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15 avril 2012 7 15 /04 /avril /2012 11:37



15 avril 2012 Guysen International News


Une explosion et des tirs ont été entendus dans le quartier diplomatique de Kaboul en Afghanistan. On ignore encore s'il y a des victimes.

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15 avril 2012 7 15 /04 /avril /2012 07:15



April 14, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Islamabad - Pakistan's insistence that no arms transit through its territory to Afghanistan is largely a gesture to quell domestic anti-US sentiment and will not hinder the resumption of NATO convoys, analysts say.


Islamabad stopped NATO supplies travelling overland from its southern Karachi port to Afghanistan in November amid public outrage after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a US air strike on a border post.


Western officials were keen for Pakistan to commit to reopening the supply lines to landlocked Afghanistan before a NATO summit in Chicago next month.


A new framework for engaging with the US approved by Pakistani lawmakers late on Thursday was silent on the resumption of NATO convoys but said Pakistani soil must not be used to transport arms or ammunition to Afghanistan.


Analysts said this condition -- missing from an earlier draft of the framework -- would not hinder the reopening of NATO routes, as the convoys were mainly used to carry "non-lethal" supplies.


"There is no past evidence that weapons were transported via Pakistan ground routes," Pakistani political analyst Hasan Askari told AFP.


"The US has other options to send weapons to Afghanistan -- they can use the European channel, through Turkey and central Asia."


Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the NATO force in Afghanistan, told AFP he would welcome the Pakistan route being reopened, but the operation was not dependent on it.


Political analyst and author Imtiaz Gul described the bar on transporting deadly weapons as "a gesture to address public opinion".


Pakistan-US relations nosedived in 2011, first over a CIA contractor who shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore, then over the discovery of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad and finally over the November air strikes.


Washington and Islamabad have taken steps recently to patch up their fractious relationship.


President Barack Obama met Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of a summit in Seoul last month and last week US Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides held talks with Gilani and other ministers in Islamabad.


But the Pakistani public is deeply uneasy about the country's cooperation with the United States in the "war on terror" and retired Brigadier Saad Muhammad, a defence analyst, said significant political obstacles to reopening the supply lines remain.


"Parliament members had received death threats and resumption will be a loss of face for the ruling party," Muhammad, who served as Pakistani defence attache in Kabul, told AFP.


"There will be public reaction. Now it becomes a real problem for the Pakistan government to resume the supply."


A general election is due in Pakistan in the next 12 months and in a country where anti-American feelings run high, appearing to side with Washington would be a huge political risk.


"Religious and right-wing political parties were blaming the government for its pro-US policies and that was the reason that passing of this resolution took more time in the parliament," said political analyst Askari.


"Religious and right-wing political parties could use it against the ruling Pakistan People's Party in the upcoming elections."


The "no arms or ammunition" condition has cut no ice with some hardline groups opposed to NATO convoys.


The Defence Council of Pakistan, an alliance of right-wing, religious political parties and extremist groups who have campaigned against restarting the supply routes, has vowed to block convoys no matter what they carry.


"Americans used to supply arms and weapons using Pakistani routes and we fear that again they will start this practice taking the cover of (non-lethal supplies)," Israr-Ullah, a spokesman for the coalition, told AFP.


"It was a pre-planned decision and the text of this resolution was written by Americans."


It is also election year in the United States, and domestic political concerns may play a role in how Washington responds to another key demand made by the Pakistani parliament: an apology for the November air strikes.


The White House has so far voiced regret for the deaths but stopped short of apologising, and with Obama's likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney criticising the president for "apologising for America" it remains to be seen whether he will take the extra step.

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14 avril 2012 6 14 /04 /avril /2012 17:58

afghanistan-pakistan 2008


April 14, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE


The IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) is having a hard time in Afghanistan. In the past two months it lost several senior leaders during NATO raids in northern Afghanistan. The most crucial man lost was the financier and coordinator of suicide bombings and roadside bomb attacks. These operations are most often carried out by teams of skilled mercenaries who will keep at it as long as they are paid. While some of these guys are true believers, what they do requires money (to buy explosives, equipment and the services of many people who may not be religious fanatics). When the money man gets killed or captured it can take weeks or months to get a new one going. The money man usually does not share information on contacts or donors. Since Israel developed the tactic, over a decade ago, of concentrating on the money guy, these shadowy individuals have become marked (and often dead) men. Then there's the stealing. Even Islamic radical organizations have to worry about corruption and the money man has to worry about larcenous terrorists more than he does lethal retribution.


The IMU still has hundreds of members, but most of them have fled Uzbekistan for more hospitable refuges in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unfortunately, these areas are under increasing attack, causing many IMU members to consider returning home. The Central Asian states to the north know that, and have prepared for the growing number of IMU members trying to return. Despite that, the IMU does have a slim chance of getting a more active Islamic terror campaign going in Central Asia. Having spent time in Islamic terrorist refuges in the south, IMU members have come into contact with survivors from so many other Islamic radical groups (from Egypt, Russia, Algeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, Israel, Iraq, Libya) that were defeated, sending most of the survivors fleeing to any foreign refuge they could find. The lucky ones got to the West, the less fortunate, or more fanatic went to Afghanistan (in the 1990s) or the tribal territories of Pakistan (after September 11, 2001). There they shared what they knew.


With the Pakistani tribal territories becoming increasingly dangerous for Islamic radicals, especially foreign ones, IMU members going home realize that this may be a fatal journey. So many took refuge in northern Afghanistan, where they are now under growing pressure from Afghan and NATO counter-terrorism forces. The IMU would be a lot larger, given the unhappiness Central Asian tyrants have created, but they have been unable to find a sanctuary in which to train and recuperate. The IMU was constantly hammered over the last decade and their only hope is that foreign troops will indeed leave Afghanistan after 2014, and the Afghan government will be unable to crush the IMU, or be willing to take a payoff to tolerate Central Asian terrorists in their midst.

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14 avril 2012 6 14 /04 /avril /2012 17:31



Three Brazilian Super Tucano planes fly over the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil in April 2005. The United States will reopen bidding for 20 light support planes for the Afghan Air Force after canceling a contract with the Super Tucano's maker, Brazilian firm Embraer.


Apr. 13, 2012 Defense News (AFP)


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force said April 13 it was reopening a contest for a contract to build light attack aircraft for Afghanistan after an embarrassing cancelation of an award to Brazil’s Embraer two months ago.


The Air Force said that a draft request for proposals would be presented April 17 to the companies competing for the job, U.S.-based Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, which is aligned with the American firm Sierra Nevada Corp.


A final decision for the contract will not be made before early 2013, the Air Force said in a statement, with the first planes due to be delivered in the second half of 2014.


The new schedule will mean “a delay of about 15 months” from original plans, before the Air Force called off the award, the statement said.


Embraer and Sierra Nevada were awarded the $355 million contract in December for the 20 AT-29 Super Tucano warplanes but the Air Force called off the deal in February after a legal challenge from rival Hawker Beechcraft Corp.


The Pentagon’s handling of the aircraft contract could have repercussions In Brazil, where the government is holding a lucrative competition for new fighter jets.


A Brazilian government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said that the cancellation of the contract with Embraer would “be taken into account” when Brazil decides on a tender for 36 aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force valued between $4 billion and $7 billion.


Brazil is expected to choose between the Rafale, made by French firm Dassault; the F/A-18 Super Hornet, manufactured by U.S. aviation giant Boeing; and Swedish manufacturer Saab’s Gripen jet in the first half of this year.


The AT-29 Super Tucano, a turboprop aircraft designed for low-threat environments, is used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations.


U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in February the cancelation of the contract for new light attack aircraft for Afghanistan was an “embarrassment” and vowed to quickly renew the contest.

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14 avril 2012 6 14 /04 /avril /2012 17:30

USAF logo


April 13, 2012 Air Mobility Command Public Affairs – defpro.com


SCOTT AFB, Ill. | Air Mobility Command aerial ports around the world have adopted more efficient cargo loading processes in recent years. Those same processes, applied correctly, could also facilitate more efficient retrograde airlift out of Afghanistan.


Originally started in July 2010 as the Next Generation Cargo Capability initiative, the project morphed into the command's precision loading, or PL, policy as it matured. The current program is a result of the teamwork from a myriad of aerial port people throughout Air Mobility Command, said Master Sgt. Mitch Pykosz, precision loading project manager for AMC's Directorate of Logistics, Air Transportation Cargo Policy team.


According to an AMC talking paper on the initiative, the precision loading program "standardizes air cargo build up from depot suppliers and AMC aerial ports to maximize volume and weight." Pykosz said the programs were initially focused on balancing cargo velocity and aircraft utilization from Continental U.S. aerial ports to the warfighters in deployed areas.


"These programs linked key distribution processes, established aircraft and pallet build standards, implemented material flow options, and were tracked with control metrics with great success," Pykosz said.


In March, Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, International Security Assistance Force commander in Afghanistan, stated in a Department of Defense report "the starting point of analysis" for the U.S.-coalition fighting force in Afghanistan in 2013 will be the withdrawal of 23,000 surge troops after the 2012 fighting season.


Pykosz said there are already some procedures in place to increase cargo loading efficiency. For example, within the CENTCOM theater there are processes in-place to monitor aircraft utilization and modify schedules based on cargo utilization audits. Airlift planners at the Combined Air Operations Center also aggregate joint movement and intra-theater airlift movement requests to the maximum extent in order to efficiently utilize aircraft.


Pykosz added that the main challenge in applying the precision loading techniques used from CONUS aerial ports to the Afghanistan effort lies in how the transportation enterprise is structured.


In the CONUS, there are key nodes through which all cargo is funnel, which Pykosz describes as "gatekeepers." These gatekeepers are Defense Logistics Agency cargo and service depot consolidation points and AMC Aerial Ports. Those gatekeepers serve as a controlled input of cargo into the Defense Transportation System, based on scheduled airlift missions with predictable capability. This allows more organized and predictive planning based on aircraft type and destination on missions departing CONUS along specified routes.


For Afghanistan, the scope and focus for air cargo transportation is a little more dynamic. "Some missions and cargo are expedited at the expense of utilization -- depending on warfighter needs," Pykosz said.


For strategic redeployment missions returning to CONUS the key element needed to realize the benefits of PL from OEF are robust cargo hub operations to clean, consolidate, and build cargo on pallets and collaborative metrics to maximize the use of every CONUS bound flight. Ultimately, the efficient return of our assets will take a joint effort, and AMC is "closely engaged" with USTRANSCOM and USCENTCOM planners to ensure both the hubs metrics to make this effort as efficient as possible


"Effectively aligning warfighter requirements with the right amount of airlift, precise pallet builds, smart aircraft route plans, and fuel-efficient aircraft will enable our aerial porters will be paramount to successfully redeploy forces," Pykosz said.




(Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, AMC Public Affairs; AMC's Directorate of Logistics, Air Transportation Cargo Policy Team and USTRANSCOM contributed to this article.)

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14 avril 2012 6 14 /04 /avril /2012 14:19



14/04/2012 Sources : EMA


Depuis le 14 mars 2012, la frégate antiaérienne (FAA) Cassard participe au volet maritime de l’opération de lutte contre le terrorisme Enduring Freedom. Au cours de cet engagement, la frégate a rejoint, le 13 avril, le groupe aéronaval américain (Carrier strike group – CSG 12) articulé autour du porte-avions USS Enterprise.


Après un échange d’officiers de liaison, le Cassard a intégré le groupe américain pour participer à l’escorte de son porte-avions aux côtés de 3 destroyers américains. Le groupe a franchi le détroit d’Ormuz pour rejoindre le golfe arabo-persique. Après une période d’entraînement avec le CSG, la frégate française reprendra sa participation à Enduring Freedom.


USS Enterprise photo3 fregate cassard


Depuis 2001,  la France participe au volet maritime d’Enduring Freedom. Il vise à suivre les mouvements maritimes dans une zone allant de la corne d’Afrique au golfe arabo-persique pour dissuader les mouvements de groupes terroristes et lutter contre les trafics illicites.




Les bâtiments français engagés dans cette opération conduisent également des entraînements et des manœuvres avec nos partenaires et alliés présents dans la zone pour renforcer l’interopérabilité de nos forces. Le Cassard participera ainsi, à la fin du mois d’avril, à l’exercice Gulf 2012, un exercice interarmées bilatéral avec les Emirats arabes unis.

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13 avril 2012 5 13 /04 /avril /2012 07:55

Fin Surobi Avril 2012 source LdDEF

source Lignes de Défense


12.04.2012 Le Monde.fr avec AFP


L'armée française a officiellement transféré aux forces de sécurité afghanes le contrôle du district de Surobi, près de Kaboul, lors d'une cérémonie organisée sur une base militaire locale, jeudi 12 avril.


"Cette cérémonie ne marque pas la fin de la présence française mais le début d'une nouvelle étape, qui passera par davantage de coopération civile", a déclaré Bernard Bajolet, l'ambassadeur de France en Afghanistan, quelques minutes après que le drapeau français eut été descendu d'un mât placé au centre de la base.


Le passage de la Surobi sous autorité afghane fait partie d'un plan global de transfert des territoires contrôlés par l'ISAF, la force de l'OTAN en Afghanistan, présente dans le pays depuis la fin de 2001, aux autorités nationales, avant un départ des troupes étrangères du pays prévu à la fin de 2014. Nicolas Sarkozy avait annoncé à la fin de janvier un retrait anticipé de l'armée française du pays, qui contrôlait jusqu'à jeudi le district de Surobi, relativement calme, et la province de Kapisa, beaucoup plus instable.




La date du transfert de la Kapisa aux autorités afghanes devrait être annoncée "incessamment" par le président afghan, Hamid Karzaï, selon M. Bajolet. L'armée française, qui a compté jusqu'à quatre mille hommes en Afghanistan au plus fort de sa présence, n'en compte plus que trois mille quatre cents. Huit cents autres militaires français doivent quitter le pays d'ici à la fin de 2012.


Malgré la présence de cent trente mille soldats de l'ISAF, en soutien de trois cent cinquante-deux mille militaires et policiers afghans, Kaboul n'a pas réussi à vaincre l'insurrection menée par les talibans, qui a gagné du terrain ces dernières années. Depuis quelques semaines et la fin d'un hiver 2012 particulièrement rigoureux, les attaques, notamment les attentats-suicides, ont repris de plus belle dans le pays. Dans la seule journée de mardi, trois attentats ont fait dix-neuf morts, dont dix policiers afghans, dans l'ouest et le sud du pays.

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12 avril 2012 4 12 /04 /avril /2012 17:36



12.04.2012 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


L'armée française a officiellement transféré, ce jeudi, aux forces de sécurité afghanes le contrôle du district de Surobi, à l'est de Kaboul.


"Cette cérémonie ne marque pas la fin de la présence française mais le début d'une nouvelle étape, qui passera par davantage de coopération civile", a déclaré Bernard Bajolet, l'ambassadeur de France en Afghanistan, quelques minutes après que le drapeau français eut été descendu d'un mât placé au centre de la FOB Tora. La date du transfert de la Kapisa aux autorités afghanes devrait être annoncée "incessamment" par le président afghan Hamid Karzaï, selon Bernard Bajolet.




Ultime prise d'armes à Tora, le 18 mars, avant le début du retrait du BG Picaradie.

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12 avril 2012 4 12 /04 /avril /2012 16:35


Sur le terrain, impossible de mener des opérations

sans les forces de sécurité afghanes.


12 avr 2012 Ecrit par Romain Mielcarek -ActuDéfense


En 2012, 33 soldats dont 7 Français ont été tués en Afghanistan par des policiers et des soldats afghans. Une menace nouvelle qui augmente au fil du temps et qui accroît les dissensions entre les forces de sécurité locales et leurs homologues étrangers. Le ministère de l’Intérieur afghan tente de rassurer l’ISAF avec une série de mesures dont l’efficacité restera à démontrer.


Mardi, le gouvernement afghan a promis par la voix de son ministère de l’Intérieur, Abdul Rahim Wardak, une série de mesures pour réduire la menace d’attaques « green on blue ». Ces assauts de policiers ou de soldats afghans visant des hommes de la coalition sont devenues une véritable phobie qui, bien que minoritaire dans le total des pertes, reste en hausse depuis 2009. De 10 morts il y a 4 ans, cette cause est passée à 33 en 2011. En 2012, 16 soldats ont déjà été tués.


Parmi les propositions du ministre, l’augmentation de la vérification des passifs des recrues afghanes. Les candidats devront monter patte blanche et être parrainés par deux garants, chargés d’attester de leur transparence. En plus, des enquêtes ont été lancées sur quelques 150 000 des 352 000 membres des forces de sécurité pour vérifier les dossiers des personnels déjà engagés. De plus, des tests antidrogues seront systématiquement effectués. Sur les critères concrets qui seront appliqués sur ces différentes mesures … mystère.


La question est pourtant cruciale. Ces derniers mois, les violences perpétrées aussi bien côté américain que côté afghan ont entraîné de difficiles questionnement au sein des forces de l’ISAF. On parle de nouveau de « caporaux stratégiques », ces individus qui peuvent changer à eux seuls le court d’une bataille : des soldats qui commettent des tueries, urinent sur des cadavres ou brûlent des corans ont ainsi plus d’impact sur la situation opérationnelle que le gros des troupes, quelle que soit son application.


Côté afghan, la situation est la même : les caporaux stratégiques sont ici plutôt des « loups solitaires ». En effet, les liens avec l’insurrection sont loin d’être avérés lors de ces attaques qui, si elles sont majoritairement apparues dans Kaboul et ses alentours, ont eu lieu de manière isolée dans la totalité de l’Afghanistan. Les meurtriers semblent avoir agit dans certains cas en réponse à des faits d’actualité, comme la destruction des corans. Dans d’autres, il peut s’agir de pari sur un avenir où les talibans sortent victorieux : pour éviter les représailles, la famille incite le soldat ou le policier à rétablir l’équilibre en commettant un acte héroïque.


Reste que les Afghans semblent être les plus menacés par cette nouvelle menace. Si les Occidentaux peuvent gagner en sécurité en augmentant les distances entre eux et leurs homologues locaux, les policiers et soldats afghans ne peuvent échapper à leurs loups solitaires. Des Afghans témoignent ainsi de coreligionnaires écoutant des chants de guerre talibans sur leurs téléphones portables sans trop savoir comment réagir. Pour eux, entre corruption et insécurité, il semble difficile de résorber le risque d’avoir des meurtriers infiltrés dans les rangs.

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12 avril 2012 4 12 /04 /avril /2012 12:55



10/04/2012 Sources : EMA


Le 27 mars 2012, l'équipe mobile de formation d’artillerie (Mobile education and training team - METT) franco-géorgienne a finalisé l’instruction du kandak (bataillon) dont elle avait la charge au terme d’une campagne de tir de trois semaines.




Déployée à proximité de Jalalabad au sein de la base afghane de Gamberi depuis 2011, la METT-ART a rempli sa mission de formation des artilleurs du 201e corps de l’ANA.




Depuis novembre dernier, la METT-ART composée de 12 militaires français issus du 1er Régiment d’artillerie et de 11 militaires géorgiens de l’école d’artillerie géorgienne formait la batterie d’artillerie du 4e kandak de la 2e brigade du 201e corps à la délivrance des feux indirects en appui de l’ANA. Habitués à utiliser les pièces de 122D30 en tir direct, les Afghans se sont formés aux autres compétences des artilleurs. Trois formations ont donc été mises en place : lecture de carte, positionnement géographique, désignation de cibles et calcul des éléments de tirs à donner aux pièces.




L’instruction au service de pièce du canon de 122D30 a été confiée aux militaires géorgiens car ils servent les mêmes canons ; les militaires français ont pris en charge l’instruction au calcul des éléments de tir et l’apprentissage des techniques d’observation.




Cette instruction qui dure quatre mois est formalisée par une campagne de tir de trois semaines au cours de laquelle plus de 400 obus (fumigènes et explosifs) ont été tirés par les soldats afghans.


Chaque soldat a ainsi pu mettre en application les savoir-faire acquis, tout en comprenant son rôle au sein de la chaine artillerie : un tir efficace implique le travail méthodique et précis de chaque cellule.


Les résultats ont été à la hauteur des espérances, puisque les tirs se sont avérés extrêmement précis et ont été délivrés rapidement.


Après la remise de diplômes le 27 mars, les 170 militaires afghans formés ont rejoint la province du Kunar, dans l’est du pays où est stationné leur kandak et où ils sont désormais en mesure d’appuyer leurs camarades fantassins. Ils seront assistés dans cette mission par une Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) américaine qui les a rejoint pendant trois semaines de formation avec la METT-ART.


Avec la fin de la formation des soldats du 4e kandak de la 2e brigade, la METT-ART a achevé sa mission de formation des artilleurs du 201e corps. En deux sessions de quatre mois, ce sont près de 350 artilleurs afghans qui ont été formés


Les militaires français de la METT-ART sont rentrés à Kaboul d’où ils repartiront vers la France.


Une autre METT française, infanterie celle-ci, est engagée en Afghanistan. Elle est déployée à Gambéri.


Les METT complètent le dispositif d’accompagnement de montée en puissance de l’armée afghane. Environ 300 militaires français y participent, soit en tant qu’instructeurs dans les écoles militaires, soit en tant que conseillers détachés auprès des militaires afghans.

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12 avril 2012 4 12 /04 /avril /2012 07:55

Un antonov 124 utilisé en Afghanistan (crédit ministère

photo Armee de l'Air


Apr. 11, 2012 By PAUL MCLEARY – Defence news


As American and NATO forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the Pentagon is looking at ways to trim the size of its materiel commitment.


The U.S. Marine Corps and Army recently signed $31 million worth of logistics contracts with Honeywell to start refitting and shipping equipment back to the United States from several large bases in Afghanistan.


The Corps’ Prepositioning & Marine Corps Logistics Services (P&MCLS) effort entered into $24 million worth of agreements with the company to provide maritime prepositioning and logistics services to Camp Dwyer and Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan.


A Honeywell spokesman described the deal as involving “offloading various types of equipment from the Marines’ prepositioning ships, repairing those vehicles, repackaging and refreshing supplies such as medical, food, ammunition, spare parts, etc., and reloading that equipment on the ship for it to return to its prepositioned location in-theater.”


The Army’s 401st Integrated Logistics Support Services group also has contracted with Honeywell for a $7 million increase to an existing contract to supply labor and supervise Theater Provided Equipment Planner personnel, “as well as asset visibility services to the U.S. Forces Afghanistan J4 Supply and Services, Redistribution, Retrograde, Redeployment, Reset and Disposition organization,” according to a company statement.


The work on both contracts began April 1 and will run through September.


While not yet a major retrograde or refit action, the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is declining from its current level of 90,000 troops to 68,000 by October. The drawdown will bring troop levels back to what they were prior to the 2010 surge of 23,000 troops ordered by President Barack Obama.


The overall plan for the transition of security to Afghan forces is still being developed and is expected to be unveiled in May at the NATO summit in Chicago. But virtually all 130,000 U.S and NATO combat troops are expected to be out of the country by the end of 2014. A force of trainers, advisers and special forces likely will remain.


Honeywell’s logistics team “has been an integral part of the P&MCLS program for 25 years,” Carey Smith, president of Honeywell Technical Solutions, said in a statement. He added that the company is providing the Army with a “detailed analysis of equipment data, whether by geographic location or operational condition.”


The massive drawdown is hardly unprecedented. In Iraq, U.S. forces moved 3 million pieces of equipment out of the country between September 2010 and last December, and handed over another 4 million pieces of equipment to the Iraqis.


As the drawdown begins in earnest, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi are in Washington this week for meetings with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other defense officials.


Earlier in the week, U.S. and Afghan officials signed an agreement that puts Afghans in charge of the controversial night raids conducted by U.S. and Afghan special forces, although it contains provisions that will allow U.S. forces to conduct raids while obtaining warrants from Afghan officials retroactively, according to Pentagon spokesmen.

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12 avril 2012 4 12 /04 /avril /2012 07:55

afghanistan-VBCI -vallee-de-tagab-dec 2011 source EMA MinDe


11.04.2012 Romandie.com AP


PARIS (AP) — Retirer les troupes françaises d'Afghanistan d'ici la fin de l'année, comme le promet François Hollande, jetterait le "déshonneur" sur l'armée, s'émeut Nicolas Sarkozy. Dans un entretien à la revue "L'Essentiel des relations internationales", le président-candidat juge l'idée de son adversaire socialiste "totalement irresponsable, et même dangereuse".


Actuellement, 3.400 militaires français sont déployés sur le théâtre afghan. Le candidat PS François Hollande s'est engagé, s'il est élu en mai à l'Elysée, à retirer toutes les forces combattantes d'ici fin 2012.


Le président Sarkozy a programmé, lui, un retour des troupes combattantes pour la fin 2013. Dans l'interview que son équipe de campagne a diffusée mercredi, il confirme son calendrier: "En 2014, il ne restera que quelques centaines de formateurs pour soutenir l'armée afghane".


"Notre stratégie de transfert des missions de sécurité aux Afghans marche", assure le chef de l'Etat.


La France a amorcé son retrait d'Afghanistan en octobre de l'année dernière: elle a rapatrié 400 de ses soldats au cours du dernier trimestre 2011, passant le flambeau aux autorités afghanes dans le district de Surobi.


"Nous commençons ce mois-ci à passer le relais aux forces afghanes dans la province de Kapisa", réaffirme Nicolas Sarkozy dans "L'Essentiel des relations internationales" du mois d'avril.


Le chef de l'Etat a annoncé fin janvier le retour de 1.000 hommes en 2012, bien plus que les 600 initialement prévus. Il accélérait ainsi le retrait après l'attaque meurtrière sur la base militaire de Gwan, dans la province de Kapisa: un jeune soldat afghan avait tué le 20 janvier quatre soldats français et en avait blessé quinze autres.


Nicolas Sarkozy attaque avec virulence le projet de retrait de François Hollande d'ici la fin de l'année. "Je trouve totalement irresponsable, et même dangereuse, l'idée d'un retrait précipité de toutes nos forces d'ici fin 2012", déclare le président qui brigue un second quinquennat.


"Il n'y a pas un expert militaire pour valider cette stratégie qui ferait courir un risque à nos soldats, et qui nous couperait de nos alliés", redoute le candidat UMP en demandant: "Qui peut souhaiter pareil déshonneur à notre armée?"


"Alors que la menace terroriste émanant de cette zone reste élevée, comme la tragédie de Toulouse vient hélas de le rappeler, est-ce le moment de dire qu'on retire tout, tout de suite?" s'interroge Nicolas Sarkozy, en référence aux meurtres commis par Mohamed Merah, un jeune Français qui avait séjourné en Afghanistan et au Pakistan.


Et le chef de l'Etat de lancer: "Tenons le cap d'une stratégie de retour ordonné, d'un transfert progressif aux Afghans, et ne relâchons pas la pression sur les groupes terroristes".


Dans un discours sur la défense prononcé le 11 mars à Paris, François Hollande avait promis d'accélérer "dans les meilleures conditions de sécurité le retrait de nos forces combattantes pour que, fin 2012, nos soldats soient rentrés". "Nous agirons en concertation (...) avec nos alliés", avait-il assuré. "Nous n'imposerons pas notre rythme à d'autres, mais nous agirons en toute indépendance".


La France est le cinquième pays contributeur de troupes au sein de la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (ISAF) déployée par l'OTAN en Afghanistan, derrière les Etats-Unis (90.000), la Grande-Bretagne (9.500), l'Allemagne (4.700) et l'Italie (3.950). AP

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 18:27

A-29B Super Tucano on Patrol over the skies of the Dominic


Apr 11, 2012 By Joseph C. Anselmo  - aerospace daily and defense report


Embraer expects it will win a rebid on the U.S. Air Force’s botched Light Attack Support (LAS) contract and sees no justification for changing the contract’s specifications.


“We have to hope that when this process is reopened there are no changes to the original specs,” Embraer President and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado told reporters April 10 during a roundtable discussion in Washington. “If there are no changes, the same reasons that made us win the first time will make us win a second time.”


The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada Corp., were awarded a $355 million contract in late December to supply 20 Embraer AT-20 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft for operation by the Afghan air force. But the contract was abruptly canceled when the Air Force announced it was “not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.” The cancellation came after Hawker Beechcraft filed suit in federal court following the disqualification of its AT-6 from the LAS competition.


The Air Force is planning to release a modified request for proposals for the contract by the end of the month. The topic was raised this week by the Brazilian government during President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to Washington. “This was not our documentation; they told us it had nothing to do with what we presented,” Curado says. “If we have the same specs ... we have to believe that we will be selected again, and that will prove that no politics were involved.”


The LAS award was a big win for Embraer’s fledgling military business, which does not have a large home market in Brazil. “Being able to supply products and services to the U.S. Department of Defense has always been one of our most important strategic objectives,” Curado says. “The importance of that contract to us is very high.”


Hawker Beechcraft, which is based in Wichita, has complained vocally that the original award to Embraer represented an outsourcing of U.S. jobs. But Embraer officials note that the Super Tucanos were to be assembled at a Sierra Nevada facility in Jacksonville, Fla., and will contain many U.S.-made components. They estimate the original LAS contract would have created or supported 1,200 U.S. jobs.


The first Super Tucanos were to have been delivered to the Afghan air force in April 2013. But Curado says the delay in the procurement means it will be “virtually impossible” to begin deliveries in the first half of next year.

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 11:39



April 11, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE


Over a decade of warfare in Afghanistan has brought in a lot of foreign experts to scrutinize the place for useful information. One of the lesser known efforts has been carried out by medical researchers and anthropologists. Before September 11, 2001, not a lot of research had been done on the peoples of Afghanistan. But new technology (inexpensive genome analysis) and lots of medical people in the area has made it possible to get a good view of the genetic makeup of the peoples of Afghanistan. The genetic analysis shows that people have lived in the area since before the last ice age ended 12,000 years ago. The current cultures began developing over 3,000 years ago, as the Indo-European tribes spread a common language and culture into Iran, Europe and South Asia. Since Afghanistan lay astride the easiest route into modern-day Pakistan and India, many conquerors passed through, leaving behind an interesting mélange of genetic history. The Mongol (Hazara) and Turk genes in the north represent the most recent major invasions, while the Iranian influence in the majority of Afghans represents the first and most lasting invasion. In addition, there has been a lot more genetic information collected from nations surrounding throughout the region. This indicates where cultural influences came from, and when they arrived. Currently, Afghanistan is 42 percent Pushtuns, 27 percent Tajiks, nine percent Hazara, nine percent Uzbeks, four percent Aimaqs, three percent Turkmen, two percent Baluchi and four percent several other minorities.


The Pushtuns are dominant in southern Afghanistan, and are closely related to the Iranians. The Pushtun language is also similar to Farsi (the main language of Iran). The Tajiks are dominant in the north, and are also ethnic and linguistic cousins of the Iranians. The Hazara are the remainders of the Mongols who conquered the area 800 years ago. The Hazara now speak a Farsi type language, with a lot of Mongolian words. Some of the Hazara tribes are named after famous Mongolian generals from the ancient times when the Mongols ruled what is now Afghanistan. That conquest was particularly brutal, and the Hazara are still disliked because of this, particularly by the Pushtuns. The Aimiqs are considered closely related to the Tajiks, but distinct. The Baluchi are also an Iranian people. The Uzbeks and Turkmen are Turkish. The Pushtuns and Tajiks have been in the region the longest, probably for thousands of years. Because the majority of Afghans (Pushtuns, Tajiks and Aimaqs) are related to the Iranians (and, more distantly, to other Indo-European from Ireland to India), the common second language in Afghanistan is Dari, which is a dialect of Farsi.


The political history of Afghanistan is more complicated than the genetic one. For thousands of years, the area now known as Afghanistan was actually divided into tribal areas, and each tribe considered itself a "nation" (with borders, laws and an armed force of adult males ready to fight). Parts of Afghanistan often came under the control of nearby empires. Western Afghanistan was subject to Iranian control, eastern Afghanistan to Indian rule, while the north saw Chinese and Turks holding valuable trade routes (the Silk Road) between East Asia and the Middle East. Two centuries ago, "Afghanistan" appeared as British controlled India established borders that defined the extent of eastern and southern Afghanistan. The Iranian (or "Persian") empire shrank, leaving us with the current western border of Afghanistan. In the north, the Mongol and Turkic empires disappeared, replaced by Russian conquests in Central Asia, giving us the northern border. Within Afghanistan, there were dozens of tribes, dominated by those speaking Pushtun. In the south, it was almost all Pushtun, but there were Pushtun tribes in the north as well, where they were surrounded by more numerous Tajik, Turkish (mainly Uzbek) and Mongol (Hazara) tribes. Hemmed in like this, these tribes, in the middle of nowhere, formed a loose alliance, nominally led by a Pushtun king. The king really just presided over the tribes helping to settle disputes, and deal with outsiders (mainly the British controlled Indians, Russians and Iranians).


The introduction of Western technology (more productive agricultural methods, medicine and better sanitation) eventually caused a population explosion. For over a thousand years, Afghanistan had supported no more than about 2.5 million people. But in the 19th century that changed and by 1900 population had doubled to five million. Fifty years later, it had more than tripled, to 16 million. It has since doubled again. Even with more productive agricultural methods, there was eventually a land and water shortage, and more disputes between the tribes over scarce resources. Communism and other Western political ideas had come to Afghanistan as well, and the Russian invasion in 1979 was triggered by a tribal rebellion against urban Afghans trying to impose a central government, and more alien ideas on a still very medieval mindset in the countryside. While the Russians left (more because of impatience than military defeat) in 1989, that war between the traditional tribes and the urban reformers continues.

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 07:40

Poland MoD


April 10, 2012 (Released Apr. 6 2012) defpro.com


"Another rotation of the Polish Military Contingent is present in Afghanistan and international forces are preparing for transition. - That strategy will be continued in order to realise the international community intention of withdrawing till the end of 2014," minister Tomasz Siemoniak told the Polish Press Agency.


According to ISAF arrangements regrouping of about 2500 Polish soldiers in Ghazni province, where the Americans have deployed additional soldiers recently, will finish on Saturday. From that day Polish soldiers will be responsible for the northern part of Ghazni province, not for the whole province, as it has been so far. Area of responsibility will consist of nine districts. The other districts, in southern part of the province, will be controlled by the US forces. The Polish have already left bases Warrior, Aryana and Giro, where Americans stayed.




- “The tactics and the strategy will stay unchanged. Their objective is to ensure security in Afghanistan, to increase responsibility of local authorities for security. This strategy will be continued to realise intention of international community – withdrawing till the end of 2014, increasing the Afghans’ responsibility, changing character of the mission for more training, supporting one and withdrawal of coalition forces till the end of 2014.” – minister Siemoniak said. He emphasised that “a change of the strategy is not considered” and cyclic changes of character of activities result from changes of seasons of the year and different activity of the Taliban who leave to Pakistan for winter and intensify attacks in spring and summer.




„An important thing is that for sure there will be more American soldiers. These are ISAF decisions, that is why it will look different than during previous rotations.” – the minister stressed. “We are observing the process of transition.” – he added and reminded that security responsibility of Ghazni City was handed over to the Afghan security forces in January. “We count on the calendar of transition being realised. The decision was made together by coalition and representatives of Afghan authorities. In order to hand over responsibility for next territories both sides have to admit that all the conditions for local authority to take over control are met.” – the minister added.

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10 avril 2012 2 10 /04 /avril /2012 06:14

Afghan Air Force.svg


Apr. 9, 2012 By MARCUS WEISGERBER – Defense News


The U.S. Air Force plans to restart a competition for a light-strike aircraft program it is running for the Afghan air force later this month.


“We will publish a new draft request for proposal on Light Air Support aircraft program,” Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, said during an April 9 speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “Our purpose … is to provide the Afghan counterparts with a fixed-wing, close air support platform that they can operate effectively and affordably and reliably.”


The Air Force selected the Embraer Super Tucano over the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 in December. But in February, the service negated the $355 million contract to the Brazilian based company and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada.


“It was regrettable that we had a problem on our documentation on the first source selection,” Schwartz said. “As a result, we responded by discontinuing that phase of the effort and we will begin anew here later this month with the current offers.”


After losing the contract, Hawker Beechcraft unsuccessfully protested to the Government Accountability Office and then filed a federal lawsuit.


The goal of the program is to purchase a fixed-wing, light-strike turboprop for the nascent Afghan air service.

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10 avril 2012 2 10 /04 /avril /2012 05:56



09/04/2012 Par Jean Guisnel Le Point.fr


Les raids nocturnes étaient jusqu'ici dirigés par les Américains. Ils ont provoqué de très nombreuses bavures. Désormais, c'est l'ANA qui les mènera.


Un accord bilatéral marquant a été signé dimanche entre les autorités américaines et afghanes sur la conduite future des opérations nocturnes de l'Isaf, extrêmement contestées par la population et considérées par le président Hamid Karzai comme une atteinte à la souveraineté de son pays. Plus de 3 000 se sont déroulées au cours des 14 derniers mois et ont souvent été marquées par la mort de civils. Elles ont profondément affecté les relations entre les Afghans et les 130 000 militaires étrangers présents dans le pays. Mais les forces américaines qui les conduisent le plus souvent estiment qu'elles sont particulièrement efficaces.


Le nouvel accord signé à Kaboul par le ministre de la Défense afghan Abdul Rahim Wardak et le général John R. Allen prévoit que lorsque de telles interventions nocturnes seront organisées à l'avenir, elles seront confiées à une composante nouvellement créée de l'armée nationale afghane, l'AFSOU (Afghan Spécial Operations Unit). En vertu de cet accord, les unités américaines ne fourniront leur appui que s'il est demandé par les Afghans. Le texte signé dimanche précise également qu'un groupe de coordination opérationnelle entre l'armée et la police nationales est placé sous la responsabilité des autorités afghanes et que ce groupe "étudie et approuve" les missions. Selon ses déclarations à l'AFP, Aimal Faizi, porte-parole du président Hamid Karzai, a confirmé cette organisation, "la décision finale revenant aux Afghans qui détermineront s'il y a besoin d'étrangers" durant ces raids. Le texte dispose que seules les forces afghanes seront autorisées à entrer dans les maisons. Il ajoute que le renseignement et le soutien aérien continueront d'être fournis par les Américains

Le retrait américain se précise

Ces annonces font suite au transfert de la principale prison américaine sous autorité afghane et visent à répondre à l'hostilité croissante de la population afghane contre la présence étrangère. Le général John R. Allen a déclaré à l'issue de la signature : "Cette journée est cruciale pour l'État de droit en Afghanistan. Elle signifie que les forces de sécurité afghanes opérant sous la loi afghane seront désormais responsables de la capture et de la détention des terroristes qui tentent de tuer et de blesser le peuple innocent d'Afghanistan."


Cette nouvelle organisation est un préalable au départ de la quasi-totalité des militaires étrangers d'Afghanistan, qui ne seront plus que 15 000, essentiellement américains, à partir de la fin 2014. La situation demeure fortement dégradée, les insurgés étant aujourd'hui prêts à se saisir du pouvoir et à revenir à la situation qui prévalait avant l'intervention militaire étrangère engagée en 2001. En plus de 10 ans, des dizaines de milliers de civils afghans et près de 3 000 soldats étrangers, dont 83 français, sont morts au "pays de l'insolence".

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9 avril 2012 1 09 /04 /avril /2012 07:40

RQ-7 Shadow USMC source Lignes de Defense


8/4/2012 Arie Egozi - israeldefense.com


The Shadow UAV, based on the Israeli Pioneer, is receiving new systems and missions


The Shadow UAV operated by the US Marine Corps, whose development was based on Israeli knowledge, is about to receive new systems and expand its operations in Afghanistan.


The development of the UAV by AAI was originally based on the Pioneer system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and operated by the US Marine Corps.


The UAV, which serves Marine forces operating throughout the world, was recently equipped with a classified weapons system.


The Israeli connection does not end with design; the Shadow UAV is equipped with an advanced POP-300 electro-optic payload designed by Tamam – IAI's electro-optic payload division.


The UAV has also been equipped with a classified weapons system developed by the US. There are no details at this time concerning the system, which will soon be tested in Afghanistan.


The Shadow's engines will also be replaced and the system will be equipped with other payloads intended for special intelligence assignments.


Israel says the Shadow’s ability to undergo continuous upgrades proves that its basic design is excellent.

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8 avril 2012 7 08 /04 /avril /2012 21:39



MOSCOU, 8 avril - RIA Novosti


Le ministre afghan de la Défense et le chef de la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (ISAF), Abdul Rahim Wardak et John Allen, ont signé ce dimanche un mémorandum de compréhension mutuelle sur les raids nocturnes en Afghanistan, rapportent les médias locaux.


En vertu de l'accord conclu, les militaires étrangers cessent les raids nocturnes et les fouilles de maisons afghanes, ces derniers devenant une prérogative des forces de sécurité de la République islamique.


"Quand il y aura besoin de faire un raid nocturne une entité composée de forces afghanes et de l'Otan décidera. La décision finale revenant aux Afghans", a déclaré le porte-parole du président afghan, cité par l'AFP.

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6 avril 2012 5 06 /04 /avril /2012 17:07



April 6, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Kandahar, Afghanistan - Seven people were burnt to death in southern Afghanistan on Friday when a fuel tanker supplying a NATO base crashed and set their vehicle on fire, officials said.


The security chief of Panjwayi district and the Kandahar police chief said there was no insurgent activity at the time, and residents later pulled back from claims that the Taliban had attacked with rocket-propelled grenades.


A US soldier serving in NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was charged this month with 17 counts of murder following a killing spree in the same district of Kandahar province on March 11.


Sardar Mohammad, Panjwayi's security chief, told AFP: "A fuel tanker supplying fuel for ISAF overturned and caught fire, and simultaneously a civilian minivan was passing nearby also set ablaze."


Seven people were killed and three others who were injured were taken to hospital, he said.


Abdul Hakim, who lives opposite the crash site, told AFP he heard a loud bang when the tanker overturned, and a passing vehicle was set on fire by the blaze.


Kandahar police chief Abdul Raziq confirmed the death toll, telling AFP: "This fuel tanker was coming from the city of Kandahar to Panjwayi district at high speed.


"On its way this tanker overturned and caught fire," he said. "A civilian minivan was passing on the way and the vehicle was also set ablaze."

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6 avril 2012 5 06 /04 /avril /2012 12:45

predator drone mq9 reaper photo USAF


6 avril 2012 Guysen International News


L'Afghanistan ne servira plus de base de lancement aux drones américains pour mener des attaques contre les pays voisins après le départ des troupes de combat de l'Otan fin 2014, a affirmé jeudi le ministre afghan des Affaires étrangères.

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4 avril 2012 3 04 /04 /avril /2012 19:42



04.04.2012 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Le lieutenant général Mason, le patron de la logistique US, a beau rappeler que le retrait d'Irak a eu lieu dans les temps et que la "log" a suivi, il n'en reste pas moins inquiet. Quitter l'Irak via le Koweït et ses grands camps où le stockage du matériel est possible, n'a pas posé de difficultés insurmontables. Une partie du matériel a, par ailleurs, été cédée ou vendue aux Irakiens (pour une valeur d'un milliard de dollars selon Mason).


Dans le cas du retrait annoncé d'Afghanistan, les choses se présentent de façon moins idéale.

1) Toujours selon le général Mason, les Américains anticipent de faire sortir du pays "la majeure partie de ce que nous avons en Afghanistan". Par exemple, ça signifie quelque 50 000 véhicules, qu'il va falloir préparer à un transfert, qui vont être soumis à un diagnostic pour connaître leur état et les réparations à effectuer (au pire, elles pourraient s'élever à 15 milliards de dollars) ou pour savoir s'il faut les réformer... 2 000 hommes vont être injectés dans le circuit "log" pour ces missions. En tout cas, pas question d'abandonner un hélicoptère ou un MRAP!

2) Quitter un pays enclavé, entouré de voisins qui ne sont pas tous bien disposés vis-à-vis de Washington et de l'Otan, constitue un autre défi. Et Mason de rappeler devant la Commission de la défense de la Chambre que depuis novembre, la route du Pakistan reste pratiquement fermée (cliquer ici pour lire mon dernier post à ce sujet). La PAKLOC (Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication) doit rouvrir de toute urgence pour permettre le début de l'évacuation du matériel vers les ports pakistanais. Actuellement, l'ISAF est contrainte d'utiliser la voie Nord, le fameux NDN (Northern Distribution Network) qui passe par le Tadjikistan, le Turkmenistan, l'Ouzbekistan..., sans compter la Russie! Emprunter le NDN coûte trois fois plus cher que passer par la PAKLOC. Explication: c'est beaucoup plus long et il faut recourir à un pont aérien (avions militaires et civils)!


On devrait donc assister à d'intenses efforts diplomatiques US au Pakistan dans les mois à venir. Rien de tragique pour l'instant mais le retrait approche. Avec ses exigences, ses obstacles et ses coûts.


Et la France? Comment fait-elle? Réponse dans un prochain post.

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4 avril 2012 3 04 /04 /avril /2012 18:33



April 4, 2012 Official Blog of the UK MoD – defpro.com


The Telegraph on Monday and the Daily Star yesterday both report that the delivery of an air drop system for use in Afghanistan has been delayed. The articles refer to the procurement of a Joint Precision Air Delivery System (JPADS).


The threat in Afghanistan is very different now to when the original request for the JPADS was made in 2009. Deliveries to remote locations are now routinely made by helicopters.


Despite delays caused by changes to the procurement process, we are continuing with the programme and plan to deliver JPADS to Afghanistan this summer in order to provide commanders with more options to resupply personnel.

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4 avril 2012 3 04 /04 /avril /2012 16:40



MOSCOU, 4 avril - RIA Novosti


L'Otan a transféré mardi aux forces afghanes la responsabilité de la sécurité dans la province de Takhâr (nord), rapporte l'agence de presse Pejvak.


Prévue initialement dans la matinée, la cérémonie solennelle de ce transfert de compétences a été retardée à l'initiative de Kaboul pour des raisons de sécurité. Le gouverneur de la province de Takhar Abdul Jabbar Taqwa et le président de la commission afghane chargée du transfert Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai ont pris part à l'événement.


Dans le cadre de la deuxième étape du transfert de la sécurité, les forces afghanes ont récemment pris le contrôle de plusieurs régions de la province de Helmand (sud-ouest). L'Alliance atlantique prévoit de transférer d'ici à la fin 2014 la responsabilité de la sécurité de l'ensemble du pays à l'armée afghane.

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4 avril 2012 3 04 /04 /avril /2012 11:30

Nuit Afgha

photo Thomas Goisque


April 4, 2012 Jim Garamone / American Forces Press Service – defpro.com


WASHINGTON | As U.S., NATO and Afghan officials discuss the future of night raids in Afghanistan, the raids are effective and Afghan forces participate in the planning of every night operation, a senior Defense Department official said here Apr. 3.


“[Night raids have] been a concern of the Afghan government for some time,” George Little, acting assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said in a news conference. “We recognize that. We recognize the effectiveness, as well, that night operations have had over time.”


NATO and U.S. officials contend that conducting night operations reduces the danger to civilians while keeping pressure on insurgents. International Security Assistance Force officials in the Afghan capital of Kabul say 85 percent of night operations occur without a shot being fired, and only about 1 percent of night operations have led to civilian casualties.


Still, night operations are a bone of contention for the Afghan government, and the coalition is working with the government to assuage their concerns, Little said.


“We believe we’re making progress in heading toward an agreement on this and a broad range of other issues,” he added. “ISAF forces are working hand in hand with our Afghan partners on night operations, and they are highly effective.”


Al-Qaida is smaller and has been hurt badly by continued U.S. and coalition attacks, but it remains a danger, Little said.


“The important thing to remember about al-Qaida is that … even though they may be smaller than some other groups in the region, it’s about their objectives,” he said. “And … even though they are damaged from serious pressure that's been brought to bear against them, one of their objectives remains to attack the United States and our allies. So we have to keep the pressure up. We have to make sure that they don't have the ability to strike us again.”


Little stressed that Afghan national security forces are making progress. About 330,000 Afghan soldiers and police are serving today, a number headed to 352,000 this summer. “There’s been a lot of discussion recently, and rightfully so, about some tragic and recent incidents,” he said, referring to attacks on coalition forces by Afghans in uniform. But the overwhelming majority of Afghan forces have made progress, he added.


“They’re doing great work, on their own and with us and with our allies,” Little said, adding that while there have been incidents, the over-arching progress cannot be denied.


“This is a testament to our Afghan allies’ commitment to taking the fight on themselves [and] providing for their own security, and we’re going to continue to stick with them to try to enhance their capabilities,” he said. “This is important.”

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