Gen. John Allen Under Investigation, Confirmation Delayed

Gen. John Allen. Photo courtesy of ISAF.

Below is a statement released early Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressing the latest revelations regarding  Gen. John Allen.

On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred to the Department of Defense a matter involving General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Today, I directed that the matter be referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for investigation, and it is now in the hands of the Inspector General.   I have informed the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The House Armed Services Committee has also been notified.

While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain Commander of ISAF.  His leadership has been instrumental in achieving the significant progress that ISAF, working alongside our Afghan partners, has made in bringing greater security to the Afghan people and in ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.  He is entitled to due process in this matter.

In the meantime, I have asked the President – and the President has agreed – to put his nomination on hold until the relevant facts are determined. I have asked both Senators Levin and McCain that the confirmation hearing on General Allen’s pending nomination to be Commander of United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe be delayed.

The President has nominated General Joseph Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, to succeed General Allen at ISAF.  I respectfully requested that the Senate act promptly on that nomination.

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Afghan Troop Attacks on U.S. Forces Are Under-Reported

A soldier from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division on patrol in southern Afghanistan. (October, 2010, file photo.)

A soldier from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division on patrol in southern Afghanistan. (October, 2010, file photo.) EnlargeChris Hondros/Getty Images

An Associated Press investigation has concluded that the U.S. military and its allies in Afghanistan have been “under-reporting the number of times that Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American and other foreign troops.”

According to the wire service:

“The U.S.-led coalition routinely reports each time an American or other foreign soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform. But the AP has learned it does not report insider attacks in which the Afghan wounds — or misses — his U.S. or allied target. It also doesn’t report the wounding of troops who were attacked alongside those who were killed.”

This year alone, AP says, “in addition to 10 fatal insider attacks … there have been two others that resulted in no deaths or injuries, plus one attack that resulted in wounded, for a total of 13 attacks. The three non-fatal attacks had not previously been reported.”

The full investigative, exclusive AP report is available HERE.

Army Mom Responds to Burning of Korans

An Afghan policeman aims at protesters by a burning police truck set alight during an anti-U.S. demonstration on Friday over burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. (Hoshang Hashimi/AP Photo )

It is unclear yet if it was a very bad decision or an inadvertent error, as the President stated in his written apology, which resulted in the burning of Korans at the Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.   In either case, it is deeply troubling and quite honestly mind numbing that this could happen.

Anyone who knows anything about the Muslim religion understands that the Koran is their most sacred possession; common sense should dictate that when you are occupying a country, you should not burn that country’s holiest of holy books.

This situation has undermined the mission of some of our troops who spend a great deal of time visiting with local Afghan village leaders in an effort to build relationships and mutual respect.  This incident has already claimed the lives of two American service members, the number of Afghan protestors killed increases daily, and the full consequences are yet to unfold.  Fox News reported Friday that protests have erupted in provinces across Afghanistan and riots have now spread over the border into Pakistan.

Call it a bad decision or an inadvertent error, does it really matter when you see the devastation this situation has caused?

Panetta Condems Actions, Calls Karzai About Video

Leon E. Panetta appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee during confirmation hearings June 9, 2011. (Defense Department photo)

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has released a statement Thursday strongly condemning the apparent actions of four Marines who appear to be urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghan enemy combatants.

In the statement, Panetta said he has seen the footage and finds the behavior depicted in it “utterly deplorable.”

“I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” Panetta said. “I have ordered the Marine Corps and ISAF commander [Marine Corps] Gen. John Allen to immediately and fully investigate the incident. This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military and does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold. Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”

Additionally, the Pentagon press secretary said Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the video Thursday.

“The secretary expressed his view that the conduct depicted in the footage is utterly deplorable, and that it does not reflect the standards or values American troops are sworn to uphold,” George Little said. “The secretary also noted in the conversation that he has ordered that the video be immediately and fully investigated.”

You can read the full press release HERE.

CENTCOM Investigation of Deadly Pakistan Border Incident

U.S. Central Command on Monday released an unclassified version of the investigation report into the deadly Nov. 25-26 incident near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.

CENTCOM commander Marine Corps Gen. James R. Mattis directed the International Security Assistance Force to take a series of corrective actions after receiving the final report.

As a result of the investigation and report, Mattis directed ISAF Commander Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen to implement the following actions as soon as possible:

  • Improve mutual trust among those working in the border areas.
  • Clarify authorities, responsibilities and standard operating procedures for command, control and communication in near-border operations and develop formal training exercises and drills.
  • Implement a program of full disclosure of all border area facilities and installations on both sides of the border, with systematic updates based on a common database and map.
  • Before conducting any operation, direct all future coalition units and formations contemplating near-border area operations to confirm all installations near the border and the planned objective.
  • To prevent friendly fire incidents, develop and share with the Pakistan military the common use of force-escalation measures such as show of force and other standard procedures.
  • Consider harmonizing ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom rules of engagement to promote clarity and transparency.

The focus is to ease mistrust and miscommunication among those working in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area which led to the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers.

“The strongest take-away from this incident,” Mattis said in a statement, “is the fundamental fact that we must improve border coordination, and this requires a foundational level of trust on both sides of the border.”

You can read the full Armed Forces Press Service article on the investigation report HERE.

Taliban Suicide Bomb Attack Kills at Least 16 in Afghanistan

Taliban tactics in Afghanistan now include female suicide bombers as well as suidce car bombs and insurgents dressed in Afghan National Army uniforms according to a report Saturday  by Jim Garamone of the American Forces Press Service.

The New York Times is reporting that 17 were killed  – including American forces, civilian contractors and Afghans. The suicide car bomb attack on a bus carrying personnel is said to be the deadliest attack on Americans in Kabul since the war began.

The Washington Post is reporting 16 were killed when a suicide bomber swerved a van into the armored military bus.

Below is the latest article from the American Forces Press Service article:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2011 – A car bomb smashed into an International Security Assistance Force convoy in Kabul today killing 13 coalition personnel, NATO officials said.

 Five of the dead are service members, and eight are ISAF civilian employees. The attack injured several Afghans and coalition personnel as well as innocent Afghan civilian.

News reports out of Kabul say the Taliban took credit for the car bomb attack, and reports indicate the car ran into what is popularly called a Rhino — essentially an armored bus.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was informed of the convoy attack soon after it happened. “His heart goes out to those who were killed and wounded, and to their families,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. “Continuing our aggressive pursuit of the enemy will honor their sacrifice, and he is determined that the United States – working closely with our Afghan and NATO partners – will do precisely that.”

A second attack in southern Afghanistan took the lives of three more coalition personnel and wounded others when a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform shot the soldiers.

ISAF Commander U.S. Marine Gen. John R. Allen condemned today’s terrorist attacks.

You can read the full article HERE.

ISAF Strikes Taliban Linked to Downing Special Forces

The following is an ISAF Joint Command News Release:

KABUL, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed the Taliban insurgents involved with the recent downing of the CH-47 helicopter, with a precision airstrike in Chak District, Wardak province, Aug 9.

The strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah and the insurgent who fired the shot associated with the Aug. 6 downing of the CH-47 helicopter, which resulted in the deaths of 38 Afghan and coalition service members.

Mullah Mohibullah was a key facilitator in an insurgent attack cell led by Din Mohammad, a Taliban leader killed in a previous special operations mission. As a leader in Mohammad’s network in Tangi Valley, Mohibullah had as many as 12 Taliban fighters under his command, including potential suicide bombers.

On the night of the crash, the inbound CH-47 carried special operations forces intended to pursue insurgents from Mohammad’s network that were fleeing an engagement in which six militants had already been killed. While it has not been determined if enemy fire was the sole reason for the helicopter crash, it did take fire from several insurgent locations on its approach.

After an exhaustive manhunt, special operations forces located Mullah Mohibullah and the shooter after receiving multiple intelligence leads and tips from local citizens. The two men were attempting to flee the country in order to avoid capture.

The security force located and followed the insurgents to a wooded area in Chak District. After ensuring no civilians were in the area, the force called for the airstrike which resulted in the deaths of the Mullah Mohibullah, the shooter, and several of their Taliban associates.

The security force assesses no civilians were harmed during the strike.

The International Security Assistance Force website.

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