11.12.07: Allies move into town held by Taliban
11.12.07, explainer: the fight for Musa Qala
11.12.07: Afghan troops enter Musa Qala
10.12.07, analysis: The Afghan war in microcosm
10.12.07: Troops ready for final assault on Musa Qala
10.12.07: Map of the region
10.12.07, Richard Norton-Taylor: It's time for power to shift
09.12.07: Fierce battle rages for Taliban stronghold
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Musa Qala, Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan.
Musa Qala Valley fly over.( Googles resolution for most of Musa Qala valley is about 10 miles, while Sajin's resolution is better than 1 mile ( 4000 feet.)
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Musa Qalah District, village maps, shockwave-flash@http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#!flashvars#autostart=false&token=ae1_1195779028" href="http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#%21flashvars#autostart=false&token=ae1_1195779028" id="">al Jezzra on Musa Qala
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Royal Irish Easy Company Musa Qal'eh , shockwave-flash@http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#!flashvars#autostart=false&token=fb1_1172483246" href="http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#%21flashvars#autostart=false&token=fb1_1172483246" id="">Danish forces battle it out with Taliban in the town of Musa Qala, in Southern Afghanistan, Helmand Province., shockwave-flash@http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#!flashvars#autostart=false&token=e12f146f46" href="http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#%21flashvars#autostart=false&token=e12f146f46" id="">Sangin Flyover, shockwave-flash@http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#!flashvars#autostart=false&token=047_1189009407" href="http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#%21flashvars#autostart=false&token=047_1189009407" id="">
....CNN BRITS IN SANGIN, shockwave-flash@http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#!flashvars#autostart=false&token=471_1191694015" href="http://www.liveleak.com/player.swf#%21flashvars#autostart=false&token=471_1191694015" id="">
Taleban Ghost Town
The atmosphere is subdued as many residents have left town and local business has declined.
By Aziz Ahmad Shafe in Musa Qala (ARR No. 275, 27-Nov-07)
The hospital in central Musa Qala is padlocked, and the district government office has been completely demolished by Taleban militants. The bazaar is quiet, with none of its former bustle.
Foreign air strikes have also done a lot of damage – many houses lie in ruins, and there are big holes in surrounding fields.
Hajji Nazar Mohammad, an elder in the Musa Qala district, said many people had fled the district in fear.
"More than 75 per cent of the residents have gone," he said. "The only people left are those who couldn't afford to go. We are in a very bad economic situation."
One shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, said that his business had fallen by 80 per cent.
"I am lucky, though," he said. "Most of the other shops have closed completely."
The shopkeeper seemed nervous, and kept saying he did not want the Taleban to see him talking to me. He was not the only one. A lot of people refused to talk out of fear of the insurgents.
I was accompanied by an armed Taleban guard, who I think was recording my interviews. So no one was saying anything against the insurgents.
Some people complained about a lack of water, and said their gardens and crops had dried up. I saw many gardens in which all the flowers were dead, but I suspected that the owners had left town.
There are no schools open in the district, although some young boys are receiving a religious education in mosques.
The Taleban control the district the same way they did when they were in power in Afghanistan. The only difference is now there are no men from the committee for "the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice" patrolling the streets.
"We do not punish people for their hair and beards right now," explained the Taleban district governor. "But once we take over the country, we will treat people according to the orders of our supreme leader Mullah Omar."
The governor does not have his own office, and I met him at someone's house.
The insurgents have their own FM radio station covering Musa Qala district. Like other Taleban institutions, the station does not operate out of a particular office. The mobile radio station is on the air from seven in the morning until midday and then from three to seven in the evening.
The station, which has just two members of staff, even takes commercial advertisements.
One thing the Taleban have done is establish security in Musa Qala. When it is time to go and pray, shopkeepers can leave their doors open. No one would dare steal anything.
People are pleased that the Taleban have brought security, but at night they fear air strikes by the international forces.
That is one of the reasons why the militants do not maintain permanent offices and meet in secret locations.
The Afghan authorities claim that there are foreign Taleban in Musa Qala, but in the 24 hours that I was there I could not find any, although I made great efforts.
Local residents and Taleban members deny that there are foreigners among them. There are men from other areas of Afghanistan, though – southern areas like Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul, and even from as far afield as Ghor and Faryab in the north.
The town's residents seemed unconcerned about the presence of these Afghan outsiders. All they want is for the schools to open, for the Taleban to allow health workers into the area, and reconstruction work to get under way.
But Taleban officials say they will not allow international projects in areas under their control. The international community is not implementing real projects, they say.
I left the district with the help of the Taleban militants. But I was really afraid on the way back. Family members told me the Afghan police had come round asking for me. Then I learned that two other reporters had been arrested for travelling to Musa Qala. (See Police Target Journalists After Taleban Trip, ARR No. 272, 8-Nov-07.)
So I did not go home. Coming back had turned out to be more dangerous than going into Taleban country.
Aziz Ahmad Shafe is a journalist based in Helmand.SOURCE:
British, US, Estonian, and Danish troops have been inserted by helicopters
on the outskirts of Musa Qala City. A large ANA unit is in a blocking position as the three-pronged assault on Musa Qala has begun. Coalition forces thwarted an ambush in Farah province
leaving 17 Taliban dead including a local commander. Three Taliban died after a roadside bomb they were planting prematurely exploded
.SOURCE: LONGWAR JOURNAL
UPDATE: PAKTI PARANOIA
GeraldChronology of events in Musa Qala: FROM AFGHA.COM
October 17, 2006: British forces pull out of Musa Qala City after signing a peace agreement with local elders. Security responsibility handed over to them in exchange for keeping Taliban militants out and the evacuation of British troops from the area.
October 20, 2006: Taliban forces claim victory saying they forced the British to withdraw from Musa Qala.
December 3, 2006: UK and Danish patrol engage Taliban fighters in a massive gun fight outside of Musa Qala City. Air strikes are called in killing several militants.
January 26, 2007: An ISAF air strike targets and kills regional Taliban commander in Musa Qala. The commander is later identified as Mullah Ibrahim.
February 2: Hundreds of Taliban storm Musa Qala City. Police are disarmed and the Taliban flag is raised above the district headquarters. The band of Taliban fighters is led by commander Mullah Ghafoor who is also the brother of slain commander Mullah Ibrahim.
February 4: An ISAF Air strike successfully kills Mullah Ghafoor and his bodyguards near the city limits.
February 10: Hundreds of Taliban remain in the city. The situation is tense and chaotic; hundreds of families flee fearing an impending invasion. Taliban fighters dig in, lying booby-traps and fortifying positions.
February 11: Helmand governor Asadullah Wafa tells reporters over 700 foreign fighters are operating in his province. Chechen, Uzbek and Pakistani fighters are among the nationalities listed.
February 13: Taliban reportedly capture Helmand's Washir district.
February 14: ISAF air strikes kill third Taliban commander just outside of Musa Qala. He's identified as Mullah Manan, a top regional commander, and is thought to be a key player in the Musa Qala take-over.
February 19: Taliban seize Bakwa district in neighboring Farah province. They are quickly evicted two days later.
February 26: Reports of Musa Qala’s worsening situation begin to trickle out. Some tribal elders are still under house arrest, Taliban are reasserting their iron grip on the public.
March 5: Reports of Taliban seizing Helmands' Nawzad district emerge.
March 6: ISAF’s Operation Achilles is launched in northern Helmand aimed at securing the site of the Kajaki dam complex, easily the most vital reconstruction project in southern Afghanistan.
March 29: President Hamid Karzai, Defense Minister RahimWardak and Helmand Governor Assadullah Wafa speak in Helmand's capital urging the Taliban to leave Musa Qala.
April 4: Taliban hang three men in Musa Qala they suspected of spying for ISAF. The victim's according to the Taliban, provided information that led to the death of Mullah Manan.
April 18: Defense Minister Wardak ominously announces the government plans to recapture Musa Qala.
June 24-28: Four Afghan men are hanged for allegedly spying for American forces. Locals claim that the Taliban closed all of the schools in Musa Qala, force females to wear a Burqa and be accompanied by a male relative when traveling in public and that a Taliban FM radio program airs during the day. A hefty Taliban tax has also been imposed on the impoverished citizens and tales of forced military conscription have merged. -IRIN report
July 5: The Taliban launch an armed incursion from Musa Qala into neighboring Sangin district. A malfunction in their mortar system caused an explosion which killed three Taliban and left three others injured. No civilian or coalition casualties are reported. Pajhwok report
July 22: Taliban fighters launch a coordinated ambush against a joint Afghan-Coalition patrol in southern Musa Qala near the Shaban village. Coalition forces utilize close air support which drop four 500lb. bombs on two compounds. More than 24 fighters are believed to have been killed during the onslaught. CJTF 82 report
July 23: As the combined Afghan-Coalition patrol leave the destroyed compounds in the Shaban village, Taliban reinforcement launch a second ambush and attempt to shoot down a Coalition helicopter with a surface to air missile but miss. An additional 24 Taliban fighters and two mid-level commanders died in the encounter. CJTF 82 report
July 26: Taliban fighters ambush an ANA patrol in southern Musa Qala. Coalition advisers on site with the ANA unit call in close air support to help attack 16 compounds occupied by Taliban insurgents. Two munitions are dropped on the highest concentration of insurgents leaving over 50 Taliban confirmed killed and an unknown number wounded. CJTF 82 report
Musa Qala residents claim the air strikes left up to 16 civilians’ dead and scores injured.
August 15: Coalition and Afghan forces push deeper into Musa Qala. Taliban militants ambush the patrol in the Regay village (5-km north of Shaban village). Close air support is called in to bomb an entrenched Taliban unit firing from a trench line. 4 Taliban fighters are killed and two wounded. CJTF 82 report
August 16: A second ambush occurs against a joint Afghan-Coalition patrol in Regay. A small arms and light artillery duel ensues leaving an unknown number of Taliban killed and wounded.
CJTF 82 report
August 25-27: Taliban fighters ambush a joint Coalition-Afghan patrol seven-kilometres south of Regay village, referred to as the Musa Qala Wadi. Coalition forces respond with small arms, machine gun and MK-19 fire which killed some 12 Taliban fighters. CJTF 82 report
The next day it was determined the Taliban platoon was in charge of protecting a large heroin lab. A large cache of ‘opium-processing chemicals such as ammonium chloride, liquid ammonia and charcoal’ were found along with various guns and ammunition. The lab and chemicals were subsequently destroyed. Hours later, Taliban militants launched a salvo of 82mm mortars at the advancing Coalition patrol but missed leaving one civilian wounded. CJTF 82 report
Another ambush occurrs north of Regay after the mortar salvo. Taliban fighters firing from trenches and compounds are met by Coalition artillery and small arms fire. 12 Taliban are killed during the clash, including 3 who are shot dead at close range in the trench line as ANA forces conducted a search. CJTF 82 report
August 29: A second Taliban run heroin lab is discovered by Coalition forces in the village of Khyajehdad, Musa Qalah District. This lab, only 5-kilometers away from the other Taliban heroin lab, was also defended by a platoon of insurgents. CJTF 82 report
August 30: More trench warfare in Regay village. Entrenched Taliban fighters unleash a barrage of RPG and small arms fire at a joint Afghan-Coalition patrol using trenches and compounds as defensive positions. As Taliban reinforcement began to arrive in trucks, close air support is used to destroy the vehicles and engage the trench lines. More than a dozen Taliban died in the assault. CJTF 82 report
August 30: Taliban insurgents ambush a joint Afghan-Coalition patrol seven kilometers south of Regay village, nearly the same spot that the August 25th clash erupted. An unknown number of Taliban died during the clash. CJTF 82 report
September 5: Afghan Auxiliary Police backed by Coalition advisers are ambushed in the Musa Qala Wadi area. Taliban reinforcements soon arrived and begin firing from a trench line. Close air support is called in and to bombard the trench system leaving up to 24 Taliban fighters dead. CJTF 82 report
September 25: Afghan Army soldiers battle with Taliban insurgents in the Musa Qala Wadi region. After several dozen Taliban fighters ambush the Afghan-Coalition convoy from trenches and compounds, Coalition artillery and air strikes are used against the Taliban positions leaving an estimated 61 Taliban killed. One Coalition soldier died from wounds suffered after an RPG struck his position, four others are wounded. CJTF 82 report
October 19: Joint Afghan-Coalition patrol is ambushed in the Musa Qala Wadi area. The pitched six-hour battled came to an end after close air support was called in and bombed the entrenched Taliban fighters. At least 72 Taliban fighters are believed to have been killed from the air strikes. CJTF 82 report
October 20: Further clashes erupt in the Musa Qala Wadi region. The protracted engagement left nearly 36 Taliban fighters dead. An Afghan civilian provided the location of a freshly placed IED which averted its detonation against a Coalition vehicle.
CJTF 82 report
October 31: Mullah Abdul Salaam, a Musa Qala Taliban commander and leader of the Alizai tribe, holds direct negotiations with the central government in hopes of defecting peacefully. The former governor of Helmand, Sher Mohammad Akhunzada, is also an Alizai tribesman and has recently asserted his desire to return to power.
November 9: A local Afghan journalist for Ariana Television is arrested and questioned after he conducted a trip into Musa Qala City with three other journalists. He is later released.
November 12: A British armored group leads a charge through the upper Sangin Valley and into southern Musa Qala. Some 50 armored vehicles, including the highly touted Viking and Mastiff vehicles, surround the southeastern area of Musa Qala City. Daily Telegraph
November 14: French Mirage 2000 fighter jets are flying over Musa Qala as a show of force to deter enemy activities in Musa Qala. Report
November 28: Tribal elders in Musa Qala claim Afghan and Coalition raids into the City center are set to begin. Hundreds of families have fled fearing the impending onslaught.
November 29: Musa Qala Taliban commander Enqiadi tells local reporters he commands 2,500 fighters in the district. "Last year we used guerrilla attacks," he said. “This year we will organize frontal assaults. Our lines are so strong that the foreigners will never break them. The foreigners say they are going to launch a major operation in Musa Qala. We are ready for that. In Musa Qala alone, we have 2,500 fully armed fighters. It will be very easy for us to resist the attack. We want to take the whole province this winter." IWPR report
December 3: A Coalition air strike near Musa Qala kills Mullah Sainy, the Taliban commander who kidnapped an Italian journalist last March; four other Taliban died in the raid. The Coalition later confirms the raid and identifies the slain commander as Mullah Ikhalas.
December 5-6: Helmand Governor Asadullah Wafa declares the Coalition's assault on Musa Qala has begun. ISAF drops leaflets over the city urging the remaining residents to flee the city center. ISAF forces are reportedly within 2 miles of Musa Qala City. A British recon soldier is killed and two others are wounded after their patrol engaged an IED near Musa Qala.SOURCE MORE INFO HERE:
Its started 12.08.07 Massive operation aims to retake Taliban town
Afghan troops capture 31 insurgents including group commander
Mullah Mateen Akhond and Mullah Rahim Akhond have been captured by joint forces, Sunday, December 9, 2007; 3:53 AM
MORE UPDATE: musa qala: Situation report.
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