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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

The White House finally gets what Karzai has always known……We need him…IT’s HIS country…..

Sometimes we American’s forget to do obvious…..

While we rush in to help get rid of the local bad guys……

Bring all out might and insight…

We forget that ….

Beyond our border’s…..

Things belong to someone else….

We tend to get in trouble when we forget and keep telling the other guy what to do….too much…

The other guy, like in so many other times and places…..

Sits back and smiles….

‘You American’s want to run the show?’

Go ahead….FOR NOW…

But in the end you go home….

And we have to live here……

And so it is that we have pictures of a SMILING Hillary Clinton….The American Secretary of State…who just a few weeks ago

Was all over town putting Hamid Karzai down as ‘no good and un trustworthy’…..

Hummm?

He must he smiling to himself ……

The last time Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, was in Washington — a year ago — he had to share the spotlight with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, who got the bulk of the attention from the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton even made a personal, unscheduled visit to huddle with Mr. Zardari at his hotel.

It is a far, far different visit this time around, reflecting the Obama administration’s decision to abandon the publicly tough approach it tried to use to pressure Mr. Karzai to tackle corruption and drug trafficking in his government. Administration officials concluded that the strategy had backfired, making Mr. Karzai more resentful and resistant.

This time, the Americans are pulling out all the stops for Mr. Karzai as part of a new charm offensive. Mrs. Clinton, one of the few people in the administration with a good rapport with him, has invited him for a stroll through the grounds of a private enclave in Georgetown. Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to the region, was dispatched to Andrews Air Force Base at 7 a.m. on Monday to personally greet Mr. Karzai. Vice PresidentJoseph R. Biden Jr. will be Mr. Karzai’s host for a private dinner at the vice president’s mansion.

And Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, the ambassador to Afghanistan, who personally escorted Mr. Karzai on the flight from Kabul to Washington, was sent off to assure reporters at the White House that he now had faith in the Afghan president’s determination to succeed, a position that stands in contrast to his diplomatic cable last fall denouncing Mr. Karzai as “not an adequate strategic partner.”

And then there is this…..

Beyond that, Mr. Karzai, concerned about his own future, remains wary of whether the United States is in Afghanistan for the long haul. Mr. Obama’s pledge to begin pulling American troops out of Afghanistan next year has left Mr. Karzai “wondering who its protectors will be after 2011,” said one European diplomat with close ties to the international operation in Afghanistan. “Will it be the Taliban?”

More……..


May 11, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , | 1 Comment

The White House finally gets what Karzai has always known……We need him…IT's HIS country…..

Sometimes we American’s forget to do obvious…..

While we rush in to help get rid of the local bad guys……

Bring all out might and insight…

We forget that ….

Beyond our border’s…..

Things belong to someone else….

We tend to get in trouble when we forget and keep telling the other guy what to do….too much…

The other guy, like in so many other times and places…..

Sits back and smiles….

‘You American’s want to run the show?’

Go ahead….FOR NOW…

But in the end you go home….

And we have to live here……

And so it is that we have pictures of a SMILING Hillary Clinton….The American Secretary of State…who just a few weeks ago

Was all over town putting Hamid Karzai down as ‘no good and un trustworthy’…..

Hummm?

He must he smiling to himself ……

The last time Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, was in Washington — a year ago — he had to share the spotlight with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, who got the bulk of the attention from the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton even made a personal, unscheduled visit to huddle with Mr. Zardari at his hotel.

It is a far, far different visit this time around, reflecting the Obama administration’s decision to abandon the publicly tough approach it tried to use to pressure Mr. Karzai to tackle corruption and drug trafficking in his government. Administration officials concluded that the strategy had backfired, making Mr. Karzai more resentful and resistant.

This time, the Americans are pulling out all the stops for Mr. Karzai as part of a new charm offensive. Mrs. Clinton, one of the few people in the administration with a good rapport with him, has invited him for a stroll through the grounds of a private enclave in Georgetown. Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to the region, was dispatched to Andrews Air Force Base at 7 a.m. on Monday to personally greet Mr. Karzai. Vice PresidentJoseph R. Biden Jr. will be Mr. Karzai’s host for a private dinner at the vice president’s mansion.

And Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, the ambassador to Afghanistan, who personally escorted Mr. Karzai on the flight from Kabul to Washington, was sent off to assure reporters at the White House that he now had faith in the Afghan president’s determination to succeed, a position that stands in contrast to his diplomatic cable last fall denouncing Mr. Karzai as “not an adequate strategic partner.”

And then there is this…..

Beyond that, Mr. Karzai, concerned about his own future, remains wary of whether the United States is in Afghanistan for the long haul. Mr. Obama’s pledge to begin pulling American troops out of Afghanistan next year has left Mr. Karzai “wondering who its protectors will be after 2011,” said one European diplomat with close ties to the international operation in Afghanistan. “Will it be the Taliban?”

More……..


May 11, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , | 1 Comment

The Marines sign up a water polo team….In Aftganistan…..

Only the Marines….

Marine reservist Jeremy Piasecki…thought it might be a good idea to have a water polo team for the country…..

Piasecki of course has a background in the sport back home in California…….

So he’s formed a non- profit corporation and is recruiting players…and with the help of his wife….and us media types pushing the story….hopes to get the team up and running……

Tryouts


The military brass and the politicians in Kabul, the capital, and Washington have ideas about what Afghans need to buck up their spirits during the struggle with the Taliban. Piasecki has his own view.

“They need heroes,” he said while on security patrol in Marja, guarding a couple of Marine generals after the recent offensive that wrested control of the area from the Taliban.

For two years Piasecki has pursued his quixotic dream. He knows that his zeal for the notion of nation-building through athleticism seems strange to many. Especially nation-building through water polo.

“They just don’t understand,” he said.

In 2008, while working on a civilian contract job with the Afghan army, he held tryouts after finding an abandoned swimming pool at a base east of Kabul. The pool was dry and clogged with weeds. Piasecki had it cleaned and filled with water.

True, during the tryouts, he had to jump into the pool to keep some of his candidates from going under. And finding Speedo-style swimsuits, the traditional uniform of water polo players, was not easy in the bazaars of Kabul.

But now he has lined up several dozen players, mostly Afghan soldiers. The rub is finding the money to bring the team to the U.S. for training and people-to-people diplomacy.

Popular in Australia, Canada and some European countries, water polo is also big in the United States, particularly in Southern California, and Piasecki wants to recruit some of the many coaches he knows. And he’s eager for the Afghans to meet Americans.

Scott McCook remembers the early-morning call he got from Piasecki, who had coached his daughter in Fallbrook, Calif. Piasecki was asking for help raising money.

“It was kind of surreal,” McCook said. “I was groggy and it took me a few minutes to catch on. Finally, I asked him, ‘Water polo in Afghanistan? Are you kidding?’ ”

More……..


April 17, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Government, Health, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Travel, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Karzai with us?……

The Dog has been following the stories running for the last week about Hamid Karzai the President of Afghanistan…..

They have gotten more and more bazar as the days go by…..

First he’s criticizing the US, and the West because of questions associated with the recent election and corruption in his government.

Then he threatens to ally himself with the Taliban

Then he hurriedly calls Secretary Clinton to ask for ‘clarification’ of the American position on his county….

Now we get a presser where the White House Press Secretary refuses to stay if Karzai is a ‘Ally’….

WTF????

What is going on here?

The United States and NATO are fighting on Afghan soil…and we don’t know if the President of that country is on our side???


Asked at the daily press briefing if the U.S. considers Karzai an ally, Gibbs said “Karzai is the democratically elected leader of Afghanistan.”
Pressed on the issue, Gibbs said that “the remarks he’s made I can’t imagine that anyone in this country found them anything other than troubling…when the Afghan leaders take steps to improve governance and root out corruption, then the president will say kind words.”

More……..……Read the comments from this The Hill piece….

April 6, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , | 3 Comments

The irony of command…Gen. McChrystal…a ‘Snake Eater’ has joined the regular Army and is reigning in Special Forces Operators……

It’s one thing to be an operator…it’s another to be the boss…..

This piece in the New York Times caught my eye and made chuckle…..(it’s not funny, just ironic)

General Stanley McChrsytal is the in country boss for ALL American and NATO troops in Afghanistan…..

He came from a Special Operations commad…….and he now finds it necessary to issue orders unifying Special Forces Operators under his command…..something he would have  not been happy about before assuming this command…..a lot of  regular Army bosses are going to be smiling……

McChystal is pursuing a policy of antiseptic war fighting…trying to get rid of collateral civilian death’s…..while this admirable….it is the antithesis of war it self…which,is brutal, randon….and uncertain…..

But in this age of instant communication’s and embeded reporters and asymmetrical war…civilian deaths have become a huge factor for an emeny to use against a larger foe…..

War is hell…and shit happens…..

But now McChrstal is the boss so he has been forced to deal with the aftermath of mistakes in the field …..instead of just getting a mission done….

Life is full of changes……

McChrstal see’s them everyday……

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has brought most American Special Operations forces under his direct control for the first time, out of concern over continued civilian casualties and disorganization among units in the field.

“What happens is, sometimes at cross-purposes, you got one hand doing one thing and one hand doing the other, both trying to do the right thing but working without a good outcome,” General McChrystal said in an interview.

Critics, including Afghan officials, human rights workers and some field commanders of conventional American forces, say that Special Operations forces have been responsible for a large number of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan and operate by their own rules.

Maj. Gen. Zahir Azimi, the chief spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said that General McChrystal had told Afghan officials he was taking the action because of concern that some American units were not following his orders to make limiting civilian casualties a paramount objective.

“These special forces were not accountable to anyone in the country, but General McChrystal and we carried the burden of the guilt for the mistakes they committed,” he said. “Whenever there was some problem with the special forces we didn’t know who to go to, it was muddled and unclear who was in charge.”

General McChrystal has made reducing civilian casualties a cornerstone of his new counterinsurgency strategy, and his campaign has had some success: last year, civilian deaths attributed to the United States military were cut by 28 percent, although there were 596 civilian deaths attributed to coalition forces, according to United Nations figures. Afghan and United Nations officials blame Special Operations troops for most of those deaths.

“In most of the cases of civilian casualties, special forces are involved,” said Mohammed Iqbal Safi, head of the defense committee in the Afghan Parliament, who participated in joint United States-Afghan investigations of civilian casualties last year. “We’re always finding out they are not obeying the rules that other forces have to in Afghanistan.”

The Special Operational Forces units have traditionally be under the command of their superiors back in the states…not the regular Army command structure in the theatre of operations…..The Dog reported on the same problem of unified command with the Marines in afatgahanistan…..and the top special operators ….Navy SEALS and Army Delta’s will still work outside the in-country chain of command…..

He [ Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, General McChrystal’s deputy chief of staff for communications ] depicted General McChrystal’s new policy as a natural outgrowth of the general’s plans all along to unify his command; when he first took charge, he brought together under his controlwhat had been separate NATO and American command structures in Afghanistan.

The NATO official said that the unified command initiative would be obeyed, though it was not universally popular. “They may not like it, they may not want to follow it, but they are going to follow it,” the official said.

Aides to General McChrystal say he has been deeply troubled by the continuing episodes of civilian casualties, including the three major ones still under investigation. “You won’t believe how focused on these issues this command is, almost more than anything else,” the NATO official said.

Mr. Safi, the Parliament member, expressed concern that with the continued exemption of some Special Operations units from the directive, the problem of civilian casualties would continue. “If they are excluded, naturally it means the same thing will happen,” he said. “If there are individuals who do not obey McChrystal, then what are they doing in this country?”

General McChrystal addressed that concern in the interview. “There are no operators in this country that I am not absolutely comfortable do exactly what I want them to do,” he said. “So I don’t have any complaints about that, particularly after the latest change.”

Tension between Special Operations and conventional commanders has often surfaced in the American military, but General McChrystal himself has a great deal of credibility in the black operations world. Before he became the top commander in Afghanistan, he was in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and Afghanistan, which ran elite, secretive counterterrorism units, believed to include Delta Force and the Seals, hunting high-value targets.

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

The irony of command…Gen. McChrystal…a 'Snake Eater' has joined the regular Army and is reigning in Special Forces Operators……

It’s one thing to be an operator…it’s another to be the boss…..

This piece in the New York Times caught my eye and made chuckle…..(it’s not funny, just ironic)

General Stanley McChrsytal is the in country boss for ALL American and NATO troops in Afghanistan…..

He came from a Special Operations commad…….and he now finds it necessary to issue orders unifying Special Forces Operators under his command…..something he would have  not been happy about before assuming this command…..a lot of  regular Army bosses are going to be smiling……

McChystal is pursuing a policy of antiseptic war fighting…trying to get rid of collateral civilian death’s…..while this admirable….it is the antithesis of war it self…which,is brutal, randon….and uncertain…..

But in this age of instant communication’s and embeded reporters and asymmetrical war…civilian deaths have become a huge factor for an emeny to use against a larger foe…..

War is hell…and shit happens…..

But now McChrstal is the boss so he has been forced to deal with the aftermath of mistakes in the field …..instead of just getting a mission done….

Life is full of changes……

McChrstal see’s them everyday……

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has brought most American Special Operations forces under his direct control for the first time, out of concern over continued civilian casualties and disorganization among units in the field.

“What happens is, sometimes at cross-purposes, you got one hand doing one thing and one hand doing the other, both trying to do the right thing but working without a good outcome,” General McChrystal said in an interview.

Critics, including Afghan officials, human rights workers and some field commanders of conventional American forces, say that Special Operations forces have been responsible for a large number of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan and operate by their own rules.

Maj. Gen. Zahir Azimi, the chief spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said that General McChrystal had told Afghan officials he was taking the action because of concern that some American units were not following his orders to make limiting civilian casualties a paramount objective.

“These special forces were not accountable to anyone in the country, but General McChrystal and we carried the burden of the guilt for the mistakes they committed,” he said. “Whenever there was some problem with the special forces we didn’t know who to go to, it was muddled and unclear who was in charge.”

General McChrystal has made reducing civilian casualties a cornerstone of his new counterinsurgency strategy, and his campaign has had some success: last year, civilian deaths attributed to the United States military were cut by 28 percent, although there were 596 civilian deaths attributed to coalition forces, according to United Nations figures. Afghan and United Nations officials blame Special Operations troops for most of those deaths.

“In most of the cases of civilian casualties, special forces are involved,” said Mohammed Iqbal Safi, head of the defense committee in the Afghan Parliament, who participated in joint United States-Afghan investigations of civilian casualties last year. “We’re always finding out they are not obeying the rules that other forces have to in Afghanistan.”

The Special Operational Forces units have traditionally be under the command of their superiors back in the states…not the regular Army command structure in the theatre of operations…..The Dog reported on the same problem of unified command with the Marines in afatgahanistan…..and the top special operators ….Navy SEALS and Army Delta’s will still work outside the in-country chain of command…..

He [ Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, General McChrystal’s deputy chief of staff for communications ] depicted General McChrystal’s new policy as a natural outgrowth of the general’s plans all along to unify his command; when he first took charge, he brought together under his controlwhat had been separate NATO and American command structures in Afghanistan.

The NATO official said that the unified command initiative would be obeyed, though it was not universally popular. “They may not like it, they may not want to follow it, but they are going to follow it,” the official said.

Aides to General McChrystal say he has been deeply troubled by the continuing episodes of civilian casualties, including the three major ones still under investigation. “You won’t believe how focused on these issues this command is, almost more than anything else,” the NATO official said.

Mr. Safi, the Parliament member, expressed concern that with the continued exemption of some Special Operations units from the directive, the problem of civilian casualties would continue. “If they are excluded, naturally it means the same thing will happen,” he said. “If there are individuals who do not obey McChrystal, then what are they doing in this country?”

General McChrystal addressed that concern in the interview. “There are no operators in this country that I am not absolutely comfortable do exactly what I want them to do,” he said. “So I don’t have any complaints about that, particularly after the latest change.”

Tension between Special Operations and conventional commanders has often surfaced in the American military, but General McChrystal himself has a great deal of credibility in the black operations world. Before he became the top commander in Afghanistan, he was in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and Afghanistan, which ran elite, secretive counterterrorism units, believed to include Delta Force and the Seals, hunting high-value targets.

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Military recognizes that in the end 'soft power' wins…..Not guns and missiles…..

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that victory in Iraq and Afghanistan won\’t come in one glorious battle.

Instead, Adm. Mike Mullen told a Kansas State University audience, success in the long wars will be determined by use of military and diplomatic powers, along with support from U.S. allies.

Mullen said there won’t be a day when commanders ”stand up and say ‘That’s it, it’s over. We won.”’

”We will win, but we will do so only over time and only after near-constant reassessment and readjustment,” Mullen said. ”Quite frankly, it will feel a lot less like a knockout punch and a lot more like recovering from a long illness.”

Mullen said the outcome of Sunday’s elections in Iraq will indicate how well the United States is doing there. He said in recent visits to Basra and Anbar Province that Iraqis were more concerned about economics and politics than security issues leading up to the vote, which he called ”a good sign.”

He said the U.S. intends to abide by its security agreement with Iraq and reduce the level of troops there by half to about 50,000 by August.

”There’s every indication that an awful lot of Iraqis are going to vote,” Mullen said. ”I think what is next is dependent on the new Iraqi government.”

Mullen, speaking as part of Kansas State’s Landon Lecture series, said the use of military power should never be the last option, but potentially the best first option when paired with other means of national and international power.

He also noted ongoing operations in Afghanistan, where U.S. and Afghan forces have been embroiled in an offensive near Marjah to reclaim the area from Taliban fighters.

Mullen said commanders were taking a deliberate approach to minimize civilian casualties in an area considered the hub of Taliban activity, rather than using carpet bombing or missile strikes.

”Frankly, the battlefield isn’t a field anymore,” Mullen said. ”It’s in the minds of the people. It’s what they believe to be true that matters.”

He said there was no ”American way” to fighting wars and that history shows the nation’s enemies will adapt to U.S. strategy. Mullen said the U.S. will reassess its Afghanistan strategy in December and adapt accordingly.

”Trying everything else is not weakness,” he said. ”It means we don’t give up. It means we never stop learning.”

Mullen’s lecture struck a tone similar to that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates when he was on the same Kansas State stage in November 2007. Both men said the United States must do more to encourage the use of ”soft power” to resolve conflicts.

Amen……


March 3, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Home, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , , | 2 Comments

U.S. Military recognizes that in the end ‘soft power’ wins…..Not guns and missiles…..

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that victory in Iraq and Afghanistan won\’t come in one glorious battle.

Instead, Adm. Mike Mullen told a Kansas State University audience, success in the long wars will be determined by use of military and diplomatic powers, along with support from U.S. allies.

Mullen said there won’t be a day when commanders ”stand up and say ‘That’s it, it’s over. We won.”’

”We will win, but we will do so only over time and only after near-constant reassessment and readjustment,” Mullen said. ”Quite frankly, it will feel a lot less like a knockout punch and a lot more like recovering from a long illness.”

Mullen said the outcome of Sunday’s elections in Iraq will indicate how well the United States is doing there. He said in recent visits to Basra and Anbar Province that Iraqis were more concerned about economics and politics than security issues leading up to the vote, which he called ”a good sign.”

He said the U.S. intends to abide by its security agreement with Iraq and reduce the level of troops there by half to about 50,000 by August.

”There’s every indication that an awful lot of Iraqis are going to vote,” Mullen said. ”I think what is next is dependent on the new Iraqi government.”

Mullen, speaking as part of Kansas State’s Landon Lecture series, said the use of military power should never be the last option, but potentially the best first option when paired with other means of national and international power.

He also noted ongoing operations in Afghanistan, where U.S. and Afghan forces have been embroiled in an offensive near Marjah to reclaim the area from Taliban fighters.

Mullen said commanders were taking a deliberate approach to minimize civilian casualties in an area considered the hub of Taliban activity, rather than using carpet bombing or missile strikes.

”Frankly, the battlefield isn’t a field anymore,” Mullen said. ”It’s in the minds of the people. It’s what they believe to be true that matters.”

He said there was no ”American way” to fighting wars and that history shows the nation’s enemies will adapt to U.S. strategy. Mullen said the U.S. will reassess its Afghanistan strategy in December and adapt accordingly.

”Trying everything else is not weakness,” he said. ”It means we don’t give up. It means we never stop learning.”

Mullen’s lecture struck a tone similar to that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates when he was on the same Kansas State stage in November 2007. Both men said the United States must do more to encourage the use of ”soft power” to resolve conflicts.

Amen……


March 3, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Home, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The War in Afghanistan…on different fronts…….

While the Marines have launched a strong military push and media push into Marja , Afghanista…..the CIA has launched another front in Pakistan and Afghansan……by snatching up the heads of the Taliban operations ……..

The Marines are pushing on after a quiet entrance and fierce fighting for the last couple of days….The CIA capture count is up to three and rising…….

The long-term objective will be to hold the ground retaken and try to keep pace with the replacement leadership that filling the vacuum caused by the snatched leaders…..

But the Taliban have been here before and this is their response…….

The full fury of a U.S. military air-ground task force is being unleashed on a small town in southern Afghanistan. Strike jets, helicopter gunships and armed robot drones directed by airborne and satellite sensors tracking enemy movements, and thousands of heavily armed infantrymen are advancing (with a heavy media presence) behind armored trucks and ground-penetrating radar sweeping for IEDs, while rapid-fire artillery rockets whoosh overhead.

Ever since U.S. combat troops descended on Afghanistan in October 2001, the Taliban fighters have been flaunting their ability to fade away when facing this kind of combat power. It seems childishly petulant even to repeat it: insurgents simply don’t fight big modern armies head-on. They disappear, only to pop up later at a time and place of their own choosing.

Now, just 48 hours after the battle for the southern Afghanistan market town of Marja was launched, military commanders are confirming that many of the Taliban fighters who had made Marja a base of operations had slipped away during the weeks that U.S. forces were loudly preparing the assault and freely broadcasting its location and purpose. A senior officer told me this morning that the Taliban leadership had “bugged out,” leaving behind 100 to 150 fighters with orders to fight and die in place. “And they are,” this officer reported. As in previous battles, the Taliban are fighting from compounds jammed with families, and there have been resultant civilian casualties. Given all this, it was odd to hear a British military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Gordon Messenger, assert that the goal of “surprising the Taliban” seemed to have been met. His evidence: “The Taliban have not been able to put up a coherent response. They appear confused and disorientated.”

The CIA front has been sucessful in two ways…..tracking down and making caputures…and working both governmenets to do so…..

The reported capture of Mullah Abdul Salam follows word of the recent arrest, also in Pakistan, of the Taliban’s No. 2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, whose influence was described as second only to the movement’s spiritual leader and supreme commander, Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Salam, the shadow governor of Kunduz province in Afghanistan’s north, was arrested earlier this month, according to the officially appointed governor of Kunduz, Mohammed Omar. He said he was informed of the capture by intelligence officials.

“This is a big blow for the Taliban here,” Omar said.

It was not immediately known whether Salam’s arrest was related to that of Baradar, but Taliban shadow governors, who are usually senior commanders, are thought to travel regularly to Pakistan for consultations with the movement’s leadership, known as the Quetta shura.

Omar said he was told that a deputy of Salam’s, Mullah Mohammed, was arrested along with him. Some previous reports have identified Mullah Mohammed as the shadow governor of neighboring Baghlan province.

Taliban shadow governments sprang up across Afghanistan after the movement was driven from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion. By late last year, according to a Western intelligence official, there were shadow governments in all but two of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

One would think that these actions are no coincidence coming from the CIA…… after the Taliban attack on the CIA info  center last month ……that resulted in seven of their members being taken out……

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , | 2 Comments

First in Marja, Aftghanistan…. with Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines……

The helicopters landed before dawn Saturday in a poppy field beside a row of mud-walled compounds. The Marines ran into the darkness and crouched through the rotor-whipped dust as their aircraft lifted away.

For the Marines of Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, the assault into the last large Taliban stronghold in Helmand Province was beginning. For almost all of them, this was to be their first taste of war. And an afternoon of small-arms combat was ahead.

But at first, these Marines, the vanguard for 6,000 NATO and Afghan troops streaming in to loosen the Taliban’s grip here permanently, met no resistance.

On the last miles of the ride in, the Marines were silent as the aircraft flew 200 feet above freshly sprouting fields. Irrigation canals glittered beneath the portholes, rolling past fast.

They did not know what to expect, beyond the fact that at least hundreds of insurgents were waiting for them, and that many would fight to keep their hold on this opium-poppy production center.

Company K is part of what many Marines call a surge battalion, one of the units assigned to Afghanistan after President Obama decided last year to increase the American troop level on the ground. It arrived in Afghanistan a month ago, and had waited for this moment. Its introduction to the war was a crash course.

As helicopter wheels touched soil, the aircraft filled with whoops, and the Marines stood and bolted for the tail ramp.

They moved briskly. Within minutes, the first Marines of Third Platoon were entering compounds to the landing zone’s north, checking for enemy fighters and booby traps. The rest of the platoon followed through the gate.

Sergeants and corporals urged a steady pace. “Go! Go! Go!” they said, spicing instructions with foul words. By 3 a.m., Company K had its toehold.

For more on their move to their other objectives and their first combat engagements…..

Welcome to real war Company K……….

February 13, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment