China sends advanced warships to contested S China Sea

Hefei-052DThe Type 052D world-class guided missile destroyer, the Hefei, has joined the fleet of the Chinese Navy to boost its combat capability.

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Missile frigate Sanya

China sends advanced warships to contested S China Sea for drills

Russia-Today

© China Daily
China is sending some of its most advanced naval assets to the South China Sea for a scheduled exercise this month. Those include a new guided missile destroyer.

The exercise will be focusing on anti-missile warfare and other tasks, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday. It added that among the ships sent were missile destroyer Hefei, missile frigate Sanya and supply ship Honghu along with missile destroyers Lanzhou and Guangzhou, and missile frigate Yuli, which are currently tasked with other duties.

The report said it was routine and didn’t specify whether it would be held near disputed islands that several regional nations, including China, consider their territory.

Beijing is claiming sovereignty over a big chunk of the sea, which is a major trading route and is believed to be rich in minerals. Contesting claims have been made by the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

China is furthering its presence in the region by reclaiming artificial islands and turning building infrastructure on them, including airstrips capable of launching warplanes. It says its primary focus for such actions is civilian and is aimed at better weather forecast, emergency response and other crucial missions.

The US is rejecting China’s claims and challenges Beijing by conducting so-called freedom of navigation missions. Washington sends military ships and warplanes through the space, which China considers under its sovereignty.

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Afghan Mujahedeen Anti-Soviet Jihad Museum In Herat, Afghanistan

An Afghan veteran and a staff member of the museum points out the names of Afghans who were killed during their fight against Russia in 1979, in Herat, on November 5, 2009. # Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

The Jihad Museum: Afghanistan Remembers the Soviet Invasion

The Atlantic

Alan Taylor

On February 15, 1989, just more than 25 years ago, the Soviet Union pulled its troops out of Afghanistan after 9 years of bloody conflict. In those years, Afghan Mujahedeen fighters battled Soviet soldiers and members of the communist Afghan government propped up by the USSR. Afghan wars raged on before and after the Soviet invasion, but Abdel Wahab Qattali, the founder of the People’s Museum, or Manzar-e Jahad, in Afghanistan’s Herat city has made it his mission to tell the story of this particular chapter. Statues, panoramas, military weapons and memorials line the museum walls and grounds, some depicting battle scenes in grisly detail. This photo essay is part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.

 

Museum assistant and former Soviet soldier, Sheikh Abdullah looks at a display in the Manzar-e Jahad, or Jihad Museum, which depicts the Soviet invasion of 1979 and the Afghan resistance, in Herat, on February 15, 2014. Sheikh Abdullah, who was a Soviet intelligence officer by the name of Khakimov Bakhrodin, was captured after being injured in battle with the Mujahideen. Abdullah stayed with his captors, converted to Islam and was renamed Abdullah. He never returned to his former homeland and now works at the Jihad Museum. #
Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

 

Museum assistant Sheikh Abdullah stands alongside a Soviet helicopter outside the Jihad Museum in Herat, on February 15, 2014. # Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

 

Museum staff stand among a display of portraits of prominent commanders of the Mujahedeen in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. # Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

 

An Afghan laborer works on a plaster statue depicting the victims of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, part of a display at The Jihad Museum in Herat, on August 8, 2009. # Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

 

Statues depicting the victims of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on display in the Jihad Museum in Herat, on August 8, 2009. # Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

 

An Afghan laborer looks at statues depicting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at The Jihad Museum in Herat, on August 8, 2009. # Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

 

Detail of a tableau depicting fighting during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the Jihad Museum, on August 8, 2009. # Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

 

Detail of a tableau depicting Afghan fighters during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the Jihad Museum, on August 8, 2009. # Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

 

Museum assistant Sheikh Abdullah stands at a display of burning Soviet tanks in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. # Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

 

A staff member of the Military museum stands next to sculptures in Herat, on November 5, 2009. # Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

 

A guide in the Jihad Museum describes a fight during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on August 11, 2009. # Reuters/Raheb Homavandi

 

Museum assistant Sheikh Abdullah walks among a display in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. # Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

 

Sheikh Abdullah walks among a display in the Jihad Museum, on February 15, 2014. #
Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

 

Detail of a tableau depicting victims of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, part of a display at the Jihad Museum, on August 8, 2009. # Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

 

A scene of Afghanistan’s war against the former Soviet Union’s army is portrayed in a diorama in the People’s Museum, or Manzar-e Jahad, in Herat, on April 11, 2010. # Reuters/Mohammad Shoib

 

A guide in the Jihad Museum describes a fight during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in Herat, on August 11, 2009. # Reuters/Raheb Homavandi

Afghan Govt Boasts of False Taliban Kills Is the Wrong Way To Run A Psywar

[Afghan Govt Claims To Have Re-Killed Yet Another Dead Taliban Leader–Both “Rekills” Dadullah’s Anti-Taliban  ; Afghanistan Govt Claims To Have Killed Taliban Leader With Multiple Lives ]

Taliban denies shadow governor for Kandahar killed by Afghan forces

Long war journal

 

The Afghan Taliban denied reports from the Ministry of Interior that the shadow governor and his deputy were among the 45 jihadists killed during a raid in the southern Afghan province. The Taliban even said that the Afghan government has the wrong names of the shadow governor and his deputy for Kandahar province.

The Taliban issued a statement yesterday on its official website, Voice of Jihad, after the Ministry of Interior reported that it killed Haji Lala, who it identified as the shadow governor of Kandahar, and Ahmad Shah, the deputy shadow governor, along with 43 fighters during an operation in Shah Wali Kot district. The Taliban appoints shadow governors for each province to direct military operations and run its shadow governments.

“We strongly reject this claim by the defeated enemy,” the Taliban said. “Clashes took place in the mentioned area after the enemy launched an operation to re-open the road stretching towards Uruzgan province which ended with an enemy route [sic] while no Mujahideen were harmed.”

The Taliban claimed it took no casualties while killing 17 Afghan troops and decimating the military convoy. The district of Shah Wali Kot has been hotly contested by the Taliban, which seeks to wrest control of it from the government.

Representatives of Voice of Jihad claimed to have spoke to the shadow governor of Kandahar to confirm that he and his deputy were still alive. The Taliban also said that Lala and Shah are not leading the Taliban in Kandahar.

“It must be mentioned that their are no individuals by the stated names who are appointed by the Islamic Emirate as governor and deputy for Kandahar province,” it said. The names of the actual shadow governor and his deputy were not disclosed. While the Taliban have named the shadow governors for nearly every province since Mullah Mansour was appointed the new emir, the emirs for Kandahar, Ghazni, and Farah have yet to be identified.

It is impossible to verify the claims made by the Ministry of Interior and the denial by the Taliban. Both groups have a spotty track record when reporting on the status of Taliban leaders.

The Afghan government has routinely stated that top Taliban leaders have been killed or captured, only to be proven wrong when these leaders re-appear on the battlefield.

The Taliban has been somewhat more reliable, but its credibility took a major hit when it hid the death of Mullah Omar, its founder and first emir, for more than two years. Omar died in April of 2013, but the Taliban issued numerous statements in his name while denying occasional reports of his death. The Taliban was finally forced to admit Omar’s death at the end of July 2015, and claimed it was forced to hide it in order to maintain unity at a crucial time as US forces began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal.