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Aug-12-2012 03:19printcomments

Deadly August in Afghanistan

At least 15 Americans had been killed by the 11th day of this month.

Tattered national flag at an Afghan Army base in Pesh Valley, 2007. Salem-News.com photo by Tim King
Tattered national flag at an Afghan Army base in Pesh Valley, 2007. Salem-News.com photo by Tim King

(SALEM) - August has been an extremely costly month in Afghanistan for U.S. and international forces. Among the alarming and deadly statistics, are a spike in the number of deaths from friendly Afghan forces.

The Associated Press reports that three U.S. Marines were killed in the volatile Sangin district of Helmand province; this information came from a U.S. military spokeswoman named Maj. Lori Hodge. Widely known as a Taliban stronghold, Sangin's claim to fame is having one of the highest concentrations of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in this country.

The Marines have not yet been identified, however The AP did confirm through a U.S. Defense Department official, that they were part of Marine Special Operations Forces. The killer is stated to have been an Afghan police officer.

It is the third such attack on coalition forces by their Afghan allies in the span of a week. This represents a serious increase over past years, according to statistics.

Four members of ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces) were also killed Friday, which brings the total killed that day to seven.

Three of those soldiers died in an attack that remains under investigation.

The fourth died in a separate attack, according to NATO.

The article by The Associated Press further states:

    Thirty-one coalition service members have now died this year at the hands of Afghan forces or insurgents disguised in Afghan uniforms, according to NATO — a dramatic rise from previous years.

    The assaults have cast a shadow of fear and mistrust over U.S. efforts to train Afghan soldiers and police more than 10 years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban's hardline Islamist regime for sheltering al-Qaida's leadership. The attacks also raise further doubts about the quality of the Afghan forces taking over in many areas before most international troops leave the country in 2014.

When I was in Afghanistan covering the war just over five years ago, I got to know more than one Afghan National Police officer and they were working for a miniscule wage that didn't start to address their bills. They were making the equivalent of $65 a month, they had no bullet proof vests, and no gloves in the frigid Kabul winter.

It was clear then and still I believe, that equipping these men and paying them a living wage would greatly impact their level of dedication and loyalty. At that time, in 2006 and 2007, the insurgency was paying more than either the ANP or the Afghan army.

Fifteen in 11 Days

Afghanistan's Second Vice-President Abdul Karim
Khalili, inspecting ANA recruits. Photo by Tim King

We don't have information on the three Marines recently killed by the ANP officer; however according to data from the Dept. of Defense, twelve other U.S. servicemen, all listed listed below, were killed so far this month, as of 11 August 2012. When I was there in 2006 and 2007, weeks passed without an American dying. This certainly was not the case in Iraq, but to say things have changed in Afghanistan is a vast understatement.

Much can be read from the status of those killed: two majors, which are considered 'field grade' officers; a lieutenant, also an officer; a command sergeant major, the highest enlisted rank; and three Marines with Special Operations Forces. That certainly does not sound or seem like a random occurrence, the insurgents who battle U.S. and coalition forces, Taliban but also other militias; are becoming more effective in their targeting skills, while continually destabilizing the Afghans supposedly loyal to their country.

At Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) which I visited in 2007, you see the creation of the Afghan National Army. This is their basic training or 'boot camp' and the number of recruits who absconded with their former U.S. 'Woodland style' camouflage uniform was phenomenal; over 25% as I recall, went AWOL from KMTC. Those deserters often went to join the 'other side' from where they could use that same uniform to deceive Americans or ISAF personnel into believing they are 'friendly'.

So, here is the list of fallen Americans that the DOD has disclosed at the time of this writing: 12 August 2012.

Kennedy

Griffin

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Aug. 8 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they encountered an insurgent who detonated a suicide vest. These soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

Killed were:

Major Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y., and

Command Sergeant Major Kevin J. Griffin, 45, of Laramie, Wyo.

Martin

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Specialist Ethan J. Martin, 22, of Lewiston, Idaho, died Aug. 7 in Koragay, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered enemy small-arms fire.

Martin was assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Gray

DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Major Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga., died Aug. 8 from injuries suffered during a suicide bomb attack in Kunar province, Afghanistan.

Gray was assigned to the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Carson, Colo.

Beauchamp

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Petty Officer Third Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, of Weatherford, Texas, died Aug. 7 when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device while conducting a dismounted patrol in the Shaban District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Clayton R. Beauchamp was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Linnabary

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Corporal Daniel L. Linnabary II, 23, of Hubert, N.C., died Aug. 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Daniel Linnabary II was assigned to 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Bell

Sitton

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Aug. 2, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they encountered an enemy improvised explosive device. These soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Killed were:

First Sergeant Russell R. Bell, 37, of Tyler, Texas, and

Staff Sergent. Matthew S. Sitton, 26, of Largo, Fla.

Lambka

Lopez

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Aug. 1, in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they encountered an enemy improvised explosive device. These soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Killed were:

First Lieutenant Todd W. Lambka, 25, of Fraser, Mich., and

Private First Class Jesus J. Lopez, 22, of San Bernardino, Calif.

McClain

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Specialist Kyle B. McClain, 25, of Rochester Hills, Mich., died Aug. 1, in Salim Aka, Afghanistan.

Kyle McClain was assigned to 1433rd Engineer Company, 507th Engineer Battalion, 177th Military Police Brigade, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Duarte

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Corporal Curtis J. Duarte, 22, of Covina, Calif., died Aug. 1, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Curtis Duarte was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

For more information on America's fallen, visit www.IraqWarHeroes.org


Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Al Franken and Tim King in Afghanistan

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.

He holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.

Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu, India.

The notorious list comprising Tim's ancestors includes Pedro de Alvarado, the lieutenant of Hernando Cortez of Spain; King Phillip IV, Eleanor of Aquitaine and William the Conqueror. Perhaps most interestingly, King John; the dark force in the story Robin Hood, and also the last Spanish governor of California, a real person fictionalized as the arch rival of the character in Zorro, are in reality both Tim's multiple-great grandfathers.

Tim at his family ranch in Chino, California.

Others include a Confederate officer in the U.S. Civil War and a decorated 'hero' of the Mexican-American War and the so-called 'Indian Wars'. In fact on the east coast, Tim's lineage with the Slaughter and King families, pre-dates the Mayflower and several members of his family were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. He says his family's past; some of which is very dark; some quite chivalrous, presents a certain responsibility, and that in part drives his desire to see that people in today's world are not exploited or allowed to suffer in silence as victims of Human Rights violations, as people of previous times were.

In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.