War on Terrorism

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Face of Defense: Chaplain Recalls 9/11’s Horror

From the wreckage of 9/11 to the front lines in Afghanistan, let these military writers tell you their story, for the sake of keeping history alive.

By Marine Corps Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Aug. 31, 2011 – Navy Chaplain (Capt.) Rondall Brown’s thick Blue Ridge Mountain drawl makes its presence known here, as he describes his experiences in New York City a decade ago with one word -- horror.

Brown, a 23-year Navy veteran, said his introduction to horror came 10 years ago and 10,000 miles from here in New York City during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was then a lieutenant commander serving as a chaplain for a Coast Guard unit in New England.

Brown, who hails from Haysville, N.C., spent several weeks in New York’s ground zero area immediately following the attacks helping devastated families through the catastrophe.

Brown seemed to be able to recall everyone he’d helped through the devastation in Manhattan.

“I remember one lady collapsing and just crying out, ‘Oh my God, my baby! I will never see her again!’” Brown said.

The woman’s husband, he added, had just “stood there, big guy, clenched fists, with tears streaming down his face. He never said a word.”

Brown spoke with long pauses as he recalled the horrific events of that day.

“I apologize,” the chaplain said, running his fingers through his short crop of gray hair. “I’m not normally like this.”

Today, Brown serves here as the command chaplain for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).

Serving in Afghanistan “brings a peace for me,” said Brown, his face flushed crimson with emotion. “We are doing something to prevent it from occurring again.

“If you had been there, and have the vivid memories I do of the horror these families went through, it’s unimaginable,” he added. “There was nothing to take home. There were no bodies.”

“In one sense it seems much longer than 10 years ago, but in another sense it feels just like yesterday,” Brown said. “I think for the people who had loved ones die, it’s a very vivid memory.”

Brown also recalled the awful smell and heavy dust that pervaded the disaster zone at ground zero.

“They gave me a little mask to wear, but I never wore it,” he said. “You can’t talk to people and wear a mask.”

The chaplain said it was important to him to be in Afghanistan on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. He said it was important to work to eradicate violence in this once terror-stricken region.

“There’s never a measurement you can put on the loss of a life, civilian or military. But should we be here? Yes, I think so,” Brown said. “People here are beginning to take leadership. They’re feeling confident with support from the government, with support from the American and coalition troops.

“When I was in Iraq in al Anbar,” he continued, “the tide turned there when the people said to the insurgency, ‘OK, we have had enough of what you are doing to the innocent civilians.’”

Combined Force Detains Haqqani Leader

You think you know what goes happens on the front lines in Afghanistan?  Think again. Prepare to be blown away when these warriors tell you their story.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2011 – A combined Afghan and coalition security force yesterday detained a Haqqani network leader and two of his associates during an operation in the Musa Khel district of Afghanistan’s Khost province, military officials reported.

The Haqqani leader was involved in planning an upcoming attack in Kabul city. Recent reports indicate he was considering using a car bomb for the attack.

In other Afghanistan news yesterday:

-- In the Qalat district of Zabul province, a combined force detained numerous suspects during an operation targeting a Taliban facilitator. The facilitator assists with roadside-bomb attacks against Afghan security forces.

-- A combined force detained several suspects during an operation targeting a Taliban leader in the Sangin district of Helmand province. The leader plans roadside-bomb attacks with subordinate Taliban chiefs, and provides weapons and military guidance to local insurgents.

-- A combined patrol detained two suspects during a search for an insurgent leader in the Sangin district of Helmand province. The leader operates in Kotozay village, and provides support and guidance for Taliban members in the district.

-- A combined force detained several Haqqani members in the Sayyidabad district of Wardak province. The force was involved in operations aimed at disrupting a local attack cell, whose members reportedly have been planning an attack in Kabul city.

-- Combined forces in Regional Command East detained one suspect and found a weapons cache that contained multiple assault rifles and a suicide-bomb vest. Bagram Airfield also received two rounds of indirect fire. No injuries and no damages were reported. The incident is under investigation.

-- A combined patrol seized an insurgent leader and detained numerous suspects during an operation in the Bala Boluk district of Farah province. The leader was responsible for supplying lethal aid used in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The patrol also confiscated and destroyed one 105mm artillery round and some small-arms ammunition.

-- A combined patrol seized a weapons cache during an operation in the Ghazni district of Ghazni province. The patrol also seized and destroyed seven mortar rounds and five rocket-propelled grenades.

-- In the Chorah district of Uruzgan province, a coalition patrol discovered a weapons cache containing one 82mm mortar, one assault rifle, one .303-caliber rifle, 520 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, a webbing set containing three full assault rifle magazines, eight small-arms magazines, six rocket-propelled grenade warheads, nine RPG propellants, one rocket motor, one RPG fuse and one radio antenna. The cache will be destroyed.

In Aug. 26 Afghanistan news:

-- A combined patrol detained an insurgent leader during an operation in the Nad ‘Ali district of Helmand province. The leader was responsible for supplying ammunition and explosives used in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mattis Discusses Afghan Transition at Marine Symposium

Read firsthand account of life and combat on the front lines in Afghanistan.  See these books written by the heroes who were there.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., Aug. 30, 2011 – Transition is an ongoing process in Afghanistan, and it entails far more than simply winning on the battlefield, the commander of U.S. Central Command said here today.

Marine Corps General James N. Mattis said 2010 was a very bad year for the enemy, and that 2011 is going to be even worse. The Taliban are “losing leadership, ground, logistics, and public support,” he said at an Emerald Express Symposium at the Marine Corps University.

Time and again, Mattis stressed that transition in the country is going to work only if the coalition and the Afghan government get the inputs right.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has been working over the past two years to focus resources on building the right organizations, staffing those organizations correctly, and developing civil-military plans and approaches for the unique situation for Afghanistan, the general said. Getting the organizations in place is “really the stuff of getting transitions correct,” Mattis told the international audience at the symposium.

One organization that has stood up and become crucial is the ISAF Joint Command, a three-star command that focuses on the day-to-day activities of the war, freeing the four-star ISAF commander to focus on longer-range operations and relations within the alliance and with the Afghans.

“It’s as if you are at the battalion level and you are in the current fight, and you are also responsible for operations a week from now,” he said. “All of your attention is focused on the current fight and getting the resources to those in contact right now.” The same thing happens at every level of command, the general added.

NATO Training Mission Afghanistan took a mission spread out over the country and made sense out of chaos, Mattis said, and is performing a mission critical to the long-term success of efforts in the country. U.S. troops are drawing down in Afghanistan, he said, but the number of Afghan soldiers and police is increasing far faster than the drawdown.

Working on getting the rule of law in place in Afghanistan is another key capability, Mattis said. “These are areas you’ve got to deal with,” he added. “Otherwise, you have a ‘catch and release’ program or ethical violations – neither of which can be sustained.”

The ISAF headquarters has an element that works on reintegration and reconciliation. Reintegration is a bottom-up process, and thousands of young Afghan men have turned away from the Taliban and are throwing their lot in with the Afghan government, Mattis explained. Reconciliation, he said, is worked top-down, as Afghan government officials work with leaders who have complaints and try to get them into the political process.

“Nobody reconciles if they’re winning,” Mattis said. “First of all, you’ve got to drive the enemy and destroy their hopes. Nobody reintegrates to the losing side. You are not reading about an Afghan army platoon going over to the enemy,” or a police station joining forces with the Taliban.

Getting the inputs right means building on the security that battlefield success causes, the general explained. If this is not the case, he added, “then you’d better change your strategy, change your tactics.”

Other organizations in the command also are part of the transition effort. A combined special operations command features intelligence fusion cells, information operations cells and anti-corruption task forces. Some of these are not traditional or normal jobs for the military, Mattis acknowledged, “but they are absolutely critical.”

People are the most important part of any organization, the general said, but it has to be the right type of person in the right place.

“Sometimes, you need to get rid of some people whose approach to coalition and civ-mil fighting is obsolete,” he said. “If someone cannot create harmony across interagency lines, across international lines, if someone can’t get the interagency to work together, that person’s leadership is obsolete. That person is a bigger asset to the enemy than they are to our own mission, our own nation.”

The reality of planning and getting these concepts right may be lost on Americans who believe the United States is alone in the effort, Mattis said.

“There are 49 nations fighting together in the largest coalition in modern history,” he said. “The reason I bring this up is … [Americans] sometimes wonder if we’re doing it on our own. I would just tell you that Canada, Estonia and the Netherlands have lost more troops per capita in this fight than we have, and that the Pakistan military has lost more troops than all of NATO combined. They are not a perfect ally, [but] everybody coming to the table brings something.”

NATO Officials: Work Still Remains in Libya

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2011 – The NATO mission in Libya is important, effective and still necessary to protect civilians in that embattled nation, a NATO spokeswoman said today.

“As long as threats remain, there’s still a job to be done and we will get that job done,” Oana Lungescu told reporters today at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“The mission will continue in full compliance with the United Nations mandate for as long as it’s needed, but not a day longer,” she added.

Joining her in a live videoconference from Naples was Col. Roland Lavoie of the Canadian air force, NATO’s military spokesman for Operation Unified Protector.

“The Gadhafi regime is collapsing and rapidly losing control on multiple fronts,” Lavoie said. The port of Tripoli now is accessible to commercial and humanitarian shipping, said he added, and the two metropolitan airports are secured.

The new Libyan authorities are now providing for the security of Tripoli, Lavoie said, and the National Transitional Council is demonstrating its leadership and its ability to coordinate the provision of services to the city’s residents.

“These are very encouraging signs, indeed,” the colonel added.

“It looks as if we’re nearly there, but we’re not there yet,” Lungescu said, adding that in the past week the world has had vivid reminders of the continuing threats.

“We’ve seen the grim pictures from Tripoli and the allegations of mass graves, executed prisoners and a hospital full of dead patients,” she said. “We’ve seen more reports of how the regime has been using mosques, schools and marketplaces as shields for its weapons.”

NATO must make sure these threats are gone for good, Lungescu said. It’s imperative, she added, that “the civilians and cities in Libya are safe so that the Libyan people can build a new future based on democracy, reconciliation and the rule of law.”

Lavoie said the main area of attention now is the corridor between Bani Walid and the eastern edge of Surt, where pro-Gadhafi forces maintain a varying presence in several coastal cities and villages, and some inland areas.

“Gadhafi forces are being pushed out of the greater Tripoli area,” Lavoie said. “Despite the presence of remnants of the regime, the Tripoli region is essentially freed, with the retreat of pro-Gadhafi forces to the areas of Bani Walid to the southeast of the capital,” where they no longer represent a direct threat to the population of Tripoli.

Over the past week, anti-Gadhafi forces opened the northwest coastal route linking Tripoli to the Tunisian border, the colonel added.

“As the overall security situation improves, this vital link will gradually allow for more road movements,” Lavoie said, “which means more food, more water, fuel, medicine and other supplies.”

Once NATO’s job is done, Lungescu said, “it is for others to take over the lead in supporting Libya.”

The North Atlantic Council will decide when the Libya mission is complete based on the military advice of Operation Unified Protector commanders and the military authorities, she added.

“Last week when the North Atlantic Council met, there was consensus around the table, together with the contributing partners in Operation Unified Protector, that the anti-Gadhafi momentum is irreversible and there was full commitment to continue the mission until the mandate is fulfilled but no longer than is absolutely necessary,” Lungescu said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will travel to Paris Sept. 1 to take part in a senior-level meeting on Libya, she said.

“This will be an opportunity for further coordination of international support for the people of Libya,” Lungescu said, “as they finally begin to hold the future in their own hands.”

Combined Forces Kill, Detain Multiple Insurgents

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Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2011 – Afghan and coalition security forces yesterday killed and detained multiple insurgents during separate operations targeting a Haqqani terrorist network attack cell in eastern Afghanistan, military officials reported.

The operations targeted several facilitators responsible for planning an attack on the Afghan capital of Kabul under direction from Haqqani leaders based in Pakistan. Tips from local Afghans indicated the insurgents’ locations and their plans to launch the attack during the next few weeks, officials said.

In the Nerkh district of Wardak province, a combined force searching for a Haqqani facilitator was attacked by enemy rocket-propelled grenade fire. The force returned fire, killing several insurgents.

In a related operation, an Afghan-led security force searched for another facilitator at a compound in the Andar district of Ghazni province. The force was attacked by a group of insurgents barricaded in a building. The force directed the insurgents to surrender, however the insurgents continued to fire. The force then called in airstrikes, which killed several insurgents and caused others to surrender. Members of the security force then met with local leaders, who said the building the insurgents had taken over was the village mosque. In another operation, several individuals with suspected ties to the Haqqani facilitators were detained in the Sabari district of Khost province.

No civilians were harmed during the operations, officials said.

Coalition officials have arranged a meeting with leaders in Ghazni to rebuild the mosque, which was destroyed during the fighting. Insurgents have been using mosques as fighting positions or as ammunition storage areas. On July 20, A group of Haqqani insurgents used a position inside a mosque to attack Afghan and coalition forces in the Bermal district of Paktika province. Insurgents also recently used a mosque in the Zharay district of Kandahar province to store explosives.

Since the beginning of the year, combined forces have captured or killed more than 100 Haqqani insurgents in Khost, Ghazni, and Wardak provinces, more than 50 of them insurgent leaders or facilitators.

In other operations yesterday:

-- A combined force detained a Taliban facilitator and two of his associates during a security operation in the Zharay district of Kandahar province. The facilitator was responsible for acquiring and moving weapons, and financing Taliban operations in the district.

-- A combined force detained multiple suspects during an operation targeting a Taliban facilitator in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province. The leader coordinates the movement of weapons and bomb-making materials in the region.

-- A combined force killed two insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province.

-- Combined forces detained four suspects as the result of four operations conducted in Regional Command East.

-- Bagram Airfield received one round of indirect fire from an unknown number of insurgents. No injuries and no damages were reported. The incident is under investigation.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Douglas J. Green, 23, of Sterling, Va., died Aug. 28 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army Alaska public affairs office at 907-384-2072.

Combined Force Kills Taliban Insurgent

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2011 – A combined Afghan and coalition security force yesterday killed a Taliban insurgent and detained another during an operation in the Kunduz district of Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, military officials reported.

During a search of the area, the security force observed an armed insurgent operating in a field. After ensuring no women or children were in the area, an air-weapons team engaged the individual, killing him.

Following the engagement, the security force confiscated roadside-bomb-making materials, multiple assault rifles and a chest rack.

The force then moved to search a nearby compound and discovered more bomb-making materials, including 15 pounds of homemade explosives, blasting caps and detonation cord. The force safely removed the materials and detained a suspected insurgent before leaving the area.

In other Afghanistan news yesterday:

-- A combined force detained one suspect in the Almar district of Faryab province. The force detained the individual after observing him conducting insurgent activities in the area.

-- In the Ghazni district of Ghazni province, a combined force detained two suspects while searching for a Taliban leader. The targeted leader participates in kidnappings, hijackings and attacks against Afghan security forces.

-- Four combined force operations in Regional Command East resulted in the deaths of four insurgents, the detention of three suspects and one escaped prisoner. Forces also discovered an enemy weapons cache containing transmitters, 100 kilograms of homemade explosive, 4 kilograms of ammonium nitrate used in the construction of homemade bombs, aluminum powder and a rocket-propelled grenade round.

In Aug. 27 Afghanistan news:

-- Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Marine Corps General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, jointly condemned the terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in Lashkar Gah City and Kandahar City. According to reports, the attack in Lashkar Gah City killed four people and wounded several others, while two attacks in Kandahar City wounded more than 20 people -- the majority being children. "This is another example of the insurgents having no regard for the Afghan people," Allen said. "Attacking innocent civilians to include such a large number of children is an inexcusable and a cowardly act."

-- In Kandahar city in Kandahar province, a combined force detained multiple suspects while searching for a Taliban facilitator who moves ammunition and money for insurgents and monitors Afghan security force operations.

In Aug. 26 Afghanistan news:

-- A combined patrol killed multiple insurgents and detained several suspects during an operation in the Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province. The insurgents were responsible for the production of improvised explosive devices used in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The patrol also seized and destroyed a quantity of small arms.

-- In the Ghazni district of Ghazni province, a combined force detained several suspects while searching for a Taliban leader. The leader directs tactical operations, surveillance and reconnaissance against Afghan security forces.

In Aug. 25 Afghanistan news:

-- A combined patrol killed two insurgents during an operation to disrupt a narcotics network in the Now Zad district of Helmand province. The two insurgents were killed after they engaged the patrol with small-arms fire. The patrol also seized and destroyed a quantity of small arms and ammunition.

-- In the Kandahar district of Kandahar province, a combined patrol discovered and destroyed a cache containing 1,500 pounds of urea nitrate, which can be used to construct IEDs.

-- Also in Kandahar province, a coalition force patrolling the Dand district discovered and destroyed a cache containing 38 bags of homemade explosives, three suicide vests, a 500-foot timed fuse, 20 blasting caps, a pressure cooker and assorted electronics.

-- A combined patrol confiscated a vehicle containing 660 pounds of explosives during an operation in the Andar district of Ghazni province. The explosives were safely destroyed on site.

Air Force Iraq Mission Likely to Increase Before It Ends

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2011 – As the American presence in Iraq draws down, the U.S. Air Force mission in the nation likely will increase, Air Force Maj. Gen. Russell J. Handy said.

Handy -- commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force and director of the Air Component Coordination Element in Iraq -- discussed the Air Force mission in Iraq and the way forward during a telephone interview from his headquarters at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

“We have to continue doing the same things we’ve been doing supportwise that we have been doing through the entire transition,” the general said.

The command is responsible for coordinating and enabling air operations in the country. “As we continue to draw down the land component, we will continue to fly cover overhead,” Handy said. He anticipates that the number of U.S. Air Force sorties will trend up in the next few months to cover the drawdown.

This includes the full range of missions, from close-air support to strategic airlift, he said. It also entails armed overwatch of U.S. troops conducting partnered operations with Iraqi forces and aiding U.S. forces as they defend installations and protect convoys.

And intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance “is a huge part of our mission area, and we will continue to fly that,” he added.

Some 46,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq today, and all are set to leave by the end of the year as part of the U.S.-Iraq security agreement signed in 2008. This will mean an influx of mobility forces coming into Iraq, Handy said.

“That is a growth area for the Air Force here between now and the end of the year as we start to pull forces out,” he said. “We will need a lot of airlift.”

This is not just C-130 Hercules tactical airlift, but involves giant C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy transport jets. These aircraft will require tanker aircraft and other support, so this will be a busy time for airmen in country, Handy said.

Meanwhile, the general said, the command is in the process of turning over air bases to the Iraqi air force.

In addition, the U.S. Air Force has a number of units and individual airmen embedded with U.S. Army units in Iraq.

“These airmen are engineers, security forces, intelligence professionals and medics,” Handy said.

Also, a number of airmen are working with experts at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to rebuild the Iraqi transportation system.

“They need to build that from the ground up -- from radars and communications linkages to training air traffic controllers and to fit all that together,” Handy said. The airmen have been transferring “chunks” of Iraqi airspace to the Iraqis for the past two years, he noted, and the U.S. Air Force is responsible for a small segment at lower altitudes of central Iraq.

“Our requirements through the end of the year won’t go down, and in some cases will increase,” the general said. The command will do that in combination with Air Force units from outside the country, he added.

Handy’s command also assists the Iraqi air force and the Iraqi army’s aviation command. The U.S. Air Force partners with Iraqi airmen where it can. “We do partner, advise, assist and train with the Iraqis in every mission area within their capabilities,” Handy said.

As Iraqi capabilities increase, U.S. airmen pull back, the general said. For example, he said, the Iraqis operate their own tactical airlift program with no U.S. involvement.

The Iraqis have run the C-130 squadron on their own since 2009, the general said. In addition, the Air Force partners with the Iraqis in intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance platforms. The Iraqi military has a fledgling ISR capability that has, despite its newness, had significant operational successes.

“We partner with them at the squadron and on the ground, and in the operations center to integrate that ISR,” Handy said.

The Air Force element in Iraq partners with all levels of the Iraqi air force, from the air college in Tikrit to initial pilot training, “and just about everything in between,” the general said.

The American force does not partner with the Iraqis on fixed-wing close-air support, the general said, because the Iraqis do not have that capability yet.

Much remains to be done in Iraq, Handy said, but his command, too, will leave by the end of the year. He said he anticipates that the Office of Security Cooperation in the U.S. Embassy will continue to work with the Iraqi military as the Iraqi air force continues to grow.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Michael C. Roberts, 23, of Watauga, Texas, died Aug. 27 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 561st Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, Fort Campbell, Ky.

For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 931-561-0131.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pfc. Jesse W. Dietrich, 20, of Venus, Texas, died Aug. 25 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

For more information the media may contact the 10th Mountain Division public affairs office at 315-772-8286.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pfc. Brandon S. Mullins, 21, of Owensboro, Ky., died Aug. 25 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army Alaska Public Affairs Office at 907-384-1542/2072.

Friday, August 26, 2011

DOD Identifies Unit for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation

Read the personal accounts of soldiers, airmen and marines who describe action on the front lines in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense announced today a unit to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. The announcement involves one brigade combat team totaling about 3,200 soldiers. The scheduled deployment date for this unit is December 2011.

Specific unit:

3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

DoD will continue to announce major deployments as they are approved. For information regarding the 2nd Infantry Division, contact Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield at 253-370-9861 or gary.dangerfield@us.army.mil .

Karzai, Allen Condemn Attacks in Afghanistan

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Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2011 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, jointly condemned today’s insurgent attacks in Herat and Faryab, Afghanistan, military officials reported.

The attacks killed five civilians, including a woman, and wounded 24 others, officials said.

Reports indicate the explosives were detonated at a public place in Herat and near a mosque in Faryab.

"Again, insurgents have murdered and maimed innocent civilians," Allen said in a statement issued today. "It's clear from these many callous acts that the lives and livelihoods of Afghan citizens mean nothing to these enemies of Afghanistan. We join President Karzai and [the ministry of interior] in condemning these heinous attacks, and we will work together to relentlessly pursue these enemies of peace and Afghanistan sovereignty."

In Afghanistan news yesterday:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition security force detained numerous suspected Haqqani network insurgents during an operation in the Sabari district of Afghanistan’s Khost province. The force detained the men while searching for a Haqqani facilitator who coordinates ambushes and emplaces roadside bombs.

-- In the Zurmat district of Paktia province, a combined security force detained several suspects while searching for a Haqqani facilitator who is responsible for the movement of insurgent weapons and explosives in the region.

-- A combined patrol discovered and destroyed a large cache of bomb- and improvised explosive device-making materials in the Sangin district of Helmand province. The cache consisted of two 105 mm shells each filled with nine pounds of explosives, 50 pounds of nitrogen-based powder, 55 pounds of citric acid monohydrate powder, 55 pound bags of monosodium glutamate powder, six hand grenades, 30 blasting caps, one pressure plate, 100 feet of detonation cord, one chest rack, three antennas and one radio. A bag of an unknown powder also was discovered.

In Aug. 24 Afghanistan news:

-- A combined patrol killed one insurgent and detained two suspects during an operation in the Qarah Bagh district of Ghazni province. The patrol also seized and safely destroyed two grenades and a quantity of small arms and ammunition.

-- A combined force detained two suspects during an operation targeting an insurgent leader in the Kabul district of Kabul province. The leader is responsible for IED and other attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

-- A combined patrol killed numerous insurgents during an operation in the Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province. The insurgents were killed after they engaged the patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. Following the firefight, the patrol discovered and destroyed some small arms and ammunition.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Andrew R. Tobin, 24, of Jacksonville, Ill., died Aug. 24 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

For more information the media may contact the 10th Mountain Division public affairs office at 315-772-8286.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FBI Seeks Public Assistance in Solving a 1981 Domestic Terrorism Case

The FBI is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Donna Joan Borup. Borup is wanted for her alleged participation in the violent disruption of an anti-apartheid demonstration at JFK International Airport in Queens, New York, on September 26, 1981.

Borup allegedly tossed an acidic substance into the eyes of Port Authority Police Officer Evan Goodstein. As a result, Goodstein was partially blinded. At the time, Borup was a member of the 19th Communist Organization, a Marxist-Leninist Organization that advocated the armed revolution and violent overthrow of the United States government. Borup was arrested and released on bail pending a trail in May 1982.

On May 20, 1982, an arrest warrant was issued for Borup after she failed to appear for trial. On September 29, 1982, an unlawful flight to avoid ptosecution (UFAP) warrant was issued by the Eastern District of New York.

Borup is a white female between 5’4’’ and 5’6’’ tall and approximately 160-170 pounds. She has brown or blue eyes and uses multiple dates of birth that would put her between 59-64 years of age. Borup has used Rebecca Ann Morgan, Donna Borup, and Donna Austopchuk as aliases. She has family ties to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“Borup has been on the run for too long and deserves to be brought to justice for her alleged attack against a law enforcement officer. We’re asking the public to look at these photos and to contact the FBI if they recognize Borup, “said Supervisory Special Agent Tim Flannelly.

Borup’s wanted poster is currently on the Clear Channel billboard in Times Square. The slide flashes between her old photo and an age progressed photo.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI immediately at 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Eastern Afghanistan Improves, Commander Reports

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 – Eastern Afghanistan’s government and security forces increasingly are improving their capabilities and eliciting confidence in the people they serve, a U.S. commander in the area said today.

As NATO’s International Security Assistance Force builds on improved security in the area, provincial and district government and security forces are growing in their capabilities and confidence, Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, commander of ISAF’s Regional Command East, said during a Pentagon media briefing.

“Tactically, we have kept pressure on the insurgent networks and cleared several support zones and, in the process, strengthened the leadership and capability of our Afghan partners,” Allyn told reporters in a video teleconference from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Afghan National Police demonstrated that progress earlier this month when they led a combined mission that distributed 160 tons of humanitarian assistance to residents of Nuristan province. It was an “extremely complex” mission and, unlike similar previous missions, involved limited coalition assistance, Allyn said.

Along the Pakistan border, the command is working to improve communication and coordination between Afghan and Pakistani forces, he said, adding that border forces just completed a “very effective” exercise to do just that.

In missions along the border in recent days, Afghan border police seized more than six tons of ammonium nitrate –- an illegal fertilizer used in homemade explosives -- being smuggled into the country from Pakistan, Allyn said.

Two eastern provinces and one capital district have started their transition to taking over for coalition forces for security of those areas as part of the U.S. drawdown of forces that began last month, the general said.

The coalition partnership is allowing residents more access to essential services and, more and more, they are “becoming inhospitable to insurgents,” he said.

The side effect, Allyn said, are the “ruthless, desperate and inexplicable acts of insurgents” against civilians.

“Their blatant disregard for the citizens of Afghanistan” manifests in suicide attacks that target innocent civilians in population centers, he said.

Coalition forces “will continue to support our partners and ensure they meet irreversible stability,” Allyn said. “We will continue to press forward with our Afghan partners to help them achieve a stable future.”

Karzai, Allen Condemn Paktia Province Attack

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Marine Corps General John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, jointly condemned yesterday’s insurgent rocket attack in the city of Zarmat in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, military officials reported.

The attack killed several civilians and wounded numerous others, including a child, officials said.

Initial reports indicate the terrorists targeted a public area, killing and injuring people shopping in preparation for their breaking of the Ramadan fast.

In a statement issued yesterday, the general extended his condolences to families of those killed or injured in the attack.

“The insurgents must realize that each of these heinous attacks confirms the true nature of their cause,” Allen said, “and strengthens the resolve of the Afghan people against them."

In other Afghanistan news yesterday:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force detained a Haqqani terrorist network facilitator and two of his associates in the Sabari district of Khost province. The facilitator is responsible for coordinating the movement of roadside bombs and other weapons, and providing reports to Haqqani leaders. The force seized assault rifles, a chest rack and ammunition.

-- In the Kunduz district of Kunduz province, a combined force detained a suspect while searching for an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan terrorist organization leader. The leader is involved in foreign-fighter facilitation and training in the Burkah district of Baghlan province.

-- A combined force detained several suspects during an operation targeting a Taliban leader in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. The leader plans suicide attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

-- A combined patrol detained a suspect during a search for a Taliban leader in the Shajoy district of Zabul province. The insurgent leader arranges weapon transfers and roadside bomb emplacements.

-- In the Charkh district of Logar province, a combined force detained two suspects during a search for a Taliban leader. The leader oversees insurgent operations in the Baraki Barak and Charkh districts.

-- A combined patrol detained several suspects and discovered a weapons cache during an operation to disrupt an insurgent network in the Shindand district of Herat province. The targeted insurgent network is responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces. The patrol seized and destroyed 257 submunitions, 19 mortar rounds, 19 fuses, 13 mortar warheads, 10 artillery rounds and some small-arms ammunition.

-- A combined force detained numerous suspects during an operation targeting an insurgent leader in the Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan province. The leader is linked to the emplacement of improvised explosive devices used against Afghan and coalition forces.

-- In the Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province, a combined patrol killed two insurgents and wounded two suspects. The two insurgents were killed after they engaged the patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The two wounded suspects were provided medical aid and were detained for questioning. The patrol seized and destroyed some small arms and ammunition.

-- A combined patrol killed two insurgents during an operation in the Khash Rod district of Nimroz province. The patrol encountered an exploding enemy IED and small-arms fire. The patrol returned fire, killing the two insurgents. Some small arms and ammunition were seized and destroyed.

-- In the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province, a combined force detained two suspects during a search for an insurgent leader. The leader is responsible for several IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

Bridge clearing in Afghanistan

U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon Bregel, team leader, prepares to clear a bridge during a bridge quality assurance inspection along Highway 1 in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2011. Sergeant Bregel is a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul's security force and is deployed from the Massachusetts National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras)(Released)