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16 février 2012 4 16 /02 /février /2012 13:15



February 16, 2012 defpro.com


CLEARWATER, Fla. | Bulova Technologies Group, Inc. recently announced that Bulova Technologies Ordnance Systems LLC (“BTOS”) received an award for $4.8 million under the US Army IDIQ Non-Standard Weapons BPA to supply weapons to Afghanistan. These weapons will be provided by Rosoboronexport (“ROE”) in Russia and will be delivered to Afghanistan in the Company’s third quarter.


As announced previously in our press release dated February 9, 2012, the Company has partnered with ROE to supply Non-Standard Weapons and Non-Standard Ammunition under contract with the US Army for Afghanistan and Iraq.


For more information on ROE, please visit their website at www.roe.ru.

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16 février 2012 4 16 /02 /février /2012 08:45



February 15, 2012 defpro.com


The brains behind some of the British Army's most complex counter-intelligence work have taken up a new role that will see them inform the final stages of Operation HERRICK. Report by Sarah Goldthorpe.


2 Military Intelligence Battalion is now functioning as the British Armed Forces' exploitation unit - a responsibility that puts the formation in charge of ensuring key enemy information is used to the military's best advantage.


The tri-Service collective will focus on materiel and personnel exploitation in Afghanistan, getting troops onto the ground to assist the fight against IEDs while providing legally-sound evidence to the country's justice system.


Speaking ahead of a flag-raising ceremony at the battalion's new home in Trenchard Lines, Upavon, Captain Colin Joyce of the Intelligence Corps explained the challenge: "This unit has taken a number of our battalion's forensic technical capabilities such as biometrics, fingerprinting and examination of media devices and weapons and put them under one roof.


"This will help to provide a complete evidential picture of captured or suspected insurgents."


The new role appears to resemble something from the 'Crime Scene Investigation' (CSI) TV franchise and a short word with personnel indicates this analogy is not a million miles from the truth.


Lance Corporal Gary Atkinson, also of the Intelligence Corps, works within level one of the exploitation process.


Once deployed, it is his job to work alongside bomb disposal teams to collect pressure plates, battery packs, mobile phones, rifles or any other object recovered during patrols or incidents: "All devices come through us at some point," Lance Corporal Atkinson explained, "so everything done at this level has to be forensically-sound; that means we wear gloves and face masks.


"We will never touch anything IED-wise unless it has been cleared by the bomb disposal guys first, but it's one of the few roles in the Intelligence Corps where you are out on the ground in the thick of the action and that's exciting.


"We go anywhere and everywhere in Helmand and never get bored."


Of the wide-ranging devices inspected by this team to garner war-winning information, something as inconspicuous as a battered Coke bottle can demand the CSI treatment.


Showing off one such drink receptacle complete with a deadly pull-switch, he said: "You will always find these types of devices out there because they are so easy to make.


"Insurgents come up with different ways of using them - from ones with high metal content to those that can defeat detector capabilities."


As well as aiding the country's legal system, consolidating the Army's forensic facilities will ensure that lifesaving detail on enemy weapons can be fed to both front line troops and those back home developing protective kit:


"We write reports on what we have found and run threat briefings to let battle groups and infantry commanders know the main dangers," Lance Corporal Atkinson said.


"We can also put out flash warnings if something new is discovered.


"We like to look at it all like the military CSI but I am not sure it is quite as glam here as it is on the television screen."


Among the various forensics equipment used by soldiers in this role, the HazMat ID kit impresses its users every time.


Worth around £45,000, this unexciting-looking box can identify every single chemical component of a substance placed on its surface:


"Even with coffee, this thing will tell you if it is caffeinated or decaffeinated," Lance Corporal Atkinson boasted. "We know, we have tried!"


In conflict, such substances could be the explosives or drugs that fuel the enemy: "This job is not just about weapons, it's also the human element," said Lance Corporal Peter Marsden, Royal Logistic Corps.


"My role is getting out and collecting, but if guys at level two can bring DNA off whatever we find, we would want to know about that."


Personnel at the second and third levels of the exploitation process pull apart, download and dig into recovered articles to derive any information they can - be it DNA, geographical or technological intelligence.


Whether undertaken at the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory or further afield, their endeavours allow extensive data to be absorbed into the Army's knowledge base.


Outlining the crucial counter-intelligence function of the new unit and its clever computers, Warrant Officer Class 2 Jonathan Webster of the Intelligence Corps said:


"We can conduct exploitation of computers, networks and other aspects of the internet to get information, such as using social networks for example."


Opening up a compact case containing every mobile phone charger imaginable, he explained the unit's ability to take call logs and texts off any model - even the fakes: "We process that information, for example who has called and when, and make links to key events to construct a picture of who is talking to who," he added.


Unsurprisingly, this group's efforts are not solely focused on the HERRICK mission.


While mobiles are pulled apart in the desert, other team members are busy keeping on top of technological advances that could aid future intelligence-gathering - fridges that connect to the internet, Kindles and the latest GPS equipment all hold possibilities.


But until 2014, the exploitation unit's focus will remain firmly on Helmand province.


Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mark Proctor said: "We are concentrating on Afghanistan currently but looking to form training teams to teach other countries about exploitation as well.


"We lend such a small number of people but are providing them 365-days-a-year.


"Once we stop Op HERRICK, that allows us to move onto contingency, but for now it's about making sure whatever we do is for the Afghans.


"We need to keep lessons from Helmand province so that, wherever we go next, our unit is there from the beginning."


(This article is taken from the February 2012 edition of SOLDIER - Magazine of the British Army.)

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15 février 2012 3 15 /02 /février /2012 08:25

 RQ-4 Global Hawk source Flight Global


Feb. 14, 2012by Zach Rosenberg – Flight Global


Washington DC - A military headquarters in Afghanistan has confirmed that a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk crashed in the southeast city of Jalalabad on 21 August in a still unexplained mishap for the high-altitude unmanned air system (UAS).


The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a coalition military headquarters based in Kabul, told Flightglobal the crash occurred on 21 August, or one day later than an RQ-4 mishap recently posted on the web site for the US Air Force's accident investigation board.


"The aircraft was recovered without incident. We have no reporting of the aircraft returned to service," said ISAF.


The aircraft reportedly crashed well away from the airport in the Naranj Bagh district of Jalalabad, damaging two houses but causing no injuries. Pictures purportedly of the scene show signs of fire.


Initial reports from ISAF indicate mechanical problems encountered during flight. While Jalalabad is home to a large and active ISAF airbase, no Global Hawks are known to be based there.


The USAF was unable to confirm details by press time, but the AIB web site classifies the mishap as a Class A event, which is reserved for incidents causing more than $2 million damage or a fatality. The category includes total airframe loss.


An ISAF press release from 21 August reports that an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) made a forced landing in Jalalabad. The type of aircraft is not identified, but no other incidents on that date are reported. An MQ-1 Predator crash is recorded on 20 August at a different location.


Global Hawks have made emergency landings in Afghanistan on at least two prior occasions, according to sources with knowledge of the aircraft. At least two other Global Hawks have crashed flying operational missions in the Central Command area of operations, which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and other locations where US UAVs have been noted.


Northrop declined to comment on the 21 August incident, referring all questions to the USAF. Air Combat Command (ACC), which owns the Global Hawk fleet, was unable to confirm details by press time.


The AIB investigation panel is due to release their report later in 2012.

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 18:35




14 Feb 2012By Daily Telegraph Reporter


British soldier Denis Larubi survived being shot at by a Taliban sniper twice in two days thanks to his bullet-proof body armour.


The Lance Corporal was spared when a round struck bullet-proof glass just inches in front of his face in a sentry tower.


The next day a bullet from the same marksman clipped his rifle and ricocheted into his left shoulder where it was stopped by his £2,000 Osprey Mk4 Kevlar vest.


L/Cpl Larubi, 30, on his third tour in Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, was knocked off his feet by the impact at Checkpoint Langar in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand.


The father-of-two, who lives in Belfast with his partner, told The Sun: "I felt like the world had fallen from under me. I was pretty shaken, but fully aware of my surroundings. Thank God for decent equipment."


L/Cpl Larubi, nicknamed Rubes, at first feared he was hit when he saw a splash of fluid on his kit and thought it was blood.


It was, in fact, water from a drink container pierced by a shard which splintered off his rifle following the shot.


Pte Wayne Bass said: "The fluid hit me. I could've sworn it was Rubes' blood. I was so relieved when I examined him and saw it was only water."


British troops later used surveillance equipment to pinpoint the marksman. A precision-guided missile was dropped on him by a US AV-8B bomber.

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 18:20



February 14, 2012 The Express Tribune (AFP)


ISLAMABAD: Islamabad publicly admitted Tuesday that it had allowed NATO to use Pakistani airspace to fly supplies into Afghanistan, despite a more than two-month blockade on the border crossings.


“The permission has been given for food items,” a defence ministry official quoted Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar as saying at a function in Islamabad.


“Since the food items were perishable, we have allowed them to transport them by air to Afghanistan.


“We have told them to take the supplies out by air and don’t bring more for the time being,” the official quoted him as saying.


US ambassador to Islamabad, Cameron Munter, last week confirmed that NATO had continued to fly supplies into Afghanistan despite Pakistan’s closure of the border to NATO trucks and oil tankers on November 26.


Relations between Pakistan and the United States sunk to an all-time low after air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border in an incident that the United States blamed on mistakes made by both sides.

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 08:20



13 February 2012 - by Tony Skinner – Shepard Group


Kaman is preparing to move its Unmanned K-Max helicopter into production in the event its current deployment to Afghanistan leads to a funded programme of record.


Speaking at the Heli-Expo exhibition in Dallas on 13 February, Kaman officials revealed that since deploying to Camp Dwyer in the Garmsir District in December 2011, the two K-Max aircraft have transported more than 190,000 pounds of cargo to two US Marine Corps forward operating bases (FOBs).


Kaman Helicopters division president Sal Bordonaro told Shephard that since its first mission of December 17, the K-Max had exceeded 100 flight hours in theatre.


‘They are flying missions day and night, 24/7. While I can’t reveal availability rates it has a very high readiness rate with exceptionally low maintenance hours,’ Bordonaro said.


‘This is a simple machine, a simple truck, and it is meeting the US Marine Corps’ main objective, which is taking convoys off the road.’


The aircraft’s deployment followed a five-day quick reaction assessment in August 2011, where it was confirmed the K-Max exceed the requirement to deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo per day.


While unable to publicly provide a cost per pound per mile comparison, Bordonaro noted the use of K-Max in theatre was ultimately saving the DoD money, especially given that unmanned helicopters do not require any level of air support when replenishing the FOBs.


The company was now looking at ‘preparing for production readiness’ and ensuring the remaining 20% of its supply chain still to be active was put in place. The aircraft would be produced in partnership with Lockheed Martin in Jacksonville, Florida.


Should any future USMC contract lead to production of the aircraft, the company is also considering possible longer-term commercial applications for the K-Max. While the aircraft is theoretically capable of carrying out any ‘dull or dangerous’ jobs currently covered by manned helicopters, any future commercial role is coupled to regulations about unmanned aircraft operating in civil airspace.


Known for its intermeshing main rotor system, the K-Max can carry sling loads up to 6,000 pounds at sea level and more than 4,300 pounds at 15,000 feet.

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 18:05



Members of II Squadron RAF Regiment and the US Marine Corps board a US Osprey aircraft at CampBastion in Helmand province - Picture: Corporal Andy Benson RAF 2012


13 Feb 12 UK MOD - A Military Operations news article


Members of the RAF Regiment have found and destroyed a large cache of Taliban IED-making equipment in an operation conducted alongside Afghan and US forces.


Operation DISHATA PASHA (Pashtu for 'backfoot') was launched at dawn on Monday 6 February 2012, with RAF Regiment troops from II Squadron. The force also included warriors from the Afghan Army's 3rd Brigade of 215 Corps, and US Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force.


The troops deployed by US Osprey aircraft, with its unique tilt-rotor capability, and the operation resulted in the finding and destruction of a suspected insurgent IED cache close to Bastion Airfield in Helmand province. They also acquired a wealth of intelligence despite coming under fire several times.


The operation took place in the dashte (or desert) south of Bastion Airfield, whose protection is the task of II Squadron, operating as part of 3 RAF Force Protection Wing.


The dashte is a sparse landscape of rolling fields and scrub dotted with compounds and is increasingly being used as a harbouring area by Taliban forces who have come under pressure elsewhere as a result of successful coalition operations.


In this 'bed-down' location the insurgents have mingled with the local population, some of whom have Taliban sympathies, and their presence has seen attempts to increase poppy production in the area to fund their summer campaign.


Because of the sparse agricultural cover in the area during the winter, the insurgents have based themselves in compounds to fire on ISAF foot patrols. The string of IEDs that had been sown across approaches to the area, together with their 'stand-off and shoot' tactics, was meant to stop ISAF forces from getting near.



Members of II Squadron RAF Regiment and the US Marine Corps exit a US Osprey aircraft

during Operation DISHATA PASHA - Picture RAF MOD 2012


Squadron Leader Jules Weekes, Officer Commanding II Squadron RAF Regiment, said:

    "There is a certain dynamic to Taliban activities in this area. They operate in small teams of five or six, travelling by motorbike as their preferred guerrilla tactic. Part of this operation is to find out how 'he' does business."


Several suspect compounds were targeted by the operation which saw the Ospreys land troops at two separate landing zones, either side of the wide Chah-e Anjir wadi.


The dismounted troops - supported by a number of II Squadron Ridgback and Jackal armoured patrol vehicles and a specialist US Marine IED-clearance team - did not go unchallenged.


A number of small arms attacks were beaten off by the ground troops and heavier attacks were dealt with by Apache and Cobra gunships. One US Marines patrol, temporarily pinned down by heavy small arms fire, was supported by a show of force from an F-18 which was sufficient to deter the insurgents.


As well as gaining vital intelligence the operation found a substantial IED cache in a compound, which contained a variety of bomb-making equipment, mines and several complete IEDs which were ready to be used against ISAF forces.


Wing Commander Jason Sutton, the Commander of 3 RAF Force Protection Wing, said:


    "The open approaches to this area mean that it is hard to gain the element of surprise. However, by using the Ospreys to approach rapidly from an unexpected direction, the operation managed to achieve it.

    "The RAF Regiment's role is to defend air bases and those who operate from them, but the old adage of attack being the best form of defence remains as true today as ever. Targeting the insurgents and their supply networks takes the initiative away from them so that we can dictate the terms of the fight.

    "It disrupts the insurgents' attempts to attack Bastion and its vital air operations, denies them freedom of movement, and supports the Afghan National Security Forces as together we work to protect the population who live around the base."


II Sqn RAF Regiment is a parachute-capable RAF infantry unit, which fights on the ground to maintain control of the air, and specialises in the protection of air bases and air operations.


The RAF Regiment is fully a part of the RAF and their organisation, equipment and training are designed specifically for their tasks. The RAF Regiment, formed in 1942, is 70 years old this year and has been deployed on operations continuously throughout this time. The nickname for RAF Regiment personnel is 'Rock Apes'.

MV-22B-Osprey-photo3-UK-MoD-2012.jpgUS Osprey aircraft arrive at the landing site where members of II Squadron RAF Regiment and the US Marine Corps wait to deploy on Operation DISHATA PASHA - Picture RAF MOD 2012


The role of RAF Force Protection Wings is to provide command and control of ground force protection at air bases in order to ensure air operations can continue unhindered.


The Wings typically provide on-base security operations delivered by the RAF Police, and off-base operations delivered by RAF Regiment squadrons, who operate in the large ground defence areas around bases.


No 3 Wing provides force protection for Bastion Airfield and Camp Bastion, working in conjunction with the US Marines who are tasked with protecting the adjacent Camp Leatherneck.


As well as having under its command II Squadron RAF Regiment and No 2 (Tactical) RAF Police Squadron, 3 Wing also includes an attached Royal Artillery element and a detachment of Tongan Defence Force personnel, who work with the RAF Police to provide perimeter and entry point security, and on other operations at Bastion Airfield and Camp Bastion.


3rd Brigade, 215 Corps, of the Afghan National Army, is based at Camp Shorabak, adjacent to Bastion, and is supported by UK troops from Task Force Helmand and Bastion.

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 17:30


Soldat de la force de protection

(crédit armée belge)


Fév 13, 2012 Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)


L’armée belge devrait retirer la moitié de son contingent (614 personnes) d’Afghanistan à l’été 2012. La date est fixée au 30 juillet 2012. Environ 300 militaires participant au détachement de protection et force de réaction rapide présents à Kaia – l’aéroport international de Kaboul – seront retirés autour du 30 juillet 2012. Un retrait programmé et prévu depuis un an (la décision a été prise en juin 2011).


Les Belges seront remplacés par un effectif portugais – deux contingents d’environ 80 personnes chacun. La Belgique maintiendra environ 300 hommes : une centaine à Kaboul – essentiellement des instructeurs (logistique, communication) ou avec la fonction d’Etat-Major -; une centaine à Kandahar – autour des avions F-16 chargés de l’appui aérien aux opérations de l’ISAF, mission dénommée « Guardian Falcon » ; une centaine à Kunduz – équipe provinciale de reconstruction (PRT) et OMLT.


Comme l’explique un officier belge à B2, un retrait prend « entre un et deux ans ». « Ce n’est pas seulement une question de retrait des matériels. Il faut normalement trouver des effectifs qui viennent vous remplacer et effectuer les tâches que vous faites ». En pratique, il y a deux éléments, outre la force de persuasion : le temps et l’argent. Soit « on prend en charge financièrement le déploiement d’autres nations » – ce qu’a fait le Canada semble-t-il, soit « on négocie. Et là il faut du temps et attendre un peu ». Ce qu’on fait les Belges et Néerlandais.

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 13:30



February 13, 2012 Cheryl Pellerin / American Forces Press Service  - defpro.com


ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT | A quick trip to Afghanistan this week, and meetings with leaders and troops there, encouraged the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the Afghan National Security Forces will be ready by 2014 to take the combat lead.


Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spent time in Kabul with Afghan Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force–Afghanistan and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and the ISAF staff.


The chairman also met with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, commanding general of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, and his staff. For NTM-A, 6,000 international trainers and advisers at 70 training sites in 21 provinces recruit and train Afghan soldiers and police.


With U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, commander of ISAF Regional Command-East and commanding general of the Army 1st Cavalry Division, Dempsey visited forward operating base Shank in Logar province to meet Army Col. Mark H. Landes, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and his Task Force Bulldog leadership team.


“The intent was to try to knit together the campaign plan at the national level with the ANSF campaign plan, and then to see how a local commander, a colonel-level commander, is implementing it,” Dempsey told American Forces Press Service.


When he travels overseas, Dempsey has an office in an Airstream trailer called the Silver Bullet that’s secured to the floor of a C-17 aircraft.


There, on his way home from brief visits to Afghanistan and to meet with defense officials in Egypt, Dempsey writes notes to the spouses or parents of some of those he’s met in Afghanistan to let them know their son or daughter or husband is doing okay.


“What I learned, in a very encouraging way, is that [the campaigns and implementation are] very well knit together,” he said.


Each of their plans complemented the other “ … and we are achieving the goals that the alliance established in Lisbon to get us to [20]14,” the chairman added.He was referring to the 2010 summit in Portugal of NATO heads of state and their agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to gradually withdraw combat forces by 2014.


“One of the very pointed questions I asked [of the tactical commanders] was, How are the Afghan National Security Forces doing?” the chairman said.


“I got the same answer every time,” he added. “That they are doing very well. That they’re not ready to stand on their own yet but [the commanders] think, with another fighting season looming and the effort to continue building their capabilities over time, the next year, the year after, kind of in a rolling conversion, [the ANSF] will be able to take the lead in combat operations.”


Dempsey gets a lot out of even short trips to the war zone because he likes to talk to people, and he was once in the business of building a national security force.


During the summer of 2003 he took command of the 1st Armored Division and deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was the first commander of Multi-National Division–Baghdad.


Then from 2005 to 2007 he was commander of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.


Dempsey said he has to understand the processes that make things work -- the U.S. government, NATO, the Afghan government, and any other process that affects military operations.


“But you also it seems to me have to gain a feel [for things], and you can’t gain a feel from Washington,” he added.


“The chairman -- any chairman -- has to get out, look people in the eye, walk the ground … have a private moment with Minister Wardak,” Dempsey explained, “and … ask him how he’s doing … and in so doing gain a feel that you can then combine with your understanding and have a reasonably good chance to come to the correct conclusion.”


What Dempsey learned in Iraq is that building any kind of security force requires three pillars of effort.


“You’ve got to build the basic blocking and tackling of fighting, and you’ve got to build an institution that can pay them, provide logistics and educate them,” he said.


“In the middle of that you’ve got to partner with them initially … and then migrate or evolve to embedded teams [in which] they’re doing the heavy lifting,” Dempsey said. “That’s what I learned doing this in Iraq.”


In Afghanistan, he said, what he learned and felt on his visit is that “where we are now with the Afghan security forces is we’re beginning to build that institution that will eventually be able to support them and, in so doing, make them self reliant.”


The chairman addedthat “ we’re beginning to migrate from the partnership role to the embedded training team and that’s actually quite encouraging. … Each [pillar] is beginning to become a little clearer.”


The big question, he said, is will they be ready?


“The answer I’m coming back with is, at least in the snapshot that I took on this trip, and I’ll add other snapshots over time, … is that they will,” the chairman said.

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 12:45



13.02.2012 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Le lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis (cliquer ici pour accéder à son blog), de l'US Army, a publié dans l’Armed Forces Journal un texte intitulé « Vérités, mensonges et Afghanistan. Comment les chefs militaires nous ont laissé tomber », où il démonte le story telling du Pentagone sur le mythe de la victoire en Afghanistan (cliquer ici pour le lire).


Il s'agit de la version courte d'un rapport de 84 pages que cet officier, qui a déclaré craindre se "faire atomiser", fait circuler dans les milieux politiques US et que le magazine Rolling Stones a mis en ligne (cliquer ici pour lire ce rapport).


Son rapport s'intitule "Dereliction of Duty" ("manquement au devoir"). Il démontre, démonte et dénonce les mensonges (il emploie le terme "deception" dans le sens de tromperie) d'une partie de la haute hiérarchie militaire US (dont le général Petraeus et les services de communication officiels), en dépit des mises garde répétées du GAO (un organisme auquel ce blog fait souvent référence).


Davis explique, par exemple, qu'en dépit du surge afghan, le niveau de violence n'a pas baissé (à de rares exceptions locales) mais qu'en dépit des "milliers d'insurgés neutralisés" selon l'ISAF, les rebelles sont toujours en position de contrôler la majeure partie du territoire afghan et sont en mesure d'infliger de lourdes pertes aux Américains (+164% entre 2009 et 2011. cf: p. 30).


Davis accuse aussi l'ancien patron du NTM-A, le général Caldwell, d'avoir "enfumé" tout le monde (dont les médias. cf: p. 26-29) avec ses chiffres positifs sur le niveau de recrutement, de formation et d'excellence des forces de sécurité afghanes. Il décrit la perte de confiance des Afghans dans la coalition et le régime Karzaï (ça, ce n'est pas nouveau) et explique que ce sentiment est suscité par les pertes enregistrées au sein de la population civile, parce que "la coalition n'est pas capable de la protéger".


Daniel Davis conclut son rapport en disant que "la bande de types en fli-flop" que la coalition combat depuis dix ans avec un formidable arsenal, est convaincue d'avoir déjà remporté la victoire:

"According to multiple sources, despite ISAF claims to the contrary, Taliban morale is so strong that most are reported to be utterly convinced they have already won."

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 08:45


Image credit: David Axe


February 12, 2012 By David Axe – The Diplomat


David Axe is reporting from Afghanistan.


U.S. Special Forces and commandos from other nations are slated to remain in Afghanistan even after the coalition’s more than 100,000 conventional troops withdraw by the end of 2014. One of the Special Forces’ major responsibilities is training and leading Afghan police forces, widely seen as the first line of defense against Taliban infiltration.


One joint mission in Laghman Province in early February illustrates the relationship between Afghan cops and their international Special Forces advisers. A handful of U.S. and Romanian Special Forces led around 25 Afghan police from the Laghman Provincial Response Company on a mission to search houses in a valley outside the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam.


After sleeping on the ground through the freezing-cold night, the force broke into five elements, each led by a U.S. or Romanian commando. “B,” an American weapons sergeant, led his five Afghans into a blocking position to protect the troops searching the houses.


The Afghans’ morale couldn’t have been lower, B recalls. “They’re tired. And they’ve got terrible boots.” He decided to let the cops sleep an hour before continuing the mission. The nap made all the difference for the exhausted policemen. “It was like night and day,” B says.


B’s interpreter reported that he’d seen a man carrying a Rocket-Propelled Grenade. B had seen nothing, but took precautions anyway. He split off two of his cops for cover and led the rest in a maneuver meant to flank any Taliban fighters up ahead. Many international advisers are reluctant to turn their backs to their Afghan trainees, fearing the Afghans might attack them, but B says he trusts his cops “99.9 percent.” 


Spotting three Taliban machine gun positions on high ground ahead of him, B ordered his policemen to halt. “I said, ‘Nope, we're not falling for that.” Their trap thwarted, the Taliban attacked. “A guy yells, ‘Allahu akbar!’ and starts shooting,” B recalls.


A bullet grazed B’s hand, slightly injuring him. He fired to keep one Taliban gunner’s head down, as the policemen suppressed the other two gunners. For five minutes the battle raged. Then U.S. aircraft arrived overhead, forcing the Taliban to flee.


B says he’s proud of his cops’ performance. “No one ran away. They all stood and fought.”


“It’s the way we integrate with the Afghans,” he explains. “They like me and they understand I’m putting myself out there, too.”

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10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 08:55

les-forces-afghanes-en-vallee-d-alasay-1 jan 2012 source E

photo Armée de Terre


9 Février 2012 Régis Soubrouillard – Marianne


Auditionnés conjointement par les commissions de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères, Gérard Longuet et Alain Juppé ont reconnu certaines erreurs de construction de l'intervention française en Afghanistan en septembre 2001, notamment l'absence de calendrier. De son côté, Gérard Longuet s'est attardé sur la question de l'infiltration talibane au sein de l'armée nationale afghane.


Auditionnés mardi par les commissions de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères, Alain Juppé et Gérard Longuet ont reconnu les faiblesses historiques et les difficultés à venir de l’engagement occidental en Afghanistan.  « Il y a peut être eu une erreur de construction de l'intervention française en Afghanistan quand, en septembre 2001, Monsieur Chirac et Monsieur Jospin ont décidé de s'engager » a admis Alain Juppé.  Refusant d’employer le terme d’Irakisation, le Ministre des Affaires étrangères a toutefois admis qu’à l’avenir la France devrait « s’engager dans ce genre d'opération avec un calendrier. C'est peut-être la faiblesse de cette opération ».

Mais c’est surtout la question de l’infiltration d’éléments talibans dans les camps de formation afghans qui a retenu l’attention.
Profondément préoccupés par la mort de 4 soldats français à Gwan, le 20 janvier, Gérard Longuet avait déjà insisté sur cette problématique lors d’une réunion de  l’OTAN à Bruxelles le 3 février dernier comme le rapporte le journaliste Nicolas Gros-Verheyde sur son blog consacré à l’Europe de la défense : « Le soldat qui avait tué les compatriotes n’avait pas été suivi. Il s’était déjà engagé, avait déjà déserté, rejoint au Pakistan, puis était revenu vers Kaboul pour se faire réengager dans une unité intégrée dans le dispositif – français de Kapisa. Il y avait un contrôle mais pas suffisamment adapté à une situation extraordinairement complexe et difficile. L’armée nationale afghane n’avait pas fait de ce travail une priorité absolue ». Le Ministre exprimera ses inquiétudes quant à ces nouvelles menaces relativisant l’importance numérique mais pas la portée symbolique de ces actes avant d’ajouter que la démarche ne lui paraissait pas isolée.

A l'issue de la  réunion des ministres de la Défense, le secrétaire général de l'Otan, Anders Fogh Rasmussen a précisé qu’un plan de contre-infiltration serait mis au point d’ici la fin du mois de février. Un grand pas de franchi. Une semaine avant, en réaction à l’assassinat des quatre soldats français et à l’annonce par le président Français de la suspension de toutes les opérations de formation et d'aide au combat de l'armée dans le pays, le Général Jacobson, porte parole de la force alliée en Afghanistan avait purement et simplement nié toute forme d’infiltration de l’armée nationale afghane par des éléments talibans : « Nos procédures de recrutement sont parfaitement transparentes et claires. Le processus comprend huit étapes et les candidats sont tous très strictement évalués ». En juin 2011, l’OTAN dénombrait pourtant déjà 47 soldats tués lors des deux années précédentes et avait apporté le renfort de 80 officiers de contre-espionnage et de spécialistes de l'Afghanistan pour améliorer le processus de sélection des recrues. Citant des sources militaires, le New-York Times affirmait que ces spécialistes allaient renforcer les enquêtes personnelles sur les recrues, revoir les profils des soldats qui ont été entraînés et resserrer les procédures pour identifier les personnes vulnérables au recrutement par les talibans et leurs partisans.

Gérard Longuet a affirmé que six soldats français ont été tués par des éléments infiltrés : « Quantitativement, cela est marginal. Médiatiquement c’est insupportable en termes de crédibilité de l’armée afghane ».

Pas d'infiltration systématique mais des effets pervers

En commission, le Ministre a présenté un plan de riposte immédiate afin de lutter contre ces manœuvres d’infiltration. Les services de renseignement afghans (le NDS) seront désormais présents aux côtés des bataillons de l'armée afghane. Pour des raisons historiques, leur rapprochement s'était jusque là avérait très compliqué. La France a également obtenu que les officiers afghans formés par des Français soient en priorité injectés dans la 3è brigade nationale afghane, sous responsabilité française en Kapisa. Compte tenu de l’augmentation des recrutements, un suivi personnalisé et une maîtrise des recrutements a été demandé. Enfin, les alliés de l'OTAN ont décidé que le recrutement dans l'armée afghane sera ralenti « pour en assurer la qualité ». Sans donner de chiffres précis, le Ministre a affirmé que l’ambition d’une armée afghane de 352.000 hommes sur un rythme de plus de 8.000 recrutements par mois lui semblait inapproprié. 

« Depuis 15 jours, les autorités afghanes mettent en œuvre ces conseils, unité par unité ». Le Ministre de la Défense a évoqué des actions très concrètes « Un chef de bataillon a fait prendre tous les portables des soldats de son unité pour que le téléphone ne puisse pas servir de moyen d’information ».

Très prudent dans son expression, Gérard Longuet s’était montré plus alarmiste à l’OTAN refusant de parler « d’une infiltration systématique », il n’excluait pas une détérioration de la situation « car les « différents réseaux talibans sont assez avisés sur le plan politique pour savoir que ce type d’action est pernicieux pour l’armée afghane ».
Selon un rapport confidentiel de l'Otan. Les attaques des infiltrations talibanes représentent environ 6% des pertes de la coalition internationale. 
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10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 08:55



09.02.2012 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


L'état-major des armées vient de confirmer le transfert d'un COP (combat outpost) situé dans la vallée d'Alasay à l'ANA, ainsi que je l'écrivais il y a trois jours, suite à une information de l'agence afghane PAN.


Depuis "le 2 février 2012, le 1er kandak (bataillon) de la 3e brigade assure désormais seul la responsabilité du poste de combat avancé (COP – combat oupost) situé au cœur de la vallée d’Alasay", explique l'EMA sur son site.


Onze soldats français du GCM du BG Tiger étaient déployés sur ce COP (photo EMA. Cliquer dessus pour l'agrandir), aux côtés d'une compagnie de l'ANA. Ces soldats français ont rejoint leurs camarades du COP Shekut.

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10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 08:50



February 9, 2012 The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has hinted that Nato supplies might have resumed through Pakistani airspace.


He was speaking to reporters at the Pakistan National Council of Arts.


When asked if it were true that despite the blockade of road routes for Nato supplies for forces stationed in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s airspace was being used to provide for them, Munter said, “you are right”.


The supply routes were blocked following outrage in Pakistan after the November 26 Salala checkpoint attack, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Nato bombing. The US was also made to vacate Shamsi Airbase, which was being used for drone strikes in Afghanistan and allegedly for those carried out in Pakistan.


“As I have commented before many times, what happened was tragic but unintentional and this is something that we all must work together to try to prevent. The way to work together is to make sure these kinds of tragedies do not take place,” Munter said.


He said that the US was looking forward to a debate in the Pakistani parliament over conservation of Pak-US ties. “We have waited because we think Pakistan has requested time to rethink about how our relationship should go ahead. We welcome those suggestions, the honesty and the spirit to take things forward.”

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9 février 2012 4 09 /02 /février /2012 18:20



February 09, 2012 WOTN


2.5.2012 Story by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee  438th Air Expeditionary Wing


KABUL, Afghanistan - A group of seven trailblazing Afghan officers continued their journey to pilot wings by passing their first flight screening course Feb. 2, at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan.


PilotsSeven Afghan pilots pose for a picture following graduation from a flight screening course Feb. 2, at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. The pilot candidates, from provinces throughout Afghanistan, are graduates from the National Military Academy of Afghanistan as well as Initial Officer Training, held in the United Kingdom and since graduation have been enrolled in the Kabul English Language Training Center where they've studied and developed the English language needed to fly. (courtesy photo)


The officers are attending the first undergraduate pilot training held exclusively inside Afghanistan in more than 30 years. The flight screening course consisted of 22 flights in the Cessna 182, nine simulator flights and 25 hours of academics. The last flight in the course was a supervised solo flight where the students were in full control of the aircraft on the mission.

The pilot candidates, from provinces throughout Afghanistan, are graduates from the National Military Academy of Afghanistan as well as Initial Officer Training, held in the United Kingdom and since graduation have been enrolled in the Kabul English Language Training Center where they've studied and developed the English language needed to fly.


The students passed this potion of training with flying colors said Air Force Lt. Col. James Bands, the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron commander.


“Up to this point, the students have performed very well,” he said. “The dedication and commitment they have shown in their academic studies has been remarkable. On the first test they received, 6 of the 7 scored a 100 percent and the 7th scored a 96 percent.”


The colonel said that the progress the students have been making closely mirrors the progress students would make in classes in the states. Four of the students will go on to train in the MD-530 Helicopter and eventually to the MI-17. The other three students will continue down the fixed wing path and fly the C-27 Spartan upon graduation.


Bands said the training hasn’t been an easy process and there have been significant hurdles to overcome along the way.


“The biggest challenges so far have been working out of temporary facilities until the Phase 1 build at Shindand is complete,” he said. “Right now, all of the classroom work is being completed out of tents near the flight line. Our civil engineers here at Shindand have done a remarkable job of being flexible and giving us facilities to train the students.”


Bands said he enjoys working with the students and he will always look back fondly on helping the students navigate their journey to pilot wings.


“So far this has been a very rewarding assignment for me,” he said. “The opportunity to mentor and build another country's air force is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that I will always be able to look on with pride.”

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9 février 2012 4 09 /02 /février /2012 12:50


Soldiers from 12 Mechanized Brigade training – photo UK MoD


7 Feb 12 UK MoD - A Defence Policy and Business news article


12th Mechanized Brigade will replace 20th Armoured Brigade in April 2012 as the lead formation of British troops in Helmand province, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has announced today, Tuesday 7 February 2012.


The current number of 9,500 British troops in Afghanistan will be maintained with the next roulement of troops taking place in April 2012.


Volunteer and regular members of the Reserve Forces will continue to deploy to Afghanistan as part of our integrated force package, and we expect to issue around 300 call-out notices.


On completion of their mobilisation procedures, the reservists will undertake a period of training and, where applicable, integration with their respective receiving units.


The majority will serve on operations for six or so months. As part of this commitment, we expect up to six members of the sponsored reserves to be in theatre at any one time.


The full list of units deploying with 12th Mechanized Brigade will appear here in due course.

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8 février 2012 3 08 /02 /février /2012 13:20


photo Ministère de la Défense


08.02.12 par Nathalie Guibert LEMONDE.FR

Il y a peut être eu "une erreur de construction" de l'intervention française en Afghanistan quand, en septembre 2001, "Monsieur Chirac et Monsieur Jospin ont décidé de s'engager", a déclaré le ministre des affaires étrangères Alain Juppé mercredi 8 février lors d'une audition conjointe avec son homologue de la défense, à l'Assemblée nationale, sur la question du retrait français d'Afghanistan.
Une leçon pour l'avenir ? "Nous devons nous engager dans ce genre d'opération avec un calendrier. C'est peut-être la faiblesse de cette opération", a ajouté M. Juppé.

Le retrait total de ses combattants est prévu par Paris pour la fin 2013 ; 400 soldats français sont déjà partis. A la fin 2012, 1 000 combattants de plus auront quitté le pays, il en restera alors 1 400. Le ministre de la défense, Gérard Longuet, a précisé devant les députés que "400 à 500 soldats français formateurs" (dont des gendarmes) resteraient "de façon durable" dans le pays après le retrait total des troupes combattantes. Il n'est pas prévu que l'armée française maintienne des forces d'appui (force de réaction rapide ou d'appui feu), sur le terrain, au-delà de 2014, a-t-il ajouté.


Le ministre de la défense a détaillé les mesures qui avaient été prises après la mort de quatre soldats français sur la base de Gwan, le 20 janvier, pour tenter de limiter les infiltrations de talibans dans les unités afghanes en cours de formation sur le terrain. Ce risque a été "jusqu'ici sous-évalué par la coalition", a admis M. Juppé.


Les services de renseignement afghans (le NDS) seront, selon M. Longuet, présents aux côtés des bataillons de l'armée afghane. Les officiers formés par les Français dans les écoles de Kaboul ou du Wardak, seront en priorité affectés à la 3e brigade positionnée dans la région sous responsabilité française de Kapisa. De plus, des agents de la Direction de la protection du secret défense (DPSD) seront "'binômés' avec les responsables des unités afghanes qui combattent avec nous". Enfin, a-t-il rappelé, les alliés de l'OTAN ont décidé que le recrutement dans l'armée afghane sera ralenti "pour en assurer la qualité".


"Nous voulons un retrait ordonné", a réaffirmé le ministre des affaires étrangères, pour qui "nous n'avons pas vocation à occuper indéfiniment l'Afghanistan". "Quand nous avons parlé de retrait on nous a traité d'irresponsables et maintenant tout le monde en parle", a souligné le député socialiste Jean Glavany.

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7 février 2012 2 07 /02 /février /2012 08:45



06/02/2012 Sources : EMA


Depuis le 26 janvier 2012, dans le cadre du retrait des premiers soldats français fin 2011, des avions gros porteur assurent le transport de matériels lourds qui doivent rentrer en France. Un avion Antonov  124 (AN 124) a quitté Kaboul le 26 janvier avec, à son bord, une dizaine de véhicules blindés.




Dans un premier temps, les matériels sont retirés des bases et postes opérationnels où étaient stationnées les unités françaises. Ils sont ensuite rassemblés dans une zone de transit à Kaboul où ils sont conditionnés et enregistrés avant d’être embarqués sur des AN 124 généralement en direction d’un autre pays afin d’y être ensuite embarqués sur un bateau, plus rarement directement en direction de la France.


La manœuvre logistique du théâtre, de la France vers l’Afghanistan, et inversement, permet de ravitailler les militaires français et de désengager les matériels. Elle emprunte deux voies, dans les deux sens :


    la voie aérienne de bout en bout avec des vols d’AN 124 affrétés qui relient directement la France et l’Afghanistan ;

    la voie mixte maritime et aérienne avec un navire affrété depuis la France qui rallie un pays du Golfe où le fret est pris en compte par des AN 124 qui effectuent des rotations vers l’Afghanistan.




400 militaires français ont été désengagés fin 2011, en octobre et décembre. Au premier trimestre 2012, une quarantaine de vols d’avions Antonov  124 (AN 124) sont prévus pour rapatrier environ 300 véhicules et conteneurs en France.

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7 février 2012 2 07 /02 /février /2012 08:35



06/02/2012 Sources : EMA


Le 30 janvier 2012, la brigade La Fayette a transféré la base opérationnelle  avancée (FOB – forward operating base) de Gwan en Kapisa aux forces de sécurité afghanes (ANSF).


La manœuvre logistique associée au transfert avait été lancé mi-décembre. Elle s’est achevée le 30 janvier avec le départ du dernier des 5 convois logistiques permettant de désengager le matériel des éléments français, soit 50 véhicules et 85 conteneurs.


La base est située dans le Sud de la vallée de Tagab. Initialement, il s’agissait d’un poste de combat avancé (COP – combat outpost) mis en place pendant la campagne d’opération de la brigade La Fayette conduite au printemps 2010. Cette campagne visait à repousser les insurgés présents dans les vallées et permettre l’installation des forces afghanes et de la coalition pour tenir le terrain dans la durée.


Le COP a été construit par le GTIA Surobi pendant l’opération Synapse du 1er au 7 mars 2010. Baptisé COP 46 du fait de sa localisation sur le parallèle 46, il était occupé par des éléments français du GTIA Surobi, une compagnie armée par le 2e régiment étranger de parachutistes. Le 28 mai, il a pris le nom d’Hutnik d’après un caporal du 2e régiment étranger de parachutistes, mort au combat dans cette zone, environ un mois après la construction du poste.


En avril 2011, le poste a été agrandi pour devenir une base opérationnelle, FOB, en vue d’accueillir un bataillon afghan au complet. A l’été 2011, l’ensemble des bases et des postes de combat en Kapisa et Surobi ont été rebaptisés par des noms afghans. La FOB Hutnik prend alors le nom de Gwan.


Enfin, le 8 décembre, le nouveau kandak (bataillon) d’appui de la brigade, le kandak 34, est déployé à Gwan d’où il opère désormais en Surobi et dans le Sud de la Kapisa, en appui des autres kandaks de la 3e brigade afghane. Ce déploiement permet de lancer le processus de transfert de la base.


Après le départ de la compagnie du BG Picardie, qui arme le GTIA Surobi, la base de Gwan revient entièrement au kandak 34 et ses 500 soldats.

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7 février 2012 2 07 /02 /février /2012 08:05



Feb 6, 2012 ASDNews Source : Northrop Grumman Corporation


Northrop Grumman's LITENING G4 advanced targeting pod recently embarked on its first combat deployment with the Air National Guard on A-10 and F-16 Block 30 aircraft supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. The Air National Guard will use the LITENING G4 pod's advanced capabilities to complete their demanding mission in a wide range of conditions while in theater.


The LITENING G4 pod targeting and surveillance system provides unsurpassed imagery using 1K forward-looking infrared (FLIR), 1K charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors, and wider field of view and enhanced zoom which deliver more accurate target identification and location at longer ranges for battlefield conditions than previous generations of the LITENING targeting pods systems.


"LITENING G4 provides the Air National Guard with the cutting-edge targeting technology they need to give them the advantage," said Jim Mocarski, vice president of the LITENING program at Northrop Grumman. "G4's 1K sensors and laser imaging allow the warfighter to see targets that would have been undetected with earlier targeting systems."


Since its introduction in 1999, the LITENING system has fielded four spiral upgrades to ensure continued improvement in combat performance in an ever-changing battlespace. LITENING G4 is the fifth step in the evolution of the LITENING family and applies the latest in sensor technology to achieve unprecedented levels of target detection, recognition and identification ranges.

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7 février 2012 2 07 /02 /février /2012 07:50



Feb 6, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Kabul  - NATO sought to reassure Afghans Monday that despite talk of an early end to combat missions, foreign troops would fight "shoulder to shoulder" with local soldiers whenever needed until the end of 2014.


The reassurance came after confusion over remarks by US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta suggesting that Washington wanted to shift from a combat role to a "train and advise and assist role" by the end of 2013.


Defence ministers meeting in Brussels last week were, however, completely committed to the strategy already in place, a spokesman for NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, Simon Gass, told a news conference.


"And what that means is that right up until the end of the transition process, the end of 2014, NATO troops will be continuing to conduct combat missions wherever they are needed, shoulder to shoulder with Afghan troops."


Panetta, seeking to clear up any confusion, told reporters in Brussels that NATO troops "will have to be fully combat-ready" and will fight "as necessary" even as Afghan forces assume the security lead.


"We hope that the Afghan security forces will be ready to take the combat lead in all of Afghanistan some time in 2013," the Pentagon chief said, adding that the final plan will be decided by NATO leaders at a Chicago summit in May.


NATO spokesman Dominic Medley told the Kabul news conference that the capability of the Afghan security forces was growing quickly throughout the country -- "and that is why the transition is proving to be a success".


NATO has some 130,000 soldiers in Afghanistan fighting an insurgency by the hardline Islamist Taliban, but is training Afghan forces to take responsibility for security by the end of 2014 when it plans to pull out its combat troops.


"By the end of the year, we will have 352,000 members of the Afghan security forces," the spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Mission (ISAF), Brigadier-General Carsten Jacobson told the news conference.


"We are focusing on the training of the Afghan forces in order to be capable, sustainable and affordable," he said.


Despite NATO assurances that insurgents are on the back foot, a leaked secret NATO document, based on thousands of detainee interrogations, showed the Taliban believe they can reconquer Afghanistan once Western forces are gone.

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5 février 2012 7 05 /02 /février /2012 13:00



February 3, 2012 defpro.com


Defence Ministers of the 50 NATO and ISAF nations met today to review the security situation in Afghanistan and discuss NATO’s enduring commitment to Afghanistan.


Ministers agreed that the process of transition to Afghan security lead is on track. They also reaffirmed the shared goal for Afghan security forces to have full responsibility for security across the country by the end of 2014, as agreed by NATO Heads of State in Lisbon in 2010. "That goal stands, for every single one of us", the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed.


“Ministers agreed that, as the Afghan forces continue to take the lead in more and more areas, the main focus of our mission will also continue to evolve – from combat to training, advice and assistance . And how and when that happens is something we will continue to discuss at the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012", Rasmussen said after the meeting.


He emphasised that transition is an evolving process that will happen in close coordination between NATO, our partners and the Afghan authorities and underlined that transition "depends on the security realities on the ground".


The Secretary General made clear that while ISAF's role will evolve, its support to the Afghans during this critical period will remain firm: "Even after transition has begun across the whole of the country, we will continue to support Afghans to make it happen. That means training. it means assistance. And where necessary, it also means fighting alongside our Afghan partners".


Ministers were joined by Adbul Wardak, Defence Minister of Afghanistan, Ambassador Simon Gass, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan and General John R. Allen, Commander of ISAF, who briefed on the current operational situation. During the meeting Ministers also had preliminary talks on the future size and configuration of the Afghan Security Forces and the likely tasks of a follow-on mission for NATO and ISAF after transition is complete. These discussions will pave the way for further decision making on the transition process at the Chicago Summit in May.

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5 février 2012 7 05 /02 /février /2012 09:00

président afghan Hamid Karzaï


February 3, 2012 By Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi | McClatchy Newspapers


MAHMUD RAQI, Afghanistan — The Afghan soldier who killed four French troops last month bribed an Afghan army recruiter to forge his enlistment papers, deserted to Pakistan and then bribed his way back into the army the month before the shootings, McClatchy has learned.


The apparent ease with which a rogue soldier twice circumvented the Afghan National Army's vetting process — with the aid of a corrupt recruiter whose job it is to stop such applicants — suggests that the U.S.-led coalition still can't be certain of the integrity of the Afghan security forces to which it's entrusting the country as American troops end their combat mission, perhaps as soon as next year.


The Jan. 20 shooting spree here in Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul, caused outrage in France and prompted President Nicolas Sarkozy to announce that French combat forces would withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, a year earlier than scheduled.


It also underscored the growing problem of Afghan soldiers turning weapons on the U.S. and international troops who are training them. U.S. military studies have found that so-called fratricide attacks by Afghan soldiers — including at least 39 from 2007 to 2011, according to a congressional inquiry — are usually carried out by soldiers angry at how their coalition counterparts treated them or Afghan civilians, or by insurgents who infiltrated the security forces.


The motive for the shooter in the Kapisa incident — which also reportedly wounded as many as 18 other French troops, some seriously — remains unclear. But the fact that the rogue soldier had just returned from Peshawar, Pakistan, a known hotbed of Taliban militants, apparently didn't raise any red flags.


Cmdr. Abdul Musahiwal, police chief of Musahi district of southern Kabul province, told McClatchy that the shooter was a 21-year-old second lieutenant named Abdul Saboor, who hails from a village in Musahi. Daulat Waziri, deputy spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, confirmed Saboor's identity but declined to discuss details because the investigation was ongoing.


McClatchy obtained a copy of an Afghan Defense Ministry interrogation report in which Saboor described how, in April 2011, he approached an Afghan army recruiter who offered to prepare enlistment papers and a fake national ID card for a bribe of 500 afghanis, about $10.


Saboor was sent to a training center and then deployed with the 6th Battalion, 4th Brigade of the 203rd Tandar ("Thunder") Corps, according to the interrogation report. He deserted eight months later and went to Peshawar. What he did in Pakistan was unclear, but in the report he said that he was "bored in corps 203 so I fled."


When he returned to Afghanistan he found his way back into the army in December with the aid of the same recruiter in Kabul, he told interrogators. The recruiter knew he was a deserter, but after Saboor paid him 800 afghanis, about $16, he was again furnished with fake papers and found himself back in the army.


Under Afghan army procedures, the fingerprints of local elders are supposed to be stamped on recruitment documents to vouch for an individual's identity, But the recruiter stamped the papers with Saboor's own fingerprints, according to the confession.


On Dec. 8, six weeks before the shooting, Saboor was deployed to a base in the Tagab district of southern Kapisa with the 3rd Brigade of the 201st Corps.


The report says Saboor used an M249 light machine gun — a weapon supplied by the U.S. military to the Afghan army — when he shot the French troops, who were unarmed at the time. It says he tried to flee but was captured by Afghan soldiers at the base. He's currently in custody in Kabul.


McClatchy was unable to independently verify the contents of the document, but it appeared to be authentic. The document apparently was drawn up following Saboor's initial interrogation at a Defense Ministry facility in Kabul. Waziri, the defense spokesman, wouldn’t comment on McClatchy's findings but defended the government's screening process for army recruits.


"We are very careful about the process, but this was an incident that happened," he said. "Incidents happen, even in America, where somebody takes a gun and goes into a school and kills people. We will try to prevent such incidents in the future."


Through a spokesman, the Taliban denied that Saboor was one of theirs.


"The person who brought a big change in French policies is an Afghan whose consciousness has been awakened, who acted based on his own decision," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote in an email to McClatchy. "He did not have previous contact with us."


There were conflicting accounts from officials, however, of Saboor's background and why he went to Pakistan.


Musahiwal, the police chief, said that Saboor had had psychological problems and was taken to Peshawar by an uncle after attacking a relative with an ax in a dispute over land. The police chief said that Saboor had received treatment while away, but he was still occasionally unwell when he returned from Pakistan.


Musahiwal described Saboor's family as not especially religious or conservative.


"I believe 100 percent that, because he's not psychologically stable, someone may have said or done something that provoked him to do this," Musahiwal said.


Members of Kapisa's provincial council, an elected advisory board in Mahmud Raqi, the provincial capital, pointed to a recently concluded counterinsurgency operation by French soldiers and their Afghan counterparts in southern Kapisa. According to the council members, coalition forces killed six civilians and wounded 35 in that operation, and they suggested that may have prompted the shooter to mount his attack.


Waziri, the defense spokesman, confirmed that a joint French-Afghan operation had occurred, but he wouldn't offer details.


However, Jawid Kohistani, a defense analyst and former officer in Afghanistan's intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, said that Afghan defense officials told him they were confident that Saboor was a Taliban plant and that the Taliban was denying involvement to safeguard their tactics.


Kohistani said that he doubted whether the deaths of civilians in Tagab would have prompted Saboor to lash out, because he had no connection to the area.


"I don't think the civilian casualties had any impact on him," Kohistani said. "If the soldier was someone from Tagab or if his relatives were killed in that operation, the attack would have been understandable."


Whatever Saboor's motivation, the ease with which he rejoined the Afghan army could severely embarrass Afghan politicians and commanders. Kohistani said that he obtained a copy of the interrogation report from younger Afghan army officers who are fed up at corruption within the army and at senior officials who have hidden details about previous fratricide cases and turned a blind eye to problems with recruitment and vetting.


The Defense Ministry "wants to hide its failure with a cover-up," Kohistani said.


The announcement this week by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that U.S. forces could shift as early as next year from a combat role to one more focused on training Afghan forces has refocused attention on the troubled training mission — particularly the growing number of Afghan attacks on coalition personnel.


A U.S. military report last year by behavioral scientist Jeffrey Bordin found that fratricide was "a growing systemic threat" that was causing "a crisis of confidence and trust" among Western soldiers training Afghan forces. The report found that the attacks were "having deleterious effects on some (coalition) states' willingness to continue providing trainers … let alone continue the war effort."


A significant number of incidents weren't the work of Taliban infiltrators but spontaneous reactions by Afghan soldiers to the way they, or Afghan civilians, were treated by international forces, Bordin wrote. Civilian casualties were "critically important issues," he said.


In addition, many Afghan security personnel reportedly "demonstrated a general loathing of U.S. soldiers," who they found to be "extremely arrogant, rude, bullying, and prone to using profanities."


At a congressional hearing in Washington this week, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said that Afghan soldiers had carried out 39 attacks on coalition forces from 2007 to 2011. The vast majority occurred in the last two years, coinciding with an increased U.S. troop presence.


McKeon, in remarks prepared for the hearing, said that "screening and vetting has been tragically weak in picking up signs of threats." (Stephenson and Safi are McClatchy special correspondents.)

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4 février 2012 6 04 /02 /février /2012 18:00



Feb 3, 2012 Spacewar.com  (AFP)


Brussels - NATO military commanders will beef up security measures to prevent insurgents from infiltrating the Afghan army after French troops were killed by a renegade soldier, the alliance chief said Friday.


NATO defence ministers endorsed a French proposal to task military authorities with devising new plans before the end of the month as they wrapped up two days of talks focused on the decade-old war in Afghanistan.


"We have already taken a lot of steps," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference. "But in light of recent events we agreed to strengthen those efforts."


Six percent of overall NATO deaths in Afghanistan have been attributed to attacks by Afghan security forces, according to a confidential alliance report leaked to the media last month.


Some 130,000 NATO troops work with more than 300,000 members of the Afghan security forces.


"There is a realisation about the need to better control the recruitment to prevent infiltrations in the army," French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet told reporters.


"These events are rare but they are symbolically important for the credibility of the Afghan army," he said. "Quantitatively, they are marginal. Media-wise, they are unbearable."


Some 40 attacks were committed by Afghan forces against NATO troops in the last four years, including 18 last year, Longuet said.


NATO did not provide details about the plans but they are expected to focus on better controlling the recruitment of Afghans, deeper investigations into potential recruits and the use of biometric technology.


The killing of four French unarmed soldiers at the hands of an Afghan they were training last month prompted French President Nicolas Sarkozy to end his country's combat role in Afghanistan by the end of 2013.


France will gradually withdraw its 3,600 troops, eventually leaving behind around 400-500 military trainers at the end of 2014, when NATO is scheduled to end its combat mission, Longuet said.


NATO defence ministers voiced hope on Thursday that Afghan forces will take the lead by the end of next year, while foreign troops move to a backup role until their combat mission ends at the end of 2014.


The ministers turned their attention to the future size of the Afghan army, and cost of maintaining it, on the second day of talks Friday.


The goal is to increase the size of the security forces to about 350,000 by October. But some allies say the future size of the force could be smaller, with Longuet suggesting 230,000 as a good number.


The United States has forecast that the annual price tag of training and equipping Afghan security forces in coming years to be around $6 billion (4.6 billion euros).


NATO leaders are due to decide on the future size and cost of maintaining Afghan forces at a summit in Chicago in May.

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4 février 2012 6 04 /02 /février /2012 08:30


02/02/2012 Par Laure Mandeville - Figaro.fr

Le président américain a saisi l'occasion présentée par la décision de Nicolas Sarkozy d'accélerer le retour des troupes au pays, pour en faire autant.


Le front électoral est-il devenu plus important que le front afghan au sein d'une communauté occidentale affaiblie par la récession? La question mérite d'être posée alors que, coup sur coup, le président français, puis le secrétaire à la Défense Leon Panetta ont annoncé que l'année 2013, et non l'année 2014, verrait la fin de l'engagement de leurs troupes de combat en Afghanistan.


Vendredi dernier, Nicolas Sarkozy avait annoncé qu'il rapatrierait les 3600 soldats français d'ici à la fin 2013. Un pavé jeté dans la mare de l'Otan, alors que ses ministres de la Défense se retrouvaient ce jeudi pour discuter de la mission afghane. À Washington, la porte-parole du département d'État avait fait bonne figure, affirmant que la décision avait été «envisagée soigneusement avec l'Otan, avec les Afghans et en consultation avec les États-Unis».

Coup de théâtre

Mais des sources multiples indiquaient au contraire que les Américains avaient été pris par surprise et qu'ils craignaient que cette décision unilatérale ne suscite «une ruée vers la ­sortie». Tout sera fait pour «isoler la France» à Bruxelles, confiaient lundi dernier des experts de l'Atlantic Council, estimant que la volte-face française «nuirait à sa crédibilité et renforcerait la vieille hostilité du Pentagone à l'encontre d'un partenaire hexagonal jugé traditionnellement non fiable».


Puis mercredi, coup de théâtre, le secrétaire à la Défense Panetta, en route vers Bruxelles, se mettait dans la roue de la France pour estimer que «d'ici à la fin 2013 nous serons capables de faire la transition d'un rôle de combat à un rôle de formation, de conseil et d'assistance». Les Afghans se sont dits surpris par cette annonce qui «chamboule tout le plan de transition».


Officiellement, Américains comme Français présentent maintenant cette décision sur l'accélération du retrait et du désengagement comme une décision tout à fait «normale, s'inscrivant dans un plan prévu depuis longtemps.»

Les Français disent qu'il a toujours été prévu que la région de Kapissa passe sous responsabilité afghane en mars 2012. Ils soulignent avoir toujours insisté pour un passage de témoin anticipé, afin d'être en mesure d'observer la capacité des Afghans à «nager tout seuls». Mais ils ne précisent pas ce qui se passera si l'armée de Kaboul n'y parvient pas. Les Américains semblent en réalité avoir sauté sur l'occasion présentée par la décision prise par Paris après la mort de quatre soldats français.

Tendances inquiétantes

Le président Obama n'est pas soumis aux mêmes pressions électorales que Nicolas Sarkozy, dont le principal rival, François Hollande, plaide carrément pour un retrait fin 2012. À l'exception du libertarien Ron Paul, qui appelle à un retour des boys, les autres candidats républicains sont prêts à rester en Afghanistan jusqu'à ce que «les talibans aient été défaits». Mais il est clair qu'une portion grandissante de l'électorat, fatiguée de la guerre, se pose des questions.

Au sein de l'Administration, la fraction des libéraux réalistes appelle à se «concentrer sur la reconstruction de l'Amérique» et le défi asiatique en cette période de crise. Une section influente, menée par le vice-président, Joe Biden, plaide pour la fin de la contre-insurrection et le maintien sur place d'une force concentrée sur le contre-terrorisme, avec des drones et des forces spéciales. Leur modèle, c'est un désengagement à l'irakienne: faire rentrer dans les casernes les soldats américains pour laisser les Afghans prendre la main.


Mais le flou qui prévaut sur la nature de la présence américaine après 2014 signale un désarroi palpable. Une série de rapports secrets révèle en effet des tendances inquiétantes sur la mission d'encadrement de l'armée afghane. Selon une enquête menée auprès de prisonniers talibans, ces derniers se sentiraient le vent en poupe, alors que la coalition internationale s'apprête à plier bagages. Ils coopéreraient déjà avec l'armée régulière, dans le dos de l'Otan… Des éléments qui alimentent les doutes à Washington sur la pertinence de l'opération.


Faut-il continuer de faire grossir une armée afghane qui compte déjà 300.000 hommes (deux fois l'armée française) et qui pourrait passer aux talibans en cas de basculement? Leon Panetta a indiqué mercredi qu'il reverrait à la baisse les ambitions sur la taille de l'armée afghane et son financement. Jusqu'ici, la coalition fournissait 11 milliards de dollars par an. La voilure pourrait être réduite à 4 milliards.

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