Afghanistan News & Discussion

The Strategic Issues & International Relations Forum is a venue to discuss issues pertaining to India's security environment, her strategic outlook on global affairs and as well as the effect of international relations in the Indian Subcontinent. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15999
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby RajeshA » 12 Mar 2009 00:20

RaviBg wrote:And on Indian solution to afghanistan, she said that what she says might go down well with India govt, but Kashmir is linked to Afghanistan-Pakistan situation. She said that unless there was political comfort between TSP and India, Afghan-paki situation won't improve!!


When is treason not treason, punishable by a firing squad or otherwise?
When you are an Indian! :evil: :evil: :evil:

We need a policy of renditions of our own treacherous citizens to a friendly foreign country, maybe Papua New Guinea, where people like the Asmat will be willing to accept our Anita Mazumdars, Arundhati Roys, etc, and enjoy a nice supper with them.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 12 Mar 2009 02:48



news reports say France to return to NATO!

Good taliban have some use after all.

Prem
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21175
Joined: 01 Jul 1999 11:31
Location: Weighing and Waiting 8T Yconomy

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Prem » 12 Mar 2009 03:13

http://theterrorjournal.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/600/

US President Barack Obama has been devising a new strategy to tackle the Taleban threat in Afghanistan and has not ruled out some “tactical” negotiations to undermine the insurgency. Here BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera, in Kabul, discusses how engaging the militants might work.

On a desk in his study sits a book by Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef - a memoir in French of his time as a detainee in Guantanamo.

Before the fall of the Taleban government in 2001, Mullah Zaeef was its ambassador to Pakistan.

After being picked up, he spent three years in US detention. He now lives on the outskirts of Kabul in a building with armed guards, no doubt partly to protect him and partly to keep an eye on him.

The mullah is an advocate of negotiations between the Taleban and the Afghan government and even with the US but only under the right conditions.

There is suspicion, he tells me, on the Taleban side that the purpose of talks is simply to weaken and divide the movement.

Among the conditions the Taleban want are the lifting of UN sanctions against Taleban leaders and a guarantee of their security.

Negotiations clearly require a partner and Mullah Zaeef, perhaps unsurprisingly, argues that the Taleban are a strong and coherent movement, one that has set up what he calls a “shadow government” providing justice in large parts of the country.

There have been internal reports over whether to negotiate and what position to take, particularly whether all foreign troops would have to leave before they stopped fighting, or whether some kind of commitment or timetable would be enough.

SSridhar
Forum Moderator
Posts: 24179
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31
Location: Chennai

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 19 Mar 2009 05:28

US keen on very postive ties with India

With the U.S. keen on opening additional supply routes to Afghanistan because of attacks on its convoys in Pakistan, both sides also touched upon the issue of utilising the Chabar port in Iran which could take the supplies into Afghanistan via the recently India-built road from Zaranj to Delaram.

“Our approach is to create an area of peace where those who have laid down their arms are welcome. Development work must be undertaken in this area of peace. We can’t choose good and bad Taliban ab initio,” said the sources. “There is a fair degree of convergence the way they see it now,” they added . . .

SSridhar
Forum Moderator
Posts: 24179
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31
Location: Chennai

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 19 Mar 2009 08:52


Airavat
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2326
Joined: 29 Jul 2003 11:31
Location: dishum-bishum
Contact:

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Airavat » 19 Mar 2009 09:38

The Afghanistan Americans Seldom Notice
Pratap Chatterjee is the author of Halliburton's Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War. He is the managing editor of CorpWatch. He traveled to Afghanistan with cameraman Ronald Nobu Sakamoto.
In the seven years since the Taliban were ousted by the United States, the Hazara villagers of Bamiyan have started to trickle back into places like Dragon Valley in hopes of resuming their former lives..... they have no electricity, running water, or public sanitation systems -- and little in the way of jobs in this hardscrabble area. The situation has so disintegrated that many say they wish they could simply return to the refugee camps in Iran.

Neither rural Bamiyan in central Afghanistan nor urban Mazar in the north has had to worry greatly about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the last few years. For one thing, as Hazaras, most residents of Bamiyan are from Islam's Shia sect, similarly, Mazar has a large Tajik and Uzbek population.

Yet when one heads south to Kabul and toward the Pakistani border, a third Afghanistan is revealed.


A de facto partition has already taken place in Afghanistan while the US splurges money on Pakistan and holds talks with the Taliban.

NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 19 Mar 2009 21:33


NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 19 Mar 2009 22:25


RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15999
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby RajeshA » 19 Mar 2009 22:50



This is perhaps the first good idea coming out of American brains!

As I have been saying all along, this is also something in which India should invest in whole-heartedly. An Afghan Army with the officer ranks trained in India, would go a very long way in checkmating the Pakistanis, or their proxies in Afghanistan.

The Afghan ought to say,
"Meri bandook hai Russi, saamne Dushman Pakistani,
jeb men rogrda Amreeki, lekin training Hindustani!"

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Lalmohan » 20 Mar 2009 14:35


shyamd
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6898
Joined: 08 Aug 2006 18:43

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 22 Mar 2009 00:33

Blood in the Streets of Kabul -Taliban Is Signaling Obama It's Time for US Troops to Leave

Clearly goaded by the rapidly deteriorating war situation, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen told a news conference Tuesday, Feb. 10, that more American troops were needed in Afghanistan as soon as possible to hold territory where insurgents were routed. It was up to President Barack Obama to make this decision, he said, but time was of the essence.

He spoke the day after the Pentagon announced that orders to deploy additional US troops to Afghanistan may not be issued until after a White House strategy review was completed.

But the defense department is clearly as impatient as Adm. Mullen. Last week, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said: "My understanding is that whatever decision is made on additional forces for Afghanistan, it will likely take place in advance of the conclusion of the strategy review that this White House has undertaken on Afghanistan."

To stress this point he explained that the logistics of sending tens of thousands of troops half-way around the world would require those decisions before the White House review is completed, which could be several weeks or more.

Across the Atlantic, America's closest ally in Afghanistan also sounded an alarm when UK foreign secretary David Miliband said: "Britain and her NATO allies in Afghanistan are stuck in a stalemate with the Taleban" created in parts of the country through their use of improvised explosive devices.

"In military terms," he said, "if there wasn’t an international force there, the Taleban could overwhelm the Afghan security forces."

Wednesday, Feb. 11, the Taleban made a mockery of the double cordon of US-led international security protecting the Afghan capital, Kabul and the Afghan forces securing its heart.



Taliban aims at grabbing parts of Kabul



A large group of well-armed gunmen, all wearing explosive vests, broke through these cordons and attacked three ministries, justice, education and interior, and a prison north of the capital. On the same day, armed men exchanged fire with the guards at the presidential palace. At least 27 people were killed in those attacks and 60 injured -, many of them civil servants, who were dragged out of their offices by their murderers.

It was the deadliest and best-organized Taliban attack on Kabul since the attempted assassination of president Hamid Karzai on April 27, 2008, while taking the salute at a military parade in the capital, and the subsequent onslaught on the Indian embassy of July 7, which left 40 people dead and 140 injured.

The Taliban claimed they were retaliating against poor treatment of prisoners in Afghan jails. But according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources, they staged these spectacular coordinated attacks to show off their ability to reach any corner of the country they wished, undeterred by the presence of US or Afghan forces.

US intelligence estimates that this was the first of such Taliban demonstrations in Kabul and it aimed at driving certain messages home:

1. The Obama administration and American army chiefs working on a strategic review for the consignment of another 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan were being told that they were too late. The new manpower injection, doubling the US contingent leading the leading the 28,000 NATO International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) forces from 40 countries, can hardly arrive before September. By then, the insurgents expect to have stretched their command of parts of Afghanistan and driven into large sections of Kabul.


A British special envoy dedicated to the exit of foreign troops


2. Taliban has geared its offensive for grabbing parts of the capital to a series of happenings marching forward from this month, through April, August and September.

February: The new special US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, David Holbrooke is taking two weeks for an on-the-spot tour of the two nations before determining his course. Taliban means to make sure that his course is to begin charting a strategy for the US army's exit from Afghanistan and making way for the restoration of Taliban rule.

Above all, the insurgents will do their utmost to lead Holbrooke away from his plan to introduce India into a peacemaking venture in Afghanistan in partnership with Pakistan. This plan is revealed here for the first time by DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Washington sources.

The insurgent leaders took encouragement from president Karzai's call again at the Munich security conference last week for reconciliation with Taliban forces "who are not part of al Qaeda, who are not part of terrorist networks, who want to return to their country."

He again criticized NATO for the high number of civilian casualties inflicted in the course of the war on the insurgency.

Taliban noted with interest this week's appointment by the British government of one of its most experienced diplomats, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, as London's own special emissary to Afghanistan and Pakistan as of June.

The UK government is clearly not making do with Holbrooke's appointment by Washington.

The point about Cowper-Coles is that he is one of the leading advocates of the proposition that the only way to deal with the Taliban is by coming to terms with them and passing them the reins of Afghan government in stages.



Seeking more EU troops and a comprehensive strategy



British premier Gordon Brown appointed him to make sure that the British government and army fighting in Afghanistan – and this view - are represented at a high level in the Obama administration's deliberations on future military policy and strategy for Afghanistan.

And, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military and counter-terror sources, the Afghan insurgents conclude that the more military pressure they apply to Isaf, the sooner Washington will come around to the British diplomat's way of thinking.

Col. John Nagl, an Iraq veteran and co-author of Gen. David Petraeus' successful strategy in that country, confirmed this in an article in the London Daily Telegraph which quoted him as saying that US-led forces have until late September or early October to reverse the gains made by the Taliban in the past two years. Otherwise, he said, the insurgency will establish a durable base "that would make a sustained Western military presence in Afghanistan futile."

Since the new influx of US troops is not expected to reach Afghanistan by then, the Taliban deduces that its chances of achieving its goals are better than good.

April: A NATO summit has been scheduled for April to forge a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and respond to Washington's demand for more European soldiers to fight there.

So far, only the UK has stepped up with more troops. This week, Gen. David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, flew to Paris to talk president Nicolas Sarkozy round. He came away with no commitment for additional troops.



Even an exit strategy would take years



August: Afghanistan holds presidential elections this month. Taliban has decided to disrupt them - unless the Americans improbably permit a candidate standing for the tribes affiliated with Taliban to run for election. Insurgent leaders believe that progress in negotiations with the US will enable them to delay the election.

September: The first US reinforcements begin landing in Kabul. They will find Taliban spreading its wings across the country and capital. An American official familiar with the Afghan battle scene told DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources that even if Obama decides to end the US military involvement in Afghanistan, the exit process will take years to unfold, possible even up to the end of his current term as president in 2012.

Any plans for Afghanistan, like Iraq – even a US exit - cannot rest on a military solution but needs to be more comprehensive. As in Iraq, Washington would have to invest in the foundation of a modern Afghan state with strong governing institutions, a justice system, a military and security services and trained police.

If the Americans fail to halt the insurgents' advance and apply comprehensive solutions to problems, Afghanistan could deteriorate into becoming Obama's Vietnam.

SSridhar
Forum Moderator
Posts: 24179
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31
Location: Chennai

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 22 Mar 2009 12:39


renukb
BRFite
Posts: 675
Joined: 18 Aug 2008 12:18

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby renukb » 24 Mar 2009 09:38


renukb
BRFite
Posts: 675
Joined: 18 Aug 2008 12:18

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby renukb » 24 Mar 2009 09:40

Afghanistan, Iran and US-Russian Conflict
M K Bhadrakumar

http://japanfocus.org/-M_K-Bhadrakumar/2996



Afghanistan, Iran and US-Russian Conflict

M K Bhadrakumar

The measure of success of president-elect Barack Obama's new "Afghan strategy" will be directly proportional to his ability to delink the war from its geopolitical agenda inherited from the George W. Bush administration.

It is obvious that Russia and Iran's cooperation is no less critical for the success of the war than what the US is painstakingly extracting from the Pakistani generals. Arguably, Obama will even be in a stronger negotiating position vis-a-vis the tough generals in Rawalpindi if only he has Moscow and Tehran on board his Afghan strategy.

But then, Moscow and Iran will expect that Obama reciprocates with a willingness to jettison the US's containment strategy towards them. The signs do not look good. This is not only from the look of Obama's national security team and the continuance of Robert Gates as defense secretary.



Central Asia

On the contrary, in the dying weeks of the Bush administration, the US is robustly pushing for an increased military presence in the Russian (and Chinese) backyard in Central Asia on the ground that the exigencies of a stepped-up war effort in Afghanistan necessitate precisely such an expanded US military presence.

Again, the Bush administration's insistence on bringing Saudi Arabia into the Afghan problem on the specious plea that a Wahhabi partner will be useful for taming the Taliban doesn't carry conviction with Iran. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Wednesday pointedly stressed the need to be vigilant about "plots by the world's arrogance to create disunity" between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

Russian-Iranian proximity

It seems almost inevitable that Moscow and Tehran will join hands. In all likelihood, they may have already begun doing so. The Central Asian countries and China and India will also be closely watching the dynamics of this grim power struggle. They are interested parties insofar as they may have to suffer the collateral damage of the great game in Afghanistan. The US's "war on terror" in Afghanistan has already destabilized Pakistan. The debris threatens to fall on India, too.

Most certainly, the terrorist attack on Mumbai last month cannot be seen in isolation from the militancy radiating from the Afghan war. Even as the high-level Russian-Indian Working Group on terrorism met in Delhi on Tuesday and Wednesday, another top diplomat dealing with the Afghan problem arrived in the Indian capital for consultations - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhounjadeh.

Speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, General Nikolai Makarov, just about lifted the veil on the geopolitics of the Afghan war to let the world know that the Bush administration was having one last fling at the great game in Central Asia. Makarov couldn't have spoken without Kremlin clearance. Moscow seems to be flagging its frustration to Obama's camp. Makarov revealed Moscow had information to the effect that the US was pushing for new military bases in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Coincidence or not, a spate of reports has begun appearing that Russia is about to transfer the S-300 missile defense system to Iran. S-300 is one of the most advanced surface-to-air missile systems capable of intercepting 100 ballistic missiles or aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers. As long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure put it, "If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. This is a system that scares every Western air force."



S-300 Missile

It is hard to tell exactly what is going on, but Russia and Iran seem to be bracing for a countermove in the event of the Obama administration pressing ahead with the present US policy to isolate them or cut them out from their "near abroad".

Aviation Week magazine recently quoted US officials as claiming that Moscow was using Belarus as a conduit for selling the SA-20 missile systems to Iran. "The Iranians are on contract for the SA-20," one of the US officials said. "We've got a huge set of challenges in the future that we've never had [before]. We've been lulled into a false sense of security because our operations over the last 20 years involved complete air dominance and we've been free to operate in all domains."

The US official said the deployment of SA-20 around Iranian nuclear facilities would be a direct threat to Israel's fleet of advanced but "non-stealthy" F-15Is and F-16Is. Ha'aretz newspaper reported on Tuesday that the head of political-military policy in the Israeli Defense Ministry, Major General Amos Gilad, was traveling to Moscow with a demarche that Russia should not transfer S-300 to Iran.

Evidently, Moscow is maintaining an air of "constructive ambiguity" as to what is exactly happening. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented in October that Moscow would not sell the S-300 to countries in "volatile regions".

But, on Wednesday, Russia's Novosti news agency cited unnamed Kremlin sources as saying that Moscow was "currently implementing a contract to deliver S-300 systems". Again, on Wednesday, the deputy head of the Federal Service of Russia's Military-Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin, publicly defended Russian-Iranian military cooperation as having a "positive influence on stability in this region". Fomin specifically commented that systems such as the S-300 benefited the whole region by "preventing new military conflicts".

The US thrust into the Russian backyard in the Caucasus and Central Asia will most certainly have a bearing on the Russian-Iranian tango over the S-300. Moscow and Tehran will be on guard that despite the stalemate of the Afghan war and the mounting difficulties faced by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, the cold warriors in Washington continue their great game in the Hindu Kush.

Politics of transit routes

This becomes glaring if we look at the saga of the US's supply routes to Afghanistan. Recent events have shown that militants are capable of holding NATO to ransom by disrupting the supply routes to Afghanistan via Karachi port. Logically, the US ought to look for alternate supply routes.

Apart from the Karachi route, there are three alternate routes to supply the troops in Afghanistan: one, via Shanghai port straight across China to Tajikistan and to Afghanistan; two, the Russia-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan land routes up to the Afghan border on the Amu Darya; three, the shortest and the most practical route via Iran.

Russia has both road and rail links connecting the Afghan border. China, on the other hand, has at present only one rail connection to Central Asia - the line from Urumqi in Xinjiang Autonomous Province ending on the Kazakh border. But China is currently working on two additional loops - one from Korgas on the Kazakh border to Almaty and the second from Kashi to Kyrgyzstan. Both these loops connect China to the Central Asian rail grid of the Soviet era leading to the southern Uzbek port city of Termez on the Amu Darya, which is a traditional gateway to Afghanistan.

But surprisingly, Washington wouldn't look at any of these alternate routes. Iran is understandably a no-go area (even though, in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan the Bush administration sought and obtained logistical support from Iran). But the US is equally wary of involving Russia and China in the war effort. It apprehends that tomorrow these countries might well demand a say in war strategy, which has so far been the US's exclusive turf. Then, there are other implications.

The containment strategy towards Russia and China cannot be sustained if there is a critical dependence on these countries for the US's war effort in Afghanistan. Again, their involvement will effectively freeze any expansion plans for NATO into Central Asia - let alone the scope for establishing new US military bases in the region. All-in-all, therefore, by involving Russia and China in the supply routes for US troops in Afghanistan, the US would be under compulsion to shelve its entire "Great Central Asia" strategy, which aims at rolling back Russian and Chinese influence in the region.

So, what does the US do? It has decided on a three-pronged approach. First, the US will motivate the recalcitrant Pakistani generals not to create problems for NATO convoys passing through Pakistan. Thus, US Senator John Kerry, who visited India on route to Pakistan last week on a mediatory mission, pledged, inter alia, that the US would urgently act on the Pakistani top brass's demand for upgrading its F-16 fleet capable of carrying nuclear weapons, apart from expediting a fresh multi-billion dollar new aid package for Pakistan.

Second, the US had began working on an entirely new supply route for Afghanistan which steers clear of Tehran, Moscow and Beijing and which, more importantly, not only dovetails but holds the prospects of augmenting and even strengthening the US's containment strategy towards Russia and Iran.

US's Caucasian thrust

Thus, the US has begun developing an altogether new land route through the southern Caucasus to Afghanistan, which doesn't exist at present. The US is working on the idea of ferrying cargo for Afghanistan via the Black Sea to the port of Poti in Georgia and then dispatching it through the territories of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A branch line could also go from Georgia via Azerbaijan to the Turkmen-Afghan border.

The project, if it materializes, will be a geopolitical coup - the biggest ever that Washington would have swung in post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. At one stroke, the US will be tying up military cooperation at the bilateral level with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Furthermore, the US will be effectively drawing these countries closer into NATO's partnership programs. Georgia, in particular, gets a privileged status as the key transit country, which will offset the current European opposition to its induction as a NATO member country. Besides, The US will have virtually dealt a blow to the Russia-led Collective Security Treat Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Not only will the US have succeeded in keeping the CSTO and the SCO from poking their noses into the Afghan cauldron, it will also have made these organizations largely irrelevant to regional security when Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two key players in Central Asia, simply step out of the ambit of these organizations and directly deal with the US and NATO.

Third, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on December 12 that the US was also concurrently setting up a presence in Almaty. It said, "The talks that the US administration officials are having in Central Asia confirm the view that a new project exists. Last week, Kazakhstan's parliament ratified memorandums of support for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. They allow the US to use the military section of Almaty airport for emergency landings by military planes."

Therefore, the US is making a determined bid to render Russian diplomacy on Afghanistan toothless. Interestingly, the US has allowed NATO at the same time to negotiate with Russia for transit route facilities, which Moscow will be hard-pressed to refuse. Last week, the NATO envoy for Central Asia, Robert Simmons, visited Moscow. If Moscow had calculated that assisting the NATO supply route would enable it to gain influence on other issues of Russia-West relations or on Afghanistan, that is not going to happen as the US would have no dependence on Russia as such and would have no compulsion to reciprocate.

Washington has certainly done some smart thinking. It is having the best of both worlds - NATO taking help from Russia with the US at the same time puncturing the CSTO and undercutting Russian interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

What hits Russian interests most is that if the Caucasian route materializes, the US would have consolidated its military presence in South Caucasus on a long-term basis. Ever since the conflict in the Caucasus in August, the US has maintained a continuous naval presence in the Black Sea, with regular port calls in Georgia. The indications are that the US is planning a carefully calibrated ground presence in Georgia as well. Talks are in the final stages for a US-Georgia Security and Military Agreement. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza visited Tbilisi on Tuesday for consultations in this regard.

According to reports, Washington is finalizing a document that includes helping Georgia fulfill the criteria for NATO membership and promoting "security cooperation and strategic partnership". As a US expert summed up, "The South Caucasus option is more expensive but incomparably more secure. It is also immune to Russian political manipulation ... a larger flow of supplies by land and air would presuppose an unobtrusive US military-logistical presence on the ground. It would also require reliable control of Georgian and Azerbaijani air space."

Another dramatic fallout is that the proposed land route covering Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan can also be easily converted into an energy corridor and become a Caspian oil and gas corridor bypassing Russia. Such a corridor has been a long-cherished dream for Washington. Furthermore, European countries will feel the imperative to agree to the US demand that the transit countries for the energy corridor are granted NATO protection in one form or the other. That, in turn, leads to NATO's expansion into the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Surely, the renewed Taliban threat in Afghanistan and the escalation of combat is providing a fantastic backdrop. For the first time, the US would be establishing a military presence in the Caucasus and the distinct possibility emerges for a Caspian energy corridor leading to the European market. Both Russia and Iran will feel directly threatened by the US military presence virtually in their border regions, and both would feel outplayed by Washington in the Caspian energy sweepstakes.

These maneuverings over the supply routes bring out the full range of the bitterly fought geopolitical struggle in the Hindu Kush, which mostly lies hidden from the world opinion that remains focused on the fate of al-Qaeda and Taliban. The fact is, seven years down the road from the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the US has done exceedingly well in geopolitical terms, even if the war as such may have gone rather badly both for the Afghans and the Pakistanis and the European soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

US holds trump card

The US has succeeded in establishing its long-term military presence in Afghanistan. Ironically, with the deterioration of the war, a case is now being built for establishing new US military bases in Central Asia. While the US's close partnership with the Pakistani military continues intact, the search for new supply routes becomes the perfect backdrop for expanding its influence into the Russian and Chinese (and Iranian) backyards in Central Asia.

The veiled threat of reopening the "Kashmir file", which is patently aimed at keeping India at bay, also serves a useful purpose. Plainly put, the US faces a real geopolitical challenge in Afghanistan if only a coalition of like-minded regional powers like Russia, China, Iran and India takes shape and these powers seriously begin exchanging notes about what the Afghan war has been about so far and where it is heading and what the US strategy aims at. So far, the US has succeeded in stalling such a process by sorting out these regional powers individually. Indeed, Washington has been a net beneficiary from the contradictions in the mutual relations between these regional powers.

On the whole, the US holds several trump cards, given the contradictions in Sino-Indian relations, Sino-Russian relations, the situation around Iran, India-Pakistan relations and Iran-Pakistan and, of course, Russia-Pakistan relations. The US's number one diplomatic challenge at this juncture will be to pre-empt and scatter any sort of incipient coordination that may take place between the regional powers surrounding Afghanistan in the nature of a regionally initiated peace process. The US has done its utmost to see that the SCO proposal for holding an international conference on Afghanistan doesn't materialize.

But as the Russian-Indian and Iranian-Indian consultations this week in Delhi testify, the regional powers may be slowly waking up and becoming wiser about the US's geostrategy in Afghanistan. The time may not be far off before they begin to sense that the "war on terror" is providing a convenient rubric under which the US is incrementally securing for itself a permanent abode in the highlands of the Hindu Kush and the Pamirs, Central Asian steppes and the Caucasus that form the strategic hub overlooking Russia, China, India and Iran.

The million-dollar question is Obama's sincerity. If he genuinely wants to end the bloodshed and the suffering in Afghanistan, tackle terrorism effectively and enduringly, as well as stabilize Afghanistan and secure South Asia as a stable region, he has to make a definitive choice. All he needs to do is to feel disgusted with the "collateral damage" that the great game is causing to the human condition, and seek an inclusive Afghan settlement in terms of the imperatives of regional security and stability.

Such a break will be consistent with what he claims his sense of values to be. The existential choice is whether he will break with the past out of principle.

No doubt, Obama faces a tough call, being a quintessential "outsider" in Washington, as he will run into the vested interests of the US security establishment, the military-industrial complex, Big Oil and the influential corpus of cold warriors who are bent on pressing ahead. The war in the Hindu Kush enters a decisive phase for the New American Century project.



Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

This article appeared in The Asia Times on December 20, 2008. Posted at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus on December 22, 2008.

Recommended Citation: M K Bhadrakumar, “Afghanistan, Iran, and US-Russian Conflict” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 52-3-08, December 22, 2008.

NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 24 Mar 2009 09:45


shyamd
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6898
Joined: 08 Aug 2006 18:43

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 26 Mar 2009 04:40

Afghanistan keen to promote alternative trade route to India
New Delhi: Afghanistan is keen to promote an alternative trade route to India that bypasses Pakistan. The proposed route will pass through Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian sea, said a Delhi-based diplomat from the war-torn nation.

This route will connect Iran’s Chabahar port with Kandla in Gujarat. Once it is fully operational, experts say, it could also give India an easier access to energy-rich Central Asian nations.
To begin with, Afghanistan plans to transport 250,000 tonnes of free wheat, which India had promised that country, through this route, according to A. Munir Khan, commercial counsellor at the Afghanistan embassy in Delhi.
India had announced free wheat for Afghanistan during its President Hamid Karzai’s visit to New Delhi in January. It had earlier said the wheat would be delivered at Wagah, on the India-Pakistan border.
“The Wagah option is not workable as there are no proper storage facilities. Also, one railway wagon will be able to carry only 15 tonnes of wheat...transporting all this wheat will be difficult and time-consuming. Comparatively, one shipment can carry 25,000 tonnes, with the shipment cost at around $135 per tonne,” Khan noted. “The Chabahar port is fully operational and the Kandla port is nearest to it (from India), involving a travel time of only one week.”
Khan said the wheat, after it is shipped from Kandla to the Chabahar port, will be transported through Iranian roads to the Zaranj-Delaram highway in his country. The 218km road link connecting Delaram with Zaranj, which is adjacent to Iran’s border, was built by India; the work on it was completed recently.
By using this route Afghanistan will effectively stop the passage of goods through Pakistan, thereby nullifying Islamabad’s ban on any exports to that country from India through the Wagah border.
A high-profile delegation from Afghanistan will visit India shortly to work out the modalities of this arrangement, he added.

A senior official at India’s ministry of commerce and industry, who didn’t want to be identified, said: “The proposal is at a discussion stage within the government. The file is pending with the ministry of external affairs.”
Questions emailed to the press counsellor at the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi remained unanswered.
The Chabahar port is expected to play a crucial role in India’s quest for energy security as it would give it access to the oil and gas resources in West Asia and Central Asia. While Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have considerable hydrocarbon reserves, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have large hydropower potential.
“We have to engage and do what we can in Afghanistan, given the limitations we have... While this is a viable economic route for us, for using it to access Central Asia, there is a problem on account of security risks,” said Meena Singh Roy, research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Analysis, a New Delhi-based think tank.
Asit Ranjan Mishra contributed to this story.



For Acharyaullah who asked me how Amriki's are transporting their gear to Afghanistan.
Washington and Moscow Jockey for Turf


Moscow is being surprisingly accommodating about Washington's request for a route across Russian soil for supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Obama administration's top-priority conflict zone.

The request is under consideration, said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday, Feb. 11, when asked at a briefing with European Union foreign policy officials about paths to more friendly ties with a Washington under new management.

The supply route through Pakistan has been disrupted by constant Taliban attacks on the convoys and depots, forcing the US-led international force fighting in Afghanistan to seek alternatives. A week ago, Kyrgyzstan barred the Manas air base to US forces after its use for seven years to fly in supplies, a move which the Americans suspect Moscow is behind.

Lavrov remarked that non-military transit had recently been granted "as part of our agreements with NATO and the United States…: adding: "Additional steps are also possible."

By "additional steps" the Russian foreign minister opened the door to accommodate the transit of US war materiel to Afghanistan as well. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources report that this includes flying US soldiers in aboard Russian military transports.

A day earlier, an American delegation headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Moon arrived discreetly in Moscow to discuss the use of Russian military bases for transferring US supplies including ammunition and fuel for the forces fighting in Afghanistan.



Though accommodating, Moscow keeps its eye on its goals



The talks went swimmingly. The Russian officials came to the table accompanied by high air force officers in civilian garb who, according to sources close to the meeting, brought with them maps, practical suggestions and plenty of good will.

They offered the US, according to those sources, the use of two civilian airfields and a military air base: the Rostov-on Don international airport in southern Russia; the Narimanovo international airport in Astrakhan near the Caspian Sea and the Engels Air Force Base, Russian's sole installation for the Tu-160 Blackjack bomber. Engels has a 3,500 meter runway and 10 large reventments. It was listed in the 1998 START-1 treaty as housing 20 operational Tu-95 (Bear) bombers and 6 Tu-160 bombers, all with cruise missile capability.


DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Washington sources report that administration officials found Moscow's offer of the Engels air base for the use of US supply flights to Afghanistan surprisingly generous.

It was seen as a signal from president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin that the Kremlin wants its relations with the new US administration placed on a better footing and are ready to do business at the most practical levels.

At the same time, Moscow has its own fish to fry.

The case of the Manas base was meant to emphasize a point Moscow made in the 2008 Georgian conflict, namely that the Americans would not be allowed to horn in on the Caucasian and Central Asian regions which it regards as Russian spheres of influence.

SSridhar
Forum Moderator
Posts: 24179
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31
Location: Chennai

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 26 Mar 2009 05:25


Gerard
Forum Moderator
Posts: 8012
Joined: 15 Nov 1999 12:31

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Gerard » 26 Mar 2009 05:33

Mr. Rashid cites Sahebzada Yaqub Khan, who was Pakistan’s Foreign Minister during a period of the 1980s, as admitting that the military deliberately never asked for an Afghan recognition of the Line. At that time, President Zia-ul-Haq passionately worked toward creating a pro-Pakistan Islamic government in Kabul, to be followed by the Islamisation of Central Asia. This was, according to Mr. Rashid, part of Pakistan’s strategy to secure ‘strategic depth’ in relation to India. General Zia’s vision depended on an undefined border with Afghanistan, so that the army could justify any future interference in that country and beyond. The logic, according to Mr. Rashid, was that as long as there was no recognised border there could be no international law to break if Pakistan forces were to support surrogate Afghan regimes such as the one led by the Taliban.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 26 Mar 2009 06:39

Gerard wrote:
Mr. Rashid cites Sahebzada Yaqub Khan, who was Pakistan’s Foreign Minister during a period of the 1980s, as admitting that the military deliberately never asked for an Afghan recognition of the Line. At that time, President Zia-ul-Haq passionately worked toward creating a pro-Pakistan Islamic government in Kabul, to be followed by the Islamisation of Central Asia. This was, according to Mr. Rashid, part of Pakistan’s strategy to secure ‘strategic depth’ in relation to India. General Zia’s vision depended on an undefined border with Afghanistan, so that the army could justify any future interference in that country and beyond. The logic, according to Mr. Rashid, was that as long as there was no recognised border there could be no international law to break if Pakistan forces were to support surrogate Afghan regimes such as the one led by the Taliban.



The more I think about it this is the old Kitchner plan to stop Imperial Russia from advancing.

ranjeet_d
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 1
Joined: 26 Mar 2009 13:18

Gerald Reply

Postby ranjeet_d » 26 Mar 2009 17:30

Gerard wrote:
Mr. Rashid cites Sahebzada Yaqub Khan, who was Pakistan’s Foreign Minister during a period of the 1980s, as admitting that the military deliberately never asked for an Afghan recognition of the Line. At that time, President Zia-ul-Haq passionately worked toward creating a pro-Pakistan Islamic government in Kabul, to be followed by the Islamisation of Central Asia. This was, according to Mr. Rashid, part of Pakistan’s strategy to secure ‘strategic depth’ in relation to India. General Zia’s vision depended on an undefined border with Afghanistan, so that the army could justify any future interference in that country and beyond. The logic, according to Mr. Rashid, was that as long as there was no recognised border there could be no international law to break if Pakistan forces were to support surrogate Afghan regimes such as the one led by the Taliban.

The strategic depth that Pakistan sought in Afghanistan wouldn't have been achieveable, come whatever General Zia did, hadn't the Pashtun exodus to both sides of the Durand Line remain unresolved. IMHO, it was more about territorial losses than a desire to keep or lose the tribes. Neither Astan nor Pakistan would agree to lose terrain and claims on those areas.

Asides : I wonder what good strategic depth does to a nation, if it can not relocate its military assets to these "depths", in face of overwhelming force by a mighty adversary. In case of Pakistan, I don't see how they could successfully relocate their ace military assets in the badlands of AStan.
Last edited by Gerard on 27 Mar 2009 05:03, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: username changed to conform with forum guidelines

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 26 Mar 2009 21:25

But they did . That was why they had the airlift on 9/13/2001 and closed all air space in TSP to bring back their strategic goods.

BTW, you need to change your id to conform to Forum rules.

shyamd
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6898
Joined: 08 Aug 2006 18:43

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 27 Mar 2009 04:49


NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 27 Mar 2009 22:19

sum wrote:any comments on the "new plan" (Af-Pak plan from Obama)?


Sum0ji,

Not yet. Nothing new here - so far. Will have to wait till Obama spits out his new "benchmarks".

Although the administration is still developing the specific benchmarks for Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said they would be the most explicit demands ever presented to the governments in Kabul and Islamabad. In effect, Mr. Obama would be insisting that two fractured countries plagued by ancient tribal rivalries and modern geopolitical hostility find ways to work together and transform their societies.


(BTW, the Af-Pak watch thread is meant only for compiling news/etc reports. Discussions go in this thread.)

JE Menon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 7052
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby JE Menon » 27 Mar 2009 22:51

>>In effect, Mr. Obama would be insisting that two fractured countries plagued by ancient tribal rivalries and modern geopolitical hostility find ways to work together and transform their societies.

And to that end, Obama will give Pakistan an additional $1.5 billion a year which the military and others will try their damndest to pocket somewhere along the distribution chain. It must be nice to have so much money like the Americans do. :twisted:

They know, as we do, that the money will one way or another facilitate terror attacks against India. But, as Kissinger said, of 1971: "America acted in its interests, and India acted in its interests".

Like in 1971, America is making a mistake. Unfortunately, its not just their problem, though. Still, we will deal with it from our side. Fortunately, Paki behaviour has taken on a pavlovian predictability.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 27 Mar 2009 23:08

Text of Obama 's Speech on policy towards Af-Pak

For sake of completeness.


I think better to discuss the Afghan aspects here along with the the impact of FATA etc.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 28 Mar 2009 00:58

I think this is more relevant in this thread than in the TSP thread.

From Nightwatch, 3/25/09

Pakistan: Over the weekend, the New York Times published more details about the extent of official Pakistani government support for anti-US forces in Afghanistan.

“Support for the Taliban, as well as other militant groups, is coordinated by operatives in the shadowy S Wing of Pakistan’s spy service, the General Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, the officials said. There is even evidence that ISI operatives meet regularly with Taliban commanders to discuss whether to intensify or scale back violence before the Afghan elections. “

“American officials interviewed said proof of the ties between the Taliban and Pakistani spies came from electronic surveillance and trusted informants. Pakistani officials said they had firsthand knowledge of the connections, though they denied the ties were strengthening the insurgency.”

Comment: Insurgency is a chronic instability condition in a country, not a terminal condition. It represents an equation in which government resources for maintaining itself equal insurgent resources attempting to bring down the government.

When the equation changes -- either to favor the government or the insurgents -- the condition of insurgency changes. If the government gains an advantage, insurgency devolves into organized crime. If the insurgents gain an advantage in resources, they become a regional or national movement, distinguished by organization and the geographic expanse of support.

If this looks formulaic, that is because it is. To repeat, insurgency is a chronic condition, not a terminal one. It evolves into a terminal condition -- for the central government -- when it establishes shadow governments that exceed in authority and efficiency the government at the center, in Kabul for example. That is the point at which it has attained the stature of a movement moving towards a revolution, which is defined by the theoretician Timoshev as systemic change. It is no longer an insurgency.

Insurgency defines a stalemate that can last indefinitely as long as the equation endures. The expansion of the Taliban since 2006 indicates the stalemate in Afghanistan was broken in 2006 in favor of the Taliban.

For four years until 2006, the Afghanistan instability was a genuine insurgency featuring modest increases in the resources of both sides, but with a stable capabilities equation ensured by Allied air power. This provided the critical advantage that kept the insurgents from making durable gains. Under Musharraf in 2006, Pakistani intelligence resumed its almost unrestrained support for the Taliban. The reasons for his change in tactics almost certainly are related to his perception of expanding Indian power and influence in Afghanistan.

By the time of the July 2007 attack on the Red Mosque in Islamabad, an organized Pakistani Taliban emerged, fully developed. This signaled that Musharraf’s duplicitous tactics had backfired, once again, worsening security conditions in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. NightWatch judges that Pakistani intelligence has always known the location of Mullah Omar in Baluchistan Province and has protected him and his Quetta Shura. Pakistani intelligence knew of Baitullah Mehsud too but did nothing to restrain him. The service, not just individuals, is not loyal to the actual government, in this hypothesis.

No insurgency can evolve into a revolutionary movement without a major increase in outside support or a collapse of the central government. There are no other causal factors.

The Afghan government did not collapse since 2006. Arguably it improved. Unrestrained corruption is neither new in Kabul nor relevant to the growth of the insurgency. Insurgents do not fire corruption bullets. They fire slugs and those come from Pakistan.

In a pre-modern setting, loyalty goes to the provider of resources and local stability. Corrupt governments, such as the Philippines, can fight insurgents for decades without a resolution so long as the equation is maintained: Government strength = insurgent strength. The necessary and sufficient condition that transforms insurgencies into revolutionary movements or which enables a government victory always is increased outside aid.

Seven years of monetary rewards and official talks have resulted in increased Pakistani support to the Taliban, instead of the desired reduction. Musharraf did not control ISID and Zardari/Gilani are even less able. Drone strikes in Pakistan were better aimed at Pakistani Intelligence officers than at their proxies and agents, such as Haqqani and Baitullah Mehsud. Without official support, these men and their fighters cannot sustain the fighting, including attacks against the very officials who support them. They are symptoms of a festering malady, not causes.

Until the Pakistani Intelligence support infrastructure is rooted out and no longer aids and abets the provision of financial, arms and logistics aid to the Taliban, secure conditions will not be restored and stabilized in Afghanistan. Keep up the pressure on ISID.



and

from 3/26/09

Security. US and Pakistani intelligence officials are creating a new list of targets for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strikes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The new list is part of a U.S. review of the UAV program. Pakistani officials said expanding the list of targets to include militants that have conducted attacks in Pakistan will "win domestic support."

{I think they will get US to eliminate their troublemakers! Just as they sent a lot of patsies to GITMO}


Comment: The Journal and the LA Times appear to be acting as proxies for conflicting views in the US government about Pakistani intelligence. The Times view is that intelligence is supporting the enemies of the US. The Journal depicts Pakistani intelligence as cooperating in the US UAV program of attacks against Pakistanis.

Taking Senator Feinstein’s disclosures at face value, the US UAV program absolutely depends on the cooperation of Pakistani intelligence for operating from Pakistani bases. Thus, one group of disputants has a strong interest in presenting to US audiences that Pakistani intelligence is cooperative and supportive of the UAV program or it will be at risk of termination. This US group insists with reasonable justification that the Pakistani intelligence wants the US to run this program.

On the other hand, the highest leaders of Pakistan except Zardari but including the Prime and Foreign Ministers, have insisted repeatedly that no deal exists, which is patently impossible. Nevertheless, Pakistani intelligence involvement in Afghanistan dates to before the Soviet invasion in 1979 with the purpose of ensuring Pakistan did not face a two-front war against India and an Indian ally in Afghanistan.

In this long term strategy, Afghanistan had to be pro-Pakistan – as it was under the Taliban – or Pakistani intelligence must ensure Afghanistan was chronically unstable – as now -- for the sake of Pakistan’s national security. This is the Afghan variant of Pakistan’s Kashmir strategy. In addition, no military or political leaders could survive the consequences of public proof that they condoned the killing of Pakistanis by American machines.

The facts support both interpretations of Pakistani intelligence behavior. Separate Intelligence Wings responsible for separate programs might make perfect sense if you are a Pakistani strategist. That would explain the lack of significant progress in either strategic direction and the partial success in both.

Afghanistan: The first recruits for the Afghan Public Protection Force graduated today after three weeks of training, Reuters reported. The community force is meant to improve security against the Taliban and guard schools, mosques and roads in order to free up police, the U.S. military said. The militia recruits, who number about 243, will travel to their home district in the Jalrez valley in Wardak Province, about 35 miles southwest of Kabul.

Wardak is the first place the program will be tested … by the US and by the Taliban.

US press and the BBC reported during this Watch that President Obama will announce the results of the Afghanistan policy review on 27 March. The BBC reported Obama used a telephone call to brief the highlights to President Karzai earlier today. The only new datum announced is that the US will send 4,000 army trainers to train more Afghan forces.

If a relatively modest US surge force can provide enough time for 40,000 to 50,000 Afghan troops to complete their training, the growing mass of Afghan forces might be sufficient to create a stable pocket and hold district centers elsewhere. It is a gamble and the increasing attacks this month indicate the Taliban are determined to challenge the strategy head on and every other way.

Afghanistan-UK: According to The News, the British Army is ready to send up to 2,000 extra troops to Afghanistan amid fears that the US-led mission will struggle without significant reinforcements. General Sir Richard Dannatt told a newspaper on Thursday that elements of 12 Mechanized Brigade — which had been training for deployment to Iraq but were later stood down — had been “earmarked for Afghanistan.” An increase of about 2,000 would take Britain’s troop strength to 10,000. Any decision would require Cabinet approval.

This week Poland announced it will increase send 400 more troops to bring its contingent to about 1,600 soldiers. The Republic of Korea announced today it will send more reconstruction troops to Afghanistan.




Very interesting. I think if UAV strikes are increased expect a few on TSP assets as collateral or oops.

Tilak
BRFite
Posts: 733
Joined: 31 Jul 2005 20:19
Location: Old Lal Masjid @BRFATA (*Renovation*)

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Tilak » 28 Mar 2009 04:47

ramana wrote:Text of Obama 's Speech on policy towards Af-Pak

For sake of completeness.


I think better to discuss the Afghan aspects here along with the the impact of FATA etc.


White paper on Af/Pak that the White House sent Congress (Word Document)

shyamd
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6898
Joined: 08 Aug 2006 18:43

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 29 Mar 2009 05:26

Things are moving fast. Russia is also calling meetings on Afghanistan with Iran.

shyamd wrote:India, Iran discuss Afghan situation
New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) Amid growing concerns over the instability in Afghanistan, India and Iran today reviewed the situation in that country and exchanged views on the threat posed by terrorism emanating from the region.
The issue was discussed in detail during a meeting between National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Saeed Jalili.

Jalili was on a day-long visit here at the invitation of Narayanan. He also called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The two officials also deliberated threadbare the issue of terrorism emanating from the region which has raised concerns across the world.(Lol! Some of the controls are sitting in Iran!)

Significantly, the visit comes a day after US President Barack Obama unveiled Washington's new Af-Pak strategy which entails increasing troops in Afghanistan and stepping up financial aid to Pakistan.

Obama had talked about establishing a new contact group comprising Iran, India, and other countries in the region to deal with the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Narayanan and Jalili also conducted a strategic review of India-Iran relations and explored prospects for their further expansion.

The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is also understood to have come up for discussion when the two officials dwelled upon the issue of energy security.

In their wide-ranging talks, Narayanan and Jalili also covered other regional and international matters. PTI

SSridhar
Forum Moderator
Posts: 24179
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31
Location: Chennai

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 29 Mar 2009 17:36

shyamd wrote:Things are moving fast. Russia is also calling meetings on Afghanistan with Iran.


And, India wants Afghanistan inducted into SCO

Tilak
BRFite
Posts: 733
Joined: 31 Jul 2005 20:19
Location: Old Lal Masjid @BRFATA (*Renovation*)

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Tilak » 29 Mar 2009 18:07

shyamd wrote:Things are moving fast. Russia is also calling meetings on Afghanistan with Iran.



Its a good move.. Amrika is in rappoachment mode with Iran (albeit for securing logistics chain through Chahbahar-Zaranj-Delaram highway wrt . "deployment within ~600 mile from the sea doctrine of US", which India and Iran paid for..). Its time for India/Iran/Russia to coordinate their demands/concessions and guarentees as Changer(teleprompter be with him) and Hopeling(chinese visa be with her) are already talking of 'exit strategy'.

Dilbu
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6617
Joined: 07 Nov 2007 22:53
Location: Deep in the badlands of BRFATA

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Dilbu » 29 Mar 2009 18:12

India will have to make sure Afghanistan never goes back to become what it was in the 90s. All thet goodwill, sacrifice and investment we had painstakingly put in to afghanistan should not be wasted away under any circumstances. Joining up with Iran was the most favourable option for India. Now things are looking positive for a start. India simply cannot afford to fail in securing its neighbourhood this time.

NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 29 Mar 2009 20:21

India will have to make sure Afghanistan never goes back to become what it was in the 90s. .................... Now things are looking positive for a start. India simply cannot afford to fail in securing its neighbourhood this time.


Don't you worry. There are plenty of other nations that will be impacted way before India gets impacted.

However, THE challenge will be for all of them to address Islamists and not AQ or terrorism. I have to suspect that the Kerry plan will address the issues of controlling the madarasas(sp?) all over PakiLand. I THINK Kerry wants to provide above subsistence level food to all these families in the hope that they will stop sending kids to these places of education :idea:.

Dilbu
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6617
Joined: 07 Nov 2007 22:53
Location: Deep in the badlands of BRFATA

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Dilbu » 29 Mar 2009 21:03

^^
Not going to work. First of all because no matter how much money uncle Kerry pumps in to TSP, after the jernails, kernails and dus perjentis have their cut, there wont be much left to make an impact on the lives of the common abdul. Secondly the islamist ideology has seeped so deep into the social fabric that it will take atleast two generations for TSP to get out of hate unkil mode. Finally who says TSP wants to get out of that mode which is putting bread on the table for them? They will happily eat up the dollars all the while planning to plant a nuke behing unkil's a$$.

NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 30 Mar 2009 19:04

^^^

There is opposition from Pak just for this reason. No cuts any more. (I have said this before, Obama is a diff politician.)

Also:

Nato seeks $2bn to bolster Afghan forces

As stated, the West wants others to pony up for their mess.

India alone has put in $1 billion + and NATO wants to collect $2 billion?

sum
BRF Oldie
Posts: 10097
Joined: 08 May 2007 17:04
Location: (IT-vity && DRDO) nagar

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby sum » 30 Mar 2009 22:20

From de-hyphenation to dual-hyphenation

Just as they were celebrating the end of their own hyphenation with Pakistan and the rise of a new geolexical construct, ‘Af-Pak’, Indian policymakers find themselves staring down the barrel of ‘dual hyphenation’ — the link the Obama administration is making between the ongoing military instability on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and the unsettled relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The Line of Control may no longer be the “world’s most dangerous place” but President Barack Obama’s remarks about the need to “lessen tensions between two nuclear-armed nations that too often teeter on the edge of escalation and confrontation” make it clear that the United States sees the lack of durable peace along the LoC as a significant distraction from the war against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The issue is not marginal but central to the American assessment of the region and it is not surprising that Mr. Obama brought it up during the unveiling of his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the U.S. to win its war, Islamabad’s cooperation is essential, he said. And for that to happen, “Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out Al-Qaeda and the violent extremists within its borders.” In the president’s words, “the government’s ability to destroy these safe havens is tied to its own strength and security.” The first constraint would be addressed by infusions of American cash — $1.5 billion per annum for five years — plus assistance from the IMF, the World Bank and U.S. allies. And the second constraint — security — by the pursuit of “constructive diplomacy with both India and Pakistan.” The same idea is implicitly reflected in the White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group’s Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it says, under the sub-head of measures to strengthen the capacity of the Pakistani government, that Washington should work with international partners to foster “productive political dialogue.”


The dual hyphenation thesis was propounded again by National Security Adviser James Jones at the Foreign Press Centre in Washington, DC on March 27 when he told reporters that although the U.S. did not intend to get involved in the Kashmir issue “we do intend to help both countries have a — build more trust and confidence so that Pakistan can address the issues that it confronts on the western side of the nation.” He was careful to describe Kashmir as “a separate issue” but added: “We think that the times are so serious that we need to build the trust and confidence in the region, so that nations can do what they need to do in order to defeat the threat [posed by terrorism].” Speaking separately to CNN the same day, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, also emphasised the importance of the “regional approach” involving India that President Obama envisaged.

If dual hyphenation is a bitter pill for the Indian establishment to swallow, there are elements of the new strategy which might also provide it comfort.

For one, the emphasis on accountability on the Pakistani side for the enhanced aid being promised. In the same interview, Admiral Mullen was blunt about the ongoing nature of the ISI’s relationship with terrorist elements in Afghanistan. Asked whether there are still “elements in the Pakistani intelligence … who are sympathetic or, even worse, actually supporting the Taliban and/or Al Qaeda”, America’s senior-most military officer replied: “There are certainly indications that that’s the case. And fundamentally that’s one of the things that has to change”.

Secondly, the emphasis in the Obama doctrine on a regional approach involving Russia, India, China, Iran and other regional players will be seen by New Delhi as timely and essential. But how seriously Washington intends to pursue this tack is a different matter. There is, for example, a huge gulf between the new Afghan-centric opening towards Iran and the general policy of pressure and sanctions that the U.S. shows no signs of abandoning on the nuclear front. And a lot will depend on how successfully the Obama team is able to “reset” America’s relations with Russia across the range of issues which separated the two countries during the Bush years.

Thirdly, both President Obama as well as his senior advisers have clarified what they mean by seeking to strike deals with extremist elements ranged against the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan. Over the past few weeks, considerable confusion had been spread by the meaningless debate over “good” and “bad” Taliban. The strategy that has now been unveiled will combine a relentless campaign against Al Qaeda and Mullah Omar and other “ideologically committed” Taliban leaders with flexibility towards those who might be induced to surrender their arms in exchange for money or other inducements. Where this leaves the Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is not clear, however. The U.S. has also said it will not conciliate with “mediaeval” policies towards women and human rights, a stand that would appear to rule out a Swat-type deal of the kind Islamabad has struck with the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) and, by extension, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Fourthly, the emphasis on training and funding the Afghan army and police to deal with the insurgency will be welcomed across the region. However, as long as offensive operations continue to be led and executed by the U.S. in the manner it has been doing so far, the number of civilian casualties could well continue to mount. India’s contribution on the training front is already considerable and it is likely to face pressure from Washington to ramp up its commitments in this regard. However, unless there is clarity about how the overall American strategy is progressing, New Delhi is likely to be wary.


First, South Block should emphasise the fact that considerable progress has already been made on the Kashmir front with the two sides coming to a common understanding over the broad contours of a settlement. Far from being reluctant to engage Pakistan on Kashmir, India should tell the world it is quite prepared to pick up the threads of the productive but as-yet inconclusive back-channel dialogue once a certain level of confidence in the bona fides of the Pakistani administration has been achieved.

Second, those bona fides can only be established once Islamabad demonstrates it is serious about ending all support to terrorist outfits of the kind that staged last November’s attack on Mumbai. In the interim, India should seriously consider resuming other elements of the composite dialogue, especially those focusing on trade, since any progress on that front would provide New Delhi an unambiguous gain. The resumption of dialogue would go some distance towards addressing the negative optic that Pakistan’s military has been able to exploit in the wake of the Mumbai incident.

Third, and perhaps most importantly from the perspective of Afghanistan, India should seek to engage Pakistan in a trilateral dialogue with Kabul so as to find ways of reducing Islamabad’s anxieties about Indian intentions. If Pakistan is refusing to do more to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, this is not out of fear for what might happen if it redeployed troops away from the Line of Control. Rather, it does not want to end up allowing India to strengthen itself in that country. In other words, the Obama administration may not be off the mark in seeing a link between ‘AfPak’ and ‘IndoPak’ but it is looking at the wrong end of the map. Regardless of whether a settlement is reached in Kashmir, the Pakistani military looks at the roads and hospitals and training that India is providing in Afghanistan as New Delhi’s cultivation of “strategic depth.” It is in the interest of India and the wider region, therefore, that this zero-sum subcontinental rivalry in Afghanistan is ended. The way to do this is not to shut down its consulates or reduce its engagement there but to perhaps invite Pakistan to jointly execute projects in that embattled nation. An India-Pakistan-Afghanistan friendship highway, for example. Or a Pakistan-India medical college in Kandahar. These are small steps. But once they are taken, they might well lead to larger political initiatives that could help to stabilise Afghanistan and allow American and other foreign forces to leave South Asia once and for all. :-?

Nice article but im confused after reading it.

On one hand, SV blasts Obama for falling for Paki blackmail and dragging India into their issues with Pak but at the end of the article, he himself states that we should not displease Pak in A'tan and should do joint highways and hospitals with them(which is nothing but falling to Paki blackmail again). :-?

Tilak
BRFite
Posts: 733
Joined: 31 Jul 2005 20:19
Location: Old Lal Masjid @BRFATA (*Renovation*)

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Tilak » 31 Mar 2009 11:49

India hails U.S. Afghan plan, says ready for a role
Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:19pm IST

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Monday it was ready to play a role in a new U.S. war strategy for Afghanistan, welcoming what it said was a comprehensive plan to stamp out extremism that had roots in Pakistan.

"We welcome the very clear expression of will to carry through this struggle against extremism in Afghanistan and its roots in Pakistan, which is contained in the new comprehensive U.S. strategy," Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said.

"India has a direct interest in the success of this international effort and India is ready to play a constructive role as a responsible power in defeating extremism of all kinds."


Menon said the new U.S. strategy would come up for discussion between Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the two meet on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in London this week.

"I think the situation in the region including what happens in Afghanistan, what's happening in Pakistan, will certainly come up during discussions," he said.

shyamd
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6898
Joined: 08 Aug 2006 18:43

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 31 Mar 2009 19:01

Akhundzadeh (Iranian Dep Foreign min I think) in the Hague repeated "afghanisation". Thats pretty much the standard Iranian and Russian line. He also outlined what Iran has been doing to help the afghans over the last few years.

NRao
BRF Oldie
Posts: 16829
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Illini Nation

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby NRao » 31 Mar 2009 19:22

from Af-Pak watch thread:

CRamS wrote:My man Brahma Chellaney again tells it like it is: Fobbing off the burden. Obama's latest AfPak BS will be a disaster for India. As I have been mentioning several times, US initially set its target pretty high, namely, the unachievable goal getting rid of all the west-specific terrorists in AfPak, but now have settled for a more reasonable and practical goal: Make sure anti-US, anti-west AfPak terrorists are bottled up, and the rest stick to attacking SDREs. And for this, billions of $s reward for TSP.


Obama wants to regionally contain rather than defeat terrorism, as if the monster of terrorism can be deftly confined to the Afpak belt — a blinkered approach that promises to bring Indian security under added pressure. His aides contend that by refocusing US power to contain and deter, America can diplomatically encircle the terrorist threats from Pakistan and the Taliban. Distant America may be able to afford this, but next-door India will bear the consequences.

given that al-Qaeda already is badly splintered and weakened and in no position to openly challenge US interests, Obama can declare ‘mission accomplished’ any time he wants.



The problem IS India. Wants to follow and be told what to do next.

The fact of the matter is that with the expansing of the predator attacks and now Mehsud claiming he will attack DC, there is no eatsern or western border for India to be concerned about. It really does not matter where the Pakistani Army is located - on which border. The Lahore attack proved that point.

I had said two things a month or so ago. The first was that the US will have to give up her way of thinking - that has happened - the US is coming around to the way India-Iran-RU have been thinking. Which is why India has been fast asleep, when this is the time India should have taken the lead.

shyamd
BRF Oldie
Posts: 6898
Joined: 08 Aug 2006 18:43

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 31 Mar 2009 20:40

shyamd wrote:DNW:
Tehran: From Implacable Foe to Strategic Partner?
Obama Proposes a US Military Supply Route to Afghanistan via… Iran
On instructions from his commander-in-chief, the head of the US Transport Command has developed a proposal for Iran to lease three routes across its territory for US personnel and war materiel to cross into Afghanistan.

US Policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan in Disarray
Obama Feels for Grip on Declining War Situation
Torn between the needs for an exit strategy, making sure al Qaeda will not strike the US again and broadening the Afghanistan war to Pakistan, the Obama administration is sending out mixed signals.

Why Tehran Snubbed Obama's New Year Greeting
The Ayatollahs Are Impatient for Brass Tacks – Dialogue Can Wait
Tehran fears the US military buildup in neighboring Pakistani Baluchistan right on its doorstep but is giving no ground on its basic condition for a rapprochement with Washington: Accept our nuclear program as is.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 01 Apr 2009 01:03

NRao, If you think of the AfPak region as balloon and Obama wants to squeeze it from Afghan side then it will bulge towards India. And that is what Indian elite is furious about but unable to articulate the threat. Hence all those brutus fulmen articles from Chellaney et al. To cap it MMS makes silly statements of TSP being victim. For once cant he be quiet and say no comment?


Return to “Strategic Issues & International Relations Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: rajsunder and 84 guests