Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

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Afghan Crunch Time: Obama Must Decide Whether To Talk To The Taliban

April 27, 2010

Ahmed Rashid

Before President Hamid Karzai arrives in Washington next month, President Obama has to make clear key decisions on the course of war and peacemaking in Afghanistan.

Neighboring countries and most Afghans believe that the endgame has begun for a post-U.S. Afghanistan. There are just 14 months for the U.S. military surge to show results while Washington simultaneously prepares to begin its July 2011 troop withdrawal and handover to the Afghan government. Already, efforts to jockey for future control of Afghanistan have been seen among Pakistan, India, Iran and even Russia. Several NATO countries eager to withdraw forces are frustrated. It is clear in the region that someone will have to mediate with the Taliban, but in the absence of U.S. leadership, a tug of war is taking place over who will do it, when, how and where.

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Indo-Pakistan Proxy War Heats Up In Afghanistan

April 27, 2010

Tim Sullivan

KABUL — Across Afghanistan, behind the obvious battles fought for this country’s soul, a shadow war is being quietly waged. It’s being fought with spies and proxies, with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money and ominous diplomatic threats.

The fight pits nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan against one another in a battle for influence that will almost certainly gain traction as the clock ticks down toward America’s military withdrawal, which President Barack Obama has announced will begin next year.

The clash has already sparked bloody militant attacks, and American officials fear the region could become further destabilized. With Pakistani intelligence maintaining ties to Afghanistan’s Taliban militants, India has threatened to draw Iran, Russia and other nations into the competition if an anti-Indian government comes to power in Kabul.

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What Kayani Can Learn From Putin

April 27, 2010

Ahmed Quraishi

By allowing foreign militaries a free reign in our tribal belt to kill hundreds of innocent Pakistanis, Pakistan is committing the same mistake as Putin’s, who initially did well a decade ago by crushing the rebellion in Chechnya but now is creating more rebels because of highhandedness. Also, Pakistan has no business eliminating the Afghan Taliban, who survived the 2001 war thanks to US mismanagement. The problem should be solved inside Afghanistan, not Waziristan.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—It was brave on the part of Pakistan army chief to publicly apologize for mistakenly bombing and killing tens of innocent Pakistanis in a Khyber Agency village. In a similar incident in 2006 during the reign of his predecessor, where a US missile killed up to 80 children in a school, the action was not only defended but the Pakistani military was forced to own it, giving the first signal to everyone that innocent Pakistanis can be killed with impunity as part of the war on terror. Since then, more than a thousand innocent Pakistanis have lost their lives as collateral damage in these ‘successful’ drone attacks. This would remain one of the darkest spots in our history where our rulers shirked their responsibility for the protection of every Pakistani citizen on our soil.

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‘Talk to Taliban with Pak, not India, in lead’

April 26, 2010

Washington: Arguing that some tactical successes will not defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, a top US thing tank has sought opening of talks with the militant group but said India should not be included in any such parleys as it would antagonise Pakistan, in particular its Army.

“The negotiating framework should be determined during a secret contact phase mediated by the Pakistani Army prior to the strictly diplomatic phase conducted under UN auspices,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a report yesterday.

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Khalid Khawaja – ‘Confession’ Videos Emerge

April 25, 2010

Syed Saleem Shahzad

– Disappeared on March 25th alongwith Colonel Imam.
– Never-heard-before outfit called ‘Asian Tigers’ demand US$ 10m and Mullah Baradar in exchange for release.
– Afghan Taliban distance themselves from kidnapping; Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says they are working for release of Colonel Imam and Khalid Khwaja

The following are five video clips sent to Asia Times Online featuring Khalid Khawaja, who is speaking in Urdu. Video files are approximately 2.5Mb each in MOV format. Please click here to download the clips: 1 2 3 4 5 [Right Click > Save As]

ISLAMABAD – Retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja, a former Inter-Services Intelligence official and a close friend of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during the resistance in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s, has explained in videos sent to Asia Times Online how he was on a mission to broker a deal between militants and the army when he was captured by militants, and how he played a double game by deceiving a radical cleric into being arrested.

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US Military Base Under Taliban Control

April 20, 2010

Elizabeth A. Kennedy

KABUL — Taliban fighters swarmed over a mountaintop base abandoned last week by the U.S. military following some of the toughest fighting of the Afghan war, according to footage aired Monday by a major satellite television station.

The video by Al-Jazeera is a morale booster for Taliban fighters, though the U.S. insists the decision to withdraw from the base in the Korengal Valley was sound and the area has no strategic value.

The footage showed armed men walking through the former U.S. base, which was strewn with litter and empty bottles, and sitting atop sandbagged gun positions overlooking the steep hillsides and craggy landscape. Fighters said they recovered fuel and ammunition. But a U.S. spokesman said ammunition had been evacuated and the fuel handed over to local residents.

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Taliban’s Supreme Leader Signals Willingness To Talk Peace

April 18, 2010

Stephen Grey

The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan. They said he was prepared to engage in “sincere and honest” talks.

A senior US military source said the remarks reflected a growing belief that a “breakthrough” was possible. “There is evidence from many intelligence sources [that] the Taliban are ready for some kind of peace process,” the source said.

At a meeting held at night deep inside Taliban-controlled territory, the Taliban leaders told this newspaper that their military campaign had only three objectives: the return of sharia (Islamic law), the expulsion of foreigners and the restoration of security.

“[Mullah Omar] is no longer interested in being involved in politics or government,” said Mullah “Abdul Rashid”, the elder of the two commanders, who used a pseudonym to protect his identity.

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