Afghanistan News & Discussion

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Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 21 Feb 2007 02:08


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Postby enqyoobOLD » 21 Feb 2007 02:21

Begging the indulgence of the BRadmins, I am going to re-post this here. It is so succinct and so deep:

From a US veteran of GOAT-Afghanistan:


Pakistan and Saudi Arabia... our friends...

Doesn't it just make you feel warm and fuzzy?

If Bush had been president when Pearl Harbor happened, we would have declared "war on aerial bombing," and invaded Korea based on intelligence from Germany.


I would have added: And HiroHito would be declared the Greatest Frontline Ally in the US War Against Aerial Bombings


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Postby JE Menon » 25 Feb 2007 16:21

AoA... may this be the first in a vast number worldwide...

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Postby shyamd » 25 Feb 2007 19:29

I heard we are stationing around 2000 special forces personel? Also, ARC apparently uses the base.

How are we going to get the contigent there? Won't they have to fly through Iran and through Afghanistan? If Iran in the future turns and says no, wouldn't we have problems?
Last edited by shyamd on 25 Feb 2007 19:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Tajik Air Base

Postby Jimmy » 25 Feb 2007 19:42

Nice to see India getting a footprint in Central Asia, What would the Pakis do to counter this action? Logically thinking they would increase their covert assistance to the Taliban to neutralise our growing influence in Afghanistan. And that in return would make Uncle Sam really angry, 2007 is gonna be tough for Mushy and his cronies :lol:

Anybody know what type of aircraft is the IAF fielding at Ayni?

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Postby Rony » 26 Feb 2007 21:53

Is It There or Isn’t It?

Can the Indian express report be taken as a credible one.Because in the past along with "there will be base" reports, we also had "its unlikely" reports like this old news report with its own arguments:

http://www.iwpr.net/?p=btj&s=b&o=324804&apc_state=henh
Indian Military Base Looks Unlikely


23-Oct-06

As Indian newspapers continue to speculate that the country will secure a military base in Tajikistan, analysts in Dushanbe are dismissive of the idea, because regional neighbours would strongly oppose it.

Following President Imomali Rahmonov’s recent visit to Delhi, the Indian press began reporting that there was a plan to set up an airbase at Aini Airport on the outskirts of Dushanbe.

Officials in Tajikistan immediately denied the reports. A defence ministry source told NBCentralAsia that the Indian military has been providing training and technical assistance to the Tajik army for some years, but there is no agreement to set up an airbase.

Analysts interviewed by NBCA believe that Delhi might be interested in having a base, but that the Tajik government would not countenance such an idea – it has too much to lose.

Tajikistan belongs to several regional security groupings including the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and it would need the approval of other member states - Russia, other former Soviet states, and China – which would be unlikely to give their assent to an Indian military presence in the region. Nor would the idea be favoured by the United States, which is currently promising to invest substantial funds in Tajikistan.

In addition, Tajikistan would run the risk of becoming embroiled in the confrontation between India and Pakistan. Allowing Delhi to land military aircraft on Tajik soil could be seen as an unfriendly act in Islamabad.

Tajikistan currently has great plans to develop its hydroelectric schemes with Pakistani assistance. Once the Rogun and Sangtuda hydropower plants are up and running, the Tajiks will be able to sell electricity to Pakistan, via a new power line that is already at the planning stage.

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Postby Roop » 27 Feb 2007 07:10

shyamd wrote:I heard we are stationing around 2000 special forces personel? Also, ARC apparently uses the base.


Who/what is ARC??

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Postby Gerard » 27 Feb 2007 07:38

ARC - Aviation Research Centre - part of RAW

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Postby Airavat » 27 Feb 2007 08:16

Wiki editors please look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunduz

Kunduz was the last major city held by the Taliban before its fall to US-backed Afghan Northern Alliance forces on November 26, 2001. Before its fall, witnesses reported seeing Pakistani aircrafts airlifted up to five thousand Taliban and Al-Qaeda troops from the city.[1][2][3]


Need to add info on the Paki Army officers and soldiers that were airlifted.

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Re: Tajik Air Base

Postby Nav » 27 Feb 2007 11:03

Jimmy wrote:
Anybody know what type of aircraft is the IAF fielding at Ayni?



Plans are to put a squadron of Mi-17 Helicopters onleeee. So no fixed wing aircraft planned yet. :(

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Postby sanjchopra » 27 Feb 2007 16:03

Deadly blast at base during Cheney visit

A suicide bomber killed as many as 18 people outside the main US base in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The attack came during a visit to Afghanistan by US Vice President Dick Cheney, who stayed at the base on Monday night. He was not hurt, according to his spokeswoman.

"The suicide bombing took place at gate two where Afghan labourers were waiting," the Afghan Islamic Press quoted a provincial police officer as saying.

The Afghan interior ministry later said 15 Afghans and three foreign soldiers were killed in the suicide attack.

"Initial reports are stating that 18 people were killed and three of them are foreign soldiers," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP.

"The 15 others are civilian Afghan workers who wanted to enter Bagram air base for their work. On injuries we do not have exact reports."

However Afghan Islamic Press, a Pakistan-based news agency, quoted provincial governor Abdul Jabbar Taqwa as saying 20 people had been killed in the blast outside the Bagram air base, 60 kilometres north of Kabul.

Bagram district governor Kabir Ahmad said all the dead and injured where Afghans.


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Postby abhischekcc » 27 Feb 2007 17:20

Musharaff being musharaff:

U.S.-Pakistan Tensions Pressure Musharraf into Action

As the U.S.-Taliban clash intensifies in the spring, expect Musharraf to be called to make dramatic decisions. The Pakistani president will probably be forced to accept many of Washington's strategic requests, but his political strength domestically may be dealt a serious blow.

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Postby abhischekcc » 27 Feb 2007 17:21

This leaves only 1 qstn to be answered:

MANGO CRATE OR LAMP POST for our boy from old delhi? :lol: :lol:

Raju

Postby Raju » 27 Feb 2007 19:12

Pakistan's open threat/message to Cheney through its taliban proxy...

Taliban claim Cheney was target

(Bagram, Afghanistan-AP) February 27, 2007 - A man claiming to speak for the group claims the Taliban knew Vice President Cheney would be at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan Tuesday.

A suicide bomber attacked the main entrance to the base north of Kabul, killing at least 14 people.

Cheney was safely inside the base and left Bagram after the explosion for a meeting in Kabul with Afghan President Karzai.

The purported Taliban spokesman says Cheney was the bomber's target.

There have been differing numbers on how many were killed. One Afghan official put the number of dead at 20. NATO reported a US soldier, a coalition soldier from South Korea and a US government contractor were killed. Associated Press reporters at the scene saw at least a dozen bodies.
http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=6147150

Raju

Postby Raju » 27 Feb 2007 19:17

and Cheney hears it loud ..

Cheney says heard "loud boom" when Bagram base attacked
Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:25 PM IST18

MUSCAT, Oman (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney heard the bomb attack at the gate of Bagram Airbase where he had spent the night and was briefly moved to a bomb shelter, he said on Tuesday.

"They clearly try to find ways to question the authority of the central government," Cheney told reporters travelling with him out of Afghanistan on a military plane to Oman.

"Striking at Bagram with a suicide bomber I suppose is one way to do that."


© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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Postby Philip » 27 Feb 2007 19:44

bad day for Us diploducks.The Us ambassador was wounded in SL by LTTE fire and Cheney had a a narrow escape.

Lethal blast misses Cheney at US Afghan base

http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/s ... 07,00.html
Associated Press
Tuesday February 27, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


Relatives carry the body of an Afghan man killed during a suicide attack at the Bagram air base In Afghanistan. Photograph: Musadeq Sadeq/AP

A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least eight people, including two soldiers, outside a US military base in Afghanistan during a visit by Dick Cheney today.
The Taliban said it was responsible for the explosion at the entrance to the Bagram base, which it said had targeted the US vice-president. Mr Cheney is in Afghanistan for talks with the president, Hamid Karzai,

William Mitchell, a US major, said Mr Cheney had been at a safe distance from the attacker, waiting to leave the base for talks in Kabul. Mr Cheney's spokeswoman said he was "fine".

There were conflicting reports of the death toll. The provincial governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, said 20 people had been killed. Nato, however, said three had died: a US soldier, a South Korean coalition soldier and a contractor for the US government whose nationality was not known. Nato said 27 people had been wounded.

Associated Press reporters at the scene said they had seen at least eight corpses in black body bags and wooden coffins being carried from the base area to the market, where hundreds of Afghans had gathered to mourn.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a purported Taliban spokesman, confirmed that Mr Cheney had been the target of the attack, which he said had been carried out by Mullah Abdul Rahim.

"We knew that Dick Cheney would be staying inside the base," Mr Ahmadi told the Associated Press.

A shopkeeper in the market outside the base said the blast had been "huge" and had shaken the market area. Zemeri Bashary, an interior ministry spokesman, confirmed that it had been caused by a suicide bomber, but it was not known whether the attacker had used a car.

The explosion happened near the first of at least three gated checkpoints through which vehicles must pass before gaining access to Bagram, meaning the attacker did not get near Mr Cheney.

"We maintain a high level of security here at all times. Our security measures were in place and the killer never had access to the base," said Lieutenant Colonel James E Bonner, the base operations commander.

"When he realised he would not be able to get on to the base, he attacked the local population."

South Korea's defence ministry said one of its troops stationed at Bagram, Yoon Jang-ho, 27, had been killed in the explosion. South Korea has about 200 engineers and medics at the base.

Mr Cheney, who spent the night at there, left about two hours after the explosion, which happened at about 10am local time. He flew by plane to Kabul to meet Mr Karzai.

The two were expected to discuss the upsurge in violence in Afghanistan.

Today's attack was not the first apparently aimed at a top US official in the country. In January last year, a militant blew himself up in Uruzgan province, killing 10 Afghans, during a supposedly secret visit by the US ambassador.

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Postby Lalmohan » 27 Feb 2007 21:18

Philip wrote:Today's attack was not the first apparently aimed at a top US official in the country. In January last year, a militant blew himself up in Uruzgan province, killing 10 Afghans, during a supposedly secret visit by the US ambassador.


well ofcourse as the local security partners, the ISI would have known about the visit... :roll:

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Postby Rye » 27 Feb 2007 21:23

The Boom for Cheney's benefit could be just to improve on the fiction that Musharraf is under siege from "rogue ISI elements".."look, Dick, they blowed us up good too. Imagine what they will do once my sorry Musharraf is gone".

But we all know that the reality is that Musharraf is the chief ISI element, rogue or not.

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Postby ramana » 27 Feb 2007 21:30

Philip this is retaliation for the tough message. No doubt about it.
Cheney might have asked for AQK to get insight into Natanz.

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Taliban Assault

Postby Jimmy » 27 Feb 2007 21:57

India should also reciprocate Pakistan by giving support to the Afghan and Baloch nationalists as Balochistan was divided between three countries (Pak,Afghan,Iran) by the British. And we should help these elements with money and weapons so that ISI spends whatever resources it has on defending pak rather that destabilise other nations in the region. I dunno why we aren't doing it 'Eye for an Eye' seems a good strategy against mushy-isi combine. An independent Balochistan would satisfy Unkil,Indian & Russian interests and we shud go for it. :wink:

Raju

Postby Raju » 27 Feb 2007 22:13

Rye wrote:The Boom for Cheney's benefit could be just to improve on the fiction that Musharraf is under siege from "rogue ISI elements".."look, Dick, they blowed us up good too.


this is controversial...but I think it was in direct retaliation for bombing of Samjhauta-> which was supposed to be a message for Musharraf to be more co-operative on Iran else relations to east would be disturbed.

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Postby Rony » 28 Feb 2007 22:03

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IC01Df03.html

Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban

"The Pakistani establishment has made a deal with the Taliban through a leading Taliban commander that will extend Islamabad's influence into southwestern Afghanistan and significantly strengthen the resistance in its push to capture Kabul.

One-legged Mullah Dadullah will be Pakistan's strongman in a corridor running from the Afghan provinces of Zabul, Urzgan, Kandahar and Helmand across the border into Pakistan's Balochistan province..."

"....So when the opportunity arose, Islamabad was quick to tap up Mullah Dadullah. This was the perfect way in which Pakistan could revive its contacts in the Taliban and give the spring uprising some real muscle, so the argument went among the strategic planners in Rawalpindi - in fact, so much muscle that forces ledby the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would be forced into a position to talk peace - and who better than Pakistan to step in as peacemaker and bail out its Western allies?

The next logical step would be the establishment of a pro-Islamabad government in Kabul - delivering a kick in the strategic teeth of India at the same time"

A notable addition to what can only be described as a limited Taliban arsenal this year is surface-to-air missiles, notably the SAM-7, which was the first generation of Soviet man-portable SAMs.

The Taliban acquired these missiles in 2005, but they had little idea about how to use them effectively. Arab al-Qaeda members conducted extensive training programs and brought the Taliban up to speed. Nevertheless, the SAM-7s, while useful against helicopters, were no use against the fighter and bomber aircraft that were doing so much damage.

What the Taliban desperately needed were sensors for their missiles. These detect aircraft emissions designed to misdirect the missiles.

And it so happened that Pakistan had such devices, having acquired them from the Americans, though indirectly. The Pakistanis retrieved them from unexploded cruise missiles fired into Afghanistan in 1998, targeting bin Laden. They copied and adapted them to fit other missiles, including the SAMs.

Now that the Taliban and Pakistan have a deal, these missiles will be made available to the Taliban. Much like the Stingers that changed the dynamics of the Afghan resistance against the Soviets, the SAMs could help turn things Mullah Dadullah's, the Taliban's and Pakistan's way.

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Postby Singha » 28 Feb 2007 23:34

well more the US delays the Pakistan Reorg Project more it loses crediblity, trust and ground to the advancing chinese from the east.

I dont think the US has the nerve to deal with mushrador properly. methinks they will follow the british in abandoning the CAR entirely to a mix of taliban, chinese and russian power.

Their base in kuwait and qatar will be all thats left soon.

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Postby shyamd » 01 Mar 2007 05:22

Just watching a BBC documentary called "The General's war" about US/UK troops in afghanistan.

Shows clearly how incompetitent US are in managing the afghan situation.

Also shows clearly how taliban standing and operating on pakistan side of the border.

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Postby Singha » 01 Mar 2007 16:51

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1 ... 72,00.html


TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH DADULLAH
The Star of Afghanistan's Jihad

By Matthias Gebauer in Peshawar, Pakistan

The Taliban are gearing up for their "spring offensive" in Afghanistan. A series of brutal propaganda films is heralding thousands of suicide attacks. And the Taliban have a new bloodthirsty leader, whom Western intelligence agencies are taking very seriously: Mullah Dadullah.

If Osama bin Laden likes being in the global spotlight, he's likely a bit depressed in his hideout these days. The leader of the al-Qaida terrorist organization hasn't made an appearance on the evening news for quite some time. What's more, the Taliban no longer need bin Laden as a figurehead. Western intelligence agencies warn that the Taliban now have "their own star" in their struggle against Western soldiers and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. The new nightmare from the Hindu Kush Mountains is called Mullah Dadullah. He sports a pitch black beard, always wears a military jacket and these days, he is omnipresent in the media.

Photo Gallery: New Taliban Leader Mullah Dadullah

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Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (4 Photos)
Bloodthirsty propaganda is everywhere in northern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. Virtually every CD salesman in Peshawar is selling the latest films released by the Taliban leader. "Oh, you want the Dadullah tapes," says one. "They're very popular right now." He disappears for barely a minute and then returns with an entire stack. He charges about €3 ($4) per film. Those who buy several get a discount. But he doesn't want his picture taken. He says Pakistani police already causes him enough trouble when they find terror DVDs in the suitcases of journalists at the airport.

The images on these DVDs reveal the Taliban's self confidence and new professionalism. The films herald a bloody spring in Afghanistan, one in which Western troops will face a newly strengthened Taliban army under a re-organized leadership. Well armed and better logistically organized than ever before, the Taliban are preparing for their fight against the hated NATO troops, whose alliance has recently shown signs of internal division. "They say it will be the decisive summer," says a man who occasionally drinks tea with the Taliban commanders.

Western intelligence agencies believe the Taliban have used the winter to thoroughly tighten their organizational structure. Some Taliban commanders are even reporting that Taliban leader Mullah Omar -- who disappeared from the scene entirely for years -- is once again writing letters to his supporters, congratulating successful commanders and the parents of suicide bombers and reminding militants of their "Islamic duties" via audio recordings. For years, one-eyed Omar had disappeared without a trace -- likely afraid of being tracked down by the CIA.

But Mullah Omar seems to be feeling more secure these days -- as does Mullah Dadullah, who only recently outlined his vision for the coming months. Behaving almost like any normal politician, he invited al-Jazeera journalists to visit him in the mountains. His words were alarming despite being full of rhetoric and propaganda. Dadullah said he commands 6,000 men who have volunteered for suicide attacks, and that their offensive is "imminent." He added that some of his men are already set off on their mission, which he described as a "bloodbath for the occupiers." This week's symbolic attack on US Vice President Dick Cheney is reason to fear that Dadullah is issuing more than just empty threats.

Live decapitations

Dadullah's films serve to provide the Taliban with present-day legends. They're professionally produced in al-Sahab, the Taliban's media center in Qetta, southern Pakistan. Hundreds of Taliban fighters are seen performing military exercises with machine guns. Then they fire grenade-launchers -- of which they seem to have plenty. Every shot is accompanied by a chorus of voices emphatically shouting: "God is great!" Next, the films show footage of wrecked US military vehicles. "We will hit them again," a voice-over announces triumphantly.

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Perhaps the main message conveyed by these films, however, is that the Taliban is no longer afraid of being chased down. Only some of the militants' faces have been pixelated. Many others give their full names as they sign up for the holy war. Almost all the DVDs feature footage of the brutal execution of alleged CIA spies. The "helpers of the infidels" have their heads removed while still alive. About 250 such murders have occurred in recent months.

Mostly, however, the films show the new hero -- the new face of resistance. Mullah Dudallah, a stocky man, about 40 years old, is worshipped like a saint. Although he lost a leg in battle during the 1990s, he is seen vigorously pacing up a mountain with his fighters. Once at the top, he can't resist firing a rocket into the distance himself. Then he kneels down to pray with his men, his AK-47 next to him the whole time. The sun sets blood-red behind the mountains. It's hard to imagine a more effective propaganda film.

Legends surrounding the new Taliban figurehead

Mullah Abdullah has been a genuine nightmare for the foreign troops and intelligence agencies in Afghanistan for quite some time. The videos are analyzed with a meticulousness that matches their menacing character. "We know from experience that many of his pronouncements are not propaganda," says one Western anti-terrorism agent. "He's carried out most of his threats." Dadullah already threatened a wave of suicide attacks in 2006. No one took him seriously at first. By the end of 2006, the CIA's statisticians counted about 139 such attacks throughout the country -- five times more than in 2005. 2007 could be even bloodier.

More than anything, it is Dadullah's biography that has propelled him to the Taliban leadership. He escaped a trap organized by the warlord Dostum following the US invasion: Dostum lured thousands of Taliban to northern Afghanistan, near Kunduz, and massacred them. Legend has it that Dadullah escaped on horseback. Then he spent several years devoting himself to rebuilding and re-arming the Taliban. He's now considered the top commander in the region surrounding the provincial capital Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan. The Taliban have gained the upper hand there, more or less controlling the area despite many losses.

Dadullah's merciless violence fascinates many of his younger followers, who already respect him as a great authority. When they kidnapped a South American worker in late 2006, they turned to him for advice. His instructions were clear, and it wasn't long before the hostage's massacred corpse was found. Such violence impresses young would-be holy warriors.

Not long ago, the United States unwittingly contributed to the Dadullah legend. After an operation in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, intelligence agents told the media that Dadullah and one of his closest followers had been killed. It only took half a day for him to appear on al-Jazeera via satellite phone. "He can always be reached somehow and loves to play with journalists," says Afghanistan expert Rahimullah Yusufzai, who himself sometimes speaks to Dadullah. The Taliban leader doesn't seem concerned that the signals from the Thuraya phones he uses can be traced. He feels invincible.

NATO expects a rough year

Experts on the conflict believe the new Taliban tactic will cause serious difficulties for NATO. "If suicide attacks are carried out all over the country, it becomes difficult to decide on how to allocate troops," Pakistani Taliban expert Ahmed Rashid points out. NATO could quickly be demoralized, like the United States in Iraq, since it is already internally divided and disposes of no military reserves, much less a rapid reaction force. "2007 will be a very serious year," Rashid predicts.

In a reaction to the wave of Taliban propaganda, NATO generals have announced their own offensive. The message from Kabul is that the troops will not wait for the Taliban to attack. Rather, they will strike hard themselves. Whether that will be enough to master the onslaught of suicide attacks is doubtful. "The Taliban don't need more training camps or military camps for their new strategy," Rashid fears. The only remaining option would be that of attacking presumed houses of the fighters, which would cost civilian lives.

Such attacks merely provide the Taliban with new recruits for their struggle. In the fall of 2006, US military officer Chris Cavoli concluded from his experiences in Kunar province that: "Every Afghan killed by a bomb leads to two new militants, regardless of whether the person killed is a civilian or a militant." This means a military offensive against Mullah Dadullah's men would only serve the interests of the new Taliban hero.

"Our sources will never run dry," he says self-confidently in one of his many propaganda films.

Raju

Postby Raju » 01 Mar 2007 17:05

Dostum lured thousands of Taliban to northern Afghanistan, near Kunduz, and massacred them. Legend has it that Dadullah escaped on horseback.


ha...his escape route must have included the keywords...C-130, ISI, Airlift

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Postby shyamd » 02 Mar 2007 16:05

India makes a soft landing in Tajikistan
By Sudha Ramachandran

BANGALORE - With its first base in Central Asia at Ayni, Tajikistan, ready to begin operations soon, India's power projection into the region is poised for a leap forward.

Refurbishment of the Ayni base, which is about 10 kilometers northeast of the Tajik capital Dushanbe, has reportedly been completed, and India's Chiefs of Staff Committee has given its go-ahead. The Defense Ministry is now awaiting the green signal from the Cabinet Committee on Security to begin operations. India has become the fourth country - after Russia, the United States and Germany - to have a base in Central Asia.

Ayni was used by the Soviets in the 1980s to support their military operations in Afghanistan. After the Soviet pullout, the base fell into disuse and was in a dilapidated condition right through the 1990s.

Then in 2002, India undertook to refurbish the base at a cost of about US$10 million. But reports indicated that India's role will not be confined just to renovating it. India had reached an agreement with the Tajiks to set up a base there. Officially, however, India and Tajikistan have maintained that India's role was limited to renovating it.

The Ayni base will apparently be under the command and control of India, Tajikistan and Russia by rotation. The base will be jointly maintained by the Indians and the Russians. It is believed that New Delhi agreed to India-Russia joint maintenance under pressure from Moscow.

The economic factor too would have weighed in favor of the decision on joint maintenance. Besides, there were logistical considerations as well. With India's access by land or air to Tajikistan depending on the whims of Pakistan, India would have realized that it would have to look to the Russians for logistical support anyway.

A base will take India's close ties with Tajikistan to a new level. The two countries were on the same side in the Afghan civil war in the 1990s; both opposed the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Tajikistan has been India's entry point for influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia. It was at Farkhor near Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan that India set up a hospital in the late 1990s to treat injured Northern Alliance fighters. India supplied the Northern Alliance with high-altitude military equipment and helped repair its attack helicopters.

Indian military advisers provided input on strategy. All this support for the Northern Alliance was quietly channeled through Tajikistan. It was on Tajik soil that India's relationship with the anti-Taliban alliance blossomed.

With the fall of the Taliban at the end of 2001, India moved swiftly not only to consolidate its influence in Kabul but also to ensure that its long-standing relationship with the Tajiks was taken to a higher level. Besides defense cooperation, the two countries are working closely to tackle terrorism, build infrastructure and so on.

Tajikistan is Central Asia's poorest country. Unlike the other former Soviet republics in the region, it does not have oil or natural gas. But it does have another asset that makes it attractive to such countries as India - its geographic location. Noted Indian strategic analyst Raja Mohan has observed that Tajikistan's location makes it "the fulcrum of regional geopolitics".

Tajikistan shares borders with China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Pakistan is only about 30km away. A narrow strip of Afghan territory separates Tajikistan from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Northern Areas.

A base at Ayni allows India rapid response to any emerging threat from the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan arc, including a terrorist hijacking such as that of Indian Airlines Flight IC814 in December 1999. It also gives New Delhi a limited but significant capability to inject special forces into a hostile theater as and when the situation demands.

And should the base at Ayni grow in the coming years, it would enhance India's options in the event of military confrontation with Pakistan. India would be able to strike Pakistan's rear from Tajik soil.

The base goes beyond India's concerns vis-a-vis Pakistan and Pakistan-backed religious extremism in the region. Ayni has to do with India's growing interests in Central Asia as well. India is eyeing Central Asia's vast oil and gas reserves as well as its hydropower to boost its energy security. Its growing interest in Central Asian energy is accompanied by increasing involvement in the region's security. Ayni also has to do with India's big-power ambitions.

While India is keen to back its ambitions with muscle, it appears to be opting for a low profile for its air base in the region. It was initially planning to deploy MiG-29 fighters there. It is now going to deploy only a squadron of Mi-17 V1 helicopters. While the reason for the downsizing is not clear, it is possible that the lowering of India's profile has to do with Chinese objections. China's ties with the Tajiks have been growing, and it is possible that Beijing would have leaned on Dushanbe to keep Indian presence at the base low-key.

Unlike China, India does not share borders with the Central Asian countries. That is a disadvantage. But it has a long-standing ally in Russia, and its relations with Central Asian countries have been warm.

However, the foreign policies of the Central Asian countries have been far from stable. "India, therefore, cannot count on Central Asia totally on key political and security issues," writes P Stobdan in an article "Central Asia and India's security" in Strategic Analyses:

Even in the case of Afghanistan, the positions of Central Asian states vacillated several times in the past. Even Uzbekistan, at one point, took a U-turn in support of dealing with the Taliban. Similarly, on several occasions, Kazakhstan too favored engaging the Taliban in a dialogue and even established a modus vivendi with the Afghan militia.

Turkmenistan's position always remained favorable to the Taliban. In the future too, though India's security interests may converge with those of the Central Asian states, the methods and nature of approaching those problems may differ.

In 2005, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Russia, issued a statement calling on the US-led coalition to agree to a deadline for ending the temporary use of bases and air space in member countries, saying the active military phase of the Afghan operation was coming to an end.

The demand for a US exit had its roots in Washington's alleged involvement in the wave of regime changes that swept through the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, and the mass uprising in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan, which was Washington's closest ally in the initial stages of "war on terrorism" - it was the top recipient of US security assistance in Central Asia - was the most vociferous in its demand for a US exit from the bases in the region.

While India's presence in Central Asia cannot be compared to that of the US - not only is it small in comparison but Delhi does not meddle in the domestic politics in the countries there - it is clear that India is adopting a cautious approach. It does not want to ruffle feathers in the region. Hence the low-profile presence at Ayni.

Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore.

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Postby Rangudu » 03 Mar 2007 01:50

Great report on Talipaki terrorist leader Mullah Dadullah

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1 ... 72,00.html

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Postby Rangudu » 03 Mar 2007 03:16

x-post

Kudos to ANA

Pakistani, Afghan troops in fierce clash

MOHMAND AGENCY - A Pakistani checkpost stationed at Kodakhel, 30 km west of Mohmand Agency Headquarter Ghulnai, close to Afghan border, was hit by rockets fired by Afghan National Army on Friday morning. Pakistan forces also retaliated.

The firing continued for about two and a half hours. A political official at Ghulnai informed that the Afghan forces started firing at Kodakhel at 8.30 Friday morning. Pakistani forces in reply targeted Afghan Army posts and the firing went on till 11.00 am. The reasons behind this firing incidents are still unknown, the official said.

Pakistan had posted its army in Mohmand Agency in June 2003 and there have been reports of cross firing off and on. The last of the firing incidents took place on June 29.

In the meanwhile, NATO planes bombarded the suspected Taliban shelters in Asmar district and Dangam Pass in Kunar province of Afghanistan adjacent to the Pakistani border on the night between Thursday and Friday. NATO planes also kept flying over the area between Bajaur Agency and Kunar on Thursday. Residents of Mamond and Charmang in the Bajaur Agency however said that no bomb was dropped on the area despite Pakistan airspace violations by NATO planes.

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Postby shyamd » 04 Mar 2007 18:41

Karzai questions Pak`s opposition to Indian consulates
Kabul, Feb 23: Questioning Pakistan's objections to India having consulates in Afghanistan's Jalalabad and Kandahar, President Hamid Karzai has wondered why Islamabad allowed Indian diplomatic mission on its soil if it was a security threat for them.

"Isn't there an Indian embassy in Islamabad?" he asked during an interview with an Afghan news agency.

"Why has Pakistan allowed that on its soil if the Indian diplomatic missions are such a threat?" the President asked.

Pakistan has objected to India having consulates in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad and Kandahar in the south, alleging that they were a security threat to it.

Informed sources here say that the Pakistani leadership takes up the issue in nearly every meeting with the Afghan leader.

India has traditionally maintained diplomatic sub-offices in both the cities which lie near the Afghan-Pak frontier. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan (1996-2001), New Delhi was forced to close even its embassy in Kabul.

Speaking of the widely speculated "spring offensive" of the Taliban, which has been a subject of discussion and disquiet in NATO circles, Karzai said that the extremists "cannot launch an offensive, whether in spring or any other season, without assistance from outside".

He said almost all attacks launched by the Taliban were taking place in provinces that border Pakistan.

"When I visited Faryab province in northern Afghanistan some time back, my security guards left me unguarded, and their stance was that the province was not near the Pakistan border," Karzai said.

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Postby Singha » 05 Mar 2007 13:54

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/a ... _attacked/

inept US troops shoot civilians after a ambush

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Postby ramana » 08 Mar 2007 01:55

Taliban commander caught fleeing in a burqa

http://dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1083490

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Postby Vivek_A » 08 Mar 2007 20:43

This is an interesting diary entry on daily kos.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/7/53550/75229

To summarize
1. The Europeans(except UK) are useless in Afghanistan. They don't have permission to fight.
2. The US special operations are doing a good job in Afghanistan.

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Postby Rony » 09 Mar 2007 08:00

One of the rare people on the planet on the verge of extinction !

Afghan Hindus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKJ-h0LPFk4

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Postby Singha » 09 Mar 2007 08:46

and to think AF was a buddhist heartland before the barbarians & freaks arrived on the scene :roll: same for sindh being a 'core' hindu area.

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Postby Philip » 09 Mar 2007 11:04

Uncle Sam upto his dirty tricks again! Well,in this case the target is equally offensive in character and the best of luck to the hitmen,happy hunting! One request though,while the hitmen are in pak we'd be most happy if the ranks of the jehadis causing trouble in India face rapid depletion.

US sends spies into Pakistan to kill bin Laden
By Toby Harnden in Washington and Thomas Coghlan in Helmand
Last Updated: 1:43am GMT 09/03/2007

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.

America is stepping up its hunt for Osama bin Laden by dispatching additional CIA operatives and paramilitary officers to Pakistan to kill or capture the al-Qa'eda leader.


Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding in the Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan
US officials said that the mission is intended to intensify the pressure on the terrorist leader, who turns 50 tomorrow, and perhaps force him into making a mistake. He is widely believed to be hiding in the region bordering Afghanistan.

Satellite photographs and details of communications intercepts were given to President Musharraf of Pakistan last week by Stephen Kappes, deputy director of the CIA, as part of a strategy to persuade him to give US intelligence agencies more assistance.

Mr Kappes, a Middle East specialist who has served in Pakistan, travelled to Islamabad to brief Gen Musharraf along with Vice President Dick Cheney. His detailed presentation showed evidence of al-Qa'eda building its strength on Pakistani soil.

"Reports that the trail has gone stone cold are not correct," an American official said afterwards. "We are very much increasing our efforts there."

Mr Kappes also met members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and operatives from the CIA's Islamabad station to discuss co-ordinating efforts to track bin Laden.

The decision to send such a senior intelligence officer to brief Mr Musharraf is an indication of the Bush administration's increasing concern about the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Last week, Adml Mike McConnell, the new US Director of National Intelligence, told a Senate committee that bin Laden, who turns 50 tomorrow, is in Pakistan and actively re-establishing al-Qa'eda training camps there.

It was the most specific information about bin Laden given by a US official for several years and prompted speculation that surveillance photographs of the al-Qa'eda leader or his deputy might have been obtained.

Adml McConnell said of the Pakistani tribal area that "to the best of our knowledge the senior leadership, Number One and Number Two, are there, and they are attempting to re-establish and rebuild and to establish training camps."

Intelligence officials have indicated that bin Laden has previously chosen March to switch locations, moving to hiding places in the mountains once the snow cover begins to melt. He is likely to be at his most vulnerable when on the move.

Adml McConnell said he would focus with "great intensity" on al-Qa'eda in Pakistan. "There are a number of plans and activities that have been shut down or disrupted. And the intent on our part is to do that more and better, and hopefully at some point either killing or capturing the senior leadership."

News of the operation came as a British soldier was killed in a grenade attack on his base in southern Afghanistan - the 52nd to die in service in the country since the US-led invasion in 2001.

The Ministry of Defence said that the serviceman, from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, died from his wounds after being airlifted from the town of Sangeen to the military hospital at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand province. His next of kin were notified but he is yet to be named by the MoD.

Bin Laden has evaded capture and assassination ever since President Bill Clinton signed a secret order authorising the CIA to kill him.

While President George W. Bush said after the September 11 attacks that bin Laden was wanted "dead or alive", US military and intelligence might have failed to carry out the order more than five years after the terrorist leader fled for his life after the invasion of Afghanistan and the collapse of his Taliban allies.

Now the Bush administration is redoubling its efforts.

"Reports that the trail has gone stone cold are not correct," an American official said.

• Former US Navy sailor Hassan Abujihaad, formerly known as Paul R. Hall, has been arrested for supplying a pro-al-Qa'eda website with information on US ship movements and vulnerabilities, US justice authorities said.

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Postby sanjaykumar » 09 Mar 2007 11:14

Afghan Hindus

Thanks Rony, they are gorgeous(look like my ethnic group :twisted: ).
Very moving.

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Postby Laks » 09 Mar 2007 12:18

Rony wrote:http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IC01Df03.html
Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban

Interesting report from Stratfor on SSS's report from Asia Times:
http://www.stratfor.com/products/premiu ... ?id=285466
Pakistan: Using the Media to Lay the Path Toward Negotiations
March 08, 2007 23 56 GMT


Summary

Since March 1, Asia Times Online (ATO) has published a number of peculiar reports about an alleged realignment of relations involving al Qaeda, the Taliban, Pakistani Islamists and the Pakistani government. The reports' details indicate that Islamabad is deliberately attempting to tell the West that the Taliban need to be treated differently from al Qaeda. ATO is a medium through which Pakistan is trying to set up the parameters for a potential negotiated settlement involving the Taliban.

Analysis

Former Afghan Prime Minister and Pashtun Islamist rebel leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said March 8 that his group's alliance with the Taliban has ended and that he is open to the idea of negotiating with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government. Hekmatyar, a one-time CIA asset, said certain elements among the Taliban decided to part ways with his Hizb-i-Islami, which he said was a mistake. He also said his group is prepared to talk but that Kabul -- and particularly its Western backers -- might not accept his conditions of a cease-fire followed by negotiations.

Hekmatyar's statement comes within days of some eccentric news reports exclusively from Web-based news publication Asia Times Online (ATO). ATO reported March 1 that Pakistan and the Taliban have worked out a deal and that Mullah Dadullah is Islamabad's point man among the Pashtun jihadists. The report also says al Qaeda and the Taliban have split from each other over ideological differences and the Taliban's relationship with Pakistan, but that links between the two groups remain.

Two days later, ATO reported differences between al Qaeda and Pakistani jihadist and Islamist forces. It named two people in particular for whom al Qaeda had reportedly developed a strong dislike. One is Fazlur Rehman, leader of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (the largest group within the six-party Islamist coalition Muttahida Majilis-e-Amal, which rules Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province). According to the report, al Qaeda is angry with Rehman, who also leads the opposition in the Pakistani parliament, for aiding Islamabad's efforts to capture al Qaeda operatives.

The other is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the largest radical Wahhabi group in Pakistan and a successor to the defunct Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Al Qaeda accuses Saeed of embezzling $3 million that the jihadist network gave him to relocate Arab jihadists' families following the U.S. move to effect regime change in Kabul. The report goes on to state that captured senior al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah was the one who gave Saeed the money and who demanded it be returned when Saeed failed to deliver on his part of the bargain. Shortly thereafter, Zubaydah was captured from an LeT safe-house in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad. Al Qaeda is convinced that Saeed betrayed the global jihadist movement. The report quotes an al Qaeda source as saying that the network will kill men like Rehman and Saeed and all other such "hypocrites."

Details notwithstanding, these unusual reports raise a number of questions. Why is ATO the only outlet reporting such information? Who is releasing this information to ATO and why?

These reports are coming from ATO's Pakistan bureau office. Given ATO's track record of quoting jihadist, Islamist and government sources and of issuing reports found nowhere else, it seems that jihadists, Islamists, and certain elements connected to the Pakistani state have used the outlet as a convenient way to relay information. Considering that Islamabad is facing increasing pressure to crack down on jihadists operating on Pakistani soil and has spoken of the need to negotiate with the Taliban, it seems the ATO reports constitute an effort to reposition the fault lines among various Islamist nonstate actors and the Pakistani government.

Several inferences can be drawn from these reports: Islamabad has forged close ties with the Taliban; a significant rift has emerged between al Qaeda and the Taliban; and al Qaeda is also at loggerheads with Pakistani Islamists and jihadists.

Other things being equal, it would not make sense for the Pakistani government to allow a media organization to issue reports about sensitive matters that have a direct and adverse effect on the country's national security -- particularly from that organization's office based inside the country. But other things are not equal, especially when it comes to the murky nexus of jihadists in southwest Asia and the current political climate. In fact, it is in Islamabad's interests to allow such reports to flow or even to feed the system with such reports.

Pakistan has gradually floated the idea of negotiating with the Taliban. However, Islamabad knows that the Pashtun jihadists have ties to al Qaeda. Moreover, Pakistan is seen as the hub of transnational jihadist forces with which the West is not willing to negotiate. The way around these problems is to shape the global perception of the situation by saying that al Qaeda and the Afghan and Pakistani jihadists are actually at odds with each other. The mentioning of Rehman and Saeed is especially telling, because Pakistan would want to underscore that there is a world of difference between Pakistani/Kashmiri Islamists and al Qaeda.

In this context, even Hekmatyar's March 8 statement is not surprising. In December 2006, Pakistani Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, described to visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store a proposed four-point formula to resolve the crisis in Afghanistan. One of the points was to begin talks with Hekmatyar.

It is therefore quite likely that ATO's anomalous reports regarding shifting alliances within the southwest Asian jihadist universe are an attempt to lay the foundation for eventual negotiations with the Taliban.


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Postby Sanjay M » 10 Mar 2007 04:13

It's ridiculous to call Hekmatyar or any fundamentalist a CIA asset. All the fundie players were ISI assets, and CIA hardly had any access except via ISI.

And since when is LeT defunct? They're still killing plenty of people.

Hah, as if Taliban will ever abandon AlQaeda. We all know the promises won't be worth the paper they're written on. Mushy can't seriously pit his own army against Taliban or hope to defeat them.

The real test of wills will be proven by whether or not the US dares to reduce aid to Pakistan. If the US can't even do that, then they've no chance at all of effecting any change in Pakistani support for Taliban.


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