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Old 12 October 2008, 16:57
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ISAF repel a large Taliban offensive 70 KIA

Operations are ongoing in Afghanistan especially cross border actions.


ISAF repels attacks in Helmand, launches strike into Pakistan
By Bill RoggioOctober 12, 2008 7:57 AM

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...ls_attacks.php



US, British, and Afghan forces defeated two Taliban attacks in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Sunday. Seventy Taliban were killed during the two engagements. Five were killed as they attempted to attack from inside Pakistan.

In eastern Afghanistan, US forces launched two separate artillery strikes into Pakistan after Taliban mortar teams attempted to hit a US outpost inside Afghanistan. The outpost is located in the border district of Barmal in Paktika province, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told The Long War Journal. The strikes were launched across the border into North Waziristan.

ISAF said the strikes were coordinated with the Pakistani military. US forces launched the first artillery strike after three Taliban were seen setting up a mortar tube. Pakistani forces confirmed two Taliban were killed. An hour later, a Taliban mortar team was seen setting up to hit a Pakistan Border Point. US forces launched a second volley "in defense of the Pakistani military." Three Taliban were confirmed killed by Pakistani forces.

The artillery strikes occurred the same day as a US Predator strike was launched against a Taliban and al Qaeda safe house outside of Miramshah in North Waziristan. Four Taliban were reported killed.

The Haqqani family and Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar run a parallel administration in North Waziristan, and have launched multiple cross-border strikes in Paktia, Paktika, and Khost provinces this year. Taliban and allied al Qaeda forces have attempted to over US and Afghan outposts and district centers in eastern Afghanistan this year.

In southern Afghanistan, US and Afghan forces killed more than 65 Taliban fighters after they attempted to attack an Afghan National Security Forces outpost in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. The Taliban were seen gathering outside the town and were preparing a mortar attack when British and Afghan forces launched a counterattack. An airstrike resulted in most of the casualties, ISAF said in a press release.

The attack in Helmand comes as the British are pushing for peace talks with the Taliban and news has broken that a senior Pakistani military officer was killed during a raid in Helmand province more than a year ago. British intelligence believes the Taliban have split from al Qaeda, and the time is right to cut a deal. Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government were pushed by the British. But the so-called Taliban representatives have no standing with the group. Several members have been expelled from the organization.

US intelligence told The Long War Journal that there is no evidence of a Taliban-al Qaeda split, and in fact believes that the Taliban and Mullah Omar's ties to al Qaeda are stronger than ever. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the US would be willing to negotiate with the Taliban, but only with “reconcilable” elements – those without links to al Qaeda. Mullah Omar and other senior Taliban leaders are not considered among the reconcilable elements of the Taliban.

Afghan officials accuse the Brits of covering up a reportof the death of a Pakistani military officer who was advising Taliban forces in the Sangin district in Helmand province. "When the British soldiers entered the compound they discovered a Pakistani military ID on the body," The London Times reported. The Brits covered up the incident "because they care more about their relations with Islamabad than Kabul," an Afghan official told the paper.

At the time, the British were in the process of secret negotiations with the Taliban and had set up "training camps" for Taliban fighters. British diplomats claimed "the camp was just a place for them to be reintegrated, learn about hygiene and things." The cover-up and subsequent secret negotiations infuriated the Afghan government, and two British diplomats were later expelled after they were found to be conducting secret negotiations with the Taliban.
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Old 12 October 2008, 16:59
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Taliban leader killed by SAS was Pakistan officer Christina Lamb in Kabul


British officials covered up evidence that a Taliban commander killed by special forces in Helmand last year was in fact a Pakistani military officer, according to highly placed Afghan officials.

The commander, targeted in a compound in the Sangin valley, was one of six killed in the past year by SAS and SBS forces. When the British soldiers entered the compound they discovered a Pakistani military ID on the body.

It was the first physical evidence of covert Pakistani military operations against British forces in Afghanistan even though Islamabad insists it is a close ally in the war against terror.

Britain’s refusal to make the incident public led to a row with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who has long accused London of viewing Afghanistan through the eyes of Pakistani military intelligence, which is widely believed to have been helping the Taliban.


“He feels he has been telling everyone about Pakistan for the past six years and here was the evidence, yet London refused to release it, because they care more about their relations with Islamabad than Kabul,” said a source close to the president. “He knows Britain is worried about inflaming its large Pakistani population, but that is no excuse.”

So furious was Karzai that he threatened to expel British diplomats. When some months later he was informed by the governor of Helmand that British officials were secretly negotiating with the Taliban, he expelled two men and accused Britain of wanting to set up a training camp for former Taliban fighters.

Karzai will visit London next month for talks with Gordon Brown in an attempt to repair the strained relations between the two countries.

“He is very sad about the breakdown of relations with Britain,” said the source. “He loves British culture and poetry, had a British education [at a school in India], likes tea in the afternoon and thinks Gordon Brown is a very decent man, not a cheat.”

British officials in Kabul refused to comment on the allegation that they had covered up the discovery of a Pakistani soldier. They insisted Karzai’s government had been informed of the negotiations with the Taliban, adding that “the camp was just a place for them to be reintegrated, learn about hygiene and things”.

During the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, officers from Pakistani military intelligence regularly accompanied Afghan mujaheddin inside Afghanistan and directed operations.

The Afghan claims of Pakistani involvement in Helmand were backed by a senior United Nations official who said he had been told by his superiors to keep quiet after Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN apparently threatened to stop contributing forces to peacekeeping missions. Pakistan is the UN’s biggest supplier of peacekeeping troops.

The coalition’s refusal to confront Pakistan changed after the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul last July, when 41 people were killed. According to both British and US intelligence, phone intercepts led directly back to an Afghan cell of Pakistan’s military intelligence.

The past month has seen US forces carry out bombings and a ground raid on Pakistani territory. Claims of Pakistan’s involvement were rejected by Asif Durrani, the country’s chargé d’affaires in Kabul. “Afghanistan wants to blame someone else for its problems and Pakistan is just the whipping boy,” he said.

However, repeated accusations from Karzai about Pakistan’s active support for the Taliban have been backed by a senior US marine officer.

Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Nash, who commanded an embedded training team in eastern Afghanistan from June 2007 to March this year, told the Army Times that Pakistani forces flew repeated helicopter missions into Afghanistan to resupply a Taliban base camp during a fierce battle in June last year. Nash said: “We were on the receiving end of Pakistani military D-30 [a howitzer]. On numerous occasions Afghan border police checkpoints and observation posts were attacked by Pakistani military forces.”

Comments by Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith in The Sunday Times last week that a decisive military victory against the Taliban was not possible and negotiations should be opened have received widespread backing.

General Jean-Louis Georgelin, France’s military chief, said: “There is no military solution to the Afghan crisis and I totally share this feeling.”

Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, who initially dismissed the brigadier’s comments as “defeatist”, said on Friday that the US was now prepared to back talks with the Taliban.
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