Entries in war on terror (6)


Fmr. Top General: Afghanistan Deadline May Be 'A Bridge Too Far'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Is President Obama's summer 2011 deadline for a drawdown of troops from Afghanistan reasonable?

The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he doubts America's Afghanistan strategy.

"I'm very, very concerned," retired Gen. Hugh Shelton said in an exclusive interview with ABC News. "We couldn't ask for better military leadership. Our men and women are doing a great job. But we're dealing with a 14th century culture, with the second most corrupt nation in the world -- and now we've got to have Karzai be in the position, by 2011, to really maintain control as we start to pull our combat forces out," he said.

"And I'm not sure we haven't given our military a goal that is a bridge too far," Shelton said.

Shelton cautioned that the United States and the Afghan government have "got to be very careful" in thinking about negotiating with the Taliban.

Asked about reports that a number of Sunnis are moving out of the political process and back to al Qaeda, Shelton said he’s worried.

It is "very, very disturbing but I would say not unexpected. I think that, you know, all along, we've said we were going to provide an environment that the Iraqi people could form a government, but that's up to them to really come to the [table]," he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Saudi Intelligence Warns of European Terror Attack

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PARIS) -- Saudi intelligence services have warned their European counterparts of a terrorist attack “on the [European] continent, notably in France,” French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Sunday.

The threat is said to have originated from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Officials in Europe and the United States are on high alert because of a credible but unspecified threat of commando-style terror attacks by militants with Western passports.

The U.S. State Department on Oct. 3 issued a travel alert for Europe to remind travelers of the potential for terrorist attacks on public transportation and tourist locations.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


General Petraeus Upbeat, Cites Signs of Progress in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Offering an upbeat assessment of the war in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus said Friday that progress -- some of it substantial -- has been made over the last 18 months.

Speaking at London's Royal United Services Institute, General Petraeus painted a picture of Afghanistan in which the Taliban's ability to mount attacks is being reduced, where Afghan-led security and governance is growing and where civil society is beginning to take root.

NATO Ambassador Mark Sedwill, Petraeus' diplomatic counterpart, emphasized the need for coalition nations to get on the same page regarding the timeline in Afghanistan. Sedwill said the process of transitioning from International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops to Afghan security will begin in 2011, with the goal of completing that transition by the end of 2014. Both men indicated the time is right to begin that transition.

Citing success with counterterrorism operations, Petraeus said 300 Taliban leaders had been captured or killed in the last 90 days, including the third-highest ranking al-Qaida operative in Afghanistan, who was killed in a "rough and rugged" area in the eastern part of the country.

Petraeus said the number of counterterrorism, or precision special forces-type raids in Afghanistan, is three to four times as many as were conducted at the height of the surge in Iraq, because the U.S. military has greatly increased the number of "enablers" used to plan for such missions. Likewise, the number of drones, analysts and the technological infrastructure necessary to pinpoint targets and conduct raids has never been greater.

With the insurgents knocked back, the Afghan government has begun low-level political discussions with representatives of the Taliban leadership currently hiding out in Pakistan. Petraeus said while neither the U.S. nor ISAF is taking part in the talks, ISAF forces have allowed Taliban members to make the trip to Kabul without being targeted or arrested. A political settlement is viewed as essential to any eventual handover of full power to the Afghan government.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Two Killed in Attack Against NATO Supply Vehicle

Image Courtesy - ABC News(KHUZDAR, Pakistan) -- Two people were killed Friday in an attack on a vehicle transporting NATO supplies, police said. The attack occurred on the way to the southern border crossing that heads toward the Kandahar province of Afghanistan -- a crossing that has stayed open, while the much larger crossing in the north remains closed for the second straight day.

"If the NATO forces keep on entering into Pakistan and carrying out attacks, then [the] only option we have -- we should stop the movement of the containers," Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar warned.

In Brussels, Pakistani Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani lodged a formal protest at NATO over the cross-border attack that killed three Pakistani Frontier Corps troops.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Amid Jitters of New Terror Threat, Two American Jihad Leaders Resurface

Image Courtesy - FBI via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two radical Islamic clerics with American roots have resurfaced Wednesday, even as officials in Europe and the US are already on high alert because of a "credible but not specific" threat of commando-style terror attacks by militants with Western passports.

American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whom authorities have linked to both the Fort Hood shooting and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest flight 253, will soon be releasing a new video. Authorities consider Awlaki an Al Qaeda recruiter, and his online videos inspire young Westerners to jihad. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni affiliate of Al Qaeda, posted images from the forthcoming video on the internet overnight.

At the same time Adam Gadahn, the Orange County metalhead turned Al Qaeda spokesman, has released a new internet video about the Pakistan floods.

Authorities say the Yemen-based AQAP is currently the most serious threat to American cities.

But US and European authorities are already searching for a team of commandos allegedly planning attacks in Britain, France, and Germany, all based on the interrogation of a German jihadi who was captured over the summer and is now being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

US law enforcement officials say they have been told the terrorists were planning a series of "Mumbai-style" commando raids on what were termed "economic or soft" targets in the countries. Pakistani militants killed 173 people with guns and grenades during the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

The captured German reportedly said several teams of attackers, all with European passports, had been trained and dispatched from training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan. Officials say the German claimed the attack plan had been approved by Osama Bin Laden.

Officials consider the threat credible, although not specific, and said that an attack in Europe seemed more likely that one in the US.

Among those being sought are a group of radicalized Germans who have been training at terror camps in Pakistan, producing videos in German to gain more recruits. Some of the German-speaking militants may have come from the same Hamburg mosque where Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers gathered.

Guido Steinberg, a counter-terrorism analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said German jihadis have been recruited from mosques in Berlin, Bonn and Hamburg, including the former Al Quds mosque, where Ramzi Binalshibh, Atta, hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi and other conspirators joined forces.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


U.S. Soldier Describes Thrill Kill of Innocent Afghans

Image Courtesy - ABC News(FORT LEWIS, Wash.) -- Dressed in a T-shirt and Army shorts, a 22-year-old corporal from Wasilla, Alaska casually describes on a videotape made by military investigators how his unit's "crazy" sergeant randomly chose three unarmed, innocent victims to be murdered in Afghanistan.

Corporal Jeremy N. Morlock is one of five GI's charged with pre-meditated murder in a case that includes allegations of widespread drug use, a collection of body parts and photos of the U.S. soldiers holding the Afghan bodies like hunter's trophies.

All five soldiers were part of the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, of the 2nd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Lewis-McChord, Washington. In charging documents released by the Army, the military alleges that the five -- Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs, Spec Adam C. Winfield, Spec. Michael S. Wagnon II, Pfc. Andrew H. Holmes and Morlock -- were involved in one or more of three murders that took place between January and May of this year.

Lawyers and family members of the soldiers say they all intend to fight the charges.

An Article 32 hearing for Morlock, the military equivalent of a grand jury, is scheduled Monday at Fort Lewis-McChord, Washington.

On the tape, obtained by ABC News, Morlock admits his role in the deaths of three Afghans, but claims the plan was organized by his unit's sergeant, Calvin Gibbs, who is also charged with pre-meditated murder.

"He just really doesn't have any problems with [bleeping] killing these people," Morlock said on tape as he laid out the scenario he said the sergeant used to make it seem the civilians were killed in action.

"And so we identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment, like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy or what?" Morlock told military investigators during an interview videotaped in May at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

The corporal said Gibbs gave orders to open fire on the civilian at the same time Gibbs threw a hand grenade at the victim.

"He pulled out one of his grenades, an American grenade, you know, popped it, throws it, tells me where to go to whack this guy, kill this guy, kill this guy," Morlock told the investigators.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio