Afghanistan News & Discussion

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 08 Sep 2014 21:03

Afghan elections: Deadlock continues
Afghanistan’s political crisis deepened Monday as one of the presidential challengers insisted he was the rightful winner and pledged to block his rival from taking power through “fraudulent results.”

The declaration by Abdullah Abdullah could unravel a U.S.-brokered plan for a power-sharing government following the June runoff voting and potentially tip the country toward greater unrest as NATO-led forces prepare to withdraw at the end of the year.

It also was a direct slap at President Obama’s outreach in recent days to Abdullah and rival Ashraf Ghani to keep alive prospects for a unity government to succeed President Hamid Karzai.

A prolonged political standoff could complicate plans to keep up to 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan in 2015 after most other NATO forces pull out.

Speaking in a national televised address, Abdullah said the American compromise plan had reached a “deadlock.” He added that he will not accept an ongoing recount of the June runoff, which are expected to show that Ghani prevailed.

“We are the winner of the election based on the clean votes of the people,” said Abdullah, claiming that election was plagued by widespread fraud. “Fraud, fraudulent results and the announcement of the fraudulent results are not acceptable.”

Abdullah said his backers would take steps to block Ghani being declared the winner. But Abdullah also urged followers to remain peaceful, saying he will not lose “patience” — suggesting there could be still some room for a deal.

Ghani and Abdullah have been locked in a weeks-long struggle over the outcome of the election. A meeting early Monday failed to reach an agreement, raising the possibility that Abdullah could perhaps move to form a parallel administration.

In response, Daoud Sultanzoy, a top aide to Ghani, said Ghani is prepared to assume power unilaterally if Abdullah fully abandons the political bargaining.

“This is not about a spoiled group that wants to keep a grip on power,” said Sultanzoy, noting the stalemate is hurting the economy. “This is about the people of this country, and we are cognizant about this and won’t be reckless.”

Abdullah, a former foreign secretary, finished first in a field of eight candidates in the initial round of voting in April but fell short of a majority. That led to a June runoff with former finance minister Ghani, who finished second.

Ghani prevailed in the runoff with a more than 1 million vote lead.

Abdullah protested the results, alleging widespread fraud. Last month, Secretary of State John F. Kerry rushed to Kabul and brokered a deal between the two candidates.

The agreement called for a recount as well as power sharing between the two candidates once the results of the audit were known.

Two weeks ago, however, Abdullah withdrew from the recount because he did not feel it was comprehensive enough.

U.S. officials had remained optimistic that Abdullah and Ghani could still reach an accord. The Kerry agreement envisioned one candidate serving as president and the other in a newly created position of chief executive.

But the two campaigns have been unable to agree on which leader would chair the all-important cabinet meetings. There was also disagreement about whether the audited election results should be released at all when they are finalized, which is expected later this week.

Concerns about violence are heightened by an apparent split among voters along ethnic lines.

Abdullah is a top aide to legendary Afghan guerrilla commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives two days before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Abdullah’s mother is of Tajik descent and his father was Pashtun, but Abdullah appeared to receive most of his support from predominantly Tajik areas of northern Afghanistan, where Massoud, his late mentor and an ethnic Tajik, was especially revered.

Ghani, who is Pashtun, received his greatest support among Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group.

Tuesday is a public holiday when Afghanistan marks the day that Massoud was assassinated. The day typically involves rallies, but some fear they could turn into protests in support of Abdullah.

Many embassies and international aid organizations are expected to be on a heightened state-of-alert. But Abdullah stressed that he expects his supporters to remain calm.

“Political issues have a solution,” Abdullah said. “Don’t mix the commemoration of martyrs with the political issues.”



--------------------------

Gurus, sushma swaraj is visiting afghanistan within this week. With the political turmoil in kabul, what is the significance of the visit??

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 10 Sep 2014 13:57

to people who have been watching this space more:

what does the future portend? I do believe that the Durrani hold on power is partially broken and this move of Ghani becoming president might keep Taliban a bit happy too.

So :
a. will it mean that Taliban attacks lesser? (Perhaps more strategically to still hold its relevance and also give the govt a bit of breathing time and credit?)
b. will it mean NATO troops moving out? [if that were the case, will it not mean more of Taliban influence and not lesser?]
c. what will it mean WRT Pak? Will Pak be more destabilizing or lesser?


I still foresee a civil war in Af in the next coming months. But I cant get a clear answer for the above qns. Don't think that Abdullah^2 is interested in total peace this time around. His warlord friend [Ata Noor?] seems to be quite hot under the collar too.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 11 Sep 2014 11:56

Partial answers to my own questions:

Afghanistan: The Independent Election Commission said it would announce the results of the runoff presidential election on 10 September. In a subsequent announcement, the Commission said it will make its announcement after all challenges are adjudicated, probably early next week.

Candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who represents the Northern Alliance and the Hazaras, said he will not accept any results announced by the election commission because they are still flawed. His followers have vowed to protest and stage street demonstrations.

Candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said he will not compromise on the principles of the Afghan constitution, including power sharing. There will be no national unity government.

Comment: The West insisted on elections, but apparently presumed Afghans would vote in the Western sense of voting, instead of based on the directions of the clan and tribal leaders. The West also provided inadequate safeguards against massive ballot box stuffing, mainly by the Pashtuns. The point is that anyone who read Louis Dupree's seminal work, Afghanistan, would know the outcome of elections in Afghanistan.

The commission will announce an electoral result that perpetuates Pashtun rule in Afghanistan, even though the Taliban is primarily Pashtun. Pashtuns have ruled Afghanistan for centuries. The introduction of elections and of modern technology has not changed the foundations of Afghan political culture. One way or another, Pashtuns always rule.

What is impressive is that the Tajiks and some Uzbeks understood and took a chance on Western style democracy more than the Pashtuns. They took a chance and lost. The Pashtuns trusted Afghan tribal culture and are likely to win the Presidency again. Nevertheless, the northerners are more open to modernity than the Pashtuns.

Ghani will be president, but not because he won the election. He will be president because he and his Pashtun backers cheated, again. This will be the second time that Abdullah won a presidential election in a straight vote count, only to have it stolen through electoral legerdemain by the Pashtuns and Westerners. This time there will be violent protests.

In a longer perspective, another Pashtun presidency ensures the Taliban will return to power in Kabul. The key words of surrender will be Ghani's promise of inclusiveness and national healing. Mullah Omar and the Taliban will understand those words as invitations to take power. And they will.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 11 Sep 2014 20:18

Key parts highlighted....
Partial answers to my own questions:

Afghanistan: The Independent Election Commission said it would announce the results of the runoff presidential election on 10 September. In a subsequent announcement, the Commission said it will make its announcement after all challenges are adjudicated, probably early next week.

Candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who represents the Northern Alliance and the Hazaras, said he will not accept any results announced by the election commission because they are still flawed. His followers have vowed to protest and stage street demonstrations.

Candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said he will not compromise on the principles of the Afghan constitution, including power sharing. There will be no national unity government
.

Comment: The West insisted on elections, but apparently presumed Afghans would vote in the Western sense of voting, instead of based on the directions of the clan and tribal leaders. The West also provided inadequate safeguards against massive ballot box stuffing, mainly by the Pashtuns. The point is that anyone who read Louis Dupree's seminal work, Afghanistan, would know the outcome of elections in Afghanistan.

The commission will announce an electoral result that perpetuates Pashtun rule in Afghanistan, even though the Taliban is primarily Pashtun. Pashtuns have ruled Afghanistan for centuries. The introduction of elections and of modern technology has not changed the foundations of Afghan political culture. One way or another, Pashtuns always rule.

{There are two main groups of Pashtuns: Ghilzai and Durrani. Modern Afghanistan is creation of the Durrani Pashtuns Eg Ahmed Shah Durrani. Karzai is a Durrani. Taliban are mainly Ghilzai Pashtuns. Ghilzais are more in number but are marginalized and bartered away into Khyber-Pakhtunwa by drawing the Durand Line. Another historical note is Durrani Pahstuns look towards Persia while Ghilzais look towards Dilli. All those Afghan Sultans like the Lodis and Sher Shah Suri are Ghilzai. By electing Ghani the Durrani primacy has been upended. This is the big thing in this election}

What is impressive is that the Tajiks and some Uzbeks understood and took a chance on Western style democracy more than the Pashtuns. They took a chance and lost. The Pashtuns trusted Afghan tribal culture and are likely to win the Presidency again. Nevertheless, the northerners are more open to modernity than the Pashtuns.

{Tajiks always were modern and run the civil society. Uzbeks are a small minority. Also analysis does not account for the Shia Hazaris of Herat. Northern Areas is primarily Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara with pockets of Pashtuns. Kabul is in this area. Who rules Kabul rules Afghanistan. However Pashtun majority areas are in Southern Afghanistan and in Pakistan. More Pashtuns live in Pakistan than in Afghanistan.}


Ghani will be president, but not because he won the election. He will be president because he and his Pashtun backers cheated, again. This will be the second time that Abdullah won a presidential election in a straight vote count, only to have it stolen through electoral legerdemain by the Pashtuns and Westerners. This time there will be violent protests.

{I think Abdullah^2 will not resort to violence. He will rally and keep his supporters together. Karzai stuffed the ballot boxes to keep Afghanistan together. Afghans have not yet reached the stage where they can accept non-Pashtuns as the Head of State. By allowing Ghani, a non-Durrani to be the leader Karzai has taken first step in eventual dethroning the Pashtun primacy.}

In a longer perspective, another Pashtun presidency ensures the Taliban will return to power in Kabul. The key words of surrender will be Ghani's promise of inclusiveness and national healing. Mullah Omar and the Taliban will understand those words as invitations to take power. And they will.

{See my comments above about Ghilzais and Durranis. By having a non-Durrani as the Head of State, Karzai has already addressed the major factor of the Pashtun civil war which is underway since Ahmed Shah Durrani created Afghanistan. This is takes away a major support factor for Omar and his bandits. Further, Karzai signed a new security agreement with India just this week. Most likely neither wants Omar to take over. Paarkalam as Kamaraj would say.}


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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 14 Sep 2014 22:50

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world ... .html?_r=0
Afghanistan Boldly Raises Its Colors, as Never Before

(Mighty Afghanistan Wins the Flag Match with Punnystan Next Door)

KABUL, Afghanistan — To find a flag as big as the one hoisted over Kabul’s historic Wazir Akbar Khan hill on Wednesday, you would have to go pretty far — possibly as far as a Walmart parking lot somewhere in the Great Plains.Flying from a specially erected flagpole more than 200 feet high — taller than the Statue of Liberty replica in Las Vegas — the black, red and green flag, at 97 by 65 feet, is big enough to drape over a Dreadnoughtus dinosaur (tail included). It is hundreds of square yards bigger than any other known Afghan banner.Oddly, despite 13 years and more than half a trillion dollars of American investment in Afghanistan, when this country finally got its first supersized flag to fly over the capital last week, the donor was not from among the descendants of Betsy Ross.Instead, the Afghan megaflag was personally presented by Sushma Swaraj, the new foreign minister of India. The half-million-dollar gift was partly underwritten by an Indian billionaire, Naveen Jindal, whose Flag Foundation of India was founded to encourage Indian homes to fly their own flags at a practically American rate.Political pundits quickly noted the symbolism of India’s helping Afghanistan erect a flag big enough to be seen from the American surveillance blimp on the other side of the capital. The point would surely not be lost on Pakistan, which has always looked unfavorably at overtures between India and Afghanistan.The Indian flag project is also seen as a subtle message to the Americans, who are bringing their combat mission in Afghanistan to a close this year without any guarantee yet of a future military role here. The bilateral security agreement that would allow that remains unsigned by President Hamid Karzai, and the inauguration of his successor is months overdue, hung up by a protracted election dispute.“This will show Pakistan, and further weaken its role in Afghanistan,” said the political analyst Bashir Bezhan. “And for President Karzai, it would have a message to the West that his neighboring powers are behind him.”

Ms. Swaraj said at the flag-raising ceremony, “India will always be the first strategic partner of Afghanistan, and we are committed to assist Afghanistan in whatever way possible within our means.”
lags have had a tattered history in Afghanistan, with a succession of different ones during the past 35 years of civil war and insurgency.The Taliban, for instance, went counterintuitive, sticking with a plain white banner — until someone pointed out that that was for surrendering, and they added the Shahada verses to it in black.Before the raising of the megaflag, a visitor could easily have driven across this sprawling capital of five million residents without seeing a single Afghan drapeau. Flagpoles are rare even in the government district.“At least in the last 50 years, there has not been anything like this in Afghanistan,” Mr. Bezhan said.A few years ago, there had been an Afghan flag just big enough to be seen from many parts of the city on the top of the mountain in its middle, Asmai Mountain, better known as TV Hill because of all its broadcasting towers. But the flag was gradually beaten to shreds in the wind and never replaced.
Then the Indian Embassy came up with the idea of a gift of the giant flag, made of windproof synthetic textiles, and Mr. Jindal was eager to help underwrite it. “There was no single monument of Afghanistan as a nation,” said Niteen Yeola, an Indian diplomat here. “We thought this would be a good symbol of unity.”The new flag is flying over Wazir Akbar Khan hill, next to the empty Communist-era swimming pool once used by the Taliban for executions. The monument is being called the Menara Bayraq, or Flag Minaret.The 15-ton flagpole is high enough to make the flag visible from nearly all quarters of the city. The pole was flown in from India in segments, then erected to be earthquake-proof by Indian engineers.At the flag-raising, Mr. Karzai pushed a button to mechanically hoist it into place, while the Indian foreign minister and he cut a ribbon and passed out chocolates to assembled dignitaries.India’s support for Afghanistan is more than symbolic. While more often a recipient than a donor country, India has budgeted about $2 billion in aid to Afghanistan through the war years — making Afghanistan one of its biggest foreign aid beneficiaries. None of that is direct military aid, and it is a pittance compared to the $89 billion in aid from the United States just through 2012. But some of that money has been spent on particularly high-profile projects, such as a huge, $238 million Parliament building, expected to open next year.
“The Americans had flags everywhere, even on their vehicles,” said Hajji Zahair, who served in the Afghan National Army for five years in some of the worst parts of the country, and was wounded in fighting in Kandahar Province. “We would have maybe one on the base somewhere.”Mr. Zahair, now a jobless veteran, had come to see the new flag for himself, and was very impressed. “I hope it serves as a symbol of unity for us and brings us together,” he said.Afghanistan’s relative underflagging is just the sort of challenge appreciated by Mr. Jindal, the Indian steel magnate and politician who has dedicated himself to propagating flag displays back home.In a way, though, Kabul’s giant new flag does have an American origin — via Mr. Jindal. He went there to earn his master’s degree in business administration at the University of Texas at Dallas, and was deeply impressed by how many American homes and businesses were adorned with the red, white and blue.When he got home, he was outraged that Indian law strictly limited flag displays, and campaigned successfully to give everyone the right to fly India’s saffron, white and green whenever and wherever they wanted.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Mukesh.Kumar » 16 Sep 2014 19:17

A funny anecdote

Don't know where else to put this but in this thread. Last weekend one of my team members was visiting an up-country town on the UAE-Saudi border. Stopping for lunch at a local 'coffee shop', he was suddenly approached by a 26-27 year old Afghan waiter, who asked him if he was Indian.

The chap then went on a long monologue- Something like, "I am from Kabul-There is a Indira Gandhi Hospital there which is good- Good Indian doctors, free medicine. Earlier there was one, now there are ten. Plus Tata has given us free buses, which are very good, and on, and on." After about five minutes my guy, a bit suspicious (is he going to ask for money or something???) asked 'Aap kyun bata rahe ho?"

All the guy replied was, "Bus kuch nahi mujhe Thank You kehna hai."

Strange, maybe all the dollars that we poured into Afghanistan did not go waste. Gurus, what would you say to this?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby CRamS » 16 Sep 2014 20:16

MukeshJi,

I have met Afghans who have told me that they have very high regard for India, and some very knowledgable told me that India punches way below its weight thanks to US pressure.

A good part of the US attempt to make up with Modi is to charm India into scaling back in Afgnaistan to placate and soothe its TSP munna. Nothing has changed in US policy except for theatrics and atmospherics: Its India TSP equal equal, and India's limited role in Afghanistan is one manifestation of this policy.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 21 Sep 2014 12:49

https://twitter.com/TOLOnews/status/513594564477607938
@TOLOnews ::NUG agreement signed. AA and AG shake hands. #Afghanistan #AfghanElections


Image

===============

Afghan presidential contenders in election deal
A deal to form a government of national unity in Afghanistan is expected to be signed on Sunday.

The agreement comes after months of wrangling following presidential elections in April and June.

Under the power-sharing deal, Ashraf Ghani will become president while runner-up Abdullah Abdullah will nominate a chief executive with powers similar to those of prime minister.

Both sides have accused the other of fraud following the election.

The deal was finally reached after a comprehensive audit of all eight million votes which began in July.

BBC Afghanistan correspondent David Loyn, who has seen a copy of the final document, says the deal averts potential violence by supporters of Mr Abdullah.

The agreement says the new CEO will be answerable to Mr Ghani, although he has lost a battle to be sworn in after the announcement of the election result, our correspondent says.

The new Afghan government will have a cabinet of ministers, including the CEO and two deputies, chaired by the president who will take strategic decisions. Day-to-day administration will be carried out by a new Council of Ministers, chaired by the CEO, and including all ministers.

One major issue that divided both camps was over appointments. Dr Abdullah won the fight to be able to appoint senior positions on terms of "parity" with Dr Ghani, and "the two teams will be equally represented at the leadership level".

But appointments further down will be "equitably" shared - so there will not be a one-for-one handout of jobs across the country. Dr Ghani is impatient to make major reforms, and has secured the wording he wants on the formation of a "merit-based" mechanism to appoint senior officials.


=======

EDIT: got the answer to saleh's reference to ghani. This is in reference to previous tweet of saleh which i had posted.
https://twitter.com/AmrullahSaleh1/stat ... 8716246016

=======================

https://twitter.com/AmrullahSaleh1/stat ... 2250494976
@AmrullahSaleh1 · Sep 18

Most revolutionaries win in wars but lose in negotiations. They get stabbed in the back.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 21 Sep 2014 13:20

What the Afghan power-sharing deal means

The deal that ends almost six months of wrangling was finally agreed late on Saturday night.

It is expected to be signed by the two candidates on Sunday - in the presence of outgoing President Hamid Karzai and the two international officials who have kept the process on the rails - the UN chief in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, and US ambassador James Cunningham.

The four-page deal outlines the powers of a new post of CEO, chief executive officer, a post similar to a prime minister. Ashraf Ghani will be president, and Abdullah Abdullah will nominate the CEO.

There is considerable speculation that Dr Abdullah will not take this post himself. He has won a significant victory in ensuring that the CEO and his deputies "will be introduced at the presidential inauguration ceremony". The signing ceremony will now take place before any announcement of the election result.

This has been an obstacle that has taken weeks to resolve. Mr Ghani had argued that - under the constitution - the result of the election should be announced, then the president sworn in, before the formation of the national unity government.

The talks went up to the wire. On Sunday, the Afghan Election Commission will be ready to announce the final result of the intensive two-month long audit of the election. Many of Dr Abdullah's supporters do not accept that this was a fair process, and had threatened to take to the streets, staging violent protests.

Presidency tarnished

But the creation of the government of national unity will now diminish the importance of the election result. I understand that after the audit the final gap between the two candidates was less than three points - a significant cut from the Ashraf Ghani's lead after the first count of 13 points.

A president who has built an international reputation as an incorruptible technocrat is tarnished by the fact that most of the fraud in the election was discovered to be in his votes.

The new Afghan government will have a cabinet of ministers, including the CEO and two deputies, chaired by the president who will take strategic decisions. Day-to-day administration will be carried out by a new Council of Ministers, chaired by the CEO, and including all ministers.

One major issue that divided both camps was over appointments. In a country where patronage networks are still very powerful, the national unity government will find it hard to satisfy all of the high expectations raised by the election. Dr Abdullah won the fight to be able to appoint senior positions on terms of "parity" with Dr Ghani, and "the two teams will be equally represented at the leadership level".

But appointments further down will be "equitably" shared - so there will not be a one-for-one handout of jobs across the country. Dr Ghani is impatient to make major reforms, and has secured the wording he wants on the formation of a "merit-based" mechanism to appoint senior officials.

The CEO will be "answerable to the president", who remains the most powerful figure in the government. And the document appeals for the two teams to govern together in a spirit of partnership, remembering their responsibility to the people of Afghanistan. But they disagree on so much, and after a bitter election campaign and months of wrangling, stability of this government cannot be guaranteed.

One aspect over which there was no disagreement was the need for electoral reform. The prolonged chaos this year following voting was caused by previous failure to introduce an electoral register. Both candidates have agreed to introduce electronic identity cards to all voters "as quickly as possible". A special commission will be appointed to introduce further reforms in time for next year's parliamentary election.


Gurus, who will be appointed as CEO i.e. afghan PM?? Can it be saleh?? :mrgreen: :twisted:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby pralay » 21 Sep 2014 15:04

Gunjur wrote:Gurus, who will be appointed as CEO i.e. afghan PM?? Can it be saleh?? :mrgreen: :twisted:

That will be awesome, but what will become of Abdullah?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby member_25399 » 21 Sep 2014 22:37

Gurus, who will be appointed as CEO i.e. afghan PM?? Can it be saleh??

Not an expert, but i really doubt that Saleh will make it there.
His stand on Taliban and ISI [TSP as whole] make shim doubtful for the job. Khan, especially will not like him in the cabinet, given that they want to move out and his take on Taliban was always to take the fight to the end.
Me thinks, this compromise will turn out to be messy sooner than expected.
I always wanted Saleh reporting to AA as premier, which sadly now seems to be dream. :(

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 22 Sep 2014 06:08

This clumsy agreement is doomed to failure from day one.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby CRamS » 23 Sep 2014 19:29

Karzai's last speech. Speaks the real truth. The colonial thugs in DC who decided from day one post 9/11 when they decided to bomb Afganisthan, is that the real terrorist abomination, TSP, muct be preserved at any cost to be a thorn on India's and Afghanistan's side.

http://news.yahoo.com/afghanistans-karz ... 28585.html


The United States has spent more than $100 billion on aid in Afghanistan since 2001 to train and equip the country's security forces, to pave crumbling dirt roads, to upgrade hospitals and to build schools. But Karzai in his speech thanked a slew of countries for their help — India, Japan, China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Germany — without mentioning the U.S.

The speech fingered the U.S. and the military leaders of neighboring Pakistan as the powers backing perpetual war.

"If America and Pakistan really want it, peace will come to Afghanistan," Karzai said. "War in Afghanistan is based on the aims of foreigners. The war in Afghanistan is to the benefit of foreigners. But Afghans on both sides are the sacrificial lambs and victims of this war."


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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Austin » 24 Sep 2014 16:49

Karzai says US has not wanted peace in Afghanistan during farewell speech
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/24 ... l-address/

Outgoing Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai took one final swipe at the U.S. Tuesday, telling a gathering of Afghan government employees that the 13-year American-led military action had failed to bring peace to his country.

"We don't have peace because the Americans didn't want peace," said Karzai, who will officially give way to President-elect Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai when the latter is sworn in Monday.

"If America and Pakistan really want it, peace will come to Afghanistan," Karzai added, referring to his country's eastern neighbor as well as the U.S. "The war in Afghanistan is to the benefit of foreigners. But Afghans on both sides are the sacrificial lambs and victims of this war."

Karzai also thanked a number of countries for their efforts in Afghanistan — India, Japan, China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Germany — without thanking the U.S.


Karzai's words were met with a furious response by the American ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham, who called the comments "ungracious and ungrateful."

"It makes me kind of sad. I think his remarks, which were uncalled for, do a disservice to the American people and dishonor the huge sacrifices Americans have made here and continue to make here," Cunningham told a gathering of journalists.

Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi told The Washington Post that while the president appreciates the efforts of U.S. troops and taxpayers to rebuilt the war-torn country, he also believes that the U.S. did not do enough to confront Pakistan-backed militants in the country and that Washington and Islamabad "sabotaged" efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban.

Karzai is the only president Afghanistan has known since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion removed the Taliban from power. In the intervening years, The United States has spent more than $100 billion on aid in Afghanistan since 2001 to train and equip the country's security forces, to pave crumbling dirt roads, to upgrade hospitals and to build schools. More than 2,200 U.S. forces have died in Afghanistan operations since 2001. Nearly 20,000 have been wounded.

The United Nations says that some 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in the conflict over the last five years alone. Karzai for years has railed against U.S. military strikes for the civilian casualties that some of them cause — although the United Nations has said insurgents are to blame for the overwhelming majority of casualties.

In his final year in office, Karzai refused to sign a security agreement with the U.S. that would set the legal framework to allow about 10,000 American military advisers and trainers to stay in the country next year. Ghani Ahmadzai has said he will sign it.

Samehullah Samem, a member of parliament from the western province of Farah, said as a decade-long ruler Karzai has earned respect among Afghans, but that he should be more careful with his words toward an ally. He noted that the Afghan economy is faltering.

"We are completely dependent on the international community. We need the support of the international community, especially the United States of America," Samem said.

U.S. military and intelligence operatives helped transport Karzai around the region in late 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. That U.S. connection helped pave the way to the presidency.

Ghani Ahmadzai's entrance is more conventional. A former finance minister, the new president has worked at the World Bank and earned a PhD. from New York's Colombia University. His path to the presidency follows a long election season that ended with negotiations for a national unity government and the election commission giving him 55 percent of the runoff vote.

Cunningham said the U.S. was asked to be involved in the unity negotiations and that the U.S. exerted itself to help Afghanistan succeed, an important achievement especially given the "psychic investment as well as blood and treasure" here since 2001.

The 13-year war against the Taliban has largely been turned over to Afghan security forces, a development that has seen casualties among Afghan soldiers rise significantly this year.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Satya_anveshi » 25 Sep 2014 08:22

Modi: We want Afghanistan to be happy

CNN speaks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation in Afghanistan, and asks for his take on the role Pakistan might play there.

[CNN]When you look at what is going on in Afghanistan – the United States is going to draw down its forces. Historically, Pakistan has always played a role in Afghanistan, usually by supporting the Taliban, historically at least. Do you worry that that may happen again, that as the United States draws down, Pakistan will try to increase its involvement, and that will have negative consequences for India?

[Modi]: America will have learned from its experience in Iraq. I don’t believe that it will do the same thing with Afghanistan and that it will be on its own. My guess is that the United States will have a different policy in Afghanistan from what it had in Iraq.
The other issue is that we want Afghanistan to become happy, prosperous and peaceful. It should live in harmony with its neighborhood and progress. We have a special attachment with Afghanistan. From childhood, every person in India has an impression in their hearts that a person from Afghanistan is very honest, good at heart…Our connection with Afghanistan is not with reference to Pakistan. We have our own cultural heritage, with deep relations. We want to see them happy, and in this process we want everyone to be together. We invite Pakistan to come and join us all together, for the happiness of Afghanistan.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 25 Sep 2014 15:27

So, how long before the deal unravels? I think I will give it about a few months. And oh, its likely that Abdullah^2 wont want to be CEO as that post is 'answerable' to the President?

Interesting that there is conflicting report on the % of votes [some of the reports say Abdullah^2 *insisted* that the numbers be fudged to give the fight a closer look while others conclude that Ghani won by just a few % points]. Any which way, it doesn't look like a natural voting pattern and looks more doctored.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 29 Sep 2014 14:32

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/inter ... ss&emc=rss

Interesting that Pak sent its President to the function. So Ghani has been 'swore' in. :lol:

In the meanwhile, Taliban trying to overrun Ghazani province in Azristan district

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby pankajs » 29 Sep 2014 18:02

HeadlinesToday ‏@HeadlinesToday 17m

Senior adviser to President Barack Obama says Afghanistan will sign deal to allow US troops to remain in country: Report.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 29 Sep 2014 18:19

BSA expected tomorrow. That's what I read somewhere.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 29 Sep 2014 18:25

vijaykarthik wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/international-home/ashraf-ghani-sworn-in-as-afghan-president.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Interesting that Pak sent its President to the function. So Ghani has been 'swore' in. :lol:

In the meanwhile, Taliban trying to overrun Ghazani province in Azristan district


Ghani has been the candidate of the NATO-Sunni Alliance ( America UK, Saudi, Pakis, Qatar, Kuwait)- he represents Taliban interests.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby pankajs » 30 Sep 2014 16:18

Sadanand Dhume ‏@dhume 30m30 minutes ago

The Bilateral Security Agreement allows for 9,800 U.S. soldiers to stay in #Afghanistan past 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us- ... ingtonpost

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby member_20317 » 30 Sep 2014 16:37

^ I was suspecting that something like this would happen. Now expect NaMo to contribute as much in Middle East hopefully in training and support.

If Ajit Doval, V. K. Singh, NaMo etc think this is worthwhile then I guess it is. Just hope these guys get to keep Afg out of Paki hands for sure.

Hope these people get to mature this deal properly and eventually raise the stakes to a level where they can then begin to strike a deal with Russians, Afghans and Iranians on Oil & Gas from Charbahar under Indian Navy protection. Strike a Trillion USD deal, I say.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Dilbu » 30 Sep 2014 17:15

Sorry how does this relate to India getting involved in Afghanistan? If Ghani is a paki symapathiser then we are talking about a very hostile afghan government too. They may want to tow the paki line and keep India out of the proceedings.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 01 Oct 2014 07:38

^ Ghani is a cartoon character. He is intellectually arrogant and all that. But I think he won because of the intl support [read Yankees]. Will do him a world of good to remember that. Corollary: don't think Yankees want to see Abdullah^2 at the helm. I wonder why.

Abdullah^2 is swork anti-Taliban and Yankees don't want him. So they (Yankees) prefer Taliban integration then? How will it work in Pak then?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 01 Oct 2014 15:58

From NightWatch for the night of Sep 30, 2014
Afghanistan: The governor of Panjshir Province, Abdul Rahman Kabiri, said Panjshiris are worried that their presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, would be pushed out of power. "Panjshiris are watching the situation." Kabiri warned that they will demonstrate if President Ghani reneges on his commitment to the power sharing agreement.

Statements from locals indicate they do not expect the arrangement to last. They expect a power struggle to lead to a political crisis.

Comment: The Panjshiris are mountain people whom the Taliban failed to subdue. They are loyal to the old anti-Pashtun Northern Alliance. Their sentiments are close to those expressed by the governor of Balkh and his Tajiks, prior to the inauguration of President Ghani. The north is hostile to Ghani.

Their leaders resent Pashtun dominance in government because they think the Pashtuns are being rewarded for having supported the Taliban, while the northern tribes were responsible for overthrowing Mullah Omar's cabal.

The Panjshiri remarks expose several insights. First the Panjshiris acknowledge that they expect the Pashtuns to try to deceive other tribes. They fault Abdullah Abdullah for allowing himself to be deceived in this and the prior presidential election so that he made agreements that guaranteed he would lose.

They also expect the Pashtuns to renege on any agreement they enter.
That makes the Panjshiris fatalistic about the likelihood of another political crisis in Kabul. The Tajiks feel the same way

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 01 Oct 2014 18:39

Taliban greets the BSA signing with bombs. Lets see how many weeks the govt manages to plod on. My bas(k)e(t) case for Af is still dire.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shrinivasan » 08 Oct 2014 11:32

Thanks to a recommendation from a fellow Rakshak, I searched and matched Amrullah's Saleh's interview with Rajya Sabha TV...

it is a must watch, He is indeed a Fearless Patriot... we need more people like him in desh as well as Afghanistan.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 08 Oct 2014 14:45

Apologies if already posted on BRF.

It seems magazine "The Week" has some article on how regan(usa) betrayed rajiv gandhi(India) during the last phases of soviet withdrawal and left kabul to be run over by warlords.

Maybe nothing new for folks here, but extra details maybe available based on de-classified documents.

===

EIDT: found the cover picture

Image

The article - Hijack in the Hindu Kush
On September 22, the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's premier spy agency, got a new chief. For General Rizwan Akhtar, the new director-general, it could be the toughest challenge of his career, especially with the neighbouring Afghanistan caught in the throes of a power transition. His mentor and former head of the ISI, Hamid Gul, would surely agree. A quarter century ago, Gul was in charge of guiding Pakistan through another tumultuous transition in Afghanistan, as the troops of the Soviet Union were about to withdraw. Back then, he made some choices that showed that even archenemies cooperated under exceptional circumstances. Unknown to most, India and Pakistan worked together for some time to find a way out of the Afghan mess. What, however, made the impossible possible was the extraordinary coordination at the highest levels that existed between India and the United States from 1985 to 1988, despite the Cold War.

According to declassified US documents running into 931 pages, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President Ronald Reagan maintained extensive contacts, through personal letters, backed by intense dialogue at all levels for four years, in a desperate attempt to resolve the Afghanistan crisis that erupted following the Soviet invasion of its southern neighbour in 1979. Early this year, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library under the National Archives of the United States gave THE WEEK access to documents filed by John Gunther Dean, former US ambassador to India. Some of these documents would help explain how Rajiv brought the US and the Soviet Union together to end the Cold War in Afghanistan. It would also explain how the plans for a national unity government in Kabul failed, making peace short-lived.

Rajiv started paying a key role in the Afghan crisis following his successful visit to the US in June 1985. Young and articulate, he charmed Reagan, who had by then begun his second and final presidential term. By the end of the year, Reagan, who was impatient for a diplomatic upper hand in Afghanistan, wrote to Rajiv about the various dimensions of the crisis. The letter was delivered to Rajiv personally by Dean. Thus started a series of personal communications that gave him unprecedented access to Rajiv. Moreover, the young prime minister never hesitated to send his junior foreign minister Natwar Singh, foreign secretary A.P. Venkateswaran, his diplomatic aide Ronen Sen and his friend Gopi Arora, to brief the US state department on the Indian role in Afghanistan.

Reagan first laid out his Afghanistan plan before Rajiv in a letter dated November 21, 1986. He knew Rajiv was hosting Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Delhi a few days later. "A military solution in Afghanistan is simply not possible and... we recognise Soviet interests in a secure southern border just as we recognise the Afghan desire for self-determination,” wrote Reagan. He wanted Rajiv's help in getting the Soviet Union on board to discuss a withdrawal plan. “I urge you to use your talks with the General Secretary to discuss the need to hasten the resolution of this issue, which is of such great concern to people everywhere.”

The game was simple, said Dean, who now divides his time between his two homes in France, in Paris and in Martinique, close to Geneva. “The CIA was running a major war against the Soviets from Peshawar. That was not possible without support from the Pakistan government and General Zia-ul-Haq. So Zia could not be used for turning military advantage into diplomatic gains," said Dean. "This was a job meant for Rajiv who had the qualities of statesmanship. But Reagan and vice president [George H.W.] Bush had other calculations apart from Afghanistan. They wanted to use Pakistan for long-term American strategy in the Arab world and in south Asia.” In an early intelligence assessment, Dean had commented on Rajiv's “western affinity” and wrote that the continued US-India bonhomie was dependent on his continuance as prime minister.

Following the Rajiv-Gorbachev summit, a number of hectic parleys took place between Indian and American diplomats. Dean's communication to the state department on December 10, 1986, recounted a meeting he had with Venkateswaran. The foreign secretary told the ambassador that Rajiv and Gorbachev had discussed a realistic time-frame for Soviet withdrawal. The Americans wanted the Soviets to leave in three months, but Moscow demanded four years. But in talks with Rajiv, Gorbachev had come down to one and a half years, noted Dean.

On January 7, 1987, Rajiv wrote to Reagan that Afghanistan should be independent, non-aligned and free from intervention and interference. “Gorbachev left me with the impression that the Soviet Union would like to withdraw its forces in a realistic time frame from Afghanistan, which would be non-aligned and not unfriendly to the Soviet Union." Reagan replied through another letter delivered by Dean on March 25, in which he explained the need for a “short withdrawal time-frame of the Soviets that would permit the Afghans themselves to resolve the question of a new government.” He floated the idea of a transitional government acceptable to all Afghans as well as international stake holders. It was this idea that prompted Rajiv to initiate a dialogue with Zahir Shah, the Afghan king who was living in Rome in exile. Accordingly, Natwar was sent to talk to Shah.

Rajiv proposed a government structure, which found support from Gorbachev, Zia and Reagan. According to the plan, the transition government would be on three levels. First, there would be a state council headed by the king, which also included the mujahideen groups based in Peshawar, the two Shia groups based in Iran, the rebel military commanders and the communists. The second component was an elected prime minister and the third, a cabinet that would perform the regular duties of the government.

The only discordant note was the Soviet insistence on accommodating its nominee, President Mohammed Najibullah, in the transitional government. Rajiv, who was not too keen on having Najibullah on board, however, impressed upon all sides that it was important to come together and resolve their differences for the sake of greater regional interest.

The Najibullah issue was taken up by Reagan in his March 25 letter to Rajiv. Expressing “scepticism about Soviet intentions”, Reagan wrote that there was a disparity between the actions and the words of the Soviet leaders. He warned that a breakdown in talks would lead to a dirty war that would have “threatening consequences for all in the region”. Apart from the Najibullah issue, other major differences, too, gradually cropped up between India and the US. The US, for instance, ignored Indian protests against supplying Pakistan with AWACS [airborne warning and control system] aircraft, which India felt was a major threat to its security.

As Rajiv's domestic political problems grew, his international clout took a beating. The Bofors scandal and the Ram Janmabhoomi issue sullied his image and he was looking for a breakthrough on the foreign policy front to revive his sagging fortunes. Dean said Rajiv pinned his hopes on the visit to the US in October 1987. To ensure total cooperation from his American friends, he even okayed a Kashmir visit for Dean.

Rajiv's visit, however, turned out to be a disappointment. Reagan's health issues foreclosed the chances of any meaningful engagement with him. Years of stress had taken a toll on his health. During a lunch for the Indian guests, he was seen laughing uncontrollably. Dean said Reagan had gone deaf by then and the excessive laughing was his ploy to avoid detection of the condition. With Reagan's failing health, executive decision-making had passed on to Bush and a bunch of hard-nosed senior diplomats in the state department, who did not share the president's warm vibes with Rajiv.

Despite the setback, Rajiv did not give up on his Afghan plan involving Shah. The Americans, too, were working on the formula, at least till the end of 1987. On November 18, Michael Armacost, undersecretary of state for political affairs, met Yuli Vorontsov, first deputy foreign minister of the Soviet Union, in Geneva and reiterated his country's faith in the Shah formula. Two days later, Rajiv welcomed Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov in Delhi, sharing the same agenda.

The US interest in the Shah formula, however, started diminishing after it suspected a Rajiv-Najibullah-Gorbachev axis evolving in Afghanistan. Najibullah used this opportunity to secure an appointment with Rajiv, who was upset by the flourishing “security assistance” from the US to Pakistan. He was invited for a lunch meeting with the prime minister in Delhi.

A day before the meeting, which was scheduled for December 24, Dean warned Ronen Sen that it would send a wrong message to his bosses. It was, however, too late to call it off. Sen told Dean that Rajiv was not going to discuss anything significant with Najibullah. A few hours after his lunch with Najibullah, Rajiv wrote a “merry Chrismas” message to Bush. “Dear George,” wrote Rajiv, “1988 will be a crucial year for international affairs."

The US was not mollified and, as it turned out, the year proved to be disastrous for Indian diplomacy. As the news of India courting Najibullah spread, the Americans dropped the Shah formula altogether and went back to the UN-brokered peace deal mediated by Ecuadorian diplomat Diego Cordovez, without any further discussion with India. Dean said the US went back on its promise for an inclusive government in Afghanistan as it had already received Soviet guarantees for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Cordovez channel had been on hold for three years when the Reagan-Rajiv ties were on the upswing. By going back to Cordovez and his focus on Zia as the key player in the Af-Pak theatre, the Americans made it clear that the Rajiv-Gorbachev-Reagan plan for a national unity government was shelved. It changed Rajiv's equation with Zia and killed his outreach attempts with the security apparatus of Pakistan, which was helping India deal with problems in Punjab and Kashmir. But, he still kept trying. As the date of the Geneva Accords approached, which would lead to an agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Rajiv invited Zia for a meeting to persuade him to stay the course for a national unity government in Kabul. But Zia, who now enjoyed the exclusive affection of the US, contemptuously asked Rajiv to send an emissary to Pakistan first.

Dean said the Najibullah issue was not the reason why the US ditched Rajiv and scuttled the Shah formula. Bush and his advisers feared that the king would not be sufficiently pro-US in the long term. In a decision that would alter the destiny of Afghanistan forever, Bush and company turned to warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his seven-party Islamist alliance, which was already receiving CIA funding in their fight with the Soviet army. The Americans considered the jihadis to be “modernists”, who would “not export their revolution abroad” and would "focus on developmental work at home", if brought to power. It turned out to be a massive lapse in judgement, ultimately leading to the growth of the Taliban and the global terror network.

As the date of the Geneva Accords came closer, India felt the chill of diplomatic exclusion. On April 10, four days before the signing of the agreement, the Ojhri ammunition dump near Islamabad exploded. The blast was so severe that for weeks Islamabad's posh neighbourhoods remained deserted as search continued for unexploded bombs. The signing of the Geneva Accords, however, went ahead without any hitch. Afghanistan and Pakistan signed the agreement on April 14, with the US and the USSR as guarantors. India was the most notable absentee that evening in Geneva. Also missing was Shah and other moderate Afghan leaders.

A few days later, on April 25, Dean had a special guest at Roosevelt House, his official residence in Delhi. Ronen Sen met Dean to give him a realistic assessment about the fundamentalists who had gained in stature following the Geneva Accords. He said Hekmatyar and his Peshawar alliance would ruthlessly impose Islamist rule in Afghanistan, which could trigger a regional crisis. As he stood up to leave, Sen delivered a shocker. “The explosion and fire in the ammo dump near Islamabad was not an accident,” he said.

Later that evening, Dean sent a cable to Washington, reporting Sen's analysis of the Geneva Accords and the Ojhri blasts: “It [the blast] was intended as a shot across the bow of Pakistan by forces opposed to the Peshawar Alliance. The message it was designed to convey was that if Pakistan wanted to play in the Afghan ballpark, then others could play in Pakistan. Pakistan would see the merit in greater consultation with India on Afghanistan.... India and Pakistan were both unavoidably part of the Afghan equation.”

Dean said the Americans were wrong not to show even the minimum courtesy to Rajiv after having used him for their job in Afghanistan. “Ronen did not shock me with his comments as our short-term solution had angered a lot of stake holders in the region. Rajiv was always willing to strike a compromise deal with the US on Najibullah. It was Reagan and Bush who failed to strike a deal and began looking at what was to come after the victory in Afghanistan," said Dean.

Sen's apprehensions soon proved right. On August 5, Arif Hussein al Husseini, the tallest Shia leader of Pakistan, was assassinated, triggering sectarian unrest in Karachi, Peshawar and other cities. The anti-US Husseini was a favourite of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and a rising star of the Islamic world. A few days later, on August 17, Sen was in Rajiv's office when he received an urgent report from the Military Intelligence and RAW that a non-secure communication had been received by the Pakistan military headquarters in Rawalpindi which said that an aircraft with General Zia on board had crashed near Bahawalpur.

The mysteries of those violent days are not yet solved. Dean began an investigation into Zia's death which finally led to his resignation from the US diplomatic service in 1989 after he accused the Israeli security services based in Peshawar of engineering the crash. Dean's assessment was based on the information that the CIA had allowed Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to set up units in Peshawar to carry out sabotage targeting Pakistan, Afghanistan and central Asia, which had emerged as a hub of anti-Israel activities. In response, Dean's mental health clearance was withdrawn by the state department and he chose to resign, not wanting to escalate the crisis. He was later cleared by the state department. In 2003, former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter asked Dean to dedicate his papers to the National Archives of the United States where they were to be under the supervision of the CIA and the State Department. His autobiography Danger Zone: A Diplomat's Fight for America's Interests was published in 2009.

As violence erupted in Pakistan and the Islamists tightened their grip on Afghanistan following the Geneva Accords, Reagan wrote to Rajiv one last time, said Dean, requesting an urgent meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting of 1988. Smarting from the Geneva rebuff, Rajiv refused to oblige the elder statesman, marking the end of a series of botched attempts to bring peace to one of the most volatile regions in the world.

A costly miss, for which the world continues to pay to this day.
Last edited by gunjur on 08 Oct 2014 14:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 08 Oct 2014 14:50

One more article on the same subject in the current edition of the week.

A tale of betrayal - GUEST COLUMN By Natwar Singh

Our American friends betrayed us on Afghanistan after our support brought the Cold War in south Asia to an end. But we did not leave our friends in Afghanistan unattended. A few weeks before he was killed by the Taliban on September 26, 1996, I flew into Kabul to meet former Afghanistan president Mohammed Najibullah. I was not a minister or even a member of Parliament at that time. But during Najibullah's tenure from 1987 to 1992, we had a great working relationship with the Afghan intelligence network. He asked me to stay with him, which I accepted.

His family had already left for India and he was worried that he was not going to last as the Taliban had practically taken over Kabul. I returned to Delhi and asked former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to help Najibullah. Although Rao made plans for him and a team was waiting to receive him at the Delhi airport, we received news that the Taliban had executed him.

Najibullah was part of India's initiative to write the script for a new Afghanistan alongside the US, the USSR and Pakistan. As part of that plan, I had a meeting with Afghan King Zahir Shah in Rome in 1988 and we asked him to return to Kabul as we were ready to support his government. But the king refused. He was just not confident about the difficult job.

Till that meeting in Rome, we worked diligently with all sides to build consensus in Afghanistan for a transition government that would take care of all Afghan parties. Rajiv Gandhi connected Moscow with Washington, DC at a time when the Soviets were being attacked and killed in Afghanistan. Those were the days of high tension diplomacy. Very important discussions took place in Delhi in November 1986 when Mikhail Gorbachev visited India for the first time and during his second visit in 1988. P.N. Haksar, who was our adviser given his experience with the Soviet Union, told us to record every single word because he appreciated our work and knew this was going to make history. During the most important talks on Afghanistan, Rajiv and Gorbachev met without aides.

After having worked with Rajiv and his team to create a national unity government, the US government left us midway without giving any explanation. It was obvious that they had achieved their biggest strategic goal, which was the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. After that, there was no need for them to think about Afghanistan's or south Asia's future.

The Americans do not understand south Asia. They like to create the impression that they do. During the last visit of Gorbachev in 1988, we were told that the Soviets were about to withdraw from Afghanistan. We told our Soviet friends not to leave Afghanistan in a hurry. As the Soviets prepared to leave Afghanistan, the Americans created a mess by preferring the militant Islamists over a national unity government and we are still dealing with the fallout of that mess. I am often accused of being anti-US. The truth is that I am not. But I know that the Americans create a mess and then cut and run and that leaves regional players like us to suffer.

The Afghanistan initiative was directly under Rajiv as it involved global powers and Rajiv alone could explain many things. But now the papers of John Gunther Dean have been declassified so the world can learn how India helped in ending the Cold War. The focus of these papers is on a landmark event in Indian diplomacy that covers Indian efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan and to bring the Cold War to a closure.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 08 Oct 2014 16:42

A perpetual mess that is Afghanistan - G.Parthasarathy, Business Line
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was cautioning Americans in New York against a precipitate withdrawal, Afghanistan was preparing for momentous change in Kabul. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was taking over as Afghanistan’s president from Hamid Karzai, who ruled Afghanistan for 12 turbulent years. Despite efforts by worthy Americans such as Peter Galbraith and Richard Holbrooke to malign him and destabilise his government, and despite a vicious propaganda barrage from Pakistan, President Karzai succeeded in establishing a measure of effective governance in Afghanistan. He also skilfully brought together the country’s fractious ethnic groups, to deal with the challenge posed by the Pakistani-backed Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network, together with their Islamist allies, including the al Qaeda.

The change of guard has not been smooth. The first round of elections in April produced no clear winner. The second round in June produced a stunning result. It gave an unexpectedly large victory margin to Ghani over his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister and close aide of the legendary political and military leader Ahmed Shah Masood. Abdullah had a substantial lead in the first round, securing 46 per cent of the votes, against 32 per cent for Ghani.

Strange elections

A report by the European Union declared the second round of voting as “massively rigged”. A US report held that it was mathematically impossible for Ghani to have secured the margin of victory that he did. With controversy over the electoral result spiralling out of control and assuming volatile ethnic dimensions, the Americans stepped in, to broker and virtually impose an uneasy and tenuous compromise between Ghani and Abdullah.

Following the agreement between the rival candidates, Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president and Abdullah as ‘chief executive’, a post which has no constitutional sanctity. The road map for this transition includes the convening of a loya jirga or grand assembly to convert the post of chief executive into that of an executive prime minister.

It remains to be seen whether the contemplated changes, with two separate centres of executive authority, can provide stable and effective governance in a country beset with ethnic rivalries and tensions. Within 24 hours of the assumption of power by Ghani and Abdullah, Afghanistan and the US inked a security agreement which will result in the US stationing 9,800 troops in a training and counter-insurgency role in Afghanistan, beyond 2014. A “status of forces agreement” giving immunity to foreign forces against prosecution in Afghan courts was also inked. It will allow the Americans to retain air bases across Afghanistan.

Pakistan turnaround

Pakistan has welcomed these developments. Apart from formal statements by National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz and the foreign office, a meeting of the top brass of the Pakistan army also welcomed this development as a “good move for peace in Afghanistan”.

This is an astonishing turnaround for a Pakistani establishment that has all along made known its unease with the American presence in Afghanistan. It comes at a time when an estimated 80,000 Pakistani troops and paramilitary, backed by air power, are pounding positions of the Tehriq-e-Taliban in North Waziristan — an operation resulting in an estimated one million tribal Pashtuns fleeing their homes. At the same time, the Mullah Omar-led Afghan Taliban have been on the rampage this year across Afghanistan, prompting the soft-spoken Ghani to say: “We ask the opponents of the government, especially the Taliban and the Hizb-e-Islami to enter political talks.”

Pakistan’s massive military offensive in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan has been selectively undertaken. Long-term ISI assets including the Haqqani Network, the Mullah Omar-led Afghan Taliban and even the Al Zawahiri-led al Qaeda have been spared and obviously accommodated in ISI safe houses. They will be kept in readiness to move into Afghanistan at a time of Pakistan’s choosing.

Afghanistan is going to remain dependent on NATO for military and economic funding. NATO funding of Afghanistan’s military of $5.1 billion annually till 2017 has been agreed upon. A similar amount of external funding would be required for Afghanistan’s administrative and developmental needs.

The joint declaration issued after the Barack Obama-Narendra Modi summit spoke of “dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for terrorist and criminal networks such as al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, the D-Company, and the Haqqanis”. Significantly, there is no mention in the joint declaration of the Mullah Omar-led Taliban, which has been primarily responsible for the killing of 2,229 American soldiers in Afghanistan, the training of terrorists for jihad in Jammu and Kashmir, and for colluding with the hijackers of IC814.

The American angle

It has been obvious for some time that the Americans are keen to do a deal with the Taliban. They may pay lip service to statements that any internal reconciliation process has to be “Afghan-led”. But, the reality is different, ever since the US encouraged Qatar to host a Taliban office in Doha. An enraged Karzai torpedoed that American effort, with obvious Pakistani support, to grant international legitimacy to the Taliban. Ghani will, however, have to reluctantly accept Pakistan-brokered American-Taliban “contacts” as a prelude to sign Taliban control in parts of southern Afghanistan.

India cannot be sanguine about these developments. A priority of the Obama administration will be to smoothly take out its military equipment from Afghanistan, through Pakistan. The Taliban will be looked on rather more benignly than in the past. Militarily, the ISI/Taliban effort will be to seize control of large swathes of territory in southern Afghanistan, compelling a reduction of India’s assistance in that part of the country.

Differences in the priorities and compulsions of Ghani and Abdullah in Kabul appear inevitable. Our membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will have to be utilised to fashion a more coordinated approach with its members Russia, China, Iran and the Central Asian Republics.

A more intensive approach on developing the Port of Chah Bahar in Iran and on meeting Afghan requirements of defence equipment will be imperative. The post 9/11 “end game” for the Americans in Afghanistan has only just begun.


(The author is a former high commissioner to Pakistan)

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 08 Oct 2014 18:07

Gunjur, thanks for posting that.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 08 Oct 2014 19:54

SS need to assess those articles to get lessons learned. its easy to blame Bush and Reagan but looks like RG also had misread the situation. Again case of playing above the field.


In general I don't trust the Week as its Gandhi toady news outlet which has hagiographic mind set.


I think we can draw general lessons from the two articles in the Week about US modus operandi....

vijaykarthik
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 09 Oct 2014 06:38

^^ who is RG that's mentioned above?

SSridhar
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 09 Oct 2014 07:14

vijaykarthik, RG is Rajiv Gandhi.

JE Menon
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby JE Menon » 09 Oct 2014 10:08

vijaykarthik wrote:^^ who is RG that's mentioned above?


:lol: Clearest sign that times have changed!!!

JE Menon
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby JE Menon » 09 Oct 2014 10:14

>>A few days later, on April 25, Dean had a special guest at Roosevelt House, his official residence in Delhi. Ronen Sen met Dean to give him a realistic assessment about the fundamentalists who had gained in stature following the Geneva Accords. He said Hekmatyar and his Peshawar alliance would ruthlessly impose Islamist rule in Afghanistan, which could trigger a regional crisis. As he stood up to leave, Sen delivered a shocker. “The explosion and fire in the ammo dump near Islamabad was not an accident,” he said.

Later that evening, Dean sent a cable to Washington, reporting Sen's analysis of the Geneva Accords and the Ojhri blasts: “It [the blast] was intended as a shot across the bow of Pakistan by forces opposed to the Peshawar Alliance. The message it was designed to convey was that if Pakistan wanted to play in the Afghan ballpark, then others could play in Pakistan. Pakistan would see the merit in greater consultation with India on Afghanistan.... India and Pakistan were both unavoidably part of the Afghan equation.”

A highly dubious extrapolation and conclusion, if it was based on that single sentence comment by Ronen Sen...

Prem
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 14 Oct 2014 04:43

US planes worth $486M scrapped in Afghanistan
Rachel Maddow reports on military cargo planes bought by the US military from Italy, retooled by a contractor and sent to Afghanistan where they sat idle until the $486 million dollars-worth of planes were shredded for $32,000 worth of scrap.


http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show ... 0394563921

Prem
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 19 Oct 2014 00:23

Modi calls Karzai a special friend to India

NEW DELHI – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai will always remain a special friend of India for his efforts to strengthen relations with India.In a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi hailed the former Afghan president for his efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between India and Afghanistan. Karzai was hailed for his effort to steer Afghanistan on the path of peace, prosperity and stability and ensuring a historic and peaceful political transition.“The way Mr Karzai had successfully steered Afghanistan on the path of peace, prosperity and stability during a very difficult period, would never be forgotten,” Modi told Karzai in a telephone conversation. Karzai said that he deeply cherishes his long association with India and observed that no other country in the world had done as much for Afghanistan as India had despite constraints of resources.The Indian prime minister has previously spoken to Afghan President Asraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

arun
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby arun » 19 Oct 2014 07:09

X Posted from the Iran News and Discussions thread.

India clears USD 86 Million investment in Chabahar port in Iran. Good move to provide Afghanistan an alternate route for world trade that bypasses the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Saturday cleared the long-stalled strategic investment plan to set up the Chabahar port in Iran that would serve as a critical transit route from Afghanistan to India that doesn't pass through Pakistan.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the port has an 'extreme strategic importance' for India and JNPT and Kandla port would partner the government in developing the port for which nearly $86 million is being invested.


From here:

Cabinet clears strategic investment plan to set up Chabahar port in Iran

The “Official” Press Release from : PIB :

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Cabinet
18-October-2014 19:56 IST
India's participation in the development of Chahbahar port in Iran

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for the framework inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is to be finalised by the Government of India with the Government of Iran. This inter-Governmental MoU will have the following main elements:-

i. An Indian Joint Venture (JV) company will lease two fully constructed berths in Chahbahar port’s Phase-I project for a period of ten years, which could be renewed by “mutual agreement”.
ii. The JV company will invest US $ 85.21 million for equipping the two berths within 12 months as a container terminal and the second as a multi-purpose cargo terminal.

iii. The Indian side will transfer ownership of the equipment to be provided through the investment to Iran’s port and Maritime Organisation (P&MO) without any payment at the end of the tenth year.

iv. The Indian side can form a JV that could include one or more Iranian companies subject to the approval of the P&MO.

v. The Indian and Iranian sides could enter into subsequent negotiations for participation in the construction, equipping and operating of terminals in Phase-II on BOT basis, subject to the Indian side’s satisfactory performance in Phase-I.

vi. The Iranian side will make efforts to provide Free Trade Zone conditions and facilities at the port.

The Cabinet also approved to constitute a JV or other appropriate Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and the Kandla Port Trust (KPT) and if required a local Iranian partner and/or an Indian private sector partner to serve as the vehicle for India’s participation in the development of the port. Approval was also given for incurring annual revenue expenditure of US$ 22.95 million to support operational activities of the Indian JV.


India’s presence at the Chahbahar port would give it a sea-land access route into Afghanistan through Iran’s eastern borders.

Background

Iran's Chahbahar port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran's south-eastern coast is a port of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India's western coast.

From Chahbahar port using the existing Iranian road network, one can link up to Zaranj in Afghanistan which is at a distance of 883 km from the port and then using the Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009, one can access Afghanistan's garland highway thereby establishing road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan; Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby gunjur » 22 Oct 2014 20:13

Afghan President's First Trip Abroad Will Be to China
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will travel to China this month, China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, marking what will be the leader's first foreign trip since being sworn in in September after a protracted election stalemate.

China had hoped to host an international conference on Afghan's stability last summer, but was forced to shelve the idea as the Afghan election standoff between Ghani and now chief executive Abdullah Abdullah delayed the inauguration of a new president.

China, which is connected to Afghanistan by a narrow, almost impassable mountain corridor, has been quietly preparing for more responsibility in Afghanistan after the bulk of U.S.-led troops pull out.

China says it does not seek to fill a void left by the withdrawal of Western troops but has promised to play a “huge” commercial role in helping rebuild the country.

A major worry for leaders in Beijing is that ethnic Uighur separatist militants from China's western Xinjiang region will take advantage if Afghanistan again descends into chaos.

Chinese authorities say Uighur fighters are based in militant strongholds in ungoverned stretches of the Afghan-Pakistani border.

They say Islamist militants, some who have received support from beyond China's borders, were behind a spate of attacks in Xinjiang and across China, which have left hundreds dead over the past two years.

However, experts dispute the influence of foreign militant groups within China, and argue that economic marginalization of Muslim Uighurs, who call Xinjiang home, is one of the main causes of ethnic violence there.

Travel late in October

Ghani will travel to China from Oct. 28-31, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular press briefing.

“This visit is President Ghani's first foreign trip since taking office, and is the first high-level visit between China and Afghanistan since the formation of the new government. China attaches great importance to this,” Hua said.

“China will, as in the past, provide all assistance within its power to aid Afghanistan's peaceful rebuilding,” Hua said.

The Taliban and their militant allies have stepped up attacks ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan at the end of the year, seeking to weaken the new government that will take over most of the fight.


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