Posts Tagged ‘Taleban’

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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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Militants Release Video Of Former ISI Officers

April 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Videos of two former ISI officers, who went missing last month, were released by unknown militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan on Monday.

Col (retd) Amir Sultan, widely known as Col. Imam and Squadron Leader (retd) Khalid Khawaja went missing in the tribal areas last month while they were accompanying a journalist to assist him with a documentary on militants.

In the video, both hostages introduced themselves as former ISI officers.

Watch video here

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Pakistan Army Anger At NATO Border Tactics After Forcing Militants Out

April 15, 2010

Richard Beeston

Fresh from a bloody victory against the Taleban in this rugged frontier outpost, the commander of Pakistani forces has lashed out at the NATO operation across the border in Afghanistan, where he says hundreds of militant fighters have sought refuge under the noses of American troops.

Colonel Nauman Saeed, the commander of Pakistani forces in the Bajaur tribal agency, has led his men on a two-year campaign to drive out thousands of militants, including al-Qaeda members. He lost 150 soldiers during the operation, which culminated in a battle over the militant headquarters in a series of tunnels dug out of rock.

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US Officials Say Pakistani Spy Agency Released Afghan Taliban Insurgents

April 11, 2010

Greg Miller

The recent capture of the Afghan Taliban’s second in command seemed to signal a turning point in Pakistan, an indication that its intelligence agency had gone from helping to cracking down on the militant Islamist group.

But U.S. officials now believe that even as Pakistan’s security forces worked with their American counterparts to detain Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other insurgents, the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, quietly freed at least two senior Afghan Taliban figures it had captured on its own.

U.S. military and intelligence officials said the releases, detected by American spy agencies but not publicly disclosed, are evidence that parts of Pakistan’s security establishment continue to support the Afghan Taliban. This assistance underscores how complicated the CIA-ISI relationship remains at a time when the United States and Pakistan are battling insurgencies that straddle the Afghanistan border and are increasingly anxious about how the war in that country will end.

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Afghan Officials Say Pakistan’s Arrest Of Taliban Leader Threatens Peace Talks

April 10, 2010

Joshua Partlow and Karen de Young

KABUL — Senior Afghan officials are now criticizing as counterproductive the arrest in Pakistan this year of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the No. 2 Taliban official. Its main effect, the Afghan officials say, has been to derail Afghan-led efforts to secure peace talks with the Taliban, making that peace ever more remote.

The episode offers a window into the mutual suspicions that still divide Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly because of Pakistan’s long history of support for the Taliban, as well as differences between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States about how best to seek reconciliation between insurgents and the Afghan government.

Senior Afghan officials in the military and presidential palace accuse Pakistan of orchestrating the arrest of Baradar and others to take down Taliban leaders most amenable to negotiations. Some of them say that Afghans had been in secret contact with Baradar before his arrest and that he was prepared to join the 1,400 people descending on Kabul next month for a peace conference. Despite Afghan requests, Pakistan has refused to hand over Baradar and other Taliban leaders.

Pakistani officials flatly deny that they intended to derail Taliban talks. Such an allegation, one Pakistani intelligence official said, is a “slur on us.”

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Setbacks In Marjah As Taliban Regaining Control

April 6, 2010

Richard A. Oppel Jr.

MARJA, Afghanistan — Since their offensive here in February, the Marines have flooded Marja with hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. The tactic aims to win over wary residents by paying them compensation for property damage or putting to work men who would otherwise look to the Taliban for support.

The approach helped turn the tide of insurgency in Iraq. But in Marja, where the Taliban seem to know everything — and most of the time it is impossible to even tell who they are — they have already found ways to thwart the strategy in many places, including killing or beating some who take the Marines’ money, or pocketing it themselves.

Just a few weeks since the start of the operation here, the Taliban have “reseized control and the momentum in a lot of ways” in northern Marja, Maj. James Coffman, civil affairs leader for the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, said in an interview in late March. “We have to change tactics to get the locals back on our side.”

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Karzai Threatens To Join Taliban

April 6, 2010

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform, according to several members of parliament.

They said on Monday that Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting on Saturday with selected lawmakers — just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year’s disputed elections.

Lawmakers dismissed the latest comment as hyperbole, but it will add to the impression the president — who relies on tens of thousands of US and NATO forces to fight the insurgency and prop up his government — is growing increasingly erratic and unable to exert authority without attacking his foreign backers.

“He said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban’,” said Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar.

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