Entries in International Security Assistance Force (22)


Two ISAF Troops Die in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Two service members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) died in Afghanistan on Friday, according to NATO.

One soldier was killed following an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan.  The other died from a non-battle related injury in southern Afghanistan.

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

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Four US Troops Killed in Afghan Inside Attack; 8 Coalition Troops Killed in 3 Days

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Four American service members were killed by an Afghan policeman early Sunday, the third attack on coalition forces in three days, bringing the death toll in the recent violence to eight.

The attacks -- two "green on blue" incidents and an assault on a coalition base by 15 Taliban fighters -- come as tensions flared across the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film that was produced in the United States.

In the latest attack, an Afghan police officer turned his gun on NATO troops at a remote checkpoint in southern Afghanistan before dawn. Four U.S. soldiers were killed before the shooter escaped, bringing the total of coalition troops killed to six in just two days.

International Security Assistance Force officials say the attacker is still at large, and noted it's unclear if there were multiple assailants. It is still unclear exactly what transpired at the checkpoint, according to Afghan officials, who say American forces responded to an attack on the checkpoint to help the Afghan police.

"The checkpoint was attacked last night. Then the police started fighting with the Americans," Ghulam Gilani, deputy police chief of Zabul province, said. "Whether they attacked the Americans willingly, we don't know."

A Taliban spokesman said the police involved were not affiliated with the Taliban insurgency.

Also Sunday, NATO confirmed that an airstrike that killed as many as 45 insurgents also killed five to eight Afghan civilian casualties -- including women and children.

"ISAF takes full responsibility for this tragedy," the coalition said in a statement released after the strike.

The civilian casualties can only increase tensions in the country, and villagers who drove the bodies of the dead to the privincial capital, Mehterlam chanted "Death to America," Laghman provincial government spokesman Sarhadi Zewak said.

"Protecting Afghan lives is the cornerstone of our mission and it saddens us when we learn that our action might have unintentionally harmed civilians," said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the international military in Afghanistan.

So far this year, 51 coalition troops have been killed by Afghan service members. At least 12 such attacks happened in August alone, leaving 15 dead.

News of the shooting comes after one of the biggest attacks ever on an ISAF base. On Friday, 15 Taliban attackers, dressed in U.S. Army uniforms, attacked Camp Bastion in Afghan's Helmand province.

According to the ISAF, the insurgents used automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and explosive suicide vests in the late night attack. Two U.S. Marines were killed, and nine others were wounded, including one civilian contractor.

During the attack, which officials say appeared to be well planned and rehearsed, the insurgents destroyed six Harrier fighter jets, worth about $20 million each, and damaged two others. They also damaged six hangars and destroyed three refueling stations.

The last attack in which so many U.S. aircraft were destroyed at one time is believed to have been more than 40 years ago, during the Vietnam War.

All but one of the insurgents were killed by return gunfire, and a 15th was captured. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the controversial video made in the United States that insults the Prophet Muhammad.

Prince Harry, a member of the U.K. military in Afghanistan is based at Camp Bastion. When he was first stationed there, the Taliban said they were out to kill him, although NATO officials say he was several miles away, and was never in danger during this attack.

On Saturday, two British troops were killed in an attack in Helmand province carried out by a gunman in the uniform of a government-backed militia.

Recent months have seen a string of attacks by Afghan forces against their international counterparts, who are working towards handing over security responsibilities to the Afghans as international troops draw down.

This weekend's attacks come amid turmoil throughout the Middle East, where anti-American protests have flared up, ostensibly in response to the online video mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

An attack on the American embassy in Libya last week led to four deaths, including the American ambassador to Libya. The protests have prompted the removal of U.S. personnel from their posts in Sudan and Tunisia.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told Jake Tapper on This Week the attack was not premeditated, contradicting top Libyan officials who say the attack was planned in advance.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the turmoil raging across the Muslim world will likely continue for days, but the violence appears to be leveling off.

He said the Pentagon has "deployed our forces to a number of areas in the region to be prepared to respond to any requests that we receive to be able to protect our personnel and our American property."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Coalition Death Toll in Afghanistan Rises After Three More Slayings

U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Eastern Afghanistan remains a dangerous environment for NATO forces as reports surfaced over the weekend of three coalition soldiers dying in two separate attacks.

The International Security Assistance Force, the umbrella group for all foreign soldiers, said that two members died in a roadside bomb explosion on Sunday, while insurgents killed a soldier on Saturday.

There was no immediate word of the nationalities of the slain troops.

This weekend's fatalities bring the death toll of U.S. and coalition forces up through July 22 to 250.  Last year, 556 coalition forces died in Afghanistan.

With the plan to withdraw nearly all foreign troops from the country by 2014, the ISAF has begun allowing Afghan forces to take the lead in some military operations with the goal to eventually transfer all security responsibilities to the national army and police.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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


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


Afghanistan: Two ISAF Service Members Killed in IED Attack

FIle photo. Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Two service members with the International Security Assistance Force were killed Wednesday in an IED attack in eastern Afghanistan, the NATO-led group announced.

Their identities nor the exact circumstances surrounding their deaths were immediately made public.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two US Troops Killed by Man Wearing Afghan Army Uniform

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- A man wearing an Afghan army uniform shot and killed two members of NATO's International Security Assistance Force -- said to be Americans -- in eastern Afghanistan Thursday, the military coalition said.

The presumed Afghan soldier opened fire on his foreign mentors, who have not yet been identified, on a base near the border with Pakistan.

It's not clear whether the gunman shot the two service members in retaliation to the inadvertent burning of Korans and other religious materials earlier this week by coalition forces in Afghanistan.  The ISAF is investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, demonstrations over the accidental destruction of the religious texts continued for a third straight day on Thursday.  Afghan police fired into the air and used water cannons against more than 2,000 protesters outside another base.

The protests show no signs of slowing down and have already claimed at least 10 lives.

On another note, it was reported later Thursday that President Obama sent a letter that day to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, apologizing for the burning of Korans.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "Following up on their February 20 phone call, the President sent a letter to President Karzai to continue their discussion on a range of issues related to our long-term partnership.  In the letter, delivered by Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker this afternoon in Kabul, the President also expressed our regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled at Bagram Airbase."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Were Islamic Religious Texts Mishandled by Afghan Coalition Forces?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(BAGRAM, Afghanistan) -- Troops on the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan have inadvertently burned Qurans and other religious materials, triggering angry protests and fears of even larger demonstrations as news of the burning spreads.

The books were mistakenly thrown out with the trash at Bagram Air Field and were on a burn pile Monday night before Afghan laborers intervened around 11:00 p.m., according to NATO and Afghan officials.

The workers doused the flames with their jackets and mineral water before marching out of Bagram in a fury, carrying with them the charred remains, according to Sabir Safar, secretary of the provincial council of Parwan, the province where Bagram is located.

By Tuesday morning, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of Bagram and on the outskirts of Kabul.  Some shot into the air, some threw rocks at the Bagram gate, and others yelled, "Die, die foreigners." More troubling, many of them were the same people who work with foreign troops inside the base.

At one point, apparently worried that the base would be stormed, guards at the base fired rubber bullets into the crowd, according to the military.

NATO officials scrambled furiously to contain the fallout, tweeting and emailing reporters not long after the first protests began.  Gen. John Allen, the commander of all foreign forces in Afghanistan, released a statement, then a video statement, followed by an interview to NATO television.  In his and all of NATO officials' communication on Tuesday, each emphasized that the burning was unintentional.

"Those materials were inadvertently given to troops for disposition and that disposition was to burn the materials.  It was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials," Allen told NATO TV.  "It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam . It was a mistake, it was an error.  The moment we found out about it we immediately stopped and we intervened."

Allen launched an investigation and promised to take steps that the same incident would not be repeated.

"This is not who we are. These are very, very isolated incidents," Allen said. "We've been dying alongside the Afghans for a long time because we believe in them, we believe in their country, we want to have every opportunity to give them a bright future."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ISAF Apologizes for Airstrike That Killed Eight in Afghanistan

NATO(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- It’s pretty rare for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to admit that it's made a mistake and it’s especially rare to do so in a press conference. Still, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday when two brigadier general-level officers said ISAF bombs killed seven children and a young adult in eastern Afghanistan.

Gen. Lew Boone and Air Commodore Mike Wigston sent condolences to the family of those killed on Feb. 8, when French troops called in aircraft to attack “the group that we believed to be an imminent threat to our people,” Boone said.  "Despite all tactical directives being followed precisely, we now know the unfortunate result of this engagement.  In the end, eight young Afghans lost their lives in this very sad event."

Civilian casualties are detrimental to the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, and this was one of the most widely-publicized incidents in months.  On Monday, the Afghan committee that investigated the attack accused the ISAF of neglecting Afghans’ human rights.  The head of the committee held up photos of boys whose faces were bloody and ripped apart and said, “I call on human rights community and the world community: who will speak up for the rights of these children?”

Locals from the village have told reporters the children had walked to a grazing area and made a small fire when the bombing took place.

Pressed repeatedly, the two ISAF officers declined to say whether they knew for certain that the group was armed.  Still, they seemed determined to try and win over the village, promising to build a much-needed road.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghan Officials Say US Soldier Shot Officer to Death

Pfc. Cameron Boyd(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- An American soldier shot an Afghan guard to death in northern Afghanistan on Friday, apparently out of fear that the latter was about to open fire, according to Afghan officials.

The U.S. soldier was inside the base and having an argument with the Afghan security officer, who guards the outside perimeter and wanted to come inside the base, Afghan police and interior minister officials say. The U.S. soldier allegedly thought the Afghan security guard was about to shoot him -- thinking he was about to raise his weapon -- so the soldier shot first.

The International Security Assistance Force says it is investigating the incident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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