July 29, 2009

From the Front: 07/29/2009

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Sorority Soldier: Good to Know - When I was in Babylon, I met some Iraqi soldiers. I found out yesterday they were offering the Chaplain’s assistant a scope as a bargaining tool for me. Not even a whole weapon? It’s good to know what I’m worth… are you taking notes, Craig? (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Night Into Day - Sangin, Helmand Province 29 July 2009: Orders are given before every operation. The orders filter down through various unit levels involved, until each platoon finally recieves its specific mission. The concept for this mission came down from the 2 Rifles Battlegroup (battalion) to the companies, including elements of the Afghan National Army and their British counterparts from the Welsh Guard, and down to each 2 Rifles platoon involved. So for any mission there might be literally dozens (or more) orders and rehearsals until each man and woman knows the perceived enemy situaton, their specific tasks, and much more. While soldiers here at FOB Jackson received orders, undoubtedly pilots and others, stationed far away, perhaps on an aircraft carrier or even farther afield, were finalizing related plans. On 23 July, the afternoon before the mission, a call came into headquarters that two British soldiers had been wounded by two IEDs, and that the American helicopter medevacs known as “Pedro” had been called to extract the casualties. (READ MORE)

P.J. Tobia: Afghan-American Arrested In Kabul For Karzai Protest - According to this article at Suite101, Afghan- American Mohammad Osman was arrested last week for placing question marks on campaign posters of President Hamid Karzai. The arrest took place at City Center traffic circle, across from the Safi Landmark Hotel, one of Kabul’s nicest and most busy (also has a great buffet). Osman claims he was held overnight, threatened with physical harm and never charged with a thing. He also signed a confession. The “question mark campaign”–which also apparently includes TV commercials–is meant to get Kabulis thinking about what another few years of Karzai leadership would mean. He told Suite101: “I think [the cops] were scared that what I was doing was against the law…they didn’t teach them about democracy, people do not know the law or how to apply democracy…it took me four or five hours to explain that I had done nothing wrong, I was just following democracy. Democracy requires alot of education.” (READ MORE)

MAJ C: Taliban Code of Conduct - A number of people have asked me my opinions about the Taliban's new Code of Conduct. I hope to see the actual document as soon as I can find a translated copy of it. But from the excerpts I have seen, and news stories that have been written in AJE about it, it is very worrisome to me on a number of different levels. The first area that worries me tremendously about this document is its desire to increase the Taliban's legitimacy. Many analysts have said that this document is an answer to General McChrystal's new ISAF Tactical Directive. Well, that may be part of the story, but I do not feel it is all of the story. The Taliban for the last 2-3 years has been striving to increase their legitimacy amongst the local populace. They have realized that there are gaps in the Afghan Governments ability to penetrate all of its territory with security, stability, basic sustenance, and governmental infrastructure. They have tried to take advantage of that gap by establishing shadow governments within these areas, and become the de-facto government. (READ MORE)

Afghani Kush: rock and roll - Hey folks. Well, not a lot going on here. We had a promotion ceremony for some new NCO's out here yesterday. That was alright, me and another specialist filled up an inflatable pool with a whole bunch of rotting food and old MRE's. They had to get their new chevrons wet, and of course once that was over me and the other guy had to do it too. But me being the clumsy idiot that I can be I tripped going in and my skull was the first part of my body to make contact with the bottom of the pool, and the rock underneath. So I've got a freshly shaved head, three staples and a hell of a headache now. A few days off mission, a decent story and a new scar, not a bad day I suppose. I also got video of them putting the staples in my head, so that's interesting. I wish there was more to update, but nothing really going on here. We've been running missions like normal but it's been a weird week so not too much. (READ MORE)

Afghanistan My Last Tour: Bits and Pieces around the Camp - These past few days our Internet connectivity has been intermittent and painfully slow. I pay $90 a month to have a Wi-Fi connection in my room, but the connectivity is not reliable. When this happens I resort to Plan B and use the computers in the MWR facility. It’s apparent that I am not the only one using Plan B, because the waiting lines are long and our time is limited to 30 minutes. The connectivity is slow at MWR and sometimes it uses my 30 minute allotment to send 2-3 pictures to my wife for publishing on the blog. The telephone lines aren’t much better because the computers and the telephones are on the same bandwidth. We also have one DSN phone dedicated for morale purposes. They finally fixed this phone to alleviate the echo and static. Previously when I made phone calls, the other party would have to listen to interference from the local radio or television program in addition to an echo. This made having conversations very difficult at times. (READ MORE)

Bad Dogs and Such: Worth reading - I know that all of us troops, and all of the folks who like troops, are supposed to disapprove of John Murtha and automatically categorize anything he says about our involvement in Iraq as utter defeatist tripe. But, as the southern people say, even a blind hog roots up an acorn from time to time. Murtha is calling for closer scrutiny of how the Commander's Emergency Response Program has been used. “‘A fundamental review of CERP, its purpose, use and scope, is overdue,’ Murtha wrote in the July 15 letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Murtha said he was disturbed by reports from Iraq suggesting commanders were in a ‘rush to spend’ hundreds of millions of dollars by the end of the fiscal year.” War is not cheap. There's a reason it's known as a drain on "blood and treasure." But the CERP program is directed by a document we call "Money as a Weapons System," and flinging large piles of US taxpayers dollars at every problem, potential problem or confusing situation is every bit as silly as trying to resolve every kinetic problem with 155mm HE rounds. (READ MORE)

The Canada-Afghanistan Blog: Holding Down The Fort - This is something I've brought up in the past week: during suicide attacks in Khost and Gardez, Afghan security forces have done a fairly effective job at holding down the fort on their own, as they did in Kabul in February. Joshua Foust gets an email from an American FOB nearby the Khost attack: "Within 20 minutes” of the start of the gunfight, he says, “We were on the scene.” Apparently the Afghan security forces had done all the work: “all that was left to do was look at bodies and talk to shopkeepers.” Despite a bit of typical Foustian snark ("it shows the Afghans themselves are actually capable of doing their jobs if we let them..."), this is a really good sign amidst a summer of depressing violence. (READ MORE)

Embedded in Afghanistan...: Ups downs - There are plenty of ups and downs here, and not just when you're climbing around in the mountains. They tell you coming out here that you'll come out strong that first few months - all motivated to make the world a better place. And it's true. I think we all had a feeling of great optimism upon arrival - a feeling that gradually dissipated into disgust and disappointment about halfway through our nine-month deployment. Dealing with the ANA is hard sometimes. I think I've documented that pretty well throughout this blog.... You're warned that these feelings of disappointment and frustration with the local inhabitants and culture will get to you eventually, and it most certainly did, though it never stopped us from doing our jobs and doing them well. (READ MORE)

Helmand Blog - Afghanistan: Angel of Operation Panther's Claw - Standing just five feet tall, Private Kerry Smith is one of the smallest soldiers in the British Army, but the challenges she has faced over the last three weeks have been enormous. 24-year-old combat medic Kerry has been at the very heart of Operation Panchai Palang or Panther’s Claw, the British military operation to clear one of the last remaining Taliban strongholds in Helmand Province. In sweltering temperatures often topping 50 degrees, Kerry accompanied soldiers from The 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment into fierce fighting through a rabbit warren of mud compounds and across rugged terrain, as they tackled Taliban fighters at every turn. Despite her small stature, Pte Smith has been in the thick of it, holding her own with the men of 2 Mercian, who’ve been involved in some of the toughest fighting yet seen in Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Ann Scott Tyson: Marine Finds Solace in Combat Baptism - MIANPOSHTEH, Afghanistan -- The bravado of Marines fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province is punctuated by quiet moments of questioning and introspection. A few Marines ask why they survived when their best friends did not. Others question how they will deal with the stress of combat. Many wonder what people back home know about their actions here. Spirituality is a source of solace. Lance Cpl. Zachary Ludwig, 20, of Marco Island, Florida, wanted to be baptized before he and thousands of other Marines pushed deep into Taliban-held territory beginning early this month. But it was not until this week that Chaplain Navy Lt.. Terry A. Roberts arrived at Ludwig's tiny outpost in the southern village of Mianposhteh to perform the ceremony. Wearing olive green t-shirts and shorts, Roberts, of northern Kentucky, led Ludwig into an irrigation ditch that flowed through the compound of an Afghan home where Ludwig and his platoon are camped out. (READ MORE)

Helmand Blog - Afghanistan: Army dog and handler save life then bust deadly bomb makers - A dog handler serving in Afghanistan not only saved the life of a soldier who had been critically injured by an IED blast but then went on to trace and apprehend the bomb makers with the help of his canine comrade. Lance Corporal Lee Edwards, 27, and his dog Molly were just three metres away from the near fatal blast which threw both of them into the air. The pair had been tasked to support an IED search team along a road close to Sangin when night fell on the 28th June. Lance Corporal Edwards said: “We knew that the road was heavily laden with IEDs. It had already claimed casualties and it was our job to assist in finding the devices, both for the benefit of the local population and also to prevent further British casualties.” But a short time into the task, things went badly wrong. “One of the soldiers stood on a pressure plate IED. It was very close to where I was stood with Molly and the force of it blew us both into the air. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Taliban suicide bomber kills two troops in North Waziristan - A suicide bomber killed two paramilitary security personnel in an attack in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. Four more security personnel were beheaded and three more were seriously wounded in an attack in Pakistan's violent northwest. The suicide bomber rammed into a security checkpoint manned by the paramilitary Khasadar force near the main town of Miranshah in North Waziristan on Tuesday, killing two and seriously wounding three other troops. The military responded by launching a helicopter attack on a vehicle in the Miramshah bazaar, and claimed four Taliban fighters were killed. A Taliban commander took credit for the suicide strike and warned of further attacks. "We carried out the suicide attack and will continue to target security forces until drone attacks and the military operation against Taliban are stopped," the unnamed commander told AFP. (READ MORE)

Thomas Joscelyn: Iran and the Taliban, allies against America - Over the past several years, US military officials have repeatedly pointed out that the Iranian regime provides assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan. In particular, US officials have noted that the Iranians have shipped arms, including anti-aircraft missiles, to the Taliban on numerous occasions. For some, this cooperation is surprising. After all, the Shiite Iranians and the Sunni Taliban were not allies in the pre-September 11 world. In fact, they were bitter rivals, even enemies. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan clearly changed the Iranians' priorities, however. But did the Iranians begin their rapprochement with the Taliban only after September 11? Or, had the groundwork for the type of cooperation we see in Afghanistan today already been laid? The answer to these questions can be found, in part, in the unclassified documents prepared by the US government for Gitmo detainee Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa (ISN #579). (READ MORE)

Sgt Danger: The First Mission - After a month of hanging out on the FOB… SGT Danger and his gun crew was on their first mission in Afghanistan. Okay, so we still had training wheels on… we had an experienced unit ride along with us. But, y’know how they say you never forget how to ride a bike? You never forget how to run a “Combat Logistical Patrol” either. That’s the Army’s fancy-pants name for a convoy. Our mission was to escort several supply vehicles to an outlying FOB and return home. I was surprised at how naturally it all came back. So how does my past experience (in Iraq) seem to compare with Afghanistan? The similarities: 1. The fundamentals of how to run a tactical convoy don’t change. It’s all about speed, intervals, navigation, and security. My crew ran the trail vehicle, responsible for protecting the convoy from potential threats at our backside and ensuring that all vehicles made it through. (READ MORE)

Ramblings from a painter: Workin' like a Dawg - Actually, our working dogs seem to love their job. We have bomb-sniffers that check out every vehicle entering the compound. It's playtime for them - they get to go stick their noses under trucks and into wheel wells and all kinds of places that bombs might be hidden. Sometimes they go around twice, just for the fun of it, tails wagging furiously. They might even go around three times, but their handlers get bored easily and call them off. I watched them doing a bit of training for the dogs the other day. They hid a little packet somewhere on a random truck, and when the dog found it, he got a reward. Ohmigawsh, he was the happiest dog in Baghdad! Another dog, in a different part of the parking lot, heard the commotion and came over to find the packet and get a reward, too. Hey, that sounds like a good line of thinking to me: "Do I continue to look for something that might be here, or do I go running over there where I know there's something good?" Damn straight! The trainer wasn't too pleased, but the dog found the packet. (READ MORE)

Joshua Foust: A Personal Account of the Latest Khost Suicide Attack, With Optimism - Someone at FOB Salerno, who prefers to remain unnamed, contacted me about the latest Khost suicide attack. This someone was actually in downtown Khost when it happened. “Within 20 minutes” of the start of the gunfight, he says, “We were on the scene.” Apparently the Afghan security forces had done all the work: “all that was left to do was look at bodies and talk to shopkeepers.” Now, this someone blames the ANSF success on something I haven’t heard of before: QRF (that is, Quick Reaction Forces) for both the ANA and ANP. Basically, they’re the cavalry, the guys you call when you’re in trouble and need help immediately. It’s normally a capability the U.S. provides for everyone else in the area. In this case, it seems, the Afghan-led QRF were on the scene very quickly, and made quick work of the insurgents attacking the police headquarters. To be honest, I’m shocked at how well that worked out, especially on the ANP side. But it is still very good news. (READ MORE)



News from the Front:
Iraq:
Odierno Says Iraq Won’t be Able to Defend Own Airspace by End of 2011 - The top US commander in Iraq said on Tuesday that the country would not be able to fully defend its airspace by the end of 2011, when all U.S. forces must leave, according to the standing security agreement. Gen. Raymond Odierno said a US Air Force team would soon begin a full assessment of Iraq’s air patrol and defense needs. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Troops Raid Iranian Dissident Camp, in Nod to Tehran - Iraqi forces stormed a camp of more than 3,000 members of an Iranian dissident group that until recently had been protected by the US military, in the biggest unilateral operation since American forces withdrew from Iraq's cities a month ago. Iran has long demanded that Iraq take action against the group, the Mujahedin e-Khalq, or MEK, but the US had stood in its way. (READ MORE)

After Kurdish Vote, Talabani Pledges to Rebuild Party - Facing what could prove a turning point in tumultuous Kurdish politics, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani vowed Tuesday that he would lead the revival of his party after a surprisingly successful challenge by opponents in last week's election led some to speculate that it might be the beginning of the party's end. (READ MORE)

The Other Iraq War - The undeclared war, pitting Turkish and Iranian armed forces against Kurdish separatist fighters based in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, has been waged for years with tacit approval from the US, which supplies the Turkish military with intelligence on the guerrillas. And when the Turkish military plans an artillery barrage in the area, officers give American troops advance notice, according to US soldiers working in the region. (READ MORE)

8 Killed in $7-million Baghdad Bank Robbery - Thieves killed eight security guards and made off with nearly $7 million in an overnight bank heist Tuesday that police officials say could have been the work of insurgents. The deadly robbery came on the day US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates flew into Baghdad on an unannounced visit to get a first-hand look at conditions now that American combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq's cities. (READ MORE)

What Does Iraq Owe Kuwait? - To what degree is the elected government of Iraq obligated to pay for the sins committed by the late dictator Saddam Hussein? Should neighboring Kuwait forgive Iraq's new leadership $24 billion in outstanding debt for the destruction wrought by the 1990 invasion, a seven-month occupation, looting and the violent retreat of Iraqi forces? And is it relevant that Iraq may need the money more than Kuwait does? (READ MORE)

Release brings detainee population below 10,000 - CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – Multi-National Force-Iraq and the Government of Iraq reached another milestone July 28 when the total population of detainees in Coalition custody dropped to 9,969. At the high point in November 2007, there were more than 26,000 detainees being held. “One year ago, we had 21,000 detainees in our theater internment facilities,” said Brig. Gen. David Quantock, Joint Task Force 134 commanding general. “Today, we have less than half of the July 2008 numbers. We plan to continue reducing that number through releases and transfers in accordance with the security agreement.” (READ MORE)

Assistance for Diyala vehicle accident victims underway - FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, DIYALA, Iraq – A claims process is being expedited regarding a car accident in which one Iraqi civilian was killed and three injured in a collision with a U.S. Army military vehicle July 26 in Diyala province. The U.S. Army commander of the Soldiers involved in the accident met with the Mayor of Mandali following the incident to discuss the circumstances of the accident and the steps currently underway in order to help the families of the victims. (READ MORE)

Sons of Iraq receive pay, despite obstacles - FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq – Several hundred Sons of Iraq came to receive payment during a SoI payday, July 23, at the headquarters of the 4th Battalion, 15th Iraqi Army Brigade, near Patrol Base Doria, Rashad, Iraq. Local officials are working with the GoI to resolve the issue of payment delays since responsibilities for SoI payment transitioned to the Government of Iraq in Kirkuk in April. (READ MORE)

U.S. Forces Load Humanitarian Aid for Iraq's FUTURE - FORWARD OPERATING BASE UNION III, Iraq – In the sweltering Baghdad morning heat here July 23, a group of U.S. Soldiers, Airmen, and U.S. civilian volunteers gathered to load four trucks with boxes of supplies for needy Iraqis. Some of these volunteers work for Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, which has a presence at FOB Union III. Their participation in this humanitarian supply mission supports the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement that calls for strategic partnerships in various fields, including culture and health. (READ MORE)

Airport Canals Flow Fresh Water Again - BAGHDAD — A team from the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade (CAB) stood, July 23, at the edge of an empty canal that disappeared into the horizon. They listened as the diesel back-up generator was fired up, popped, sputtered and then died. After a few adjustments were made by Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority mechanics, the pumps were primed. Water progressed from a muddy trickle to a steady flow, bringing a satisfying end to a project that started back in April. (READ MORE)

Major Sewage Project Complete - BAGHDAD — The effort to restore essential services in Baghdad has seen a significant increase as security improves throughout the Iraqi capital. One example of this is the competition of a major sewer network project for the residents of Karkh. "I was pleased to see this sewage project in our area," said Mobarak, Salhiyah neighborhood council chairman. "We have not seen a project like this occur in our area in over 15 years." (READ MORE)


Afghanistan:
Afghan Election is Starting to Look Like a Real Race - "Look, it's really him!" a young woman, swathed in a black scarf, whispered to her seatmate as President Hamid Karzai took to the stage to address the crowd. Normally, an incumbent president's appearance at a campaign rally in his own capital, especially one held less than a month before he faced a reelection bid, wouldn't be any cause for surprise. (READ MORE)

Voter Security to Hinge on Afghan Forces - With less than a month to go before Afghan elections, it's unclear whether a security plan that relies heavily on Afghan forces will be sufficient to safeguard voters at the country's 7,000 polling stations. The security plan, recently released by Afghanistan's International Elections Commission, calls for Afghans to take the lead on Aug. 20, election day. (READ MORE)

Richard Holbrooke Declares War on Taleban Bankrollers - Barack Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan has declared war on the Taleban’s bankrollers, announcing a campaign to interdict hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign funds flowing into the militants' coffers each year. Richard Holbrooke, the former Balkan peace enforcer now tasked with America’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy, said the volume of money reaching insurgents from sympathisers in the Gulf, exceeding even the profits of the lucrative opium trade. (READ MORE)

Taliban Peace Deal was 'Bought' for £20,000 - Diplomats said they believed officials had "bought" a temporary truce until next month's presidential election for £20,000. One senior Western diplomat said he feared it was part of a plot to manipulate the vote in Badghis province in north-west Afghanistan. The peace deal was announced with great fanfare by a spokesman for Afghan president Hamid Karzai this week as Nato foreign ministers met in Brussels to assess their progress in the war on Taliban forces in Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

New Rules let Germans in Afghanistan Stop Shouting and Start Shooting - Taleban insurgents fighting German forces in northern Afghanistan have often lived to fight another day thanks to trilingual warnings that have to be shouted out before the men from the Bundeswehr can squeeze their triggers. The seven-page pocket guide to combat tucked into the breast pocket of every German soldier offers such instructions as: “Before opening fire you are expected to declare loudly, in English, ‘United Nations - stop, or I will fire,” followed by a version in Pashtu: (READ MORE)

Bomb Kills 8 Afghans Escorting NATO Convoy - Amid concerns about security for next month’s presidential elections in Afghanistan, a remote-controlled bomb exploded in the troubled southern province of Helmand and killed eight Afghan contractors escorting a NATO supply convoy on Tuesday, officials said. The Interior Ministry in Kabul said four other guards were wounded when the explosives detonated close to Gereshk in the northern part of Helmand Province. (READ MORE)

Police Officer Found Dead in Swat Valley of Pakistan - The beheaded body of a police constable who was kidnapped last week in the Swat Valley was found Tuesday morning near the town of Mingora, the police said. A police official in Swat said the killing of the constable, Jehan Zada, amounted to a “continuation of the same process,” implying that the police believed that the Taliban were to blame. (READ MORE)

US Urges More EU Aid to Pakistani Refugees - The United States on Tuesday appealed for more European aid to refugees fleeing the fighting between the Pakistani Army and Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, arguing that their plight was increasing instability in the region. “This is more than a humanitarian crisis - it is a strategic crisis,” said Richard C. Holbrooke, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. (READ MORE)

Winning in Afghanistan - A starry-eyed exit strategy is no substitute for winning the war in Afghanistan. On Monday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called for talks with moderate Taliban elements to shore up the progress being made on the ground in southern Afghanistan. The Manchester Guardian reported that "there is even talk in London and Washington of a military 'exit strategy.' " Leaving so soon? (READ MORE)

How We’ll Win in Afghanistan - More coalition soldiers have died in July than in any previous month in the nine-year war in Afghanistan. Last week, the soldier who slept on the cot next to me was killed. A rocket-propelled grenade fired from a snow-capped mountain in remote Nuristan Province killed Staff Sgt. Eric Lindstrom, a father of twin baby girls and the best squad leader in the platoon. Strangely, our military leaders rarely talk about the battles here. (READ MORE)

Britain, US at Cross-purposes? - At the beginning of 2009, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new Centcom commander, assumed command of a huge theater that stretches from the Horn of Africa to Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, right up to the Indian border. The surge he crafted for Iraq appears to have delivered an almost clean slate to the Iraqi government, with US forces now bivouacked outside the main cities. (READ MORE)

Could UK Send More Troops To Afghanistan? - The Foreign Secretary has refused to rule out the possibility that more British troops could be sent to Afghanistan. In an interview with US television, David Miliband repeated that a long-term military "solution" alone, would not work. Asked if this meant that a reported American request for Britain to send more soldiers to Afghanistan would be turned down, he said it would "depend on the situation on the ground and burden sharing among the allies". (READ MORE)

Clash leaves 5 dead in SW Afghanistan - Gun battle between Afghan police and Taliban insurgents claimed the lives of five including four militants in Ghor province southwest Afghanistan, provincial police chief Abdul Baqi said Wednesday. "The clash took place in Pasawand district after militants began collecting taxes in some villages and people rejected the demand," Baqi told Xinhua. He said that rejection by locals triggered gun battle which police sided with people killing four rebels including two suicide bombers. (READ MORE)

UK commander says Taliban fighting prowess in Afghanistan has been underrated - London, July 29 : A senior British Army commander has admitted that the NATO forces have underestimated and underrated the fighting prowess of the Taliban in Afghanistan. General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman told The Times that the NATO campaign against the Taliban has put the Army "hugely under pressure". "We thought that the insurgency still existed in Helmand, but the violence and scale has been shocking. We have made some progress but at a dickens of a cost in lives," General Granville-Chapman, who has just retired as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, said. (READ MORE)

Pressure forces Taliban chief into talks with Pakistan - Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, whose grim rule in Pakistan's tribal district of South Waziristan is marked by suicide bombings and throat-slitting, has contacted the government through mediators for peace talks, official and tribal sources say. The pleading might have come partly from a near perfect stranglehold the security forces have on him and partly because his fellow Taliban leaders are advising him to be on good terms with the Pakistani government and avoid spoiling their game plan in Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

15 including Abdullah’s campaign manager killed - Kabul (Agencies): Fifteen people, among them a presidential campaign worker, were killed in three separate incidents in Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday. In the eastern province of Laghman, a local election campaign official of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah was shot dead Tuesday morning by unidentified gunmen in Dawlat Shah district. Rahm Khuda Mukhlis, the police chief of Dawlat Shah district, confirmed the attack on officials of Abdullah’s election campaign and said that one person was killed and two others were injured in this incident. (READ MORE)

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