Category Archives: Security

Taliban launches multiple attacks

Widespread fighting between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban was reported in 18 provinces across Afghanistan on September 12 while the delegates from representing the state and militants started the peace negotiation talks in Doha, Qatar. (Image above: illustration, MoD Afghanistan courtesy).

The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that the Taliban launched attacks on Afghan security forces in 18 provinces since last night.

However the majority of the assaults were reported from Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Ghor, Badghis, Herat, Ghazni and Uruzgan provinces.

Meanwhile, the Taliban in a statement said that as part of a goodwill gesture, they have on released 22 Afghan soldiers in Helmand province.

Local officials in northern Afghanistan said that last night the Taliban launched attacks in Balkh and Jawzjan provinces.

Fighting was also reported in Faryab:

“The Taliban today attacked the security forces in Shireen Tagab district, but no casualties were sustained by the security forces. In recent days, the Taliban had no military victories on the battlefield,” said Naqibullah Fayeq, the governor of Faryab province.

“The Taliban want to show their military power during the negotiations, they want to show that if you do not accept our demands, then we have the capacity to attack at any time and at any place,” said Lotufullah Mashal, a former spokesman for the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

The Taliban also launched attacks in the following provinces: Ghor, Badghis and Herat.

“Over the past 24 hours, the Taliban group launched attacks on Afghan security and defense forces in over 15 provinces of the country, but the Afghan security and defense forces repelled the Taliban’s attacks and inflicted heavy losses on the group,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.

Attacks were also reported in provinces Uruzgan, Kunduz and Helmand.

“The armed opponents launched attacks on the security and defense forces, but the Taliban were repelled by the Afghan Air Force, which resulted in the killing of at least five Taliban fighters,” said Riaz Rabbani, the head of the Kunduz provincial council.

“Armed opponents launched attacks, but the Afghan security and defense forces repelled the attacks,” said Zargai Ebadi, a spokesman for the Uruzgan governor.

Afghan civilians sincerely hope that a ceasefire is announced in the intra-Afghan talks.

The opening ceremony for intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents began in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday, September 11, launching the start of negotiations aimed at ending two decades of war. The ceremony began at 9 a.m. (0600 GMT) with a recitation from the Quran, followed by opening comments by Qatar’s foreign minister. 

Major players in the process, including Afghanistan’s peace council chairman Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund, and U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo are also scheduled to speak. The opening ceremony for talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents began in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday, September 12, marking the start of negotiations aimed at ending two decades of war that has killed tens of thousands of combatants and civilians. The 19-year conflict is also the United States’ longest overseas military action, vexing three successive presidents. President Trump administration invests a lot of efforts in achieving the peace agreement between the Afghan government and Taliban before November 3 elections in the United States.

Navalny attacked with Novichok

German government made an announcement on September 2 that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, the same type of chemical used in Britain against ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The discovery raised tensions between Berlin and Moscow.

Tests carried out by the German military experts on Navalny, who is being treated in a Berlin hospital Chairité, have provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok family,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

“It is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny has become the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia.

“The government condemns this attack in the strongest terms. The Russian government is urgently requested to provide clarifications over the incident,” he added.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany had called in Russia’s ambassador to demand answers on the case.

Navalny, 44, fell ill after boarding a plane in Siberia last month. The pilots took a decision of an urgent landing to deliver him with ambulance to a local hospital in Omsk. Navalny received the first aid at the Omsk hospital near airport, before being flown to Berlin for treatment.

The nerve agent Novichok is a military-grade poison that was developed by the Soviet government towards the end of the Cold War and can be deployed in an ultra-fine powder, liquid or vapour.

The Charite hospital last week reported “some improvement” in Navalny’s condition but he nevertheless remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.

The severity of the poisoning meant that it was too early to determine potential long-term effects, the hospital warned.

Charite doctors said they believed the anti-corruption campaigner was poisoned with a substance that inhibits the cholinesterase enzyme, a feature of nerve agents.

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EU for dialogue in East Mediterranean

On August 14 via a teleconference the EU Ministers of Foreign affaris discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, following a grave deterioration of the security situation in recent days.

Three words reflect the outcome of the discussion: solidarity, de-escalation, and dialogue.

Solidarity:

Ministers reaffirmed the EU’s full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. They reiterated that sovereign rights of EU Member States must be respected. They recalled EU common positions and the previous Council Conclusions of 22 March 2018 and June, July, October, December 2019, in addition to the Statement on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean of 15 May 2020.

At the same time, Ministers stressed that the serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean.

De-escalation:

Ministers stressed in particular that recent naval mobilisations by Turkey do not contribute to finding any solutions. On the contrary, they will lead to greater antagonism and distrust. They create a heightened risk of dangerous incidents. Immediate de-escalation by Turkey was considered crucial.

Dialogue:

Ministers recalled the importance they attach to relations with Turkey. They underlined that issues related to delimitation of maritime boundaries and exploitation of resources therein can only be addressed through dialogue and negotiation, in good faith, in accordance with international law and in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations, and not through unilateral actions and the mobilisation of naval forces.

Ministers recalled the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council of 13 July. They reiterated strong support for the High Representative’s efforts to re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey. At the same time, the High Representative/Vice-President is to prepare options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate.

A broader discussion about relations with Turkey will be held later in August, at the Gymnich.

France has been presented by Clement Beaune, the Secretary of State in charge for the European affairs.

NATO civil-military response to COVID-19

NATO Policy Directors for Civil Preparedness met by secure video conference on 8 July, to exchange views and best practices in their response to the COVID-19 crisis and how to strengthen national resilience.

They welcomed the decision by NATO Defence Ministers at their meeting on 18 June 2020 to update NATO’s baseline requirements for resilience, covering critical sectors such as energy, telecommunications and the security of supply chains. The updated baseline requirements will help Allies prepare for possible further pandemic waves, and support a common approach to current and future challenges in the interests of the security of populations across the Alliance.

Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană opened the session and highlighted the contribution by the Alliance and Allies’ military forces to the COVID-19 response.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated the indispensable role of civil-military cooperation for resilience and preparedness. Between the months of March and May 2020, over half a million military personnel, supported by innumerable military assets, have worked side-by-side with our civilian authorities in managing the crisis and in serving our citizens”, he said.

Policy Directors also discussed NATO’s approach to learning lessons from COVID-19, including the importance of further cooperation with partners and the EU.

NATO welcomes Afghan Eid al-Fitr ceasefire

NATO has welcomed the announcement of a three-day cease-fire in Afghanistan during the Muslim celebration of the end of Ramadan – Eid al-Fitr.

“I welcome the statements by the government of Afghanistan & the Taliban on a 3-day ceasefire over Eid. All parties should seize this opportunity for peace, for the benefit of all Afghans,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on his Twitter micro blog on May 23.

NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security,” he underlined.

In a message preceeding the celebrations, the insurgents made the surprise announcement amid escalating conflict and a fragile peace process, directing militants to stay out of areas under the government control, but adding government forces could visit Taliban-controlled areas.

In a similar holiday truce two years ago, there were unprecedented scenes of foes embracing each other and taking selfies.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the announcement, explaining that he instructed the military to comply.

“President Ghani today initiated a process to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a good will gesture in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire during Eid,” Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi announced on Twitter.

СOVID19: Conte security agent dies

A policeman who was part of Italian Prime Minister GiuseppeConte’s security team has died after contracting #COVID19. He was 52, and left behind a wife and two sons.

Giorgio Guastamacchia, 52, tested positive for the novel coronavirus late March. He had then been hospitalized in one of hospitals in Rome and taken to an intensive care unit, due to his serious condition.

The Italian government said at the time that he had not been in contact with Conte for at least two weeks. The premier, however, was tested negative in a precautionary test.

Head of the Italian police Franco Gabrielli expressed his condolences to Guastamacchia’s family.

The news broke out the moment Italian society expressed hope, that the peak of the epidemic is behind; the statistics started to improve, offering grounds for cautions optimism.

COVID19: NATO HQ access limited

NATO Headquaters in Brussels has also limited access to visitors. The book presentation planned for this week was cancelled by precaution of COVID19 outbreak.

We would like to thank you for registering to our event, however, we regret to communicate that, due to the NATO Headquarters’ strict restrictions on visitors’ access to its premises by reason of the recent coronavirus outbreak, we are obliged to indefinitely postpone the book discussion planned for the 12th March at 2.00pm” the message from organisers reads.
Nevertheless, we are looking forward to your participation at the rescheduled event to which we will send out the invitation as soon as we know the date and time”.

London jihadist released on licence

The assailant who strapped a fake bomb vest to his chest before stabbing two people in South London had been released from prison just days earlier, The Sun reports.

Sudesh Amman, 20, was being monitored by counter-terror police before the “knife obsessed” jihadi went on a rampage on Streatham High Road on Sunday afternoon.

Amman, from Harrow, North London, was sentenced to more than three years in jail for committing terror offenses but let-out on automatic release after serving half his sentence despite concerns he still held extremist views.

The ISIS-supporting jihadi, who was only a teenager when arrested, was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents.

Gent: knife attack under investigation

A women has been shot by Belgium police after attacking two pedestrians with knife in busy street of #Gent, one of the top European destinations for cultural tourism.

The incident took place just minutes after a similar attack in #Streatham in London.

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The street name is “Bevrijdingslaan” which in translation from Dutch means “Liberation” lane. The incident took place in late afternoon, around 16:00 Local time.

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A woman was allegedly hit and injured in the hand by the police, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. She allegedly tried to stab two people with a knife. Also according to our colleagues from Het Laatste Nieuws, the victims with knife wounds were taken to hospital but their lives were not in danger. Local police and the East Flanders public prosecutor’s office are investigating the incident but are not yet able to provide further information.

An investigating judge has been summoned and the facts are under investigation. There is currently no indication that the incident at the Bevrijdingslaan in Ghent is an act of terrorism. This is reported by the Ghent service of the public prosecutor’s office of East Flanders, which does not give more details on the judicial investigation.

In the UK “a man has been shot by armed officers in #Streatham. At this stage it is believed a number of people have been stabbed. The circumstances are being assessed; the incident has been declared as terrorist-related. Please follow @metpoliceuk for updates” London police wrote on Twitter microblog.

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Stabbings occurring hours apart in #London and Belgian city of #Ghent are being treated as terrorism. Both instances bear telltale signs of #ISIS-inspired attacks: knives, random soft targets on busy streets, etc. No claim yet from any group, though” the director of SITE Intelligence group Rita Katz writes on her Twitter micro blog.

“#ISIS-linked groups have taken to celebrating #londonattack & #Belgium stabbings, posting old and new posters & statements across various platforms. It would not be surprising if #ISIS #Amaq news claims soon, calling perps “Soldiers of the Islamic State,” indicating IS-inspired” Katz concluded.

NATO Stoltenberg participates in EU Council

On Friday, 10 January 2020, the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg will attend the Extraordinary Meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, NATO announced via the site of the organisation.

They also informed a transcript of the Secretary General’s remarks, will be available on the NATO website following the event.

“Sharing strategic interests and facing the same challenges, NATO and the European Union cooperate on issues of common interest and are working side by side in crisis management, capability development and political consultations, as well as providing support to their common partners in the east and south. The EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. The two organisations share a majority of members, have common values and face similar threats and challenges.

NATO and the EU currently have 22 member countries in common.

Both NATO and the EU are engaged in combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They have exchanged information on their activities in the field of protection of civilian populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.

Iraqi Parliament voted January 5 to obligate Iraq’s government “to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” according to the media office of the Iraqi Parliament.

NATO announced on that it had suspended its training mission, which fields 500 instructors.

The NATO official said other mission personnel were being moved to other parts of Iraq, and emphasised that “NATO maintains a presence”.

The alliance plans to resume its training there “when the situation permits”.

The US was “disappointed” in Iraq’s actions Sunday, a US State Department spokeswoman said.

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