Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svinayak » 02 Dec 2011 04:43

There is a reason for the Nato troops in AfpAk for reasons other than Afpak. Nato has around 50 mil airfields around Iran now - Iraq side and AfPak side. If they are going to be shoved around then they may want to complete their primary mission around Iran before they get out.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby partha » 02 Dec 2011 06:26

Carl wrote:Not sure if this has been posted here before.
From Stratfor: Russia joins Pakistan to threaten NATO's Afghan War
Days after the Pakistanis closed their borders to the passage of fuel and supplies for the NATO-led war effort in Afghanistan, for very different reasons the Russians threatened to close the alternative Russia-controlled Northern Distribution Network (NDN). The dual threats are significant even if they don’t materialize. If both routes are cut, supplying Western forces operating in Afghanistan becomes impossible. Simply raising the possibility of cutting supply lines forces NATO and the United States to recalculate their position in Afghanistan.

C Fair in the recent panel discussion says that the statement that dependence on Pakistan for supply of goods has been reduced to 30% is not correct since it only refers to the ground based routes. What has happened is it has been shifted from ground to air. A significant amount of goods are still transported through Pakistan over air.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Pranav » 02 Dec 2011 11:49

Carl wrote:Not sure if this has been posted here before.
From Stratfor: Russia joins Pakistan to threaten NATO's Afghan War


Russia definitely does not want an TSPA-Taliban controlled Afghanistan. I think India has a role here, persuading Russia to not let the missile defence squabble impact the AfPak theatre.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhischekcc » 02 Dec 2011 14:39

Russia considers US presence in CAR a direct threat - its first priority is to get US out of CAR, or failing that, to neutralize its opposition/hostility to Russia.

This later reason is why they offered to assist NATO in occupying Afghanistan. And it is their former reason (kicking US out of CAR) why they are willing to make common cause with pakistan on this issue.

Once, the US leaves, the bear will be free to roam CAR freely.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Suppiah » 02 Dec 2011 15:08

States that do not have any real power start behaving like nuisance states. As China is slowly becoming real power and therefore becoming less of a nuisance state, Russia, in deep decline, demographically, economically and politically, seems ready to take over that job.

If Russian voters wake up and manage to get rid of Putin, they will be on road to become what they really are - a western, Christian power. Then they may see a lot more things in common with Unkil and a lot less with thugs like Assad, Ahmed-nujob and Pakbarics.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhischekcc » 02 Dec 2011 17:08

Suppaiah,

Russia can never be a western Xtian power, only an Eastern Xtian power. Orthodox church is strong in the country and is identified with Russian nationalism. Catholicism is foreign and identified with their enemy countries. There cannot be any common ground between these two antagonists.

---------

People think that Russia's low population is a weakness. It is not - it is a strength. Russia is essentially a resource extractor country - the lower their population, the more they can export. Their security is gauranteed by their nukes and their economic position by their superlative abundance of resources. It is not a nuisance country by any standards. In fact, it has been quietly building bridges to the west, esp Germany, to become more integrated to the world economy (but not completely, as it hurts their autonomy).

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Aditya_V » 02 Dec 2011 17:23

Russia probably wants to egg Pakistan to get into a war with USA. That way hit 2 birds with 1 stone, make the US to bear a a higher defence burden and make the Pakis pay for past support to the CHechens and Afgan Mujhaideen.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 02 Dec 2011 22:15

US should hit the TSPA preemptively to ensure they don't get emboldened by such offers.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 03 Dec 2011 00:03

There Are No Moderate Taliban
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... lenews_wsj
The support given to the Taliban over the past decade by elements of the Pakistani military and intelligence community is well documented. It has won Pakistan substantial influence in Afghanistan. A reinvigorated and legitimized Taliban with a foothold in government would provide radical elements in Islamabad with a perfect platform to shape Afghanistan in Pakistan's own image, and to ramp up Pakistan's confrontational stance against Indian involvement in Afghanistan's future. America's relationship with Pakistan has collapsed since Osama bin Laden was discovered hiding in Abbottabad. Yet Washington's weary acceptance that the Taliban must play a part in Afghanistan's future appears to suggest that U.S. diplomats are willing to countenance a stronger Pakistan as a result, although Pakistan is boycotting the Bonn meeting following last week's NATO bombing. The Bonn conference is something of a fait accompli. Ministers will undoubtedly trumpet the improvements in the daily lives of Afghans, the actions taken to stop the drugs trade and the gradual development of civil society, all of which could not have happened without the international community's persistence and commitment. But there seems to be little appreciation of how all this progress would be undermined at a stroke if the Taliban are allowed back into power in Afghanistan.Meanwhile, within Afghanistan, fears abound that our country will soon be thrust back into chaos and fear. Nowhere is this dread more palpable than among women, who suffered so grievously under the Taliban and whose situation in society has improved substantially since 2001. If the ministers at Bonn were to listen to the people of Afghanistan, and particularly our women, they would perhaps think twice about stitching up a deal with the Taliban for the sake of political expediency.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 03 Dec 2011 00:07

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/opini ... .html?_r=1
Can Russia Help Us Withdraw From Afghanistan
Instead of relying heavily on Pakistan as a supply corridor, the United States should expand its cooperation with Russia, which has been playing an increasingly important role in military transit to and from Afghanistan. This would serve as both a hedge and a warning to the generals who control Pakistan.
True, this proposal might seem ironic, as Afghanistan was the site of a nearly decade-long struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union toward the end of the cold war. (During that time, America cooperated with Pakistan to support Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviets.) But working with Russia today is in fact the key to preventing the United States from becoming a hostage to Pakistan’s dysfunctional politics and its ambitions in Central Asia.Negotiations to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan through Russia will not be easy; thus far, Moscow has allowed only the shipment of non-combat supplies. Nevertheless, Russia agreed earlier this year to let certain types of armored vehicles cross its territory into Afghanistan, and Washington should pursue further cooperation. Facilitating the American drawdown from Afghanistan would allow Russian leaders to make an important contribution to regional security; successful American-Russian cooperation, with help from other countries along the northern routes, could also help maintain regional stability. Russia remains deeply conflicted about America’s wider role in Central Asia. However, the prospect of an American withdrawal has helped a number of Russian officials appreciate the security benefits of the American presence there. Indeed, during a Nov. 11 meeting outside Moscow, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia stated clearly that NATO played a “positive” role in Afghanistan and expressed concern about the consequences of a premature withdrawal.


( Consesus is building up to Pocch the Futti of Pakistan)

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby RajeshA » 03 Dec 2011 05:13

Published on Dec 02, 2011
By Rod Nordland
Fatal Suicide Attack Outside U.S. Base in Afghanistan: NY Times
A suicide bomber driving a truck inflicted scores of casualties outside a small American military installation on Friday and destroyed several government buildings, but failed to enter the American base, according to witnesses and Afghan officials.

At least 84 people were wounded and one killed in the attack, which took place 25 miles from the capital, in Mohammad Agha District, Logar Province, according to Mohammad Zarif Maidkhail, the director of public health in Logar.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 03 Dec 2011 05:49

I guess it was fatal to the suicide bomber.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Pranav » 03 Dec 2011 07:14

abhischekcc wrote:Russia considers US presence in CAR a direct threat


True, but Russia also considers Islamism in Central Asia to be a threat (recall Chechnya, for example).

Also the demographic factor - there is a serious possibility of Orthodox Christianity being undermined by fast-expanding Islamic populations.

Russia will be happiest with an independent, moderate Afghanistan, and that is also the Indian aim.

NATO may have strategic objectives but it will be possible to ease them out later, as Iraq is doing now, for example.

The important thing is that NATO build up the Afghan forces to the point that they can become independent. NATO is doing it, but very belatedly, and perhaps half-heartedly. India and Russia should get fully involved in this effort.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhishek_sharma » 05 Dec 2011 07:35


Roperia
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Roperia » 05 Dec 2011 13:04



Loved reading it!

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby rajanb » 05 Dec 2011 18:13

From the Chinis:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-12/04/c_131287523.htm

Afghan skirmishes get impetus ahead of Bonn conference as 54 killed in 2 days


KABUL, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Both Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents have obviously stepped up pressure against each other's ahead of Bonn conference on Afghanistan as more than 50 people, mostly anti-government militants have been killed over the past two days, officials said.

Afghan security forces in conjunction with NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), according to a statement of Interior Ministry released here in Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, have eliminated 42 anti-government militants and detained 37 others since Saturday.

"Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan army and NATO-led coalition forces during series of operations in Nangarhar, Laghman, Balkh, Kandahar, Helmand, Khost and Ghazni provinces have killed 42 armed insurgents and arrested 37 others over the past 24 hours, " the statement of Interior Ministry said.
.......


Normal programming is fun.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Agnimitra » 05 Dec 2011 21:15

Carl wrote:From Stratfor: Russia joins Pakistan to threaten NATO's Afghan War
Days after the Pakistanis closed their borders to the passage of fuel and supplies for the NATO-led war effort in Afghanistan, for very different reasons the Russians threatened to close the alternative Russia-controlled Northern Distribution Network (NDN).

Are these related? -
Russia downgrades relations with Qatar over attack on ambassador
Russia will downgrade its diplomatic relations with Qatar following an attack on the Russian ambassador by customs officers at Doha airport, the Foreign Ministry said on its website on Monday.

Airport security and customs officials beat up Russian Ambassador Vladimir Titorenko and two other Russian diplomats on November 29 in an attempt to seize the diplomatic dispatch the ambassador was carrying on a return trip from Jordan.

The Qatari officials reportedly tried to X-ray the diplomatic mail despite a bilateral agreement allowing diplomats from both countries to carry diplomatic bags through customs without any inspection under the 1961 Vienna Convention.

The Russian Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to Qatari authorities on November 30, demanding “an immediate and full investigation into the incident, the strict punishment of the culprits and the prevention of similar incidents in the future.”

There has been no official response from Qatar so far.

An anonymous diplomatic source earlier told RIA Novosti that the incident had been most likely provoked by Russia’s position on the Syrian crisis, which many Qatari analysts believe advocates the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Suppiah » 06 Dec 2011 14:04

^^^^ This is hilarious indeed.... :rotfl: :rotfl:

the way arabarics go about sending messages on simple foreign policy disputes..

While no love lost on Putin and the way goes about sponsoring or supporting every two bit dictator murderer and thug just because they are anti-American, much like our Stalinist rapist goons and their yellow media puppets, like a drowning man clutching at a passing straw, this shows Arabic culture at its best.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Suppiah » 06 Dec 2011 14:18

Russians are shooting themselves in their foot. Pakis of course specialise in doing that so no point talking about it. Unkil can leave the region a mess and may get hit once in 10 years thru' some truck bomb or car bomb that takes 100 lives. Freed of this burden, they can focus better on E.Asia. Tallel mountain better watch out.

Russia would fare a lot worse. Because there are other ways to make them bleed.

And Pakibarians can keep their 'strategic depth' that is not only useless when there is no war (its usefulness in war can also be questioned), it will turn Pakistan into more of Talibanistan than it is already..

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Sushupti » 07 Dec 2011 04:33

As i can't find new TSP thread i am posting it here.

President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan -- is he on the way out?

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan's parliament on the Memogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts ... he_way_out

"Prez Zardari sedated and taken to hosp in AbuDhabi. He will go to London asap. Faranaz Ispahani with him but not HH!"

https://twitter.com/#!/najamsethi



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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby RajeshA » 08 Dec 2011 02:59

Published on Dec 07, 2011
By Deirdre Tynan
Afghanistan: The Pressure is Now on Central Asian Supply Route: Eurasianet.org
The Northern Distribution Network (NDN) is already a vital link in Afghanistan’s supply chain. But to date it has not operated at maximum capacity. Contracted logistics firms, already on standby to start moving goods out of Afghanistan, are preparing for an imminent “all systems go” test of their capabilities, a commercial source told Eurasianet.org.

“It doesn’t happen overnight: they have to start re-routing their vessels from Houston/Eastern United States and possibly Karachi back up to the Baltic ports and only then will the volume on the NDN become real and apparent, so maybe in a few weeks we could see actual spiked volumes because of this,” the source said.

The closure of the Pakistani route through the Khyber Pass presents a financial windfall for the commercial carriers currently working on the NDN, and to the Central Asian states hosting it. The NDN has seen a steady increase in traffic since its inception in 2009, and the volume of two-way traffic could increase by as much as 300 percent as the drawdown of US troops begins.

US Air Force carriers are already airlifting supplies to Afghanistan, but their use, at this stage, is “imperceptible” given the $14,000-per-ton cost of moving goods this way, according to a US government source.

The NDN was designed by the US Department of Defense to be a safer re-supply option than trucking goods and fuel through Pakistan. The Pakistani route has become increasingly vulnerable in recent years to Taliban attacks. The NDN comprises of a rail link starting in Latvia going through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; a road route via Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for goods initially delivered to the Manas Transit Center near Bishkek; and a Caucasus pathway that ferrys cargo from the United States and Europe by sea to the Turkish port of Metin, as well as to Poti in Georgia, for onward delivery across the Caspian Sea into Afghanistan.

Pakistan has closed its re-supply route on two previous occasions to protest US or NATO military activities -- for almost two weeks in 2010 and again for 3-days in April 2011. This time, officials in Islamabad insist that the closure is permanent. Policy-makers in Washington have long planned for such a contingency. Since 2005, many US government contracts have specified that fuel should be sourced from countries north of Afghanistan. By 2010, northern sources were a requirement in tenders that cited potential “mission failure” due to disruptions in Pakistan.

“If you look at the trajectory, it’s clear which way the relationship is going. It will be difficult to overcome yet another serious problem. The policy implication is that we need to diversify [transit routes] as much as we can and as quickly as we can. That’s what the US government has been all about recently,” said a US government official.

“But the real question is whether the NDN can fully compensate for what’s happened in Pakistan. We have a good NDN, but we also have Central Asian roads that are not the best,” he added. The NDN’s rail component is expected to pick up most of the extra freight volume.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prasad » 08 Dec 2011 03:09

That is one long route! Latvia is on the northern edge of Russia! To carry everything over land over that distance is time consuming for sure. PoK is much much shorter no? :mrgreen:

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 08 Dec 2011 03:49

About the L-e-J attacks in Afghanistan at M-e-S, Kabul and Kandhar it shows that they are acting with impunity across the length of the country. It also shows Karzai govt did not take into account new actors being thrown into the mix from TSP. L-e-J has presence in Karachi where there are Afghans also.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby kmkraoind » 08 Dec 2011 19:18

Rare Kabul attack: Who did it and why? - CNN - Zabiullah Mujahid

Whether the culprits turn out to be the Pakistan-based Haqqani network -- the group blamed for recent high-profile and sophisticated attacks in the capital -- the Lashkar-e-Janghvi al Almi, or another complex part of Afghanistan's insurgency, fractured and complicated after 10 years, many Afghans place the blame at one source: Pakistan.


It seems in pursuit of strategic depth, indeed Paikana has got a generation of hatred people.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Lalmohan » 08 Dec 2011 19:23

Prasad wrote:That is one long route! Latvia is on the northern edge of Russia! To carry everything over land over that distance is time consuming for sure. PoK is much much shorter no? :mrgreen:


polar route for ships, then rail line for most of the way
probably quite short - dont be fooled by mercator maps!

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Karna_A » 10 Dec 2011 07:39

Stopping supplies to NATO is more of a probelm to TSP as all supply trucks and companies are TSP owned mostly by retired TSPA officers as well as TSPA/TSPF officer relatives.
Payment is only given if they deliver to AFG.
No need to fill pockets of TSPA officers, so stopping supplies is good.

What the attack that killed 24 soldiers did was following:
It put TSPA top brass on backfoot for first time. Now anytime there is an attack where the lead could be tracked to Pindi, NATO can attack a random post.
The TSPA top brass need not be taken out by NATO directly as few attacks like these, and the Top Brass would be Qadrified by lower brass.
So Top Brass now has a convoluted choice: Should a spectacular attack be ordered on AFG and risk being Qadrified? That danger was not there before for the top brass.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Agnimitra » 12 Dec 2011 21:46

Iran's regime mouthpiece PressTV:
Pakistan to sustain NATO convoy ban
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Islamabad will continue its blocking of NATO convoys supplying goods to US-led foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Gilani also refused, in a BBC interview published Sunday, to rule out the closing of Pakistan's airspace to all US flights.

The US military and other NATO member countries with fighting forces in Afghanistan rely heavily on the Pakistani supply route into the landlocked country, even more so now than previously with Taliban attacks on the rise.

Pakistan decided to halt the supply convoys destined for US-led foreign soldiers occupying Afghanistan in response to deadly US-led NATO airstrikes on November 26 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two checkpoints on the Afghan border.

During the interview, the Pakistani prime minister also dismissed reports claiming that the country's ailing President Asif Ali Zardari has suffered a stroke and that the army planned to oust him.

However, he went on to add that Zardari will remain in a Dubai hospital in the United Arab Emirates for two more weeks.

According to some reports, the 56-year-old president last week suffered a temporary ischemic attack, which can produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage to the brain.

“Zardari was making a rapid improvement,” Gilani emphasized.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby vishvak » 12 Dec 2011 22:54

Karna_A wrote:That danger was not there before for the top brass.

2 paise suggestion that it could be important to find out how NATO was able to do this - pakistaniyat to pakistanis.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 18 Dec 2011 10:45

U.S. Military Wants Troops in Afghanistan Beyond 2014
http://www.nationaljournal.com/national ... 4-20111217
KABUL – U.S. generals and diplomatic officials are preparing a new strategy for Afghanistan they hope will commit U.S. troops and money to the country far beyond 2014.The strategic review underway is expected to be ready in time for the NATO heads of state summit in Chicago next May, a key focus for U.S. national security leaders hoping to secure financial and political commitments to Afghanistan’s future.
“There will be a U.S. military presence [after 2014],” General John Allen, commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, told reporters in Kabul on Saturday. “This is a work in progress,” he added, “we’re not going to be done at the end of ’14.”Allen and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, at a breakfast in Crocker’s Kabul embassy residence, said the momentum is building for a long-term presence. November’s loya jirga, a national gathering of Afghan elders, confirmed that Afghan leaders want a long-term relationship with the West beyond 2014, while this month’s Bonn conference of Western contributors to the war effort -- a precursor to Chicago -- secured a long-term, sustained commitment to Afghanistan in what international officials are calling a “decade of transformation.”What we don’t want 31 December 2014 to become is the end of history,” Allen said. “It isn’t. In fact it’s the beginning of history for Afghanistan.”Much of what that military presence will look like, Allen said, depends on ongoing negotiations for a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan. But he expects it will at least include shifting more forces from partnered combat alongside Afghans into advising and training the growing Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), sounding close to the similar model that just closed out in Iraq.“We can anticipate until the ANSF reaches its final form, and the Air Force is not going to be completed until ’16, that we’re going to have some requirement here for some period of time.”“There have been discussions about a particular number,” Allen later said, but he felt it was too early to talk about it specifically as the reviews continue.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SaiK » 19 Dec 2011 12:01

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45718782/ns ... u7ZsOqym6U

what the..

this is going to be a big hassle for India soon.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 19 Dec 2011 23:02

Please try to post a short explanation of the link in future. Thanks, ramana

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 21 Dec 2011 05:22

Afghanistan: 50 Taliban rebels surrendered
As per the information from an official, fifty Taliban guerrillas Tuesday laid down arms in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province. Kandahar provincial governor Tooryalai Weesa told journalists that The former Taliban fighters under Hajji Malim had been active in Panjwai district and Kandahar city over the past couple of years and we expect other militants to follow them and lay down arms. Kandahar is 450 km south of Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul. The former guerrillas have handed over their weapons to the authorities, reported sources

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svenkat » 21 Dec 2011 22:18

Polish soldiers killed in mine blast in afghanistan

what would be the turd brzezinski's reactions.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Klaus » 21 Dec 2011 22:38

Lalmohan wrote:
Prasad wrote:That is one long route! Latvia is on the northern edge of Russia! To carry everything over land over that distance is time consuming for sure. PoK is much much shorter no? :mrgreen:


polar route for ships, then rail line for most of the way
probably quite short - dont be fooled by mercator maps!


OT: The NDN (and other projects such as TAPI) is a geo-political lever in the hands of land-locked states when faced with developments such as the Arctic Ocean rim conference and related developments. It depends on the extent to which these states would want to use such projects to further their interests in the region, accordingly the NDN would either complement increased shipping in the Arctic or run in competition with it.

As far as my reading of the Arctic Ocean rim is concerned, Russia seemed to be losing out to Canada, Denmark and the Scandinavian bloc. Hence Russian lobbies might want to promote pipelines, it is another matter that the Scandinavian bloc was not too pleased with the Baltic Sea pipeline supplying gas to Germany.

The Geopolitical thread is apt for this discussion.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby pralay » 22 Dec 2011 07:58

Afghan railway: First train runs on new line in north map
A train has run for the first time on Afghanistan's only major railway, between the Uzbek border and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

The seven-carriage train pulled into a new station in the city after travelling the 75-km (47-mile) route without any cargo.

The line was completed last year at a cost of $165 million (£105m).

The authorities hope to open up new trade routes and link Afghanistan to its neighbours' rail networks.

The new line could also become a key supply route for Nato forces in Afghanistan and help take military equipment out when the international troops withdraw, starting in 2012.

The US has been shifting its supply lines into the north and away from the volatile route from Pakistan.

The first journey on Wednesday was intended to test the track and signals, before the formal opening of the project at which President Hamid Karzai is expected to attend.

"This is a matter of pride for us and a very important issue for Afghanistan," said Deputy Public Works Minister Noor Gul Mangal, who was there to watch the train arrive in Mazar-e-Sharif.

He said the government planned to build another line into Turkmenistan, to the north-west.
Bottleneck

The new line to Mazar-e-Sharif runs from the border town of Hairatan, which is currently a major bottleneck for goods entering Afghanistan.

Supplies have to be taken off Uzbek trains and loaded on to trucks to continue their journey.
Park in Mazar-e-Sharif Citizens of Mazar-e-Sharif may soon be able to travel by train for the first time

The railway should enable goods to be taken straight to Mazar-e-Sharif, avoiding the queues and significantly increasing the volume of goods that can be transported.

Afghanistan's neighbours, including Pakistan and Uzbekistan, have good railway networks built by their former rulers, Britain and Russia.

However, Afghanistan has never had a functioning rail system.

Railway projects were started several times in the 19th and 20th centuries, by British and then Soviet authorities, only to be abandoned for political reasons.

Afghanistan has long been the missing link between the rail networks of China, India and the Middle East.

The new railway is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Co-operation (Carec) project, under which it is intended that these networks will be joined up by 2,000km (1,300miles) of new track.

The plan is funded by the Asian Development Bank, the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but so far it is a very long way from being completed.



Good development :D , I hope ISI don't blast it off frequently

shyamd
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shyamd » 31 Dec 2011 13:48

Patching up?: ISI chief met US officials in Doha
By Kamran Yousaf
Published: December 30, 2011

PM confirms the visit, no comment on trip’s purpose.
ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan and the United States are working quietly to bring some normalcy to their troubled relationship following last month’s Nato airstrikes in Mohmand Agency.

As part of some behind the scenes efforts, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha visited Doha this week where he was believed to have met senior US military and intelligence officials.

The US military has a strong presence in Qatar as Centcom maintains its regional headquarters in what is known as the Arab world’s financial capital.

Pasha, who returned from his two-day trip on Wednesday, visited Doha just days after the US made public its probe into the November 26 Nato attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The inquiry was conducted by the US Centcom and it was said that the ISI chief’s visit was linked to that.

In its initial response, Pakistan rejected US findings that said Pakistani soldiers fired first at American and Afghan forces, but conceded that Nato has to share the majority of the blame for the attack.

The army, however, hasn’t given its detailed reply which is likely to clarify which direction the relationship between Pakistan and the US will head towards. However, the visit of the ISI chief and his reported meetings with US officials is an indication that the two sides are willing to work through this ‘bad patch’.

There was no official word, however, from either side regarding the ISI chief’s visit. Despite repeated attempts, the chief military spokesperson was not available for an official reaction.

But Pasha’s visit to Doha was confirmed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. A military official also confirmed that the ISI chief toured the Arab state but would not comment on the purpose of his trip. “It could be anyone’s guess,” the official said.

Another official indicated that the trip may be linked to the proposal for setting up a Taliban office in Doha for the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

However, there are speculations that Qatar is mediating between the civil and military leadership over the Memogate controversy that pitted the two against each other, as Premier Gilani is also expected to visit the Qatari capital in the second week of January.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.

Kashi
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Kashi » 02 Jan 2012 17:44

Taliban have attacked Bagram airbase killing one US contractor.

No legit source has posted the news so unconfirmed yet.

svenkat
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svenkat » 02 Jan 2012 21:16

Iran news reported the attack 20 hrs back.What happened to the fvc@##g free press?

Agnimitra
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Agnimitra » 04 Jan 2012 02:57

MKB wishes us all a Happy "Year of the Dragon".

Enter the year of the Taliban
No matter what the Chinese may say about 2012 being the year of the dragon, this is going to be the year of the Taliban so far as the United States is concerned.

The New Year began with an exciting media "leak" by senior United States officials in Washington that the Barack Obama administration was considering the transfer to Afghan custody of a senior Taliban official, Mullah Mohammed Fazl, who has been detained at the US facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for the past nine years.

The officials claimed Fazl might be released (or transferred to Qatar) in response to a longstanding request by Kabul as a "confidence-building measure" intended to underscore to the Taliban the US's seriousness in engaging them.

[...]

But the mood in the region surrounding Afghanistan is turning ugly. Moscow has dealt a devastating blow to the game plan drawn up by the US and NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen eyeing Central Asia tactically as the backyard for Afghan operations if push comes to shove in the US's relations with Pakistan - and strategically as a platform for the great game toward Russia, China and Iran.

In a geopolitical coup, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow on December 20 took a momentous decision that for the setting up of foreign military bases on CSTO territory, there had to be approval by all member states of the Moscow-led alliance that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

...was dripping with irony since the Obama administration had just recently taken a decision to provide military assistance to Uzbekistan in a policy turnaround with the intent to hijack the key Central Asian country to undermine the CSTO. To Washington's dismay, Uzbek President Islam Karimov not only attended the CSTO summit in Moscow, but went on to voice his support of the alliance's decision.

With this, Moscow signaled to Washington that its monopoly of conflict-resolution in Afghanistan has to end. The US has a choice to crawl back into Pakistan's favor and persuade Islamabad to reopen the transit routes that have been shut down for a month already or, alternatively, fall back on the Northern Distribution Network for supplying NATO troops and for taking the men and materials out as the troop drawdown picks momentum through 2011.

[...]

There is no evidence so far that Russia and Pakistan have begun acting in tandem - although, in his statement anticipating Russia's foreign policy priorities for 2012, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did single out Pakistan.

There is no evidence so far that Russia and Pakistan have begun acting in tandem - although, in his statement anticipating Russia's foreign policy priorities for 2012, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did single out Pakistan.

[...]

The Obama administration hopes to release a fox into the chicken pen. Fazl is one of the most experienced Taliban commanders who has been with Taliban leader Mullah Omar almost from day one and he held key positions commanding the Taliban army.

He would have been a favorite of both Mullah Omar and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and his "homecoming" ought to bring joy to both. On the other hand, he was also culpable for the massacre of thousands of Hazara Shi'ites during 1998-2001 and was possibly accountable for the execution of eight Iranian diplomats in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

[...]

Fazl inspires visceral hatred in the Iranian mind and could create misunderstandings in Pakistan-Iran relations (which have been on an upswing in recent years) and put Islamabad on the horns of a dilemma vis-a-vis Mullah Omar.

Fazl is also a notorious personality from the Central Asian and Russian viewpoint insofar as he used to be the Taliban's point person for al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Chechen rebels. He was also in charge of the strategic Kunduz region bordering the "soft underbelly" of Central Asia where he was based with IMU chief Juma Namangani at the time of the US intervention in October 2011.

Fazl belongs to the "pre-Haqqani clan" era. Will the Haqqani network - a key component of the Taliban-led insurgency from its base in Pakistan's tribal areas - accept Fazl's "seniority" and give way to him? Pakistan may have to prioritize its "strategic assets"; it is a veritable minefield.

Enter Qatar, which is increasingly emerging as the US's closest ally in the Middle East next only to Israel. The Obama administration feels impressed by the skill Qatar displayed in theaters as diverse as Libya, Egypt and Syria in finessing the Muslim Brotherhood and other seemingly intractable Islamist groups and helping the US to catapult itself to the "right side of history" in the Middle East.

The Obama administration is optimistic that if Fazl could be left to able Qatari hands, he could be recycled as an Islamist politician for a democratic era.

[...]

Indeed, he is the perfect antidote to Iran's influence in Afghanistan. Once Qatar is through with him, Fazl becomes just the right partner for Washington in the great game if the Arab Spring were to appear in Central Asia, holding prospects of regime change and the rise of "Islamic democracies" in the steppes.

[...]

However, will the plan work? Pakistan may have fired the first salvo of the New Year to demolish the US plan when Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said in Islamabad on Monday:
Establishing sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan is impossible without Iran's role. To establish security and reinvigorate Afghanistan, Iran must be given due attention and must be trusted, because pushing the trend of peace and establishing durable security and stability without Iran's partnership is impossible.

Basit was speaking within earshot of the whirring sound of the Iranian cruise missile with the ferocious name Qader (Mighty) fired from an undisclosed location unambiguously demonstrating Tehran's capability to enforce a blockade of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

svinayak
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svinayak » 04 Jan 2012 04:52

NATO to Pull $30B Worth of Gear From Afghanistan
Published January 03, 2012
| Associated Press



KABUL, Afghanistan -- As the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan steps up in 2012, NATO military planners are trying to figure out the logistics of how to ship out the massive quantities of alliance vehicles, weapons and other equipment from the mountainous landlocked country.
The operation requires the removal of $30 billion worth of state-of-the-art military gear by the end of 2014, when U.S. and other coalition troops are to end their combat role, a senior NATO official said Tuesday.

Most of the American equipment will be shipped to military depots in the United States for refurbishment and then redistributed to bases around the country, but some assets will go to bases in Europe, primarily Germany, or in Asian nations such as South Korea.
"The stuff we have here is the very best the U.S. has ever produced," the NATO official said.
"It's better than anything available (to military units) in the United States."
He spoke on condition of anonymity because the planning for the equipment pullout is still in its initial stages.
Aside from the armored vehicles and trucks, other gear that will be shipped out includes large quantities of armor, communications and optical equipment, and large crew-served artillery systems.
In 2011, the U.S.-led coalition began the withdrawal of nearly 140,000 foreign troops serving in Afghanistan, and 10,000 U.S. service members have already pulled out. By the end of this year, another 23,000 Americans are due to depart, along with thousands more allied soldiers, which will reduce the coalition force in Afghanistan to about 90,000.
The quantity of military equipment that was accumulated here by the United States and its allies in 10 years of war is formidable. Although small quantities have already been removed, the planning is complex due to inherent complications of moving so much heavy gear out of a landlocked nation with problematic relations with some of its neighbors, said the official.
Only a relatively small amount of the tens of thousands of vehicles can be flown out by air, due to the massive weight of some, such as the as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, and its all-terrain variety, the M-ATV.
Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan has shut down NATO's main transit routes from the port of Karachi in November in response to a NATO aerial attack on a Pakistani border post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
The alliance has been able to ship equipment and supplies in from the north, through Russia and the Central Asian nations. But there is no current agreement allowing the two-way traffic needed to transport it back to Europe via the northern route.
During the recent pullout from Iraq, the U.S. military was able to simply drive its vehicles in large convoys to neighboring Kuwait where a deep sea port was available. In contrast, the main routes out of Afghanistan require vehicles and containers to be loaded on trucks or trains for the onward journey.
"The challenges of geography are enormous," the official said. "I wish Afghanistan was a coastal country with a great port, but it's not."


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/03 ... z1iRNeaotz


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