HAMPSHIRE soldiers were among troops who seized more than £50m worth of drugs during an operation in Afghanistan.
1st Battalion The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, known as the Tigers, were among 700 troops that took part in Operation Diesel which captured four drugs factories in Helmand Province and disrupted Taliban facilities making improvised bombs.
Troops carried out raids in the notorious Sangin Valley which the Ministry of Defence described as the ''Taliban heartland''.
The Hampshire-based soldiers provided a decoy, feigning a move into an area to the north of the real targets.
While distracted the true attacks took place forcing the Taliban to abandon the factories, weapons and drugs equipment.
Along with £50m worth of heroin and drug-making equipment troops also seized weapons and ammunition, including Ak47 assault rifles, PKM machine guns, numerous ammunition magazines and 3 RPG rocket launchers complete with additional warheads.
A motorbike modified for use in a suicide attack was also seized.
Defence Secretary John Hutton praised the bravery of British troops and said the drug seizures would starve the Taliban of funding and prevent drugs reaching UK streets.
Commander Task Force Helmand, Brigadier Gordon Messenger of the Royal Marines, described Operation Diesel as ''a clinical precision strike'' which had given a significant boost to the Afghan authorities in their fight against the drugs trade.
Operation Diesel which took place between February 6 and 11 involved Afghan Security Forces and British troops from 45 Commando Royal Marines, 42 Commando Group Royal Marines, 3 Commando Brigade's Reconnaissance Force, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and the Armoured Support Group.
This is nothing against the men of the batallion and I understand the traditions involved but the "Princess of Wales" Regiment? I can only imagine our own 1st Marine Regiment being renamed the "Michelle Obama Brigade".
Clashes between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan army have left at least ten people dead in southern Afghanistan.
Eight militants and two Afghan soldiers were killed on Tuesday in clashes in Helmand province, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Thirteen insurgents were taken prisoner after they surrendered to Afghan troops following a heavy exchange of fire.
The troops came under attack by the insurgents in Nadali town while they were on a drug control campaign in the region.
Opium production has significantly increased since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The United Nations estimates that almost 9000 tons of opium were cultivated in Afghanistan in 2007, with a street value of about $4 billion.
A recent UN Office on Drugs and Crime report says opium production has doubled in the past two years and that Helmand province is now the biggest single drug-producing area in the world -surpassing whole countries.
Posted by: Fred ||
02/18/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Taliban
SAN'A, Yemen -- A former Saudi Guantanamo Bay detainee who later went to Yemen to become an al-Qaida field commander has surrendered and was handed over to Saudi authorities on Tuesday, Yemen's Interior Ministry said.
Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi a.k.a., Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, a.k.a., detainee 333
was one of two Saudi ex-Guantanamo detainees who re-emerged as al-Qaida operatives last month in a militant video released a day after President Barack Obama signed an executive order directing the closure of the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba within a year. Saudi Arabia also named al-Oufi on a recently released list of 85 most-wanted men who had fled abroad.
Saudi government officials confirmed he surrendered and was handed over to Saudi authorities in order to contact his family and return to his former rehabilitation center, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
(AKI) - Yemeni police have arrested seven Saudi citizens allegedly linked to a local Al-Qaeda cell. According to the Saudi daily, Al-Watan, the seven were suspected of planning attacks against local oil fields and tourist spots in the Arab country.
The terrorists are reported to have admitted being part of the Al-Qaeda cell recently formed by Yemeni Naser al-Wahshi, who is said to have recruited several former detainees released from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay.
The arrests took place in the past few days in a series of raids carried out by security forces in the region bordering Saudi Arabia.
Since news broke last month about the creation of a new Al-Qaeda cell on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemeni police have arrested 23 people allegedly linked to the terror group and accused of entering Yemen illegally to join the cell.
Yemeni foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said last week that Al-Qaeda was under control in Yemen.
Speaking to the Saudi al-Madina newspaper, al-Qirbi said that the Yemeni and Saudi authorities had information on the whereabouts of militants in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
"They are under security control and censorship," he said.
"Al-Qaeda elements do not provide anything other than violence, destruction and damage to their homeland and to Islam and Muslims."
He said that his country was currently preparing a centre for the rehabilitation of former Guantanamo detainees.
Posted by: Fred ||
02/18/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: al-Qaeda in Yemen
At least four people were killed and 18 others injured on Tuesday when a powerful car bomb ripped through a street in Bazid Khel village on the outskirts of Peshawar, police and locals said.
The injured were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital and three are said to be in critical condition. An official at morgue said seven people had died in the blast but only three bodies were shifted to hospital. However, police have not confirmed the seven deaths. According to Reuters, five people were killed and 16 wounded in the attack.
Two cars: Eyewitnesses said suspected Taliban arrived in the village on two cars and parked in front of Bazid Khel Union Council Nazim Fahimur Rehman's home. Following this, they said, a powerful bomb blast occurred, damaging four houses, a dispensary and shops in addition to the deaths and injuries. The nazim was home at the time of the blast, but escaped injury.
Asif, a brother of the nazim, told Daily Times the two suspected Taliban who had arrived in the vehicles had been arrested. However, police did not confirm any arrest. Muhammad Afzal, a local, said he had also heard 15 gunshots after the blast. According to a Bomb Disposal Squad official, about 35 kilogrammes of explosives were packed in the cars and were detonated through remote control.
the bombing is believed to be retaliation for the villagers executing nine Taliban belonging to a banned group on February 4.
Armed and ready: Following the blast, armed villagers came out of their houses to prevent any further incursion into the village. According to sources, the bombing is believed to be retaliation for the villagers executing nine Taliban belonging to a banned group on February 4. The Taliban had been trying to kidnap Fahim. At the time, villagers had demanded the government take action against the Taliban operating from Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency. However, the government did not take any action.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the bombing, saying the government was committed to ensuring its writ at all costs and would not bow down to extremists, militants and terrorists.
Posted by: Fred ||
02/18/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: al-Qaeda in Pakistan
Security forces on Tuesday killed six Taliban during their ongoing operation to target suspected hideouts in Bajaur Agency, officials said. "Six militants were killed and scores injured during shelling by gunship helicopters in Inayat Qilay, Bhaicheena and Umerey areas in Mamoond tehsil," the officials said on condition of anonymity. The Taliban fired several rockets on agency headquarters Khar, killing one woman and injuring four other people, local residents said. According to AFP, three other civilians, in addition to the woman, were also killed after Taliban rockets hit houses, paramilitary barracks and a school. A security official and an intelligence official confirmed the death tolls, it added. The rocket attack created panic in the town, and all markets and government offices were shut down, residents said. However, the political administration relaxed curfew from 7am to 5pm in the surrounding areas.
Personnel of intelligence agencies on Tuesday arrested three alleged terrorists from the walled city and seized explosive material from their possession. The terrorists were arrested near Lohari Gate and two hand grenades, some live detonators, and other explosive material were recovered. They hailed from the northern areas and were arrested on the information received from terrorists arrested earlier. They had been involved in attacking NATO supply trucks and came to Lahore to create unrest in the city. The accused have been shifted to an unidentified place for inquiry.
NEW DELHI: The Army was more busy fighting militancy in North-East rather than Jammu and Kashmir last year if the number of militants "successfully eliminated'' is taken into account.
While the Army "killed'' 330 terrorists and apprehended 172 others in J&K in 2008, it "neutralised'' 717 United Liberation Front of Asom militants in Assam.
Moreover, relentless operations by Army and Assam Rifles in Manipur led to 209 militants of various outfits being killed, and another 863 being apprehended, during the year.
A "brief statement'' on "activities and achievements'' of the defence ministry released on Tuesday holds that the Army's counter-insurgency operations in J&K successfully targeted the terrorist leadership, eliminating 60 "middle-level'' leaders during the year.
"Freedom of action and therefore the ability of terrorists to carry out sensational acts of violence has been severely circumscribed, manifesting in lower violence levels,'' it said.
GAZA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Israeli aircraft struck two targets in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday causing some damage but no casualties, local Palestinian residents and Hamas security officials said. An Israeli army spokesman confirmed that aircraft had hit targets in Gaza but had no further details.
Residents said one air strike targeted tunnels which run under the Egyptian border at the town of Rafah that militants use to smuggle arms into the Gaza Strip. Another hit an already bombed-out security compound in the town of Khan Younis.
The strikes came in an apparent response to the firing of a mortar round by Gaza militants into Israel on Tuesday evening.
Posted by: Steve White ||
02/18/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under:
come on IAF... lets add some zeros after that number
Posted by: Abu do you love ||
02/18/2009 0:51 Comments ||
badly phrased article by Reuters
per Haaretz and JPost, seven tunnels were hit
also the security compound had the mosque still standing and the IDF may have thought (correctly?) ordinance was recently placed there
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers have stepped up conscription of child soldiers, the United Nations agency for children said on Tuesday, as the rebels prepare to face a final onslaught by the military.
"We have clear indications that the LTTE has intensified forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 years old are now being targeted," Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF's chief in Sri Lanka, said. The Tigers, who are encircled in a small patch of jungle, have a long record of using child soldiers, and have recruited more than 6,000 since 2002 according to UNICEF. "With a growing number of children being recruited by the LTTE and scores of children being killed or injured in fighting, UNICEF today expressed its gravest concerns," the agency said.
The rebels did not immediately react to UNICEF's claims, though they did lash out after being accused on Monday of shooting civilians who try to escape the bloody conflict. The United Nations said "a growing number of people trying to leave have been shot and sometimes killed" as they sought safety by fleeing rebel territory to government-controlled areas. A front organisation for the Tigers countered those allegations by saying the UN had failed in its duty to protect innocent people.
The UN was "withdrawing even the remaining few local staff from the conflict zone (and) completely shedding its responsibility of caring for the civilians trapped here," said the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO).
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