Saturday, October 24, 2009

DTN News: Boeing Pursues Contracts For Apache Attack Helicopters And CH-47F Chinook Helicopters With India

DTN News: Boeing Pursues Contracts For Apache Attack Helicopters And CH-47F Chinook Helicopters With India *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - October 25, 2009: The Boeing Co. said it submitted proposals to India's air force last week, offering the AH-64D Apache and the CH-47F Chinook for India's attack and heavy-lift helicopter competitions. The Chinook is a multi-mission, heavy-lift transport helicopter. Its primary mission is to move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, fire fighting, parachute drops, heavy construction and civil development. Chinook helicopters were introduced in 1962 as the CH-47 Chinook, and models A, B and C were deployed in Vietnam. As the product of a modernization program, which included refurbishing existing CH-47s, the first CH-47Ds were delivered in 1982 and were produced until 1994. A central element in the Gulf War, they continue to be the standard for the U.S. Army in the global campaign against terrorism. Since its introduction 1,179 Chinooks have been built. India is seeking 22 attack helicopters and 15 transport helicopters but has not set a date to announce the winning proposals. Boeing manufactures the Apache in Mesa and the Chinook in Ridley Park, Pa. Requests for attack helicopter proposals were reportedly sent by the Indian air force to AgustaWestland, Boeing, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter and Kazan, while heavy-lift proposals were requested from AgustaWestland, Boeing, Eurocopter and Mil. The two deals reportedly could be worth $2 billion.

DTN News: Pakistan ~ Tackling Extremism

DTN News: Pakistan ~ Tackling Extremism *Source: Dawn By Maajid Nawaz (NSI News Source Info) posted from KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - October 25, 2009: HARDLY a day now goes by without some new development linked to terrorism in Pakistan. Thousands have lost their lives and millions have had to flee their homes. Even the army GHQ, Pakistan’s most heavily fortified institution, has not been spared attack and schools and universities are no longer considered safe.
A Pakistani policeman baton charges internally displaced Pakistani civilians, fleeing from military operations against Taliban militants in South Waziristan, as he attempts to control a crowd gathered for the distribution of relief supplies in Dera Ismail Khan on October 24, 2009. Pakistan said on October 24 it had captured Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud's hometown as the US demonstrated its support for the war on the Islamists with an air strike that killed 14 people. Security sources said the army overran Mehsud's town of Kotkai overnight after three days of aerial bombardments which had underlined the huge challenge facing the military in taking on the Taliban in their tribal heartland. The army launched the drive last Saturday, pitting 30,000 troops against an estimated 10,000-12,000 Taliban fighters where Al-Qaeda-linked militants are believed to have plotted attacks against the West as well as in Pakistan. However, it is important to remember that the seeds of this current malaise were sown much earlier than today — I know this because I am living testimony to it. In 1999, when the Pakistan military was preoccupied with Kargil and the cricket team had lost the World Cup final to Australia, I was particularly interested in another development the year before — the country’s newfound status as the seventh nuclear-armed state in the world. The news of this ‘Islamic bomb’ was what drew me from Britain to Lahore in the summer of 1999, not yet 22 years old. Spurred on by revolutionary zeal and dreams of erecting an Islamist caliphate, I arrived as part of a vanguard to set up a Pakistani branch of the global Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir (HT). The plan was to radicalise the country and foment a military coup against the democratically elected ‘client’ ruler Nawaz Sharif, so that our future caliphate could go nuclear. I was determined not to let anything get in my way, and nothing really did. During the following decade everything changed. Having spent four years as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in Egypt I had time to think, question and gain perspective on the extremist cause I had dedicated my life to. It led me to finally understand the crucial difference between the faith of Islam and the political ideology of Islamism — a realisation that necessitated my leaving HT as I no longer believed in their ideas and the ‘Islamic’ justifications they used to support them. I thus decided to return to Pakistan this year, this time to push back against the insidious spread of Islamist extremism that I myself was partly responsible for. Pakistan’s university campuses were the natural choice for me to start. Aided and supported by the local youth development NGO Bargad, I embarked on a four-week, nationwide university tour to address thousands of students on the bankruptcy of Islamist ideology. Along the way I was asked several times, often by students themselves, why I hadn’t chosen to go to madressahs first — after all, it seemed to be what everyone was doing.
Pakistani youth chant slogans next to a national flag during a demonstration against the terrorism and demanding peace in the country, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan is battling a wave of violence by Islamic extremists in its towns and cities and in the lawless border area with Afghanistan in the northwest. My response was always the same: while it is true that the madressah system has supplied a steady stream of jihadists over the years, a little-highlighted fact is that the leading ideologues of Islamist movements have invariably been educated, are elite and socially mobile. After all, Bin Laden is an engineer and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, a doctor. Many of the pseudo-intellectuals of HT are also highly educated, including the nuclear scientist and computer and telecom engineers who were recently arrested along with other HT activists during a police raid in Islamabad. It came as no surprise to me that nuclear scientists were among those accused of belonging to HT, considering that this is exactly why I was sent to Pakistan as far back as 1999. In the year 2000, I had also personally met Pakistani Army officers in London, who had been training at Sandhurst. HT had recruited them to its cause, and then sent them back to Pakistan. Back to the future, travelling across Pakistan’s provinces, visiting key campuses along the way, I had the valuable opportunity to engage directly with students on such issues. I told them my life story, my reasons for joining HT, my time in prison and why I eventually left. In return, I heard from them about how they think and feel about Pakistan’s problems, and their aspirations for the future of their country. We discussed the need to tackle extremism on an ideological level, and the steps Pakistan would have to take towards a more democratic and pluralistic society and government. The reactions I received were mixed, but they spoke volumes for those who populate Pakistan’s universities. Students from Sindh tended to be hugely receptive to my message, whilst those in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, from where the majority of British Pakistanis hail, expressed much greater hostility towards the West. In Quetta, the prevailing preoccupation was with ‘Punjabi hegemony’; here I encountered popular revolutionaries with little time for religious extremism but a hardened resolve to secede from Pakistan, in some cases through violence. I was accused by some of being a ‘foreign agent’, while others wholeheartedly embraced my stance. I sometimes encountered a denial of Pakistan’s role in allowing extremism to breed within its borders, but also an acceptance that religion had been misused by various elements within the country. Irrespective of their leanings, in every university, people had something to say. Ironically, the most violent opposition to my efforts didn’t come from Pakistani students at all — it came from a British-Pakistani member of HT who decided to punch me one evening in a cafe in Lahore. I later learned that he, like several others, had left the UK to recruit students in Pakistan, and to do this had started teaching at a private university in Lahore. It was sad evidence to the fact that British citizens continue to export Islamism to Pakistan, along with playing a crucial role in exporting the ideology to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius, India, Egypt and Denmark. Only when the governments of Britain and Pakistan wake up to take responsibility for the rot on their doorsteps will we ever be able to reverse these trends. As violence in Pakistan surges and ordinary Pakistanis feel increasingly insecure in their own homes, we cannot afford to stop at just a military response to this problem. Greater emphasis needs to be given to winning the struggle for ideas; to foster an understanding that taking a stance against Islamism does not equate to a rejection of Islam. This requires greater civil society engagement, popularising counter-extremism narratives through the media, and the promotion of secular spaces within society and the state. While it is true that such measures rarely have quantifiable results and require great resources in terms of time and effort, we can ill afford not to implement them, for without this vision it is unlikely that Pakistan can overcome the current moral dilemma and political crisis it finds itself in. The writer is director of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank based in the UK. Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Who Should Fear Russia’s New Military Doctrine?

DTN News: Who Should Fear Russia’s New Military Doctrine? *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 25, 2009: Russia’s new military doctrine, which is to come into force in 2010, has provoked a heated debate, first of all because it stipulates preemptive nuclear strikes. Moreover, it says that nuclear weapons may also be used in local conflicts in case of critical threats to Russia’s national security. The wording has encouraged some people to say that Russia intends to use nuclear weapons in conflicts with its closest neighbors – former Soviet republics. A critical threat to Russia’s national security can come from different types of conflicts, including a large-scale war with a block of countries, or a hypothetical territorial conflict with one or several militarily developed countries. Since the armed forces of the former Soviet republics are not very efficient, it can be assumed that only the Baltic countries, which are NATO members, can pose a critical threat to Russia. Although there is zero probability of a conflict with a Baltic country, if such a war does break out, it will immediately overgrow the scale of a local conflict, and it is not a Baltic territory that will be Russia’s target in this case. A critical threat can also be created by an attempt by a more developed neighbor who is not a member of a NATO-type military alliance to use military force against Russia to settle a territorial dispute. Theoretically, such a conflict is possible with Japan if Japanese politicians seeking to use military force to solve the Kuril problem come to power there. However, a critical threat to Russia is more probable in a larger war. Russia started speaking about the possibility of delivering preemptive nuclear strikes long ago, in the late 1990s after NATO bombed Yugoslavia. Russia subsequently held war games West 1999 simulating a military conflict with NATO similar to the one in Yugoslavia. That war game showed that only nuclear weapons would save Russia in case of a Western aggression. The Russian government subsequently changed the schemes of using nuclear weapons, especially tactical ones. The new provision was sealed in two fundamental documents – the military doctrine and the national security concept adopted in 2000. They read that the use of nuclear weapons is justified and necessary “to repel a military aggression when all other methods of settling the crisis have been used and proved ineffective.” The decision looked logical at the time since NATO’s military power was superior to Russia, and the situation has not changed much since then. On the other hand, the possibility of a dispute – let alone a military conflict – with NATO has decreased because Russia has launched a new round of dialogue with the bloc. But military doctrines stipulate basic provisions that do not take into account the current tactical situation. It should be said that other countries, including the United States, are also considering preemptive nuclear strikes. Russia’s new military doctrine also has a clause on the use of military force to protect the lives and interests of Russian citizens abroad. This new addition to the Law On Defense was approved in the summer of 2009, and it will also be sealed in the new military doctrine. On the whole, the new military doctrine reflects Russia’s gradual movement toward Western standards of the use of military force. The ideological provisions of the Soviet Union’s military doctrine – with the exception of the term “potential enemy” – have long been forgotten. Russia now intends to use its military force when and where necessary, and against any opponent.

DTN News: Saudis Navy May Buy Six ‘Sub-Killer’ P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft

DTN News: Saudis Navy May Buy Six ‘Sub-Killer’ P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) KUWAIT - October 25, 2009: Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in buying six P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing worth a reported US$1.3 billion (Dh4.8bn), the US aerospace firm says.The P-8 is a militarized version of the 737-800 with 737-900-based wings. The airframe uses a 737-800-based fuselage that is a similar but longer than the 737-700-based C-40 Clipper. The P-8 has a strengthened fuselage and 767-400ER-style raked wingtips, instead of the blended winglets available on 737NG variants. It also includes 6 additional body fuel tanks, three in the forward cargo compartment and three in the rear, for extended range. These are manufactured by Marshall Aerospace in Cambridge, UK. The plans for the P-8, which releases sonar buoys to identify submarines and destroys them by dropping torpedoes, are part of a wider naval modernisation programme reportedly worth as much as $20bn. “They took the steps to say to the US Navy that they are interested,” Ray Figueras, the director of strategic development for the P-8 Poseidon at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), said of the Saudi Royal Navy. “We’ve been told there is a need for six.” The kingdom has asked the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency to assist it to procure new ships and maritime assets such as the P-8, which is also armed with anti-ship missiles. Saudi Arabia is leading a charge by Gulf states to modernise their defences following a five–year spike in oil prices and continuing regional tension over Iran’s nuclear programme. The kingdom’s defence spending totalled $36bn by the end of last year, according to the consulting firm Frost and Sullivan. Details of the naval overhaul were announced last December when US defence officials said Saudi Arabia wanted to buy the P-8 along with the H-60R Seahawk multimission helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft, unmanned Fire Scout helicopters built by Northrop Grumman, and smaller combat ships either from Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics. Neither the Saudis nor Boeing had said how many P-8 aeroplanes might be part of the sale. The aircraft are said to cost $220 million each and come with advanced radar and sensing equipment from Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. “We’re trying to help the Saudis with their naval expansion programme,” the US Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa told Reuters in December. The US helped Saudi Arabia upgrade its fleet 30 years ago and those ships were now “mature” and needed to be replaced, he said. The P–8 Poseidon is a new maritime patrol aircraft derived from the Boeing 737 passenger aeroplane, one of several military variants the company is developing as part of efforts to use its commercial aircraft to create new defence platforms. The aircraft also uses sensors to identify fuel vapours from diesel submarines and other ships. The US Navy intends to buy 117 of the aircraft as it replaces its older P-3 Orion maritime patrol planes, with entry into service around 2014. Boeing is also promoting the aircraft internationally to boost sales. Its first overseas deal came last year when the Indian Navy said it would buy eight P-8 aircraft in an agreement worth a reported $2.1bn. First deliveries are expected in 2014.

DTN News: Boeing Tips UAE As Its Major International Client

DTN News: Boeing Tips UAE As Its Major International Client *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI, UAE- October 25, 2009: Boeing hopes to finalise defence contracts with the UAE and bid on new campaigns next month, as the Emirates becomes a central element in its plan to boost international sales.Boeing also sees potential for additional sales of its Apaches attack helicopters and Chinook transport helicopters to the Emirates. The US aerospace and defence giant is in talks with the Armed Forces and Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment company, on a broad set of initiatives and sales campaigns. These include military transport aircraft, air battle management systems, and joint ventures ranging from aircraft maintenance, research and development and training. “We think the UAE will be in our top five partners in the world going forward in not only sales but also partnerships,” said Jeff Johnson, the vice president of business development for Middle East and Africa at Boeing’s Integrated Defense Services (IDS) unit. “The Emirates is one of those countries that is moving quickly, and we are trying to move quickly with them.” The UAE is rapidly retooling its armed forces with cutting edge technology, while also developing a home-grown aerospace and defence services industry to wean itself of future dependence on oil revenues. In February, the Government announced its intent to purchase four jumbo C-17 airlifters from Boeing at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, in a Dh4.7 billion (US$1.3bn) deal. The UAE has been in contract negotiations with Boeing ever since. Crucially, the deal would provide a boost to the C-17 programme, a heavy transport aircraft first built in the 1980s and now in danger of closing, since Boeing will complete the last of its confirmed US Air Force orders in mid-2011 unless Congress decides to support the programme further.

DTN News: Australia To Buy BAE M777A2 Howitzers

DTN News: Australia To Buy BAE M777A2 Howitzers *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - October 24, 2009: The Australian government will purchase 35 lightweight towed 155mm howitzers as the first element of a program to re-equip the Army with new artillery.The M777A2 lightweight 155-mm howitzer is a critical fire support component of U.S. Army Stryker Brigade Combat Teams and U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Task Forces, and is in full-rate production under a contract awarded in March 2005. It is the first ground combat system to make extensive use of titanium and titanium castings, reducing the howitzer’s weight by 7,000 pounds to offer improved transportability and mobility over the M198 howitzer it replaces. The M777A2 can be transported by the Marine Corps’ MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and airdropped by C-130 aircraft. A launch platform for the Excalibur precision guided projectile gives the M777A2 better than 10-meter accuracy at ranges out to 40 kilometers. The M777 is deployed with the Army and Marine Corps in both Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, more than 550 guns have been delivered, with 37 additional M777A2s procured by Canada. Since February 2006, M777 howitzers served in Afghanistan with the Canadian Army. A foreign military sales case has been approved in 2008 for Australia to procure M777s. Defence Minister John Faulkner said in a statement that the Army will acquire four batteries of BAE System's M777A2 howitzers as part of a $493 million artillery replacement project known as Land 17. Purchase of an associated digital terminal control system for the howitzer will be considered by the Australian government in the second half of next year, he said. The M777 is used by U.S. and Canadian forces. To date, BAE has received orders for 862 of the Chinook helicopter-transportable weapons. Six hundred have been delivered. Faulkner said the second phase of the artillery enhancement package will include procurement of a self-propelled artillery system that will be capable of providing fire support to highly mobile mechanized forces.

DTN News: Kuwait Awaits French Offer On Rafale Buy

DTN News: Kuwait Awaits French Offer On Rafale Buy *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - October 24, 2009: Kuwait is waiting to get an offer from France on Rafale strike fighters, Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Hamad al-Sabah said Oct. 21 after a meeting with his French counterpart, Hervé Morin. The Rafale is a French twin-engine delta-wing multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. It is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based naval operation with the French Navy. The aircraft has undergone a protracted development, for mostly political and economic rather than technical reasons; the first demonstrator flight was in 1986 but the first production aircraft entered service only in 2002. No foreign sales have yet transpired. The Rafale carries, for the first time in aviation history, an integrated electronic survival system named SPECTRA which features a software-based virtual stealth technology. Kuwait would "be proud to have the Rafale in the heart of our armed forces," he said at a news conference on the signing of a defense cooperation agreement with France, the French Defense Ministry reported on its Web site. "We hope to have an offer soon on this subject," Sheikh Jaber said. The offer would be studied very seriously by the Kuwaiti Air Force, he added. Kuwait was also interested in French military technology for the Navy, air defense systems and helicopters, he said. President Nicolas Sarkozy said in February that talks with Kuwait on the prospective sale of 12-14 Rafale aircraft were "quite advanced." The strategic defense agreement between France and Kuwait covers exchange of information, assistance, training and equipment, and extends a previous accord signed Aug. 18, 1992. France opened a naval base in Abu Dhabi this year and is in talks with the United Arab Emirates on the sale of 60 Rafales, built by Dassault Aviation. The UAE, however, wants France to help find a buyer for its fleet of Mirage 2000-9 fighters.

DTN News: Second THAAD Battery Activated

DTN News: Second THAAD Battery Activated *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) FORT BLISS, TX - October 24, 2009: The U.S. Army has activated its second Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery during a ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas. THAAD is a defensive weapon system developed by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, a joint service organization within the Department of Defense. The new THAAD unit is Alpha Battery, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, an element of the multi-functional 11th Air Defense Brigade. THAAD is an easily transportable system for protecting airfields, population centers and other high-value targets against tactical and theater missiles at ranges out to 125 miles and altitudes of nearly 100 miles. The system is capable of destroying targets by kinetic impact inside and outside the atmosphere. The weapon is the high-altitude component of a tiered air defense array. The Patriot system protects against lower altitude threats. Sources expect that the Army eventually will field two THAAD battalions of four batteries of eight launchers each. The ceremony marked the activation of A Battery/2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. The battery's equipment will consist of THAAD interceptors, launchers, a fire control and communications unit and radar. The commander of the new unit is Capt. Brendan McShea. Col. Joseph DeAntona of 11th Air Defense Artillery "Imperial" Brigade and Col. Bill Lamb of the Missile Defense Agency officiated at the ceremony. Lamb is the THAAD project manager. A Battery, 4th Regiment, is A-2 ADA's sister unit and was the first THAAD unit in the U.S. Army. The unit was activated at Fort Bliss in May 2008 with a mission to strategically deploy conducting missile defense in support of geographic combatant commander's priorities. THAAD has undergone several years of rigorous testing, designed to push the system into increasingly stressful and operationally realistic scenarios. Since the current round of testing began, THAAD has intercepted every target it has flown against. THAAD is the only defensive weapon that is specifically designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles both inside and just outside the earth's atmosphere. It provides protection to deployed troops around the world, as well as to other important assets and population centers against short to medium range ballistic missiles in the terminal, or final, phase of flight. THAAD is an element of the layered, integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System designed to protect the United States, our allies and friends against all types of ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 24, 2009 ~ Pakistan Says Anti-Taliban Offensive Succeeding

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 24, 2009 ~ Pakistan Says Anti-Taliban Offensive Succeeding *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 24, 2009: Pakistani leaders say the military offensive in a Taliban stronghold along the Afghan border is succeeding and have resolved to press ahead despite a ferocious wave of retaliatory attacks that have killed some 200 people this month.Pakistani paramilitary troops arrive at the district court following rumors of a shooting in the area, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan is battling a wave of violence by Islamic extremists in its towns and cities and in the lawless border area with Afghanistan in the northwest. The government statement came as a spate of bombings in northwest Pakistan Friday killed 24 people, including 17 headed to a wedding. The onslaught appears aimed at sapping public support for the army's offensive in South Waziristan, a lawless tribal region under the sway of the Taliban and al-Qaida. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared that "failure is not an option despite the ferocity of these attacks," according to the statement, which was released late Friday after a meeting of top government and military officials. The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, told participants that the offensive is moving ahead successfully and is trying to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, according to the statement. Pakistan's civilian government and powerful military are under intense international pressure to root out Islamist militants that are also blamed for rising attacks on U.S. and NATO troops across the frontier in Afghanistan. The militants have promised to carry out strikes across the country if the offensive in South Waziristan doesn't stop, and the attacks have put many Pakistanis on edge. In a sign it is sensitive to popular support, the government statement appealed to the media "not to glorify the terrorists and acts of terrorism in any form and to avoid live coverage of such incidents as it created panic and despondency in the public." In one of Friday's attacks, a suicide bomber struck a checkpoint on a road leading to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the capital, Islamabad. The sprawling complex is the country's major air force maintenance and research hub, servicing and building jet fighters and radar systems. The blast killed two security officers and five civilians who were on their way to work at the base, said police officer Akbar Abbas. Some 13 people were hurt. Hours later, an explosion struck a bus traveling in the Mohmand tribal region, further north than South Waziristan. Four women and three children were among the 17 killed, said Zabit Khan, a local government official. He said it was unclear whether the bus struck a buried bomb or the explosive device was detonated by remote control. Also Friday, a car bomb exploded in the parking lot of a recreational facility housing a restaurant and a marriage hall in Peshawar, the main city in the northwest. Fifteen people were wounded in that blast. Pakistan reported fighting in several parts of South Waziristan on Friday and said its soldiers had seized some high ground from militant control. A statement reported two more soldiers were killed, bringing the army's death toll to 20, and that 13 more militants were slain — six of them Uzbeks — bringing their death toll to 142.

DTN News: NATO Today October 24, 2009 ~ Nato 'Determined' Over Afghanistan

DTN News: NATO Today October 24, 2009 ~ Nato 'Determined' Over Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - October 24, 2009: Nato countries are showing "new determination to see the mission through" in Afghanistan, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said after the allies met for a summit in Bratislava.The U.S. Military commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal speaks to the Defense Minister of Afghanistan General Abdul Rahim Wardak (L) before the ISAF working lunch event at the Informal Meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in Bratislava October 23, 2009. Despite clear indications from two key members of the coalition that reinforcements to the international force in Afghanistan will have to await a successful conclusion of the country's disputed presidential election, Mr Ainsworth said the summit had reassured him that Nato was working "in the right direction" on shared aims. He said Britain would continue to work with its partners to ensure that sufficient military and civilian resources are provided to the Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf). Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that some allies had indicated to him that they are thinking about increasing either their military or civilian contributions to the force. He stressed that he did not seek specific promises of military assistance at the summit in the Slovak city, where Nato defence ministers were briefed by the top US military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week said the UK had agreed "in principle" to boost its deployment in Afghanistan by 500 troops to 9,500 as part of a coalition-wide deployment with each ally bearing its "fair share". The Netherlands and Denmark each indicated that they will be willing to send more troops only after the creation of a legitimate government in Kabul and the announcement by US President Barack Obama of a new American strategy. Dutch Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop said his country, which has 2,160 troops in Afghanistan, is awaiting the final election results "because the legitimacy of the Afghan government is key". He added: "I think most countries are waiting for the American decisions." Danish Defence Minister Soeren Gade said allies will not increase troop levels until they are assured the new government in Kabul is committed to the international effort. "I think whoever is going to send more troops to Afghanistan will put up some conditions," said Mr Gade, whose country has 690 soldiers in Afghanistan. "They need to see the new Afghan president and say 'If we send more troops to your country, you have to deal with this, this and this'. We have to make sure the new government in Afghanistan are committed to their job before we send any more troops to Afghanistan." A second round of voting on November 7 will pitch sitting President Hamid Karzai against main rival Abdullah Abdullah, after Karzai accepted earlier this week that he had secured less that the required 50% in a first round marred by widespread fraud.

DTN News: Fighting The Wrong War ~ Afghanistan

DTN News: Fighting The Wrong War ~ Afghanistan *Source: Strategy Page (NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - October 24, 2009: The enemy in Afghanistan is a many headed beast. American intelligence has compiled a list of nearly 500 Taliban and drug gang leaders. If all these guys were to suddenly disappear, the violence who swiftly change to internal battles within the gangs, as lower level men fought for control of dozens of leaderless Taliban and heroin producing gangs. While you can't destroy the gangs, you can greatly reduce their effectiveness. University students shout anti- U.S. slogans, as a protester carries an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama, center, during a demonstration in Khost, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009. Hundreds of angry students shouted anti-U.S. slogans while burning an American flag and effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama to protest a rumor that U.S. forces bombed a mosque and burned a copy of the Muslin holy book, the Quran, in nearby Wardak province the week before. This is particularly true of the ones that chiefly carry out terror attacks. The drug gangs have the money incentive, which constantly brings in more ambitious people. This has been the experience in places like Colombia, where the only successful strategy has been to interrupt drug production, and deny the drug gangs actual control of territory. For Islamic terrorists like the Taliban, killing the leadership is the key, because these leaders (who include those with technical skills) are difficult to replace. Thus groups like the Taliban have been destroyed in many other countries in the last two decades. But in Afghanistan, the Taliban are not the main enemy; the drug gangs are. Without the drug money, the Taliban become a troublesome Pushtun faction, not a mercenary military power that seeks to run the entire country again. That's never going to happen, as the non-Pushtun majority would go back to the civil war (that the U.S. intervened in during its late 2001 invasion). The lower level of foreign troop casualties in Afghanistan is largely due to the lower skill levels among terrorist leaders. Despite much money and effort, the roadside bomb campaign in Afghanistan is not nearly as lethal as the one in Iraq was. The Taliban apparently misread the experience with roadside bombs in Iraq (where they failed to dislodge the foreign troops), and persist in their belief that every bomb casualty weakens the resolve of the foreign governments, and will eventually lead to the withdrawal of the foreign troops. You'd get this impression by paying attention to the foreign media. But in the long run, those foreign governments have a more troublesome problem with Afghanistan, and that's the growing quantity of heroin coming out of there. This is causing more and more grief in the West. Leaving Afghanistan alone means doing nothing about the heroin supply, and this will eventually become politically unacceptable. Most Western politicians are aware of this, even if the media that reports on them is not (or, at least, is not admitting it yet.) The casualties in Afghanistan are also being misinterpreted. In the last two years, foreign troops in Afghanistan lost about 300-400 dead per 100,000 troops. In Iraq, from 2004-7, the deaths among foreign troops ran at 500-600 per 100,000 per year. Since al Qaeda admitted defeat there two years ago, the U.S. death rate in Iraq has dropped to less than 200 dead per 100,000 troops per year. Meanwhile, the rate in Afghanistan is headed for 400 dead per 100,000 troops this year. For Afghan troops and police, the death rate is about 800 dead per 100,000, and this year is headed for 800 or more. The death rate for U.S. troops during Vietnam, Korea and World War II, was over 1,500. Better body armor, tactics, training, weapons and medical care have all contributed to a sharp reduction in fatal losses. It's not casualties that are going to defeat the foreign troops in Afghanistan, it's willingness by politicians to defeat the drug gangs. The drug gangs are protected by four large Taliban coalitions. The original 1990s Taliban are based in Quetta (the capital of Baluchistan), Pakistan. This is southwestern Pakistan, an area of tribal unrest (over natural gas revenue, not religion), but the Pakistanis have forbidden the U.S. from going after the Taliban leadership here, apparently because this group, originally created by Pakistani intelligence (ISI) fifteen years ago, still has official protection. These Taliban have the closest connections with the drug gangs (another vestige of the 1990s), and that drug money may be helping to maintain ISI support Also in Pakistan is the Haqqani gang, which is based in North Waziristan, Pakistan, but operates largely in southern Afghanistan. Currently, the Pakistani Army is waging a major offensive against the Pakistani Taliban (headed by warlords of the Mehsud tribe) in South Waziristan, just to the south. The U.S. is trying to convince the Pakistanis to keep going north when they have finished with the Mehsud gang. So far, the Pakistanis are non-committal. Then there is the Hekmatyar organization, a survivor of the 1990s civil war. Hekmatyar was an Islamic radical group that lost out to the Taliban in the 1990s, and has been trying to make a comeback ever since. Inside Afghanistan, there are field commanders for the Pakistan based organizations, as well as several drug gangs based in Helmand province (and other parts of southeastern Afghanistan). Helmand has become a difficult area for drug gangs to operate in, and they are trying to establish new operations farther north. But the locals are resisting this. Not because they don't want the cash the drug business can bring, but because they don't want the cheap opium and heroin, which they know, off experience, creates widespread addiction, especially among the young. For these tribal societies, such addiction is a poison that causes severe physical and social damage. While some Pushtuns down south have become addicted to the money and power of heroin, most Afghans want nothing to do with it. That's why most of the heroin production has been concentrated in one province; Helmand. President Karzai admitted that there was widespread fraud, in his favor, during the recent presidential elections. He agreed to go along with UN demands that 200 corrupt election officials be dismissed. A runoff election, between him and his main opponent (Abdullah Abdullah) is to take place, despite the start of Winter. There are 25,000 polling places for 17 million registered voters, and many of them are in very remote areas that are normally very difficult to reach in cold weather. Russia is very concerned about how things turn out in Afghanistan. That's because Russia has become the main transportation route for Afghan heroin headed for the most lucrative markets in Western Europe and North America. The heroin is cheaper in Russia (because it gets more expensive the farther you have to smuggle it) and there are nearly three million addicts there (out of a global total of 16 million). This is a growing problem for the government, and attempts to seal the Afghan border have failed. The smugglers have a tremendous monetary incentive to get the heroin into Central Asia and thence to Russia. The heroin creates a trail of corruption and addiction as it makes its way across Eurasia. But the largest consumer of heroin, and its raw material, opium, is Iran (which lies astride the lucrative export route to the Persian Gulf). With nearly as many addicts as Russia (and less than half the population), the religious dictatorship in Iran is beside itself over the drug problem (which produces lots of crime and anti-social behavior). Pakistan also has an addict problem but not as bad as in Iran (where there is lots of oil money for drug purchases, and lots of upper class addiction). October 17, 2009: The government is offering a reward of $40,000 for information on terrorists operating inside Kabul, the capital. This is fighting fire with fire, as the drug gangs use lots of cash to establish their bomb delivery teams inside the capital. But since most of the bombing casualties are civilians, the large cash rewards for information provide an incentive, for those willing to risk gang retribution, to come forward with tips on the terrorists. Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.