a unit ordered in to reinforce Marines coming under heavy fire from insurgents outside Sangin, the scene of fierce fighting for years.

The Marines near Sangin, watching a video feed from the armed Predator drone overhead, saw infrared images moving towards them and may have concluded those “hot spots” were insurgents instead of fellow Marines, NBC reported.

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The Telegraph
April 4, 2011

Two American soldiers have been shot dead by a rogue Afghan police officer, even as thousands of demonstrators turned out for a fourth day of protests against the burning of a Koran by a fundamentalist cleric in Florida.

Abdul Sattar Bariz, the deputy governor of the northern province of Faryab, said the two soldiers were killed at border check post where they were instructing newly recruited Afghan police personnel.

There were, however, conflicting accounts of who the perpetrator might have been.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said it was investigating the shooting, which it said was carried out by “an individual in an Afghan Border Police uniform.”

But General Habib Sayedkhel, a senior border police official, said the shots that killed the soldiers were fired from a nearby house.

“After the shooting the soldier jumped down and ran away to save his life,” he said. “There was no evidence that he killed the Americans.”

Fears have been mounting that rapid recruitment into the Afghan security forces, which are due to be boosted to at least 305,000 before western troops withdraw from Afghanistan, has allowed the Taliban to infiltrate sympathisers into the police and army.

Afghan authorities began tighter vetting of recruits after a renegade soldier killed five British troops in 2009, but at least a dozen instructors have been killed in similar incidents over the past year.

The shootings came as rioting, which has claimed over 20 lives and left 150 injured, continued across Afghanistan.

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Associated Press
March 9, 2011

KABUL — International forces in Afghanistan have seized a “significant” shipment of rockets from Iran which would have doubled insurgents’ strike range, an official said Wednesday.

The 48 122mm rockets, which have a range of 20 kilometres (13 miles), are being linked to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and were seized last month in Nimroz, a southwestern Afghan province bordering Iran.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan accuses Iran of providing equipment and support to Afghan militants waging an insurgency against US-led international troops.

But Iran rejects this, with a foreign ministry spokesman describing the allegations last week as “baseless and unacceptable.”

ISAF spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Colette Murphy told AFP: “These rockets have a further distance than anything that has previously been found… They can go about 20 kilometres, that’s what makes the find so significant.”

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ALISSA J. RUBIN and SANGAR RAHIMI
New York Times
March 5, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — Nine boys collecting firewood to heat their homes in the eastern Afghanistan mountains were killed by NATO helicopter gunners who mistook them for insurgents, according to a statement on Wednesday by NATO, which apologized for the mistake.

The boys, who were 9 to 15 years old, were attacked on Tuesday in what amounted to one of the war’s worst cases of mistaken killings by foreign-led forces. The victims included two sets of brothers. A 10th boy survived.

The NATO statement, which included an unusual personal apology by the commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, said the boys had been misidentified as the attackers of a NATO base earlier in the day. News of the attack enraged Afghans and led to an anti-American demonstration on Wednesday in the village of Nanglam, where the boys were from. The only survivor, Hemad, 11, said his mother had told him to go out with other boys to collect firewood because “the weather is very cold now.”

“We were almost done collecting the wood when suddenly we saw the helicopters come,” said Hemad, who, like many Afghans, has only one name. “There were two of them. The helicopters hovered over us, scanned us and we saw a green flash from the helicopters. Then they flew back high up, and in a second round they hovered over us and started shooting. They fired a rocket which landed on a tree. The tree branches fell over me and shrapnel hit my right hand and my side.”

The tree, Hemad said, saved his life by covering him so that he could not be seen by the helicopters, which, he said, “shot the boys one after another.”

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Karen DeYoung and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post
January 17, 2011

The Afghan government is ramping up efforts to tax U.S. contractors operating there – an effort that could raise millions for the cash-strapped government but could also provoke fresh confrontation with the United States, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

Taxation of U.S. government assistance is barred by U.S. law, as well as by a number of bilateral accords between Afghanistan and the United States. But the wording in the documents is vague, and the two governments disagree on what “tax-exempt” means.

Non-Afghan contractors who have recently received tax bills for work done under U.S. government programs say they have appealed to the Defense and State departments to clarify the matter with the Afghans. But they have been told simply to ignore the bills and “stand up for our rights,” said one official of an American company that has multiple U.S defense contracts in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government says no clarification is needed. It has started to send out what it says are overdue tax bills and has threatened some U.S. companies with arrests, loss of licenses and confiscation of aid goods.

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