The devices have been the insurgents’ preferred weapon for several years, but their use rose 14 per cent year-on-year, in the second quarter of 2011.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused the majority of Nato casualties in 2010 and their indiscriminate use has been blamed by the United Nations for contributing to record civilian casualties.
From April to June, 3,845 exploded or were found, according to the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO). Coaliton killed and wounded from the bombs rose 15 per cent yearly to 1,248 over the same period.
In June, use of roadside bombs was 25 per cent higher than average.
Most of the bombs are of homemade explosive, but attempts to block the import of ammonium nitrate fertiliser used in its manufacture have failed to stop the increase in devices.
The Burqa Babes are surprisingly, refreshingly brash. They are not ashamed of what they have done. They are also funny; they see the comic dimension in their essentially Kafkaesque situations. They are clowns, ironic, as self-deprecating as they are aggressive. They make us laugh. They are ethnically and racially gorgeous in their diversity. They are from every tribe, every region, and they bear the genetic legacy of every conquering army. The women are hard on each other. Just as I’ve discussed in my book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, women internalize the same sexist beliefs that men do and are highly judgmental of other women, often without compassion.
Iranian filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian (kudos to you dear lady!) miraculously managed to get a camera and a crew inside the prison and inside some of the legal hearings. What crimes have the women committed? Apparently half the prison population have dared to fall in love, or are suspected of having done so, or they have dared to have sex before marriage, have run away from home, or rejected an arranged marriage. These are crimes in Afghanistan. (The other half of the prison population are thieves, smugglers, or murderers). Continue reading →
Madrassah pupils in Mauritania. Image via Wikipedia
Afghan parents who have sent their sons to schools in Pakistan say they\’re becoming increasing alarmed about the type of education their children are receiving.
Rather than serve as centers of learning, many fear that these schools and madrassas are designed primarily to turn out a never-ending supply of suicide bombers.
One father in Kapisa province, who asked that his name not be used because he was concerned about security, described the dramatic change his 18-year-old son had undergone after one year at a school in Pakistan. Continue reading →
Cash from part of a $2.16 billion U.S. transportation contract in Afghanistan has ended up in the hands of Taliban insurgents, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The disclosure is another example of the persistent difficulty the U.S. military has in keeping its massive war funding from reaching the insurgents it is fighting in the unpopular, decade-old Afghan war.
The United States is spending more than $6 billion a month in the conflict.
Pentagon officials have repeatedly warned of the need to tighten controls on U.S. contracts and last year announced the creation of a task force to crack down on misuse of funds by contractors, some of whom pay Taliban protection money.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the discovery of the siphoning of funds from the trucking contract was part of that previously announced effort. He said the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees the Afghan war, aimed to sign a new trucking contract in September.
“Central Command’s contracting command is working on a new Afghan trucking contract to ensure greater transparency into subcontractors,” Lapan told reporters.
An 8 year-old boy was hanged by militants in Afghanistan’s Helmand province after the boy’s father — a police officer in the southern city of Gereshk — refused to comply with militants’ demands to provide them with a police vehicle, officials said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the hanging, saying “this action is not permitted in any culture or any religions,” according to a statement Sunday, which provided details of the incident.
Karzai said he has ordered local authorities to root out the militants and arrest them “as soon as possible.”
The boy was kidnapped Friday. It was unclear when he was killed.
Britain’s connection to jihad in South Asia was once again cast into the spotlight with the capture of two British nationals with alleged links to the Taliban in Herat. The man and woman remain unidentified, and the British Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office have both merely confirmed that they were British nationals. Stories have started to circulate in the press that they were plotting an attack back in the U.K. and it seems that they were dual Afghan-British nationals known to MI5, though other reports indicate they may be of Pakistani origin. Whether they were planning an attack in the U.K. or not, the prospect of British nationals fighting British soldiers in Afghanistan is something that has long worried British officials. Either way, their presence shows the connection between the U.K. and fighting in Afghanistan continues to exist, a demonstration of how ingrained extreme ideas continue to be in the U.K.
A suicide bomber exploded himself at a service for Ahmed Wali Karzai, killing four people, including Kandahar’s chief cleric. All Afghan senior government officials that were present survived the attack.
Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was killed on Tuesday by one of his security officials. President Karzai was not present at the service – he had flown into Kandahar for his brother’s funeral on Wednesday, but departed before the Thursday service.
Afghan police said the bomber hid the explosives in his turban. He detonated them near the door of the Red Mosque, the central mosque of Kandahar city where the service was held.
More here and here: “Ahmed Wali served as the head of the provincial council in Kandahar, and was widely recognized as the government’s most powerful man in the key southern province, home to the birthplace of the Taliban. He was a lightning rod for criticism due to his role in the drug trade, his domination of local security companies, and accusations that he provided explosives and other support to the Taliban. Ahmed Wali was also on the CIA’s payroll“.
Back to the future… in this case a very realistic film:
The resurgence of Maulvi Faqir Mohammed — also one of the Pakistani Taliban’s top commanders — illustrates the resilience of militants fighting to topple the U.S.-allied Pakistani government and the growing problem of sanctuaries in eastern Afghanistan that allow fighters to elude the army’s grasp.
“We will return and enforce the golden system of Islam,” Mohammed said in a recent radio broadcast from his new base in Afghanistan. “All of those who have turned their backs on us — like we are gone for good — should seek forgiveness from Allah.”
Militants and their supporters in Pakistan have long used illegal FM radio stations to spread their message and incite violence against the government. The tactic is hard to counter because the equipment needed is cheap and easily transportable.
A video released in recent weeks, and made available to WORLD this week by two separate Afghan sources, shows four Afghan militants beheading a man believed to be a Christian in Herat Province.The militants, who claim to be Taliban, captured the victim, a man in his 40s named Abdul Latif (according to Obaid Christ, who provided translation of the video), earlier this year from his village outside Enjeel, a town south of Herat.
In the two-minute video, the men, wearing explosive belts (or suicide vests) and kaffiya head scarves to cover their faces, recite verses from the Quran while forcing Latif to the ground and pinning him with their feet. “You who are joined with pagans . . . your sentence [is] to be beheaded,” read one of the militants in Farsi from what looked like a paper decree. “Whoever changes his religion should be executed.” The passages refer to Sura 8:12 (“I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks . . .”) and the hadiths, or sayings of Mohammed.
As Latif fought his captors from the ground, one of the militants thrust a medium-sized blade into the side of his neck. With blood flowing onto the ground the militants shouted “Allahu Akhbar” or “God is great” over and over until Latif was fully beheaded and his head was placed on top of his chest.
He is either an idiot or a Jihadi killer. We just have to wait and see…
…it is unclear when, and, most importantly, why, Yusuf O. left Afghanistan for Austria. Apparently he planned to travel to Germany but it remains uncertain whether he had become disillusioned with the combat operation or whether he was part of a DTM operation targeting Germany.
Both scenarios are plausible. Yusuf O. was born in Germany in 1985 but had a Turkish passport. He is thought to be a key member of the DTM. His friend Fatih T. was the boss, and he appeared in videos warning about planned attacks on Germany. Investigators know from other cases that, for a while at least, Yusuf O. maintained regular online contact with German-based supporters of the terrorist group. The DTM urgently needed “ammunition and money,” he wrote in one message. Whoever couldn’t help in person, should send money, he urged.
On the other hand, it is possible that Yusuf O. became disillusioned with the battle in Hindu Kush. There have been several recent cases of Jihadists hailing from Germany who have gone this route, including a married couple from Berlin who were associated with the DTM as well as a young man from Hamburg who had been part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Evidence shows that life on the frontline is grueling and that new German recruits arrive largely unprepared for what awaits them. Statements from those arrested and other sources create a depressing impression of day-to-day life. Lack of food, poor hygiene and mistrust among co-fighters on the frontline were all routine problems, in addition to the ever-present fear of death.
Widespread violence, lack of health care and poverty make Afghanistan the worse country in the world for women, this according to a study by the Thomson-Reuters Foundation. However, AsiaNews sources do not share such a negative view.
The study, based on interviews with 213 experts from around the world, indicates that Afghanistan tops a list of five worst nations, ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia. The inclusion of India has raised eyebrows given its great economic development; however, widespread female foeticide and the nation’s sex trade explain its low ranking.
The survey was compiled to mark the launch of a website, TrustLawWoman, aimed at providing free legal advice to women’s groups.
High maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a “near total lack of economic rights” render Afghanistan such a threat to its female inhabitants. “Continuing conflict, NATO air strikes and cultural practices combine to make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women,” Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, said.
President Hamid Karzaisaid Saturday that Afghanistan and the United States are engaged in peace talks with the Taliban, even as suicide bombers stormed a police station near the presidential palace, killing at least two police officers.
The brazen attack in the heart of Kabul’s government district provided a sharp counterpoint to Karzai’s announcement that the U.S. and Afghan government are in talks with the Taliban, the first official confirmation of such discussions. The violence also underscored the difficulty facing any possible negotiated settlement to the decade-long war.
Men dressed in Afghan army uniforms stormed the police station near the presidential palace and opened fire on officers as they tried to enter the building, said Mohammed Honayon, an eyewitness.
What I really don’t understand is why this war was even began to get this result. The people is going to be abandoned in the hands of warlords or Taliban, allowing brutality and suffering to continue. What has really changed? Not even women’s situation and treatment:
Afghanistan was rated the worst because of high mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a “near total lack of economic rights” in addition to the continuing war there, NATO airstrikes and dangerous cultural practices.
PS: Other countries in the survey are Congo (1000 rapes a day), Pakistan (child marriages and honot killings) or India (human trafficking skyrocketing to 90% in the world).
The separate resolutions would symbolically delink al-Qaida and the Taliban and recognize their different agendas. While Al-Qaida is focused on worldwide jihad against the West and establishment of a religious state in the Muslim world, Taliban militants have focused on their own country and have shown little interest in attacking targets abroad.
Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig, who chairs the Security Council committee that currently monitors sanctions against the two groups, told reporters in Kabul earlier this month that separating the sanctions regimes would futher highlight “the significance of the political efforts that are ongoing in Afghanistan.”
Of course, none of us knew this. We have been waiting for the UN to reveal such a huge discovery…
The Afghan Taliban have activated a citizen phone service for complaints after learning that a group of false insurgents is extorting the population in eastern Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesman said today.
Rebel leaders have reacted this way to the growing number of complaints that have taken place in the eastern province of Nangarhar by the action of a group of suspected rebels, using the name of the Taliban, extort the population.
“They are collecting money, extorting and even kidnapping on our behalf, but they have not received any instruction from the ‘mujahideen’,” rebel spokesman Zabiullah Mujahi said.
Never again should Afghanistan be allowed to sink into that mediaeval nightmare of the Taliban in power. It is a gross misrepresentation that this had only to do with women in burqas. How can we forget the daily oppression of men, women and children: women were not allowed to leave the home without a male escort, they could not work in any profession, girls were forbidden from going to school, men were punished for shaving and all entertainment was banned, with savage punishment for those who offended against this barbaric code. Do those who want to up and go really want to see the return, God forbid, of such an Afghanistan, and do they really think that it will not be a terror threat to the region, the world and to Britain and the USA?
U.N. representatives consider that women and children are being killed and wounded at home more than ever before, due to the intensification of Taliban attacks on the Afghan territory.
About 55 percent more children were killed in the first half of this year by the Taliban, compared to the last year. Thus, 3,268 people were killed from January 1, 2010, and 1,997 were injured and maimed. 2,477 of these people were killed or wounded by anti-governmental forces such as the Taliban, while 386 can be blamed on the pro-governmental forces, including the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan Security Forces.
When NATO troops help training the Afghan police, the more intensive classes are not marksmanship, patrolling or riot control. They are about reading and writing.
Only 11% of core staff and 35% of the NCO in the army and Afghan police are literate, according to NATO trainers.
That is undermining the effectiveness of the troops at a time when NATO is working to prepare local security forces to eventually hand power.
There have been numerous reports of illiterate members of Afghan security forces getting into trouble. An army unit called an air strike against itself in July because no one could read the map. Officials who can not read the serial numbers of their weapons, do not even know what caliber they should use. A unit was set up in a checkpoint, but could not read the identification cards of passing motorists.
Often the police can not write the statements of witnesses or examine the laws. In some cases, police chiefs were stealing the wages of their subordinates, and their illiterate recruits could not detect the theft.
'Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him': Tahani (in pink) was just six years old when she she married Majed, 25 (standing next to her). The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah, Yemen
Saed Musa is that ex-Muslim, convert to Christianity, who has been working for Red Cross for 15 years.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Red Cross in Afghanistan (ICRC) has not intervened on behalf of a long-term employee who was arrested and imprisoned because he is Christian. This, despite that the Red Cross mandate includes “visiting prisoners” and “helping victims of conflict and internal violence, whoever they are.”
A coalition government that includes the Taliban should be the long-term goal, they said.
“We ask you to sanction and support a direct dialogue and negotiation with the Afghan Taliban leadership residing in Pakistan,” the experts said in their open letter.
“It is better to negotiate now rather than later, since the Taliban will likely be stronger next year.”
“The situation on the ground is much worse than a year ago because the Taliban insurgency has made progress across the country,” the letter said.
“The Taliban today are now a national movement with a serious presence in the north and the west of the country.”
Well, imagine these guys in the IIWW and just think what they would have been called if they would have advised to “negotiate with the Nazis”. Consider too what consequences this would have to the Taliban presence in the are: indeed their presence now would be much greater than before 2001 if ISAF ends their mission there.