Afghanistan

Child suicide bomber kills at least 9, wounds more than a dozen at Afghanistan wedding

As U.S. officials continue in Qatar to negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban that would bring an end to the stalemate 18-year conflict – miles away in Afghanistan itself – bombings and bloodshed still define daily life. On Friday, at least nine people died and more than a dozen injured – according to the BBC – when a child was made to detonate a suicide bomb at a wedding celebration in the eastern province of Nangarhar near the Pakistan border. The child, provincial spokesperson Attaullah Khugyani stated, was used to specifically attack a militia aligned with the government. Pro-government groups routinely operate in conjunction with traditional Afghan forces to beef up measures and ensure that fragile territories do not fall into Taliban and ISIS control. While no outfit has yet claimed responsibility for Friday’s deadly onslaught, Taliban officials have denied involvement. The Islamic State branch, known as ISIS-Khorasan, also has clout in the area and routinely carries out fatal attacks. The bombing comes on the heels of a string of targeted explosions striking fear in feeble communities and claiming lives across the ravished nation. On Sunday, the Taliban executed a devastating suicide car bombing in the central Afghanistan province of Ghazni, claiming the lives of 12 people and wounding more than 150 others. Less than a week earlier, the Taliban rocked downtown Kabul, killing at least one person and wounding more than a hundred – at least 26 children were among the hurt, sliced by shards of glass when the bomb fragmented nearby windows.

As I used to say when I was in Afghanistan, myself..several years ago..   Another KaBOOM day in Kabul..    The Taliban, ISIS, and the rest of these Islamo-wakos don’t value life like we do here in America.  They would send out a child as a sacrificial suicide bomber..  Awful..

Report: Afghan District Bordering Iran Embracing Crystal Meth Production

Nearly 80 percent of all households in the Afghan district of Ghoryan, located in Herat province along the Iranian border, are involved in some stage of the crystal methamphetamine-making process that is currently fueling addiction epidemics plaguing Afghanistan and Iran, TRT World reported this week. TRT is the national broadcaster of the government of Turkey. According to the United Nations, Herat is the top crystal meth-producing province in Afghanistan. Herat lies on Afghanistan’s border with Iran where crystal meth use is rampant. TRT suggested that the crystal meth epidemic gripping Iran has spilled over to Afghanistan, noting that many Afghan meth “cooks” learned their skills in the Islamic Republic.

For more, click on the text above.  Crazy..

Body of MAJ Brent Taylor, Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan, returns to US

The body of Utah mayor and Army National Guard major Brent Taylor arrived in the United States on Election Day — a somber homecoming his widow called “fitting.” Taylor, who was shot and killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan on Saturday, had only days earlier praised the Afghan people who fearlessly filled up polling stations during that country’s parliamentary elections and also exhorted Americans to vote in Tuesday’s midterm elections. “It seems only fitting that Brent, who in death represents so much more, has come home to U.S. soil in a flag-draped casket on our Election Day,” Jennie Taylor said during an eloquent address in which she memorialized the ultimate sacrifice made by her husband. “The price of freedom surely feels incredibly high to those of us who know and love our individual soldier. The value of freedom is immeasurable to those who love American and all she represents.” Jennie ended her remarks by echoing Brent Taylor’s call to cast a ballot. “Brent himself put it best just days ago when he implored of us all, ‘I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote and whether the Republicans or Democrats win I hope that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us,” she said. Military officials said the 39-year-old North Ogden mayor was killed in Kabul by an Afghan commando he was training. The assailant was then killed by Afghan forces. Taylor is the eighth American killed in action in Afghanistan this year. Maj. Taylor had been expecting to return as Mayor Taylor in January. Aside from his wife, Taylor leaves behind seven children, ranging from 11 months old to 13 years old. “To say that our hearts are anything less than shattered would be nothing short of true deceit and yet to deny the sacred honor that it is to stand that close to some of the freshest blood that has been spilt for our country would be absolute blasphemy,” Jennie said. Following news of Taylor’s death, condolences poured in from far and wide. One of the letters was written by Maj. Abdul Rahman Rahmani, an Afghan Army Aviation pilot. Rahmani tweeted the letter, which he addressed to Jennie, saying he was a “better person” after meeting Taylor. “He died on our soil but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries,” Rahmani wrote. Taylor, a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters, served two tours in Iraq and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.

As a former Military Intelligence Army (“field grade”) officer who also served in Afghanistan, this story really hits home on a personal level.  Our prayers are with Jennie and her kids during this heartbreaking time.  And, our thanks to Brent for his service and ultimate sacrifice.  For more, click on the text above.

Leader of ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan killed in US drone strike, officials say

The leader of an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, who was responsible for a spate of recent bombings that left hundreds of civilians dead, was killed in an American drone strike, U.S. officials told Fox News on Sunday. The deputy spokesperson for Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani announced the death of ISIS-K leader, Abu Sayeed Orakzai, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell said. “I would also add that the United States unrelentingly continues its counterterrorism efforts against ISIS-K, Al-Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups,” O’Donnell said in a statement. The airstrikes were launched in the Nangarhar province, near the border with Pakistan, according to Agence France-Presse. Ten other ISIS fighters were also killed. Orakzai is at least the 3rd ISIS-K leader in Afghanistan killed in the past 2 years. The Islamic State has lost around 90 percent of the lands bordering Iraq and Syria since declaring a caliphate in June 2014. The killing of Orakzai comes just takes after an audio recording of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi apparently resurfaced, in which he congratulated his followers on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday, and referenced Turkey’s recent quarrel with the U.S. over its detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. He purportedly said “America is going through the worse time in its entire existence,” and said Russia was competing with the U.S. over regional influence and clout. Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts has eluded captors since the rise of the Islamic State. His only public appearance was in 2014 in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. His last know audio recording was released on Sept. 28, 2017, and there have been several reports of his death or injury. Next weekend, a new U.S. military commander will be taking over in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Scott Miller, the former head of Joint Special Operations Command which oversees the elite commando units Delta Force, SEAL Team 6 and the 75th Ranger Regiment. The U.S. military has doubled its air strikes in Afghanistan over the past year and increased them fivefold over 2016 levels.

Another Islamic wako killed.  Score another one for the good guys!  Excellent!!       🙂

Outgoing U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson Says Trump’s Strategy Is Working

Army Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson said Wednesday in his last briefing as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan that President Trump’s Afghanistan strategy was working, citing progress in the peace process, or reconciliation, with the Taliban. “Ultimately, wars end with a political settlement. So the progress towards reconciliation is key. And the fact that we had been able to make this kind of progress [is] significant,” Nicholson told reporters at the Pentagon. Nicholson said within six months of the new strategy, there were two peace offers on the table: an open letter from the Taliban to the American people, and an offer from Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. He said within ten months, the country held its first nationwide ceasefire in 17 years, over the Eid al-Fitr holiday earlier this summer. He said the ceasefire “unleashed” pressure on the Afghan public, who are demanding peace. He said Ghani has now offered a second nationwide ceasefire that could last through Nov. 20, the day of Prophet Muhammed’s birth. “So the progress towards reconciliation, which ultimately is what we want … which will enable a political end to the war, is perhaps one of the greatest successes of the strategy so far,” he said. Nicholson said he believes what brought about this progress was the Trump administration getting rid of the Obama administration’s timeline for withdrawal, and further commitment from NATO allies to extend security assistance to 2024. “This has affected the enemy’s calculus. And this is one of the contributing factors to why they’re now willing to — to begin talking about an end of the war,” he said. Asked by CNN why the current strategy was not recommended sooner, Nicholson faulted the Obama administration’s approach. “In the time that I joined this mission as the last commander appointed by President Obama, we were on a glide path to reduce our forces and eventually to close down the mission,” he said. “And so, at that time, the enemy had no incentive to negotiate because we were leaving. So in war, which is a contest of wills, the enemy believed that we had lost our will to win and that all they needed to do was wait us out,” he said. “I believe the South Asia Strategy is the right approach. And now we see that approach delivering progress on reconciliation that we had not seen previously. And I think that was because we clearly communicated to the enemy they could not wait us out. We were backed up by our allies,” he added. Nicholson acknowledged that there is an “impasse” on the battlefield in terms of control of territory or the population gained from the Taliban, but suggested it may no longer be the best metric for success. “We have looked at the same metrics over time. So now, as we begin to change those metrics — things like social pressure, religious pressure, reconciliation — all of these factors are part of the South Asia policy, they are things to be examined. And I think they are things contributing to the progress that we’ve seen towards reconciliation,” he said. “So I think we’re seeing the strategy is fundamentally working and advancing us towards reconciliation, even though it may not be playing out the way that we anticipated,” he added. However, he said there has been progress in growing the size of the Afghan commando force from 30 companies to 45. “These commandos are the ones that are able to turn the tide in any fight that they join,” he said. He also said the Afghan air force is now conducting about half of the airstrikes in Afghanistan. He said recently that over 250 fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’s Afghanistan branch, ISIS-Khorasan, and their family members recently surrendered to Afghan forces in Jawzjan in Northern Afghanistan, eliminating one of three “pockets” of ISIS in Afghanistan. He dismissed the Taliban’s efforts to seize two provincial capitals, calling them failed attempts. “Can they conduct attacks? Yes. Can they hold what they take? No.”

U.S. Troops Celebrate Independence Day amid Unrelenting Threat in Afghanistan: ‘We Fight for It’

U.S. service members in Kabul took a moment’s respite from the wave of terrorist bombings in Afghanistan in recent months to enjoy a lunchtime ceremony in honor of America’s 242nd Independence Day on the Fourth of July. “It’s an important holiday because we fight for it,” U.S. Army Cpl. Ruby Cruz of the 191st Regional Support Group Forward from Fort Allen, Puerto Rico, told Stars and Stripes in Kabul. Acknowledging that she missed the celebrations back home, she added, “But we have fun here, too, so it’s not too bad.” A barbecue dinner in the evening is expected to follow the Fourth of July ceremony at the headquarters of the U.S.-NATO mission known as Resolute Support (RS). “American flags could be seen in all corners of NATO’s Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on Wednesday as U.S. service-members celebrated Independence Day,” Stars and Stripes reports. Honoring the birth of the United States at the ceremony in Kabul, U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, declared: ” For American servicemen and women who are deployed overseas, this day holds a very special significance, and it reminds us of the tremendous sacrifices made by previous generations of patriots in all of America’s wars in defense of liberty at home and abroad. …We hope Afghans will remember this, that reconciliation is possible between rivals.” Reconciliation between Kabul and the Taliban is the primary goal of U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy to end the nearly 17-year-old war. In recent months, both the Afghan Taliban and its alleged rival, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), have heavily targeted the Afghan capital of Kabul, including a meeting of the top Islamic scholars in the country last month. The U.S. military has deployed a brigade that consists of about 800 military advisers and a few hundred additional soldiers to tackle the wave of bombings that have been targeting Kabul, the Washington Post reported on July 1. In March, Gen. Nicholson expanded the American mission to prevent massive bombings in Kabul..

So much for that reconciliation..  Having spent some time in Afghanistan, myself, I can say with certitude and experience that the Taliban (and certainly ISIS) has NO intention of reconciling.  They’re just waiting us out, so they can take back control after we leave.  So, as long as we’re there, we should be using all of our resources to totally intimidate, humiliate, and crush the Talian and the rest of the Islamo-wackos there.  As for the troops celebrating our Independence while “down range,” we’re all thinking of you.

US Air Force B-52 drops record number of precision bombs on Taliban

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress dropped a record number of precision guided bombs on Taliban over the past 24 hours in Northern Afghanistan, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement Tuesday. The bombing was part of a 96-hour air campaign that struck training facilities and sources of revenue like narcotics. The strikes also aimed at stolen Afghan National Army vehicles “being converted to vehicle-borne” improvised explosive devices, the statement read. “The Taliban have nowhere to hide,” Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of the unit, said. “There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country.” The B-52, which was recently reconfigured with a “conventional rotary,” dropped 24 guided munitions. The U.S. military is pulling its forces from an American-led coalition base in Iraq and shifting them to Afghanistan following the defeat of Islamic State group militants in the country. Western contractors at the base say U.S. troops began the drawdown over the past week, with groups of soldiers leaving the base on daily flights. The exact scale of the redeployment was unclear. According to various estimates, as of 2016, there were more than 5,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq, with nearly 4,000 deployed to support and assist local groups fighting ISIS militants. The remaining personnel included special operations forces, logistics workers and troops on temporary rotations, the BBC reported.

Nice!  Score one for the good guys!     🙂