Tag Archives: Afghanistan

More charged with terrorism offences in Australia

uk.reuters.com

More charged with terrorism offences in Australia

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian police charged four more men on Wednesday with planning to attack an army base and shoot soldiers as the government considered whether to ban a Somalia militant group linked to the plot.

During a brief court hearing in Melbourne on Wednesday, one of those charged refused to stand before the court and then shouted at the presiding magistrate.

“You call me a terrorist? I have never killed a person in my life, said Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 33, before he was led to a jail cell. “Your army kills innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel takes Palestinian land by force,” he said.

Australia has gradually tightened anti-terrorism laws since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, but analysts say the country remains a target because of its contribution to the Iraq war and its more than 1,500 troops in Afghanistan.

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2 die in U.S. fighter jet crash in Afghanistan

art.fighter.afp.gi

2 die in U.S. fighter jet crash in Afghanistan

Two airmen on a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle died when the plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.

The two-man fighter went down while it was conducting military operations, another source, Lt. Col. Reid Christopherson, said earlier.

“At this time, we are very comfortable in stating there was no hostile fire in the incident,” Christopherson said.

He added that a board of officers will investigate the crash of the highly maneuverable, all-weather tactica fighter.

In a news release, the military said the incident occurred at 3:15 a.m. Kabul time and also noted that there was no “hostile fire.”

“We mourn the loss of these two airmen and our thoughts are with their families, loved ones and their unit,” the news release said. “Only after a deliberative and thorough investigation will we know what caused this event. ”

A spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan’s central Ghazni province, who goes by the single name Jihangir, confirmed that a U.S. plane crashed in Ghazni’s Nawur district before dawn.

“The crash site was sealed off by coalition forces,” Jihangir told CNN by telephone, “Afghan police were not allowed to have access to this area.”

The Afghan official said the plane crashed in Ghazni, some 160 kilometers west of the town of Ghazni, between the communities of Qaracha and Bahari.

The jet crash comes in a bloody month in Afghanistan.

July’s toll of international military fatalities stands at 50, the highest tally so far, a CNN count of official statistics


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UK’s Brown calls on Afghan army to pull its weight

in.reuters.com

UK’s Brown calls on Afghan army to pull its weight

LONDON – Afghanistan needs to do far more to make its troops available on the ground if a U.S.-British offensive to secure territory ahead of elections is to succeed, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday.

Answering questions before a parliamentary committee, Brown repeatedly made the point that he did not think Afghanistan was pulling its weight and said he had spoken to President Hamid Karzai to try to address the situation.

Karzai told Brown this week he would increase the number, but did not say when or by how many.

“I’m very clear that the Afghan army has got to do more,” Brown said, arguing that any strategy to clear and hold large swathes of territory in the south ahead of a presidential election in August would hinge on Afghan forces.

“I’m very clear that where we are in Helmand, we need the complement of more Afghan troops and police. And I’m also clear that we have a role to play, and it will be a continuing role after the election, for some of our troops to mentor and train the Afghan security forces.”

He said Britain, which has about 9,000 troops in Helmand, having boosted the number for a pre-election offensive, would review its numbers after the poll, and possibly in October, if the vote goes to a second round.

But more immediately, he said there was not enough support from Afghanistan’s side to back up the efforts being made by Britain and the United States. If Afghan communities were to be kept safe, it meant Afghanistan stepping up to the plate.

It is a point U.S. military commanders have also made in recent weeks, but which Brown has taken up on a political level at a time when he is under pressure at home to justify why Britain is still fighting in Afghanistan after eight years.

“We have been asking the Afghan national army through President Karzai to make available more Afghan troops on the ground,” he said.

“It would be by far the best way of moving forward if once ground is taken by our troops, then local Afghan troops and police are there on the ground … There are troops available and I believe they should be in Helmand for this campaign.”

The prime minister was also dismissive of the size of the Afghan forces, saying they would have to be substantially expanded if they were ever going to be capable of keeping control in a country the size of Afghanistan.

“Our ability to defeat a terrorist threat depends not only on what we can contribute militarily, but on what we can achieve by civilian as well as military effort in training the Afghan army,” he said.

“Which will have to be higher than 130,000 (soldiers), by the way. I mean, it’s 80,000 at the moment, and the plan is 130,000, but I think everybody is in no doubt that for a territory that is as big as Afghanistan, we will have to train any army to a higher number than that.”

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