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The Sandbox and Areas Reports Thread September 2008

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The Bread Guy

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Taliban Propaganda Watch (RC South)
262215EDT Sept 08

.pdf version attached at bottom of message

NOTE:  The following material is from web pages and forums carrying statements attributed to the Taliban, Taliban spokespersons or supporters of the Taliban, or analysis thereof.  Posting of this material neither confirms nor endorses any of its content - it is shared for information only.  When material translated into English is not available, Google Translate is used to translate the original (indicated by "GoogEng") - this is only a machine translation, NOT an official one.

"(D)estruction supply convoy (5 trucks, 13 soldiers) in Kandahar" (GoogEng) - Original in Arabic
The destruction of a convoy of five trucks logistical state of Kandahar
Qari / Yousuf Ahmadi
The mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate attacked this morning (26-9-2008) on a convoy of logistics to the enemy in the "Snzeri" on the highway of Herat, Kandahar, Kandahar, the mandate of the Directorate of buttons, leaving destruction (5) logistics trucks.  After the attack the battle directly engaged with the enemy lasting until the age now where it destroyed two vehicles in which (2) of the type Serf killed thirteen (13) soldiers and wounded many others.  During the attack a number of trucks overturned provisions of the severity of turmoil in the region.  During the battle the enemy shelling the area, killing two of the martyrdom of two people and members of the Taliban.  The highway of Herat, Kandahar highway remained deadlocked throughout the day after a severe battle.


"6 soldiers killed in ambush in Zabul" (GoogEng) - Original in Arabic
Six soldiers killed by an ambush in Zabul province
Qari / Yousuf Ahmadi
The mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate killed at 1:15 p.m. today (26-9-2008), six soldiers of the army in an ambush in the customer area, "Osmanzi" Invade State Department and Zabul.  According to the report, during the attack destroyed a car Ranger of the enemy completely, killing all inside.  The sheep weapons mujahideen soldiers dead and another military missions.  According to another report on the status of the mujahideen attacked the Directorate light and heavy weapons, but had no information on enemy losses of life.

 

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ARTICLES FOUND SEPT. 27

NATO Hopes to Undercut Taliban With 'Surge' of Projects
Washington Post, Sept. 27
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/26/AR2008092603452.html

KABUL -- NATO alliance troops facing ever more aggressive Taliban insurgents are planning a winter "development surge" of civil works projects in eastern Afghanistan designed to win over tribes in regions near the Pakistan border and to prevent their sons from joining the Taliban's ranks, according to military officials here.

At the same time, troops will keep up armed pressure with a winter offensive that seeks to get a head start on blunting the Taliban's traditional spring fighting season.

In a series of recent interviews, U.S. military and NATO officials said that reversing recent gains by Taliban forces will require more troops, time, confidence-building among the Afghan populace, and cooperation from Pakistan in denying the guerrillas sanctuary inside its borders.

"There is no doubt the enemy has bounced back," said Brig. Gen. Mark A. Milley, deputy commander for U.S. operations under NATO in eastern Afghanistan. "They are not unified, and they only have support of 10 percent of the people. But they have achieved a perception of insecurity. Our challenge is to create a perception of security."

"Our fighting season is 365 days a year," said Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, spokeswoman for U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, describing plans for cold-weather attacks. "We are not going to let them rest and reconstitute themselves." The simultaneous development surge, in the meantime, should help "separate the people from the enemy by presenting alternatives and undermining their recruiting pool."

One development project will be in Khost province, where suicide bombers attacked a U.S. base last month and followers of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani are active. The U.S. command plans to build a road from Khost city to a major highway, a project that officials hope will solidify local support for the government and weaken Haqqani's grip...

The general said that even though Pakistani forces cooperate closely with U.S. forces along the border and have lost more than 1,500 men, their troops are not trained in counterinsurgency [emphasis added] and their leaders have had difficulty "coming to grips" with the nature of the enemy they face...

Despite the wide perception that the Taliban is rapidly gaining ground, with attacks occurring regularly near the capital, officials cited several cases in which it is being decisively pushed back. In Kapisa province, just northeast of the capital, they said, French and Afghan troops have routed Taliban forces, and soon the construction of a new Kabul bypass road will begin there [emphasis added]. 

Extra British troops for Afghanistan ruled out
The expected reinforcement of troops into Afghanistan has been ruled out despite American suggestions that the force would be increased, according to senior British military sources.

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 27
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/3087473/Extra-British-troops-for-Afghanistan-ruled-out.html

A senior military official has said there was "no intention by the UK to transfer forces from Iraq to Afghanistan" when the British finally withdrew from Basra next year.

The news comes after a request for an extra 4,000 troops made this week by the British commander in Helmand, Brig Mark Carleton-Smith.

His comments came after the American defence secretary Robert Gates said last week that it was his "understanding that the UK may increase the size of its force" to deal with the "increasing challenges" in southern Afghanistan.

But the military had already "mortgaged our dividend" by having 12,000 troops deployed on operations for two years that was far above planning assumptions, the officer told defence correspondents.

Having a total of 8,000 troops on operations – the size of the force in Afghanistan – was "our ceiling" with the 4,000 in Iraq proving a massive strain on resources.

Despite Secretary Gates comments last week the defence official denied that Britain was being put under pressure from Washington to send extra troops to Helmand alongside an expected American surge of an extra 14,000 next year...

Pakistan 'kills 1,000 militants'
BBC, Sept. 26
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7638157.stm

Pakistani troops have killed 1,000 Islamist militants in a huge offensive in the Bajaur tribal district over the last month, the army says.

It says that it will regain control of the region from Taleban and al-Qaeda militants within the next three months.

The army says that five top militants were among those killed in the Bajaur operation. The area is one of the most unstable of Pakistan's tribal areas.

There has been no word from militants in relation to the army's claims.

"This is one area that, if you are controlling, can create a much greater effect on the entire region," Maj-Gen Tariq Khan told reporters on a visit to the area arranged by the army.

He estimated that 65% of the militant problem would be eliminated if militants were defeated in Bajaur.

"If they lose here, they've lost almost everything," he added.

"If we do not take any action it will become an independent agency spreading out terror in all directions."

'Al-Qaeda sanctuary'

Maj-Gen Khan said that 27 soldiers had been killed and 111 wounded in the operation, launched last month at the same time as Pakistan's new government was coming under increasing pressure from the US to take action against militants in its border regions...

...the BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Pakistan says that troops are barely making progress against militants and thousands of people have been displaced.

Our correspondent says that soldiers in Bajaur are not confronted with guerrilla-type attacks or suicide bombings but a situation of conventional warfare in which the militants continue to hold a large swathe of territory [emphasis added].

Maj-Gen Khan said the dead militant commanders were from Egypt, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Another was described as an Arab while the fifth was a Pakistani commander named only as Abdullah.

Bajaur is long believed to have been the most likely al-Qaeda sanctuary inside the Pakistani border region, and has been the target of several suspected US missile attacks since 2006...

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Pakistan's New Leader Denies Firefight as Mullen Confirms It
Washington Post, Sept. 27
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/26/AR2008092602435.html

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday denied that American and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the Afghanistan border this week, even as the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that the two sides engaged in a brief firefight.

Zardari told The Washington Post in an interview Friday that Pakistani border forces shot warning flares Thursday at two U.S. helicopters that he believes inadvertently crossed into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan. He said there was no gunfire exchanged between the two sides.

"We fired flares at them," he said.

Zardari spoke at about the time that Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Washington that Pakistani forces fired on two U.S. helicopters supporting a ground unit Thursday and that American troops responded with small-arms fire.

"There was a cross-border fire incident yesterday," Mullen said, corroborating reports from U.S and NATO military officials. He urged both sides not to "overreact to the hair-trigger tension we are all feeling. Now, more than ever, is a time for teamwork, for calm."..

Italian air force deploys C-27J Spartans to Afghanistan
Flight International, Sept. 19
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/09/19/316069/picture-italian-air-force-deploys-c-27j-spartans-to-afghanistan.html

Two Alenia Aeronautica C-27J Spartan tactical transports from the Italian air force's 46th Airlift Brigade left Pisa air base on 12 September for Herat in south-west Afghanistan, where they will join Italy's contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

One aircraft will be used to provide intra-theatre airlift, replacing a Herat-based Lockheed Martin C-130J, while the other will act as a reserve asset. The Spartans are equipped with a self-protection suite comprising laser, missile and radar warning systems, chaff and flare dispensers, and ballistic protection for the cockpit, loadmaster stations and vital aircraft systems.

Two Alenia Aeronautica C-27J Spartan tactical transports from the Italian air force's 46th Airlift Brigade left Pisa air base on 12 September for Herat in south-west Afghanistan, where they will join Italy's contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

One aircraft will be used to provide intra-theatre airlift, replacing a Herat-based Lockheed Martin C-130J, while the other will act as a reserve asset. The Spartans are equipped with a self-protection suite comprising laser, missile and radar warning systems, chaff and flare dispensers, and ballistic protection for the cockpit, loadmaster stations and vital aircraft systems...

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Taliban Propaganda Watch (RC South)
272015EDT Sept 08

.pdf version attached at bottom of message

NOTE:  The following material is from web pages and forums carrying statements attributed to the Taliban, Taliban spokespersons or supporters of the Taliban, or analysis thereof.  Posting of this material neither confirms nor endorses any of its content - it is shared for information only.  When material translated into English is not available, Google Translate is used to translate the original (indicated by "GoogEng") - this is only a machine translation, NOT an official one.


"A helicopter of American occupation shot down in Kandahar"
Thursday afternoon 26-09-2008 at approximately 6:10 pm local time, mujahedeen of Islamic Emirate shot down an  American invaders helicopter with anti-aircraft rocket in Bandi Temor area of Mewand district of Kandahar province, in which 25  the American terrorists on board were killed, the copter was shot down when it was patrolling in the area. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf


"A vehicle of puppet army blew up in Kandahar" (GoogEng) - Original in Arabic
Destroying a car of Afghan soldiers in an improvised explosive device customers Meond
Qari / Yousuf Ahmadi
The mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate detonated at 9:15 a.m. (2792008) Army pick a customer when an improvised explosive device enemy vehicle was in transit on the highway between Kandahar, Herat and the status of the Directorate of Meond junction Hkurjah state of Kandahar.  The blast destroyed a car and killing the enemy six (6) soldiers and wounded two others.  After the explosion fill the enemy through Herat, Kandahar highway in traffic, soldiers were Aladuszah Center Directorate.


"Killed 6 police officers in Kandahar sity" (GoogEng)" - Original in Arabic
Explosion in Kandahar city killed six police officers
Qari / Yousuf Ahmadi
Killed at 10:15 a.m. (2792008) six police personnel for the management of the client when a mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate Ranger-type vehicle hit an explosive device near the house, "Haji" all in the "bridge Seman" in Kandahar.  According to the report, the explosion destroyed a car enemy, killing six (6) in which two policemen.  After the explosion killed two policemen to the security command in this state, and the car is still burned in the region.  According to the news of mujahideen was killed yesterday evening a member of the Department intelligence called the client (TAGorg), with one of his bodyguards, with poisoning in the home first and then killed.


"9 british soldiers killed, destroyed enemy tanks in Sangin, Helmend" (GoogEng) - Original in Arabic
Dead and injured in England Sngen
Qari / Yousuf Ahmadi
The dead and wounded among the troops occupied in English at 07:30 this morning while filling 27-9-2008 mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of attack, and forced them to retreat, both in the Saravan Sngen state Department of Helmand.  Reported killing nine enemy soldiers, were killed and several others injured.  Destroyed a number of enemy tanks, and debris still remained at the scene.

 

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ARTICLES FOUND SEPT. 28

What a Surge Can't Solve in Afghanistan
Washington Post, Sept. 28, by David Ignatius
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/26/AR2008092603266.html

If there was one foreign policy issue on which Barack Obama and John McCain agreed during Friday night's debate, it was that the United States should send more troops to Afghanistan. The bipartisan enthusiasm for this surge is so strong that there has been relatively little discussion of whether this strategy makes sense.

So here's a skeptical look at the issue, drawn from conversations during a visit to Afghanistan this month with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Rather than more troops, the real game-changer in Afghanistan may be Gates's plan to spend an extra $1.3 billion on surveillance technology to find and destroy the leadership of the insurgency...

The "insurgent syndicate" was detailed in a PowerPoint briefing by Brig. Gen. James McConville, the deputy commander for the area in eastern Afghanistan where U.S. troops are fighting. One of his slides showed a circle of nine interconnected groups -- including the forces of Islamic warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the "Haqqani Network" of tribal leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other Mafia-like groups. Al-Qaeda is part of the syndicate, in theory. But from what I've heard from U.S. commanders during three visits to Afghanistan this year, al-Qaeda's presence remains minimal.

The syndicate members can be deadly, to be sure. The Haqqani network, for example, is believed to be responsible for this year's Kabul bombings at the Serena Hotel in January, at the Victory Day parade in April and at the Indian Embassy in July. U.S. officials view the Haqqani group as "terrorists for hire," and they believe the organization has links with Pakistani intelligence. But targeted Special Forces attacks on this group's leadership are likely to have more impact than a general increase in U.S. troops.

The need for precise targeting is why Gates is stressing what's known as ISR -- short for "intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance." He has been pushing for more than a year (against foot-dragging by the Air Force) for a big increase in the use of drones and cheap manned aircraft to watch the roads and mountain passes of this huge country and spot the insurgents before they strike. This ISR surge has more than doubled the number of daily Predator patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past year, from 12 in June 2007 to 28 today, and that number should reach 55 by the end of 2009.

By using ISR sensors, U.S. forces can see what's coming at them across Afghanistan's porous borders. And with new surveillance tools, they may be able to identify the networks and individuals that pose the biggest threat -- and then call in Special Forces teams to capture or kill insurgent leaders. "You don't hit a whole town, you hit the two people you want," says Lt. Gen. Richard Zahner, who heads a new ISR task force.

Afghanistan is a slow and difficult exercise in nation-building. The cornerstone of this effort is creating a strong Afghan army, whose numbers will double from 66,000 to 134,000 over the next three years. This effort requires 2,300 more American trainers, according to Maj. Gen. Robert Cone, and that's certainly a good investment. And there are other specific areas where additional American forces can make a difference... 

Revealed: secret Taliban peace bid
Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group

The Observer, Sept. 28
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/28/afghanistan.defence

The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging 'peace process' sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.

The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hardline Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks - despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.

Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had 'lost momentum'. According to Afghan government officials in Kabul, the intensity of the fighting this summer has been one factor. Another is the inconsistency of the Taliban's demands.

'They keep changing what they are asking for. One day it is one thing, the next another,' one Afghan government adviser with knowledge of the negotiations said. One aim of the initiative is to drive a wedge between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda and the Taliban...

The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging 'peace process' sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.

The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hardline Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks - despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.

Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had 'lost momentum'. According to Afghan government officials in Kabul, the intensity of the fighting this summer has been one factor. Another is the inconsistency of the Taliban's demands.

'They keep changing what they are asking for. One day it is one thing, the next another,' one Afghan government adviser with knowledge of the negotiations said. One aim of the initiative is to drive a wedge between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda and the Taliban...

In another development, The Observer has learnt that the British government is considering increasing the length of tours served by troops in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence confirmed last week that tours for senior soldiers in key command positions are set to be extended from six months to a year [emphasis added].

'We are looking at increasing tour lengths for a small number of headquarters posts ... with the aim of creating greater continuity in key positions,' an MoD spokesman said.

Although the MoD denied any plans to extend other service personnel's combat tours in Afghanistan [emphasis added], the idea of troops deployed to the area serving nine months was raised recently by the army's director of infantry, Brigadier Richard Dennis, in a speech to senior commanders.

Washington is putting pressure on Nato allies such as Britain to match American troop increases.

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Taliban Propaganda Watch (RC South)
281845EDT Sept 08

.pdf version attached at bottom of message

NOTE:  The following material is from web pages and forums carrying statements attributed to the Taliban, Taliban spokespersons or supporters of the Taliban, or analysis thereof.  Posting of this material neither confirms nor endorses any of its content - it is shared for information only.  When material translated into English is not available, Google Translate is used to translate the original (indicated by "GoogEng") - this is only a machine translation, NOT an official one.

Taliban Denies UK Media Reports of Talks Between Taliban, Saudis
.... The media reports abut the peace process' between Taliban and kabul sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain is untrue.  or that the unprecedented talks" involved a senior ex-Taliban member traveling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia all of that was baseless.  The ex_member of Taliban which were surrender or under surveillance they were not delegacy of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.  The enemy is using this propaganda campaign,is at it again with its distortion to engaged Muslim in order to weaken the Muslims .... (more on link)


Taliban Claims Responsibility for Shooting of Senior Female Police Officer (and Son) in Kandahar
Saturday evening 27-09-2008 at approximately 6:23pm local Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with remote controlled landmines blew up a vehicles of puppet police officer Naik Muhammad in Semano Pol area  of Kandahar city . The landmines completely destroyed the vehicles and officer among 3 puppet terrorists in it were killed.  Also Sunday morning 7:45 am local time mujahedeen attacked vehicle of Women police chief of Kandahar province in Chawni area of Kandahar city.  in attack Malali Kakar among her son were killed.Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf


"1 vehicle of Puppet police blew up in Kandahar"
Sunday morning 27-09-2008 at approximately 10:23am local Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with remote controlled landmines blew up a vehicles of puppet police in Lwawiala area of of Kandahar cit . The landmines completely destroyed the vehicles and  6 puppet terrorists in it were killed .Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf


"12  supplying truck of British destroyed 14 booty  in Helmand"
Sunday night 28-09-2008 at approximately 1:20 am local  , Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, ambushed a supplying convoy of British occupation army and its puppet police who were providing security for the convoy  which was travelling on Kandahar Helmand road in NahriSarage area of Grishik district of Helmand province. In the attack 12 supplying vehicles which were carried weapons to  American bases and 2 vehicles of puppet army were destroyed and 14 puppet police in its were killed, 5 arrested and 14 supplying vehicles were mujahideen booty.Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf


"2 checkpoints of puppet police demolished in Uruzgan/Shabrghan"
Saturday  night 27-09-2008 at approximately 11:20 pm local, Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with heavy and light weapons attacked puppet police checkpoint in Matakhan area of Tarenkot city capital of Urzga province. In attack the checkpoint was captured ,3 puppet police  were killed . their arms  were Mujahedeen booty.  Also in last night mujahedeen attacked on police check point near Shabrghan city in attack the post was demolished, puppet police fled and their arms were mujahedeen booty.Reported by Zabihullah Mujahid

 

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Taliban assassinate top Afghan female police officer    (Link in Title)

28/09/2008 8:25:56 PM 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The highest-ranking female police officer in Afghanistan was gunned down Sunday in Kandahar City as the Taliban finally made good on their threats to assassinate her.


CTV.ca News Staff


Lt.-Col. Malalai Kakar, Kandahar's first female police detective, was shot and killed by two assassins as she was making her way to work.

The attack occurred just before 9 a.m as her 18-year-old son was driving her to her police station. He was badly injured in the attack.

The Taliban was quick to take credit for her murder.

The mother of six was well-known in Afghanistan for her courage and toughness.

Kakar, 41, faced numerous threats on her life. In a previous assassination attempt, she shot and killed three of her would-be assassins.

In a country where most women won't step outside without a burka, Kakar was a rare exception. She was considered a trailblazer and was interviewed often by foreign journalists.

She was driven to be a police officer and at the age of 14 joined the police academy, following in her father's and brothers' footsteps.

When the Taliban came to power, crushing women's rights, she fled to Pakistan. She returned after the Taliban government fell.

Upon her return, Kakar quickly climbed the ranks of Kandahar City's police force to become deputy commander.

She headed a unit that specialized in crimes against women -- even though she was never allowed to drive a police vehicle.

But her work drew the attention of the Taliban, and she began receiving threatening phone calls - even though she changed her number often.

While she wore a regular police uniform at work, she would only venture out into the market beneath a burka, to avoid being recognized.

Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan Ron Hoffman called Kakar "a beacon of hope for women in democratic and free Afghanistan".

"Mrs. Malalai was well known for her staunch support of women in the Afghan National Police, and of the role of women in Kandahar society at large," he said.

The European Union also released a statement saying it was "appalled by the brutal targeting" of Kakar.

"Any murder of a police officer is to be condemned, but the killing of a female officer whose service was not only to her country, but to Afghan women, to whom Ms. Kakar served as an example, is particularly abhorrent," the EU said.

There are more than 20 female police officer in Kandahar and about 250 in Afghanistan.

With a report from CTV's Paul Workman in Afghanistan



 

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Articles found September 29, 2008

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What will Canada do about Pakistan, asks Hueglin
Article Link

Pakistan is being invaded by American troops. One possible result is action that will cut off the supplies flowing through Pakistan that sustain the military activities of the Americans and their allies.

The Government of Canada has been saying "me too" to American initiatives. Supporting American anti-missile bases in Poland on the Russian borders; recognizing the independence of Kosovo against UN resolutions; backing the Americans in seeking to have Georgia become a member of NATO; echoing the U.S. position that Georgia was correct in invading South Ossetia and Russia wrong in intervening.

Pashtun tribal chiefs in the attacked areas have met and have stated, "If America doesn't stop attacks in tribal areas, we will prepare a lashkar [army] to attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan," and as well, "We will also seek support from the tribal elders in Afghanistan to fight jointly against America."

The 40 million members of the Pashtun tribes are in continuing feuds among themselves. They act together only when threatened by external forces. Should the Americans persist in their policy of attacking Afghanistan's tribal areas and if the tribes that have been neutral take action, be assured there will be no differentiation made between Canadian and American Forces.
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Rebels attack provincial chief in southern Afghanistan; 4 bodyguards killed
Article Link

KABUL — Authorities say gunmen targeting a provincial council chief in southern Afghanistan missed their intended victim but killed four of his bodyguards.

The target of the attack late Sunday in the southern city of Kandahar was Mohammad Hashim, the provincial council chief in neighbouring Zabul province.

A council spokeswoman says the attack sparked a clash between Hashim's bodyguards and the insurgents in which four bodyguards were killed.

Meanwhile, a local official in Andar, in Ghazni province, claimed a targeted air strike there killed a Taliban leader as well as three other people.

But the U.S. coalition said it had no reports that its forces carried out any operations in Andar.
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MacKenzie’s war on NATO continues in second memoir
By SCOTT TAYLOR On Target Mon. Sep 29 - 6:11 AM
Article Link

ONE OF my tasks last week was to read and review the new autobiography by retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie, entitled Soldiers Made Me Look Good: A Life in the Shadow of War.

I have known MacKenzie since we first met in Croatia in 1992, and we have covered a lot of the same ground in war zones around the world over the past 16 years. As such, a lot of this book covered familiar territory for me and given that MacKenzie is a natural storyteller, it was an enjoyable read.

Since this is his second memoir with the same publisher, MacKenzie had to deliberately break Soldiers into two parts so as not to overlap the stories told in his 1993 No. 1 bestseller, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo. In the first section we learn what made little Lewis tick and how a rural Nova Scotian, son of a non-commissioned officer, became an up-and-coming infantry officer in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

A short segue chapter bridges the violent days when the eyes of the world watched the UN under siege in Sarajevo and the tough-talking Canadian general became a household name. The second portion of Soldiers deals with MacKenzie’s subsequent post-military career as a correspondent, documentary maker, race-car driver, media analyst and occasional freelance envoy.

Having never bought into the western media’s demonization of the Serbian people during the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia, MacKenzie was a vocal critic of NATO’s 78-day air bombardment of Serbia in 1999. I shared that opinion and like MacKenzie, I ventured inside embattled Serbia to report on the suffering caused by the NATO bombing. In Soldiers, MacKenzie chastises the Harper government for its March 2008 decision to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo. I have often voiced the same argument and applaud MacKenzie for sticking to his principles on this issue.
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Pakistani Tribesmen Join With Army to Fight Taliban Insurgents
By Khalid Qayum Sept. 29 (Bloomberg)
Article Link

Pakistani tribesmen are assisting the military in its eight-week campaign against Taliban insurgents in regions bordering Afghanistan, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said.

The ``success in this operation was directly linked with popular support,'' Kayani, who met with troops in the Bajaur tribal area where the fighting occurred, said in a statement issued late yesterday. ``Local tribesmen have risen against miscreants and are fully supporting the army.''

Pakistani security forces have killed more than 1,000 militants including key al-Qaeda leaders since starting an offensive in Bajaur, the News newspaper reported Sept. 27, citing General Tariq Khan, inspector-general of the Frontier Corps.

Pakistan has rejected criticism by the U.S. and NATO that it is failing to control pro-Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters using bases in border areas to carry out attacks inside Afghanistan.

President Asif Ali Zardari said in New York last week that unilateral U.S. air strikes and ground assaults inside his country were undermining efforts to control extremists in tribal areas and vowed to defend his country's sovereignty.
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Troops in Afghanistan to get 600 new armoured vehicles
Richard Norton-Taylor The Guardian, Monday September 29 2008
Article Link

Hard-pressed and vulnerable British troops in Afghanistan will be supplied with 600 new armoured vehicles under a £500m deal agreed between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury, government sources said yesterday.

The new troop carriers should enable the phasing out of the lightly armoured "Snatch" Land Rovers in which more than 30 British soldiers have been killed over the past five years in southern Afghanistan.

The Land Rovers, first used in Northern Ireland, protect troops from small arms fire but provide little protection against roadside bombs, which have been increasingly deployed by the Taliban and other insurgents. "We want to get to a point where we do not have to use the Land Rovers," a defence source said. Defence officials have defended the Land Rovers in the past, saying that they can travel relatively fast over rough ground and are more appropriate for "hearts and minds" missions.

Corporal Sarah Bryant, the first British female soldier killed in Afghanistan, and three SAS reservists died in June when their Land Rover was destroyed by a landmine. Susan Smith, whose son Phillip Hewett died in Iraq in 2005, has taken an action for damages against the MoD alleging "failures" over the use of the vehicles.

Under an agreement which Des Browne, the defence secretary, has been pushing for some time, the Treasury will pay £400m of the cost for the new carriers, with the MoD paying the remaining £100m from its own overstretched budget. Military commanders hope most of the 600 promised vehicles will be delivered to Afghanistan by next spring.

They will include Mastiffs, a version of American Cougars adapted for the army by a Coventry-based company, about a hundred smaller but heavily-armed 4x4 Jackal patrol vehicles, and a number of lighter vehicles to replace the existing fleet of Viking personnel carriers.

An MoD spokesman said it was "constantly looking to improve the equipment provided to its forces on the frontline". However, ministers and military commanders have made no secret of their frustration over the length of time it has taken. Part of the problem has been the severe pressure on the defence budget as billions of pounds have been committed to long-term projects, such as aircraft carriers and Eurofighter/Typhoon fast jets, of little relevance to the conflict in Afghanistan.
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Gunmen kidnap Polish engineer in Pakistan
28 Sep 2008, 1540 hrs IST,REUTERS
Article Link

ISLAMABAD: Gunmen kidnapped a Polish engineer in Pakistan on Sunday after shooting dead his Pakistani driver, body guard and translator, a senior pol
ice official said.

The engineer is an employee of the Polish oil company Geofizyka Krakow, the Polish Foreign Ministry said, and was visiting one of the company's sites near Attock city, about 65 km (40 miles) west of the capital, Islamabad.

"The criminals came in white car at around 6:45am(0045 GMT) and first they killed his Pakistani assistants and then whisked him away to an unknown place," said police officer Kazim Ali.

Ali said it was not known if the kidnappers were criminals or Islamist militants. Kidnap for ransom is relatively common in Pakistan though foreigners are not often targets.

Militants also occasionally take foreigners hostage. Two Chinese telecommunications engineers were kidnapped in the northwest in late August and a spokesman for Pakistani Taliban said the militants were holding the pair.

Afghanistan's top diplomat in Pakistan, ambassador-designate Abdul Khaliq Farahi, was kidnapped this month in the northwestern city of Peshawar after gunmen ambushed his vehicle and killed his driver.
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'Rich people' took Canadian handouts to Afghans
Troops passed out free food to mark Ramadan -- to those with invitations
Tom Blackwell, Canwest News Service Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Article Link

KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan -- Just outside the razor-wired gates of Canada's reconstruction team headquarters here, close to 100 Afghan men, women and children waited patiently Friday in the searing heat.

They showed up in hopes of benefiting from what was happening inside. Most went home empty-handed.

Behind the compound walls, Canadian troops passed out bundles of food to a lucky few in what has become an annual gesture to mark the end of Ramadan, a time when the affluent are supposed to give to those less fortunate.

Seven years after the Taliban's downfall and almost three since Canadians arrived in Kandahar, however, the need seems more acute than ever.

Some of the 200 families invited to receive the gift package said ballooning food costs and a still-decrepit economy had left them destitute.

"Due to the rising prices, life is getting worse rather than better," said Meheraban, 25, who has four children and no job. Like many Afghans, he goes by just one name. "It's very expensive and poor people can hardly afford to buy these things."

A 100-kilogram bag of flour now costs 5,000 afghanis, about $100, up from 2,000 afghanis just a year ago, he said. With Eid, the celebration at the end of the holy month, about to begin, his family would likely be forced to panhandle if not for the Canadian gift, said Meheraban.

Yet, it seems the Forces' gesture could not escape other realities of Afghanistan. Meheraban complained that many of those who arrived for the gifts were not actually impoverished, but had used their influence with local administrators to snag invitations.
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Moving Out
In the summer of 2006, a Canadian army patrol in the Panjwayi region of Afghanistan stumbled upon a large group of Taliban fighters. In a series of excerpts this week, the Post's Chris Wattie documents the deadly battle that ensued
Chris Wattie, National Post  Published: Monday, September 29, 2008
Article Link

Captain Marty Dupuis was never supposed to be LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle) captain of Charlie Company -- the third in command and the officer who controlled the LAVs when the rest of the company dismounted to fight on foot --let alone be left in command for the first full-scale battle of the deployment. The affable dark-haired francophone from Ajax, Ont., had been slotted into the company at the last minute after his predecessor had been posted to another job in Kandahar Air Field (KAF), "a stroke of luck," he was fond of saying, that saved him from the boredom of a staff job at headquarters or worse, back at the regiment's home base in Edmonton.

The 27 year old was just four years out of Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., when he landed in Afghanistan on his first overseas deployment, and was only temporarily in command when orders came down for Charlie Company to "kit up" and prepare for action. Major Bill Fletcher had just left on his mid-deployment leave and his second-in-command, Captain Ryan Jurkowski, was still en route back from his own leave. When he got his orders to move, Dupuis swallowed hard and began issuing instructions to move two of his three platoons out of KAF. He sent Number 8 Platoon, including Sergeant Mike Denine, to get the details of the mission while he prepared Number 9 Platoon to leave with him and a troop of engineers, moving directly from the air base to the Panjwayi area. Charlie's third platoon, Number 7, would remain in KAF as the quick-reaction force, ready to move up at a moment's notice.

Charlie was the clean-up hitter for Operation Bravo Guardian, Lieutenant-Colonel Hope's plan to clear out a suspected nest of Taliban in a cluster of villages at Nalgham, in the heart of the Panjwayi area. Bravo Company, equipped with only the lightly armoured G Wagon jeeps, was to sweep through the collection of small villages from the south, accompanied by Charlie's 8 Platoon to add heavy punch to their advance. The LAVs and troops with Dupuis were to wait to the north of the triangular clutch of villages, ready to block the Taliban's retreat and, it was hoped, catch them in the open as they fled Bravo Company's attack.
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Passchendaele to screen for Canadian troops in Kandahar
Paul Gross' epic film to be screened in Canada House at Kandahar Airfield  prior to October 17th release
  EMBARGOED UNTIL: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 12:01 AM
Article Link

    OTTAWA, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - Today, at the Ottawa premiere of the epic war
film PASSCHENDAELE, writer, director, star Paul Gross announced that the film
will be presented at a special advance screening for Canadian troops stationed
in Kandahar prior to its national theatrical release on Friday, October 17th.
The screening in Kandahar is scheduled for Friday, October 3rd.
    "It has taken an uncommonly long time to bring this movie to the big
screen but we are finally able to present it to the Canadian public and in
some small way pay homage to the sacrifice of our forefathers in the Great War
of 1914-1918," says Gross. "It seems fitting that the troops who today so
valiantly serve our country are among the first to see it."
    In making the film, a group of soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces
participated as background actors. To add to the authenticity, the soldiers
choreographed the battle scenes themselves, and then camped out on set in lieu
of staying at hotels provided by the production. They named their camp "Camp
Hornberg" in honour of Corporal Nathan Hornberg, a 24-year-old mechanic from
the King's Own Calgary Regiment, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.
    Today's Ottawa screening launches a national PASSCHENDAELE tour,
incorporating stops in Winnipeg (Oct. 2), Halifax (Oct. 6), Montreal (Oct. 7),
Quebec City (Oct. 8), Edmonton (Oct. 9), Calgary (Oct. 15) and Vancouver (Oct.
16). Gross will introduce the film across the country appearing with fellow
actors Caroline Dhavernas, Joe Dinicol and Meredith Bailey in several cities.
In addition to eager fans and moviegoers, government officials, war veterans
and other military personnel will be in attendance at all exclusive premieres.
    PASSCHENDAELE had its world premiere on September 4, 2008 as the opening
night gala at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will be released
across Canada by Alliance Films on October 17th.
    The website for the film is www.passchendaelethemovie.com
    Set during the height of the First World War, PASSCHENDAELE tells the
story of Sergeant Michael Dunne (Paul Gross), a soldier who is brutally
wounded in France and returns to Calgary emotionally and physically scarred.
While in the military hospital in Calgary, he meets Sarah (Caroline
Dhavernas), a mysterious and attractive nurse with whom he develops a
passionate love. When Sarah's younger asthmatic brother David (Joe Dinicol)
signs up to fight in Europe, Michael feels compelled to return to protect him.
Like thousands of Canadians, Michael and David are sent to fight in the third
battle of Ypres, a battle against impossible odds, commonly known as
"Passchendaele". It is a story of passion, courage and dedication, showing the
heroism of those that fought in battle, and the ones that loved them.
    Starring Paul Gross (Due South, Men With Brooms, Slings & Arrows) and
Caroline Dhavernas (Breach, Hollywoodland), PASSCHENDAELE is written and
directed by Paul Gross, produced by Niv Fichman, Rhombus Media; Frank
Siracusa, Whizbang Films; and Francis Damberger, Damberger Film And Cattle
Company.
    The project was made possible by the generous support of the Alberta
Government, Telefilm Canada, The Dominion Institute, The Movie Network, Movie
Central, The Harold Greenberg Fund and the Canwest MediaWorks. The production
also received generous support from numerous private investors as well as
sponsorship from CIBC and The 10th Battalion Calgary Highlanders Association.
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Canadian soldiers feel the economic pain of Afghans High food costs
Tom Blackwell, National Post  Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Article Link

KANDAHAR CITY, AFGHANISTAN - Just outside the razor-wired gates of Canada's reconstruction team headquarters here, close to 100 Afghan men, women and children waited patiently yesterday in the searing heat.

They showed up in hopes of benefiting from what was happening inside. Most went home empty-handed.

Behind the compound walls, Canadian troops passed out bundles of food to a lucky few in what has become an annual gesture to mark the end of Ramadan, a time when the affluent are supposed to give to those less fortunate.

Yet seven years after the Taliban's downfall and almost three since Canadians arrived in Kandahar, the need seems more acute than ever.

Some of the 200 families invited to receive the gift package said ballooning food costs and a still-decrepit economy had left them destitute.

"Due to the rising prices, life is getting worse rather than better," said Meheraban, 25, who has four children and no job. Like many Afghans, he goes by just one name. "It's very expensive and poor people can hardly afford to buy these things."

A 100-kilogram bag of flour now costs 5,000 Afghanis, about $100, up from 2,000 Afghanis just a year ago, he said. With Eid, the celebration at the end of the holy month, about to begin, his family would likely be forced to panhandle if not for the Canadian gift, Meheraban said.

Yet, it seems the Forces' gesture could not escape other realities of Afghanistan. Meheraban complained that many of those who arrived for the gifts were not actually impoverished, but had used their influence with local administrators to snag invitations.

"Most of the people coming here today were rich people."
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Kandahar governor says 2011 pullout 'leaves us in the lurch'
Tom Blackwell, National Post  Published: Monday, September 29, 2008
Article Link

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- As he readies for a possible Taliban offensive this week with "dozens" of suicide bombers, the new governor of Kandahar province is urging Canadian politicians to rethink the planned 2011 pullout of troops.

In his first full interview with western media since taking over the job last month, Rahmatullah Raufi also described some "worrisome" new trends in insurgent tactics. The Taliban are planting more roadside bombs inside densely populated Kandahar city itself -- rather than in rural areas -- and increasingly targeting government, UN and NGO officials with threats and assassination, he told the National Post.

Mr. Raufi praised Canada's efforts so far and said a multi-year Canadian plan of action for the province could bring about a "huge" improvement.

He politely suggested, however, that withdrawing all troops in less than three years is unwise, given the still-turbulent state of security.

"For Canadians, maybe that is worthwhile for their country," said the governor, a former Afghan National Army general with a reflective, grandfatherly demeanour. "But for Afghanistan, for us, it is not good to say that Canadians should pull out ... It is better not to leave us in the lurch."

In fact, Mr. Raufi said the province needs about 1,500 more foreign troops -- or for Canada to speed up the pace of its counter-insurgency and reconstruction efforts.

At the same time, he also proposed working through influential tribal elders to try to convince Taliban fighters to enter peace negotiations.
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Weak government allows Taleban to prosper in Afghanistan
The collapse of security in Helmand owes as much to government failings as to any military actionTom Coghlan in Lashkar Gar
Article Link

The wild-eyed policemen were high on opium, harassing locals and demanding bribes from drivers on the road so recently built at the expense of the British taxpayer.

“I might as well shoot myself in the head,” said one officer, jaw slack and eyes unfocused, as he leant on his Kalashnikov. “We have no life, no salary, and no respect from the people.”

His tattered uniform flapping, he added, with apparent self-loathing: “It is true what people say: the police are the robbers round here.”

The scene illustrated the central problem facing the UK in Helmand province, where 8,000 British troops are trying to impose order. British counter-insurgency doctrine has a single, central objective: to deliver security to the people. Without this, the Taleban and the raft of other challenges cannot be met.
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Researcher says Afghanistan is in disarray
TAYLOR MITCHELL  The Moose Jaw Times Herald
Article Link

On Sunday afternoon, a forum was held at the Moose Jaw Public Library about Afghanistan.
    Besides the candidates for Palliser speaking at the event, the main speaker was John Warnock who is the author of A Failed State: The U.S. and Canada in Afghanistan.
    Warnock spoke about what was going on in Afghanistan and what the Caanadian and American governments have been saying.
    “Before doing my research, I did not know much about what was going on in Afghanistan,” said Warnock.
    Since doing his research Warnock said he has acquired a lot of knowledge about the war in the East.
    Warnock said he learned that the U.S. has been in Afghanistan in a massive way since 1979. Almost all the reasons for the U.S. being there have to do with oil, he said.
    “Oil in the Middle East is vital to their existence.”
    What it all comes down to is the Afghans having no say in what happens to their country, said Warnock. Currently there is a complete failure of the economy.
    He added the country doesn’t have a tax program, 40 per cent of the people are unemployed, the average income is $350 a year and 42 per cent are living in extreme poverty with less than $120 a year.
    In the past year, there has been a major crop failure and a famine has swept across the country.
    Warnock said that the number of casualties has increased. There has been a greater reliance on missiles, planes, helicopters, etc., killing civilians and destroying villages.
    It is hard for Canadians to find out what is going on in Afghanistan politics because there is no coverage on it, he said.
    Green party Palliser candidate, Larissa Shasko said she believes Canada should be in Afghanistan strictly as peacekeepers, nothing else. Shasko thinks Canada needs to get out of Afghanistan because we are there for the wrong reasons. We need to start supporting the Afghanistan democratic system.
    Conservative candidate Ray Boughen had a different view on the troops serving in Afghanistan.
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UPDATE 1-Militants pouring in from Afghanistan: Pakistan
Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:42pm IST By Zeeshan Haider
Article Link

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Militants battling Pakistani forces are getting weapons and reinforcements from Afghanistan, security officials said on Monday, vowing no let-up in their offensive in the northwest.

Government forces launched an offensive in the Bajaur region on the Afghan border in August after years of complaints from U.S. and Afghan officials that Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan were getting help from Pakistani border areas such as Bajaur.

Now the tables have turned and the militants locked in heavy fighting with Pakistani forces are getting help from the Afghan side of the border, officials said.

"The Pakistan-Afghan border is porous and is now causing trouble for us in Bajaur," a senior security source in the military told a news briefing.

"Now movement is taking place to Pakistan from Afghanistan," said the official, who along with a colleague at the briefing, declined to be identified.

The officials did not blame the Afghan government for sending militants across the border but called on Kabul and U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan forces to stop the flow.
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Caffeine injection
Legion fundraiser brings Tim Hortons to Canadian troops in Afghanistan
September 29, 2008 Vik Kirsch Mercury Staff GUELPH
Article Link

Gord Odell is fed up with war. A Second World War veteran who served as an army non-commissioned officer in Europe, he saw enough devastation to last a lifetime.

"I've had enough," Odell said Saturday as he staffed a local Royal Canadian Legion booth in the Stone Road Mall.

The Legion was raising money over the weekend to give Canadian soldiers Tim Hortons coffee breaks. Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield has a Tim Hortons on the base.

Odell's thoughts turned to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's vow to withdraw Canadian troops from the fighting by 2011.

"I support bringing them home by 2011," Odell said. "They'll have done their jobs by then. It's time for somebody else to take over."

With the Canadian death toll approaching 100, Legion member Ken Sleeper said while 2011 isn't too far away, he'd prefer a shorter wait.

While the troops are doing "some good," Sleeper said any benefit to the indigenous population is "at the cost of -- the lives of -- our own people."

"We've now lost 97 troops so far, and that's not good," he said, adding that's a high death ratio, even by Second World War comparisons.

Legion member Amber Holman also doesn't want to wait until 2011 and risk seeing the death count rise any further.

"It would be nice for them to come home sooner," Holman said.

But Legion member Roy Wakefield doesn't want a set deadline.

"They're there for a mission," said Wakefield, a former commissioned officer with the sea cadets. He added he'd only support a date of 2011 "if they can get that mission over with by then.
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ARTICLES FOUND SEPT. 30

Afghan mission a stealth topic
Toronto Star, Sept. 30, by Martin Regg Cohn
http://www.thestar.com/FederalElection/article/508518

Afghanistan is our most ambitious, most dangerous and most expensive foreign policy and defence venture in decades.

Yet our normally voluble politicians have taken a vow of silence; and the media are mum. Afghanistan is not even a sleeper issue in this campaign; it's a stealth topic, just like the last election.

The Prime Minister deftly sidelined the issue when he joined reporters for a casual breakfast in the campaign's first week.

Stephen Harper sat down at the table. And he took Afghanistan off the table. Canada, he pledged, will withdraw all its troops in 2011.

That in itself was nothing new, because Harper and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion had previously voted in Parliament for the 2011 deadline. But by promising so categorically, over morning coffee, to remove Canadian troops on schedule, Harper wrenched it from the campaign agenda.

We've spent more time comparing Harper's sweaters to Dion's satchels ever since.

The prime ministerial impulse is no mystery. We're just days away from our 100th military casualty, when newspapers will once again splash photos of the dead on the front pages.

Fearing the political fallout on the campaign trail, Harper inoculated himself against Afghanistan by turning it into a non-story.

Good for him, politically. Bad for our troops.

In that political vacuum, no one has been making the case for Canada's mission in the campaign. And it's a mission worth defending.

It's backed by the United Nations, executed by NATO, sought by Afghanistan's government, and broadly supported by the Afghan people. Canada has done the right thing all these years, but will we take a wrong turn in 2  1/2 years?

We are losing our appetite for Afghanistan at the very time so many others are coming round to our position. After years of ignoring our pleas, the Americans, British and Australians are committing thousands of troops to shore up the effort...

It's instructive that the Americans seem quite capable of fighting foreign wars and talking about them at the same time – even at campaign time.

In the first presidential debate the other night, Democratic nominee Barack Obama decried the invasion of Iraq, echoing what Canadians have been saying all along. But in the same breath, he argued persuasively that Afghanistan is the just war that was never won, and must be [emphasis added].

Canadians used to believe that. Now we won't even talk about it.

Martin Regg Cohn is deputy editorial page editor. Formerly the Star's Asia Bureau Chief, he reported from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. His column appears Tuesdays.

Kandahar governor urges Canada to rethink 2011 withdrawal
The province needs about 1,500 more foreign troops, Rahmatullah Raufi says

Canwest News, Sept. 30
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=155bfbef-e76b-4950-bf33-e03604e3fb59

As he readies for a possible Taliban offensive this week with "dozens" of suicide bombers, the new governor of Kandahar province is urging Canadian politicians to rethink the planned 2011 pullout of troops.

In his first full interview with western media since taking over the job last month, Rahmatullah Raufi also described some "worrisome" new trends in insurgent tactics.

The Taliban are planting more roadside bombs inside densely populated Kandahar city itself -- rather than in rural areas -- and increasingly targeting government, UN and NGO officials with threats and assassination, he told Canwest News Service.

Raufi praised Canada's efforts so far and said a multi-year Canadian plan of action for the province could bring about a "huge" improvement.

He politely suggested, however, that withdrawing all troops in less than three years is unwise, given the still-turbulent state of security.

"For Canadians, maybe that is worthwhile for their country," said the governor, a former Afghan National Army general with a reflective, grandfatherly demeanour.

"But for Afghanistan, for us, it is not good to say that Canadians should pull out ... It is better not to leave us in the lurch."..

At the same time, he also proposed working through influential tribal elders to try to convince Taliban fighters to enter peace negotiations [emphasis added]...

Karzai asks Saudi Arabia to help deal with Taliban
AP, Sept. 30
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080930/karzai_taliban_080930/20080930?hub=World

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday he has asked the king of Saudi Arabia to help facilitate peace talks with the Taliban in order to bring an end to the Afghan conflict.

Karzai said there has not yet been any negotiations, only requests for help. But he said that Afghan officials have traveled to both Saudi Arabia and to Pakistan in hopes of ending the conflict.

"For the last two years, I've sent letters to the king of Saudi Arabia, and I've sent messages, and I requested from him as the leader of the Islamic world, for the security and prosperity of Afghanistan and for reconciliation in Afghanistan ... he should help us," Karzai said.

Speaking on the grounds of the presidential palace, where he gave his traditional message to Afghans for the Muslim religious holiday of Eid-al Fitr, Karzai said his government is trying to encourage militants to lay down arms.

He underscored that he has in the past reached out to fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar to "come back to your home soil and work for the happiness of the people."

Omar, meanwhile, released his own Eid message and launched a barrage of accusations against Afghanistan's security forces, calling them thieves, smugglers and criminals not worthy of people's trust.

Omar's message did not include any indication of willingness to talk to Karzai's government. Instead, it called again on foreign troops to leave the country...

Karzai, in his message Tuesday, said he would personally protect Taliban and other militant leaders from U.S. and NATO troops if they come back to A fghanistan for talks [emphasis added].

"Don't be afraid of the foreigners. If they try to harm you, I will stand in front of them," Karzai said.

Karzai said "everybody knows" Afghan officials are working toward peace efforts, and that if there is any progress, Afghan officials would announce it. "There hasn't been anything practical, but are hopeful it will happen," he said... 

Pakistan Picks New Chief For Intelligence Agency
Washington Post, Sept. 30
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/29/AR2008092903065.html

The Pakistani government has selected a new chief for its powerful intelligence service, the ISI, replacing a figure the Bush administration has long suspected of ties to Taliban extremists and other militant groups in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.

An army statement released late yesterday announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha to the ISI post, according to the Associated Press. Pasha, said to be close to army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, will replace Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, who was chosen for the post by retired Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani president.

Bush administration officials expressed cautious optimism about the appointment of Pasha, the director general of military operations for the Pakistani army since 2005. "It is a chance for the new government to work out a set of new directions for the ISI," one official said. The administration and Congress have repeatedly expressed concern that ties between the Pakistani intelligence service and the Taliban have undermined U.S. and NATO efforts to stem cross-border attacks by Pakistan-based extremists...

The decision to replace Taj comes as the administration is conducting a widespread review of its strategy in the faltering Afghanistan war [emphasis added]. In July, Bush approved an order allowing U.S. commandos to conduct ground operations in Pakistan's western tribal areas, a mountainous region where the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups are thought to operate. The Pakistani government vigorously protested an incursion by U.S. forces this month and its forces fired last week at two U.S. helicopters in the border region... 


General David Petraeus applies pressure for more Nato troops in Afghanistan
The American military commander Gen David Petraeus stepped up the pressure for extra troops to fight in Afghanistan after British commanders ruled out reinforcements
.
Daily Telegraph, Sept. 29
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/3104420/General-David-Petraeus-applies-pressure-for-more-Nato-troops-in-Afghanistan.html

Speaking after talks with the Prime Minister, the American military chief bluntly called on Nato countries to contribute more to the Afghan campaign at a time when the Taliban are resurgent.

Gen Petraeus said it was up to Nato member states to reinforce Afghanistan. "Now it is up to national capitals and the alliance to determine how to generate the additional force," he said. "I think it is up to the coalition how to source the forces."

Standing next to the head of the Armed Forces Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, he said Britain had "responded with a very good contribution" by doubling its force in the last two years to 8,000.

It appears the Americans have accepted that efforts by the Pentagon to strong-arm the Ministry of Defence into sending an extra brigade into Helmand province have failed [emphasis added].

Earlier this month, the US defence secretary Robert Gates appeared to be pressuring the MoD into reinforcements after he said that it was his "understanding that the UK may increase the size of its force".

The Nato-led force in Afghanistan has 53,000 troops from 40 countries but the Americans intend to increase their contribution by an extra 14,000 next year.

They are determined that the big European countries should similarly reinforce their missions to build up a force that can finally push out the Taliban...

Mark
Ottawa
 

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Articles found September 30, 2008

Afghanistan: Officer Kills U.S. Soldier
By JOHN F. BURNS Published: September 29, 2008
Article Link

An Afghan police officer opened fire on United States soldiers in a police station south of Kabul on Sunday, killing one of the soldiers, an American official said Monday. The American troops fired back, killing the police officer. A NATO statement said a joint NATO-Afghan patrol in Paktia Province, which had escaped without injury from a roadside bomb and small-arms fire, had arrested seven civilians who tested positive for explosives residue. The patrol took the suspects to the police station. There, NATO said, “an altercation” ensued.
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Pakistan replaces chief of powerful spy agency
Article Link

ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Pakistan has replaced the head of its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in an apparent bid to clean up the military spy agency amid western claims that it secretly backs the Taliban.

Lieutenant General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, formerly head of military operations, was appointed director general of the ISI late Monday, a terse military statement announced. He replaces Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj.

The move was part of a major shake-up of the army's top brass after US, Afghan and Indian officials alleged in recent months that the shadowy organisation was complicit in the Taliban insurgency wracking the region.

Pasha is widely considered to be a close aide to Pakistani military chief Ashfaq Kayani, who ran the ISI until October last year. Taj, his predecessor, was a key lieutenant of former president Pervez Musharraf.

The army insisted the 14 new appointments announced on Monday were routine.

"These were the changes due over a period of time. This is how the system works in the army," chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP.
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Canadian, U.S. soldiers compare armies
By Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes European edition, Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Article Link

HOHENFELS, Germany — When Canadian soldiers deploy to Afghanistan they usually go for only six months and get a hefty bonus for being there.

That’s something U.S. soldiers, who recently had their deployment times cut from 15 to 12 months, were quick to discover during this month’s Cooperative Spirit exercise at Hohenfels’ Joint Multinational Readiness Center.

Comparing pay and service conditions is something soldiers from different armies usually do when they are involved in multinational operations. And this month’s exercise involving soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was a good chance to do just that.

Canadian Cpl. Rob Hovey, 25, of Miramichi, New Brunswick, said, based on his conversations with U.S. soldiers, he believes his army has the best pay and conditions.

"I’ve talked to a few Americans," said Hovey, who got back from Afghanistan in August last year. "The sense I’ve got so far is that our terms of service and the benefits we get when we go overseas are better. My first time overseas I got $2,400 to $3,000 (Canadian dollars) a month."

Canadian dollars were trading slightly higher than U.S. dollars on Monday. But Hovey said he didn’t join the Army for the money.

"It was more of a family tradition," he said.
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1,130
Taliban Propaganda Watch (RC South)
300935EDT Sept 08

.pdf version attached at bottom of message

NOTE:  The following material is from web pages and forums carrying statements attributed to the Taliban, Taliban spokespersons or supporters of the Taliban, or analysis thereof.  Posting of this material neither confirms nor endorses any of its content - it is shared for information only.  When material translated into English is not available, Google Translate is used to translate the original (indicated by "GoogEng") - this is only a machine translation, NOT an official one.


"Ameer Al-Mu’meneen  Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid about the pleasure of  Eid al-Fitr" (includes offer to Coalition forces to leave) (Official English version) - Original in Arabic
....  If you show your intension of withdrawing your forces, we once again will show our principal by give you a safe way out, in order to show that we never harm any one .... (more on link)


"Puppet Deputy governor of Zabul killed in Kandahar" - Alternate version in English
Sunday night 28-09-2008 at approximately 10:13 pm local time, Mujahideen of  Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,  attacked puppet deputy governor of Zabul province, Muhammad Hasham Khan in Khwajak Baba area of Kandahar city. In the attack deputy governor and 3 puppet police terrorists were killed. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf

 
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