Entries in NATO (195)


Five NATO Soldiers Killed in Southern Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Five NATO troops were killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan on Saturday.

The troops, members of the International Security Assistance Force, were killed by an improvised explosive device, according to a statement released by ISAF. NATO officials would not confirm the location of the explosion or the nationality of the troops who were killed.

Many of the troops in southern Afghanistan are British or American.

According to BBC News, the deaths bring to total number of coalition troops killed in 2013 to 47, including 37 Americans.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Karzai: US, NATO Partly to Blame for Violence in Afghanistan

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai is holding the U.S. and NATO at least somewhat responsible for what he refers to as "insecurity" in Afghanistan.

During an interview with NBC News on Thursday, Karzai suggested that the structures set up by the coalition over the past 11 years are to blame for the ongoing violence in his country.

The president, now in his second term, was quick to add that the Taliban and other insurgent forces remain the main obstacles to peace.

Yet, in a sign of rough sledding ahead, Karzai made it clear that any post-war security pact he signs with Washington must include an agreement by the U.S. to turn over hundreds of prisoners to Afghan authorities.

And in another apparent slap at President Obama and his administration, the Afghan president remarked that Afghans won't permit their "government to enter into a security agreement, while the United States continues to violate Afghan sovereignty and Afghan loss."

The U.S. and NATO forces are due to withdraw from Afghanistan sometime during 2014.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Urges North Korea to Scrap Rocket Launch Plans

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- NATO is calling on North Korea to cancel plans for a second rocket launch before the year is out.

North Korea’s state run news agency announced plans to launch another space satellite on Saturday despite U.N. resolutions forbidding it.

North Korea invited the international press into the closed country last April to witness the first rocket launch under its new leader, Kim Jong Un.  However, that attempt failed.

Both China and Russia are urging North Korea not to take action that could destabilize the region.

The U.S. State Department has also said that a rocket launch "would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Approves Anti-Missile Batteries Along Turkish Border

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS) -- U.S.-made Patriot missiles will be deployed in strategic spots along the Turkish border in what is the first major step by NATO to deal with the possibility of the conflict in Syria widening.

After conferring with the 28-member alliance, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced on Tuesday that "Turkey has asked for NATO’s support, and we stand with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity."

In essence, Fogh Rasmussen said that an attack on Turkey by Syria would be considered an attack on NATO.

However, the NATO leader also explained that these Patriot anti-missile batteries supplied by the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands should not be interpreted as a build-up toward direct intervention in the 20-month Syrian conflict.

Fogh Rasmussen added that the air defenses are meant to defend Turkey and are not intended to provide a no-fly zone over Syria that might protect rebel forces in their ongoing battle against President Bashar al-Assad's military.

Nonetheless, the missiles, which are expected to be in place early next year, could also be used for other purposes if the Syrian government unleashes chemical weapons against its enemies as Washington and other nations fear might be in the works.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO to Announce Patriot Missile-Defense Along Turkish Border

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS) -- NATO is preparing to endorse a plan Tuesday setting up Patriot missile-defense batteries along some parts of the Turkish border to protect against any incursion by Syria.

The weaponry will be provided by the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

Ankara has been especially concerned about impending attacks from Syria due to the ongoing 20-month conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebel forces.  Relations between the two countries have been strained since Turkey has spoken out against al-Assad.

Hastening the need for a missile defense system are reports from U.S. and Israeli intelligence about activity around Syrian chemical weapons sites.

At Tuesday's expected announcement, NATO will affirm its support for Turkey from Syrian aggression and will leave it up to the Americans, Germans and Dutch to decide how long the deployment will be and the number of missiles used to defend against a potential ballistic missile attack from Syria.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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


Karzai Says Afghans Can Take Over for Coalition Earlier than 2014

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai claimed on Thursday that his police and military forces are prepared to take over security chores from the international coalition whenever it decides to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The U.S. and NATO have scheduled a near total drawdown by sometime in 2014 and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reiterated that firm date during his press conference in Kabul with Karzai.

Rasmussen said that he believes national forces will be ready to assume security responsibilities by the time the coalition packs up and leaves two years from now.

However, Karzai's suggestion was that Afghanistan is ready, even now, if the U.S. and NATO want to get an early jump.

The announcement came just a day after a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle by striking a joint U.S.-Afghan base in the Zurmat district of Paktia province, wounding 45 Afghan soldiers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two-Thousandth US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Afghanistan iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) – Another somber milestone for the United States Military, as the 2,000th American soldier was killed in Afghanistan Saturday. According to the Los Angeles Times, a U.N. civilian contractor was also killed in what’s being described as an inside attack by a member of the Afghan security force. Three Afghan soldiers were also killed and four were wounded.

The attack, the Times reports, took place at a checkpoint in Wardak province. Though a local police chief describes the shootout as a misunderstanding, NATO issued a statement saying it suspects the killings were the result of an inside attack, and that a NATO-Afghan force investigation is already underway.

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 50 coalition soldiers have been killed by insider attacks in 2012, and 15-percent of all NATO deaths in Afghanistan are caused inside shootings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Troops Resume Partnered Operations in Afghanistan

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday that most NATO forces in Afghanistan are once again partnering with Afghan security forces.  Last week NATO commanders in Afghanistan significantly scaled back partnered missions between NATO and Afghan troops as a precautionary measure in the wake of insider attacks and the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

At a Pentagon news conference Panetta said, "I can now report to you that most ISAF units have returned to their normal partnered operations at all levels.”

Last week, NATO commanders issued a new directive ordering that most partnered operations had to be approved by the one- and two-star generals in charge of regional commands in Afghanistan.

NATO commanders in Afghanistan stressed the scale-back was a temporary move, even though it was seen as a major setback for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Just back from a trip to Afghanistan, Dempsey said he did not have the precise percentage, but said partnering was at the levels previous to the change.

“The leaders I had spoken to had resumed operations as they had been previously organized,” said Dempsey.  “And so it was my assessment coming back that the command had kind of restored to its previous norm. But it’s changing all the time.”

Dempsey could not say precisely whether partnered operations were back to 90 percent of all operations in Afghanistan, but said, "Yeah, as far as I know sitting here in Washington, 8,000 miles away.”

A Defense official said Thursday that even though most NATO forces have resumed partnering with their Afghan counterparts, the directive remains in place.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Scales Back Afghan Partner Patrols to Stem Insider Attacks

NATO(WASHINGTON) -- Seeking to stem the insider attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan, commanders have scaled back partnered operations in the field between NATO troops and Afghan security forces.  The move is being done primarily to ease the risk to coalition troops from the growing number of insider attacks, but it also means troops will be less involved if there are further protests like the deadly 9-11-timed attack against the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi and also protests against The Innocence of Muslims, the controversial anti-Islam film that has stoked Islamist demonstrations around the world.

“We are not going to be conducting as many operations together,” said Maj. Martin Crighton, a coalition spokesman, who said it is inaccurate to describe the scaling-back as a suspension of joint operations in Afghanistan.

It has become the norm for NATO troops to go out on patrols together with their Afghan partners.  These partnered operations are meant to help ease Afghan forces into handling security on their own, as NATO forces pull out by the end of 2014. But the U.S. and other NATO partners' sacrifice and their willingness to help the nascent army get on its feet has been met with having the guns they supplied to their so-called allies turned on them in dozens of terror attacks.

Under the new directive issued Sunday by Lt. Gen. James Terry, the commander of ISAF Joint Command, Afghan and NATO troops will still live and operate together at bases, but when they go on patrol they will go out independently, not together.   Sometimes insider attacks occur during joint patrols far from a base.

Lt. Gen. Terry’s directive requires that any joint patrols or operations must now be approved by a regional commander, usually a one- or two-star general.  Until now the permission for joint patrols lay with the lieutenant colonels or colonels in charge of a certain geographic area.  Now, if an Afghan commander says he wants a joint patrol in a certain area, the approval must come from the general in charge of the regional command.

Maj. Crighton says there will not be a cookie-cutter approach to the approval process as the regional commanders know what works best in their areas.  It will have no impact on Afghan forces who are already acting independently of NATO forces and in areas of the country that have not seen as many insider attacks.

Daily partnering will still occur between NATO and Afghan battalion commanders, a step up from the previous practice of partnering NATO company commanders (junior commanders) with Afghan battalion commanders.

Crighton says while the mentoring will still take place, the new directive gives "a bit of space” for troops from both sides to act independently and operate outside of any relationship that might have been causing strain at the lowest levels.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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