Afghanistan News & Discussion

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NRao
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 08 Nov 2015 20:11

What's the point of gifting helicopters and hospitals and schools and training centres to Afghanistan for free? Iwhat are we gaining here? So Americans bomb and destroy Afghani facilities and we use our taxpayer money to clean up after Americans.

I wonder why we even run a country anymore, the govt acts like a western poodle despite all its non aligned nonsense. More money and resources wasted into a black hole which will probably hate us and harm our citizens.


Because the picture is not that simple, in fact it is rather complex. To give a quick picture:

India has a treaty with Iran, in the event of a war with Pakistan, to allow India to start a second front (using Iranian territory) (yes). {Have an ex-IA friedn, who used to boast that IA can land "with toothpicks" and start a 2nd front from Iran - that was in the 90s - diff story}.

And, Russia was the one that prevented India from expanding in the region north of A'stan, where India had a presence.

So, it is very complex, dynamic Venn diagram, that cannot be simply wished away.

There are (small?) elements within the US admin that want India in A'stan. But there are even larger that do not. But, on the Pacific front, there are larger US elements that want India in the Pacific and smaller that do not. Which is why you see US involvement in the IN "carrier" design, etc and not in A'stan.

I think India is doing a very good job under this gov/admin. A very delicate act to perform. It requires a lot of patience - Indians in general do not have that.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Y. Kanan » 08 Nov 2015 22:25

NRao wrote:
I think India is doing a very good job under this gov/admin. A very delicate act to perform. It requires a lot of patience - Indians in general do not have that.


Are you kidding? If this forum is any guide, we Indians have so much patience it's coming out our ears and backsides. For nearly two decades I've lurked (and later posted) here, reading endless long-winded posts from my fellow Indians expounding upon the hidden wisdom and chankian designs behind the latest humiliating policy failure. Always we patiently wait for the chankian wisdom of our latest blunder to manifest itself, with sage BR-ites confidently predicting the govt of the day will be vindicated years from now. Years pass and lo and behold! It turns out that, surprise, what appeared to be incompetence, lack of strategic vision, or sheer naivete was, in fact, exactly what it appeared to be! There was no hidden chankian design, there was no clever plan... no, the GOI of the day was in fact just as clueless and criminally stupid as many of us suspected.

I've been around long enough to appreciate that the simplest explanation is, in fact, usually the correct one. If it walks like a duck and quacks like one...

Years ago, some of us, myself prominent among them, suspected the GOI of the time had no Afghan policy beyond naivete and wishful thinking, and was placing far too much trust in the Americans (as they always do). Supposedly wise BR-ites poo-poo'd that notion and assured everyone there was a GRAND PLAN.

Well, it turns out there was no grand plan (duh!) and now we see Afghanistan is nothing short of a disaster and humiliating defeat for Indian security. And a colossal waste of the Indian taxpayer's money.

Now we are assured, don't worry, all is well... the Modi govt knows what it's doing. Yeah... I'm calling BULLSH*T on that assessment.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 10 Nov 2015 00:08

Well, to light up a rather gloomy scenario.. here is some Green on Green news to enjoy.

http://www.ibtimes.com/islamic-state-joins-taliban-splinter-group-afghanistan-fighting-akhtar-mansoor-2174701

Apparently the leadership tussle in Taliban has a fallout and a new leader emerges of a splinter group. IS, like all great players have thrown their weight with the new kid in the block - Mullah Rasool.
The splinter group reportedly calls itself the High Council of Afghanistan Islamic Emirate.


The group seemed to have made its base in Western Afghanistan (check out the picture in the link) and fighting the main Taliban forces in the South-east (near Pakistan border). The fighting has already claimed over 50 bodies in the last 48 hours.

Lets see how far this is IS vs ISI fight goes :mrgreen:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 10 Nov 2015 22:57

Continuing on the same story..report now says more than 100 killed in Zabul province from the fight.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/10/middleeast/afghan-taliban-factions-gun-battles/index.html

On one side are fighters loyal to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, and on the other are fighters loyal to Mullah Mohammad Rasool, the leader of a Taliban splinter group.


So far, about 100 Taliban fighters from both sides have been killed, including some Uzbek fighters who are siding with Rasool's splinter group, Haqbayan said.

On Tuesday morning, an Uzbek fighter carried out a suicide attack on Mansour's senior members in the province, killing some of them, according to Haqbayan.


Looks like IS just took out quite a few ISI assets in Afghanistan. :mrgreen:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 10 Nov 2015 23:31

For completing the story till now..

Looks like IS is looking to mount a serious challenge to the ISI backed Taliban.

Remember Mullah Dadullah, the guy who first revolted against the new Taliban chief and joined IS. He is now the 2nd in command of Rasool, the new head of the Islamic Emirate group of Afghanistan.

http://www.rferl.org/content/breakaway-faction-challenges-new-taliban-leadership/27354221.html

Several nuggets of information in the above linked article.

In the week following its announcement that it was splitting from the Taliban, the High Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has borrowed from the militant group's formal name, chosen a leader, and rallied support in Afghanistan's west.


The splinter group says it does not acknowledge Mullah Akhtar Mansur, who assumed power after Kabul announced in July that Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for two years, as the rightful leader of the Taliban.

Instead, the group has named Mullah Mohammad Rasul as its leader, putting it in direct conflict with the widely accepted Mullah Mansur and his supporters.


Ghulam Jilani Farahi, the deputy police chief for Zabul, said on November 9 that an unspecified number of IMU militants were fighting alongside Mullah Dadullah's forces.

IMU fighters in northern Afghanistan declared their allegiance to the Islamic State group in August, although it is not known if IMU fighters in southern areas like Zabul joined the alliance.


Mullah Rasul was named as the leader of the splinter group in a mass gathering of dissident fighters on November 3, and Mullah Dadullah was named as his deputy during a meeting held in the remote southwestern province of Farah on November 1.


And a few words on their future plans.
Abdul Manan Niazi, spokesman for the splinter group, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on November 7 that the group's mission was to "unite the Taliban" and urged his followers not to start an internal Taliban war.

Niazi, the former governor of Herat during the Taliban regime, accused Mullah Mansur of taking the leadership through a "coup" and added that he was not the "legitimate leader."

Niazi added that the group would hold gatherings in a number of northern provinces, including Badghis and Faryab, in the coming days to garner support for the new faction
.


If you guys want to know more about this Rasool guy, I have got a picture of him..
Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 11 Nov 2015 01:01

Y. Kanan wrote:Years ago, on this forum I predicted the US was going to fail in Afghanistan and ultimately hand over the country to Pakistan. I posited that India should abandon it's naive and idiotic efforts to win influence in Kabul and instead form an agreement with Russia and Iran to arm the Northern Alliance. As always, most of you scoffed at that notion, still clinging to the belief that the US wouldn't accept defeat and would keep fighting the Taliban. You all wanted to believe the US would prevail and the conditions would be right for an India-friendly govt to preside over a stabilized Afghanistan.

Form an agreement.. to arm the Northern Alliance? Hmm.. and who is the Northern Alliance?

Pashtuns-
Abdul Qadir, - Minister of Public Works & Vice-President 2001-2002
Zahir Qadir, - Member of Parliament

Uzbeks -
Md. Rashid Dostum - Vice-President

Tajiks -
Abdullah Abdullah - Chief Executive Officer
Amrullah Saleh - Director, NDS 2004-2010
Mohammed Fahim - Vice President 2002-2004, 2009-2014
Ahmad Zia Massoud - Special Representative of the President
Burhanuddin Rabbani - chief negotiator with the Taliban
Salahuddin Rabbani - Minister of Foreign Affairs
Atta Muhammad Nur - Governor, Balkh Province

Hazaras-
Haji Md. Mohaqiq, - Member of Parliament

Y. Kanan wrote:Years ago, some of us, myself prominent among them, suspected the GOI of the time had no Afghan policy beyond naivete and wishful thinking, and was placing far too much trust in the Americans (as they always do). Supposedly wise BR-ites poo-poo'd that notion and assured everyone there was a GRAND PLAN.


Lets assume the govt really doesn't have a policy. So what? How does the lack of a policy change the facts on ground? The Indian military presence in Afghanistan is minuscule and Indian aid has been a fraction of the total funding that has come from donor states. The ISAF doesn't need our support to maintain their deployment. Given the absence of an accessible route to Afghanistan from India, we have relatively few cards to play.

Despite the paucity of leverage, we've done well enough and developments in region have been broadly favourable

- we have a new friendly intelligence agency in the region (NDS)
- we've trained & influenced an entire generation of Afghan army officers
- the supply of Afghan fanatics to Kashmir has died away (they're all busy fighting elsewhere)
- one-third of the Pak Army is tied up in COIN ops
- anti-Pakistan sentiment in Afghanistan is peaking
- a route to Central Asia has been opened up (via-Iran)

Unless you have fond memories of the Taliban years, the chest-beating is really unnecessary. Worst case scenario - the situation reverts to pre-2001; our losses will still have been minimal (compared to say.. Sri Lanka, 1987-88).

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Falijee » 12 Nov 2015 22:58

Afghan official claims splinter Taliban group leader killed
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A senior figure of a breakaway Taliban faction has been killed in battle between rival insurgent groups in southeastern Afghanistan, an Afghan police official said Thursday.
Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was lured into a trap and killed by members of the main Taliban group in the Khak-e-Afghan district of southeastern Zabul province, the provincial deputy police chief Gulam Jelani Farahi said.
Hand of Deep State in this ?
Dadullah — who acted as a deputy to the splinter faction's leader Mullah Mohammad Rasool — was killed late Wednesday, he said.

Figures within the group have said Dadullah was instrumental in linking up the splinter faction with members of an emerging Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan.
Afghan officials have said the IS presence in Zabul is mainly made up of former members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who have declared allegiance to IS, which controls about a third of both Iraq and Syria and has ambitions to pull Afghanistan into its orbit.
It remains unclear how Dadullah's death, if confirmed, will affect the inter-Taliban fighting, which has been raging for almost a week now.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 13 Nov 2015 03:10

Anyway good news.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 13 Nov 2015 08:00

Falijee wrote:Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was lured into a trap and killed by members of the main Taliban group in the Khak-e-Afghan district of southeastern Zabul province, the provincial deputy police chief Gulam Jelani Farahi said.
Hand of Deep State in this ?


Clearly Dadullah's death is a setback for IS' plan for Afghanistan. But what is more interesting to me is this line.
Figures within the group have said Dadullah was instrumental in linking up the splinter faction with members of an emerging Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan.


Remember the AQ #3 killing stories. We all got to know how important they were when they were dead. :twisted:

So clearly your question is answered Falijee. There is definitely a hand of deep state in this.

Now coming back to the point of how important this will be, i believe it will have little long term significance. The primary leadership of the IS Khorasan is made up of past TTP leaders. Would also want to point out - immediately after IS Khorasan unit was declared, a US drone strike killed 20 of its founding members including a couple of leaders - a hit usually attributed to ISI intelligence. That did not stop them, only slowed them down. In all probability, this will be nothing different.

The new Taliban chief Mansoor is quite unpopular with the rank and file. The operation that could have cemented his leadership i.e. Kunduz attack failed miserably. ISI vs. IS fight will continue for some time now. :mrgreen:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Nick_S » 19 Nov 2015 08:11

Afghan Air Force and the Special Mission Wing

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... ortly.html

According to USFOR-A, this quarter, the AAF aircraft inventory includes:
• 11 Mi-35 helicopters (one less than last quarter)
• 52 Mi-17 helicopters (four less)
• 16 MD-530 helicopters (two less)
• 26 C-208 airplanes
• 4 C-130 airplanes

Additionally, 20 A-29 Super Tucanos, a light-attack aircraft for counterinsurgency, close-air support, and aerial reconnaissance, have been purchased but are not yet delivered.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 19 Nov 2015 08:51

Nick_S wrote:Afghan Air Force and the Special Mission Wing

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... lAccording to USFOR-A, this quarter, the AAF aircraft inventory includes:
• 11 Mi-35 helicopters (one less than last quarter)
• 52 Mi-17 helicopters (four less)
• 16 MD-530 helicopters (two less)
• 26 C-208 airplanes
• 4 C-130 airplanes Additionally, 20 A-29 Super Tucanos, a light-attack aircraft for counterinsurgency, close-air support, and aerial reconnaissance, have been purchased but are not yet delivered.


IAF can start gifting the fighter planes it will be retiring by next decade. This will help building capabilities for AAF to go against Talibans/Pakibans.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 20 Nov 2015 14:30

Taliban has overrun Yamgan district in Badakshan province!

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Virupaksha » 20 Nov 2015 14:37

vijaykarthik wrote:Taliban has overrun Yamgan district in Badakshan province!

Wtf!! if true, we can write off afghan govt, badakshan was the only place, which the taliban NEVER controlled -it was Massoud's/Rabbani's territory.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 20 Nov 2015 15:55

Its surely true. No doubt about that. Winter is also going to set in. If the govt cant recover that bit by winter, the situation will be quite grim.

Corroborated by 2 sources. One is this: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... jin%2e1fwp

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby vijaykarthik » 20 Nov 2015 15:56

But as the article also mentions, I also distinctly remember the Taliban doing this once earlier this year. IIRC, it was in end of July that it happened.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Falijee » 27 Nov 2015 16:41

Hekmatyar Resurfaces- Sends Out Feelers
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar seeks comeback in Afghanistan
KABUL: After more than 40 years at war, one of Afghanistan's most notorious warlords, designated a "global terrorist" by the United States (US) and blacklisted by the United Nations (UN) along with Osama bin Laden, wants to come out of the shadows.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, now in his late 60s, says he wants a "real and fair peace" but with conditions the Kabul government is unlikely to even contemplate, such as the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan and new elections in 2016.
The remarks reflect Hekmatyar's attempt to assert influence and gain new leverage in Afghan politics, but what role — if any —the once feared warlord could play is unclear.

Nothing about his recent "conversion" from Taliban ism to ISIS ism? :roll:
The comments were provided to The Associated Press this week after being videotaped in Hekmatyar's hiding place whose whereabouts are unknown after being ejected from Iran following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan that removed the Afghan Taliban from power.Afghans can be "rented", but cannot be purchased
His associates insist, however, that the warlord is in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar has led an extreme life; his followers have been responsible for the deaths of thousands during the devastating Afghan civil war.

With this interview, Hekmatyar is offering himself for "rent"- if the price is right; in this changed environment, doubt will be any takers.
In his student days, he was known for throwing acid in the faces of women who did not cover up. He switched allegiances(Afghans can be "rented" not purchased :mrgreen: ) on the battlefields, fighting first the Soviets, for which he received millions in cash and weaponry from Washington, then the Taliban.

Afghan security analyst Ali Mohammad Ali says Hekmatyar can no longer run a private army because "most of his people have joined the Taliban" or other militant groups, including the emerging militant Islamic State (IS) group which has established a presence in Hekmatyar's former strongholds in eastern provinces bordering Pakistan.
"The Afghan people and the Afghan government will never accept his proposals," Ali says. "He has lost credibility."
Hekmatyar is said to have offered himself as interlocutor to former President Hamid Karzai in 2008, but was deflected amid concerns over his extremist reputation and human rights abuses.
"I was, I am and I will be here in my country when foreign forces leave," he said. "Then, with the grace of God, you will see me in Kabul."
(Desire for some peace and quiet -which he denied for others- in his old age ?)

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Paul » 29 Nov 2015 17:37

Ghani has refused to meet Sharif inspite of Paki Pashtuns interceding on Sharif's behalf per Amrullah Saleh on Twitter.

If Brookings Ghani has changed this much, what does this say about state of Paki-Afghan relations

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Paul » 29 Nov 2015 18:05

http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/why-afgh ... ign=buffer

A Turning Point in Afghanistan-India Relations?
Recent developments in the India-Afghanistan bilateral relationship suggest a major shift may be afoot.

AVw7kxXY
By Ankit Panda
November 24, 2015

Ever since a U.S.-brokered agreement resolved Afghanistan’s electoral dispute last year, forming an experimental National Unity Government, strategic relations between Afghanistan and India have effectively been stuck in limbo. The primary cause for this was Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s pollyannaish attempt to forge a modus vivendi with Pakistan – a break from his predecessor Hamid Karzai who, despite his mistrust of the United States in his final years at the helm, approached India with ease.

Afghanistan’s rapprochement with Pakistan was short-lived, confirming the expectations of many who suspected that Ghani would be unable to keep at bay the interests in Pakistan that have historically sought to sow instability and violence in Afghanistan. The first troubling signs were that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Ghani managed to agree to a formal counter-terrorism cooperation mechanism that would see Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security liaise with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

Ghani’s first mistake was trusting Pakistan’s civilian leadership to speak on behalf of the country’s military-intelligence apparatus. As has been the case throughout most of Pakistan’s history, foreign and security assurances delivered by civilian leaders are subject to the fickle whims of the country’s military establishment.

To credit Ghani, the arrangement with Pakistan was never entirely comfortable. Critical voices in Afghanistan cried foul when the arrangement for counter-terrorism cooperation was announced, but it was an attempt by the new government in Afghanistan to seek peace. After all, peace talks with the Taliban would be dead-on-arrival without Pakistan’s support.

Tragically, three months after announcing that the ISI and NDS would cooperate, in August 2015, Ghani found himself mourning the victims of devastating attacks in Kabul which claimed nearly 60 lives. The president, who had months earlier reached out to Islamabad, minced few words in response, accusing Pakistan of sending “messages of war.” He continued that the events in Kabul showed “that suicide bomber training camps and bomb-producing factories which are killing our people are as active as before in Pakistan.”

To make matters worse, the August attacks came weeks after the Taliban publicly revealed that Mullah Mohammed Omar, the group’s supreme leader and Amir al-Mumineen (Commander of the Faithful), had been dead for two years. The news sparked a short-lived succession crisis, which temporarily raised the question of whether Omar’s successor was beholden to Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus in the same way that Omar had been.

Ultimately, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansoor, Omar’s erstwhile second-in-command, prevailed. Mansoor had been pulling the strings and issuing orders in Omar’s name for two years and carried forward the Taliban’s cooperation with Pakistan.

Following these developments, the Pakistan-backed peace talks with the Taliban, which were sponsored by both China and the United States, have stalled. Additionally, the fall of Kunduz, Afghanistan’s fifth largest city, in late-September emphasized the Taliban’s reversion to bold and ambitious insurgency, determined to seize territorial control of strategic nodes of Afghan territory.

The fall of Kunduz was perhaps the final straw for Ghani, causing him to fundamentally reevaluate his approach to regional diplomacy with Afghanistan’s South Asian neighbors. Incidentally, Kunduz fell to the Taliban nearly exactly a year after the formation of the national unity government and the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States. (Another significant development during these months is the arrival of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, which announced itself in April 2015 with a deadly bombing in Jalalabad.)

Ghani’s misguided attempt to forge a workable relationship with Pakistan cost India and Afghanistan a “lost year” that could have otherwise seen real strategic progress. In May 2014, Narendra Modi was elected with a bold vision for India’s neighborhood diplomacy. While economic and cultural interactions between Kabul and New Delhi continued, Afghanistan lost interest in acquiring Indian arms.

After all, any serious attempt at engagement with Pakistan would necessitate a freeze in strategic and military rapprochement with India. For Pakistan, Afghanistan is a zero-sum game with India.

Earlier this month, Ghani delivered the clearest signal yet that his brief and ill-fated experiment with Pakistan was over. In early November, reports suggested that Kabul would formally request four attack helicopters from India to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan National Army against Taliban militants.

Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai arrived in New Delhi shortly thereafter to finalize the deal. Over the weekend, Indian reports confirmed that four Russian Mi-25 attack helicopters will be transfered from the Indian Air Force to Afghanistan. The delivery will come as soon as January 2016. Karzai, the former Afghan president’s cousin, said that the visit had the overarching objective of “operationalizing” the 2011 India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.


Beyond the Limits

For Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the deal demonstrates a willingness to take India’s policy toward Afghanistan beyond the limits that had prevailed during the previous government’s era. Under the United Progressive Alliance-led coalition government, India had approved support and training activities for the Afghan army and security forces, but had stopped short of providing lethal support.

The closest it got was a May 2014 deal with Russia to finance military equipment, including artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles, that would be delivered to Afghanistan. In late April 2015, just before Kabul announced its counter-terrorism cooperation arrangement with Pakistan, India transfered three light utility, multi-role helicopters.

The transfer of three Mi-25 attack helicopters won’t be a game-changer by any means, either for Afghanistan’s fight against the Taliban or for its relationship with India in the short-term. What it does suggest is the Ghani government is close to picking up the Karzai approach to Afghanistan’s bilateral relationship with India.

Before exiting the national stage, Karzai, on multiple occasions, presented a frank wish list of military hardware to his interlocutors in New Delhi. As one high-ranking foreign ministry source in India told The Diplomat in 2013, “Kabul’s wish list keeps on growing every time and before committing to anything we have to keep the larger regional interest and peace in mind.”

The latter part of the statement, parsed in the context of India’s restrained approach toward Pakistan, applies less to the current government in New Delhi. As I’ve noted elsewhere, Modi’s own attempt at pursuing constructive dialogue with Nawaz Sharif has fallen flat, taking South Asia’s most important and bitter bilateral back to square one.

For India and Afghanistan, for the first time in recent memory – and certainly for the first time since both Modi and Ghani have been in charge – there is a sense that the door for expanded strategic and military cooperation is open. What is still unknown is if New Delhi and Kabul are willing to expand their cooperation independent of their respective relationships with Islamabad.

These developments have consequences for the United States as well. After the fall of Kunduz, Washington has reconsidered its timetable for complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. If the transfer of lethal equipment from India to Afghanistan becomes a habit, the United States should be supportive.

Additionally, though the United States’ track record is shaky on this front, Washington can seek to keep Pakistan’s military in line with deftly structured incentives. For instance, the U.S. Department of Defense has somewhat realigned the Pakistani military’s domestic counterinsurgency efforts with a credible threat to withhold certification that it has adequately focused its efforts on the Haqqani network, thereby threatening a $300 million Coalition Support Fund (CSF) reimbursement tranche.

Pakistan’s chief of army staff, General Raheel Sharif, arguably the most influential man in the country when it comes to driving its foreign and security, spent the past week in the United States, discussing Afghanistan and other issues with U.S. officials. With reports just weeks before his arrival in Washington that India would transfer attack helicopters to Afghanistan, it is not unlikely that the issue came up during his meetings with U.S. officials ranging from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Vice President Joe Biden, CIA Director John Brennan, Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, and his effective counterpart in the U.S. military, General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

After the brief fall of Kunduz, the future of Afghan security, particularly in the country’s hinterlands, has come under question. India can no doubt play a much greater role as a net provider of security in the country, but both countries will need to seize the opportunity that exists today.

A sensible move for the Indian government now, to demonstrate that it is serious about maintaining momentum in the bilateral, would be for the prime minister to visit Kabul. Fortunately, this appears to be in the works. The India-Afghanistan bilateral will be one to watch in 2016.

Ankit Panda is an associate editor at The Diplomat.


One thing I notice is...Paki response to Indian announcement of transfer of MI35s to ANA is muted. I do not see any press release from Pakiland denouncing this transfer.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby JE Menon » 30 Nov 2015 13:49

^^Preparing for a terror strike and other complementary actions in Afghan territory. They are waiting for the US to weaken (i.e. presidential campaign to get in full metal jacket mode, i.e. no time for shyte in Afghanistan) so 2016 will provide the opportunities. Anticipate major moves against Indian presence next year.

It will be another huge mistake, of course, as they have not understood what has been happening between India and the US over the last 3-4 years in particular.

This is the time for Pakistan, perhaps its last chance, to think for itself with sanity and clarity about it's own future as a country. If the thinking remains like that idiot Asad Durrani articulated publicly at the Oxford Union debate, the country is done for in its current form.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Satya_anveshi » 01 Dec 2015 08:12

If I understood this type of madarch.d warning from US...it could well be message for other neighbors to stay alert. They may have given supari on someplace but announce warning for some other place. Half marks is still good marks when your image is dud as dirt.

Prior to Paris bombing...there were various warning of imminent attack on Turkey/Istanbul but attack happened in Paris (allegedly from same ISIS). They could be related or unrelated but something to keep in mind.

US embassy is warning of imminent attack in Kabul within 48 hours - Nov 30, 2015
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/ ... JZ20151130

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby narmad » 03 Dec 2015 20:52

New Afghan Taliban leader may have been shot in Pakistan, Afghan officials say

Too good if true.


Two Afghan government officials said Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was shot Tuesday near the western Pakistani city of Quetta. Afghan officials believe Mansour was either gravely injured or died before he could reach a Pakistani hospital.

Sultan Faizi, a spokesman for Afghan Vice President Abdurrashid Dostum, said Mansour was shot Tuesday night while meeting Taliban commander Abdullah Sarhadi. Sarhadi had been detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention center but was released in 2012.

Sarhadi may have been trying to mediate a dispute between Mansour and other Taliban leaders when the two sides began shooting at each other, Faizi said.

“Sarhadi and a group of other Taliban were killed,” Faizi said. “Mansour was rushed to a hospital because of his severe wounds.”

Another Afghan government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said some Afghan intelligence officials believe Mansour died en route to the hospital.

In interviews with Reuters news agency, two Taliban commanders confirmed that Mansour had been shot. One commander told Reuters that Mansour had been shot four times with an AK-47.



Several Pakistani intelligence officials also denied that Mansour had been shot.

“I would call it a conspiracy by the jackals acting behind the scene to sabotage relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Agency France-Presse, however, quoted another anonymous Pakistani intelligence official saying Mansour had been “very seriously injured” in the incident.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 03 Dec 2015 23:26

Yeah, lets see how this news story plays out. Mansoor is a critical guy. If he dies, the semblance of control that ISI holds over the Taliban factions will be strained further. As all the groups will need to be called again and asked to pay their 'abaya' to a new leader. If true, this incident will also display IS' strength in a whole new light. They can claim revenge for Dadullah's death.

I came across a series of new stories about how Kunar is now the second big IS controlled province in Afghanistan. And the epicenter of new attack plans on Pakjab proper. The IS in Kunar has already replaced the Taliban and has burnt down schools to get more children for their cause.

http://www.christiancentury.org/article ... fghanistan

A driver by trade, with hands worn from hard work, Sayed Jan is not a man who scares easily. He has seen years of Taliban control of his remote Kunar Province, and watched as American troops once dug in to fight back.

But the recent arrival of black-masked militants from the self-described Islamic State and their brutal ways in eastern Afghanistan has prompted fear and convinced him to flee his village.

“When [IS] burned the school, two people tried to stop it and they shot them,” said Sayed, whose gray beard is turning white. He had just arrived safely in Kabul, and said he plans to bring out his nine children one at a time, to avoid IS detection.

When IS militants came to Sayed’s village months ago, they shot their guns and gathered all men at the mosque. They introduced themselves as IS and ordered the men to sever all ties with the government. That first visit, they arrested six people for their official connections to Kabul, but elders got them released.

The next time, they arrested almost a dozen more; then another 18 on a third round. Sayed said he was among the latter, and was held overnight because his beard was not long enough. In a neighboring village, some of those arrested were killed.

In his area, children were not allowed to go to school and women were forced to stay at home. These rules are enforced by beatings in the street. Sayed estimates that of the 350 families in his village, some 60 of them have fled to safety in large cities like Jalalabad or Kabul.

Afghan officials—sometimes prone to exaggerate about IS—contributed to a UN report in June that IS has been sighted in 25 of 34 Afghan provinces.


In another report, this came out..

Intelligence-based reports suggest a high-level meeting of the TTP leadership was held on November 20 in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, where Mullah Fazlullah and Qari Amjad were accompanied by an NDS agent, Noor Karim.

Karim has reportedly handed over Rs20 million to Amjad to target government buildings, like universities and colleges in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Mardan, the letter warned. Amjad has meanwhile tasked some fighters with carrying out terror activities in Bajaur Agency, Swat and Dir.


Things can only get interesting with the Mansoor hit, i guess.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 04 Dec 2015 16:05

Akhtar Mansour's death, if true, is a turning point

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 05 Dec 2015 23:06

Call me the die hard optimist, but i believe the hour of reckoning is coming for Pakistan's ISI in the Af-Pak theater.

Have been waiting for the last 3 days to get any sort of concrete rebuttal of the news of Mansoor's death. Was expecting something like the audio tapes (which OBL popularised) or may be a picture or a written letter sent to a Pak media house showing 'proof' of his life. Obviously, nothing came about.

Silence sometimes do speak louder than words. And now the Afghan Intelligence (who have been correct on Mullah Omar's death news) have also confirmed that the new Taliban Chief Mansoor is dead.

With his death the only person left to lead the ISI Taliban is Siraj Haqqani. The man must be frightened of his own shadow right now, being on top of the IS's Hit list. The way in which the Mansoor pig was liquidated i.e. by his own men is also instructive of how IS may have penetrated the Taliban rank and file.

So Pakis, forget your strategic depth, run for your dear lives. You killed our Indian brothers in Kabul in the name of Islam, now Islam will consume you. Run for Europe, when you still can. :twisted:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 06 Dec 2015 07:12

Pakistan is giving Taliban leadership to Haqqanis: India’s Ambassador to Kabul - Kallol Bhattacharjee, The Hindu
India’s delay in taking a clear position on the negotiation between the Taliban and the Pakistan government might end up justifying Pakistan’s current strategy for the Taliban, The Hindu was told by Amar Sinha, Ambassador of India to Kabul.

Mr Sinha said that the recent attack on Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Quetta had shown that rivalry is intense inside Taliban and India should intervene as Pakistan seems to be negotiating with only one faction of Taliban apart from giving leadership space to the Haqqani network, which is on the verge of getting international recognition as the de facto Taliban, due to Pakistan’s initiative.


Mr. Sinha spoke to The Hindu after the Afghan media splashed his opinion questioning the reported agreement, reached in Paris between the President of Afghanistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan on the dialogue with the Taliban.

He clarified that the Pakistan media and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted without perusing the entire text of what he had stated. “Meeting of Heads of Governments in Paris is a positive thing. I stated that the statement of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Paris is positive and we will see reduction in violence if we stay on a track built by consultation,” he said.

He said that Afghanistan’s cooperation with Pakistan under the present set of circumstances will mean Afghanistan allowing Pakistan to determine the Taliban leadership which should not happen as the Afghanistan's peace will have to be determined by the Afghans themselves.

“Indian media should question the charade of Mullah Omar’s death, the quick coronation of Mullah Akhtar Mansour and the hurried attempt to start talks with Taliban even before the issue of Taliban’s leadership is resolved” Mr Sinha told The Hindu from Kabul. He pointed out that Pakistan is trying to convince Afghanistan to come along to a bad deal with Taliban.

He warned that under the present arrangement with the Taliban, even the Haqqani Network will be party to the package being discussed between the Taliban and Pakistan. “How will the Haqqani network play a key role in future without being stricken off the terror list of various countries?” asked Mr. Sinha.

The consequence of Pakistan’s peace negotiation with the Taliban, he said, will be that the international community will be presented with a “fait accompli” of dealing with the Haqqani network as the legitimate Taliban leadership.

Mr. Sinha said that Afghans perceive India as a shining part of South Asia and they expect India to speak forcefully on issues of regional interest. He said that the Heart of Asia conference of December 7 provides a new opportunity to bring peace to Afghanistan and should be given a chance as it promises an “Afghan-led peace process”.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Paul » 06 Dec 2015 07:34

So it will be Haqqanis vs the ISIS?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 06 Dec 2015 07:48

IMHO, it will be the ISI vs. IS. Haqqani is ISI. I have always maintained that the PA hates the IS.

It is also a good sales pitch for the ISI to be seen in the vanguard of fighting the IS in order to get complete support from the West once again. It is deja vu.

Either events develop or they are manufactured so that Pakistan can successfully remain 'important'.

Legitimising Haqqani as the new Taliban was the reason Gen. Raheel Sharif spent so many days in Washington & KSA and met everyone who mattered. I do not believe [now, in hindsight] that he went there uninvited as the news reports were spun out then. I won’t be surprised if the ISI deliberately chose Akhtar Mansour knowing the opposition to him within the Taliban ranks. A drama was enacted by which a reluctant Sirajuddin Haqqani was made Deputy Emir knowing fully well that Mansour wouldn’t last long (or won’t be allowed to last long) and the road would thus be automatically paved for the ascent of Sirajuddin. That was the ‘fait accompli’.

This development, if it happens, would also show, once again, the complete depravity & moral bankruptcy of the West as well as China,

In the 'Heart of Asia' conference in Islamabad tomorrow, India's will be the lone, sane voice..

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 07 Dec 2015 17:15

Could not post yesterday.. but nice to see my prediction of Haqqani vs IS playing out. :D

Rest assured, this is going to be a far more equal fight than the TTP vs PA. Good entertainment but TTP was doomed to fail from Day One. Also came across this interesting piece of statitics from Pew Research.
Pakistan has the highest percentage of population who either supports IS or have a neutral stand on them. And this considering even Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the list. So Bakis have finally beaten their forefathers in their greenhood.

So there you have it - the greenest of green is coming and the population support is leaving the PA slowly. Not surprisingly LeT is so desperate for a strike on Delhi. Their followers back home are itching to switch to IS. :twisted:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 07 Dec 2015 21:37

Paki have now accepted Indian role in Afghanistan's stability and progress. Let's hope Doval ji expand on this role to logical end where Afghanistan become capable of tackling Pakistan independently without fear of repercussions etc. Not as NSA friends but as State actors taking care of their side of interests in FATA/KP. Stable Afghanistan with good economic indicators bound to attract the people of border region who have so far lived as stateless subject in POKP=Paki Occupied Khyber Pakhtunva.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby devesh » 08 Dec 2015 02:31

There is no such thing as Pakis accepting it. They'll try everything covertly to sabotage us. We have to be prepared for that.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 08 Dec 2015 06:25

devesh wrote:There is no such thing as Pakis accepting it. They'll try everything covertly to sabotage us. We have to be prepared for that.

I agree.

Jhujar, the Heart of Asia Conference or the Istanbul Process is a joint effort by several Asian countries for Afghanistan's betterment. It so happens that this year's conference takes place in the Allah-forsaken Islamabad. Next year it will be New Delhi. Somehow, Pakistan could not keep India out of the group when the process was initiated in c. 2011.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 08 Dec 2015 20:42

Well, IS has declared open war on Taliban in its new video.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/isis-takes-taliban-new-video-calling-afghan-group-deviant-n475476
ISIS took aim at a vulnerable Taliban in a new video released Monday, saying the Afghan group's leadership had deviated from the righteous Muslim path.

The highly produced video distributed by ISIS' official Telegram channel comes five days after news emerged that the Taliban's recently installed leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour had been badly wounded in a shootout with other militants. While the Taliban later issued an audio statement it claimed came from Mansour himself, rumors persist that he was killed and the movement's leadership is hiding his death.

In the video, a man identifying himself as Abu Yasir Al-Afghani accuses the Taliban of working with neighboring Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI — a claim denied by Pakistan — and of protecting shrines deemed un-Islamic by extremist ISIS. He also condemns alleged ties between the Taliban and Iran, which as a Shiite Muslim state is despised by Sunni extremists.


Not sure about the Iranian ties, but, if true, the IS may be just the right medicine to break the Ummah bond. Also, look at the mention of Un-islamic shrines. Looks like the Sufi shrines of AfPak is in serious danger.

In other news, there seems to be a huge flow of Taliban foot-soldiers into the iS fold. Even Helmand and Kandahar is now witness to these mass desertions. Looks like the ISI game in Afghanistan is on very shaky grounds.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Shanu » 08 Dec 2015 20:52

Another interesting thing i am seeing across all reports talking about IS in Afghanistan is their cash rich operations. They seem to be the richest player on the ground - paying far more to the youth than the Afghan army or the ISI sponsored Taliban. This is the primary reason why the Taliban desertions are happening.

The only native source for this money that i can think of is poppy. But even Taliban has access to that and ISI is a stronger player in the global drugs business. So how come the IS is getting more money to the field than ISI. Is there a forefather angle to it. Are the Baki forefathers so angry with their Yemeni backstabbing that they are actively undermining them in their own backyard? 8)

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby deejay » 08 Dec 2015 21:20

^^^ ISIS oil sales in Syria, Iraq and soon Libiya. ISIS has resources / income greater than TSP.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby deejay » 08 Dec 2015 21:21

I saw reports of intra - Taliban shoot out with upto 50 dead.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby JE Menon » 08 Dec 2015 21:28

It's not impossible that some Taliban may fight on the side of Russia in the Levant. Maybe in 2016

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby devesh » 09 Dec 2015 00:17

Pakistan is in transition. Their effort will be to negotiate a truce with ISIS, in exchange for becoming an extension of the IS. Watch out for the IS & Taliban reaching an agreement of collaboration.

What we are seeing is Af-Pak becoming more integrated under a singular strategic agenda of global Sunni Jihad.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 09 Dec 2015 00:30

Taliban storm Kandahar airport complex, clashes underway
http://www.dawn.com/news/1225039/taliba ... s-underway
KANDAHAR: Explosions and gunfire rang out as Taliban militants stormed the airport complex in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday, officials said, with fighting still ongoing."The insurgents managed to breach the first gate of the complex," Samim Khpalwak, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, told AFP, adding that there was no immediate information on casualties.
The sprawling Kandahar Air Field has both a military and a civilian section.Khopalwaq says the attackers managed to enter the air base where they encountered heavy resistance."They have taken up position in a school inside the complex," Mohammad Mohsin Sultani, the military spokesman in Kandahar, said the exact number of attackers was unclear and Afghan troops were engaged in a heavy gunfight with them.The Taliban are strong in southern Afghanistan, where the majority of people are Pakhtuns.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 09 Dec 2015 05:33

devesh wrote:Pakistan is in transition. Their effort will be to negotiate a truce with ISIS, in exchange for becoming an extension of the IS. Watch out for the IS & Taliban reaching an agreement of collaboration.

What we are seeing is Af-Pak becoming more integrated under a singular strategic agenda of global Sunni Jihad.

devesh, you have thrown up interesting stuff.

But, I have a different take.

First, let us understand the current situation. The Afghan Taliban is split into three groups. One that is loyal to ISI and ISI-imposed leadership Akhtar Mansour (dead? or, alive?, certainly grievously injured) who is also supported by Ayman al Zawahiri and Sirajuddin Haqqani (though he seems to be ambivalent but is forced by ISI nevertheless); two the group within the Taliban that opposes the imposed leadership and this comprises such people as Abdul Qayum Zakir (Taliban’s military commander), Tayab Agha (son-in-law of Mullah Omar and who heads the Doha office of the Taliban), Mohammed Yacoub (Mullah Omar's son), Mullah Abdul Manan (Mullah Omar's brother), Qari Baryal (head of the Peshawar Shura Military Commission of the Taliban) et al. In mid-May 2015, a Taliban delegation led by Tayyab Agha visited Teheran, Taliban’s prime enemy, to discuss about the common emerging threat of the IS in the region; three the group that has pledged support to IS which comprises some Taliban commanders and warlords there were reports of Hizb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar joining this group though it is unclear).

How is the IS placed within Khorasan? On the Afghan side, Helmand, among the most extensive opium-growing sites in Afghanistan, was turning out to be a recruiting ground for IS as reports in January 2015 spoke of a certain Mullah Abdul Rauf doing the recruitment for the IS. Moreover IS flags have been hoisted at several places in Ghazni, Balkh and Zabul provinces. Reportedly, the IS Caliph, al-Baghdadi had ridiculed Mullah Omar calling him “a fool and illiterate warlord undeserving of a religious title.” On April 18, 2015, the IS announced its presence close to the Pakistani border when it detonated four bombs in Jalalabad of Nangarhar Province. The deadliest was a suicide bomb outside a bank. Government authorities said the bombs killed 35 people and injured 125. In clashes between IS and the Taliban in late May 2015 in the Farah province of Western Afghanistan, 27 were killed including 15 IS & 12 Taliban jihadists. There are also reports of other fights between the IS and the Afghan Taliban.

On the Pakistani side, the TTP has a four-way split and considerable leaders pledged their support to the IS. In mid-January 2015, the IS formally announced the leadership team of its Khorasan unit. This borrowed heavily from the split TTP. But, beyond that nothing has happened. Of course, Tahir Yuldashev's IMU also pledged support to IS and moved to the Afghan-Tajikitan borderlands as a result of Zerb-e-Azb operations. However, IMU's support to IS is doubtful at this point.

Therefore, as of now, the IS is *NOT* a serious threat to the Taliban either in Afghanistan or much less so in Pakistan. There is a concerted effort by the 3½ Friends as well as China to recognize the Afghan Taliban as a legitimate stakeholder in Afghanistan whose wishes need to be accommodated. This is an endorsement of the Pakistani position because the Americans and its allies are tired and want to exit. The Taliban/ISI combine is on a strong wicket. The only undoing could be the internecine war among the Taliban.

Therefore, I do not believe that the ISI is facing any danger from ISIS and therefore is planning to strike any truce with them. They will not do so unless they are about to be overrun by them. The fact is that the IS is so embattled in the Levant that it has no time for Khorasan. And, that is good news for the ISI. The same goes for the Afghan Taliban vis-a-vis the IS.

As for the integrated, unified Sunni jihad, I very much doubt such a proposition. These people are too fractious for that. That is an interesting idea though.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 10 Dec 2015 11:02

Islamabad, Kabul agree to resume Taliban talks - DT
The announcement in this regard was made by Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani and Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at a joint press conference held here at the Foreign Office on the sidelines of Heart of Asia conference. Answering a query whether Haqqani Network and other groups will also be included in the reconciliation process, the Afghanistan foreign minister said they would be welcomed provided they renounced violence and gave up arms. Both agreed that close cooperation between NDS the Afghan security agency and ISI was essential to counter terror threats. Both also agreed to give up the blame game between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Army chief assures full support to Ghani for Afghan peace - DT
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday and assured him full support for intelligence sharing, operational coordination and reconciliation process for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations here, the meeting focused on regional security with particular reference to the security situation and peace process in Afghanistan.


Ms. Swaraj did not mention the Taliban explicitly and instead concentrated mostly on road connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This, even as the Taliban attack on the Kandahar airport was in progress. We have to wait to decode the events.

As usual, Pakistan is on a perfidy yet again.


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