2017 April 15 : AsiaNet-Pakistan

Archive for April 15th, 2017

Death Toll From Massive US Bomb in Afghanistan Passes 90

April 15, 2017 |

ISLAMABAD � Afghan officials say the number of militants known to have been killed by a huge U.S. bomb Thursday has nearly tripled.

Officials say at least 92 militants died in the blast, up from 36 reported Friday. The area is still being cleared, so the death toll may increase.

There is no indication any civilians or military personnel were among the dead.

President Ashraf Ghani said Afghan and U.S. forces closely coordinated on the bombing, however his predecessor has strongly denounced the strike and the United States.

Karzai, others object

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday he is unleashing a campaign to force U.S. forces out of his country for dropping the so-called mother of all bombs on Afghan soil, calling it a barbaric act that was more aimed at testing a new weapon of mass destruction than targeting Islamic State fighters.

I have decided as an individual to force America out of Afghanistan. Whether someone joins me or not, I have decided to prevent the American cruelty (against Afghans). They are not only killing our people but destroying the environment and disrespecting our honor, Karzai told a gathering in Kabul.

Karzai’s criticism has been echoed by Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, who tweeted, I find the use of the largest non-nuclear bomb, the so-called ‘mother of all bombs,’ on our soil reprehensible & counterproductive. If big bombs were the solution we would be the most secure place on earth today.

The Afghan presidential palace responded to the criticism Saturday on its official Twitter account: Every Afghan has the right to speak their mind. This is a country of free speech.

And Afghanistan’s Minister for Security Reforms Amrullah Saleh defended Thursday’s strike.

Destroying few notorious cave networks along with dozens of terrorists to save ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) personnel by dropping a MOAB (mother of all bombs) was a wise tactical decision, Saleh, a former Afghan spy chief, said in a Twitter post.

US: right weapon for target

U.S. forces dropped the GBU-43 Massive Ordinance Air Blast, a nine-meter giant weighing about 10 tons, on the Achin district of Nangarhar province Thursday night. The strike was described as part of a campaign to destroy the Islamic State Khorasan Province group, the local chapter of IS.

General John Nicholson, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, said Friday his forces had coordinated the attack with the Afghan government, just as we have since we started these operations in early March.

Nicholson said circumstances on the ground justified the use of the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever used by the U.S. military.

This munition, this weapon, was the right weapon against this target, he said. The enemy had created bunkers, tunnels and extensive minefields, and this weapon was used to reduce those obstacles so that we could continue our offensive into southern Nangarhar.

U.S. President Donald Trump was asked Thursday whether the attack was intended to send a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who was reportedly poised to conduct a new nuclear weapons test as early as this weekend. But Nicholson insisted the decision was based solely on the analysis of conditions in Nangarhar.

It was the right time to use it tactically, against the right target on the battlefield, he said.

Nicholson said the operation against IS in Nangahar has liberated more than 400 square kilometers since its inception.

Source: Voice of America

Read More

Arab coalition will not allow Houthis to become another Hezbollah: Assiri

April 15, 2017 |

Paris (IINA) � The Arab coalition will not allow Houthi militias in Yemen to become like Hezbollah in Lebanon, its spokesman said.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said the coalition would not accept any notion that the militants become part of a solution in Yemen. Speaking at a forum in Paris, Al-Assiri said military operations in Yemen are being performed with caution in order to protect civilians, adding that Houthi militias are trying to hide their command and control centers among civilians.

We seek to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people, he said. The Arab coalition was created to preserve the Yemeni state, and the coalition’s main goal is to preserve its legitimacy and people’s rights, and to alleviate the suffering of civilians subjected to Houthis’ injustice. He noted that legitimate forces have achieved progress in Yemen and the political leadership has returned to Aden. Al-Assiri said Yemen’s suffering started the day the Houthis turned against the legitimate government, with militias using civilians as human shields and disguising their military command among them.

He advised against hasty executions of military plans in Yemen, which may lead to losses. The policy of blockading the militias leads to effective results.

The coalition cooperated with Yemeni forces to defeat Al-Qaeda in Yemen, he said, stressing that it is seeking a comprehensive political solution that satisfies everyone. A solution for Yemen has to entail the implementation of international resolutions and to be consistent with the will of the Yemeni people, with no gray areas that might consider the militants as part of the solution, Al-Assiri said.

He added that the legitimate government in Yemen is training young people on security and combating terrorism, while the coalition avoids using indiscriminate bombing that would endanger civilians. Al-Assiri said the coalition’s sea blockade is not a siege, it is only a means of controlling the parties that use the waters, and as such, claims that the blockade has led to famine are false.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Read More

Arab coalition will not allow Houthis to become another Hezbollah: Assiri

April 15, 2017 |

Paris (IINA) � The Arab coalition will not allow Houthi militias in Yemen to become like Hezbollah in Lebanon, its spokesman said.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said the coalition would not accept any notion that the militants become part of a solution in Yemen. Speaking at a forum in Paris, Al-Assiri said military operations in Yemen are being performed with caution in order to protect civilians, adding that Houthi militias are trying to hide their command and control centers among civilians.

We seek to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people, he said. The Arab coalition was created to preserve the Yemeni state, and the coalition’s main goal is to preserve its legitimacy and people’s rights, and to alleviate the suffering of civilians subjected to Houthis’ injustice. He noted that legitimate forces have achieved progress in Yemen and the political leadership has returned to Aden. Al-Assiri said Yemen’s suffering started the day the Houthis turned against the legitimate government, with militias using civilians as human shields and disguising their military command among them.

He advised against hasty executions of military plans in Yemen, which may lead to losses. The policy of blockading the militias leads to effective results.

The coalition cooperated with Yemeni forces to defeat Al-Qaeda in Yemen, he said, stressing that it is seeking a comprehensive political solution that satisfies everyone. A solution for Yemen has to entail the implementation of international resolutions and to be consistent with the will of the Yemeni people, with no gray areas that might consider the militants as part of the solution, Al-Assiri said.

He added that the legitimate government in Yemen is training young people on security and combating terrorism, while the coalition avoids using indiscriminate bombing that would endanger civilians. Al-Assiri said the coalition’s sea blockade is not a siege, it is only a means of controlling the parties that use the waters, and as such, claims that the blockade has led to famine are false.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Read More