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Howitzer recycling program comes to Afghanistan



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Artillerymen from the Afghan National Army Artillery Battery, 4th Kandak, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 203rd ANA Corps, fire the D-30 howitzer for the first time during a training exercise at Forward Operating Base Sharana on Feb. 9. U.S. Army photo/Spc. Zack Burke.

Under the auspices of a "howitzer donation program," the NATO Headquarters Sarajevo Commander, US Army Brigadier General Gary Huffman, attended a ceremony on July 25 at which the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH) prepared to ship the first eight of 60 pieces of heavy firepower --- the 122-mm Howitzer D-30 platform --- to the Afghan National Army (ANA). The obligation of these howitzers was established in October 2009, and all remaining artillery pieces are to be delivered by the end of 2011. In what is a recycling program of war material from one theater to another, NATO highlighted the transfer of artillery in a recent presser:

A team of United States contractors working with the BiH organization UNIS Group, joined forces with the AFBiH to completely restore and recondition sixty of the AFBiH's 122-mm Howitzer D-30 weapons for donation to the ANA. This feat not only reduces BIH's surplus ammunition stockpiles, but also bolsters the ANA's ability to protect their nation and provide a safer and more secure future. Additionally, these weapons have been refurbished locally in BiH, which provides much needed jobs and economic stimulus.

While the arrival date of the recycled D-30's remains unknown at the moment, it is likely the D-30's will be divided among the ANA Training Command (ANATC) and its Afghan National Defense University (artillery school) which should come online in September, and among the various combat service support battalions [see The Long War Journal's Afghan Security Forces Order of Battle (OOB)]. The training cycle for the artillery school typically lasts 90 days, according to NATO, and auxiliary training on the D-30 system has been conducted throughout the eastern province of Paktika since earlier this year.

NATO's announcement regarding the delivery of the D-30 howitzers is no doubt welcome news to the Afghan government and security forces positioned along the rugged border shared with Pakistan. Since late May, Pakistan has shelled eastern Afghan border towns located in Khost; Nangarhar (Ghowshta district - Allakhel, Tareli, and Lakarai villages); Paktia (Dand va Patan district); and Kunar (Shigal, Sarkanay, Khas Kunar (Shankor village), Naray (Sawh village), and Dangam districts). The New York Times reported on July 3 that Pakistani rocket and artillery shells have killed 42 Afghans and wounded 48 in three provinces of eastern Afghanistan since late May.

The Afghan Border Police Commander in charge of the eastern zone, Brigadier General Aminullah Amarkhel, resigned on June 30, saying he remained "extremely disillusioned by the government response" and NATO's lack of acknowledgment of the situation. Prior to Amarkhel's resignation, Brigadier General Ewaz Mohammad Naziri, the police chief of Kunar province, where over 520 Pakistani artillery shells struck in June alone, demanded that President Karzai allow him and his forces to respond militarily to the incoming artillery onslaught. Naziri said that 10 Afghan civilians were killed and two children were injured in a late night Pakistani artillery attack on June 20. Three days later, Afghan Border Police, without the permission of President Karzai, launched a series of nighttime attacks against Pakistani checkpoints that were established in the Ghowshta district of Nangarhar Province.

Pakistan has denied the allegations of recklessly shelling the Afghan frontier, claiming that a few errant shells might have landed in Afghan territory, but argued that Afghan militants have been rampaging garrison towns in northwestern Pakistan since May. General Amarkhel responded to Pakistan's response regarding errant shells, telling The New York Times: "One or 2 or 10 rounds, yes that could be if they were chasing the Taliban...But how come 800 rounds? So it seems they are intentionally targeting our innocent people."



READER COMMENTS: "Howitzer recycling program comes to Afghanistan "

Posted by CC at August 3, 2011 11:52 PM ET:

Three days later, Afghan Border Police, without the permission of President Karzai, launched a series of night-time attacks against Pakistani checkpoints that were established in the Ghowshta district of Nangarhar Province.

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That's an interesting piece of info. I haven't seen any articles detailing this. I believe the official story was supposed to be Taliban?

Posted by Villiger at August 4, 2011 10:40 AM ET:

The headline of this story is somewhat misleading.

Its the pak shelling that is the real headline, imho:

"The New York Times reported on July 3 that Pakistani rocket and artillery shells have killed 42 Afghans and wounded 48 in three provinces of eastern Afghanistan since late May."

AND

"General Amarkhel responded to Pakistan's response regarding errant shells, telling The New York Times: "One or 2 or 10 rounds, yes that could be if they were chasing the Taliban...But how come 800 rounds? So it seems they are intentionally targeting our innocent people."

Regardless, thank you Matt for the story.

Posted by Charu at August 4, 2011 4:44 PM ET:

Just ask the Indians; Pakistan has been recklessly shelling India from across the border for many decades now, with artillery supplied by the US. Some of it was to provide cover for their terrorists crossing over, but much of it was just to create havoc and to terrorize the Indian border communities. The Kargil incursion in 1999 under Gen. Musharraf was designed to command the heights to better direct the artillery shelling from Pakistan. The Afghans will have to learn to live with their toxic neighbor, just as the Indians did.

Posted by Charu at August 4, 2011 4:54 PM ET:

Oh wait, the US will just provide Pakistan with more howitzers.... It's Milo Minderbinder time!

"US to replace Pak's P3C Orions destroyed by terrorists: Report "

The US will supply two P3C Orion maritime surveillance planes to Pakistan to replace the aircraft that were destroyed in a terrorist strike on Karachi naval airbase last month, a media report said on Friday.

Quoting diplomatic sources Dawn news said, "The US has decided to supply two P3C Orion aircraft to Pakistan to replace the aircraft that were destroyed in the PNS Mehran attack on May 22nd."

"The US will also be supplying F-16 aircraft and its spare parts," it said.

Moreover, it is also expected that the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen will soon be visiting Pakistan.

The destruction of the two four-engine all-weather P3C Orion aircraft had temporarily affected Pakistan Navy's counter-terrorism and surface and underwater reconnaissance operations, it added.

The aircraft is designed for surface and underwater reconnaissance and anti-submarine and anti-surface vessel operations.

It is rated as the fastest turbo-prop long-range maritime patrol (LRMP) platform used worldwide and is also called the airborne destroyer.

Heavily-armed Taliban gunmen had stormed Mehran airbase in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, destroying two US-made surveillance aircraft and killing at least five security personnel.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-to-replace-Paks-P3C-Orions-destroyed-by-terrorists-Report/articleshow/8895143.cms