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Entries in Coalition Forces (15)

Wednesday
May302012

Two ISAF Troops Killed in Separate Attacks in Southern Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Two service members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, NATO said.

One soldier died after coming under attack by an improvised explosive device, while the other was killed following an insurgent attack. 

Per ISAF policy, the troops' identification has been deferred to national authorities.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

Top Coalition General Touts Progress of Afghan Security Forces

Department of Defense/Pfc. Jorge A. Ortiz, U.S. Marine Corps(WASHINGTON) -- A top military commander in Afghanistan says he and others are seeing positive results from the International Security Assistance Force's growing partnership with the Afghan army and police.

Speaking via video link to Pentagon reporters on Wednesday, British Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw boasted of "Afghan national security forces increasing in strength, capability and confidence" due to the joint operation with ISAF troops.

Bradshaw claimed that Afghan army and police are now more equipped to lead and carry out sophisticated, brigade-level missions against the Taliban and Haqqani network, an important function as the U.S. and NATO take more of a backseat in day-to-day military duties.

The general said of the national forces, "They have surprised us, and I think they've surprised themselves, with how well they've performed in a whole range of different sorts of operations across the theater."

On the other hand, Bradshaw says that the Taliban is operating with less equipment, weapons and money, which has reversed the momentum they'd enjoyed until last year.

Nevertheless, Bradshaw warned that achieving a total military victory is probably not pragmatic because of how the Taliban and its allies can take sanctuary in Pakistan.

Therefore, Bradshaw said the answer is "a combination of military, economic, political and other measures anyway to effect a total elimination of this problem."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr262012

Think Tank Critical of Claims of 'Afghan-Led' Operations

Department of Defense/Pfc. Jorge A. Ortiz, U.S. Marine Corps(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Just who is leading who in Afghanistan?

The Kabul-based think tank Afghan Analysts Network says that when the International Security Assistance Force claims that more operations are "Afghan-led" as the U.S. and NATO try to take a back seat militarily, the coalition is being less than truthful.

British analyst Kate Clark, who authored the report by the Afghan Analysts Network, says, "ISAF's desire to present accounts of events as favorably as possible is to be expected, but sometimes this slips into propaganda, half-truths and, occasionally, cover-up."

The basic plan of the ISAF is that as coalition forces are gradually withdrawn from Afghanistan in the coming months, Afghan national forces are expected to take more of the lead in military operations against the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other enemies of the government.

However, Clark and the other analysts allege that the phrase "Afghan-led" is being bandied about too often in an attempt to mislead the public into thinking their soldiers and police are actually controlling many situations.

The most recent instance of that was the coordinated attacks on Kabul and other provinces earlier this month when Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces, boasted how Afghan forces did most of the fighting to repel the insurgents with no need to call for coalition back-up.

However, the real story was that the Afghan Crisis Response Unit in Kabul had Norwegian and British special forces soldiers embedded in units.

In another example, Greek and Turkish troops decided to return fire when their base came under attack rather than wait for Afghan soldiers to respond.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Senior Leader of Haqqani Network Nabbed in Afghanistan

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Coalition forces in Afghanistan may have dealt a rogue Pakistani group a serious blow with the capture last week of Haqqani network senior leader Haji Mali Khan.

NATO announced over the weekend that Khan was taken into custody during a joint operation near the border with Pakistan.

Khan is the uncle of the two Haqqani brothers who run the network, which has been blamed for leading attacks against U.S. interests in Afghanistan.

According to NATO, Khan was a major player in the group who oversaw operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and helped move militant fighters over the border to fight against Afghan and U.S. forces.

He also acted as a go-between for the late Pakistani Baitullah Mahsud and the Haqqani network.  Mahsud, once considered the most dangerous militant in Pakistani, is believed to have plotted the December 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul182011

Gen. Allen Assumes Control of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Gen. David Petraeus conducted his final official duty in uniform on Monday, handing over control of the more than 140,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan to Gen. John Allen.

In a change of command ceremony held privately in Kabul, Allen officially assumed command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force from Petraeus.  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who attended the ceremony, promoted Allen to a four-star general before he took over the reins.

Speaking on his vision for Afghanistan and the ISAF, Allen told the crowd, “Throughout, we will keep our eyes on the horizon -- the future of Afghanistan -- a nation of free people at peace, governed under its constitution, pursuing economic enterprise and development, in a secure and stable environment free from the extremism and terrorism that has plagued this wonderful country and its people for more than a generation.  In the end -- together we will prevail.”

Also on Monday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai awarded Petraeus the Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan, Afghanistan's most significant medal of honor.  

Petraeus will officially retire from the military next month and become the new director of the CIA.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May252011

Obama Defends Stance on Libya Combat Operations

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) --  After two days focused on pints, princes, and ping pong, President Obama turned to substance Wednesday, meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron and facing some tough questions about the limited U.S. role in the military intervention in Libya.

The president argued that with the NATO agreement on not sending in ground troops, there is only so much air assets can accomplish.

Nonetheless, President Obama argued at a joint press availability with Cameron, "time is running out" for Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

But time isn't ticking down quickly enough for Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who have been pressuring President Obama to step up more contributions to the NATO-led effort in Libya.

France and the U.K. are deploying attack helicopters to the region. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said this week that his country is deploying Gazelle and Tigre helicopters and that "the British, who have similar resources to us, are going to do the same thing we are."

Asked about the U.S. sitting out this mission, President Obama suggested to reporters on Thursday that "I think there may be a false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret super-effective air assets in a warehouse somewhere that can be just be pulled out and that would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya.  And that's not the case."

The president said that there were limitations to what can be done given the terms of the mission.

"David and I both agree that we cannot put boots on the ground in Libya," the president said. "Once you rule out ground forces there are going to be some inherent limitations to our air strike operations.  It means that the opposition on the ground in Libya is going to have to carry out its responsibilities... Which is why NATO forces are coordinating with opposition forces in Libya."

"Ultimately this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we are able to wear down the regime forces and change the political calculations of the Gadhafi regime to the point where they finally realize they are not going to control this country," the president said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

US Still Involved in Airstrikes in Libya

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon revealed Wednesday that the U.S. military is still involved in air strikes against Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces in Libya, despite the pledge to shift control of the mission to NATO.

U.S. military officials acknowledged that American fighter jets have bombed three Libyan ground targets since President Obama's pledge that the combat portion of the U.S. operation in Libya would be handed over to NATO “within days, not weeks” of an April 4 deadline.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan says U.S. fighter jets attacked Libyan air defense sites in support of a no-fly zone imposed last month by the United Nations.

Administration officials have previously said the U.S ended strikes against ground targets on April 4 and all attacks against Libyan ground units would be handled by aircraft from France, Great Britain and other members of the NATO alliance.

Defense officials dispute claims that the recent attacks contradict White House assertions that the U.S. has shifted to a supporting role.  Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said the bombing of three air defense sites was a “defense action” to prevent Libya from attacking NATO airplanes.

The Pentagon insists that U.S. jets in Libya are only there to enforce a “no-fly zone,” but said the fighters could be used to strike ground operations as part of the U.S. enforcement of the zone.

In related news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. has received “disturbing reports of renewed atrocities conducted by Gadhafi’s forces.”  The secretary issued a statement saying regime militias and mercenaries have attacked civilians in the city of Misrata, destroying crucial food supply warehouses while snipers have targeted civilians seeking medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Brits, French Ask NATO Allies for More Planes in Libya

US State Department(LONDON) -- The U.S. is confident that NATO can handle the heavy lifting in the mission to stymie Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces, but the alliance can't do the job if they run out of ground-attack jets.

With the U.S. only assuming what's described as a "support role," it means there'll be no American strike aircraft available, except for emergencies.  That leaves Britain and France to provide most of the war jets.

NATO say it's been able to fly sorties without a problem this week to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya and an arms embargo as Gadhafi loyalists continue fighting rebels for control of the country.

The new concern is having enough ground-attack jets on hand to protect civilian populations.  At the moment, NATO says the number is sufficient but with most of the planes flown by two members, Britain said Thursday it's time that others in the alliance send more aircraft.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is also getting involved, calling upon his counterparts in Italy, Spain and Belgium to contribute more hardware.

Meanwhile, Libyan rebels alleged Thursday that a NATO airstrike left two of their fighters dead and more than a dozen wounded near the eastern oil port of Brega.  If true, it's the second "friendly fire" incident in less than a week, which is primarily due to the coalition's poor coordination with anti-Gahdafi forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr062011

Coalition Forces Deter Attack on Afghan Base; Kill Seven Insurgents

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- At least seven insurgents were killed and another wounded after trying to attack the largest U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday night.

According to the International Security Assistance Force, a team of insurgents opened fire on the base in Jalalabad, using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.  Coalition forces responded with small arms and called in a helicopter attack, repelling the attack and leaving several insurgents dead.

Coalition forces managed to detain one insurgent who was wounded in the counterattack and retrieved several automatic weapons, 400 7.62 mm rounds, 19 RPG rounds, two RPG launches and one mortar tube.

No members of the ISAF were killed in the attack.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

Gadhafi Offers Major Changes, Provided He Stays in Power

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A representative for Col. Moammar Gadhafi said Monday that the Libyan government would be willing to hold elections and enact democratic reforms, with one catch: Gadhafi would have to remain in power indefinitely.

With forces loyal to the Libyan leader battling rebel fighters for control of the country, spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claimed Gadhafi has “symbolic significance” and that his fate should be in the hands of the Libyan people.

However, opposition forces have adamantly stated that Gadhafi must step down immediately before negotiations can begin.  That’s also the stance of Western powers, who continue to pound Gadhafi’s positions on the ground, helping rebels to keep their hold on the oil-rich city of Brega.

Gadhafi has sent an envoy to various European capitals to try and convince leaders to accept Libya’s offer for an “international dialogue” to resolve the crisis.  So far, there’s been no rush to accept the ceasefire offer.

Still, British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that “at some stage, there will have to be a genuine ceasefire, then the political process can begin.”

In other developments, The New York Times reported a plan by two of Gadhafi's sons that would involve their father stepping down while son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi oversees a democratic transition.  That offer was termed unacceptable by opposition leaders.

With the U.S. handing most military missions to NATO, coalition officials are still trying to decide whether to arm the rebels.  Concerning that option, former President Bill Clinton told on ABC News Monday, “I might need to know a little more; I would be inclined to do it.”

He quickly added he was speaking for himself and not the Obama administration, for which his wife, Hillary Clinton, is secretary of state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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