TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Wasn’t Us Blowing Up Mosques in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif

NOTE:  Do NOT click on a link to the Taliban’s or other terrorist web pages if you don’t want the webmasters to see your computer’s IP number. This material is from web pages and forums carrying statements attributed to the Taliban, Taliban spokespersons or supporters of the Taliban, or analysis thereof. Posting of this material neither confirms nor endorses any of its content – it is shared for information only. When material translated into English is not available, Google Translate is used to translate the original  – this is only a machine translation, NOT an official one.


Report on the gathering of the Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate and its statement regarding the recent bombings on Ashura Screen capture of full statement at Scribd.com

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

On the day of Ashura, 10th of Muharram 1433, inexplicable bombings took place in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif in which tens of our defenseless countrymen were soaked in their blood and their families left in utter grief. This incident was also strongly rejected and condemned by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the initial hours. Yesterday on the 15/01/1433, the Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate held an important council about this topic. Intense discussions were held regarding these incidents which were described as a pre-planned plot of the defeated enemy and it was stressed that our vigilant nation must pay astute attention to such actions of our enemy and nobody should be allowed to reach their sinister goals by creating rifts and divisions amongst our united people on the basis of religion, race, language or region.

Similarly, the political and religious sides of our country were asked to put the benefits of our country and people ahead of their own or organizations benefits and such actions not be undertaken to achieve their political aims which would mean nothing other then adding fuel to the fire which has been lit by our enemy against the unity of our people and country. It was also said that in these tender moments in which our enemy is on the verge of fleeing, it is going back to its natural habit and reaching for grief stricken moments like the day of Ashura so it can divide the unified Afghan people because the enemy wants to take revenge from our suffering people for their own failures. Our alert and unified nation will never be deceived by such plans of our enemy but rather they will also thwart this plan like all the previous ones. In the end of the gathering, the below statement was issued after much deliberation:

1.  The Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate wants to extend its condolence to the affectees and once against strongly condemns such acts.
2.  Islamic Emirate considers such incidents the plots and acts of the invaders and the enemies of Afghanistan and calls on all its countrymen to lend each other hands and cooperate with each other in preventing such incidents in accordance with their national and religious duty because such acts of the enemy are against all our countrymen and are detriment to our beloved Afghanistan.
3.  Islamic Emirate personally asks the scholars and leaders of Afghanistan’s Ahl Tashi’ (Shiite) to be very vigilant regarding this matter and they should inform their people that this incident can never be considered a topic of enmity between Sunni and Shiite. They should never lend an ear to the internal agents who want to paint this as an internal and religious strife for serving their own interests and for pleasing their masters.
4.  Islamic Emirate gives guidance to all of its Mujahideen to pay attention to preventing such acts from taking place alongside their other duties.

The Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 8 Dec 11

Another ISAF-Taliban Twitter Tussle over Latest Bombings

On this:

“Twin attacks apparently targeting Shia Muslims have killed at least 58 people in Afghanistan.  In the deadliest incident, a suicide bomb struck a shrine packed with worshippers in the capital, Kabul, killing at least 54 people.  Another blast struck near a Shia mosque the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif at about the same time, killing four.  The attacks appear to be of a sectarian nature unprecedented in recent Afghan history, correspondents say.  They coincided with the Shia Muslim festival of Ashura – the most important day in the Shia calendar and marked with a public holiday in Afghanistan.  Ashura is the climax of Muharram, the month of mourning for the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.  Though tensions exist between Afghanistan’s Sunni and minority Shia Muslims, most attacks in Afghanistan in recent years have targeted government officials or international forces, correspondents say ….”

…. here’s the Taliban’s position, via @ABalkhi at Twitter ….

“Z.Mujahid condemns today’s bombings(Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif) and blames invaders( @ISAFmedia ) for trying to sow dissension amongst afghans”

…. followed by the ISAF Info-Machine’s response, again through @ISAFMedia via Twitter:

“Blame ISAF? Rubbish. GEN Allen: Insurgents are spelling own demise by killing innocents http://goo.gl/XSbg1

Fighting the good (info) fight, 140 characters at a time.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 1 Dec 11

Michelle Lang, R.I.P.: Is This the Best the Calgary Herald Can Do?

The Chief of Defence Staff, as well as some wounded members of the military and Foreign Affairs, visited the Calgary Herald newsroom this week to present the memorial for fallen journalist Michelle Lang.  A columnist did an online post:

“A touchstone from Afghanistan that touches our hearts”

Postmedia News Matt Fisher did a piece from (where I presume he’s posted these days) Cairo talking about his dealings with her.

“Fisher: Memorial to fallen Canadian journalist arrives in Canada”

The Canadian Press?  A story with bits of the online blog post.

“Military presents Calgary Herald with memorial plaque for Michelle Lang”

This is the best the Calgary Herald or Postmedia News could do for repatriation of a memorial of one of its own fallen?

Yes, I know there was mention during Remembrance Day coverage.

No, I don’t expect multiple pages online about the memorial coming to the newsroom.

Still, a columnist instead of a reporter giving the fullest coverage of this?  On the online blog page?

I hope the hard-copy editions of the Herald did better than this.

Taliban vs ISAF: Fighting Twitter Fire with Twitter Counter Fire

This, from the L.A. Times:

“Some members of Congress are urging the popular website Twitter to stop hosting pro-Taliban tweets that celebrate attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan.

Twitter executives have told lawmakers that the micro-posts do not violate the website’s terms of service because the Taliban is not listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. That designation would make it illegal to provide “material support or resources” to the militant group.

Twitter feeds, apparently from the Taliban, first appeared last year in Arabic and Pashto, one of the official languages of Afghanistan. An English-language feed started in April. Many of the posts refer to U.S. troops in inflammatory terms.

(….)

Twitter officials did not respond to requests for comment. According to rules on the website, Twitter does not allow users to publish “direct, specific threats of violence” or use the website “for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities.”

The move against the pro-Taliban Twitter feeds is part of a larger effort by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, to persuade Internet companies to remove videos and blog posts that he says promote terrorism or offer instructions on how to commit violence.

“Some members of Congress are urging the popular website Twitter to stop hosting pro-Taliban tweets that celebrate attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan.

Twitter executives have told lawmakers that the micro-posts do not violate the website’s terms of service because the Taliban is not listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. That designation would make it illegal to provide “material support or resources” to the militant group ….”

A couple of points off the top of my head:

1)  If dissing U.S. troops or celebrating attacks on Americans is the yardstick, they’d have to go after more than just the Taliban Info-Machinists.

2)  I think it would be more useful (not to mention fun to watch) if ISAF’s Info-Machine continues “Counter-Tweeting” like they’ve done in the past – examples here and here – and continue to do.  If we keep saying the truth will out, we have to show it can.  Keep up the good fight ISAF Info-Machine Twitter posters!

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 24 Nov 11

  • Afghanistan (1)  The latest quarterly report is out, this time tabled by the Defence Minister in the House of Commons (unlike the past few released by either the Foreign Affairs Minister or others) – more from media here.
  • Afghanistan (2)  Another Canadian unit packs it in at Kandahar Airfield (via CF Info-Machine, only 8 days after the ceremony)
  • Afghanistan (3a)  Toronto Star continues pressing story of Afghan interpreter rejected for “fast-track move to Canada” program.  “An Afghan interpreter turned away from Canada says he has been hunted by insurgents on motorcycles because of his work with the Canadian military.  Sayed Shah Sharifi disputes the accounts of Canadian officials who have played down the threat he faces for aiding allied forces in Kandahar.  Indeed, Sharifi, 23, says he was forced to move his family out of Kandahar for more than two months last year for safety after motorcycle-borne insurgents left a chilling warning with his father.  “Your son works with the Canadian Forces and we will kill him,” Sharifi recalled Wednesday in a telephone interview with the Star ….”
  • Afghanistan (3b)  TorStar back stops coverage with letters.
  • Afghanistan (4)  Rabble.ca columnist complains about CBC call-in show featuring anti-Taliban writer Terry Glavin.  I’m still waiting to hear if the columnist even tried to call in.
  • Libya  Columnist shares kudos for Canadian mission commander as preparations continue for today’s “well done on the mission” parade at Parliament Hill.
  • Let’s not forget we have troops in Darfur, too – more on Operation Saturn here.
  • Mark Collins:  “Canadian Defence Spending–Less There Than Proclaimed”
  • Armenian media reports Canadians (military and/or civilian staff) helping NATO help Armenia.  “The NATO-sponsored international expert group is in the Armenian capital Yerevan, from Wednesday to Saturday, within the framework of assistance to Armenia’s reforms in military education. The group comprises military and civil representatives from US, Canada, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Switzerland, and NATO ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Wanted:  someone to design and build “Infrastructure for Tactical Control Radar Modernization, Primrose, AB”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  The Conservative government insists all of its new F-35 jets will arrive with the hardware needed to talk to ground troops and prevent friendly fire, but some will still need upgrades to make it workAssociate Defence Minister Julian Fantino said the stealth jets will be ready to do whatever the government asks, when it asks. “All of Canada’s F-35s will not only be capable of operating overseas the moment we get them, but be able to communicate with aircraft and know where friendly ground units are well in advance of deployment on operations,” Fantino said under questioning in the House of Commons ….”  More from yesterday’s exchange in the House of Commons here.
  • Canadian plane engine company STILL gets some business from an American buy.  “An unusual turn of events on a U.S. military procurement contract has lightly side-swiped three of Quebec’s largest aerospace firms. Wichita-based aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft Corp. was excluded without explanation last week from a competition to supply 20 AT-6 Texan II light-attack and training planes to the Afghan air force. Its four main suppliers on the bid to the U.S. air force – which would then turn the aircraft over to the Afghan forces – were all Canadian: Longueuil’s Pratt & Whitney Canada for the PT6A-68D 1,600-horsepower engine, St. Laurent’s CAE Inc. for the crew training, St. Laurent’s CMC Esterline for the flight management system, as well as Burling-ton, Ont.-based L-3 Wescam, which was to provide day-light sensors, infrared cameras with zoom and various lasers. The elimination of Hawker Beechcraft apparently makes a winner of the Super Tucano trainer and light-attack aircraft produced by Brazil’s Embraer, the only other bidder for the contract. Matthew Perra, spokes-person for Pratt & Whitney Canada, said by email that “as with any competition there was some investment made, but this amount is not material to P&W Canada.” But it does not signify a loss for Pratt & Whitney Canada – it also supplies the same engine for Embraer’s Super Tucano ….”
  • My favourite bit from this piece from CBC.ca on monitoring efforts during the G8/G20:  “…. (an undercover police officer) told the court about how he attended a meeting prior to the Toronto summit. There, a protest-planning group that included several of the 17 main G20 defendants was discussing whether to lend their support to a First Nations rally. Adam Lewis, one of the 17 accused conspirators in the G20 case, interjected, “Kill whitey!” The group chuckled. Lewis, like all but one of his co-accused, is white. When a Crown lawyer asked the officer what he thought Lewis meant, Showan said in complete seriousness, to “kill white people.” “Deliberately or accidentally, the undercover officers misinterpreted hyperbolic jokes as literal statements of belief,” said Kalin Stacey, a community organizer, friend and supporter of the defendants ….”  Really?  I’m guessing is a similar statement was made about the protesters, it would NOT be taken as “hyperbolic jokes”.
  • Credit where credit is due:  CBC.ca shared the documents it’s writing about in the above-mentioned story via documentcloud.org (like here for example).  Hello?  Reporters?  News outlets?  Are you listening about sharing ATIP’ed documents?
  • Private Members Bill C-354, An Act respecting the establishment and award of a Defence of Canada Medal (1946-1989), makes it through First Reading in Parliament after being introduced by NDP MP Carol Hughes“Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be able to reintroduce this bill for the establishment and award of a defence of Canada medal for the men and women who served in the defence of Canada during the cold war. This act represents the hard work and vision of one of my constituents, retired Captain Ulrich Krings of Elliot Lake, who presented me with this proposal shortly after I was elected in 2008. Its purpose is to formally honour the people who defended Canada from within Canada for the period from 1946 to 1989. As such, it is intended to be awarded to individuals who served in the regular and reserve forces, police forces, emergency measures organizations, as well as civil organizations, such as St. John Ambulance, all of whom were concerned with the protection of Canada from the threat posed by the countries behind the Iron Curtain. This medal will recognize the support of the men and woman who gave countless hours to Canadians as they trained and prepared in case of an attack on Canadian soil, which fortunately never took place. Their service to our country came at a time when we became aware of how fragile peace can be and how vulnerable we may become to advances in weapons of warfare. This medal would give something back to all those who worked in those years to keep us safe and prepared. I thank my colleague from Thunder Bay—Rainy River (John Rafferty) for his continued support on this bill and for seconding this item for a second time.”  Caveat:  most Private Members Bills do not end up becoming law.  Discussion at Army.ca here.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 22 Nov 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 21 Nov 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 16 Nov 11

  • Afghanistan (1)  Toronto Star columnist becomes legal rep for teenager wanting student visa to attend school in Canada.
  • Afghanistan (2)  Someone (I’m guessing) in Ottawa is pissed at how ‘terps trying to come to Canada are being handled“Frustration is growing in government ranks that Ottawa is falling down on its vow to help Afghan interpreters and their families find a new life in Canada. “I would say longstanding and growing frustration,” a senior official said this week after the Star highlighted the plight. The target of that frustration is the Citizenship and Immigration department, which critics say is dragging its feet on a Conservative vow to help Afghans who helped the Canadian mission in Kandahar resettle in Canada. “There is a moral obligation to do the right thing here and it’s unfortunate that CIC doesn’t feel this way,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous ….”
  • Afghanistan (3a)  Canadian Info-Machine officer Commodore Bill Truelove Taliban losing a grip on its troops“The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has said that “the Taliban leadership has lost control of their organization.” During an operational update by representatives from the ISAF headquarters and NATO on Monday, Canadian Commodore Bill Truelove, Deputy Director of the ISAF Communication Directorate, said the Taliban carried out several attacks recently in spite of the Afghan Eid holiday. “Over the past week, the Taliban showed their blatant disregard for this holy celebration through a series of attacks resulting in the deaths of many innocent civilians,” he told reporters in Kabul. Truelove said the attacks occurred after senior Taliban leaders issued specific orders to their troops, directing them to stop killing innocent Afghan civilians. “Still, enemy forces are realizing they are sacrificing their lives for a cause that is not just and under leaders who have no concern for this country or its people,” he added ….”
  • Afghanistan (3b)  Does one Taliban post including alleged security plans for a major meeting (link to copy of post at non-terrorist site) constitute a “propaganda war”?  “Afghanistan’s propaganda wars are becoming almost as intense as the actual fighting, as all sides jockey for position ahead of an anticipated NATO withdrawal in 2014. On Sunday, the Taliban took their psychological operations to a new level when they attempted to derail a loya jirga, or national council, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, has called for Wednesday. This will discuss future U.S. troop withdrawals and possible peace talks with 2,000 community and tribal leaders. In addition to the usual threats to assassinate anyone who attends the meeting, the Taliban have published what they claim are highly classified documents detailing security arrangements for the council, scheduled to be held at the Polytechnical University in western Kabul ….”
  • Afghanistan (4)  Senator Pamela Wallin on the training mission“…. Canada has engaged in what is an incredible act of faith, inspired by the knowledge that if we educate and train the next generation of citizens and soldiers we will truly be giving peace – and Afghanistan – a chance.”
  • Afghanistan (5)  “International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says his office will be releasing a report in the coming weeks that will decide whether to launch a formal investigation into Canada’s treatment of Afghan detainees, among other things. “There are serious allegations of crimes committed by different parties,” he said in an exclusive interview with Postmedia News during a stop at the University of Ottawa on Tuesday. “We are trying to find who is really allegedly responsible for crimes to check if there’s a need for us to investigate or not.” Moreno-Ocampo said his report will not specifically focus on Canada’s treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, but all crimes allegedly committed in that country and seven others. Most allegations, he added, are against the Taliban, but all claims are being looked at ….”
  • Canadian Forces reservists can face extra hardships after returning from deployments, researchers say. Difficulty finding employment and poor post-mission communications between reservists and military units are major barriers to soldiers reintegrating into civilian life. The findings of a study by Defence Research and Development Canada in Toronto were presented at the second annual Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Kingston. The study involved 125 Canadian reserve soldiers who returned from an overseas deployment. The troops were contacted six to eight months after returning and about one-quarter of them took part in the 20-minute electronic survey. The results showed many reservists struggle to find work following their deployments. The lack of work added greatly to their struggle to reintegrate themselves into civilian life, said researcher Donna Pickering Tuesday afternoon ….”  A bit more on the Forum here, and the latest, updated (as of yesterday) CF Info-Machine backgrounder on PTSD here.
  • Another research tidbit from the same conference:  Almost one-quarter of a group of frontline soldiers sent to fight in Afghanistan in 2007 have been diagnosed with mental health problems, according to a new study by the Canadian Forces. The figure shines a light on the psychological risks facing Canada’s battle-hardened veterans not only in CFB Gagetown, where the study was conducted, but at CFB Petawawa in Ontario, CFB Edmonton in Alberta, CFB Valcartier in Quebec and at other major military bases where soldiers have deployed in great numbers over the last few years. The study of 792 members of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, found 23.1 per cent of soldiers who served in Kandahar four years ago were now being treated for their mental health problems. One in five of those soldiers have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, one of the chief health risks to Canadian soldiers after a decade of combat in Afghanistan. The study was presented Tuesday at a military health-care conference (in Kingston) that is bringing together some of the country’s best minds to share the latest research on how to help soldiers with broken minds and bodies ….”
  • After almost five years of legal wrangling, Dennis Manuge says he’s relieved that Canada’s disabled veterans are finally getting their day in court. “How I feel about it is a little bit of relief and absolute faith in the justice system that we are going to begin to have our case (heard),” he said Tuesday. Manuge, of Musquodoboit Harbour, N.S., is the representative plaintiff in a lawsuit against the federal government that alleges it is illegally clawing back the long-term disability insurance benefits of injured veterans. The Federal Court in Halifax will begin hearing arguments Wednesday in the class action, which could potentially affect the benefits of as many as 6,000 injured veterans ….”
  • A reminder:  For the sixth year in a row, friends and families of Canadian troops deployed overseas will be able to send their holiday letters and parcels for free via Canada Post. The program, which started in 2006, has delivered close to 90,000 parcels to members of the Canadian Forces serving overseas in war zones. With capacity limitations on military aircraft carrying supplies to deployed forces, this program is restricted to family and friends of the deployed service men and women serving overseas in war zones. Troops serving on any of the deployed Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships are also included in the program. Canada Post will accept regular parcels free of charge to designated Canadian Forces Bases overseas from October 17, 2011 until January 13, 2012. Lettermail weighing up to 500 grams to deployed troops can be sent free of charge until December 31, 2012.”  More from Canada Post here.
  • Canada’s mission to help Jamaica is wrapping up – safe travels home, folks!  More on OP Jaguar here.
  • Haiti’s efforts to restore its disbanded army could deplete resources from more pressing matters in the Caribbean nation, which is still recovering from the massive earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people almost two years ago, a Canadian diplomat said Tuesday. John Babcock, a spokesman for Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy, said in an email to The Associated Press that Haiti’s decision to create a second security force is a sovereign right but that its formation “seems premature” because of the difficult living conditions that many Haitians still face following the January 2010 earthquake. “Canada fears that creating a second security force will significantly reduce resources available for Haiti’s other important priorities,” one of them being the need to strengthen Haiti’s national police department, Babcock wrote. Haitian President Michel Martelly is moving ahead with a plan to restore the national army that was disbanded in 1995, and recruiting an initial force of 500 troops would cost an estimated $25 million. Babcock said Tuesday Canada wouldn’t help pay for a second security force, echoing sentiments of foreign diplomats who told Martelly in October they wouldn’t fund the force ….”  Here’s a bit of what Canada’s done for Haiti’s police force, as well as the official line on our relations with Haiti.
  • Way Up North  More on how expensive it could be to keep troops in the north (again with no disclosure of “obtained” documents).
  • At least one Canadian Press reporter is not personally averse to the idea of sharing documents obtained through Access to Information Act requests, even if his employer doesn’t seem to be using available technology to make that happen yet – one can hope….
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  “U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned the F-35 project will be scrapped if a congressional “super committee” doesn’t come up with a credible plan to reduce the U.S. federal deficit by next week. Opposition parties in Ottawa jumped on the comments Tuesday, accusing the federal government of continuing to bury its head in the sand as the stealth fighter program suffers ever-increasing amounts of turbulence. But the government again stood firm, saying Panetta’s comments were in response to internal U.S. politics while expressing fresh confidence in the controversial military jet being delivered to Canada on time and on budget ….”  More on Canada continuing to stand behind its decision here, and how it could cost way more if the U.S. cancels here.
  • As the nuclear crisis over Iran heats up, Canada is veering toward a dangerous place. Israel is again contemplating a military attack on Iran to prevent its developing atomic weapons. This time it’s not clear that U.S. President Barack Obama can forestall the Jewish state …. In the past, Canada would have happily stayed on the sidelines …. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, Canada has taken a more militant approach to international affairs. His support for Israel has been rock-hard. He has also shown himself willing to deploy Canada’s small but effective military in combat operations the government deems politically useful …. In short, both sides now see the nuclear issue as life or death. The question for nations like Canada is not which country we like more but which alternative is worse. Is it better to let Iran follow in the footsteps of the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea by acquiring nuclear weapons? Or is better to unleash another Mideast war?”
  • A bit of Canadian aviation history will become a bit of a British monument honouring Bomber Command (PDF).  “A Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 Transport (landed) in Lethbridge, Alberta on Remembrance Day to pick up 800 pounds of aluminum that was once part of a wartime RCAF Halifax Bomber. The metal will become part of a £6,000,000 Bomber Command Memorial currently under construction in Green Park, London. The aluminum is being provided by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada to draw attention to the fact that 10,000 of the over 55,000 airmen lost with Bomber Command during World War II were Canadians. Halifax Bomber LW682 was part of 426 “Thunderbird” Squadron RCAF. It was shot down in 1944 and crashed into a swamp in Belgium. The seven Canadians and one Briton aboard were killed. The bodies of three of the Canadian airmen, missing in action and entombed in the Halifax bomber, were recovered in 1997 and given a full military funeral in Gerarrdsbergen, Belgium. The recovered parts of the Halifax were all saved and brought to Canada. Some of the parts were used in the restoration of the Halifax currently on display at Trenton, Ontario. The unusable aluminum was saved due to the rarity and heritage of this RCAF metal and was then melted down into ingots to be used into the future for Air Force Memorials, plaques, and statues by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada ….”