Entries in Security Forces (4)


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


Security Forces Open Fire on Syrian Civilians as Protests Escalate

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HAMA, Syria) -- At least 10 protesters have reportedly been killed in Syria, as security forces opened fire on civilians. Thousands of protesters took to the streets across the country Friday, calling for President Bashar al-Assad to leave office.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Hama, a city of 700,000 in central Syria, since the army launched its latest crackdown on August 1. Telecommunications, electricity and water supply were cut and there were reports of shortages in food supply as well as medical equipment.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the violence and called for restraint.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syria: Death Toll Rises, President Says Reform Coming

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images(BANIAS, Syria) -- The bloodshed continued in Syria on Sunday, as security forces continued to clash with protesters in different parts of the country.

On Sunday, there were reports that a Syrian security officer was killed and another wounded after a Syrian armed forces unit was ambushed by armed protesters in the city of Banias. As army tanks surrounded Banias, there were also reports of security forces opening fire on a group of people gathered outside a mosque, killing at least three people and wounding several others, according to published reports.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that Syria is on course for comprehensive reform and that he hopes the country can benefit from the experiences of European countries, according to a report by state television.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


For First Time, Afghanistan Says It Can Itself Secure Parts of Country

Department of Defense/Pfc. Jorge A. Ortiz, U.S. Marine Corps/Released(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Nine and a half years after the United States overthrew the Taliban, Afghanistan's government said for the first time Tuesday that it can secure parts of the country with its own security forces.

Calling the transition "irreversible," Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced Afghan forces would take over four major cities and almost all of three provinces.

The declaration is a major milestone on the path toward withdrawing international troops and handing over security for all of Afghanistan by 2014.

But in many ways the announcement is symbolic.  The country has never been more violent, Afghan forces continue to struggle to become autonomous, and most of the areas earmarked for transition have been safe for years.

Panjshir province has long been the most peaceful part of the country and was never taken over by the Taliban when they ran the government.  In Bamiyan province, a small contingent of New Zeland troops have faced little fighting for years, and some foreigners even go skiing next to the country's only national park.  And in each of the locations announced Tuesday, Afghan forces have mostly been in charge already.  As one U.S. official put it, "this isn't a flip of the switch.  It's a process."

Perhaps the most interesting location to be transitioned is Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province -- still the most dangerous province in the country.  The city of 300,000 is a sort of island within Helmand that has been secured mostly by Afghan forces since last summer, relatively safe compared to rural areas where tens of thousands of American and British troops patrol.  And those troops remain stationed within a 30-minute helicopter flight into Lashkar Gah.

The other areas to be transitioned are Kabul province, where Afghan troops have controlled the capital city for years, although French troops will remain in charge of the least safe district; Herat city, the largest city in western Afghanistan; Mazar-i-Sharif, the largest city in northern Afghanistan; and Mehtalam, the capital of Lahgman province.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio