Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Children of Jihad

Children..."beat the drums of jihad..."

Photo: A destroyed police station is seen the morning after it was hit by a suicide truck bomb attack in Ramadi, Iraq, February 27, 2007

Taliban tipped-off? US and Afghan officials are investigating whether Taliban fighters who claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at Bagram Air Force Base were tipped off that Vice President Dick Cheney was visiting the US military headquarters...Reports of the overall death toll varied, with the US military saying there were nine dead and the Afghan government putting the number killed at 23 and reporting two dozen injured.

+ Conflicting reports over Iraq blast that killed 18: Iraq's government and police said a bomb blast near a soccer field in the western city of Ramadi on Tuesday killed 18 people, mostly children, but the U.S. military said it was unaware of such an attack.

Photo: A woman cries near burning vehicles after a car bomb attack in Baghdad, February 27, 2007

+ Israeli troops kill three terrorist in West Bank raid: Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinian terrorists in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin on Wednesday, and forces resumed operations in Nablus one day after Palestinians said they had pulled out...Israeli and Palestinian security sources said one of the men killed was identified as Mohammed Abu Naaseh, a local Islamic Jihad leader...Earlier, a hospital official said one of the three killed was a civilian taxi driver. But a Palestinian security source said he was in fact an Islamic Jihad terrorist.

The Israeli military spokesman said: "The target is still to damage to terrorist infrastructure in the city." He said that involved arresting wanted men and capturing weaponry and explosive materials.

Islamic Jihad: In addition, unlike the PLO, Islamic Jihad is an extreme religious organization. Its objective is to establish a religious Palestinian state, ruled by Islamic law. In this sense, Islamic Jihad is inspired by the Khomeini Revolution in Iran in 1979...The seeds of evil which eventually sprouted into Islamic Jihad were planted at Egypt’s Zakazik University–a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism. Essentially, Islamic Jihad is a product of the original fundamentalist Islamic movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which also spawned Hamas. Visit Omedia.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Rebuilding Afghanistan

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced up to $200 million in additional funding for reconstruction and development activities in Afghanistan.

The announcement was made following a meeting with Christopher Alexander, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Afghanistan.

“Taken together, the projects funded by today’s announcement will help build the peaceful, stable, democratic country the long-suffering Afghan people deserve,” said the Prime Minister. The funding, to be disbursed this year and next on top of Canada’s annual allocation of $100 million to development activities in Afghanistan, will flow to five priority areas: governance and development ($120 million); counter-narcotics ($30 million); policing ($20 million); de-mining ($20 million); and road construction ($10 million). More.

Canada is in Afghanistan at the request of the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan as part of a UN-sanctioned mission to help build a stable, democratic and self-sufficient society.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen HarperPhoto: PM Harper visits the troops in Afghanistan in Mar, 2006.

Other News:
Israeli forces raid Nablus, Palestinian killed
+ Iran faces tough new sanctions in nuclear stand-off

+ World court finds Serbia innocent of genocide charge

+ Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Four French nationals, some of them Muslim, were shot dead in Saudi Arabia on Monday in what appeared to be a militant attack, according to reports on Saudi television.

+ Britain to send 1400 more troops to Afghanistan; changes tactics to defeat Taliban
+ Bomb narrowly misses Iraqi vice president

FOB (Forward Operating Base) Ma'sum Ghar, Afghanistan

London, U.K. - A British court on Monday ruled the government can deport radical Muslim cleric Omar Othman - known as Abu Qatada - to his native Jordan...Othman has been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in Jordan for involvement in a series of terror blasts and has been held in Britain since 2002 under terrorism and immigration laws.

Othman - who has always publicly distanced himself from al-Qaeda - became one of the Britain most wanted men in December 2001 when he went on the run before the government introduced new anti-terror laws. Othman was previously been described by a UK judge as "a truly dangerous individual, heavily involved in al-Qaeda". British authorities say 18 videotapes of his sermons were uncovered in an apartment in the north German city of Hamburg, used by some of the hijackers in the 11 September 2001 attacks on US cities. Othman - a Jordanian Palestinian - sought asylum in Britain in 1993.

A Noble Cause

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today paid tribute to Canadian corporate and grassroots donors whose generosity is bringing better health and hope for tens of thousands of children and adults in the developing world. His remarks were made at the official opening of the Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) medical aid distribution centre in Mississauga (Greater Toronto Area), Ontario.

“Consider some of the people involved in this endeavour. They include CEOs and senior executives from major corporations who normally are fierce competitors. Yet they have come together in a noble common cause. And then there are smaller donors, the small businesses, church congregations, community groups and individuals. They may not have as much to give, but the ocean of suffering in the developing world has touched their hearts, so they give what they can,” the Prime Minister said. During the last two decades, HPIC has delivered over $200 million worth of medical aid to people in 116 countries around the world.

Progress in Afghanistan:

Women in Afghanistan: Through the National Solidarity Program, created by the Government of Afghanistan to encourage rural development, women sit on Community Development Councils in some 17,000 villages throughout the country – roughly half of all Afghan villages. Five years ago women had no voice in public life. A new Canadian-led project is enabling 1,500 women to develop home-based fruit and vegetable gardens to supplement family diets and generate income.

Education: Over five million children (one-third girls) now go to school compared to 700,000 (no girls) in 2001, while 363,000 teachers have been provided with teaching material. Since 85% of women and 57% of men lack basic reading and writing skills the Government of Afghanistan has launched a literacy program. Through UNICEF, Canada is supporting programs towards basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills for 4,600 Afghans in Kandahar. Led by the Afghan Ministry of Education, Canada is helping to implement a girls’ education project which will establish up to 4,000 community-based schools, after-school learning programs and provide training for 9,000 new female school teachers. In 11 of the 34 provinces, 120,000 schoolchildren (85% are girls) are benefiting from these programs

Assistance and community-led development: Along with international partners and the Afghanistan government, our contribution has helped Afghans elect 16,000 community-led development councils. More than 22,000 community improvement projects have been completed or are in progress. The Canadian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) supports the 470 Kandahar Community Development Councils. The Canadian PRT in Kandahar is providing assistance in a number of areas, including:

Kandahar Emergency food and non-food aid ($13.4 million) and Village medical outreach clinics; Province-wide community development projects in all 17 Kandahar Province districts ($200,000 per district); Integrated Alternative Livelihoods Programs; Kandahar City Street light project (188 lights); Four large water reservoirs supplying much needed water to the area and residents, another 55 pipe schemes of water networks have been constructed benefiting 1.3 million Afghans; 100 km of irrigation canals have been rehabilitated; A network of provincial roads and electrical grids have been repaired, resulting in 150 km of new roads and bridges, 50 km of electricity lines, 10 transformers, and 42 generators. In Kandahar, more than $12,000 in “cash for work” projects to clear irrigation canals and pick up rubble and garbage, has been provided as temporary relief for those who have had their livelihoods disrupted.

A Noble Cause

+ A new Afghan constitution has restored the rule of law and respect for the human rights of every Afghan citizen
+ Two national elections have been held (presidential and parliamentary)
+ The Afghan economy has tripled since 2001; per capita income has doubled

+ More than 7 million children have been vaccinated against polio; more than 4 million against childhood diseases
+ 2,500 villages have electricity for the first time 300,000 Afghans (72% women) have received microfinance business loans
+ The Afghan National Forces and Afghan National Police are receiving training and working alongside NATO military forces to provide security
+ Over five million children (one third girls) now go to school compared to 700,000 (no girls) in 2001
+ 4,000 houses and shelters have been rebuilt

+ 190,000 land mines have been defused and removed
+ Local governance has been strengthened through the election of 16,000 Community Development Councils in rural villages
+ 6,000 kilometres of roads have been built and repaired
+ 4.6 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan

Other News
+ Ottawa - Supreme Court Overturns Controversial Detention Measures: The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the key provisions of controversial immigration security certificates yesterday as being grossly unfair to terrorism suspects...

Patrols by the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Kandahar City area. Civil-Military Cooperation operator Warrant Officer Sean Chase speaks with teachers at a school on the outskirts of Kandahar City.

A faculty member of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Kandahar City deconstructs a brick wall behind the automotive training building at the Kandahar Technical College, used as a military training facility during the taliban regime.

A long-range patrol by the Provincial Reconstruction Team to Spin Boldak. Two soldiers from the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team's Force Protection Company take a break in the Afghan National Police station at Spin Boldak.

Flying over Afghanistan.

Dar al-Harb

British Mullah Anjum Chaudri describes the "Killing of Innocent" Non-Muslim civilians as "Legitimate".

+ Cowards strike again - Suicide bomber kills 40+ at Baghdad college: ...at the Baghdad Economy and Administration College...Most of the victims were students, witnesses said. "May God curse the terrorists," shouted some students after the attack. Others sat on the ground outside weeping...Maliki expressed optimism on Saturday about the 10-day-old security plan and said U.S. and Iraqi forces had killed about 400 suspected militants since it began.

Cowards strike again - Blast kills 35+ at Iraqi mosque: A truck exploded Saturday as worshippers left a Sunni mosque west of Baghdad, killing at least 35 people and injuring more than 60 in an apparent sign of increased internal Sunni battles between insurgents and those opposing them. The imam of the mosque in Habbaniyah, about 50 miles west of Baghdad, had spoken out against militants fighting the U.S.-backed government, including the group al-Qaida in Iraq.

U.S. Adapting To New Insurgent Tactics: U.S. Army General Ray Odierno, the commander of the coalition troops in Iraq, has said he believes the enemy in Iraq is improving its tactics...."That's just another way they're trying to adapt to cause some sort of chaos here in the country"...Chlorine causes respiratory trouble and skin irritation in low levels and is sometimes lethal with heavy exposure...Odierno was asked about U.S. accusations that Iran's elite Quds force has been helping some of the warring factions in Iraq. He replied that he believes the Iranian group is supplying training, funding, and weapons to some Shi'ite militias, but stressed that he has no evidence that the Quds force was, in his words, "propping up" any of the Iraqi groups.

+ Good job Israel - Police Arrest Arab Israelis at Tel Aviv Firms Suspected of Doing Business With Hamas, Islamic Jihad:
Police report an increase during the past year in the flow of clandestine finance to Palestinian militant groups squeezed by a financial blockade imposed by international aid donors since Hamas last year won parliamentary elections and control of the Palestinian government.
"These funds are used as fuel to ignite terror and they allow these organizations to preserve and expand their organized infrastructure," the police statement said.

Rogue Threats Justify European Missile Defense: The United States says that it wants to build a European missile shield to protect against threats from countries it considers rogue states, including North Korea and Iran.

+ A family of 13 was killed on the road leading to Falluja, about 12 miles northwest of Baghdad, because its members were from a tribe known to oppose Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, witnesses said.
The family, including an elderly woman and two small boys, was dragged out of a minibus, lined up and shot. The bodies remained on the highway for hours because people were afraid they would be ambushed if they collected the dead, witnesses said. The family was part of the Albu Farag tribe, which has made an alliance with the Anbar Salvation Council. The council has been trying to undermine the militants, and its leader, Abdul Satar Abu Risha, was himself the target of an assassination attempt on Monday when a suicide bomber drove into his home in Ramadi. He survived, but five of his guards were killed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

America and Canadian Oil

Al-Qaeda has included Canada in a list of countries that it believes should be attacked for providing oil to the United States. Why? Because Canada is the #1 oil importer to the United States. (Saudi Arabia is #2 and Mexico is #3)

Canada has the world's second largest oil reserves when tar sands are included, and is the leading source of U.S. imports, averaging 2 million barrels per day in November 2006.

+ US Oil Imports (As of Nov. 2006)
+ Petroleum

The Saudi Arabian arm of the network posted the threat on Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad), the group's online magazine, according to the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE), a U.S. non-profit group that monitors militant websites. The website is known to be used by Islamist militants. More.

Is your friend pictured here? Do you share the occasional beer or two with any of these men? If so, please invite your local FBI agent to your next outing. Thanks.

NEAR BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airmen of Task Force 1041 patrol the local area. The task force is a self-sustaining unit and has medical staff, personnelists, information managers and other specialists who are all trained to be defenders

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airman 1st Class Andrew Hose inspects rounds before he and other Task Force 1041 Airmen go on an off-base patrol.

+ Egyptian blogger sentenced to jail: Suleiman, a Muslim and a liberal, has not denied writing the articles, but said they merely represented his own views.

One of his articles said that al-Azhar in Cairo, one of the most prominent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, was promoting extreme ideas. Another article, headlined "The Naked Truth of Islam as I Saw it", accused Muslims of savagery during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria in 2005.

Suleiman has also denounced Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, likening him to the dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt.

+ Top court overturns federal security certificates
CTV.ca News StaffThe Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) unanimously ruled today that federal security certificates, used to detain suspected terrorists, are unconstitutional.
The 9-0 judgment found that the system violated the Charter of Rights.

+ British government to bolster troops in Afghanistan, Will send an extra 1,000 soldiers: Britain has confirmed it is bolstering its force in Afghanistan with an extra 1,000 soldiers. The announcement comes days after the country said it plans to withdraw 1,600 troops from Iraq in coming months.

Francis Bok

From Publishers Weekly:

"Seven-year-old Francis Piol Bol Buk was living happily on his family's southern Sudan farm. One day in 1986, he was sent on errands to the marketplace. There, a slave raid ripped him from his contented life and threw him into a wretched existence serving under a northern Sudanese Arab.
After he escaped at age 17, Buk made his way to Cairo with a black market passport incorrectly listing his name as Bok and became a U.N. refugee allowed to settle in the U.S. in 1999. Although he found contentment in Iowa among other refugees, the following year Bok decided to work with an American antislavery organization, and testified before Congress about the atrocities in Sudan.
While this is a remarkable story, its power is conveyed most effectively through Bok's simple retelling. His sincerity compels, especially when he describes the decade of mistreatment he endured. After two failed escape attempts, he's told he'll be killed in the morning, and while bound, he thinks of the morning ahead: "I would be dead and finally through with this place and this family. My mind preferred death." Yet when his master changes his mind, Bok immediately starts plotting again. For all his emotional strength, though, Bok remains humble. He thanks God and everyone who helps him escape slavery. This is a powerful, exceptionally well-told story, equally riveting and heartbreaking. Although legal strides have been made, with the help of people like Bok, the persistence of slavery in the world makes this a work that can't be ignored. "
BAGHDAD, Feb 18 (Reuters) - On any given day in Baghdad, Iraqi police can be expected to report finding up to 50 bodies shot, tortured and dumped in the streets of the capital, but on Saturday only five were found, police said on Sunday.
It was the most dramatic sign yet that a stepped-up military offensive by more than 110,000 Iraqi and U.S security forces is, at least for now, curbing the sectarian violence that has turned the city's streets into killing fields. There has been a relative lull in sectarian attacks since Operation Imposing Law, seen as a last-ditch attempt to avert all-out civil war, began a few days ago.

Police normally report finding between 40 and 50 bodies a day in Baghdad, but Saturday's toll was one of the lowest since the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra a year ago unleashed a wave of violence that has caused tens of thousands of deaths.
U.S. officials and Sunni Arab leaders say many of the killings are carried out by death squads of the Mehdi Army militia of anti-U.S. Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The U.S. military commander for Baghdad, Major-General Joseph Fil, said on Friday he had noted a "substantial reduction" in the number of attacks attributed to the militia.

Other news:
+ A young Egyptian blogger has become the first person in Egypt sentenced to a jail term for opinions expressed on the internet. Human-rights groups condemned what they called the "chilling precedent" set by an Alexandria court when it sentenced Abdel Kareem Suleiman to four years in prison for insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak. Some of Suleiman's blog opinions were decidedly outspoken. He described companions of the prophet Mohammed as "terrorists" and he compared President Mubarak to the pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt. More.
+ Taliban suspected in Pakistan bombing
The police say a senior judge and six lawyers were killed in the blast and 24 other people were wounded. The court is near to a police station and an office that issues driving licences. It was not clear who was behind the blast. Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province which has seen ongoing unrest. Residents of the province have been demanding a greater share of wealth from their natural resources. There has been a spate of suicide attacks in Pakistan that intelligence officials have linked to groups operating from tribal areas, seen as supporting the Taliban and its battle against Nato forces in Afghanistan...

+ 25% of Saudi marriages end in divorce: Saudi Arabia, which follows an austere form of Sunni Islam, allows men to repudiate their wives. "It is impossible to have healthy relationships in Saudi Arabia. The laws have given men full authority while women are deprived of their rights and freedom," rights activist Wajiha al-Howeidar told Reuters.

He looked at me and said, "You want to know why no one loves you and why you must sleep with the animals?... I make you sleep with the animals... because you ARE an animal..."

-- from Escape from Slavery by Francis Bok

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

West Bank Private Schools

"International Orthodox Christian Charities' (IOCC) plan to renovate and upgrade nine private schools in the West Bank was recently approved for funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)...It is the first time that U.S. government funding will go towards faith-based schools in the Holy Land.
"Public schools are closed in the West Bank because the Palestinian Authority cannot pay the teachers’ salaries and the teachers are on strike. Many Muslim parents go to these private Christian schools asking them to accept their children. They are accepted, but the schools do not have enough classroom space. This new program will upgrade classroom size. St. George’s Orthodox School in Ramallah will be able to accept another 100 children because of the upgrade.
The Orthodox Secondary School in the village of Taybeh is one of nine private West Bank schools that will receive new USAID funding through IOCC’s infrastructure repair project. Enlarged classrooms, upgraded libraries, and other improvements are being planned for Orthodox and Latin Patriarchate schools in Beit Jala, Jerusalem, Beit Sahour and Ramallah.
Other News:
+ Chlorine gas hurts dozens, Black Hawk goes down: Insurgents exploded a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters yesterday -- the second such "dirty" chemical attack in two days -- while a U.S. official said ground fire apparently forced the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter. The pickup blast killed at least five people and sent more than 55 to hospitals, gasping for breath, police said.
+ 'Jesus loves Osama' sign draws criticism: SYDNEY, Australia - A sign saying "Jesus Loves Osama" outside some churches in Australia drew criticism from the prime minister and religious leaders on Thursday, though they conceded it was probably true according to Christian beliefs. Tne sign outside the Central Baptist Church in downtown Sydney also had a smaller footnote saying "Jesus said: `Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Happy Year of the Pig

Sunday marked the start of the Chinese New Year - The Year of the Pig - so Happy New Year to all who are celebrating.

" 'Both adults and children believe pigs are a lucky symbol, which bring fortune and wealth,' Tenlow's Wu Ying said. 'Their plumpness means prosperity.'

"This cartoon pig used in Tenlow's ads would hardly seem subversive. But CCTV has ordered major advertising agencies not to use pig images, cartoons or slogans 'to avoid conflicts with ethnic minorities.' That's a reference to China's 20 million Muslims, about 2 percent of the country's population.

Chinese Muslims in the Year of the Pig

Ban Thwarts 'Year of the Pig' Ads in China

China's fearful Muslim minority: Human rights groups fear China may take advantage of the international campaign against terrorism to suppress dissent among ethnic Uighurs.

Islam in China - Wiki

Chinese converts demand own mosques in Malaysia: Chinese Malaysians who have embraced Islam are testing the government over a mosque issue that analysts say highlights a racial divide in the multi-ethnic country.

String of 29 bombings in Southern Thailand: A coordinated string of at least 29 bomb blasts in Thailand's largely Muslim south may have been timed for the start of Lunar New Year festivities and intended to frighten ethnic Chinese traders as part of a campaign to damage the economy, a military spokesman said this week.

Other News:
+ Iran vows not to 'retreat one iota' in nuclear pursuit
+ US Says British Iraq Withdrawal Sign of Success: U.S. officials are describing Britain's announcement that it will withdraw 1,600 of its troops from Iraq as a sign of the type of success in the southern part of the country that they want to see in the Baghdad area.
+ A Closer Look at Blair's Iraq Move

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


+ Documents Show Insurgents Targeting U.S. Aircraft: At least seven U.S. helicopters have been shot down in the last month in Iraq. The New York Times today reports that documents seized from Iraqi insurgents indicate the attacks are the result of static planning targeting U.S. aircrafts

+ Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday the war in Iraq has been mismanaged for years and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be remembered as one of the worst in history.

Insurgents Use Fuel Truck to Kill, Wound Soldiers
Sunni Sheiks Join Iraqi Police to Fight Al Qaida

+ Woman accuses Iraqi police of rape: Al Jazeera reports statements by a Sunni woman that she was raped by three Iraqi police force members after she was detained over the weekend. "Sunni leaders have been claiming the crackdown has focused on their neighbourhoods while leaving some Shia-led strongholds largely unaffected. Sunnis routinely accuse the Shia-dominated security forces of using excessive force against them, including indiscriminate arrests and torture of prisoners."

US Marines dismount from an AAV and attack during an operation in Fallujah, Iraq.

American Marine and Iraqi soldiers engage insurgents in Ramadi.

Soldiers outside Mosul, Iraq fire a round to calibrate the M198 155mm Medium Towed Howitzer.

M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) also known as "Minimi" in use on patrol near Rawah, Iraq.

Infidel Jessica Simpson in Iraq.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Staffordshire Regiment, British Army

The Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales') (or simply "Staffords" for short) is an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. The regiment was formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of The South Staffordshire Regiment and The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales'). The Staffords can trace their history back to 1705 when a regiment known as the 38th Foot was raised at Lichfield by Colonel Luke Lillington.

In The News:
+ Man free after nearly three years in church sanctuary: VANCOUVER — An unexpected reprieve from federal immigration officials granting refugee status to Amir Kazemian, an Iranian man who sought sanctuary in a Vancouver church...

Toxic Scare at Canadian Embassy, France

PARIS (Reuters) - Police in chemical protective suits evacuated Canada's embassy in Paris on Monday when a staff member fell ill after opening the mail, but authorities later said the suspect letter contained no toxic substance..."We don't know what it was but it's not a toxic substance," Hivert said when asked what was in the envelope. Further tests are being carried out.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rape in the Arab World

+ Saudi rape victim gets 90 lashes: "The court heard that the victim and her friend were followed by the assailants to their car, kidnapped and taken to a remote farm, where the raping occurred..." More.

+ "While African women in Darfur were being raped by the Janjaweed militiamen, Arab women stood nearby and sang for joy, according to an Amnesty International report published on Monday. The songs of the Hakama, or the "Janjaweed women" as the refugees call them, encouraged the atrocities which the militiamen committed. The women singers stirred up racial hatred against black civilians during attacks on villages in Darfur and celebrated the humiliation of their enemies, the human-rights group said.

+ Maintaining Family Honor by Al Skudsi bin Hookah: "...why are we Arabs telling the Western press that honor killing is cultural, that it is not really part of Islam? Our way of life is based on maintaining our honor. And make no mistake about it: a woman does tarnish her family's honor by engaging in pre-marital sex, or by getting herself raped, when she seeks divorce and when she marries against her family's wishes. Why are we pussyfooting? Are we ashamed of what we do? Why are some of us trying to play it down...

"...there's no point saying honor killing isn't really part of our religion. Our religion isn't just what's in the Koran. Honor killings fit into the cultural context of today's Islamic teachings. Honor and Islam are inextricably bound; they are what give our life meaning. A strong religion demands we choose to maintain our honor."

"...the men who act vigorously to maintain honor. They are the real victims. Their honor was violated, so killing the offending woman is self-defense."

"Kifaya Husayn, a 16-year-old Jordanian girl, was lashed to a chair by her 32-year-old brother. He gave her a drink of water and told her to recite an Islamic prayer. Then he slashed her throat. "

+ Rape in Muslim Neighbourhoods in France: "The darkest shadows of the city of light. Muslim women in the housing projects of Paris rebel against oppression and sexual assault. The rest of France seems a far way off...

"...these projects, high-rises which are being built far away from the city center to house African and Arab immigrants.Just saying you live in this neighborhood is enough to get your job application thrown in the garbage, and the unemployment amongst young people is four-times the national average.

"(voice-over): With little hope of making it outside the projects, many of these young men try to dominate their own neighborhood, resulting to violence, especially against young women.They rule gangland style, combined with the male-dominated traditions of the Arab countries they came from. It's gotten so bad that today most of the young women only feel safe if they're covered up or if they stay at home. Girls who want to look just like other French girls are considered provocative, asking for trouble.Samira Bellil wasn't asking for trouble, but trouble came to her. She's the granddaughter of Algerian immigrants and she's written a book about surviving the hell of the Parish ghettos.

"SAMIRA BELLIL, AUTHOR (through translator): I was gang raped by three people I knew and I couldn't say anything because in my culture your family is dishonored if you lose your virginity, so I kept quiet and the rapes continued. The next time I was pulled off the commuter train and no one lifted a finger to help me."

+ Iranian woman sentenced to death for killing a police official who tried to rape her has been pardoned by the victim's family: "The family of Behzad Moghaddam agreed to accept compensation instead of seeking Afsaneh Norouzi's execution...Norouzi's freedom will give new breath to women to find the courage to stand up for their rights and defend themselves..." More.

+ Women's Non-Existence in the Arab World: "I made one of the biggest mistakes I will forever regret until the day I die. I met Arab men. They are the biggest mistake God ever created on the face of the Earth. Little did I know that in Arab culture, women had no place in humanity. Not only was I not allowed to think, speak or work for myself. I was only able to talk when I was told to, was largely humiliated and ignored when I did speak, was forced to submit to Arab sexual demands and was told not to work nor be sexually autonomous in deciding how many or how little partners I could or could not have. I was not allowed to so much as change my mind on issues, converse intellectually, watch television, read, write, go outside when I chose to, alter my physical appearance when I chose to, speak on issues of history, religion, or politics."

+ Janjaweed Arab militia accused of using systematic rape, as well as killing and destroying the villages of black Africans (in the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region).: "The women are most at risk when they fetch water. Behind the closed door of a classroom, in the school compound where she has been living for the last two months, 35 year-old rape-victim Khadija, spoke of her ordeal..."

News: Iran, CIA, Democrats

Photo: Osama ("Ozzie" to the ladies) takes a much needed break from planning mass murders and abductions.

Irania Revolution? Police clash with insurgents in Iran: Iranian police and insurgents clashed briefly after a bomb - described as a "sound bomb" - went off in southeastern Iran but injured no one, the country's state-run news agency said on Saturday. The device exploded late Friday near the site where an earlier explosion this week killed 11 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in Zahedan, the capital of the Sistan-Baluchestan province on the border with Pakistan.

+ Report: Weapons used in attack in Zahedan, Iran come from US

+ Mauritania pilot outwits hijacker: The pilot of a hijacked Air Mauritania plane deliberately made a rough landing so passengers and crew could tackle the gunman, Spanish officials say...The pilot, named by Air Mauritania as Ahmedou Mohamed Lemine, had urged crew members and men to sit in the front rows, ready to act, while women and children were warned to move to the rear...In 1998 an armed hijacker commandeered an Air Mauritania jet, demanding to take it to Morocco. He also was overpowered by the pilot and there were no casualties in the incident.

Italy plans to try CIA agents: A Milan judge yesterday ordered 26 Americans, most of them believed to be CIA agents, to stand trial with Italian spies for abducting a Muslim cleric and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured...The trial, set to begin on June 8, will be the first criminal case over "renditions," one of the most controversial aspects of U.S. President George W. Bush's war on terrorism.

Democrats win anti-war vote: WASHINGTON — Democrats, now a majority in Congress, fired a symbolic shot across President George W. Bush's bow yesterday, passing a toughly worded but non-binding resolution that opposes sending thousands more U.S. soldiers into Baghdad's violent cauldron. It was the first anti-war vote since Sept. 11, 2001, a rare rebuke of a sitting president's foreign policy and one that could set the stage for a showdown over Iraq between Democrats in Congress and the beleaguered President.
14 Killed In Pakistan Suicide Bombing +++ Rice in Baghdad, urges reconciliation
Little hope for progress in Mideast peace talks

Somewhere in the US or Canada? No. It's Afghanistan.

Afghanistan - Greetings from Canada's 3rd Troop.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Madrid Bombings Trial

Composite image of suspects in Madrid train bombings: Top l-r; Emilio Suarez Trashorras, Jamal Zougam, Rabei Osman. Bottom (l-r); Hasan al Haski, Youssef Belhadj and Abdelmajid Bouchar.

MADRID, Spain -- It was Europe's worst terror attack in more than 15 years -- bombs made of dynamite and nails that ripped through four packed Madrid commuter trains, killing 191 people. On Thursday, 29 suspects are going to trial...The seven ringleaders -- a Tunisian, an Algerian and five Moroccans -- will never see a courtroom. They blew themselves up three weeks after the bombing as police closed in on their hideout in the Madrid suburb of Leganes. Three others are believed to have fled the country...

Toronto -- Terrorism suspect Mohamed Mahjoub will soon be living again in Toronto with his wife and two young sons after spending almost seven years behind bars without charges.
A Federal Court justice yesterday ordered his release on a form of house arrest as Canada's courts continue to grapple with the constitutional issues surrounding his case.

Canada's spy service (CSIS) alleges Mahjoub was a high-ranking member of the Egyptian Al Jihad and had contact with other terrorism suspects in Canada.

In 1992, Mahjoub worked for an agricultural company owned by Osama bin Laden in Sudan and later fled to Canada as a refugee. He was convicted in absentia in an Egyptian court in 1999 and in the spring of 2000 was arrested in Toronto on a national security certificate – the provision of the immigration legislation that gives the government the power to deport non-citizens deemed a risk to national security. A Federal Court justice later upheld the certificate as "reasonable," after reviewing public and private evidence provided by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

New offensive in Afghanistan will be tough, Bush warns: NATO troops, including Canadians, will face more tough combat this spring as a new offensive is launched against the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. President George W. Bush warned yesterday.

“That’s the miracle of America. Freedom to believe means the freedom to believe the wrong thing, after all. Just as freedom of speech gives you the right to stay silent.”
-- Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Afghanistan in Downsview, Toronto

The new Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre near Downsview Park means soldiers of 32 Canadian Brigade Group (32 CBG) can now conduct training in a simulated town modelled after urban terrain in Afghanistan.

The new facility is the first of its kind in Canada. While other training facilities for urban operations exist, none of them simulates the current operations overseas.

Inside what was once an aircraft hangar, soldiers conduct patrols and protection escorts in the midst of role players who provide all the realism of inhabitants and insurgents. As participants plan, rehearse and put their plan into action, they are under the watchful eye of skilled and experienced evaluators who provide on-the-spot critiques of what went well and what could have been done better.

Soldiers take a break after training at the Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre.

A soldier takes cover behind sandbags during a training scenario at the Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre.

Soldiers pull a local police officer to safety after a suicide bomber detonates himself at a checkpoint during a training scenario, in the Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre.

Privates Cesare Ierullo (left) and David Macdonald of The Royal Regiment of Canada engage an insurgent during a training scenario at the Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre.

A suicide bomber detonates himself at a check point, while soldiers pull a local police officer to safety during a training scenario in the Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre.

Soldiers conduct a security patrol inside the Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre

Honor Killing

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that the annual worldwide total of honor killing victims may be as high as 5,000 women...

Sharif Kanaana, professor of anthropology at Birzeit University states that honor killing is:

A complicated issue that cuts deep into the history of Arab society... What the men of the family, clan, or tribe seek control of in a patrilineal society is reproductive power. Women for the tribe were considered a factory for making men. The honor killing is not a means to control sexual power or behavior. What's behind it is the issue of fertility, or reproductive power.

An Amnesty International statement adds:

The mere perception that a woman has contravened the code of sexual behavior damages honor. The regime of honor is unforgiving: women on whom suspicion has fallen are not given an opportunity to defend themselves, and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honor by attacking the woman. More.
Image above: Ibtihaz Hasoun after being killed in an honor killing.

Some experts estimate that 200 to 300 honor killings like Zahra's occur every year in Syria. Most receive little or no attention. But Zahra's murder – in part because it happened in the capital and not a rural area – has compelled Syria's grand mufti, cleric Ahmad Hassoun, to publicly condemn the crime, calling for the first time for the immediate protection of girls at risk and for legal reform on the basis that such crimes are un-Islamic. President Bashar al-Assad has also promised to find a solution...Syria's law is lenient on a man who kills or injures his female relative if he catches her in "illegitimate sexual acts with another," or in a "suspicious state with another." If Zahra's brother is tried under this law, he might get out of jail in three months.

Image: Sahjda Bibi was the victim of an honour killing.

+ Police urged to reopen 'honour killing' cases: The deaths and disappearances of more than 100 Asian women could be reopened to rule out the possibility of "honour killings". The suicide rate among Asian women aged 16 to 24 is almost three times that of the general population. Experts fear 117 women who died over the past 10 years may have been killed or driven to take their own lives after being persecuted for bringing perceived "dishonour" on their families.
Despite increasingly stiff penalties for honor killings, women say courts still take the man's side. "They excuse men; they say men have the right to kill," said one woman.

Ibtihaz Hasoun, accused of shaming her family, was recently stabbed to death by her brother, who had summoned villagers to watch him murder his "fallen sister." The villagers celebrated the honor killing. "She married someone outside the village," said one man. "We would do the same thing."

Forty years ago, Kamel Hader killed his unmarried sister when she came home pregnant. Today, he vows he would do it again. "If a woman does something wrong you are supposed to kill her to regain family honor," Hader said. "Otherwise, we live in shame."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Canada in Afghanistan (Security/Stability Projects)

Canadian Security/Stability Projects in Afghanistan:

1. Mine Action National Development Budget (Partner: United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS);
GoA): Support mine clearance, impact surveys, mine awareness, rehabilitation for victims

Duration: 2005-2009
Contribution: $24 million

2. Anti-Personnel Mine and Ammunition Stockpile Destruction (Partner: GoA - Ministry of Defence): Support activities to survey, collect and destroy stockpiles of mines and ammunition

Duration: 2006-2008; Contribution: $7 million

3. Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (Partner: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); GoA - Ministry of Defence): Support activities for voluntary disarmament and disbandment of illegal armed groups

Duration: 2005-2009; Contribution: $7 million
Above photo: Lt.-Col. Stephane Roy, commander of the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment Battalion Group, barks orders at a change-of-command ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Photo (left): Cpl Andrew Lew (Burnaby, B.C.) doin' good work in Afghanistan.

+ Afghan mission gets boost: (Canadian Press)
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Canada's military commitment in southern Afghanistan is expected to increase in the coming months, but it will not involve the deployment of more infantry, said the general commanding the country's overseas operations....the Conservative government approved a plan to send reinforcements, including C-2 Leopard tanks, an extra company of Quebec-based infantry and an anti-mortar platoon. The additions boosted Canada's commitment from 2,300 to 2,500 soldiers and support personnel in Kandahar province. It now appears those were just the first components in what may be a multi-staged ramp-up.

...last fall, the Defence Department ordered up a $360,000 contract to outfit a suite of countermeasure systems on an unspecified number of CP-140 Aurora coastal patrol aircraft. Such hardware is used to confuse incoming missiles
+ Senate report called wake-up call for PM: The new report paints a sobering picture of Canadian soldiers let down by their NATO allies, left vulnerable by a porous Pakistan-Afghan border that lets insurgents roam freely, and badly undermined by the rampant corruption in Afghan society and its "warrior" culture..."If the funding isn't going to the people who need it ... then you're going nowhere in terms of winning the hearts and minds of people," Kenny said. "You're building up bank accounts in Switzerland." The report urges Canada to send 250 more military trainers and 60 more police officers to help train members of the Afghan army and police force.

A Canadian Army truck loaded with school supplies is overrun by children at Camp Shirzai, which is home to the families of Afghan soldiers on Jan. 18, 2007, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

+ North Korea deal reached +++ Beirut bus blasts kill 3
+ Iraq closing borders with Syria, Iran

+ NATO plea for more Afghan troops: (AP) CASTEAU, Belgium – NATO's top commander renewed an appeal Tuesday for allies to fill gaps in the international military force in Afghanistan, warning that the failure to send reinforcements was weakening the mission and jeopardizing the lives of soldiers fighting Taliban insurgents. "We do not have adequate forces," Gen. John Craddock told reporters. "It makes accomplishing the mission that more difficult. It places every NATO soldier there at greater risk."

Monday, February 12, 2007

80+ Killed in Baghdad Blast

"All the greatest men are maniacs. They are possessed by a mania that drives them towards their goal. The great scientists, the philosophers, the religious leaders -- all maniacs."
-- Ian Fleming, Dr. No

From Iraq The Model: "The president called for a war to annihilate terrorists and I couldn't agree more. Those terrorists must be annihilated; blowing up civilians in markets is genocide. It's a crime against humanity... The victims had nothing to protect themselves from bullets and bombs, they were not soldiers and they were not politicians...The latest attack in a series of terror attacks against marketplaces in Baghdad, as I saw it from the roof of my home." (image above) -- Omar

BAGHDAD (Toronto Star) — Thunderous explosions and dense black smoke swirled through central Baghdad on Monday when two car bombs tore through a crowded marketplace, setting off secondary blasts and killing at least 71 people, police said. Another bombing nearby killed at least nine. The violence came on the first anniversary — according to the Muslim lunar calendar — of the bombing of the important Shiite Golden Dome shrine in Samarra

Afghanistan: Australian CH-47D Chinook A15-103 transported by U.S. Air Force Reserve C-5 Galaxy Cargo Aircraft

Afghanistan: American troops at a Afghan school greeting small pupils.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Afghanistan: International Security Assistance Force

The following NATO and non-NATO nations are contributing troops to the ISAF. The numbers are based in part from here; when more recent numbers are available they are given.

ISAF is also being backed by 28,600 troops of the Afghan National Army and 30,200 Afghan policemen, whom are described by the British Ministry of Defence as "fully equipped and trained".

NATO nations

Flag of Belgium Belgium - 616: (300 at October, 2006) The mission is named BELU ISAF 12. The main task is to secure the airport of Kabul. The detachment at Kunduz is assisting in the north the PRTs of Kunduz and Mazari Sharif.

  • Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria - 150. In 2006 there are 150 Bulgarian troops as of OCTOBER. In 2007 Bulgaria will send 200 more soldiers.

  • Flag of Canada Canada - 2500 in Kandahar. Forty-four Canadian soldiers have been killed in action along with a member of Foreign Affairs Canada. See main article Canada's role in Afghanistan

  • Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic - At the start of the Czech contribution 17. By June 2006 there were 100 Czech soldiers in two Czech operations.

At the airport of Kabul is a Czech ACR contingent deployed. The task of the ACR contingent is EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). Keeping minefield awareness and anti-explosives protection of the KAIA International Airport in Kabul, and, second, the contribution of the Czech personnel to air traffic weather service. The Number of Czech military personnel on this operation is 17 (to 1 June 2006).

The Czech 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion have been part of a provincial reconstruction team at Fayzabad, Badakshan province, since 9 March 2005. Their task is to support security in the area, to protect international units, and to cooperate with local people in reconstruction of their homeland. Czech scouts are assigned to the team of about 200 soldiers together with Danes and soldiers of the German Bundeswehr. The number of Czech military personnel on this operation is 83 (to 1 June 2006). The number of troops is expected to rise to 150 by the end of the year when the Czechs take command of Kabul's airport. At the end of September 2006, the Czech Republic's defense ministry said, it plans to contribute up to 190 troops to the force next year. The move still must be approved by the government and parliament.

  • Flag of Denmark Denmark - 389. Three were killed in an ordnance disposal explosion along with two Germans. Danish soldiers are attached to the German-led PRT at Fayzabad (Badakhshan).

  • Flag of Estonia Estonia - (10). At November, 2006, there are 79 defence forces personnel from Estonia serving in Afghanistan. The Estonian Defence Forces units are located primarily in the southern province of Helmand, together with armed forces of the United Kingdom and Denmark. By the end of 2006, Estonia plans to increase its presence in Afghanistan to 120 troops.

  • Flag of France France - 742 ; once the fourth largest ISAF contingent. (At September 2006, there are 1,700 French soldiers in Afghanistan). The current French Army detachment in Kabul, known as Pamir XIV, is on a five-month deployment that officially began August 6, 2006. Nine French soldiers have been killed as part of ISAF and OEF: 2 in a vehicle accident, and 7 in various ambushes and gunbattles.

  • Flag of Germany Germany - 3,000, which made Germany once the largest contributor to the ISAF (now the US and the UK are the largest contributors; 2006). The German soldiers are deployed in the north of the country. The task of the German ISAF contribution is to assist the Afghan central government at the four northern provinces of Kunduz, Taloqan (Is the capital of Takhar province (ed.)), Baghlan and Badakhshan. Germany is leading the Provincial Reconstruction Teams at Konduz and Badakhshan. The mandate, given by the German Parliament, does only allow the Bundeswehr to take part in the battle against the Taliban insurgency in the south and east of Afghanistan in exceptional circumstances. 18 German soldiers have been killed: 7 in an accidental helicopter crash, 4 in accidental disposal explosions, one in a vehicle accident and 6 in ambushes and attacks.

  • Flag of Greece Greece - 171, some stationed at Kabul airport and others at hospitals. There are around 130 soldiers and 45 air force personnel. At least two were wounded in a suicide attack in November 2005.

  • Flag of Hungary Hungary - 159; 1 October 2006 Hungary took over responsibility, from the Dutch, for the Provincial Reconstruction Team at the town Pul-e Khumri (Puli Khumri), the capital of Baghlan province.
  • Flag of Iceland Iceland - 20. Consisting of a Mobile/Military Observation Team and various personnel operating Kabul International Airport.
  • Flag of Italy Italy - 506. In February 2007, there are 1,950 Italian soldiers in Afghanistan. Six have died under ISAF: one in a vehicle accident, one as a result of an accidental weapon discharge, one in an accidental civilian plane crash, one due to a heart attack and two in a roadside bombing.
  • Flag of Latvia Latvia - 9
  • Flag of Lithuania Lithuania - 115: In June 2005 ISAF established in Chaghcharan, the capital of Ghor province, a Lithuanian Provincial Reconstruction Team in which Danish, US and Icelandic troops also serve.
  • Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg - 10. Luxemburg is working together with Belgium in BELU ISAF.
  • Flag of Netherlands Netherlands - 1907 - The main Task Force Uruzgan consists of 200 troops in Deh Rahwod and 1000 troops in Tarin Kowt, at Kamp Holland, (both in Uruzgan province). The Air Task Force consists of a AH-64 Apache detachment (6 helicopters) in Tarin Kowt and a Eurocopter Cougar and F-16 detachment (8 jets) at Kandahar Airfield. The staff for Regional Command South is also located in Kandahar. An unknown number of Dutch SOF operate in southern Afghanistan as well. The Netherlands has lost 4 soldiers in Afghanistan; 2 in a helicopter crash, 1 in an F-16 crash and 1 soldier committed suicide (all in 2006).
  • Flag of Norway Norway - 540 - The Norwegian ISAF forces operate out of Kabul, Meymaneh and Mazar-e-Sharif. One Norwegian soldier was killed and another lightly wounded in a rocket propelled grenade attack on a convoy of four Norwegian Mercedes Geländewagen MB-290s 23 May 2004 while returning from a mission in the capital Kabul. Several others were wounded in hostile and non-hostile acts spanning 2001-2006 (ISAF and OEF).
  • Flag of Poland Poland - 100 (an additional 1,200 troops due in February 2007)
  • Flag of Portugal Portugal - 156. One soldier was killed when when an exploding roadside bomb struck his vehicle.
  • Flag of Romania Romania - 72. Four have been killed: One in a firefight which later claimed the life of another badly wounded soldier, one in a landmine explosion, and one in a roadside bombing which severely damaged a Romanian tank. Romania planned to send a battalion at October 2006.
  • Flag of Slovakia Slovakia - 57 Multifunctional engineer company located in Kabul International Airport, demining airport, building and repairing airports
  • Flag of Slovenia Slovenia - 49 (May 2006)
  • Flag of Spain Spain – Approximately 800. 18 died in a helicopter crash in August 2005, while 62 Spanish soldiers were killed in May 2003 when their plane crashed in Turkey as it was returning home. Another soldier was killed in a bombing.
  • Flag of Turkey Turkey – 825 ; (Once the third largest contingent) The only Muslim country in the ISAF. Turkey's responsibilities include providing security for Kabul and western regions of the country, as well as providing reconstruction teams.
  • Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom – 5,800. Over 4,000 are in Helmand province and over 1,000 are in Kabul.

The UK was one of the first countries to join the US-led coalition into Afghanistan. (6 soldiers have died as part of ISAF (as well as 31 under OEF): one was murdered by a comrade (who then committed suicide), one died in an accidental weapon discharge, 2 were killed in separate suicide bombings and one died in a firefight.)

Currently there are 5,500 British troops deployed in Afghanistan. That figure would rise to 5,800 in October. Of those already in Afghanistan, 1,300 are in Kabul and 4,200 are in the southern province of Helmand. In addition the RAF has numerous planes and helicopters positioned in the country, including C130 cargo planes, CH-47 heavy lift helicopters, Nimrod surveillance planes as well as a squadron of Harrier GR7 attack planes. The army air corps also provides a number of Westland Lynx and WAH-64 Apache helicopters

They are there to help train Afghan security forces, facilitate reconstruction, and provide security. But over the last few months, the situation in the north of Helmand has turned increasingly violent, with British troops involved in fierce fire fights against the Taliban and anti-coalition militia (ACM). British troops have been involved in heavy clashes in the towns of Sangin, Musa Qaleh, Kajaki and Nawzad. The article Q&A: UK troops in Afghanistan (BBC News) gives also a list of the British units which are taking part in the ISAF mission. According to this article, ISAF is also being backed by 28,600 troops of the Afghan National Army and 30,200 Afghan policemen, whom are described by the British Ministry of Defence as "fully equipped and trained".

  • Flag of United States United States - 12,000 US Troops came under the command of NATO-ISAF on October 5, 2006. (8,000 more troops remain under US control to train the Afghan National Army and to hunt Taliban leaders and Al-Qaida members.)

Partner nations

  • Flag of Albania Albania - 22
  • Flag of Austria Austria - 4
  • Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan - 22
  • Flag of Croatia Croatia - 147 + 69
  • Flag of Finland Finland - 100
  • Flag of Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia – 120
  • Flag of Republic of Ireland Ireland - 7
  • Flag of Sweden Sweden - 220 troops. One soldier from the elite unit SSG was killed in an IED attack on 25 November 2005; while a seriously wounded comrade died of his wounds several days later. As a result, one month later the Swedish parliament voted to double Sweden's contribution to ISAF. Sweden leads the PRT at Mazari Sharif.
  • Flag of Switzerland Switzerland - 4

Non-NATO / Non-EAPC nations

  • Flag of Australia Australia - 120 Special Forces of the Australian Special Air Service and 4 RAR, and 120 Australian Army Aviation personnel with two CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters. One SAS soldier has been killed in a landmine explosion. The core of the Australian troops are based at Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, at Kamp Holland, with 360 personnel, together with the main Dutch contribution to ISAF. (October, 2006)
  • Flag of New Zealand New Zealand sent around 50 Special Air Service troops to southern Afghanistan during 2-3 deployments. A few were wounded. The country is leading the PRT at Bamian.

Morning Shadows: Band-i-Haibat, Band-i-Amir, Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan.

The Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team conducts mine awareness and unexploded ordnance safety training for children from Kandahar City. Air Force Maj. Tammy Tremblay shows off her Canadian Flag and International Security Assistance Force patches to children who attended the mine and unexploded ordnance awareness training.

Some of the children are employed by a recycling company to hunt through garbage for recyclables, while others are street children. In addition to the training session and a snack, all children received rubber boots, socks, gloves, backpacks, colouring kits and stuffed toys.

The Kandahar PRT consists of Canadian Forces members, a civilian police contingent led by the RCMP, representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency. The PRT conducts coordinated interdepartmental operations to promote good governance and assist the Government of Afghanistan to extend its authority in the province of Kandahar, to facilitate the development of a stable, secure and self-sustaining environment for the Afghan people.

Canadian International Development Agency officer Helene Kadi wishes one of the children farewell, as they prepare to depart Camp Nathan Smith.

+ OTTAWA — The global aviation authority has quietly told Canada to beef up air security through improved cargo screening and better training programs.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The long period of calm at Kandahar Airfield was shattered Sunday night when two rebel rockets slammed into the base, injuring one NATO soldier...Lt-Cmdr. Kris Phillips, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces, said the injured soldier was not a Canadian.

HEROUXVILLE, Que. — A delegation of Muslim women is visiting a Quebec town that passed a controversial code aimed at immigrants. The women were clad in traditional Muslim headscarves as they met with about 50 residents of Herouxville, where the town council passed the list of societal norms that would-be immigrants would have to adhere to. Among the norms, a man cannot stone a woman to death and faces are not to be covered except at Halloween. Herouxville also says childen shouldn't carry weapons, including Sikh kirpans, to school.

  DO NOT SUBMIT    Canadian Women's Army Corps.