Unrest in Afghanistan - Updates and Discussions [Breaking: Kabul has fallen - Taliban rule Afghanistan]

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/world/asia/afghanistan-suicide-bomber-volleyball-match.html?_r=0

Blast at Game Kills Dozens in Afghanistan

NOV. 23, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan — As many as 40 people were killed Sunday after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a crowd gathered for a volleyball match in a village in eastern Afghanistan, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.Up to 60 people were wounded in the blast, which occurred in the Yahya Khel district of Paktika Province, said the spokesman, Mokhlis Afghan.
The province’s deputy governor, Attaullah Fazli, put the number of dead at 50.
Although most of the victims were civilians, the dead included eight members of the Afghan Local Police, a village-based paramilitary outfit that supports the Afghan government, said Bahawul Khan Katawazai, a member of the Paktika provincial council.

The attack occurred after 5 p.m. in a small village where a local volleyball team was competing against players from a neighboring district, Yosuf Khel. Volleyball is among the most popular forms of entertainment in rural Afghanistan. Villages and district teams often compete against each other in a local circuit, attracting sizable crowds of young men.
The Taliban banned sports like boxing and soccer when the group governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. In the years since, even as suicide attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups have become more frequent, the bombers have not typically targeted sporting events.
There have been exceptions. A few suicide attacks have targeted games of buzkashi, a competition in which men on horseback struggle over a dead goat. One of the deadliest suicide bombings in the country occurred at a dogfighting match near the southern city of Kandahar in 2008. At least 80 people were killed.
Few details were available Sunday because of the remoteness of the location, and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
There have been at least five suicide attacks this year in Paktika Province.
 

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
Help is on the way…Again…

Obama signs order expanding U.S. Afghanistan role: NYT | Reuters

Obama signs order expanding U.S. Afghanistan role: NYT


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Sat, Nov 22 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing a broader military mission in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
The decision ensures a direct role for American troops in fighting in Afghanistan for at least another year, it said, adding Obama’s decision was made during a White House meeting with national security advisers in recent weeks.
In May, Obama said the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year. Missions for the remaining 9,800 troops would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the "remnants of al Qaeda", he said.
Obama’s new order lets American forces execute missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening U.S. troops or the Afghan government.
The new authorization also allows U.S. air strikes to support Afghan forces on combat missions and U.S. troops occasionally to accompany Afghan troops on operations against the Taliban.
The Times did not mention if the change would affect the number of American troops deployed to Afghanistan.
The change emerged from debate over two imperatives: Obama's promise to end the war in Afghanistan, and the Pentagon demand to let American troops fulfill their remaining missions there, the Times reported.
Some civilian aides have argued against risking American lives next year in operations against the Taliban, saying there should only be a narrow mission against al Qaeda, it said.
But generals urged Obama to define the mission more broadly if intelligence showed extremists threatening American forces.
Two issues shifted the debate, the Times said.
Obama's Afghanistan strategy faces stiffer criticism after the advance of Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, it said, while Afghanistan's new president has been more accepting of a broader American military mission than his predecessor.
Asked about the report, a senior administration official said the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan would be over by year-end, as Obama had announced in May.
"Safety of our personnel is the president’s first priority and our armed forces will continue to engage in operations in self-defense and in support of Afghan security forces," the official said.
"While we will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban, to the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to al Qaeda, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe."
 

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
2 American troops among 50 killed in Afghan attacks - CBS News

CBS/APNovember 24, 2014, 12:24 PM
2 American troops among 50 killed in Afghan attacks

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Bodies of victims killed from Sunday's suicide attack are laid on the ground in the Yahyakhail district of Paktika province east of Kabul, Afghanistan,

Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.


KABUL, Afghanistan - Bombings across Afghanistan killed two American troops and six civilians Monday, authorities said, as the death toll in the country's deadliest insurgent attack this year rose to at least 50.
The attacks, including Sunday's mass killing by a suicide bomber at a volleyball tournament, come amid a renewed Taliban offensive as foreign troops begin to withdraw from the country.
In a statement, NATO said the troops had been killed by an "enemy attack in eastern Afghanistan." CBS News correspondent David Martin reports sources say they were both Americans.
A spokesman for Kabul's police chief, Hashmat Stanekzai, said the troops were killed when a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded near a foreign military convoy in the eastern part of the capital Monday morning. He said the blast wounded one Afghan civilian.
A total of 63 NATO troops have been killed this year, at least 46 of them Americans.
Another bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded later Monday in a crowded market in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province, killing six people and wounding at least five, police spokesman Sarwar Hussaini said.
No group claimed responsibility for either attack Monday. Insurgents have stepped up their assaults against Afghan security forces in a bid to undermine the Western-backed Kabul government of President Ashraf Ghani.
The insurgents' deadliest attack this year, the volleyball tournament bombing Sunday in Paktika province bordering Pakistan, killed at least 50 people, said Mokhlis Afghan, a spokesman for the provincial governor. He said authorities were still trying to determine an accurate death toll Monday.
The suicide bomber detonated explosives as he mingled with the large crowd there, causing the many casualties. Interior Ministry spokesman Seddiq Sediqqi said the dead included 10 members of a local police force, including a police commander.
Abdullah Abdullah, the country's chief executive, visited a hospital in Paktika province Monday to see the wounded. He said locals believed the Taliban carried out the attack as they opposed the insurgents.
"They were saying that the local police should be strengthened," Abdullah said. "I promised them I'd make it a priority."
 

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member

Afghanistan might’ve turned out to be the straw that broke the Camel’s back.
Obama succumbed to the military industrial sharks but his own complex is disintegrating and he’ll be left alone hung to dry.




http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/u...n-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Hagel Submits Resignation as Defense Chief Under Pressure

By
HELENE COOPERNOV. 24, 2014

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and President Obama at a White House news conference announcing Mr. Hagel's resignation on Monday. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation on Monday, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.
In announcing Mr. Hagel’s resignation from the State Dining Room on Monday, the president, flanked by Mr. Hagel and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., called Mr. Hagel critical to ushering the military “through a significant period of transition” and lauded “a young Army sergeant from Vietnam who rose to serve as America’s 24th secretary of defense.”
Mr. Obama called Mr. Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense,” adding that he had “been in the dirt” of combat like no other defense chief. He said that Mr. Hagel would remain in the job until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks.


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Obama Praises Hagel at Resignation

President Obama called Chuck Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense” during a news conference at which Mr. Hagel’s announced his resignation.
Video by Associated Press on Publish Date November 24, 2014. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.
The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.
Mr. Hagel, a combat veteran who was skeptical about the Iraq war, came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestrations.
Now, however, the American military is back on a war footing, although it is a modified one. Some 3,000 American troops are being deployed in Iraq to help the Iraqi military fight the Sunni militants of the Islamic State, even as the administration struggles to come up with, and articulate, a coherent strategy to defeat the group in both Iraq and Syria.

“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that the defense secretary initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list were Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.
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Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel, whose resignation as defense secretary was announced Monday, said he would stay in the job and support the president until his successor was confirmed.
Video by Associated Press on Publish Date November 24, 2014. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.
Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne, was also considered to be a contender, but a spokesman said that the senator was not in the running. “Senator Reed loves his job and does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other cabinet post,” the spokesman said.

Mr. Hagel, a respected former senator who struck a friendship with Mr. Obama when they were both critics of the Iraq war from positions on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has nonetheless had trouble penetrating the tight team of former campaign aides and advisers who form Mr. Obama’s closely knit set of loyalists. Senior administration officials have characterized him as quiet during cabinet meetings; Mr. Hagel’s defenders said that he waited until he was alone with the president before sharing his views, the better to avoid leaks.


Whatever the case, Mr. Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama’s close circle and was viewed as never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.
He never really shed that pall after arriving at the Pentagon, and in the past few months he has largely ceded the stage to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who officials said initially won the confidence of Mr. Obama with his recommendation of military action against the Islamic State.

In Mr. Hagel’s less than two years on the job, his detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert M. Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers over the past few months have also acknowledged privately that the president did not want another high-profile defense secretary in the mold of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president. Mr. Hagel, they said, in many ways was exactly the kind of defense secretary whom the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.
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Mr. Hagel, for his part, spent his time on the job largely carrying out Mr. Obama’s stated wishes on matters like bringing back American troops from Afghanistan and trimming the Pentagon budget, with little pushback. He did manage to inspire loyalty among enlisted soldiers and often seemed at his most confident when talking to troops or sharing wartime experiences as a Vietnam veteran.
But Mr. Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner, and has sometimes left reporters struggling to describe what he has said in news conferences. In his side-by-side appearances with both General Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first former enlisted combat soldier to be defense secretary, has often been upstaged.
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
 

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
After Vowing to End Combat Mission in Afghanistan, Obama Secretly Extends America’s Longest War


Published on Nov 24, 2014
http://democracynow.org - President Obama has secretly extended the U.S. role in Afghanistan despite earlier promises to wind down America’s longest war. According to the New York Times, Obama has signed a classified order that ensures U.S. troops will have a direct role in fighting. In addition, the order reportedly enables American jets, bombers and drones to bolster Afghan troops on combat missions. And, under certain circumstances, it would apparently authorize U.S. air-strikes to support Afghan military operations throughout the country. The decision contradicts Obama’s earlier announcement that the U.S. military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year. Afghanistan’s new president Ashraf Ghani has also backed an expanded U.S. military role. Ghani, who took office in September, has also reportedly lifted limits on U.S. airstrikes and joint raids that his predecessor Hamid Karzai had put in place. We go to Kabul to speak with Dr. Hakim, a peace activist and physician who has provided humanitarian relief in Afghanistan for the last decade. We are also joined by Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who has just returned from Afghanistan.
 
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HannaTheCrusader

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
used and now left to their fate


Interpreters who worked with US forces in Afghanistan are being hunted down by the Taliban. Thousands have emigrated to the US but others have been blacklisted, refused a visa, and left in grave danger.
In spring this year, two men rang Nader's doorbell so hard they pushed it half way through the wall of his mud-brick house. He came to the door, they coaxed him outside and then dragged him to the village graveyard.
"When I realised they were taking me somewhere to be executed I started yelling and fighting," he says.
"My brother came out to find me, but by the time he'd come they'd shot me, I just lay down and they left."
If Nader had not struggled he would have been shot in the head. Instead, as the militants hurried to get away, they only managed to shoot him in the leg.
Nader's village, about an hour's drive north of Kabul, is hostile territory for the Taliban. It was home to some of the bloodiest fighting during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, and the local mujahideen force that protected the area then has remained firmly in control ever since.
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Nader: 'My home has become a combat place'

And yet, the Taliban found Nader even there. So he, like many other former interpreters remaining in Afghanistan, now lives in Kabul.
"We are looking for a chance to save our lives from this and not be more at risk," he says. "The only place I was feeling myself was my own home. Now that place has become a combat place for me."
Thirteen thousand Afghans who worked with the International Security Assistance Force have fled to the US under a special visa programme created especially for them, state department officials say. About 70% of the total are said to be interpreters. But this route to safety has been closed to hundreds of people who, like Nader, were sacked from their jobs and then blacklisted as a security risk.
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Many of the interpreters say they have received death-threat letters from the Taliban

Nader was sacked because he refused to carry out an order to shout at Afghan women.
Others made the mistake of taking a mobile phone on patrol, prohibited because it could have enabled them to alert the Taliban to the soldiers' presence. One accidentally left a pair of US serviceman's trousers in his bag as he went out of the base - a dangerous mistake, because if the trousers fell into the wrong hands they could be used by a militant to disguise himself.
Many of the interpreters in fact did nothing wrong, they just failed a polygraph test.
Interpreters took the tests regularly, and were asked questions designed to weed out Taliban sympathisers. But the interpreters say the system was unreliable. One of them, Sayid, says he failed the test simply because he was nervous. After seven years of service with the US and Canadian forces he was refused entry into his base one day when he returned from leave.
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The photograph shows Sayid, holding a US rifle, alongside a US soldier

It could be argued that some of the men deserved to be sacked - but being on the blacklist is tantamount to a death sentence, they say.
Sayid says that even in Kabul he is not safe.
"If I get caught anywhere in Kabul right now, they kidnap me, they torture me, they, head off - you know - cut my head off."
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Sayid: 'We have been left behind to be executed'

He says he and the other "left-behind interpreters", as they call themselves, were counting on the US to help them, after they worked alongside US soldiers and took the same risks.
"I've been in a lot of missions," he says. "I suffered the hard parts. I continued my work despite threats."
The system in which the interpreters are given a black mark was originally made to track Taliban militants, opium growers and criminals, by recording iris scans and fingerprints. It has since become a database containing the biometric data of anyone who has had contact with coalition forces - and their chances of employment depend on their status within the database.
Being on the blacklist means the interpreters cannot get a job with any foreign military forces, any foreign company, or any branch of the Afghan government, including the army or police.
They will not be allowed on planes, and even claim to have been refused entry into airports.
In effect, most of them are now virtually unemployable, despite in many cases being the only breadwinner in the family.
The state department says the US is "committed to supporting those who - at great personal risk - have helped us". But an official told the BBC that while 9,000 "special immigrant visas" have been issued to Afghans this year, and the programme will be extended to 2015, those interpreters "dismissed for [a] cause will have a really hard time in getting a... visa".
More than 30 "left-behind" interpreters gathered recently in a Kabul park to discuss their future.
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Thomas Martienssen joins a group of "left-behind" interpreters

One, called Khalid, worked with US Special Forces in Helmand province.
"It was harsh, we were in a firefight all day," he says. "I've been shot once, I was taken to a British hospital in Bastion, I've been blown up twice… Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and shout. I have been through a lot."
When the Helmand base closed, he took a job with US civilians in Kabul. But when that job came to an end as well he applied to retake the test for interpreters who work with special forces. He was shocked to learn he had been blacklisted.
"I was like, 'What?!' They said: 'You argued with a woman who was a US civilian.'
"I know that woman, I had an argument with her, and she blacklisted me."
Khalid's mother is dead, his father is old and he has four young siblings to feed, but he cannot leave the house without disguise.
"We're in great danger, even coming here today I covered my face," he says.
The Taliban have shown they can already operate in Kabul. As more and more foreign forces leave Afghanistan, the situation of the interpreters will become increasingly desperate.
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J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
Suicide bomber in Kabul targets British; 6 dead - The Washington Post

Suicide bomber in Kabul targets British; 6 dead

KABUL — A suicide bomber attacked a British Embassy ­vehicle in the eastern part of the Afghan capital Thursday morning, killing six, including a ­British citizen, and injuring more than 30, according to law enforcement officials.Ten hours later, a suicide bomber and two gunmen attacked a foreign guesthouse near the compound of the International Relief and Development Organization, a humanitarian agency based in Arlington. The bomber detonated his explosives near the guesthouse as the gunmen tried to enter the compound in the affluent enclave of Wazir Akbar Khan, home to several embassies and nongovernmental and media organizations.
But guards at the compound engaged in a firefight, driving away the gunmen, Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayub ­Salangi told reporters at the scene. One of the gunmen was killed, and a Nepalese guard at the compound was injured, he added. No other foreigners were wounded or killed, he said. After the attack, all the foreigners were quickly evacuated.

The two attacks were the latest in a spate of assaults targeting foreigners as most U.S. and international troops are preparing to withdraw by the end of the year. The Taliban asserted responsibility for both attacks, as it has for other bombings that have rocked the capital in recent weeks.
The attacks come during pivotal developments for Afghanistan’s future. This week, the ­nation’s parliament endorsed the signing of a bilateral security agreement, known as a BSA, that allows U.S. and international troops to remain after the end of the year. And next week, President Ashraf Ghani will travel to London for a donor conference at which he will seek billions of dollars in aid to develop the country, mired in an economic crisis.

“They want to show that, ­despite having signed BSA and being a partner with the U.S., security is not easy to come by,” said Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan ­Interior Ministry spokesman, referring to the Taliban. “They want to show their presence. They want to demonstrate they have the strength to do this. Unfortunately, this winter they will try more of these attacks, and especially Kabul will be more a focus.”
In the morning blast, which unfolded about 10 a.m., authorities said the attacker ­detonated a car filled with ­explosives near the British ­Embassy vehicle, transforming it into a mangled mass of steel. The explosion was heard miles away, and black smoke rose from the scene, which was about a mile from the bases where foreign contractors live.


“I heard a huge blast,” said Mohammad Omar, an Afghan guard working for a construction company with an office near the scene of the bombing. “I was dazed, but a few minutes later I saw three cars destroyed and many people wounded.”
Britain’s foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said in a statement that a British citizen belonging to the embassy’s civilian security team and an Afghan working for the embassy were killed. A second British member of the security team was injured.
“I condemn this appalling ­attack on innocent civilians ­supporting our diplomatic activity,” the statement said. “This outrage brings home to us once again the courage and perseverance of the people of Afghanistan and members of the international community who support them, who have lived together through decades of conflict.”
Gen. John F. Campbell, the American commander of the ­International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led mission to help stabilize Afghanistan, also condemned the bombing, saying in a statement that “those who commit such murderous acts have no place in the future of this country.”

In a tweet, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the “martyrdom attack targeted foreign invaders.”

The incident was the second time this week that foreigners have been attacked in a similar fashion in the same area. On Monday, two American soldiers, including one from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, were killed nearby when a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded as their convoy passed.
The Pentagon on Wednesday said they were Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell B. Turner, 48, of Nanticoke, Md., and Spec. Joseph W. Riley of Grove City, Ohio. Both soldiers were working with the ISAF.


Attacks in Kabul, and in other parts of the country, have intensified since Ghani took office two months ago. The Taliban has ­denounced Ghani for his close ties to Washington and has launched a campaign to strike high-profile targets. In recent weeks the insurgents have tried to assassinate Kabul’s police chief and a prominent women’s rights activist. They have also repeatedly assaulted compounds inhabited by foreign contractors.

 
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J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
Taliban raid on guesthouse in Afghanistan kills at least 2 - Middle East - Stripes

Taliban raid on guesthouse in Afghanistan kills at least 2







[TD="colspan: 2"] The Associated Press
Published: November 29, 2014


[/TD]

Taliban fighters on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, attacked a guesthouse in Kabul that serves as home to Europeans working for the Afghan government.


KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban attackers armed with suicide bomb vests and assault rifles killed two people, one a foreigner, during a raid on a guesthouse near the Afghan parliament Saturday, authorities said, the latest attack in the capital as NATO troops withdraw from the country.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi did not identify the dead, only saying they worked for a foreign aid group he declined to name. Security forces rescued six Afghans held hostage by the attackers during the assault, he said.
After storming the building in a residential suburb in west Kabul, one of the attackers detonated an explosives-packed suicide vest and security forces shot dead the other two, Sediqqi and Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.
The Taliban claimed the attack in a statement, saying they targeted "a secret missionary center."
One witness, Samir Noorzai, said Europeans who worked as consultants for the Afghan government lived there. Other said it was the home of Christian missionaries.
The Taliban have waged a series of large-scale attacks on Kabul in recent days, including an assault in the upscale Wazir Akbar Khan district home to embassies and international agencies, and the suicide bombing of a British embassy vehicle. There have been about a dozen attacks in the past two weeks alone.
Meanwhile Saturday, Taliban attacks killed at least 11 Afghan soldiers in southern Helmand province, including one on a base once held by NATO forces, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.
The Taliban has been launching assaults since Thursday on the base, once known as Camp Bastion until the British handed it over last month. Camp Bastion also once held Camp Leatherneck, a U.S. Marine base in the volatile southern province.

Zwak said the Bastion attack killed at least six Afghan soldiers and 20 Taliban fighters and wounded 10 Afghan soldiers. An assault there Friday killed five soldiers and wounded seven.
The other attack, a suicide bombing targeting a military base in the province's Sangin district, killed five soldiers and wounded eight, he said.
 

SeaAb

Legendary Member
Staff member
Super Penguin
Shu ya LVV, hal crusaders harabo. Taliban is taking over the country. Tsk tsk tsk
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
How unusual🤨

US left Afghan airfield at night, didn’t tell new commander

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BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans’ departure more than two hours after they left, Afghan military officials said.

Afghanistan’s army showed off the sprawling air base Monday, providing a rare first glimpse of what had been the epicenter of America’s war to unseat the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on America.

The U.S. announced Friday it had completely vacated its biggest airfield in the country in advance of a final withdrawal the Pentagon says will be completed by the end of August.

“We (heard) some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram ... and finally by seven o’clock in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram,” Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, Bagram’s new commander said.


U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett did not address the specific complaints of many Afghan soldiers who inherited the abandoned airfield, instead referring to a statement last week.

The statement said the handover of the many bases had been in the process soon after President Joe Biden’s mid-April announcement that America was withdrawing the last of its forces. Leggett said in the statement that they had coordinated their departures with Afghanistan’s leaders.

Before the Afghan army could take control of the airfield about an hour’s drive from the Afghan capital Kabul, it was invaded by a small army of looters, who ransacked barrack after barrack and rummaged through giant storage tents before being evicted, according to Afghan military officials.

“At first we thought maybe they were Taliban,” said Abdul Raouf, a soldier of 10 years. He said the the U.S. called from the Kabul airport and said “we are here at the airport in Kabul.”

Kohistani insisted the Afghan National Security and Defense Force could hold on to the heavily fortified base despite a string of Taliban wins on the battlefield. The airfield also includes a prison with about 5,000 prisoners, many of them allegedly Taliban.

The Taliban’s latest surge comes as the last U.S. and NATO forces pull out of the country. As of last week, most NATO soldiers had already quietly left. The last U.S. soldiers are likely to remain until an agreement to protect the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, which is expected to be done by Turkey, is completed.

Meanwhile, in northern Afghanistan, district after district has fallen to the Taliban. In just the last two days hundreds of Afghan soldiers fled across the border into Tajikistan rather than fight the insurgents.


“In battle it is sometimes one step forward and some steps back,” said Kohistani.

Kohistani said the Afghan military is changing its strategy to focus on the strategic districts. He insisted they would retake them in the coming days without saying how that would be accomplished.

On display on Monday was a massive facility, the size of a small city, that had been exclusively used by the U.S. and NATO. The sheer size is extraordinary, with roadways weaving through barracks and past hangar-like buildings. There are two runways and over 100 parking spots for fighter jets known as revetments because of the blast walls that protect each aircraft. One of the two runways is 12,000 feet (3,660 meters) long and was built in 2006. There’s a passenger lounge, a 50-bed hospital and giant hangar-size tents filled with supplies such as furniture.

Kohistani said the U.S. left behind 3.5 million items, all itemized by the departing U.S. military. They include tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks and military ready-made meals, known as MRE’s.

“When you say 3.5 million items, it is every small items, like every phone, every door knob, every window in every barracks, every door in every barracks,” he said.

The big ticket items left behind include thousands of civilian vehicles, many of them without keys to start them, and hundreds of armored vehicles. Kohistani said the U.S. also left behind small weapons and the ammunition for them, but the departing troops took heavy weapons with them. Ammunition for weapons not being left behind for the Afghan military was blown up before they left.

Afghan soldiers who wandered Monday throughout the base that had once seen as many as 100,000 U.S. troops were deeply critical of how the U.S. left Bagram, leaving in the night without telling the Afghan soldiers tasked with patrolling the perimeter.

“In one night, they lost all the goodwill of 20 years by leaving the way they did, in the night, without telling the Afghan soldiers who were outside patrolling the area,” said Afghan soldier Naematullah, who asked that only his one name be used.

Within 20 minutes of the U.S.’s silent departure on Friday, the electricity was shut down and the base was plunged into darkness, said Raouf, the soldier of 10 years who has also served in Taliban strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

The sudden darkness was like a signal to the looters, he said. They entered from the north, smashing through the first barrier, ransacking buildings, loading anything that was not nailed down into trucks.

On Monday, three days after the U.S. departure, Afghan soldiers were still collecting piles of garbage that included empty water bottles, cans and empty energy drinks left behind by the looters.

Kohistani, meanwhile, said the nearly 20 years of U.S. and NATO involvement in Afghanistan was appreciated but now it was time for Afghans to step up.

“We have to solve our problem. We have to secure our country and once again build our country with our own hands,” he said.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
Betray your country and your people: Count on Israel and the West loyalty to protect you during your desperate needs... You'll never be disappointed!🥲

Geagea and the LF: We're all counting on your wisdom and good advice for Lebanon's Christians to make good choices.🥺


Taliban sweep through Herat province as Afghan advance continues

Fears grow for Kabul government after militant group seizes two key border crossings

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The Taliban has swept through western Herat province, seizing two key border crossings to Iran and Turkmenistan, and much of the countryside beyond city limits.

It was the latest part of Afghanistan to collapse in the face of a rapid militant advance, during which they have taken control of areas far beyond their original southern strongholds. Their speed has fuelled fears the government in Kabul could fall within months.

In Herat, the civil war era warlord Ismail Khan called up his supporters overnight, and deployed armed units to guard key parts of the city and its outskirts. He is in his mid-70s, but called on all armed men in the city to join the fight and promised to go to the frontline himself.

“You can now see hundreds of armed men at my house, thousands gathered since yesterday, with the help of God we will go to the battlefield by this evening, and change the situation,” he said in a video shared on social media. Pictures showed gunmen massing in his courtyard.

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan government’s peace council, admitted that while the mobilisation of militias like Khan’s was “not the best option under normal circumstances” it was now vital to preventing a Taliban takeover.

If the Taliban advance is not stopped, the group will never sit down for serious negotiations, he added. The peace talks he is leading for the government have been stalled for months.

One regional official said most of Herat province, bar the city and two nearby districts, Gozara and Injil, was now under Taliban control. Previously the insurgents had full command of only one of Herat’s 18 districts, Obe, although they had a heavy presence elsewhere.

Another senior Herat official said that the situation had been extremely dangerous on Thursday, but by Friday militias and security forces had thrown a cordon around greater Herat and the city and its airport were well protected.

A spokesman for the Taliban said they would allow cross-border commerce to continue as normal through multiple outposts they had seized in the north and west, which would provide a lucrative flow of revenue.

“All borders now in IEA [Taliban] control will remain open and functional,” spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter. The group already holds the main northern crossing to Tajikistan, in northern Badakhshan, which reopened soon after changing hands.

On Thursday evening the Taliban shared video of themselves at Islam Qala border crossing, the main artery for trade with Iran. They then took control of the nearby Torghundi crossing to Turkmenistan, including customs, intelligence and police buildings.

Last month, as they raced through northern provinces and sent more than 1,000 troops fleeing to neighbouring Tajikistan, they also took Shir Khan Bandar, the main crossing for that region, about 30 miles north of the city of Kunduz.

Shaheen also said the Taliban would not target “diplomats, embassies, NGOs and their staff”. All those groups have been hit by militant attacks in the past, so the claim was met with scepticism.

Several countries have closed down consulates in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, including Turkey and Russia, as fighters closed in around its outskirts, leaving the urban areas besieged and isolated.

It is a pattern repeated across Afghanistan in recent weeks, with the Taliban seizing territory up to the edge of big towns and cities, but not moving into them. Their only attempt to take a provincial capital, Qala e Nau in western Badghis, was repelled after heavy fighting this week.

Taliban officials said at a press conference in Moscow on Friday they had already taken control of 85% of Afghan territory. Government officials dismissed the figure as part of a propaganda campaign.

Senior military and international officials estimate the group now controls nearly half of the 400 districts in Afghanistan, and is fighting in many others. It does not hold any of the major urban areas.

But the fact the Taliban could make such a bold claim, the day after the US president, Joe Biden, confirmed a 31 August deadline for the final departure of American troops, is testament to their military success over the last few weeks.

Biden shrugged off the Taliban’s progress when he confirmed the target date for officially finalising the US withdrawal. He said troops had gone to Afghanistan to root out al-Qaida and prevent another attack on the US, and had achieved that goal.

The transfer of Bagram airbase last week has already put an effective halt to any significant US operations in the country, although Washington has promised drones and long-range jets will still offer some air support.

The Taliban appear to have taken neighbours and allies by surprise with their advance, as well as the opposition in Kabul. This week Tajikistan ordered 20,000 reservists to reinforce its border with Afghanistan, and Russia said on Friday the Taliban now controls about two-thirds of that frontier.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, urged all sides to “show restraint”. Iran has also this week hosted unofficial peace talks, a long-term proposal which was only finalised after the last few weeks’ advances.

At international negotiations the Taliban have presented themselves as changed from the brutal ideologues who ruled Afghanistan 25 years ago, when they barred women from work and education and enforced a strict form of sharia law with punishments including stoning and amputation.

They have promised to respect women’s rights under Islam, and frequently talk about the importance of protecting lives.

Yet the group has driven civilians from their homes and looted and burned property in northern Afghanistan, in apparent retaliation for cooperating with the government, Human Rights Watch warned in a new report.

Residents of Bagh-e Sherkat in Kunduz province said the attacks came in late June. The Taliban said locals had been ordered to leave “for their own safety” during fighting and denied damaging property.

The attacks are an “ominous warning about the risk of future atrocities,” said Patricia Gossman, the associate Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “The Taliban leadership has the power to stop these abuses by their forces but haven’t shown that they are willing to do so.”
You've read 16 articles in the last year
 

Qandahar

Legendary Member
Afghanistan is known as the 'Graveyard of Empires' for a good reason!
Whoever said it must be a smart man, he knew exactly what he was talking about :lol:

How many empires tried and failed? The British, Soviet and now the American Empire!

Meanwhile we see the same fate with France's Afghanistan, The Great Mali!

A long lasting war that can never be won will eventually hunt you down and consume you..
Lets see for how long the Empire would last now.. those before it didn't last long after withdrawing.. :p
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
Sounds like: Who needs enemies when Uncle Sam is your friend...
Never fails...
No one learns...



Afghan interpreter for US Army was beheaded by Taliban. Others fear they will be hunted down too


Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Sohail Pardis was driving from his home in Afghanistan's capital Kabul to nearby Khost province to pick up his sister for the upcoming Eid holiday celebrations to mark the end of Ramadan.
It was supposed to be a happy occasion enjoyed with family. But during the five-hour trip on May 12, as Pardis, 32, drove through a stretch of desert, his vehicle was blocked at a checkpoint by Taliban militants.
Just days before, Pardis had confided to his friend that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban, who had discovered he had worked as a translator for the United States Army for 16 months during the 20-year-long conflict.
"They were telling him you are a spy for the Americans, you are the eyes of the Americans and you are infidel, and we will kill you and your family," his friend and co-worker Abdulhaq Ayoubi told CNN.


As he approached the checkpoint, Pardis put his foot on the accelerator to speed through. He was not seen alive again.
Villagers who witnessed the incident told the Red Crescent the Taliban shot his car before it swerved and stopped. They then dragged Pardis out of the vehicle and beheaded him.
Pardis was one of thousands of Afghan interpreters who worked for the US military and now face persecution by the Taliban, as the group gains control of wider swaths of the country.
Afghans who aided US forces now desperately need help in return

Afghans who aided US forces now desperately need help in return

In a statement issued in June, the Taliban said it would not harm those who worked alongside foreign forces. A Taliban spokesperson told CNN that they were attempting to verify the details of the incident but said some incidents are not what they are portrayed to be.
But those who spoke to CNN said their lives are now under threat as the Taliban launch revenge attacks following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. At the height of the war, there were about 100,000 US troops in the country, as part of a NATO force.
"We can't breathe here. The Taliban have no mercy on us," Ayoubi said.
Around 18,000 Afghans who worked for the US military have applied for a Special Immigrant Visa program that would allow them to go to the United States.
On July 14, the White House said it was launching, "Operation Allies Refuge," an effort to relocate the thousands of Afghan interpreters and translators who worked for the US and whose lives are now at risk. The evacuation will begin in the last week of July for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants already in the pipeline, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing.
Previously, the Biden administration said it was in talks with a number of countries to act as safe havens until the US can complete the long visa process, a clear sign the government is well aware of the looming threat posed by the Taliban.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday that the Defense Department "is considering options" where Afghan nationals and their families could potentially go.
Sohail Pardis, an Afghan translator who worked for the US Army, was killed by the Taliban in May.


Sohail Pardis, an Afghan translator who worked for the US Army, was killed by the Taliban in May.

"We're still examining possibilities for overseas locations to include some departmental installations that would be capable of supporting planned relocation efforts with appropriate temporary residences and supporting infrastructure," Kirby said.
Pardis left behind a 9-year-old daughter whose future is now uncertain. She's being cared for by his brother, Najibulla Sahak, who told CNN they had to leave their home in Kabul for their safety, fearing they would be targeted next.
Speaking from his brother's gravesite, on a barren hillside among rocks, tumbleweeds, and flags, Sahak said they are not safe.
"I'm so worried about the safety of my family. There's not much work in this country, and the security situation is very bad," he said.
The translators and those interviewed in the story agreed to be named because they believe their identities are already known to the Taliban and are actively being hunted. They feel international exposure is their last and only option to avoid being killed.

Those left behind fear reprisals​

After 16 months working for the US, Pardis was terminated in 2012 after failing a routine polygraph, or lie detector, test. He was looking for a way out of Afghanistan but didn't qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa because of his termination, his friend Ayoubi said.
The translators CNN spoke to said polygraph tests were usually used for security clearance to access US bases in Afghanistan. They were also used as part of the screening process to apply for the visa, they said. Pardis was never told why he failed the polygraph.
The screenings were conducted by a contracted company, the translators said, and they took issue with some of the questions posed and believed them to not be reliable.
CNN reached out to the US Department of Defense which directed questions about the use of polygraphs and visa process to the State Department.
There are hundreds of Afghan translators who had their contracts terminated for what they say was as unjust cause. And while the US government said it won't be reviewing those cases, the translators CNN spoke to fear if they stay in Afghanistan they will suffer the same fate as Pardis.
Abdul Rashid Shirzad is one of them. He served for five years as a linguist working alongside America's military elite, translating for US Special Forces.
He showed CNN photographs of his time on missions in the Kejran Valley in Uruzgan province working with the US Navy's SEAL Team 10. But according to Shirzad, his service has now amounted to a death sentence. The US government rejected his Special Immigrant Visa, and he said that's made him a target for the Taliban.
'I stay up nights': Afghans working for US worry about their future after Biden withdrawal announcement

'I stay up nights': Afghans working for US worry about their future after Biden withdrawal announcement

"If they catch me they're going to kill me, kill my kids and my wife too. It's payback time for them you know," he said.
The father of three said his contract with the US military was terminated in 2014 after he also failed a polygraph test. He had applied for his visa the year before.
But Shirzad's letters of recommendation from SEAL commanders, seen by CNN, reflect a translator who went above and beyond duty. They describe him as a "valuable and necessary asset" who "braved enemy fire" and "undoubtedly saved the lives of Americans and Afghans alike."
Shirzad said he was excited to work with the Americans, and became a lead liaison between US and Afghan Special Forces. One recommendation letter for the visa, from a US commander, described how Shirzad took part in 63 "high-risk direct action combat missions" and was "vital" to the success of his team's operations. It detailed how he helped the recovery of a team member who was caught in a blast and left with life threatening injuries.
Shirzad said he has no idea what he did wrong and never received an explanation for his termination. His visa rejection letter from the US Embassy stated "lack of faithful and valuable service."
"If we had peace in Afghanistan, if I had not served the US military, if the Taliban were not after me, I would never leave my country," he said.
Shirzad cannot go back to his home province and moves locations with his family every month.
Cuddling their youngest child, his wife said they are terrified of being caught by the Taliban.
"We are very scared. My husband and children's future are in danger," she said. "My husband was working with them and he put his life in danger and now I want Americans to save my husband from danger."

Translators feel America has abandoned them​

A US Embassy spokesperson in Kabul said they were "actively working on every possible contingency to make sure that we can help those who have helped us."
"We have long said we are committed to supporting those who have helped US military and other government personnel perform their duties, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families," the spokesperson said.
"To be clear, our embassy in Kabul will continue to operate after our forces draw down. SIV processing will continue, including for those individuals who remain in Afghanistan, and we will continue to surge resources to process applications to the fullest extent possible."
The vetting process for visas is lengthy and complex, and every applicant is assessed on whether they pose a risk to US national security, according to the SIV Program Quarterly report. There are also numerous reasons why visa applications are rejected, including those who don't qualify due to the nature of their employment or not having enough time in the job.
The US Embassy spokesperson said visa records are confidential under US law, therefore, they could not discuss the details of individual visa cases. All visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, they said.
US races to find safe haven for Afghan translators in Central Asia as troop withdrawal nears

US races to find safe haven for Afghan translators in Central Asia as troop withdrawal nears

On July 8, US President Joe Biden pledged to evacuate Afghan interpreters and their families who have worked alongside American troops in Afghanistan.
"Our message to those women and men is clear: There is a home for you in the United States, if you so choose and we will stand with you, just as you stood with us," Biden said.
But Afghans who have been rejected say they feel America has abandoned them.
Pardis' friend and co-worker Ayoubi said he also failed a polygraph test and was terminated despite being awarded a medal for helping to save an American sergeant who stepped on a bomb. Like Shirzad, he feels he was unfairly let go and said his chance to move his family to safety has been dashed.
"I thought we would have a beautiful Afghanistan. We never thought of this situation like now," he said.
"We kindly request President Biden to save us. We helped you and you have to help us."
 
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