Four Taliban Killed By Own Bomb
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
20 July 2005 -- Officials in Afghanistan say four suspected Taliban rebels were killed when a roadside bomb they were laying blew up prematurely.
The provincial governor of Uruzgan province, Mohammed Khan, said the Taliban were killed on Tuesday as they were burying the bomb next to a dirt track regularly patrolled by Afghan troops.
In the Afghan capital Kabul, police say they thwarted a plot to bomb the city. Some 876 kilograms of explosives were discovered hidden in sacks of onions in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Two men were arrested who said they were planning to transport the explosives to the capital for use there.
Afghans say seize explosives intended to bomb Kabul
KABUL, July 20 (Reuters) - Afghan security forces have seized a huge quantity of explosives intended for use in Taliban bomb attacks on the capital, Kabul, officials said on Wednesday.
At least five people were detained in connection with the discovery on Tuesday of the 880 kg (1,940 lb) of explosives and 5,000 fuses hidden in a house in the eastern city of Jalalabad, Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said.
"Two people were picked up in Jalalabad and during the investigations they told us three other people were waiting for the explosives to be brought to Kabul and used to bomb it," Mashal said.
He gave no more details, but an official in Jalalabad, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the detained men were Taliban militants.
Hundreds of people, many of them guerrillas, have died in stepped-up militant violence in the lead up to Sept. 18 elections, the next big step in Afghanistan's difficult path to stability.
Kabul has been the target of bomb attacks in the past, some of which have killed foreign peacekeeping troops.
But the city, home to thousands of foreign aid workers and diplomats, has largely been spared the sort of militant violence that has plagued the south and east of the country since the Taliban's overthrow in late 2001.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Tuesday, four Taliban fighters died when a landmine they were planting in the central province of Uruzgan exploded prematurely, provincial governor Jan Mohammad Khan said.
The bodies of the four guerrillas were found beside a road.
Taliban officials could not immediately be reached for comment about the seizure of the explosives or the mine blast.
The guerrillas have frequently used landmines and improvised roadside bombs to target Afghan and U.S.-led foreign troops battling their insurgency.
2 IEDs destroyed, 2 weapons caches discovered
July 20, 2005
Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan Coalition Press Information Center (Public Affairs)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – One improvised explosive device and another suspected IED were discovered by Afghan and U.S. forces July 19 near Orgun-E and Ghazni in eastern Afghanistan .
The device near Orgun-E was discovered by a U.S. patrol conducting security operations in the area. A team of experts from a nearby U.S. base was called to the scene after the device was rendered safe.
The second, suspected IED was discovered by Afghan intelligence agents and reported to U.S. forces. Afghan National Police officers secured the site until U.S. forces could arrive. A team of explosive-ordnance-disposal experts moved the suspected IED to a safe location before destroying it.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan , two caches of munitions were recovered by Afghan intelligence personnel and Afghan police.
The first cache, discovered northeast of Qalat, consisted of 18 anti-tank missile warheads. It was collected by Afghan intelligence agents from locations in the local area. The warheads will be taken to a nearby base for destruction.
The second cache was discovered by U.S. forces inside a cave in the vicinity of Bamian and consisted of 50 mortar rounds. Local police secured the site until EOD personnel arrived and destroyed the items.
Afghan government burns 60 tonnes of drugs
KABUL, July 20 (Reuters) - Afghanistan has destroyed 60 tonnes of illegal drugs with a street value of hundreds of millions of dollars in the past two weeks in a bid to avoid becoming a narco-state, an official said on Wednesday.
Confiscated caches of hashish, opium, morphine and heroin were burned after being seized from traffickers trying to smuggle them outside Afghanistan, Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said.
"In total, 60 tonnes of drugs have been destroyed. It is a historical move globally in terms of the short period of time in which the destruction took place," Mashal told Reuters.
Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of heroin, and the narcotics trade dominates the economy, accounting for 60 percent of gross domestic product, according to estimates by the United Nations.
President Hamid Karzai said this month that drugs posed a greater risk to Afghanistan than terrorism, and that the world would turn its back on Afghans if they failed to curb the trade.
The government has admitted that some senior officials are thought to be involved in the drugs trade.
Officials say the area under cultivation of opium-producing poppy -- the raw material for heroin and morphine -- has fallen since last year as a result of a foreign-backed crackdown, but good growing weather could limit the size of any fall in output.
Encouraged by Western countries, Karzai has vowed a "holy war" on production of opium, which soared to record levels after the overthrow of the Taliban in late 2001.
Washington has earmarked $700 million for the campaign against drugs while Britain is putting up $100 million and seeking $300 million more from other countries.
But with an estimated 10 percent of Afghans dependent on opium production, the government fears that rapid eradication could worsen security in southern and eastern areas where poppy is mostly grown and where militants are most active.
Afghanistan's Karzai says some madrasas preach hate
Wed Jul 20, 1:00 AM ET
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai says some madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, were training camps for "merchants of death" and had to be closed down immediately.
He also told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Wednesday that the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden was created to counter the former Soviet Union and received widespread support until it began to target the West.
"There are places which are using the name of of madrasa and Islam for training terror, perpetrators of killing, training merchants of death," Karzai said.
"Those places are not madrasas, they are actually training camps for terrorism. They have to be closed down and dealt with very strictly by all of us, wherever they are."
Karzai is currently on a visit to Britain. On Tuesday, he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair called for the closure of madrasas which breed militants.
Nearly two weeks after bombings in London which killed 56 people, the spotlight has focused on madrasas, particularly some in Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan.
Three of the four London bombers were young British Muslims of Pakistani descent, and officials say all of them entered Pakistan through the southern city of Karachi last year.
Pakistani intelligence officials say one of the bombers spent two months in Afghanistan last year and four months in neighboring Pakistan at an Islamic school of the type the leaders condemned.
Karzai refused to say where the suspect madrasas were located, but added: "We have to close training camps wherever they are.
"We don't have to go into intellectual arguments about them. The matter is very clear, they are terrorists. They are killing women and children everywhere, they are killing them in Afghanistan, they are killing them in London, they have killed them in Saudi Arabia."
Karzai took over as president after a U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime in 2001 for refusing to hand over bin Laden, who was blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Karzai said bin Laden's al Qaeda network was created to oppose the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and should have been dealt with earlier.
"It was supported by everybody and as long as it was killing Afghans, innocent, poor Muslims, nobody cared," he said.
"It began to be called terrorism when they reached the West. I am glad the world has woken up."
Afghan President Karzai says London bombers had no link to Islam
Wed Jul 20,12:07 AM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said that terrorists such as the London bombers had no link to Islam and were only intent on murder, urging Britons to unite in the fight against them.
Speaking after talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair in the British capital on Tuesday, Karzai also said his government must work in a "sincere and strong manner" with its neighbour Pakistan to secure their borders and root out hardline Islamic schools -- allegedly used as training camps for terror groups such as Al-Qaeda.
"These people, the terrorists, are only after human life," the Afghan leader told a joint press conference with Blair, reiterating his sorrow about the July 7 suicide bombings on the London subway and a bus in which 56 people died.
"They feel happy when they cause suffering -- when they cause suffering in Afghanistan, when they cause suffering in Britain, when they cause suffering elsewhere," he said.
"Today my plea to the people of Britain is to unite with people everywhere in the world to fight this menace to the end of it," Karzai said.
He described the cells of extremists intent on attacking countries such as Britain as desperate and denied that they had any religious links.
Dressed in a traditional robe, the Afghan president said he admired the British people "when they understand that what happened in the UK, in London, a few days ago was not related to any religion, definitely not related to Islam."
He said the same people who carried out Britain's worst terrorist atrocity had been slaying Muslims in his country for many years, long before the September 11 attacks in the United States and the US-led war in Iraq.
"Let us understand that there is no link between the actions of these people and Muslims," he said, noting that in Islam, the murder of one person was seen as gravely as the death of all humanity.
He also rejected the arguments that the extremist groups were avenging Britain for its support of the US-led Iraq war, or the war in Afghanistan or the suffering of Msulims in the Palestinian territories.
Karzai re-emphasised the misery suffered by families in Afghanistan during the hard-line Taliban regime, insisting: "There is no link to any argument that they offer, they are simply merchants of death."
In addition, Afghanistan and Pakistan must to work together to prevent terror groups penetrating their borders and to combat madrassas, or seminaries, which might teach extremist views, said Karzai.
"Both the Afghan government and the Pakistani government need to get hand in hand in a very sincere and strong manner together with the rest of the world to stop that," he told reporters.
Some madrassas were excellent places to learn about Islam, but there were others "that are not madrassas, that are training camps and those we have to close wherever they may be," he said.
At the bilateral meeting in London, Blair and Karzai signed a declaration that is designed to set the foundations for close co-operation to rebuild the central Asian state over the coming decade.
Despite the daily violence in his country since the fall of the Taliban in November 2001, Karzai said it was thanks to countries like Britain and the United States that his people were able to lead a much freer life and reap the benefits of world trade.
"This international effort to free us from terrorism... has to be continued, has to be strengthened, has to be understood better and fought more effectively as we stand here today," he said.
Karzai tribute to London victim
BBC News / Wednesday, 20 July, 2005
Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to lay a wreath in London on Wednesday for an Afghan national killed in the city bombings.
Police confirmed that Ateeque Sharifi, 24, died in the 7 July attacks, which claimed 56 lives, four of them bombers.
The Afghan embassy in London said Mr Sharifi had lived in Hounslow, west London, and his body would be sent home to relatives in Afghanistan.
President Karzai will lay a floral tribute at King's Cross station.
On Wednesday he said Islamic schools proven as training grounds for militants should be clods down.
A day earlier, President Karzai met British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with both men saying militants in both countries must be defeated.
'Merchants of death'
Dr Abdul Wahab, deputy head of mission at the Afghan embassy, said Mr Sharifi had some distant relatives in the UK but not his close family.
Dr Wahab said relatives had told him Mr Sharifi caught a train every day from King's Cross station.
Mr Sharifi's body was recovered from the underground train bombed between King's Cross and Russell Square.
"His family want his body returned to Afghanistan and we are working with the police and others to send him home," Dr Wahab said.
In a BBC interview on Wednesday, President Karzai condemned some Islamic schools for militant teaching.
"There are places which are using the name of madrassa and Islam for training terror, perpetrators of killing, training merchants of death," the president said.
"Those places are not madrassas, they are actually training camps for terrorism. They have to be closed down and dealt with very strictly by all of us, wherever they are."
Pakistani sources say at least one of the London bombers spent time at a madrassa in Pakistan. Three of them, all of them Britons of Pakistani descent, were known to have visited the country last year.
President Karzai also said the West should have tried to root out al-Qaeda at a much earlier stage.
"It was supported by everybody and as long as it was killing Afghans, innocent, poor Muslims, nobody cared," he said.
"It began to be called terrorism when they reached the West. I am glad the world has woken up."
President Karzai's visit is his third to the UK since he took over after the fall of the Taleban three-and-a-half years ago.
London mayor says West fueled Islamic radicalism
By Andrew Gray / July 20, 2005
LONDON (Reuters) - Western foreign policy has fueled the Islamist radicalism behind the bomb attacks which killed more than 50 people in London, the British capital's mayor Ken Livingstone said on Wednesday.
Livingstone, who earned the nickname "Red Ken" for his left-wing views, won widespread praise for a defiant response which helped unite London after the bombings. But he has revived his reputation for courting controversy in recent days.
Asked on Wednesday what he thought had motivated the four suspected suicide bombers, Livingstone cited Western policy in the Middle East and early American backing for Osama bin Laden.
"A lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in (U.S. detention camp) Guantanamo Bay, and they just think that there isn't a just foreign policy," he said.
Police say they believe there is a clear link between bin Laden's al Qaeda network and the four British Muslims who blew up three underground trains and a double-decker bus on July 7.
"You've just had 80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of a Western need for oil. We've propped up unsavory governments, we've overthrown ones that we didn't consider sympathetic," Livingstone said.
"I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s ... the Americans recruited and trained Osama bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians to drive them out of Afghanistan.
"They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that, he might turn on his creators," he told BBC radio.
ANGER OVER IRAQ
Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has insisted the bombings have no link to its foreign policy, particularly its decision to invade Iraq alongside the United States.
But an opinion poll this week showed two-thirds of Britons see a connection between the Iraq war and the bombings. A top think tank and a leaked intelligence memo have also suggested the war has made Britain more of a target for terrorists.
That did not stop the right-wing Daily Telegraph castigating Livingstone, a maverick member of Blair's Labour party who was celebrating London's selection as host of the 2012 Olympics just hours before the bombers struck.
Wednesday's edition of the paper featured a picture of the mayor between photographs of two radical Muslim clerics under the headline: "The men who blame Britain."
Livingstone has made clear he condemns all killing, including suicide bombing. But is also a long-standing critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.
"If you have been under foreign occupation, and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work, for three generations, I suspect if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves," he said on Wednesday.
Israel's ambassador to London Zvi Heifetz accused the mayor of expressing sympathy for Palestinian militants.
"It is outrageous that the same mayor who rightfully condemned the suicide bombing in London as perverted faith', defends those who, under the same extremist banner, kill Israelis," he said in a statement.
Scores detained in Pakistan raids
BBC News / Wednesday, 20 July, 2005
Police in Pakistan have detained about 200 suspected Islamist extremists in a series of raids on religious schools, mosques and other properties.
The suspects are being questioned about any links they might have with militant groups or with the London bombers.
Three of the four bombers are known to have visited Pakistan recently.
President Pervez Musharraf is expected to announce new measures to curb religious extremism during a televised speech on Thursday.
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was anxious for Pakistan to crack down on extremist teaching in its Islamic schools.
One of the raids was at a prominent Islamic school, or madrassa, in Islamabad.
Known as the Lal Masjid, the mosque and its adjacent religious school are known for supporting a banned extremist group, the BBC's Zaffar Abbas reports from Islamabad.
Armed police entered the school around midnight and took away two senior clerics and more than 15 students.
Soon after, hundreds of students gathered outside the school compound and shouted slogans against the United States and Gen Musharraf.
Riot police dispersed them by firing several rounds of tear gas.
Security officials told the BBC that more than 70 people were rounded up for questioning after raids in three cities in Punjab province.
None of them have been formally charged.
In North West Frontier Province, police detained 40 suspects, said to be members of banned militant groups.
A senior security official told the BBC one of the main purposes of the raids was to find possible clues about the movements of two of the London bombers who travelled to Pakistan last year.
But Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed denied that among those detained was a British Muslim wanted in connection with the London bombings.
"The person arrested is not the al-Qaeda suspect... he is not the al-Qaeda man as reported by the media," he told the BBC.
Reports that a man "with direct links" to the London attacks had been held in Lahore could also not be confirmed.
Pakistan's ambassador to Britain, Maleeha Lodhi, told the BBC the bombers' motivation "appeared to be home-grown".
"Just a visit to a country doesn't mean that they have been radicalised," she said.
Raids carried out by the Pakistani security forces earlier this week targeted Islamist publications and members of religious organisations banned by Gen Musharraf in 2002.
The latest raids follow crackdowns launched in 2000 and 2002.
These proved to be effective for only a short time, as militant groups re-emerged with new names.
President Musharraf has said he will extend full support to Britain in the investigation into the London attacks in which 56 people died, including the four bombers.
Pakistan has confirmed that three of the bombers, all Britons of Pakistani descent, visited the country.
Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer visited Pakistan together last year, spending three months in the country. A third, Hasib Hussain, also visited last year.
Shehzad Tanweer's family say he visited a madrassa.
Pakistan tells US to respect borders in terror war
Wed Jul 20, 4:28 AM ET
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has assured the United States of unwavering support in the war on terrorism, but said he would not tolerate violation of the country's borders by U.S. forces, newspapers said.
Musharraf met U.S. Central Command chief General John Abizaid on Tuesday after strikes by Afghanistan-based U.S. forces killed 24 suspected militants in a Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan last week.
The strikes prompted anti-U.S. protests by pro-militant tribesmen in North Waziristan, just inside the Pakistan border, during funerals for some of the dead on Saturday.
Wednesday editions of Pakistani newspapers quoted Musharraf as telling Abizaid during a meeting in the garrison city of Rawalpindi that Pakistani forces were doing everything they could to purge the country of terrorists.
"Now we want our borders to be respected in the war on terrorism and will not put up with future border breaches," the Daily Times quoted Musharraf as saying.
There was no comment from the Pakistan government on the newspaper reports.
The U.S.-led raids followed a warning by a U.S. official that forces on both sides of the border needed to squeeze the frontier region where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might be hiding.
U.S. and Afghan officials have long complained that, despite Pakistan's status as a key ally in the war on terrorism, Taliban and allied militants have been able to launch attacks in Afghanistan from Pakistan and escape back there.
Musharraf asked for more technical support from the United States for Pakistan's intelligence and law enforcement agencies to help them free the rugged border region of the al Qaeda and Taliban militants, the Daily Times said.
Musharraf also sought greater military assistance from Washington to maintain a regional balance of power -- a reference to the growing military strength of Pakistan's neighbor and nuclear-armed rival, India.
Afghan and Pakistani military officials have said that more than 60 militants were killed in the border region between Thursday and Sunday. They included 24 killed by U.S. fire into North Waziristan.
The border attacks have come amid a broad crackdown on militants in Pakistan launched after the July 7 bombings in London, which involved bombers of Pakistani descent.
PAKISTAN: Afghans asked to leave tribal North Waziristan
ISLAMABAD, 19 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Afghan refugees living in Pakistan's North Waziristan agency's western tribal belt bordering Afghanistan have been asked to leave the area in six weeks, an official from the Afghan refugee directorate told IRIN from the agency's capital, Miranshah, on Tuesday.
For last two years, Pakistani security forces have been busy in a full-scale offensive against militants in the western belt of the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).
"By 7 September, all Afghans living in urban and rural clusters have to leave the North Waziristan agency. The Afghan population living in the area has been informed about the decision through public announcements at local radio and through drum beating at other prominent places like markets," Akbar Ali Jan Wazir, agency administrator for Afghan refugees said from Miranshah, some 190 miles southwest of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Of the 58,000 Afghans in the tribal North Waziristan agency, some 50,000 Afghans have already repatriated over the last six weeks on their own, as well as through the assistance from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), according to the state-run body dealing with Afghan refugees in North Waziristan.
According to UNHCR, more than 30,000 Afghans, mostly hailing from refugee camps, have been assisted by the agency, under their voluntary repatriation programme.
But the remaining 900 Afghan families living in urban and rural clusters of North Waziristan are more established than those of the camp population. "They run businesses here, most of them own shops in markets, that's why they have been given a deadline of six weeks from now to wind up their businesses and leave the area," Wazir explained.
Aside from repatriating to Afghanistan, the Afghans can avail the option of relocating to the Gandi Khan Khel refugee camp, located in the neighbouring district of Bannu in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and to date, some 93 Afghan families from the Qutubkhel refugee camp have shifted to Gandi Khan Khel. "However, most of the Afghans have preferred to move back to Afghanistan," Wazir added.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the tribal belt is worsening as military operations against suspected al-Qaeda elements continue, according to local journalists.
According to one BBC report last year, the co-ordinated effort is largely aimed at capturing top al-Qaeda leaders Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri. The men, and many of their close associates, are widely believed to be hiding in and perhaps operating out of the area.
Since the start of operation, the military authorities have firmly maintained that a large number of Uzbek, Chechen and Arab militants were in the area, the report said, a claim local tribesmen vehemently deny.
"17 persons killed by Pakistani security forces in Miranshah two days ago include ten children under the age of ten with six boys and four girls. Can such young people - irrespective of getting into their nationality debate - be counted as militants?" Dilawar Khan, a local journalist asked from Wana, tribal capital of the adjacent South Waziristan agency, the scene of last year's offensive.
But according to Pakistani military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan on Monday, the 17 militants gunned down near the Afghan border were all from Kazakhstan and included women and teenage youths. However, the identity of those killed has been reported by local media as Uzbek origin, which may hail from Afghanistan. "The truck which came under the indiscriminate fire of the army is the type usually hired by refugees and was having household items. The burnt stuff is still lying at the scene," Khan added.
Afghan officers learn how to operate army
July 20, 2005 Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan Coalition Press Information Center (Public Affairs)
By U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Leslie Brown Office of Security Cooperation—Afghanistan Public Affairs
KABUL, Afghanistan — Military operators and planners from the Afghan National Army’s National Military Command Center have graduated from a comprehensive training course in how to operate a national army.
The 78 officers, who will act as the eyes and ears of the Afghan Army, received more than 220 hours of instruction. They were provided the tools and techniques to operate in the strategic, operational and tactical levels of war throughout the full spectrum of military operations.
“We need to have experienced and trained officers if we want to have a strong army,” said Lt. Gen. Sher Karimi, chief of Operations for the ANA’s General Staff.
The mission of the NMCC is to monitor the situation in and around Afghanistan and produce plans that address threats and challenges to the country’s well-being. The NMCC is organized into two branches: current operations and future operations.
“They are learning the structure of the ANA and Coalition partners, capabilities and limitations of the army and air corps, operational graphics and terms, sustainment imperatives, the military decision making process (MDMP) and how to be a professional officer,” explained Ollie Hunter, an MPRI contractor and mentor to the ANA.
“As Afghanistan sleeps at night, the NMCC is open for business,” Hunter said. “They will write the operations orders that direct the ANA’s units to take action when the need arises.”
One of the main focus areas during the course was the MDMP, from receipt and analysis of an objective, to course-of-action development, comparison and approval, and finally, to orders production.
With a new understanding of the MDMP, the command center will now be able to bring together the planning and analysis skills of Intelligence and Security (G-2), Command and Control (G-3), Sustainability (G-4), and Communications (G-6), explained Hunter.
Before the training began, a course syllabus had to be developed. Senior leaders of the ANA’s General Staff developed a 46-objective training plan with the assistance of civilian and military mentors from the Office of Security Cooperation—Afghanistan. ANA Brig. Gen. Naheem Noori, deputy for Operations, Readiness and Mobilization, and his directors of Operations and Contingency Planning, Col. Said Malook and Col. Mohammad Esrar, were the main contributors to the syllabus.
Lt. Col. Mohammad Farid, Current Operations Branch leader at the NMCC, also lent his experience to the planning phase. Farid is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth , Kan.
“Many of the classes are modeled after the CGSC profile,” Hunter said. “Colonel Farid was clearly a standout student at CGSC. He is a superb teacher and mentor to his peers and he knows his stuff. I have not observed a more adept instructor.”
In addition to learning the operational aspects of running their army, the officers also gained an appreciation for the important staff-support elements with which they will work. Afghan and Coalition instructors provided insight and training on how to develop strong relationships with those elements through a broad overview of medical planning, intelligence assessments, fire support, logistics, communications and public affairs.
The students also participated in exercise scenarios such as a simulated earthquake in Kunduz province.
“We wanted to see how the ANA troops would respond to a natural disaster,” Farid said. “They need to know how to handle a full spectrum of operations. We need the people of Afghanistan to know that the Army is not just for fighting wars. They are also here to help the people.”
Several times during the course, senior ANA leaders visited the students to provide their insight and experience.
“General Karimi’s visit was a highlight of the course. He talked to the students about the role of the NMCC and the importance of contingency planning for a secure Afghanistan ,” Farid said.
An upcoming test for the NMCC will be the National Assembly elections scheduled for September. The NMCC will ensure the ANA is ready to respond if anything happens during this major milestone in Afghan history.
“In preparation for the national elections, we are drafting joint operations plans and orders with Coalition troops,” Farid said.
“We are in constant communications with the ANA regional corps for situational awareness,” Farid added. “We are testing all of our different communications abilities. We have many different means of communicating with our regions.”
The graduation was an important step for the Afghan National Army and for the Afghan people. “The success of the ANA and future stability of Afghanistan depends on many factors and this training plays a significant role in the professionalism of our officers and ANA personnel,” Farid said.
Western military presence not needed in C. Asia - minister
DUSHANBE. July 19 (Interfax) - There is no need for permanent Western forces in Central Asia because the situation in Afghanistan has changed, said Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov.
"The Afghan problem is being solved. There are almost no Taliban left, political stabilization is obvious, the presidential elections have been held and preparations for the parliamentary election are underway," Nazarov told a news conference in Dushanbe on Tuesday.
"There are problems, but they can be solved without standing forces," he said.
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