War in Afghanistan
Oh no, explosive revelations in the Dominion Post today about New Zealand spies working in Afghanistan.
Kiwi spies operating in Afghanistan sifted through intelligence supplied by the United States National Security Agency, a former US intelligence officer has revealed.
Prime Minister John Key confirmed this week that New Zealand intelligence agencies provided information to international forces in Afghanistan that may have been used to target drone strikes.
Former “black ops” operator Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer detailed the work carried out by a New Zealand defence analyst stationed in Afghanistan in 2003.
He revealed that “raw” signals intelligence was passed to a team of US and Kiwi specialists “to parse it and review it to establish their own intel”.
Shaffer, who worked under the alias Major Chris Stryker, struck a deal with a colleague to access the intercepts.
He was working on a mission – eventually vetoed – to strike Taliban insurgents over the border with Pakistan.
Shock horror, our people working with the US.¬† Read more »
Are drones effective? Obama is certainly the drone-meister, deploying and utilising drones more than any other president. Of course technology has advanced at a greater pace too. But are they effective?
There‚Äôs no doubt that drone strikes can have horrific consequences. Beyond the¬†disputed numbers¬†of noncombatants killed, there are psychological consequences to consider as well. In the Senate hearing, Farea al-Muslimi, an American-educated Yemeni writer and activist,¬†spoke eloquently¬†of the heartbreak and fear that drones cause in Yemen. News reports from Pakistan suggest¬†something similar: People are deeply afraid of drones. These perspectives matter greatly. But they only scratch at the surface of a much bigger problem with how the U.S. government uses drones. At a basic level, are they effective?
Gauging the effectiveness of drones is not simply a question of body counts. It is a larger evaluation of whether the terrorist threat is affected, whether the countries where drones are used are becoming more stable or less, and whether America‚Äôs ability to partner with other governments for future counterterrorism missions is improving or getting worse. The human factor, which Congress has focused on recently, is an important part of that evaluation, but it is only one part. In other words: Can we tally up all the costs and benefits of the drone war?¬† Read more »
The left likes to exclaim that nothing has changed in Afghanistan.
Foreign Policy magazine has a photo essay on women in Afghanistan that disproves that….but it is all at risk if the Taliban return:
Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghan women have gained the rights to vote, work, and pursue an education. They’re¬†running¬†for president, they’ve¬†claimed¬†seats in parliament, and they’ve even¬†competed¬†in the Olympics. But international troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and the Taliban threatens to step into the vacuum they’ll leave behind. Already, writes Amie Ferris-Rotman in an¬†FP¬†dispatch from Kabul, many of the women who’ve come so far — journalists, politicians, and rights workers, among others — have begun to retreat from public life out of fear for their safety. “Once the Americans go we’ll have to sit at home again, bored,” First Lieutenant Zakiya Mohammadi tells Ferris-Rotman.
The “last decade produced a league of knowledgeable, determined young women for whom the Taliban’s return is anathema,” Ferris-Rotman writes. Here’s a look at women across post-Taliban Afghanistan — from the campaign trail to the basketball court to the operating room.
This morning David Fisher had an article about a “leaked” report from Defense that “blasted army training”.
A leaked report has strongly criticised the training given to an army contingent sent to Afghanistan which lost five of its members in combat.
The Defence Force has admitted the group left New Zealand with gaps in their training.
The report was written by a sergeant in military intelligence who reviewed the group’s preparation in Hawkes Bay, where the troops performed exercises simulating situations they were likely to encounter in Bamiyan province.
The only problem with Fisher’s assertions is that they are wrong. The Defense Force has not admitted anything of the sort (only one sergeant, and in a
stolen leaked report)…in fact they have issued a press release saying that Fisher’s article is wrong.
Statement from the Vice Chief of Defence Force, Major General Tim Keating¬† Read more »
Harry, or Captain Wales as he is known has given a frank discussion of his time in Afghanistan:
Prince Harry should be commended rather than criticised for his unfiltered reflections on his 20-week tour of duty in Afghanistan as a co-pilot gunner on an Apache helicopter.
Rather than hide behind euphemisms or portray the mission as a high-minded, essentially humanitarian exercise, Harry (who goes by the nom de guerre Captain Wales) freely admitted he’d killed Taleban fighters and likened his battlefront experiences to playing video games.
While his comments have been predictably deplored, I’d suggest he performed a public service by reminding us of the brutal reality of war-time soldiering.
He’s a professional soldier, as opposed to what many monarchists would prefer: a pretend soldier acquiring gold braid and giveaway ribbons to go with his other entitlements, while leaving the nasty, dangerous job of engaging the enemy to commoners. And a soldier’s job is to kill or facilitate the killing of the enemy.
Correct…it is the job of soliders, or in this case combat helicopter operators to make sure as many bad bastards die hard as possible in order to keep our guys safe.
Notwithstanding the apparent desire of successive governments to transform our military into a sort of uniformed branch of Volunteer Service Abroad, Harry has reminded us that its core function is fighting.
Of course the enemy sees their job in a similar light, hence the saying “kill or be killed” or, as Harry put it, “take a life to save a life”.
Judging by the reaction to the deaths of five of our soldiers in Afghanistan last August, some Kiwis appear to believe that being killed while on active service in a war zone is like being flattened by a runaway hay bale while going for a walk in the countryside: a desperately unfortunate freak occurrence.
The other widely expressed view was that our soldiers shouldn’t have died because they shouldn’t have been in Afghanistan in the first place. That raises the question of what would constitute a just war, a cause worth sacrificing lives for. There are those who give the impression that they would object to lives being put on the line for anything short of resisting an invasion by P-crazed cannibals from outer space.
This mindset reduces the armed forces to a purely ornamental function.
I can’t believe I am reading this in the Herald..but there it is, a frank account of the panty-waist attitude of the hand-wringers…and the reality of war from Prince Harry.
It has to be said that Harry’s reference to video games included an unfortunate choice of words: “It’s a joy for me because I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I’m probably quite useful.”
Well, quite, your highness, although perhaps “joy” is ever so slightly unseemly in this context.
But again, in his gauche way, Harry has put his thumb on it: the further removed from the death scene the killer is, the more warfare becomes virtual combat.
There is joy in a job well done.
BONUS VIDEO:¬†2 Apaches Engage a Group of Taliban fighters setting up to ambush a U.S. special forces patrol.
PRINCE Harry has killed his first Taliban commander, The Sun can reveal.
The 28-year-old gunship co-pilot was called on to unleash a missile strike to eliminate a senior terror leader.
Harry has proved a massive hit with comrades in Helmand, Afghanistan, who have nicknamed him Big H.
A defence insider said: “Big H is a legend.
‚ÄúWe were on patrol and the Apache helicopters were called in. We heard this posh voice come over the radio and knew it was Big H. They were tracking a Taliban leader ‚ÄĒ he was commander level.
“The Apache then let off some Hellfire missiles and its 30mm cannon and ‘boom’. It was Big H all the way.”
The Sun understands the decisive strike occurred in late October during a partnered patrol with Afghan troops hunting the Taliban chief.
Gunship co-pilot Harry is on tour in Helmand and has been flying daily combat missions helping “troops in contact” ‚ÄĒ the code given when ground forces are engaged by enemy fighters.
Good job. One of the bad bastards responsible for killing our troops just got his sinuses cleared care of the US Airforce. Well done chaps.
A senior Taliban leader thought to be behind a roadside bombing in which three New Zealand soldiers died has reportedly been killed by coalition forces.
Prime Minister John Key today confirmed Abdullah Kalta died in the Afghanistan airstrike.
New Zealand soldiers Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris and Corporal Luke Tamatea were killed in August when their Humvee struck an improvised explosive device.
New Zealand personnel were not involved in the attack on Kalta but coalition forces could have used intelligence gathered by New Zealand SAS troops, Mr Key said on TVNZ’s¬†Breakfast¬†show.
“We weren’t physically involved but it was almost certainly intelligence that New Zealand people have been gathering over there.
“It was in the northeastern part of Bamiyan province. If that is the case, and that seems to be the information we have, then I think that’s good news if it makes Afghanistan a safer place for our people.”
You kill our guys then we are going to kill you…harder.
Pinko journalist Jon Stephenson has revealed that some of our SAS soldiers may be back in Afghanistan on a seek and destroy mission against the Taliban scum who killed our soldiers.
So what if they are…I hope they get them.
The Prime Minister however says that is not true…
Prime Minister John Key has denied a report that SAS troops have been re-deployed to Afghanistan to carry out a “revenge mission” for the killings of five New Zealand soldiers.
Mr Key was responding to claims by Jon Stephenson, Radio New Zealand’s correspondent in Afghanistan, that sources in the US-led coalition in Afghanistan and the New Zealand SAS community had told him SAS troops were going back to attack.
“Not true. Completely wrong,” the Prime Minister said.
“As I’ve indicated earlier there’s a small group who are there and that group is not in a combat role. They are there in terms of providing logistics and planning support.”
Stephenson said the troops would be in addition to the ones that Mr Key said had been sent to gather intelligence.
He said he had been told they would be playing an “active part in the hunt” for the insurgents.
“I’ve been told that the mission of these troops is not to gather intelligence but to help carry out the strikes or the raids on those insurgents that killed the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) soldiers in August.”
Again, So what if ¬†they are. All power to them. The Taliban are scum and the more we put in the ground the better.
Prince Harry has been deployed to Afghanistan, this time as a WSO in an Apache:
The 27-year-old arrived in Camp Bastion in Helmand in the early hours of this morning, where he will be based for the duration of his tour with 622 Sqn, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.
His role will be to kill insurgents as he operates the aircraft’s weapon systems, which include Hellfire missiles and a 30mm chain gun. He will also be expected to provide air cover on missions by special forces.
Heh, I love how he is called Captain Wales by the Army.