|AFPAK / Iraq Sweep
22 June 2011
1) A Taliban suicide bomber targeted a provincial governor in Parwan province on Tuesday, killing two civilians and wounding another two, the interior ministry said. Daily Times
2) Eight Afghan police were killed Wednesday when Taliban attacked their checkpoint in Ghazni province’s Qarabagh district in a brazen assault likely to raise fresh security questions as the United States prepares a troop drawdown. AAJ News
3) Obama is expected to say about 5,000 troops will begin coming home this summer with an additional 5,000 troops by the end of this year, sources told CBS News. And about 20,000 more troops are expected to return to the United States by the end of 2012, the sources said. CBS News
4) An Afghan-led combined security force killed two armed insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s Laghman province yesterday, military officials reported. Defense.gov
5) Coalition and Afghan special operation forces captured a facilitator who helped "foreign fighters" enter Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. The Taliban facilitator, who was not named, was captured during a June 14 raid in the Tarnak wa Jaldak district in Zabul province, according to an International Security Assistance Force press release. Long War Journal
6) Defense Department and military officials confirm there are plans for Petraeus to leave immediately after his deputy and operational commander Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez ends his term in country. Rodriguez’s last day is expected to be July 11, with Petraeus tentatively scheduled to leave July 18. Rodriguez’s replacement, Lt. Gen. Mike Scaparrotti, is scheduled to arrive Afghanistan by the end of the month before assuming command of the International Security Assistance Force’s joint operations … Stars and Stripes
7) ZAHIR AZIMI, AFGHAN DEFENCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (voiceover translation): The Afghan National Army is capable of filling the gaps which will be created as a result of the withdrawal of these troops in some of the places with the manpower it has. Australian Broadcasting Corporation
1) The Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) of Balochistan has called off its province-wide strike at all state-run hospitals on Tuesday, after successful negotiations with Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani. Daily Times
2) The Jinnah Terminal of the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi was reportedly closed for sometime after a suspicious bag was spotted on the main gate of the international arrival. Daily Times
3) Pakistan’s civilian leaders should capitalise on public anger with the military and try to ease its grip on power, a leading human rights activist and lawyer said on Tuesday. Daily Times
4) Eight people, including a woman, were killed in separate incidents of violence and mishaps that took place in different parts of Karachi on Tuesday. Daily Times
5) Ambassador of France to Pakistan Daniel Jouanneau here Tuesday visited headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) at Azizabad. They discussed overall political, social, economic situation and other matters of mutual interests. Daily Times
6) Jamaatud Dawa head Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, on Tuesday, filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking implementation of the resolution unanimously passed by parliament against US drone attacks on Pakistani land on May 14. Daily Times
7) : Interior Minister Rahman Malik, on Tuesday, called for a special session of parliament to expose the real hands behind the terror activities in country following the volleys of personal attacks and criticism on him and his ministry over the growing wave of terrorism and insecure environment in the country when National Assembly met to take up the demands in grants of Interior Ministry. Daily Times
8) Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, on Tuesday, approved the summaries sent by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs proposing the constitution of inquiry commissions on the Abbottabad operation and the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. Daily Times
9) Police have arrested five individuals accused of kidnapping for ransom, Geo News reported. Two of the accused belong to the Frontier Corps Balochistan. Geo News
10) At least three persons were killed and 11 others injured in a firing incident on Wednesday in Quetta. Unknown armed men opened fire indiscriminately on a bus at western bypass. AAJ News
11) Five militants have been killed while two policemen injured during a bloody clash at Siraband area near Peshawar on Wednesday, police said. AAJ News
12) Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States has said it is through demonstration of mutual respect that the two countries can forge a long-term relationship. “Both countries have their respective processes. We need to show respect for each other’s processes. We need to show respect for each other’s people and then develop a partnership that is long term,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told The Washington Times in an interview. The envoy noted that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has some strength and many challenges. AAJ News
13) Minister for Interior Rehman Malik on Wednesday informed the National Assembly that provincial governments have been directed to set up special task force to curb menace of kidnapping for ransoms in the country. AAJ News
14) Major General Athar Abbas has said that four Majors were being investigated along with Brigadier Ali Khan for their alleged links with a banned organisation. The News
15) A man suspected of being involved in the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, who was serving as federal minister for minorities affairs, was arrested from Karachi, DawnNews reported. DAWN
16) At least three security officials were killed in attacks on checkpoints in the Khyber and Orakzai tribal regions on Wednesday, DawnNews reported. Four militants were also killed in the ensuing clashes. DAWN
17) Pakistan has pledged to grant more than three dozen visas to CIA officers as part of confidence-building measures following the U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and humiliated Pakistan, officials from both countries said Wednesday, but the visas have not yet been issued. AP via Forbes
18) Osama bin Laden's youngest wife is expected to leave Pakistan for her homeland, Yemen, within days. Guardian
19) Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that religious seminaries were producing suicide bombers. Addressing on the floor of the National Assembly, Malik said that an agreement would be signed with Wafaqul Madaris to hold the management of the seminaries responsible for any illegal activity of their students. Dunya News
20) A high level Chinese delegation headed by Major General Jia Xiaoning, Deputy Chief of Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defence called on General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) here at Chaklala. AP of Pakistan
21) Pakistani soldiers again attacked across the Afghan border in eastern Konar province, security officials said on Wednesday [22 June]. Pajhwok via BBC Mon.
22) Police used teargas shells to disperse protesting workers of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) in Islamabad on Wednesday. Samaa
23) The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has seen five of its heads changed in just two-and-a-half years, depicting non-seriousness of the government in combating terrorism, Dawn has learnt. DAWN via BBC Mon.
24) Pakistan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar met here today Saudi ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Abdulaziz Bin Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer. A statement issued by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said that the two sides reviewed the bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and ways of developing cooperation. Saudi Press Agency
1) Militants attacked Iraqi police with guns and explosives and lobbed a mortar round at a security headquarters in Mosul Wednesday, killing four people and wounding dozens in the latest assault on security forces. Reuters
2) Iraqi officials say a series of shooting and bomb attacks in the capital, Baghdad, has killed one person and wounded about 30 others. VOA News
3) The following are security developments in Iraq as of 0800 GMT on Wednesday. Reuters via Daily Star
4) Security sources said today that the killers of General Khudhair Jaikhour Kadhim were arrested. Aswat al-Iraq
5) Intelligence information indicated the possibility of penetration operations for armed groups following the withdrawal of some of Syrian forces from joint borders. Aswat al-Iraq
6) Iraqi President Jalal Talabani discussed today with the U.S. ambassador James Jeffery the importance of the U.S. forces to the Iraqis in the fields of training, arming and supply. Aswat al-Iraq
7) One of the three security companies providing protection for the Iraqi parliament has abandoned its duties following a dispute over a contract extension. AK News
8) Two persons, one of them a former candidate for the Iraqi Parliament, have been killed in an attack in Shirgat township of north-central Iraq’s Salah al-Din Province on Wednesday, a Salah al-Din security source reported. Aswat al-Iraq
9) A gun battle between the Iraqi army and militants resulted in the death of two civilians caught in the crossfire, near Mosul today. AK News
10) Visiting Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, and his accompanying delegation, met on Wednesday Speaker of Iranian Shura Council Ali Larijani to discuss means of promoting bilateral relations between the two countries. Kuwait News Agency
11) An Iraqi civilian has been killed and another injured in a mortar shell that fell close to north Iraq’s Ninewa Operations Command, south of Mosul city on Wednesday, a Ninewa security source reported. Aswat al-Iraq
12) The Mayor of Dibbis township in north Iraq’s Kirkuk Province has escaped an assassination attempt on Tuesday, a Kirkuk security source said. Aswat al-Iraq
1) Two killed as Taliban bomber targets Afghan governor. Daily Times
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
KABUL: A Taliban suicide bomber targeted a provincial governor in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing two civilians and wounding another two, the interior ministry said. The attack struck the usually peaceful province of Parwan, when the bomber tried to enter the compound of governor Basir Salangi. “At around 10:45am Tuesday, a suicide bomber detonated himself in front of the gate of the Parwan governor’s compound. As a result, two civilians including a women were martyred and two others injured,” the ministry said. Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said it was not immediately clear why the attacker hit the entrance but that he may have been targeting a car coming out of the compound which he mistakenly thought was the governor’s. afp
2) Eight Afghan police killed in checkpoint attack. AAJ News
GHAZNI - 22nd June 2011 (2 hours ago)
Eight Afghan police were killed Wednesday when Taliban attacked their checkpoint in a brazen assault likely to raise fresh security questions as the United States prepares a troop drawdown.
The attack in Ghazni province’s Qarabagh district, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of Kabul, is thought to have been an inside job in which insurgents worked with a policeman at the checkpoint to strike.
“The attack started at around 7:00 am (2:30 GMT) and six police officers were killed during a gunfight with the attackers,” Sayed Amir Shah, the head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency in Ghazni province, told AFP.
He later said the toll had risen to eight and the fighting had stopped.
Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, the deputy provincial governor of Ghazni, confirmed the number of dead.
He added: “Probably one of the police officers at the checkpoint had a previous deal with the insurgents and cooperated with and facilitated the assault.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to AFP. Earlier this month, three police were killed in a similar insurgent strike on their checkpoint in the same district.
The assault came just hours before President Barack Obama is to use a prime time speech to order a US troop drawdown from Afghanistan, which one official said would likely see 10,000 soldiers back in the United States this year.
Obama will stick with his vow to begin pulling out US forces after an 18-month troop surge, but apparently heed Pentagon warnings that an overly swift withdrawal could imperil hard-won gains against the Taliban.
A senior defence official said on condition of anonymity that the president would “likely” order the return of about 5,000 troops this summer and 5,000 more by the end of the year.
3) Obama to announce return of 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by end of next year. CBS News
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By Corbett B. Daly
President Obama's "surge" of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan announced in late 2009 was meant to be temporary, and Wednesday night the president is expected to announce that they will return home by around the time voters head to the polls to determine whether he gets another term.
In prime-time speech to the nation, Obama is expected to say about 5,000 troops will begin coming home this summer with an additional 5,000 troops by the end of this year, sources told CBS News. And about 20,000 more troops are expected to return to the United States by the end of 2012, the sources said. That would still leave about 70,000 troops in Afghanistan -- about twice as many troops as when Obama took office in January 2009.
That timetable is more aggressive than some military advisers had urged. Obama made the final decision Tuesday after weighing options presented to him by General David Petraeus, his top commander in Afghanistan.
Some military advisers feared a rapid withdrawal could put at risk some of the gains made against the Taliban.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), on the other hand, echoed a sentiment of many on Capitol Hill when he told reporters Tuesday that "the notable improvement in the security situation" in Afghanistan allows "for a reduction of at least 15,000 U.S. troops by the end of this year."
Vice President Joe Biden has also reportedly urged for a faster troop withdrawal and said last December that the drawdown would start "in July 2011 and we are going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014."
A recent CBS News poll showed that 64 percent of Americans now want the number of troops in Afghanistan decreased. The United States has spent $120 billion on the war this year alone.
4) Force Kills Insurgents, Captures Taliban Leaders. Defense.gov
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 22, 2011 – An Afghan-led combined security force killed two armed insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s Laghman province yesterday, military officials reported.
Reports indicate the leader is finalizing preparations for an attack in Laghman’s Alingar district, officials said. The man is known to support both Taliban and Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin networks, and has been involved in attacks against the Afghan army, they said.
The force saw the insurgents holding rocket-propelled grenade launchers and small-arms weapons while hiding in a nearby tree line.
In other operations in Afghanistan yesterday:
-- A combined force killed an insurgent and captured a Taliban leader and his assistant during a security operation in Kandahar province’s Zharay district. The leader conducted roadside-bomb and direct-fire attacks against Afghan forces, and his assistant is believed responsible for attack planning and moving materials inside the district. Other suspected insurgents were detained.
-- In Helmand province’s Marjah district, a combined security force detained a suspected insurgent while searching for a Taliban leader responsible for coordinating attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
-- A combined force captured a Taliban organizer during an intelligence-driven security operation in Laghman province’s Mehtar Lam district. The leader supported insurgents through surveillance of possible targets and by distributing weapons, ammunition and supplies to area leaders.
-- A combined force in Paktika province’s Dilah wa Khoshamand district captured a Haqqani terrorist network leader and several of his associates. The leader directed attacks against security forces.
-- During a search in Khost province’s Sabari district, a security force detained a suspected insurgent while searching for a Haqqani organizer responsible for planning attacks against security forces in the district.
-- Tips from residents led a force patrol in Bamyan province’s Kahmard district to a weapons cache containing three rocket-propelled grenades, a high-explosive rocket, a 107 mm incendiary shell, three 152 mm shells, eight 82 mm mortars, 14 hand grenades, two mortar fuses, two flares, nine RPG boosters, 22 mortar-propelling cartridges, eight grenade fuses, eight anti-personnel landmines and 14.7 mm ammunition.
-- A coalition force in Ghor province’s Chaghcharan district found 50 82 mm mortar rounds and eight mortar fuses.
5) ISAF captures 'foreign fighter' facilitator in southeastern Afghanistan. Long War Journal
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By Bill Roggio June 22, 2011
Coalition and Afghan special operation forces captured a facilitator who helped "foreign fighters" enter Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.
The Taliban facilitator, who was not named, was captured during a June 14 raid in the Tarnak wa Jaldak district in Zabul province, according to an International Security Assistance Force press release.
"The facilitator assisted in the transfer of Uzbeks and Farsi speaking foreign fighters from Pakistan into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban," ISAF stated in the press release. ISAF uses the term "foreign fighters" to describe members of al Qaeda and allied terror groups operating in Afghanistan.
The "Uzbeks" likely belong to the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan or the Islamic Jihad Group, an IMU splinter. Farsi is a Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Zabul a known transit point and staging ground for al Qaeda
Zabul province is a known haven for al Qaeda in the Afghan southeast. Al Qaeda's presence in Zabul has been detected in the districts of Shah Joy, Shamulzai, Tarnak wa Jaldak, and Qalat; or four of Zabul's 11 districts, according to an investigation by The Long War Journal. The province is an ideal staging and transit point for al Qaeda and allied groups operating from Pakistan. Zabul shares a border with Pakistan, and also borders the Afghan provinces of Uruzgan, Kandahar, Ghazni, and Paktika.
Coalition and Afghan forces have targeted several al Qaeda cells in Zabul since October 2008. In July 2010, security forces killed Malauwi Shahbuddin, a Taliban commander and "foreign-fighter facilitator," during a raid in Shah Joy. In October 2010, Mullah Abdullah Kakar, another Taliban commander and "foreign-fighter facilitator," was killed in an airstrike, also in Shah Joy.
Over the past two months, ISAF and Afghan special operations forces have been targeting the "foreign fighter" support networks run by the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Zabul.
On May 8, Coalition and Afghan forces captured an unnamed "Germany-based Moroccan al Qaeda foreign fighter facilitator" during a raid in the district of Qalat. Several foreign fighters were among the 10 people killed during the raid. Security forces "found passports and identification cards from France, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia amongst ten insurgents killed during the operation."
On May 19, ISAF attempted to capture a Taliban commander who operates in Zabul and "directs a core group of insurgent fighters augmented by al Qaeda associated foreign fighters assembled in Quetta, Pakistan." On May 29, ISAF conducted a follow-up raid against the Taliban commander in the Shah Joy district in Zabul.
6) Officials: Petraeus to hand off Afghan command sooner than expected. Stars and Stripes
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Stars and Stripes
Published: June 22, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon wants Gen. David Petraeus out of Afghanistan by mid-July, much sooner than the original September target date for his change of command, giving the general time for a break before he takes over as CIA director.
Defense Department and military officials confirm there are plans for Petraeus to leave immediately after his deputy and operational commander Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez ends his term in country. Rodriguez’s last day is expected to be July 11, with Petraeus tentatively scheduled to leave July 18.
Petraeus’ exit, however, depends on the Senate confirming his replacement, Central Command deputy Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen. That hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
“[Allen] needs to be confirmed to take the job, and NATO also has an approval process that must be met,” said Capt. John Kirby, spokesman for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said Pentagon leaders want Petraeus to get a break in between jobs.
Petraeus is perhaps the most recognizable man in uniform and his exit from Afghanistan is likely to be as symbolically significant as was his entrance. Once known for his leadership of the surge in Iraq, Petraeus was chosen by President Barack Obama to replace fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal in June 2010. Officials said at the time it was clear there was no other man for the job. Petraeus was heading Central Command at the time and in answering the president’s call — reportedly before even talking to his wife — he stepped down one rung in the chain of command to take over the Afghanistan War.
The assignment was always considered short-term, and the general’s future in Washington was frequently debated, as possible chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or even a Republican presidential candidate. Instead, he accepted Obama’s offer to replace CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Panetta was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday to be the secretary of defense. Petraeus has been in Washington for more than week preparing for his own confirmation hearing on Thursday. He will retire from the Army before starting at CIA.
Rodriguez’s replacement, Lt. Gen. Mike Scaparrotti, is scheduled to arrive Afghanistan by the end of the month before assuming command of the International Security Assistance Force’s joint operations, a key position as daily battlefield manager and right-hand man to the commanding general. The two also met this month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state to prepare for the transition.
Allen’s Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday also will address the nominations for Gen. James Thurman to take over U.S. Forces Korea and Vice Adm. William McRaven to lead U.S. Special Operations Command.
7) Afghanistan welcomes American draw-down. Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The Afghan Defence ministry has welcomed the prospect of a cut in the number of American troops in Afghanistan.
US president Barack Obama is expected to announce tomorrow plans to withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of the year. A drawdown would help NATO allies meet a 2014 deadline for Afghanistan to resume control of its own security.
ZAHIR AZIMI, AFGHAN DEFENCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (voiceover translation): The Afghan National Army is capable of filling the gaps which will be created as a result of the withdrawal of these troops in some of the places with the manpower it has.
TONY JONES: There are currently 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan. More than 1,500 US personnel have died since the invasion in 2001.