Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bulletin:NATO Special Forces Battle Taliban Near Kunduz,Afghanistan

An undisclosed number of NATO troops were sent to Kunduz to support Afghanistan in a non-combat role.That said,they also maintain the right to defend themselves.Early Wednesday morning,coalition special forces advisors,while advising and assisting elements of the Afghan security forces,encountered an insurgent threat in the vicinity of Kunduz airport at approximately 1:00 am,30 September,according to Colonel Brian Tribus,US Army,spokesman for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.This was done out of self-defence.When they encountered the threat,they defended themselves.The NATO troops also called in a third airstrike on the Taliban,COL Tribus said.*
An anonymous senior Afghan security official said that about 100 US special forces,heavily armed and wearing night vision equipment,had fought off the Taliban when they threatened to breach the airport,where a large number of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces are holding out.The US troops returned to the airport following the engagement.*
A Western military source,also anonymous,said the NATO contingent sent to advise and assist the ANDSF in Kunduz included US,British and German troops,although the German government said their forces withdrew the same day they arrived.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Afghanistan: Taliban fighters seize centre of Kunduz, freeing hundreds o...

Ukraine Backs NATO Drills: Ukraine to participate in NATO's largest ever...

Road to TRJE15 - Large NATO Exercise Underway

Afghanistan - AH-64 Apache Helicopter Airstrike Destroys Taliban Positio...

Prisoners escaping after the Taliban freed them from a Kunduz city prison

Afghan War:Provincial Capital Falls To Taliban - US air support sent in

In the pre-dawn hours of Monday,hundreds of Taliban militants and foreign fighters from as far afield as China and Central Asia streamed into the provincial capital of Kunduz in the far north of Afghanistan,apparently facing little resistance from the NATO-trained Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the ANDSF were being restrained to avoid civilian casualties.The Taliban have been using civilians as human shields,Mr.Ghani explained.The assault came from all directions,taking the ANDSF and local officials by surprise.
President Ghani said the ANDSF mounted a counterattack,retakng some government buildings including the new police headquarters and the prison.
Initially,the militants had liberated as many as 6oo prisoners from the Kunduz prison,several of them Taliban fighters.They also captured a TV station and took the central square of the capital of Kunduz Province,raising their flag,and setting up checkpoints to seal the city off.It was an unprecedented victory for the Islamist extremists in their nearly 14 year-long war with Afghan and NATO forces,the first provincial capital they have managed to seize,and is a statement by their new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour,who replaced Mullah Omar following the latter's death in a Pakistan hospital two years ago.*
There are no US troops in the area,but German soldiers control a major base in nearby Mazar-i-Sharif.The Taliban have made the north a focus of this fighting season,and control large swaths of it.The ANDSF have been stretched to the limit trying to resist the Taliban,largely without NATO ground forces to help them since December 2014.The US does provide some counterterrorist troops and occasional air support,as they provided for the ANDSF on Tuesday.Colonel Brian Tribus,spokesman for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan,said the US airstrike was to eliminate a threat to coalition and Afghan forces in the area.US F-16 aircraft struck Taliban positions on the outskirts of the city.The militants had carried out an ambush on ANDSF,placed IEDs and cut power lines.They also destroyed parts of a key artery from Kabul,the Baghlan-Kunduz highway,blocking ANDSF reinforcements from arriving.On Tuesday evening,heavy fighting erupted when they attacked the airport that ANDSF and officials had fallen back to.*
Speaking at the UN in New York,Afghan Chief Executive Dr.Abdullah Abdullah said the presence of terrorist sanctuaries and support networks in neighbouring Pakistan continue to cause trouble in Afghanistan.Militants cross into Afghanistan and indiscriminately victimise our citizens.*
Kunduz Province borders the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan.
Update:Tuesday night,the US conducted a second airstrike in Kunduz.Taliban positions near the airport were struck.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sea Breeze Military Drills Bring U.S. And NATO To Ukrainian Shores

NATO Opens New Regional Headquarters

USAF F-15 Launches

Russia Still Arming Ukraine Rebels Despite Truce: NATO Chief |

Russia Still Arming Ukraine Rebels Despite Truce: NATO Chief |

Cooper's Hawks Raising Young in a Neighborhood Near You - NM Game&Fish

Nature Note:Cooper's Hawk

Along a section of the Monocacy River in Northern Maryland,the riverbanks are forested,providing wildlife habitat and buffering the waterway from the intense development and agriculture just beyond.The vegetation also stabilises the banks,preventing harmful erosion here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.Abundant small mammals such as the gray squirrel are thriving along the riverbanks and the urban forest of mature trees,both coniferous and deciduous.These small furbearers are in turn sustaining predators such as the Cooper's hawk (Accipter cooperii).
Indeed,as I make my way along the hilly Mid-Atlantic terrain of the Northern Piedmont Ecoregion just east of the northern extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains,a Cooper's hawk makes several forays against the squirrels from its perch in a large deciduous tree in a backyard.It stoops on the squirrels,but they are agile enough to evade the swift and powerful hawk's razor-sharp talons.It may take the hawk upwards of a dozen tries or more before it finally succeeds in catching breakfast.The squirrels are very aware of the hawk's presence and tactics,and are usually fast and cagey enough themselves to avoid them,so most of them will live to stash another acorn for the approaching winter.
The hawk also preys on the songbirds that inhabit the riverine and urban forest,but of course they are not as much of a meal as a squirrel would be.
The Cooper's hawk breeds from British Columbia all the way over to Nova Scotia,and south to Florida and Costa Rica,wintering as far north as New England and BC.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

F-22 Raptors Takeoff From Germany

Inflight Refueling • KC-135 Stratotanker To B-1B Lancer

B 1 Bomber Taxi & Takeoff To Bomb Islamic State in Kobani Syria Nov 2014

RAF Tornado GR4 Strike Aircraft Refuel Over Iraq During Operation Shader...

PRIDE OF NATO Royal British Air Force Tornado Military Aircraft

CENTCOM Update:The War On ISIL - plus Australia's first Syria strike

On Friday,11 September,US Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder,US Air Force,gave a progress report on Operation Inherent Resolve to journalists via teleconference.The OIR coalition's support continues to enable indigenous forces by applying pressure on ISIL's key command and control areas;logistics nodes;staging areas;and lines of communication.A special focus has been the Beiji and Ramadi areas,COL Ryder said.For example,one recent airstrike targeted a key ISIL staging area and weapons depot just west of Ramadi in a soccer stadium.
The Beiji oil refinery is still being contested,with both ISIL and the Iraqi Security Forces bringing in reinforcements.From 2-9 September,13 coalition airstrikes took out a number of ISIL personnel there;nearly 100 vehicles;and several weapons and supply caches,according to COL Ryder.ISIL continues to put up a fight,but we assess they have lost several hundred fighters and continue to reinforce failure by sending in additional forces.*
Besides airstrikes,the OIR coalition Building Partner Capacity sites have trained around 13,000 ISF since the operation began,with 4,000 more troops currently in training.We have seen graduates of this program subsequently operate effectively in areas around Ramadi and other parts of Iraq,such as the Iraqi forces trained in large scale IED clearing who are reducing ISF and civilian casualties.
On another front,the advise and assist mission continues to enable ground forces in Iraq by helping with planning ground operations;intelligence sharing;integrating air support into operations;logistics planning;command and control;and communications.*
In Syria,the OIR coalition's train-and-equip programme continues training vetted Syrian opposition force recruits,with a fourth class recently having begun their training.It's important to keep in mind this programme is still in its early stages and the forces trained are expected to be additive in nature.This will further contribute to what's already being done by the Syrian Kurds,Arabs and other anti-ISIL forces.*
In the latest airstrikes in Syria,fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 4 sorties.Near Dayr Ar Zawr,2 sorties struck an ISIL crude oil collection point and destroyed an ISIL excavator.Near Kobani,a sortie destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.Near Mara,a sortie struck an ISIL tactical unit.*
In Iraq,attack;bomber;fighter;fighter attack;and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes coordinated with the Iraqi government.Among them,near Beiji,4 sorties struck 1 large and 2 small ISIL tactical units and destroyed 6 ISIL buildings;3 ISIL vehicles;an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery piece;and an ISIL structure.
Near Ramadi,2 sorties destroyed 4 ISIL weapons caches;an ISIL armoured personnel carrier;and an ISIL vehicle-borne IED.Near Tuz,a sortie struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.*
The Iraq airstrikes were carried out by the US;Australia;Canada;Denmark;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;and the UK.
The Syria airstrikes were carried out by the US;Bahrain;Canada;Jordan;Saudi Arabia;new participant Turkey;and the UAE.
Update:On Tuesday,Australia revealed it had conducted its first airstrike in Syria on Monday 14 September.Two RAAF Hornets identified an ISIL armoured personnel carrier hidden in an ISIL compound,according to Defence Minister Kevin Andrews.One of the Hornets attacked the APC with a precision guided weapon,destroying it.
Last week,Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia was extending its OIR airstrikes from Iraq into Syria at the request of the US.Australia has been conducting Iraq airstrikes for about a year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Airborne Soldiers & Heavy Cargo Drop into the Arctic

Coast Guard Cutter Waesche Begins First Alaska Patrol - national security cutter

Flight Operations Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Red Flag 14-2 USAF/RAAF

Russia in the Arctic - a cause for concern?

Little Diomede Island is the last US possession before entering Russian territory just a few miles away.If the Eskimos that live there venture too close to Russia,Russian border guards in watchtowers yell at them or even fire warning shots.There are no US troops on Little Diomede.The Eskimos help keep an eye on Russia with a spotting scope.US Air Force fighter jets from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson,Alaska intercept any Russian aircraft approaching US airspace.*
There's not an enormous amount of concern in the US military about what Russia is doing on the ground in the Arctic,says Stephen Lee Myers,New York Times correspondent.The US Coast Guard is strained by the resources it has to deploy in the Arctic.From the NATO perspective,it's not necessarily provocative.What is,is Russia's aggressive air patrolling along the Arctic and Baltic.It's an era of testing and provocation.*
Marlene LaRuelle of George Washington University says the Russian FSB Arctic Brigade is a Coast Guard of the border.It would be a very modest thing with 50-60 people up there for search and rescue if anything happened.What's going on is more domestic,managing crisis more than anything else.
Apart from Murmansk,the focus for Russia is primarily domestic security.Russia's not just concerned with oil and gas,but mineral extraction as well to support Arctic cities.Our only infrastructure in the Arctic is the US Coast Guard seasonal presence.We don't have the aspirational view that the Russians do.*
We're starting to see the Russian facilities are dual use,but we don't know what use.We need to get our arms around it.We're starting to see warning signs,cautioned Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.*
According to Russia's official RIA Novosti news agency,former Soviet bases in the Arctic are being reactivated in response to renewed NATO interest in the region.The airstrip in Novaya Zembla can now accommodate fighters and part of the North Fleet is establishing quarters there.A new far north military group of two brigades totaling 6,000 soldiers will be deployed in Murmansk and then the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region.Radar and ground guidance systems are planned for Franz Josef Land in Novaya Zemlya,Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt.The FSB is increasing the number of border guards on Russia's northern perimeter.*

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Taliban Attacks on US & NATO Special Forces Base in Afghanistan ABC News

U.S. Soldiers Dodge Taliban Fire in the Open

F-22 Raptors Landing At Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

Afghan War:Pitched Battle With Taliban - special tactics airmen killed

Late on Tuesday 25 August,Taliban militants overran Musa Qala district centre in Helmand Province,Afghanistan,after a weeklong assault.Musa Qala is strategically important;the whole province would be under threat if Musa Qala remained in Taliban hands,including the provincial capital Lashkar Gah,an Afghan official said.Afghanistan has about 300 district centres.
Heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan National Defence and Security Forces erupted as the district centre and surrounding villages were overrun.Mohamed Sharif,administrative chief of Musa Qala District,said they abandoned his office,police headquarters and the central hospital.They also asked for reinforcements several times without success.Eventually more soldiers and police arrived from Kabul and were supported by NATO airstrikes,as well as NATO advise and assist personnel.
We can confirm the US has conducted multiple kinetic strikes in Musa Qala over the past 72 hours,NATO said.The warplanes struck the army and police headquarters in Musa Qala.On 30 August,the ANDSF said it had recaptured Musa Qala district centre,inflicting huge casualties on the Taliban and re-establishing control there.Up to 220 Taliban were killed,while 33 ANDSF were killed or wounded.US airstrikes alone had killed up to 40 Taliban on 26 August.Over the weeklong Taliban assault,there were 18 US airstrikes;additionally,there had been 380 other airstrikes between January and July,indicating a much wider air campaign in Afghanistan than had been previously thought.*
Even as the battle of Musa Qala progressed,on 26 August two US Air Force special tactics airmen serving in Operation Freedom's Sentinel were killed near Camp Antonik,Helmand Province.They had stopped their vehicle at a checkpoint and two men in ANDSF uniforms opened fire on them,the Air Force said.NATO service members returned fire,killing the gunmen.It isn't clear if the incident was related to the Taliban assault on Musa Qala;it is under a joint US-Afghan investigation.
Those killed were US Air Force Academy graduate Captain Matthew D. Roland,27,of Lexington,Kentucky;and Staff Sergeant Forrest B. Sibley,31,of Pensacola,Florida.They are survived by their parents.Both men were combat controllers who had served multiple tours in sensitive areas.SGT Sibley had been awarded four Bronze Stars,including one with V-device for valour.
Both airmen were qualified in terminal attack control;and were also certified as static line jumpers,free fall jumpers and combat scuba divers.Special tactics airmen integrate,synchronise,and control air and space power to enable global access,precision strike and personnel recovery for special operations.

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe U.S. Air Force Article Display

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe U.S. Air Force Article Display