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Fwd: [AmeriConscience] Military Resistance 10K1: The Encirclement Of Kabul

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  • Bob Smith
    Please read and forward. ... Subject: [AmeriConscience] Military Resistance 10K1: The Encirclement Of Kabul Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2012 22:56:50 -0400 From:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2012
      Please read and forward.

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject:[AmeriConscience] Military Resistance 10K1: The Encirclement Of Kabul
      Date:Wed, 31 Oct 2012 22:56:50 -0400
      From:Thomas F Barton <thomasfbarton@...>
      To:Thomas B <thomasfbarton@...>





      Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.


      Military Resistance 10K1





      Taliban Hit Region Seen As Safest, For Afghans:

      “Roads Are Unsafe And Government Officials Are Targets”

      “The Insurgents Have Added To The Sense Of Encirclement Of The Afghan Capital, Kabul”

      “Nowhere In Afghanistan Can Be Considered Safe”


      These barren valleys and high passes are just a few hours from Kabul by car, but now the roads are nearly impassable for foreigners and dangerous for most Afghans.


      On the roads into Bamian, the Taliban now regularly descend from the hills at night in shows of strength, setting up their own checkpoints after local police officers have left.


      [Thanks to Alan Stolzer, Military Resistance Organization, who sent this in.]


      October 30, 2012 By GRAHAM BOWLEY, The New York Times [Excerpts]


      As the American troop surge peaked over the past two years, Taliban insurgents began contesting parts of this central province, flowing in from more embattled areas of the country.


      And now, a series of deadly strikes in recent months has intimidated residents and served notice that roads are unsafe and government officials are targets.


      That it has happened in Bamian — known for its rugged beauty, nascent skiing industry and the ancient Buddha statues that once kept vigil here — has added to the sense that nowhere in Afghanistan can be considered safe. And that, Afghan and Western analysts say, is a crucial part of the Taliban,s strategy in coming here.


      Despite years of international military efforts, the Taliban have continued to show that they can drift away from Western forces and carry out attacks elsewhere.


      By contesting the roads into Bamian, the insurgents have added to the sense of encirclement of the Afghan capital, Kabul.


      These barren valleys and high passes are just a few hours from Kabul by car, but now the roads are nearly impassable for foreigners and dangerous for most Afghans.


      On the roads into Bamian, the Taliban now regularly descend from the hills at night in shows of strength, setting up their own checkpoints after local police officers have left.


      And they regularly carry out deadly incursions into Bamian itself, particularly in a section of its northeast.


      The provincial capital, a bazaar town of stalls and marketplaces where farmers sell watermelons and plums, and its surrounding areas have remained mostly peaceful, officials say.


      But even here, the insurgents have sympathizers.


      As the noose tightens, even the police have sought help in traversing this newly dangerous landscape.


      “We have asked the central government to provide us with helicopters,” said Ahmad Alia, a spokesman for the Bamian police chief.


      “Local government officials are not traveling by ground anymore, and they want to have helicopters so they can go to Kabul or other provinces.”


      Most of the insurgents seem to be moving in across Bamian,s eastern and northeastern borderlands from the neighboring provinces of Baghlan and Parwan, especially Baghlan,s Tala Wa Barfak district, officials say.  These provinces have a longer history of unrest, pointing to a broader problem in this central region of Afghanistan.


      Hajji Ashuqullah Wafa, a member of Parliament from Baghlan, said militant groups enjoy the patronage of local warlords who are intent on destabilizing the government and are preparing for a time after 2014 when coalition combat forces are gone and they can extend their sway more widely throughout the region.


      For residents here, the most serious signs of encroachment came this summer when two roadside bombs hit Afghan police patrols, and then the longstanding New Zealand peacekeeping force lost five of its personnel in two attacks.


      In one of the attacks, about 40 New Zealand soldiers were drawn into an unexpectedly fierce and prolonged gun battle when they responded to calls for help from Afghan intelligence forces raiding a compound outside the village of Baghak, in the northwest.


      As they consider this violence, Afghan officials concede that they are facing resilient enemies with an ability to move from regions to the south and east of the country, eluding security forces concentrated there.


      “While our other activities were going on in the south, problems increased in some parts of the north and our enemies concentrated on the north,” said Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a Defense Ministry spokesman, describing the Afghan security forces, experience at a recent news conference.


      “Then we concentrated on the north and west, and that helped the situation become more stable, but then our enemies focused on the east,” he continued.


      “At the beginning of the year, we also concentrated on the east, and the enemies were able to take advantage of some vacuums, especially in some central parts and the points which connect to Bamian.”


      They suggest that the new troubles and insurgent advances in Bamian may be a disturbing revelation that the Taliban fighters are not as weakened as some hope.


      “It is another step forward in their general expansion in the north,” said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a research organization in Kabul, who said the surge had not changed conditions as much as the international coalition would have liked.


      He added, “ISAF claiming security improvement is a narrative that is not always covered by reality.”







      “An Individual Wearing The Uniform Of An Afghan Policeman” Kills Two British Troops


      30 Oct 12 ISAF casualties 2012-10-C-034 & Ministry of Defence


      An individual wearing the uniform of an Afghan policeman turned his weapon against British service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing two.


      Two soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles have been killed in Afghanistan 30 October 2012.


      The soldiers were shot and killed at a checkpoint in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.



      Former Michigan Resident Robert Billings Killed In Action In Afghanistan

      Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, of
Clarksville, Va. Billings was killed Saturday,
Oct. 13, 2012, when insurgents attacked his unit
with an improvised explosive device in Spin
Boldak, Afghanistan, the Pentagon said. Billings,
a 2001 graduate of Morley-Stanwood High School in
Mecosta County, Mich., was a member of a unit from
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

      Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, of Clarksville, Va. Billings was killed Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, the Pentagon said. Billings, a 2001 graduate of Morley-Stanwood High School in Mecosta County, Mich., was a member of a unit from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. / AP/U.S. Department of Defense/WZZM-TV


      October 16, 2012 Associated Press


      A soldier from western Michigan who was looking forward to watching his four young children grow up has been killed in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan, authorities and his family said Tuesday.


      Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, died Saturday of wounds from an improvised explosive device blast in Spin Boldak, according to the Defense Department.


      Billings graduated in 2001 from Morley Stanwood High School in Deerfield Township, about 40 miles northeast of Grand Rapids. He later moved to Virginia, where he met his wife, Christy, said his grandmother, Elaine Billings.  He later enlisted in the Army and had one previous combat posting in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.


      His grandmother said he and his wife have four children, ages 3 to 10.


      "He was going to make this his last tour so he could be with his children and watch them grow up," she told Mlive.com. 


      "They were just all over him when he,d come home."


      Billings came from a military family. His father spent 20 years in the Navy, and his grandfather served in the Army.


      "It was just kind of in his blood," Elaine Billings said.


      Former teacher Tim Paczewski said Billings made a strong impression during his time at Morley Stanwood.


      Billings showed "a lot of determination.  He was very goal oriented when he was a student here; very likable always had a smile on his face, got a long very well with his classmates as well as staff," Paczewski said.


      Billings was part of the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.


      His remains were flown back to the U.S., arriving Monday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.











      A Number Of Heavily Armed Militants Ambushed Somali Forces At Gof-Gaduud Area”


      October 31, 2012 Sh.M.Network


      BAIDOA — Heavy clash between Somali government forces and fighters loyal to Al shabaab movement on Tuesday night broke out parts of Bay region in southern Somalia.


      The fighting started after a number of heavily armed militants ambushed Somali forces at Gof-gaduud area, about 20 kilometers from Baidoa town, the provincial capital of Bay province.


      “At least three combatants from both sides were killed during the fierce skirmishing,” a witness said, adding the rebels were warded off and pushed back of the area by Somali forces.


      Local residents in the rural areas nearby said a fearful condition faced them as fighting may resume again in any moment.







      Killing Them Softly:

      How Drug Industry War Profiteers Used Congress To Push VA To Drown Veterans In Addictive Drugs:

      “Pharmaceutical Companies Waged A Behind-The-Scenes Campaign”

      “They Were Part Of A Brilliant Campaign To Change The Way Physicians Prescribed Opioids,” He Said. “And They Created A Widespread Public Health Crisis”



      “There is growing evidence pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and market opioids may be responsible, at least in part, for this epidemic by promoting misleading information about the drugs, safety and effectiveness,” the senators wrote.


      Sept. 29, 2012 By American-Statesman Investigative Team, Austin American-Statesman [Excerpts]


      Over the past dozen years, as the number of prescriptions for narcotic painkillers written by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors soared, pharmaceutical companies waged a behind-the-scenes campaign to get the VA to focus more on veterans, pain, which would lead to more drug prescriptions.


       The agency,s use of the drugs was bound to grow as more men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan — carrying more survivable wounds than in previous wars — demanded treatment during recovery.  And pain-dulling narcotics are an important component of the treatment of acute pain.


      Yet much of the increase also has come from the surging use of the drugs to manage service members, chronic, long-term pain — a use that pharmaceutical companies have promoted even though experts say there is little hard research to support it.


      Meanwhile, a 2011 VA-sponsored study found that the overdose risk for veterans was twice that of the general population — much of it due to opiate painkillers.


      The increase of the VA,s opioid use coincided with the agency,s adoption of the “Pain: the 5th Vital Sign” campaign .  Initiated and promoted by the nonprofit American Pain Society before the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan operations, it urged doctors to check for patients, untreated pain as regularly as they monitored heart rate, blood pressure and other wellness signs.


      Although supported by many physicians and patient advocacy groups, critics say it was also a way for drug companies to tap new markets, particularly among patients with chronic pain. 


      “ ,Untreated pain, is often code for ,underused opioids,, ” said Andrew Kolodny, chairman of the Maimonides Medical Center psychiatry department in Brooklyn and president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.


      With millions of patients, the VA presented an obvious market for pain drug companies .


      A 2001 promotional plan for OxyContin, revealed as part of a Florida lawsuit, detailed manufacturer Purdue Pharma,s plan to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars targeting the agency.


      “Corporate initiatives and partnering efforts were very successful with the Veterans Administration (and) American Pain Society … in an effort to make Pain: The 5th Vital Sign,” the plan noted.


      This ,call to action, was an important promotional initiative for Purdue. In addition to building sales for OxyContin Tablets, it also positioned Purdue as the leader in pain management education.”


      Drug companies have worked in less direct, but ultimately effective ways to influence the VA to pay greater attention to pain, as well.


      In 2008, Congress passed the Veterans, Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act. It included language requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to “focus attention on pain management” for returning service members.


      The VA opposed the law, saying it already paid ample attention to veterans, pain.


      But the measure was aggressively pushed by the influential American Pain Foundation.


      The foundation (unrelated to the American Pain Society) launched its “Military/Veterans Pain Initiative” in 2004 to promote “quality acute and chronic pain care and increased research” for returning soldiers, Brenda Murdough, the campaign,s coordinator, explained in testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Affairs in 2007.


      Then-foundation President Scott Fishman met with lawmakers to press the cause, according to foundation newsletters from the time.


      What the organization didn,t tell lawmakers was that it received nearly 90 percent of its annual budget from drug companies, including some that manufactured common narcotic painkillers.


      Another American Pain Foundation board member was psychiatrist Rollin Gallagher.


      Widely published and a frequent speaker on pain control, Gallagher had other ties to pain drug companies.


      In 2002, he appeared before a U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee as it considered whether to restrict the use of opiate painkillers.


      Representing the American Academy of Pain Medicine, which received funding from drug companies, he spoke against restricting the use of OxyContin.


      In publications, Gallagher also has disclosed he worked as a consultant for Purdue, Endo Pharmaceutical — maker of Percocet and Percodan — and Janssen Pharmaceutica, which developed the Duragesic fentanyl patch.


      He also disclosed he received grants from Cephalon, another painkiller manufacturer.


      Today, Gallagher is the VA,s deputy national program manager for pain management.


      As the veterans pain bill wound through Congress, the American Pain Foundation also worked to generate public support, launching its “Freedom from Pain” media campaign in 2006 “as a part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness of resources for veterans in pain,” a newsletter from the period announced.


      “Print, television and radio ads will be running across the country through the Veterans, Day holiday weekend.”


      The organization bombarded members and veterans with “advocacy alerts,” urging them to press for the bill,s passage.


      “We are asking that you contact your Senator TODAY to request their support for this critical Veterans Legislation,” a 2007 mailing read.


      In its 2010 annual report, the foundation said, “APF,s Military/Veteran,s Initiative played an influential role in policy efforts that eventually led to the passage of the ... pain care legislation in 2008.”


      Pain foundation officers have denied the pharmaceutical industry,s financial support influenced its advocacy.


      But published reports have noted it came to the defense of longtime patron Purdue in several OxyContin lawsuits and lobbied against laws to more tightly regulate opiate use.


      Kolodny and others also have pointed to the American Pain Foundation,s publications — some funded directly by drug companies — that soft-pedaled the risks of opioid painkillers while at the same time promoting the drugs for uses unsupported by research.


      “They were part of a brilliant campaign to change the way physicians prescribed opioids,” he said.


      “And they created a widespread public health crisis.”


      In 2007, the American Pain Foundation authored the “chronic pain” chapter of “The American Veterans and Service Members Survival Guide,” widely distributed to veterans.


      Edited by Gallagher, the guide assured that “when used for medical purposes and under the guidance of a skilled health-care provider, the risk of addiction from opioid pain medication is very low.”


      Some studies have found that, among chronic opioid

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