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Feb 5th, 2009

Afghanistan Says Foreign Fighters Coming from Iraq

Iraq surge drives militants to join Taliban

Image: burned trucks
Pakistani drivers gather next to burned trucks, torched by militants on the outskirts of Landi Kotal, a town close to the Pakistani tribal area of Khyber, after being stranded in Pakistan by the bombing of a key bridge on the main supply route for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Qazi Tariq / AP)

Feb. 4, 2009

KABUL — With the reduction of violence in Iraq, foreign militants were now flooding into Afghanistan to join Taliban insurgents battling Afghan and international troops, the Afghan defense minister said Wednesday.

Violence is expected to rise further in 2009 as Washington prepares to send up to 25,000 more troops into new areas of the southern Pashtun heartlands.

Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said there were about 15,000 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but their numbers were being swelled by foreign insurgents moving in from Iraq, where violence has fallen after a U.S. troop “surge” and other measures.

“Since last year, as the result of the success of the surge in Iraq, there has been a flow of foreign terrorists into Afghanistan,” Wardak told a news conference.

“There have been engagements … in 2008, and in some of these engagements, actually 60 percent of the total force which we have encountered were foreign fighters,” he said. Wardak was speaking after he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held talks with NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, U.S. General John Craddock. …

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to approve as early as this week plans to send up to 17,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan to add to the 36,000 American soldiers already battling Taliban insurgents in the country.

The additional U.S. forces will focus on hitting militant communication lines and their cross-border infiltration into Afghanistan from Pakistan. The extra troops will reduce reliance on air strikes, cutting civilian deaths, Wardak said.

Civilian casualties caused by international forces have eroded support for Karzai and the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan more than seven years since the Taliban’s removal.

More than 2,100 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2008, the United Nations said Tuesday, more than a third of them by Afghan and international troops. …

There was a 33 percent rise in insurgent attacks in Afghanistan in 2008, according to NATO-led forces.


Related reports

Afghan president hits out at NATO and U.S. allies

Pakistan: Trucks torched along U.S. supply line
Growing attacks raise doubts about viability of vital route to Afghanistan

Russia: We’ll help U.S. stabilize Afghanistan
Comments follow move by Kyrgyzstan to evict U.S. forces from air base


2006 National Intelligence Estimate

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

Mark Mazetti

Sept. 24, 2006


A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks. …

Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,” it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official. …

National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue …

In early 2005, the National Intelligence Council released a study concluding that Iraq had become the primary training ground for the next generation of terrorists, and that veterans of the Iraq war might ultimately overtake Al Qaeda’s current leadership in the constellation of the global jihad leadership. …


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security incidents in Iraq on Feb. 4, 2009, as reported by Reuters:

MOSUL – A roadside bomb attack on a U.S. patrol wounded two civilians in Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A civilian was wounded by a grenade thrown at a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said. It said the Americans returned fire at the assailant.

BAQUBA – Iraqi police force found a mass grave containing eight decayed, decapitated bodies in a town north of Baquba, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, a police source said. The area was once controlled by al-Qaeda militants, the source added.

BAGHDAD – A bomb attached to a car seriously wounded four people, including a tribal guard unit leader, and killed his son in the Mansour district of western Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire and wounded a civilian in central Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A parked car bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two people in northern Mosul, police said.


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2 Responses to “Iraq Fighters Flood Afghanistan”
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