Thursday, June 5, 2008

North heats up

Norwegian NATO troops have been fighting an emboldened Taliban in Badghis in Afghanistan's north (though it is part of NATO's western command).

Aftenposten (Norway)
Telemark Battalion in new combat with Taliban

May 27 - Norwegian soldiers have been engaged in heated battles against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan this month. Military officials claim 13 Taliban soldiers were killed.

Around 250 Norwegian soldiers were involved in the mid-May battles in Afghanistan's Badghis Province, the defense ministry reported. It's the second time Norwegian forces have been in armed conflict in Afghanistan in the past six months...

"Suddenly there were explosions. They were firing all over." ...

The Norwegians started firing back. Major Rune Wenneberg said the Taliban rebels conducted "a well-coordinated assault" from a distance of about 1,200 meters against Norway's Telemark Battalion

"The only dramatic moments were the first few seconds," Wenneberg claimed. "Then we did what we've been training to do at Rena, seize the initiative and respond with massive, precise fire."

The battle went on for several hours, with more in the days following. None of the Norwegian or allied soldiers were killed or wounded, claimed the military... (link)
A June 2 AFP report:
Hundreds of Taliban attacked a remote Afghan police base overnight leading to fierce battles that left about 50 rebels dead, most in NATO air strikes, Afghan authorities said Monday.

The insurgents stormed police in a district on the border with Turkmenistan in Badghis province, they said.

"Yesterday, about 300 to 400 Taliban attacked our police posts in Bala Murghab district," deputy provincial governor Abdul Ghani Saber said.

"With the help of coalition air support, we killed about 55 Taliban," Saber added... (link)

NATO, however, says that just 10 Taliban were killed.

Here's the above action refracted through the U.S. Air Force's June 1 airpower summary:
In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer and an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducted shows of force in order to deter enemy activities against coalition forces in Qalenaw [capital of Badghis]. An on-scene joint terminal attack controller declared the missions successful...

In Qalenaw, an F-15E dropped GBU-38s onto enemy combatants successfully eliminating the targets.

Air Force F-15Es conducted shows of force in order to deter enemy activities in Qalenaw and Jalalabad. The missions were declared successful by a JTAC.

In total, 52 close-air-support missions were flown... (link)
Der Spiegel warned a while ago:
April 12, 2008

Violence in Bundeswehr Deployment Area Increases Dramatically

By Matthias Gebauer

... The incidents illustrate the degree to which the security situation in northern Afghanistan has deteriorated in recent weeks, as winter has come to an end. Despite official statements, the region is "neither peaceful nor stable," Bundeswehr General Inspector Wolfgang Schneiderhan told a closed-door meeting of the German parliament's defense committee, describing the current reality on the ground in northern Afghanistan. Nor did he hold back with his warnings that summer could get pretty hot there... (link)

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