#AceWorldNews – NIGERIA:Jan.04: The militant group Boko Haram has seized a town and key multinational military base in north-eastern Nigeria, officials and eyewitnesses say.
A senator in Borno state said troops had abandoned the base in the town of Baga after it was attacked on Saturday.
Residents of Baga, who fled by boat to neighbouring Chad, said many people had been killed and the town set ablaze. Baga, scene of a Nigerian army massacre in 2013, was the last town in the Borno North area under government control.
It hosted the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), made up of troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger.Set up in 1998 to fight trans-border crime in the Lake Chad region, the force more recently took on Boko Haram.
Boko Haram attacks towns and villages on an almost daily basis, abducting people including young boys and girls, BBC Africa editor Mary Harper reports. The military, which includes Western advisers and surveillance, seems incapable of dealing with the problem, our editor adds.
#AceWorldNews – KASHMIR – Dec.05 – Militants attacked an Indian army camp in disputed Kashmir on Friday morning, and a gun battle left 10 Indian troops and three suspected gunmen dead, AP reported.
Up to six rebels tried to enter an artillery unit of the camp in Uri region, hurling grenades and firing automatic rifles.
The camp is also the regional headquarters of the army’s artillery regiment.
It sprawls near the militarized line of control that divides the Himalayan region between Indian and Pakistani sides.
#AceWorldNews – AFGHANISTAN – Nov.28 – Afghanistan’s upper house of parliament approved two agreements on Thursday with the US and NATO, allowing about 12,500 troops to remain in the country, AFP said.
The lower house of parliament approved the Bilateral Security Agreement with the US, and a similar pact with NATO, on Sunday.
President Ashraf Ghani signed the deals on his first day in power, while previous president, Hamid Karzai, had vigorously resisted the move.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – Nov.23 – Following on from previous post earlier and the Press Release about Obama’s secret order report.
Just received this update: Pentagon reversed a decision to delay deploying 1,500 troops to Iraq until Congress approved $5.6 billion in funding to pay for their missions.
“We can deploy troops to the theatre, but — so that — that process can and will continue,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby at a briefing Thursday.
Kirby said Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, has also moved about 50 U.S. forces within Iraq to Anbar Province to get a “jump start” on expanding the advise-and-assist mission, as well as on starting to train Iraqi forces in their fight against Islamic militants.
“But it doesn’t mean that we still don’t need the authorization in terms of the resources that will go with the much more robust program that we’re trying to get done,” Kirby said. “He can start it and he is.”
President Obama ordered 1,500 more troops to Iraq on Nov. 7, which would double the total number of forces there to more than 3,000.
Congress is expected to approve the funds as part of a spending bill that’s must-pass legislation to avoid a government shut-down next month. However, exactly when that will happen is unclear.
There is also some concern that the deployment needs to be sped up to capitalize on recent gains by Iraqi forces.
“One, it’s important and we wanted to get it started,” Kirby said. “No. 2, it sends an important signal both to the Iraqis and to coalition partners of how seriously we’re taking this.”
“And the sooner we get started, the sooner Iraqi units will improve in their capability and the sooner we’ll get coalition contributions to that particular mission,” he said.
#AceWorldNews – AFGHANISTAN – Nov.23 – Following closely on from my post about Germany increasing their troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The parliament of Afghanistan approved an agreement that allows troops of the NATO-led coalition to say in the country beyond 2014. The agreement was suspended in mid-air for months, as former President Hamid Karzai refused to sign it during his term.
The new agreement, ratified Sunday, allows the ISAF to maintain a total of 12,000 troops in Afghanistan next year. After a 152-5 vote, Nazifullah Salarzai, spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said the foreign troops will “train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.”
“Afghan forces are responsible for the security and defense of the Afghan people, and in the fight against international terrorism and training of our national security forces we count on the support and assistance of our international partners,” he said, AP reported.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – Nov.22 – President Barack Obama has secretly signed an order that expands the United States’ direct combat role in Afghanistan throughout 2015, the New York Times reported.
Signed over the last few weeks, the secret order permits American forces to continue to battle the Taliban and other militants that pose a threat to either the Afghan government or US personnel. According to the Times, US jets, bombers, and drones will be able to aid ground troops – be they Afghan or US forces – in whatever mission they undertake.
Under the order, ground troops could join Afghan troops on missions, and airstrikes could be carried out in their support.
If true it would appear that the number of troops that will be operating in Afghanistan next year will remain unchanged from previous plans.
There will be 9,800 soldiers left throughout next year, and that number will be cut in half by the end of the year.
By the end of 2016, the remaining troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan, ending the US military presence in the country.
#AceWorldNews – GERMANY – Nov.18 – According to a NATO press release Germany plans to keep up to 850 soldiers in Afghanistan in 2015 to help train local armed forces.
A German Defence Ministry spokesman on Tuesday confirmed a Sueddeutsche Zeitung report that the number had been revised up slightly.
The German military will continue to be responsible for the international mission in northern Afghanistan, he said.
Germany has had some 3,200 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, and Berlin had been planning to reduce that to a force of 600 to 800 soldiers from January.
#AceWorldNews says France plans to increase the number of troops it has deployed in the Central African Republic, Reuters quoted a French source as saying Friday.
A meeting on the matter took place at the Elysee presidential palace. It is not clear how many troops will be added to the existing 1,600-strong French force in the former colony.