Category: Military Security

Army Battles Taliban for Tirah Valley

File Photo. Tariq Mahmood AFP Military hopes to secure strategic location regarded as home of Lashkar-e-Islam and Pakistani Taliban. High in the mountains along the Afghan border, Pakistan s fight against the Taliban is focusing on their last, fearsome redoubt the notorious Tirah Valley, home to renegades and rebels for centuries.

The military has mounted a series of airstrikes and ground assaults in Tirah in recent weeks that it says have captured key passes in a remote region that has never before come under full government control. The operation in Tirah, part of Khyber Agency, aims to build on the Army s offensive against strongholds of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups in nearby North Waziristan that began in June last year. Last month the Army said it killed at least 230 militants in Tirah, which has long been a hideout for TTP ally Lashkar-e-Islam.

Security officials in the northwest told AFP that the so-called Khyber-II operation to shut down the Lashkar s hideouts in Tirah began in earnest on March 18, and ground skirmishes are continuing. Chief military spokesman Maj. Gen.

Asim Bajwa tweeted last week that the strategic Masatul pass, which links to Afghanistan s restive Nangarhar province, had been secured. A security source in the northwest said other important passes had also been taken. We have taken over three main strategic locations by moving ground forces to Masatul Pass, Takhtakai Mountain and Sokh area, said one security source.

With these gains, we have blocked their movement from and to Orakzai tribal region, Kurram, Bara and Afghanistan. The area is remote and off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to verify the Army s claims and the number and identity of those killed. TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani denied the claims, saying his group has killed 30 soldiers so far and lost only three militants.

If the operation is a success and the military brings Tirah under government control, it will end the renegade status the area has enjoyed for hundreds of years. Tirah s geography makes it an almost perfect hideout. Rather than a single valley, it is a network of peaks and vales covering an area of 1,500-1,800 square kilometers at altitudes of up to 2,500 meters.

The valleys are steep-sided and covered to a large extent with dense woodland.

There are no roads in the area, with locals largely relying on mules and horses for transport

TNI agrees to secure country’s

The Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly signed a cooperation agreement with the Indonesian Military (TNI) on Thursday under which the military will deploy its personnel to guard prisons throughout the country as the ministry has run short of qualified prison guards. The TNI has quite good human resources that we need for prison guards.

Currently we lack personnel to guard the prisons, Yasonna told reporters at TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta on Thursday. Yasonna said that many prisons, holding hundreds of inmates and detainees at times only had between seven and 10 prison guards. Under the agreement with the TNI, the ministry will join TNI chief Gen.

Moeldoko in selecting military personnel who will be assigned to take on the work. He said priority would be given to personnel who were nearing their retirement. These personnel are well-trained and the ministry won t need to arrange extra training for them.

They are ready for deployment, Yasonna said, adding that the ministry needed at least 220 such personnel this year. The agreement covers a number of issues from details of security for prisons to prisoner development and prison guard training. The agreement would also allow for the TNI to provide psychological training for prison guards, discipline coaching for prisoners, security assistance for certain prisons, personnel deployment as prison guards and the loan of non-standard TNI weapons to the directorate general of correctional institutions of the Law and Human Rights Ministry.

TNI to deploy personnel to guard prisons Military can also lend weapons to prison authorities Rights group has warned of TNI overreach Yasonna has also personally asked the TNI chief to provide firearms for prison guards, especially at correctional facilities that are vulnerable to security threats. Moeldoko said the TNI had run a check on which resources it could soon deploy for the task. Prisons in Sumatra, for instance, will get reinforcements from our military commands in Sumatra.

With this arrangement, the soldiers can remain close to their families, Moeldoko said. Moeldoko added that the TNI would provide the assistance for as long as necessary. If the ministry finds other sources of human resources that meet its standards, we won t need to help them anymore, he said.

In recent months, the TNI has signed agreements with various counterparts, including ministries, state-owned enterprises and state institutions. Data from rights group Imparsial shows that the TNI has so far signed 21 agreements. One of the latest agreements was between the TNI and the transportation minister on Feb.

20. Under the agreement the TNI will be able to deploy its personnel to secure vital transportation facilities like seaports, airports, railway networks and bus stations. On Jan.

8 the Army and the Agriculture Ministry signed an agreement on agriculture cooperation, which will allow the military from regional commands throughout the country to provide assistance to local governments and their respective agriculture agencies. Imparsial has expressed concern about the signing of such agreements and called on President Joko Jokowi Widodo to annul them. The President should revoke all the agreements and bring the TNI back to its original role, Al Araf of Imparsial said.

Previously, Moeldoko said the TNI had won the blessing of Jokowi to take part in non-security programs, especially development programs in the country. Moeldoko has insisted that the TNI will not revert to the socio-political role it performed during the New Order era. The TNI doesn t have any intention of returning to the New Order.

We have to draw the line between what is past and present, Moeldoko said recently.

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Russia to Send Military Aid to Tajikistan to Fight ISIS

Russia is set to deliver a $1.23 billion military aid and equipment package to the Republic of Tajikistan, according to a Russian general staff member, Polly Mosendz writes for Newsweek.

1 The reports come after the most recent session of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) this week in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The CSTO is called by the Moscow Times a loose Moscow-led security alliance of several former Soviet states. The Kremlin is the primary source of financing for the organization s military operation.

The assistance package will include small arms, ammunition for aircraft and air defense launchers as well as communication systems, according to the Interfax. Russia says the equipment will be utilized to fight the Islamic State, which it says is a growing threat in Tajikistan. Read more at Newsweek.

2 References ^ Polly Mosendz writes for Newsweek. (www.newsweek.com) ^ Read more at Newsweek. (www.newsweek.com)

NC4 Announces Cyber Threat Exchange for Leading Defense Organizations

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. , April 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ NC4, a leader in revolutionizing safety and security, today announced that it is supporting the Defense Security Information Exchange 1 (DSIE, also known as the DIB-ISAO) to provide its Cyber Threat Exchange Solutions 2 for cyber threat information sharing. NC4 operates Cyber Threat Exchanges for over 30 trusted communities serving over 3,000 companies, government organizations, and 16,000 IT security professionals. Cyber information sharing among trusted professional communities is becoming increasingly important as noted by recent White House and Congressional activities.

The White House focused on cyber threat sharing in the State of the Union, a Cyber Summit, and executive orders. Senate and House congressional committees are also working on cyber threat information sharing legislation. NC4 is the leading operator of Cyber Threat Exchanges for trusted communities such as: We are pleased to be supporting DSIE in their cyber sharing initiatives to help protect our critical infrastructure, remarked Jim Montagnino, NC4 President and CEO.

The work being done by this key community shows the importance of building circles of trust and in working together to collectively build a safer nation. The DSIE is comprised of Defense Industrial Base members who pioneered solutions to the challenges of building trust across organizational boundaries. The focus of the organization is to share information and mitigation strategies on cyber related attacks.

DSIE uses the NC4 s Cyber Threat Exchange to quickly notify members about critical cyber threat information.

Thai junta chief defends security measures

BANGKOK Thai junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday defended a controversial security order, two days after the junta lifted martial law, and warned that he would not tolerate criticism of the army, which retains sweeping powers under the new measures. The United Nations human rights chief has expressed alarm over the measures, saying martial law has been replaced with something even more draconian , and other critics said the measures gave Mr Prayuth absolute power. Speaking at a military academy in Bangkok, Mr Prayuth defended the measures introduced to replace martial law, saying they had been misunderstood by foreign media.

He went on to issue a stern warning to critics of the armed forces or the state. If anyone says anything that causes damage to the Royal Thai Army or the country, I will not stand for it, Mr Prayuth said. I am not scared.

The ruling junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order, lifted martial law late on Wednesday and, in its place, invoked Section 44 of the interim Constitution. The special security measures will continue to outlaw political gatherings and allow the authorities to censor the media. Those who take part in political gatherings of more than five people can be sentenced to up to six months in prison.

Thailand s army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said on Thursday that the new security measures do not give the army more control than it had under martial law. But that has not stopped mounting criticism. The Thai-language newspaper Thai Rath, which has close ties to the army, published a cartoon on Thursday that shows people holding anti-junta signs and Mr Prayuth with another sign that said: Good people are not scared of Article 44.

One sign in the cartoon held by a demonstrator read: Protest against those who delay elections.

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Russia Plans to Send Tajikistan Military Aid to Combat ISIS

Russia is preparing to deliver $1.23 billion in military aid and equipment to Tajikistan, a Russian general staff member told the newspaper Kommersant , according to reports in several Western publications. The news comes after a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Dushanbe, Tajikistan this week. CSTO is described by the Moscow Times 1 as a loose Moscow-led security alliance of several former Soviet states.

The Kremlin is the primary funding source for the organization s military operation. The aid will include communication systems, small arms, ammunition for aircraft and air defense launchers, according to the Interfax News Agency 2 . Try Newsweek for only $1.25 per week 3 Russia says the military aid is to be used for the purposes of combating the Islamic State, which it says is a growing threat in Tajikistan.

In 2013, CSTO signed an agreement on providing aid to the Republic of Tajikistan to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border, according to the Eurasianet Organization 4 . Behind the scenes, Tajikistan is reportedly complaining about the failure of some group members–notably Russia–to deliver on the promises of military aid that they’ve made, Eurasianet correspondent Joshua Kucera wrote in a report on Thursday 5 . While Tajikistan felt underserved by CSTO and its primary power, Kucera argues that Russia used the occasion to sound the alarm about the gathering threat of Islamist militants in northern Afghanistan.

According to Eurasianet, Igor Frolov-Lyakin, Russia s ambassador to Tajikistan, claimed Taliban and ISIS fighters were stationed near the Tajik-Afghan border.

According to the Kommersant report, as translated by the Moscow Times , Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said 6 ISIS fighters attempted to pass through the Tajikistan border with Afghanistan.

References ^ Moscow Times (www.themoscowtimes.com) ^ according to the Interfax News Agency (rbth.com) ^ Try Newsweek for only $1.25 per week (www.newsweek.com) ^ according to the Eurasianet Organization (www.eurasianet.org) ^ Eurasianet correspondent Joshua Kucera wrote in a report on Thursday (www.eurasianet.org) ^ Sergei Lavrov said (www.themoscowtimes.com)

Israel Says Military Action against Iran Is an Option

Israel has firmly opposed any nuclear agreement with Iran fearing it will reduce its influence in the region and on Friday Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu convened his security cabinet to discuss the issue, while his Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that all options including military action were on the table in the face of what Tel Aviv claims to be a threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. After the special security meeting, Netanyahu’s office said they were united in its opposition to the framework deal reached 1 between world powers and Iran on Thursday in Switzerland. The prime minister said he was vehemently opposed to the agreement.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu within hours after the deal was struck, according to Reuters, to tell him the preliminary agreement was progress toward a lasting solution that cuts off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. However, Netanyahu released a statement after speaking with Obama claiming that the nuclear deal reached on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland, would threaten the survival of Israel This deal would legitimize Iran’s nuclear program, bolster Iran’s economy and increase Iran’s aggression and terror throughout the Middle East and beyond.” The Israeli leader also claimed that any agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program would raise the risk of nuclear proliferation and war in the region.

The deal was hailed internationally as a great success and an important step to detain Iran’s alleged nuclear bomb ambitions. Under the deal, Tehran has agreed, among other things, to give up two-thirds of its installed centrifuges used for enriching uranium, to much tighter inspections, and will dismantle a reactor that could produce plutonium. But Netanyahu disagrees, saying that on the contrary the deal “would pave” the path for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

The head of Israel’s military planning directorate, Major-General Nimrod Sheffer, Friday also said, “The military option (against Iran) has always been on the table if it has not been mentioned much in the media recently, that does not reflect a change in policy.” Steinitz agreed with Scheffer saying Israel would seek to counter any threat through diplomacy and intelligence but, he insisted, “if we have no choice we have no choice… the military option is on the table.” When asked about Washington objecting to Israeli military action against Iran, according to Reuters, Steinitz pointed to Israel’s unilateral attack against the Osirak nuclear reactor in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1981. “This operation was not carried out in agreement with the United States,” he said, and added that, “The prime minister has said clearly that Israel will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power.” The Deal in Switzerland According to deal reached on Thursday, Tehran’s nuclear program will shrink significantly and in fact it makes Iranian moves toward building an atom bomb virtually impossible for years. Iran agreed with six world powers, known as the P5+1, to curb its nuclear activity in three main areas: the size and grade of its uranium stockpile, the number of centrifuges that enrich uranium, and the maximum fissile purity of the product of these machines, Reuters reported Friday. “The approach outlined will effectively prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb for an extended period of time,” Robert Einhorn, senior fellow at the U.S.-based Brookings institution, told the British news agency, Now, the technical details of the agreement need to be worked out by negotiators and a final agreement is scheduled to be reached by June 30.

Basically, Iran has already agreed to operate only around 5,000 centrifuges out of 6,100 installed machines, which is less than half of its current capacity, Reuters explained. Tehran is supposed to submit a detailed long-term research and development plan to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran stopped enriching uranium over 5 percent purity since a 2013 accord with the six powers.

Western countries have stipulated that 20 to 90-percent purity is the level needed for a bomb.

Iran, among other requirements, is also obligated to cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (3.67 percent purity) to 300 kilograms from about 8,000 kilograms it had in February, according to the IAEA.

RELATED: Short Guide to the Iranian Nuclear Program Talks 2 References ^ framework deal reached (www.telesurtv.net) ^ Short Guide to the Iranian Nuclear Program Talks (www.telesurtv.net)

Military crackdown kills 6 militants in SW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, April 3 (Xinhua) — At least six militants were killed and several others injured when security forces launched an operation in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Friday afternoon, local media reported. Dunya TV reported that the paramilitary troops Frontier Corps ( FC) launched a search operation on an intelligence tip-off in Loralai district of the Balochistan province. During the operation, the militants opened fire at troops and six insurgents including two suicide bombers were killed.

An FC spokesperson said the troops recovered explosive materials including detonators and suicide jackets from the hideout of the killed militants. He said the killed insurgents were involved in launching attacks on security forces, and target killing of the residents. Identities of the killed militants were not revealed by the FC.

Located in northeast of Balochistan, Loralai is a hotbed for insurgent attacks.

Last week, five policemen were gunned down by unknown militants in the district.