Saturday, August 13, 2011

Afghan, Coalition Force Kills Insurgents

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 12, 2011 - A combined Afghan and coalition force killed two insurgents and detained several more yesterday during a security operation targeting a Taliban facilitator and his suicide-attack network in the Baghlan-e Jadid district of Afghanistan's Baghlan province, military officials reported.
The facilitator is responsible for harboring suicide bombers in preparation for an attack on provincial government officials.
While searching for the leader, the security force came across two armed insurgents who threatened the force. Responding to the threat, the security force engaged the two men, killing them.
The security force also detained multiple other suspected insurgents, including the would-be suicide bomber who was to carry out the attack against government officials.
The security force confiscated a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and multiple assault rifles.
In other Afghanistan operations yesterday:
-- A combined Afghan and coalition force detained a Taliban leader and another suspected insurgent during a security operation in Kandahar city in Kandahar province. The leader was responsible for overseeing the construction and emplacement of roadside bombs.
-- A combined Afghan and coalition security force detained multiple suspects during an operation targeting a Taliban leader in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. The leader directs a Taliban cell in the district, and is responsible for roadside-bomb and small-arms attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The security force also found 500 pounds of ammonium nitrate – a banned fertilizer used in homemade explosives -- and explosive bomb-making device.
-- A combined Afghan and coalition force captured a Haqqani terrorist network leader and an associate in the Zurmat district of Paktia province. The detained leader participated in roadside bomb and other attacks against Afghan forces.
-- Also in the Zurmat district, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspects during a search for a Haqqani network leader who coordinates roadside bomb and other attacks against the Afghan army.
Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force 

Dad Takes Oath From Son After Service Break

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
23rd Wing

VALDOSTA, Ga., Aug. 11, 2011 - Nineteen years after separating from the active duty Air Force, Scott Long enlisted into the Reserve. Now he's a staff sergeant, serving with the 476th Maintenance Squadron as a fuel systems craftsman.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army 2nd Lt. Brandon Long, right, administers the oath of enlistment to his father, Scott Long, in Valdosta, Ga., July 28, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter 
Long's son, Army 2nd Lt. Brandon Long, 1-169th Aviation Support Battalion liaison officer, presided over the July 28 ceremony.
"When I decided to re-enlist, I was looking into the future," said the elder Long, 51. "I always regretted getting out, even though it was the right decision at the time."
Before his separation in 1992 after 11 years of service, Long was stationed in numerous countries and states, finally settling down at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
"What makes Sergeant Long a special case is that he has a 19-year break in service," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Walker, Eastern Recruiting Squadron line recruiter. "He will bring back knowledge and heritage to the newer generation of airmen."
Lieutenant Long was happy to have the chance to preside over his father's re-enlistment ceremony.
"It's a special event, and a rare opportunity to do a re-enlistment ceremony as a young officer, especially for my father," he said. "I'm really happy for him. He has been talking about re-enlisting for a long time, and he is happy to have the chance to serve his country again."
The lieutenant, who is waiting to leave for pilot training, was commissioned in May during a ceremony in which his father pinned on his rank.
"It has been a dream of mine to serve in the military ever since I was young," the lieutenant said. "I really wanted to join the Air Force, but my college only had an Army ROTC program. I got a slot for pilot training in the Army, and I have always wanted to fly, so it didn't matter which service.
"My father's service definitely influenced my decision to join the military," he added. "It's a family legacy. His father was a Marine in World War II, and my other grandfather was in the Navy."
At more than 50 years old and 19 years after leaving active duty, Sergeant Long faced challenges when re-enlisting.
"The biggest challenge in re-enlisting after all this time was making sure I was physically fit," he said. "You also have to make sure you are still medically qualified."
Only a few months after his son's commissioning and 19 years after leaving active duty, Long is glad to be back in uniform.
"I am just proud to have the opportunity to serve my country again," he said, "and contribute more than just my tax dollars."

Five Roma families have been left homeless in Belgrade

Amnesty International Condemns Forced Evictions of Roma Families

Washington, D.C. – Five Roma families have been left homeless in Belgrade after they were forcibly evicted yesterday from privately owned buildings they had been occupying, the latest in a string of such evictions. 
Some 20 Roma people, including 10 children, were removed from the building on the Serbian capital’s Skadarska Street after a June 29 court order called for them to leave the property and remove all their possessions. 
A previous eviction attempt on July 27 was postponed while the families and local activists called on the authorities to provide alternative housing, but the authorities have failed to act on the request. 
“Once again, authorities in Belgrade are uprooting Roma families and pushing them out on the streets without providing adequate alternative housing,” said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia program director. “This unacceptable practice must not continue, and the authorities must do more to seek out adequate housing solutions to ensure Roma families can bring up their children in safety and with dignity.” 
One woman in the community, who fled to Belgrade to avoid domestic violence in southern Serbia, is facing being sent back following the recent eviction.   
After learning of the eviction order, the Serbian N.G.O. Praxis urged the national Ministry of Labor and Social Policy as well as Belgrade city authorities to provide the families with adequate alternative housing before removing them. 
Amnesty International joined local NGOs in calling for the forced eviction to be stopped, and has previously called on the Serbian government to introduce a law prohibiting the practice.   
According to a recent Amnesty International report, the Serbian government has repeatedly failed to prevent the forced eviction of Roma families, who often lose their livelihoods and their only possessions in addition their homes. 
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. 
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