Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Updated Special Report:US Soldier Killed in Action in Afghanistan Identified - American University of Afghanistan Comes Under Attack in Kabul

NATO command in Kabul,Afghanistan has announced the death of a US soldier on while on a joint foot patrol with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces near Lashkar Gah,capital of Helmand Province in the country's south.The patrol triggered an IED blast that wounded another US soldier and six Afghans.The names and service affiliations of the US troops haven't been released yet.They were part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission,training,advising and assisting ANDSF personnel.*
Separately,the US had deployed an additional 100 troops to back up the ANDSF in Helmand recently,where the Taliban have been stepping up attacks in one of their longtime stronghold provinces,focusing on Helmand provincial capital Lashkar Gah,a city of 200,000.The district is on the verge of being overrun by the Islamist extremist group,an Afghan official complained.The US troops involved in the IED attack were not part of the 100 reinforcements.NATO said an investigation of the attack is underway.*
The Taliban may become increasingly aggressive,hoping to expand their territory as this year's fighting season begins to wind down in the face of winter's approach.As well,they could be eager to make a statement by their actions with the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks,which they enabled by hosting al-Qaida on their territory,being just weeks away.*
Meanwhile,the American University of Afghanistan in the Afghan capital,Kabul,has come under nightttime attack by militants using guns and explosives.Fires have been reported inside the compound,which is a private,non-profit institution.The details of the assault are still unclear,with students and others phoning out that they are trapped.ANDSF have reportedly surrounded the campus.On 7 August,an American and Australian professor from the university were kidnapped and their fate is also unknown.
Updates:At least 12 were killed,including seven students,and dozens wounded in the assault by militants on the American University of Afghanistan,which has been resolved by the ANDSF and US military advisors,who assisted the Afghans on scene.Many American staff members were working there yesterday night when the insurgents blew the gate open,opening fire and throwing hand grenades in the course of their raid.No Americans were killed,but some were reportedly wounded.*
Killed in action while serving in the NATO Resolute Support Mission near Lashkar Gah,the capital of Helmand Province,was US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Staff Sergeant Matthew V. Thompson,28,of Brookfield,Wisconsin.SSGT Thompson,who was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord,Washington,was on foot patrol with Afghan Special Forces and US soldiers,moving toward a Taliban objective,when they triggered an IED explosion.Typically the NATO troops are based at compounds or forward operating bases with their Afghan trainees,but have the authority to accompany them to the front lines and assist them there as needed.This can quickly become a combat situation,so NATO troops such as SSGT Thompson are still in considerable danger in Afghanistan.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Special Report:Fighting Flares Again in the Afghan North - critical city threatened

Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn multi-pronged attack on Khanabad district of Kunduz Province in Northern Afghanistan,seizing control of the district and threatening the provincial capital Kunduz city.This comes less than a year after Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,backed by US airpower and NATO special operations forces,who secured the international airport as a haven for government officials,drove the Taliban back from the strategically located city,a regional transport centre for the Afghan north,in heavy combat last September.*
A lack of sufficient ammunition and manpower were being cited to explain the defeat.
We resisted for hours,but we received no support,complained Khanabad district administrator Hayatullah Ramiri to Reuters.According to the Associated Press,the Islamist extremists also confiscated weapons and military vehicles during their rampage.Civilians were seen fleeing the district.Other reports from Kunduz city say some government officials wasted no time in once again seeking refuge at the international airport when clashes approached the city gates.*
Kunduz city was a militant stronghold prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan following the 9-11 attacks.In their attempt to recapture the city last year,the Taliban freed more than 600 prisoners from the Kunduz jail,including almost 150 militants.*
Even as the battle for Kunduz Province re-erupts,fighting is also intense in Helmand Province in the south and Nangarhar Province in the east of Afghanistan;while the Taliban had seized yet another district in the north of the country,in Baghlan Province just to the south of Kunduz,less than a week ago.
Update:Fighting continued in Khanabad district of Kunduz Province,Afghanistan on Sunday after the Taliban Islamist extremist group captured it on Saturday,although a provincial government spokesman said that the ANDSF had retaken the centre of Khanabad.The spokesman said 38 Taliban militants had been killed in the battle so far.The Taliban were reportedly hanging on in other parts of the district,which is about 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital,Kunduz city.Nationwide,significant swathes-perhaps at least 10 to 20% of Afghanistan's territory-is either under Taliban control now or being contested by them.