Afloat Above Afghanistan

Shakara Ledard

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“What’s going on?” says Mamoodia, her miracle belly

Quivering charmfully in a cold morning breeze

Her belly button puckering up & alert for a clue to today’s events

“We seem to be in a bubble floating in the sky”

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Sheena grimaces & she surmises, “Fiddler’s doing”

She & I know each other like 2 buds on the same bush

Mamoodia, my savior, replies to Sheena, my other savior

“Uncle Chucky’s coma has him, & us too, soaring”

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bhutto_obit_1227

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Sheena shakes her head scornfully

The two half-naked women stand on the mountain ridge

Well away from Pluckame, the Afghan village

Which is totally isolated now in Capt’n Chuck Fiddler’s Sufi Bubble

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GoddessDanceW

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Which is just as well because women like this

Would not get along too well in war-torn Afghanistan proper

The whole mountain ridge is in a bubble now

Floating across the pale blue above Afghanistan!

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On my tiny magic carpet I twirl like an insect

Around my two favorite ladies of the universe

Then return to my prone comatose body

Entering thru the wide-open corridor of my left nostril…

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Fiddler's Magic Carpet

Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

Rawclyde!

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Text Copyright Clyde Collins 2014

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Sufi Arrows From Above

2d_woman_archer

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Endless subterfuge becomes entwined in the Afghan run-off election

The Karzai government fires half the election committee

Replaces them with ballot-box-stuffing secret agents

Front-runner Abdullah Abdullah begins a protest movement

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Ballot-box-stuffing secret agents?

Col. Sheena Johnson & her side-kick Mysterious Mamoodia

Two archers extraordinaire take articulate aim

From Capt’n Fiddler’s Sufi Bubble floating above Afghanistan

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Hafiz Qari and Yousef Ahmadi

Stuff ballot boxes merrily in a tiny village

Lost in the outermost dusty districts of Afghanistan

In a village of 40 people 4000 votes for the runner-up materialize

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Thunk!  Yousef’s eyes pop out

He’s got a sudden headache, a split-second later is knocked out

An arrow stuck in the top of his head

Special delivery from Mahmoodia of Pluckame

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Capt’n Chuck Fiddler’s Afghaneeland Sufi Bubble

Takes extraordinary strides across Afghanistan’s pale blue

Arrows rain-down on ballot-box stuffers, they’re all knocked out

& a big bubble of miracle heads-out over the sea

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Can an impossible bubble like this make a difference?

Maybe in a head or two somewhere & that is all

God only knows how the ripples from one pebble thrown in a pond

Spread & spread across the universe!

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Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

Rawclyde

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(Text Copyright Clyde Collins 2014)

A Flying Booger

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by Rawclyde!

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“Why do you look so close, so long

At this twilight sleeper’s face?” asks Mamoodia

Of Ollie who sits forever on my chest & peers

Up the nose of my unmoving physical self

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“Because,” says little Ollie to his most beautiful cousin

“A tiny man on a magic carpet flies in & out

The sleeper’s crooked nose & I wanna know where he goes

So I can catch him & keep him in a jar”

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Meanwhile below the floating Afghaneeland bubble

In the bubble-blowing war-torn land of Afghanistan

Those Afghans with Sufi arrows stuck in the tops of their heads

Wonder why they cannot remove the protruding feathered sticks

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“Oh Ollie,” says Mamoodia to her little curious cousin

“Why must you imprison in a jar

This tiny man on his tiny carpet?

Why not let him be, flying around happy & free?”

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Little Ollie looks up at bedazzling Mamoodia

Her naked navel nibbles at his little-boy eyes ’til

His soul is a bowl of pudding in Mamoodia’s hands

& Ollie cries out, “he is a flying booger!”

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Text Copyright Clyde Collins 2014

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Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

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IS Comes Back To Nangarhar

Afghan policemen leap into position on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border…

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by Abubakar Siddique & Shah Mahmood Shinwari

Gandhara News

June 28, 2016

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KOT, Afghanistan — As heavy gunfire and artillery shelling ring out in the mountains, the residents of a remote region in eastern Afghanistan fled their homes in haste.

Most adults were observing the dawn-till-dusk Ramadan fasts as they left their mud houses on foot or in tractors. They are among the hundreds of residents of Kot district of Nangarhar Province — along Afghanistan’s eastern volatile border with Pakistan. All trying to escape the much-feared militants of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Everyone on the move in the scorching heat spoke of great suffering at the hands of the ultra-radical fighters. “They began stabbing our children to terrorize us,” said Mohammad Din, a young farmer while fleeing his village, Said Ahmad Khel in Kot, on May 26. “They prevented us from taking our belongings and even burned some homes.”

Another Kot resident, who refused to give his name, said IS militants beat him and that he barely survived by running away.

“They tortured me, stepped on me when I fell to the ground and then hit me with the butts of their machine guns,” he said. “They confiscated all our belongings, and I barely escaped with my life.”

The ongoing fighting in Kot marks the return of IS to Nangarhar, where it was thought to have been defeated after a yearlong campaign. The hard-line militants swiftly overran large swaths of rural Nangarhar. By August last year, they were in charge of Kot and five neighboring mountainous districts bordering Pakistan.

Their atrocities, however, provoked a local tribal rebellion that helped government troops reclaim lost territory. The IS stranglehold in Nangarhar crumbled this spring after the Taliban, the Afghan Army, NATO troops, and a host of regional countries contributed to their defeat in what appeared to be uncoordinated efforts aimed at denying IS an Afghan foothold.

The hard-line militants now seem to be have made a limited comeback in Nangarhar by attacking Afghan forces in Kot late last week and swiftly overrunning parts of the rural region.

Nuroz, a middle-aged man, also fled his village, Lagharjoo, on May 26. He blamed Pakistan for his suffering. “Most of these [IS] militants are Punjabis from Pakistan who are now fighting against us,” he said.

Jandad, a farmer, hastily loaded everything he could on to his tractor and left his home amid an Afghan Army counteroffensive against IS.

“We fled because the [artillery] shells and [machine-gun] bullets were hitting our homes,” he told Radio Free Afghanistan. “Daesh (eds: an Arabic language term for IS) was committing unspeakable atrocities against us. It was impossible to leave our women and children behind in the areas they controlled.”

Afghan officials say scores of civilians, at least a dozen Afghan security forces, and more than 100 IS fighters have been killed in the fighting in Kot since it broke out on June 23.

Zar Mohammad Tarakhel, a local police official, said the IS use of civilian mud houses as hideouts and trenches has complicated their efforts to clear the region.

For Kot’s civilians, this means more weeks and months of displacement and misery.

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http://gandhara.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-is-atrocities-nangarhar/27825695.html

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Helmand Out Of Taliban Danger

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by Ayesha Tanzeem

Voice of America

June 3, 2016

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After days of heavy fighting, Afghan forces have regained control of parts of Helmand province previously in the Taliban hands.  Neither the province of Helmand, nor its capital, Lashkar Gah, was in danger of falling to the Taliban, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

General Daulat Waziri, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense, told reporters in Kabul Friday that the Taliban suffered heavy casualties during recent clashes, with 160 insurgents killed and 65 others wounded in several districts.

He said Afghan forces managed to break the Taliban hold of Marja, the district that had fallen into insurgent hands last year.

He also said Afghan forces managed to reopen a 10-kilometer stretch of road between Lashkar Gah and Marja that the Taliban had blocked for months.

Taliban militants overran several security checkpoints and killed dozens of police officers in Helmand late last month. Heavy fighting in multiple districts including Gereshk, Nad Ali, Sangeen and Marja led to fears that Lashkar Gah would fall to the Taliban.

Fighting in the province was so fierce last year that NATO-led forces had to send hundreds of additional troops in support of Afghan forces.

General Waziri said Afghan forces also reopened another key highway between Kandahar and Terenkot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan province.

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http://www.voanews.com/content/afghan-defense-official-helmand-province-out-taliban-danger/3360849.html

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US Launches Airstrikes

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Associated Press

June 24, 2016

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The U.S. military has launched its first airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan since President Barack Obama’s decision earlier this month to expand America’s involvement against the insurgents, U.S. officials said Friday.

Officials said the strikes began in the last week and were against Taliban targets in the southern part of the country. But Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook declined to provide any details, citing “operational security.”

One senior U.S. official said there have been “a couple” of airstrikes, but the U.S. does not want to provide more information because there may be more strikes in that area, including missions with Afghan forces who could be accompanied by U.S. advisers.

The official was not authorized to discuss the operations publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, said U.S. forces “have conducted a limited number of strikes under these new authorities” but it is “too early to quantify the effects achieved.”

The strikes “are only being used where they may help the Afghans achieve a strategic effect,” Cleveland said.

U.S. officials made it clear when they announced the new authority to hit Taliban targets once again that they would only be used in selective operations that were deemed to have a strategic and important effect on the fight. Cook said the strikes “hit their intended targets.”

He added the strikes were “part of an ongoing operation that, again, the goal of which would be a strategic effect on behalf of the Afghan forces that we are enabling, and that’s exactly what they were intended to be used for.”

Pressed for more details, Cook refused, saying “these are ongoing operations” and he does not want to be “telegraphing what’s to come to the enemy.”

The war in Afghanistan began in 2001, and the U.S. has been conducting a broad range of operations there ever since.

Obama decided in early June to expand America’s involvement with more airstrikes against insurgents, giving the U.S. military wider latitude to support Afghan forces, both in the air and on the ground.

Since all foreign combat troops pulled out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014, leaving only an advisory and training contingent of international forces behind, the Afghan military has struggled in leading the fight against the Taliban and other militants.

The 9,800 remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan are scheduled to drop to 5,500 by the end of this year, but the pace of that decline has yet to be decided. One factor in determining future troop levels is the extent to which NATO allies are willing to remain involved in training and advising the Afghans.

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http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/24/us-launches-first-airstrikes-against-afghan-taliban.html

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