Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Afghan who crashed truck where Panetta landed dies

The Detroit Free Press  March 15, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan man who crashed a stolen truck at an airfield as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s plane was landing there died Thursday of extensive burns, a top U.S. general in Afghanistan said.

U.S. Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparotti, the deputy commander of American forces in Afghanistan, told reporters traveling with Panetta in Kabul that the driver was an interpreter working for the foreign forces.

The man apparently had a container of fuel in the car, which ignited during the crash Wednesday at the British airfield in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.

“There was a puff of smoke and he came out engulfed in flames,” Scaparotti said. He said the truck was headed toward a group of U.S. Marines assembled at the ramp.

“My personal opinion, yes, he had an intent to do harm,” Scaparotti said.

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March 15, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Interpreters | , , , | Leave a comment

Ethiopia Attacks Military Base Inside Eritrea

VOA  March 15, 2012

Ethiopian government spokesman, Shimeles Kemal speaks in Addis Ababa on March 15, 2012, where he announced that Ethiopia had attacked an Eritrean military base today, where rebel groups are armed and trained by the Eritrean government.

Ethiopian troops have carried out a cross-border attack against military training camps inside Eritrea.

Ethiopia’s statement

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal says Ethiopian troops crossed into Eritrea early Thursday to strike military outposts used by what he calls ‘”hit-and-run” subversive groups operating in the remote region.

“The Ethiopian National Defense Force has entered into Eritrea, 16 kilometers from the border of Ethiopia, and launched a successful attack against military posts that have been used by subversive groups organized, supported, financed and trained by the Eritrean government,” said Shimeles.

The two camps targeted in the attacks are along Ethiopia’s northeastern border, near where a group of European tourists were attacked in January. Five of the tourists were killed, and two others were taken captive. A little-known Ethiopian rebel group released the two captives last week.

Rebel activity

Spokesman Shimeles indicated the camps had been used by the rebels.

“Certainly these camps, these military posts were used by anti-Ethiopian forces launching attacks inside Ethiopia, similar with the recent attack taken against European terrorists,” he said.

Shimeles gave few details of the incursion, other than to indicate there had been no clash between Ethiopian and Eritrean troops.

“Today’s measures do not constitute a direct military confrontation between the two armies, the armies of the two countries,” added Shimeles.

Retaliation

The Ethiopian spokesman said he did not anticipate any retaliation from Eritrea.

“We know for certain the Eritrean Defense Force is not in a position to launch a counter attack against Ethiopia, and if they do so, the result would be disastrous,” he said.

An Eritrean diplomat in Addis Ababa told VOA he had no immediate response to the incident. The two countries do not maintain diplomatic relations, but Eritrea does have a mission to the African Union, based in the Ethiopian capital.

The two countries fought a two-year border war more than a decade ago that killed 80,000 people

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March 15, 2012 Posted by | Eritrea | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Captive couple escape Taliban captors

Sydney Morning Herald  March 16, 2012

A Swiss couple held captive by the Pakistani Taliban for more than eight months are safe, claiming they escaped their captors in the lawless tribal belt, the Pakistani army says.

Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28, were abducted at gunpoint on July 1 in the south-western province of Baluchistan, while apparently on holiday.

”They are safe and sound,” Major-General Athar Abbas said. ”They told us that they escaped and then they reported to our checkpost.”

The Pakistani Taliban had demanded the couple be exchanged for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist sentenced in 2010 in New York for the attempted murder of US government agents in Afghanistan

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March 15, 2012 Posted by | Pakistan, Taliban | , , , , , | Leave a comment