2 U.S. troops, 5 Afghans killed in ‘insider attack’

An Afghan police officer opened fire Monday on a gathering of Americans and Afghans in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least two members of the U.S. Special Operations forces and five Afghan troops and police officers, officials said.

The assault, one of the deadliest so-called “insider attacks” this year, occurred in Wardak province during a meeting between U.S. and Afghan troops ahead of a joint mission, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

The players who engaged in “inappropriate” celebratory behavior on national television might face public lashings.

The attacker seized a machine gun in the back of a police pickup truck and opened fire on the U.S. and Afghan forces in a police compound, according to a senior Afghan military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the incident. It was unclear whether the gunman was a Taliban recruit or acting out of personal enmity. The attacker was reported killed in the ensuing firefight,according to the Washington Post.

In addition to the men killed, about a dozen U.S. and Afghan troops were injured, including the district police chief, officials said.

The attack came a day aftera tense President Hamid Karzai accused the American military of colluding with the Taliban to justify a continued U.S. presence in the country. Karzai’s comment that “the Taliban are serving the foreigners” complicated an already tense weekend visit from U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, whose trip was marred by the Afghan president’s decision to call off a key prison handover from U.S. to Afghan forces and the cancellation of a joint news conference. The news conference was called off at U.S. insistence — ostensibly due to security concerns.

Monday’s attack could further threaten the fragile relationship between the two nations. U.S. officials have long advocated the small-footprint approach exemplified by teams of Special Operations forces as a way forward during the American military withdrawal, but Karzai has been critical of those teams, particularly in Wardak.

Responding to complaints from civilians, Karzai last month expelled U.S. Special Operations forces from Wardak, accusing them of “harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.”

The troops were due to leave the province Sunday, according to a presidential decree. It was unclear why they were still operating there Monday, but one Afghan official said the two sides were working on a compromise.

Monday’s attack occurred in the Jalrez district of Wardak, a volatile part of the province from which U.S. troops had almost entirely withdrawn.

Mohammed Sharif and Sayed Salahuddin contributed to this report.

R.S

UK sent £20mln worth of weapons to terrorists in Syria

Britain has sent secret shipments of weapons worth 20 million sterling pound to terrorists in Syria, Syria’s state-run media said Monday.

Media said the shipments had included machine guns, assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers, grenades and munitions.

They cited British newspapers as saying the deliveries were made seven week ago as part of UK defense ministry’s plan to set up regular arms trafficking routes to terrorists in Syria. These routes allegedly went across Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

M.D

Extremist Opposition Forces impede peaceful Solution in Syria

MOSCOW,(ST)_ "External parties supporting the extremist opposition are  trying since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria to impede a peaceful solution to the crisis." stressed the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei  Lavrov.
Meeting with a delegation representing  the National Coordinating Commission  for peaceful change forces, Lavrov detailed that  "external sponsors of extremist opposition impede cessation of violence to reach a peaceful solution through dialogue despite growing understanding  of  all parties of the imperative need to  that."
 He stressed  "Moscow's willingness to initiate  dialogue between the Syrian  opposition and government."
He  expressed Russia's interest in the Coordination Commission 's  efforts  "  to unite the opposition forces  on the ground of readiness to dialogue with the government, which  
also announced its ideas  furnishing to engage in the  dialogue."
He expressed hope that the Syrians will  resolve all issues  pertinent to their country  without foreign interference.

 

T .Fateh

Terrorists from al-Chechen North Caucasus Join Terrorist Groups in Syria

Dressed almost entirely in black, terrorists from  Chechnya's region declares an "Islamist" state is within reach.

Fellow militant from the brigade of foreign terrorists, he leads translate his Russian words into Arabic.

His recently distributed video highlights the role terrorists from the volatile North Caucasus region now play in Syria's war.It also puts in focus the security risks they may pose for Russia if they return to the Russian region, which borders the area where Moscow plans to host the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

"Jihad" needs very many things. Firstly it needs money. Much is dependent on money today for jihad," said al-Chechen, his Nome de guerre, the leader of what terrorists and websites call the Brigade of Migrants, an opposition group of foreign fighters, Reuters reported.

"(We) have missed many chances, but truly today there is a chance to establish (an Islamic state) on Earth," he said.

Syrian opposition groups confirmed separately that he is in Syria and the leader of the brigade. His real name was not clear.

While Moscow has been one of the Syrian government main protectors, members of an Islamist insurgency involved in daily clashes in Russia's predominantly Muslim North Caucasus and their compatriots have trickled into Syria to join the terrorists.

"This is the first time that a mass number of Chechens have taken part in military actions abroad," said analyst Mairbek Vatchagayev, based in Paris, adding that claims were made that Chechens had fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but no definitive proof had been given.

Syrian soldiers and analysts say there are dozens, and possibly 100, fighters in Syria from the North Caucasus, a region where terrorists wage daily violence to establish an extremist Islamic state, similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The region is close to Sochi, the Black Sea and Caucasus Mountain resort city where Moscow will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, a sworn target of Russia's Islamist insurgents, led by Russia's most wanted man, Doku Umarov.

Although analysts say many of the terrorists who are battling the Syrian army troops have studied in religious schools outside Russia, others have gained skill and experience, something the Syrian terrorists praise them for, in fighting the separatist wars in Chechnya in 1994-96 and 1999-2000.

"They are very significant, in some areas they are leading the fighting and some of them are leaders of Brigades. They are experienced terrorists and also they are fighting based on ideological belief, so they do not want anything in return," said a Syrian opposition source in touch with terrorists in Syria.

One Syrian opposition source said the Chechens are the second biggest force of foreigners after Libyans who joined the Syrian global war a. Terrorist's sources said 17 fighters from the North Caucasus were killed in fighting outside Aleppo last month.

Foreign fighters were also present in Chechnya's first war in the mid-1990s.

 

Source: Fars News

B.N

French Interior Minister: Scores of French Terrorists are in Syria

PARIS,(ST)_ France Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls admitted that there are dozens ,of what  he called  French jihadists in Syria, while a handful of them are currently in Mali.

"we know there are networks and groups to transfer beginner  jihadists .. yesterday, they were  in Afghanistan or Pakistan and today dozens of them are  in Syria,", the French minister said in a statement to the  NBFM TV on Sunday,  adding that there a handful of French or residents  in France in Mali .

He also confirmed a handful of those Jihadists are  in Somalia in Yemen or the coast, which is worrying.

On the French military intervention in Mali Valls said if it did not happen,  Mali will be today a terrorist state at the doors of the  Arab Maghreb, adding that "We also in France fight this internal enemy of extremists who occupied the north of Mali until recently."

While he considered terrorism as a challenge not only for France but for Europe and the countries of Africa and Morocco,  he did not justify  his government' s support  of terrorism in Syria .

"We should not forget that the first victims of terrorism in the world today are Muslims before others." He said.

 T. Fateh

Beijing Supports Any Peaceful Solution To Crisis In Syria

BEIJING,(ST)-"China respects the wishes of Syrian people. China maintains contact with both the Syrian government and opposition parties to encourage dialogues and a peaceful solution, while continuing to provide humanitarian support."said Chinese  Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

Jiechi's remarks were made during the first session of the 12th National People's Congress press conference on March 9.

Commenting on China and Africa relations ,Yang Jiechi said China and Africa are good neighbors and brothers and Xi Jinping's planned visit will give a new boost to the relations.

Yang said we are living in a global village and countries need to stick together in the same boat rather than crowding each other out.

Yang said China is going to host the APEC leaders meeting next year and all preparations are well underway.

The growth of China-Africa cooperation is in keeping with the wishes of African people. China has made an important contribution to the fast development of Africa amid economic crisis.

Yang said China urges all parties to view China-Africa ties in an objective light, respect African people’s choice, and promote more exchanges and fewer accusations.

As for the Korean Peninsula, Jiechi said:"China doesn't want to see the tension on the Korean Peninsula. UN resolution opposed DPRK's nuclear test and reaffirmed the support to resume Six-Party talks. China believes sanction is not the end to resolution and it can't fundamentally address the issue".

China calls for all parties to stay calm, help ease tension, stick to dialogue, foster mutual trust, work jointly, and bring about enduring peace. China is ready to continue to work with other parties and international organizations to achieve the goal.

R.S

US Pulling out Troops from Afghanistan, Sending Weapons to terrorists in Syria

The US is sending the artilleries, armored vehicles and different weapons systems of its troops pulled out from Afghanistan to the terrorist groups in Syria, a ranking US military source disclosed on Saturday,according to FNA.

A ranking member of the US marine troops deployed in Afghanistan told FNA on Saturday that the Pentagon made the decision to send a major part of its light and semi-heavy weapons systems and military equipment to terrorists in Syria along with its pullout from Afghanistan when the former US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, was still in office.

"The decision to send our arms and weapons systems in Afghanistan to the terrorist  groups in Syria was originally made when the former US Secretary of Defense was in his final days of office, yet the Pentagon has also received the approval of the new Secretary, Chuck Hagel, as well," said the source who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of his information.

"One of these cargos consists of the light and semi-heavy military tools, equipment and weapons that the US army has gathered and piled up in Kandahar Base and plans to send them to the terrorists in Syria in the form of several air and sea cargos and through Turkey and specially Jordan," he explained.

"These weapons and arms systems include anti-armor and missile systems, rocket-launchers and rockets and tens of armored Humvees," the source added, explaining that senior war strategists in the Pentagon believe that they can change the scene of the war in Syria in the interest of the terrorist  groups with the help of these cargos, specially the shoulder-launched missile systems and the multipurpose Humvee vehicles.

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), commonly known as the Humvee, travels as fast as 150 kilometers per hour under different weather conditions and in various geographical climates, and various types of machineguns, rocket-launchers and weapons systems can be mounted on this vehicle.

HMMWVs serve as cargo/troop carriers, automatic weapons platforms, ambulances (four litter patients or eight ambulatory patients), M220 TOW missile carriers, M119 howitzer prime movers, M1097 Avenger Pedestal Mounted Stinger platforms, MRQ-12 direct air support vehicles, S250 shelter carriers, and other roles. The HMMWV is capable of fording 2.5 ft (76 cm) normally, or 5 ft (1.5 m) with the deep-water fording kits installed.

Optional equipment includes a winch (maximum load capacity 6,000 lb (2,700 kg)) and supplemental armor. The M1025/M1026 and M1043/M1044 armament carriers provide mounting and firing capabilities for the M134 Minigun, the Mk 19 grenade launcher, the M2 heavy machine gun, the M240G/B machine gun and M249 LMG. The M1114 "up-armored" HMMWV, introduced in 2004, also features a similar weapons mount. In addition, some M1114 and M1116 up-armored and M1117 Armored Security Vehicle models feature a Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS), which allows the gunner to operate from inside the vehicle, and/or the Boomerang anti-sniper detection system.

The New York Times said in an article in August that "(US) troops are already departing, and military planners are carefully calculating how to extricate the equipment smoothly. In all, officials estimate, they will have to wrangle 100,000 shipping containers of material and 45,000 to 50,000 vehicles like tanks and Humvees from all across Afghanistan".

According to a timetable set by President Obama, the United States withdrew about 23,000 troops from Afghanistan by October, leaving about 68,000 American troops. There are about 13,000 Marines, down from about 20,000, and the United States said publicly that this number fell to around 7,000 by October.

In the Southwest, the number of coalition bases is falling to about 70 from 214 in March, 2012.

As the US continues its pullout from Afghanistan, terrorists  in Syria have failed to make any more advancement and the US, EU, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were forced to soften their tone on the future of the almost two-year-long conflict in the country after they found that the war of attrition has rather worked in the interest of the Syrian government.

This, military experts say, has apparently made the US change the war strategy in Syria and open new fronts in the country.

The US and its allies have been sending most of their arms cargos to the rebels through Turkey, which neighbors Northern Syria. Just last week a Libyan member of the al-Qaeda disclosed that France has supplied the rebel and terrorist groups in Syria with Russian Igla anti-air missiles and even trained them how to use these systems.

"After that the French found some of the Libyan army officers who had been trained to use Igla missiles and in September 2012 they used these offers for training a number of al-Qaeda terrorists who ran operations in Syria," Trablosi explained.

"Then" he said "the French transited these al-Qaeda members and the Igla anti-air systems from Benghazi to the Southern provinces of Turkey on a Bulgarian cargo plane and then ferried them across the border into Syria."

But after the US witnessed that the Northern front has failed to overpower the Syrian Army, it has now changed strategy to intensify arms aid to different rebel groups across the country to open new front, especially in the South.

M.D

Nicolas Maduro sworn in as Venezuelan president

Nicolas Maduro was sworn in Friday as Venezuela’s acting president, using the occasion to launch blistering attacks on the U.S. as well as the political opposition, which objected that the ceremony violated the country’s constitution.

Late President Hugo Chavez designated Maduro as his successor before he died Tuesday of cancer. Maduro had been Chavez’s vice president.

The country’s 1999 constitution says the National Assembly speaker becomes interim president in the event of a president-elect’s death or inability to be sworn in. The constitution also says a presidential election should be called within 30 days.

Mr. Maduro has been picked as the presidential candidate of Chavez’s socialist party.

Stray fireworks exploded above the capital of Caracas as soon as Mr. Maduro was sworn in as president.

Both Mr. Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello pledged to follow Chavez’s example and push his socialist-inspired agenda.

 “I swear by the most absolute loyalty to comrade Hugo Chavez that we will fulfil and see that it’s fulfilled the constitution ... with the iron fist of a people ready to be free,” Mr. Maduro said.

 “We tell them- Sooner than later, the imperialist elites who govern the United States will have to learn to live with absolute respect with the insurrectional people of the ... Latin and Caribbean America,” he said.

Mr. Maduro also claimed the allegiance of Venezuela’s army, calling it “the armed forces of Chavez” as he pumped his fist in the air, a gesture that was reciprocated by the defence minister watching from the gallery. Critics have voiced increasing concern about the overt support the military has shown to the ruling party since Chavez’s death, despite a ban on the army’s participation in politics.

Shortly before the swearing-in, opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Mr. Maduro had used Chavez’s funeral earlier in the day to campaign for the presidency. Mr. Capriles is widely expected to run against Mr. Maduro in the coming vote.

A former bus driver and union leader, Mr. Maduro had served as Chavez’s foreign minister and was often seen on television accompanying the president during cancer treatments in Cuba. Chavez named Mr. Maduro his No. 2 after winning his third re-election in October last year.

Since the death, Mr. Maduro was seen Wednesday leading a massive funeral cortege through the streets of Caracas as well as welcoming foreign dignitaries and delivering the eulogy at Friday’s funeral.

M.D