Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

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periaswamy
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 10 Dec 2017 00:59

Pakistan has been bypassed for trade and Iran has been added to the list. Besides, what is strategic about `trade`?
US/NATO arent opposed to India investing in Afghanistan. Why would they be interested in stopping India-Afghanistan trade.


what is strategic about trade? It provides space for aligning interests between trading partners -- more trade allows establishing a larger footprint/presence in the trading partner's territory. US and NATO and their wishes are not relevant -- they have ignored India and its Afghan interests even before karzai's regime and continue to do so. What exactly is your point? If you are claiming US can force India to make concessions to Pakistan, and that India will allow this to happen so that India can get into a "strategic relationship" with the US, then I call BS on that.

Your angst against US/Nato isnt supported by Indian govt of your choice. The relations between India and US are improving under BJP govts since the Talbott-Singh talks.


Any angst you sense originates from your imagination. India is not about to make concessions to Pakistan to make US's life easier in Afghanisthan. Putting Indian troops on the ground in Afghanisthan has been nixed by the MEA a few months ago. India is going to continue training afghan military and police and that is not going to change.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby KrishnaK » 10 Dec 2017 02:26

periaswamy wrote: India is not about to .. make US's life easier in Afghanisthan.
Indian governments of all hues have generally insisted that the US stay put in Afghanistan.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 10 Dec 2017 04:28

KrishnaK: Indian governments of all hues have generally insisted that the US stay put in Afghanistan.


Yes, true. I believe that is because Pakistan's refusal to allow India transit to Afghanisthan meant that US getting out of there would allow Pakistan to fully destabilize Afghanisthan and beyond, to India's detriment, without India having the means to defend its interests in Afghanisthan.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Prem » 10 Dec 2017 04:47

Question, Can "NATO" supply it's Troops in Afghanistan using ChaBahar Or Afghanistan allowed to use Chabahar to import its defense needs ? This wa Afghanistan become active power center and participant in this great game to negotiate with Iran. To Paki,Saudi at bay, Iran will need this Sunni Desh on it's side.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Bart S » 10 Dec 2017 05:07

Prem wrote:Question, Can "NATO" supply it's Troops in Afghanistan using ChaBahar Or Afghanistan allowed to use Chabahar to import its defense needs ? This wa Afghanistan become active power center and participant in this great game to negotiate with Iran. To Paki,Saudi at bay, Iran will need this Sunni Desh on it's side.


Would a brilliant situation for India, but would need Israel/US to reconcile with Israel which looks like a long shot. I have no doubt that GOI has been pushing for that, people like G. Parthasarthy and others have openly spoken of the silliness and waste of US-Iran tension at US think tank events.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 10 Dec 2017 05:21

I am not sure India should help Iran and the US to come to better terms -- Iran has always started effing with India once it has a stable outlook with the USA, and this happened during obama's tenure. The moment the US started to make a deal with Iran, Iran responded by turning the screws on India. It helps India for the US and Israel to turn the screws on Iran, it makes them more amenable to friendly relationship with India and not take India for granted. The status quo works in India's favour and India should not actively work to help Iran mend its relationships with any other country, least of all US and Israel.

India is also at fault for GUBO-ing to every US threat regarding Iran as it did under the witless and spineless sonia gandhi regime -- where India undercut ties with Iran to please the US, and was paid back in kind by Iran. The MAD govt. has been a whole lot better at holding a line that tells the US where to get off beyond a point.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Bart S » 10 Dec 2017 05:30

That is true, but the upside of something like that would be eliminating the dependence on Pak for the US supply routes to Afg etc, so the pros and cons need to be carefully weighed by India as that could be a major win. But its probably moot anyway as such a deal appears distant at the moment.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby schinnas » 10 Dec 2017 07:34

Prem wrote:Question, Can "NATO" supply it's Troops in Afghanistan using ChaBahar Or Afghanistan allowed to use Chabahar to import its defense needs ? This wa Afghanistan become active power center and participant in this great game to negotiate with Iran. To Paki,Saudi at bay, Iran will need this Sunni Desh on it's side.


The problem is with Iran which has sworn to do everything to destroy Israel. That's the reason Israel sees Iran as it's primary existential threat and enemy number 1.

Also Iran's control over Syria and Hamas isn't helping matters. At best only some tactical give and take can be worked out with Iran. US is anti Iran because of the need to protect Israel and as a quick pro quo to help Saudis in their game of one upmanship in the gulf region.

Very unlikely for US and Israel to have a u-turn in their relations with Iran. But India can broker tactical understanding and agreements and we shouldn't shy away from doing it.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 10 Dec 2017 08:33

schinnas: Very unlikely for US and Israel to have a u-turn in their relations with Iran. But India can broker tactical understanding and agreements and we shouldn't shy away from doing it.


And what exactly will India gain out of this useless do-goodery you think? Eternal gratefulness from Iran and US and Israel? If not what? India's only interest is to ensure that Iran cooperates with us like it is doing so currently -- peace with US and Israel will result in Iran reprioritizing its relationship India (in a bad way) and India's interests, as Iran will now have more options to work with. So there is every reason for India to shy away from this notion of ensuring peace, love and understanding with US and Israel. That is their problem, not India's problem...the bad blood between them works to India's benefit. No reason to change the situation against our own interests.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 10 Dec 2017 09:17

US mending ties with Iran to the point of using it as transit is impossible. US using IMF/world bank to bend Pakistan for some more years n staying put in Afghanistan is what India would be hoping for. In that period, India may need to create an India supporting constituency in Afghanistan.
In the long term, nobody is going to substitute Indian timidity. If Delhi wants in on Afghanistan, it must be willing to take risks. Otherwise Indian influence in Kabul will end the day US troops leave.
India will and should keep supporting US presence in Afghanistan. If the Russians are shitting bricks because of the 'mischief' US/NATO could cause, that is their problem.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 10 Dec 2017 09:31

periaswamy wrote:what is strategic about trade? It provides space for aligning interests between trading partners -- more trade allows establishing a larger footprint/presence in the trading partner's territory. US and NATO and their wishes are not relevant -- they have ignored India and its Afghan interests even before karzai's regime and continue to do so.

Nonsense.
There is nothing strategic about trade. For decades Indian trade with USA was many many times the size of its trade with USSR.
Indian trade with China is booming. How is that changing the strategic scenario?
Talking trade as strategic and trading port as front are attempts to compensate your logical weakness with literary laffaji.
US has neither ignored India's interests nor Afghanistan's. That's the reason why successive Indian govts have been supportive of USA role in Afghanistan. US has ignored russian interests, which has prompted some fellas to start mentioning "NATO" and get teary eyed over the injustice of it all.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 10 Dec 2017 22:10

parasu: US mending ties with Iran to the point of using it as transit is impossible. US using IMF/world bank to bend Pakistan for some more years n staying put in Afghanistan is what India would be hoping for. In that period, India may need to create an India supporting constituency in Afghanistan.


Obama regime had a deal going with Iran, so it is not impossible at all. US is already using all the IMF/world bank clout against pakistan, without results so. India already has an india-supporting constituency in Afghanisthan. Just go back a few pages on this very thread and catch up with Afghanisthan news. KSA and Israel were on opposite sides of the fence after arab-israel wars but have decided to be on the same side of the fence these days -- nothing is impossible in diplomacy and politics in general. Interests can change and alliances can shift along with them.

parasu: There is nothing strategic about trade.


Trade/economics is very much at the heart of strategic calculation. What exactly is the Waasenaar agrement all about? Denying strategic items as part of normal trade is the aim of that agreement. Trade related to energy is at the core of most strategic decisions of countries: India got into the 123 deal with the US for access to nuclear fuel. India purchases from Russia, US, Saudi and Iran (all of them are adversaries) to spread the risk of not suffering oil shock due to instability in one of these suppliers. So your contention that "there is nothing strategic about trade" is not supported by reality.

Talking trade as strategic and trading port as front are attempts to compensate your logical weakness with literary laffaji.


I am guessing "laffaji" means "obfuscatory" or something similar in northie speak, which indicates that you are only aware of the usage of "front" in some contexts. Since you seem to be fixated on the word "front", let's clear that up.

From the dictionary, this is a valid usage of the word -- "b (1) : a stand on an issue : policy". It just means India's change in policy from routes via pakistan to afghanisthan, to routes via Iran. That is all.

India's afghan strategy is to win public support via trade and reconstruction efforts, and this has had a lot of effect. India's one weakness was its inability to trade with afghanisthan because of refusal of over-land transit by the Pakis. That is why back in 2003-2005 India started to work on this alternate route to Iran, and it has reached completion a decade afterwards. India is not going to "take risks" and put Indian troops on the ground, and definitely not as a sepoy army for the US, like the paki army. There are many ways to stabilize afghanisthan without doing such a thing.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 10 Dec 2017 23:54

cross posting from Islamic State thread:

SSridhar wrote:French fighters appear with IS in Afghanistan - AFP, ToI
French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, have joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in northern Afghanistan where the militants have established new bases, multiple international and Afghan sources have said.

It is the first time that the presence of French IS fighters has been recorded in Afghanistan, and comes as analysts suggested foreigners may be heading for the war-torn country after being driven from Syria and Iraq.

It is also a troubling sign as France, which has faced the worst of the IS-inspired violence in Europe since 2015, debates how to handle hundreds of its citizens who went to fight for the group in the Middle East.

"A number" of Algerian and French nationals entered the largely IS-controlled district of Darzab in northern Jowzjan province in November, said district governor Baaz Mohammad Dawar.

At least two women were among the arrivals, who were travelling with a translator from Tajikistan as well as Chechens and Uzbeks, Dawar added.


European and Afghan security sources in Kabul confirmed Dawar's claim that French citizens were among the fighters -- though, one cautioned, "we do not know how many there are".

Three of the Algerians seen in Darzab are believed to have been in Syria and Iraq, Dawar said, suggesting they may link Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K), the group's franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the main group in the Middle East.

When it first emerged in 2015, IS-K overran large parts of eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, though initially its part in the Afghan conflict was overshadowed by the Taliban.

The jihadists have since spread north, including in Jowzjan on the border with Uzbekistan, and carried out multiple devastating attacks in the capital Kabul.

Mohammad Raza Ghafoori, the Jowzjan provincial governor's spokesman, said French-speaking Caucasian men and women had been seen training IS fighters in Darzab.

He cited reports saying that around 50 children, some as young as 10, have also been recruited by the fighters.

Darzab residents told AFP that roughly 200 foreigners had set up camp just a few hundred metres (yards) from the village of Bibi Mariam.

One local man who gave his name as Hajji said the fighters were of several nationalities, including French, and were tall, aged in their late 20s, and dressed in military clothing.

"They ride their (motor) bikes, go to the border and come back, but they talk to nobody," he said.

Hashar, a former district village chief, said some were training others to use suicide bombs and lay mines.


"They are... bringing misery to normal people," he told AFP, as other villagers said many residents had fled the area.

Locals along with district governor Dawar warned the fighters were also exploiting natural resources, such as precious stones and metals.

One of the security sources said that two of the French had been nicknamed "The Engineers" and appeared to be organising some sort of extraction, "but we do not know what they are looking for"

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby KrishnaK » 11 Dec 2017 00:20

periaswamy wrote:US is already using all the IMF/world bank clout against pakistan, without results so.
Not really.

India is not going to "take risks" and put Indian troops on the ground, and definitely not as a sepoy army for the US, like the paki army. There are many ways to stabilize afghanisthan without doing such a thing.
Not really.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby KrishnaK » 11 Dec 2017 00:34

periaswamy wrote:So WTF is the US going to do about Chahbahar when it stops turning a "blind eye" to India's involvement in Iran and wants to "do something" about it? do explain if you are able and willing. We all keep hearing the same old stupid nonsense that pretends US is some sort of superpower with the ability to screw India on a whim, when the USA has not managed to get a failed state like Pakistan to listen to it these days
Pretty absurd argument. There's no comparison between Pakistan and India on anything, let alone its outlook towards and behaviour with the world in general, let alone the US in particular.

Adapting India, Accommodating United States: A Case of Iranian Sanctions US economic sanctions along with persuasion helped cut Indian trade with Iran a lot. As with anything else it's give and take on both sides.
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 11 Dec 2017 01:29

periaswamy wrote:Obama regime had a deal going with Iran, so it is not impossible at all. US is already using all the IMF/world bank clout against pakistan, without results so. India already has an india-supporting constituency in Afghanisthan. Just go back a few pages on this very thread and catch up with Afghanisthan news. KSA and Israel were on opposite sides of the fence after arab-israel wars but have decided to be on the same side of the fence these days -- nothing is impossible in diplomacy and politics in general. Interests can change and alliances can shift along with them.

Obama signed a deal with Iran to stop it acquiring nukes short of war. It is a long way from there to start using Iran transit route.
Yeah, nothing is impossible in diplomacy and politics. India and Pakistan will become friends and soon, India and Pakistan will solve Kashmir.
Please talk sense rather than regurgitating crap for the heck of it.

Trade/economics is very much at the heart of strategic calculation. What exactly is the Waasenaar agrement all about? Denying strategic items as part of normal trade is the aim of that agreement. Trade related to energy is at the core of most strategic decisions of countries: India got into the 123 deal with the US for access to nuclear fuel. India purchases from Russia, US, Saudi and Iran (all of them are adversaries) to spread the risk of not suffering oil shock due to instability in one of these suppliers. So your contention that "there is nothing strategic about trade" is not supported by reality.

Wassenaar agreement and 123 agreement etc are inherently strategic in nature dealing with nukes and dual use goods.
What is strategic about Indian trade with Afghanistan? Wheat ? Iran did not allow dynamite sticks from India to traverse its territory. There is nothing strategic about the port except it can be used for trade and that too with benevolence of Iranians.

India's afghan strategy is to win public support via trade and reconstruction efforts, and this has had a lot of effect. India's one weakness was its inability to trade with afghanisthan because of refusal of over-land transit by the Pakis. That is why back in 2003-2005 India started to work on this alternate route to Iran, and it has reached completion a decade afterwards. India is not going to "take risks" and put Indian troops on the ground, and definitely not as a sepoy army for the US, like the paki army. There are many ways to stabilize afghanisthan without doing such a thing.

Hindu India will win support from Islamic hordes in Afghanistan through trade. Really?!
India needs to play some realpolitk in the west. It has no friends in Afghanistan. But it can align with interests of some constituents in the country. US and India will fail in stabilizing Afghanistan. US will leave after some years. India needs to act in the west. If it doesnt, all its billions will be wasted, much like how US money has been or getting wasted in Iraq/Afghanistan. Delhi does not have to be a junior partner in Kabul. But it must ensure that repeat of Taliban takeover doesnt happen. Trade alone wont stop that.

India purchases from Russia, US, Saudi and Iran (all of them are adversaries)

US is already using all the IMF/world bank clout against pakistan, without results so.

DO you even read what you write?! Or have you decided to overwhelm others with volume alone.
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 11 Dec 2017 01:41

parasu: Obama signed a deal with Iran to stop it ..etc.


You are arguing with yourself because I have not made any claims about USA using Iran as a transit route -- my quote to which you are responding to does not make any such claim.

What is strategic about Indian trade with Afghanistan? Wheat ? Iran did not ... etc.


So unless Iran allows transit of weapons, such trade has no strategic dimensions is it? Interesting.

DO you even read what you write?! Or have you decided to overwhelm others with volume. Afterall it takes more effort to clean crap than create it.

:rotfl: just being an oiseaule for the sake of it eh? Nice. Do carry on arguing with your imagination, my participation is obviously redundant.



Meanwhile, in Afghanisthan,

Afghan security forces have arrested at least twelve militants, eleven Chechens and one Azerbaijani, who reportedly entered the Logar area to train Taliban fighters, local officials said on Sunday.


link to news item

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 11 Dec 2017 01:49

Tolonews reports. Hyperlink does not work.

members of Afghan parliament asked the Kabul government to suspend all its relations with the US following President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem.


Seems to be a minority -- report does not state if this has widespread support in parliament. I would wager not.
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 11 Dec 2017 02:00

As usual, pakis play the India boogeyman card and the US predictably responds about keeping India out of Afghanisthan. Pasting entire contents as link does not work.

Tolonews

Dec 7 2017: A day after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ meeting with Pakistan’s officials in Islamabad, Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, said that Islamabad had been assured that there would be no military role for India in Afghanistan.

Speaking to the BBC Urdu on Mattis’ trip, Asif said the Pakistan government raised the matter of India’s future role under Trump administration’s new policy for Afghanistan and the region with US officials in Islamabad on Monday.

He said that the US had assured Pakistan that there will be no military intervention by India in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has repeatedly expressed its serious concerns regarding India’s role in Afghanistan to the US and Afghan leadership, according to reports.
In September Mattis visited New Delhi and his Indian counterpart had said that India has no intention to send its troops to Afghanistan and that the country was increasing economic relations with Afghanistan to assist the war-torn country.

Pakistan’s Express Tribune also reported that the sources said that the issue of India’s role in Afghanistan remained top of the agenda for Pakistan during the visit of Mattis, while the United States asked Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network and other elements targeting the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Mattis told Pakistani officials that the US was ready to play its role in addressing Pakistan’s reservations. “We are not putting forward any demands to Pakistan, but we want to work together,” the report said.
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 11 Dec 2017 02:00

periaswamy wrote:You are arguing with yourself because I have not made any claims about USA using Iran as a transit route -- my quote to which you are responding to does not make any such claim.

No, but you did declare US/Iran becoming chummies in some near future. And we were discussing Afghanistan. How else could US-Iran becoming best friends impact the scene, other than transit?

So unless Iran allows transit of weapons, such trade has no strategic dimensions is it? Interesting.

Unless you are Nehru type bleeding heart liberal, who believes trade will change Afghanistan into Switzerland, the answer is NO.

Trade is not sufficient. India needs to step up its game in Afghanistan. The aim should be to dismember Pakistan. Chabahar is only a stop gap arrangement for cultivating ties in Kabul and completely insufficient..

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 11 Dec 2017 02:04

Afghanisthan launches road connectivity project with turkmenistan. Possibly part of the new Iran-afghanisthan-central asia connectivity projects.


Ghani Inaugurates Qaisar-Laman Road Project In Badghis

President Ashraf Ghan visited western Badghis province on Sunday and officially inaugurated the first and second sections of the Qaisar-Laman ring road project.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Qaisar-Laman road project in Badghis province, Gani thanked the Asia Bank for its support of the Badghis's Qaisar-Laman road. “In the upcoming two years, you will witness a rail link to Badghis. It will change the lives of the people,” Ghani said. “It is an honor for me to inaugurate this project today in this province.”

Local officials, MPs, Provincial Council members and residents of the province participated in the ceremony.

The first and second phase of the ring road is 82km of the total of the 233 km-ring road of Afghanistan. The first and second phase of the project will be complete in 913 days, according to Presidential Palace statement.
With the completion of the whole project, the South Asia will be linked to Central Asia by this project, it said.
“Badghis should have a transit future,” Ghani said, adding that Badghis and Herat are provinces which could provide wind electricity in the future.


Ghani warned that the security situation had to be changed in the next year and the forces should take an offensive role. “It is an order to security organizations that they go on the offensive in the next year, but the people must also support the government,” he said.

President Ghani said that Qaisar-Laman is one of our biggest national projects. “I hope this project will be supported everywhere in the country. It is necessary that such projects be implemented in other provinces.”


Given all the competing projects by China, India/Japan to improve connectivity in this region, the place should look different in a few decades...assuming all of this does not go sideways due to some new conflict.

Asia Bank is a Chinese Bank that is funding this Road construction project.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 11 Dec 2017 02:46

The strength of Afghan special forces will be doubled. Thats what US, India and Afghanistan are working on.
We need some kind of ethnic make up in the forces to know what is happening on ground. This info is hard to come by.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 12 Dec 2017 07:28

Russia favours dialogue with the Taliban: Lavrov - The Hindu
An inclusive political dialogue for peace in Afghanistan should include the Taliban and other regional countries, said Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov here [New Delhi] on Monday . He said Russia had in the past contacted the militant group to sit down for negotiations. Addressing a gathering at a think-tank event, he said the American strategy of defeating extremism and terrorism in Afghanistan was not viable as the military method of the last 15 years had not reduced violence in the country.

“You cannot resolve the situation without having everybody on board and around the table. The government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, and those who can influence the situation, including neighbours who feel the bad influence of what is going on in Afghanistan should find a political solution,” said Mr. Lavrov urging for a broad-based discussion covering all sides from the region and Central Asia.

Russia had been boosting its presence in Af-Pak in the last few years and The Hindu had reported about Moscow’s diplomacy with the stakeholders in the region but Monday’s statement from Mr. Lavrov was a major public moment when Russia indicated its support for political dialogue with the Taliban.

He also slammed reported U.S. allegations that Russia had been open to unconditional talks with the Taliban and had been helping the group with arms.

“Never ever was there any proof or fact that Russia supported the Taliban or armed the Taliban as alluded by some American officials. We have contacted the Taliban only for two reasons, when our citizens or citizens of our allies got into harm’s way and we had to extract them and the second was to persuade the Taliban to sit down and negotiate. But we always reserve and say they must join negotiation provided they renounce violence and severe their links with terrorist organisations and respect the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Mr .Lavrov in an interaction at the Vivekananda International Centre. {The three conditions that the Russians lay down will never be met by the Taliban. The Taliban had made these amply clear many times.}

He also pointed out that the fight against terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan cannot be separated from the issue of drug trade which funds violence in the country and the region. “The recent American strategy on Afghanistan which emphasises force will not work just as the huge army of NATO over the last 15 years did not curb violence nor reduce drug production. It is accepted that it feeds terrorist activities directly,” said Mr. Lavrov urging for an end to double standards in fighting drug trade.

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Deja Vu

Postby SSridhar » 12 Dec 2017 07:56

Lavrov's categorical demand {Russia favours dialogue with the Taliban: Lavrov - The Hindu} to include the Taliban in peace talks, which means that the Taliban would eventually also share power, reminds me of c. 2009. It was in the RIC meet at Bangalore in 2009 that the three RIC countries announced their involvement in the Afghan settlement process. It was clear for many of us that India, the relative lightweight, was being used by Russia & China to insert themselves forcefully in the matter. Later, it turned out excatly that way.

The context then was similar to what is pertaining now. Obama had taken over, done a review and came to certain conclusions. He appeared determined because he seemed to be pursuing what he promised during his election campaign. The much touted review of the Afghanistan situation by Barack Obama was announced on Mar. 27, 2009. The new policy, while making Pakistan more accountable for the aid it receives from the US, placed reliance on equipping and training both the Pakistani and the Afghani armed forces and law enforcement agencies while continuing to target the hard-core and recalcitrant Al Qaeda/Taliban leadership while willing to negotiate with moderate elements. With this possibly in mind, the US Commander in Afghanistan was replaced in May 2009 by General Stanley McChrystal, a US Special Forces counterinsurgency specialist. The policy identified Pakistan as having received huge monetary benefits but not delivered commensurately . The policy also recognizes that the Afghan situation will be best handled by involving immediate neighbours and powerful regional players. The US Administration had also clearly stated that the Pakistani intelligence agencies should cut-off their historic links with the mujahideen and Taliban leaders, commanders and warlords. The policy had also determined that peace in Afghanistan was closely interlinked with the India-Pakistan reconciliation and settlement of disputes and appointed Richard Holbrooke as a special representative for the Af-Pak-India region. An incensed India forced the US to remove India from the equation. Anyway c. 2009 turned out quite miserable for the US culminating in the FOB Chapman incident at Khost on the penultimate day of that year.

Can't we see the eerie similarities between March 2009 and November 2017? Trump hasn't changed the Obama script at all.

On the same day this Obama policy review was announced, an equally powerful initiative was announced by the Shanghai Cooperation organization (SCO) in what is known as the Moscow Declaration. While there was similarity in approach as far as the involvement of neighbours and regional players such as Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan in resolving the Afghan situation, it differed from the US policy of differentiating among the Taliban. This Declaration also castigated Pakistan for its support to terrorism and asked it to dismantle these infrastructure. The same Sergei Lavrov then said, "Commendable efforts to achieve national reconciliation [by Karzai] must not be supplanted with attempts to strike a deal with the terrorist leaders".

Later, in October 2009, the foreign ministers of the RIC triangle of Russia, India and China met in Bangalore and demanded a greater say for themselves in the resolution of the Afghan problem.

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Re: Deja Vu

Postby Karthik S » 12 Dec 2017 08:46

SSridhar wrote:...


Sridhar sir, Taliban is a pasthun org. How is it working with the pakis when pakjabis are bombing pasthuns in KPK , shouldn't that make Pakis enemy of Taliban?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 12 Dec 2017 09:00

Karthik, I do not know whom you refer to as 'pakjabi'.

The Taliban are a creation of Pakistan and later supported by the US until the US fell foul of them. The term, 'Pashtun', is very generic as there are several groups of them with differing interests. They live on either side of the Durand Line.

The relationship among the various players is complex and therefore cannot be viewed in black & white terms.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Karthik S » 12 Dec 2017 09:25

I was referring to the punjabis, they are doing the same thing to Balochis, Sindhis. They did the same thing to BDs (East Pak). And, AFAIK, Pashtuns are from a single ethnic group, knowing their strong tribal culture, it's a surprise if there are different groups with differing and conflicting interest in this regard. But I suppose the Durrand line created this different groups with differing interests.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 12 Dec 2017 09:32

Karthik_S, I think one assumption is that tribal cohesion is not overridden by any other identity outside the identity of the tribe, so we cannot view the behavior of different tribes as a single cohesive unit, since each group determines its own interests different from other groups.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Kashi » 12 Dec 2017 09:36

Karthik S wrote:They did the same thing to BDs (East Pak).


I think you will find that BD genocide was a collaborative West Pakistani initiative- Punjabi and Pashtun soldiers in the TSPA formed the tip of the oppressive spear- both were equally culpable in killings and rape and they were "ably" assisted by Baloch and Sindhis and others in the TSPA.

On the "civilian" side, Al Badr and Al Shams death squads were almost entirely made up of Muhajirs, primarily from UP, Bihar and Bengal, collectively known as Biharis.

Probably that was the only time when all West Baki ethnicities were united against the largest ethnicity of their country.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 12 Dec 2017 17:05

1. Not all Pashtuns are pak-pasand. Not anymore.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban is pashtun and anti-pak. It has now morphed into ISIS together with Orakzai agency pashtuns. The ISIS vs Taliban fight is basically a Pashtun civil-war about who is more islamic and whether to prioritize sharia implementation and war in Afghanistan over the same in Pakistan.
2. Russian objective is to ensure the removal of US bases from Afghanistan. But Moscow is not so rash as to start arming the talibunnies. China and Iran have similar goals.
India supports US presence in Afghanistan for the time being. Its position now disagrees with Russian aims. IMO, It has not sufficiently presented its case in Moscow though. That is a pity. China is lost to Pakis. And Iran plays its own game.
3. India has no leverage in Afghanistan but has most to lose. All other countries Pak/China/Russia/Iran have access to landlocked Afghanistan.India doesnt. Indian approach is Gandhian. And will eventually fail, if it is not backed by armed efforts to open up different possibilities in the Afpak region.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 12 Dec 2017 17:58

Karthik S wrote:But I suppose the Durrand line created this different groups with differing interests.

Let us realize that no Afghan leader, warlord or Taliban (including the Quetta Shura) has ever agreed to turn the Durand Line into a de jure border. They have been uncompromising on Durand Line and Greater Pakhtoonistan. Full stop.

They have always maintained that it was a result of coercion of the weak by the powerful and with the lapse of the British-Afghan Treaty in c. 1993, the Durand Line has ceased to exist. They claim Grater Pakhtoonistan up to the western bank of the Indus.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 13 Dec 2017 01:45

The Pashtun lands in Afghanistan can be divided into three major regions, not based on administrative division but based on tribal connections, geographical cohesion and social ties: Loy Nangarhar, LoyaPaktia and Loy Kandahar (Loy and Loya mean greater). How the Afghan Jihad unraveled in these three regions is affected by distinct tribal and cultural nature of the regions. The Taliban insurgency today can also be divided along these three regions. Loy Nangarhar housed a diverse set of Jihadists and this region is also well-developed with a higher education ratio. Jalalabad sits just outside Kabul and Kabul is separated from this region by a narrow gorge. Among the Mawlwis, the religious clerics, there also are strong forces centered on Sufi shrines and the royalists. The most important movement to come out of the region is that of MawlwiYounasKhalis. Khalis flouted his Pashtun identity and his rooting in Pashtun culture when other Jihadists and later Taliban were against it. Kunar has been under Salafi influence since the Afghan Jihad and is also a stronghold today for anti-Shia militant.

LoyaPaktia presents another kind of militant activity. LoyaPaktia region has been important to the kings ruling Afghanistan. The tribes of LoyaPaktia have acted as de-facto royal army for Durrani empire since 1929, when they went on to restore the deposed Durrani king. The Wazir tribe on side of Pakistan is closely related to the region and many people from Waziristan went to fight for the Durrani king. Since then, the tribes on side of Pakistan have easily assimilated into the power milieu of Kabul and also have served into the royal army since its downfall in 1978. JallaludinHaqani belongs to Zadran tribe of this region and holds dominancy over the region. The irony is that in this region the locals defeated the Taliban regime but now it has become a stronghold of the strongest arm of Taliban. The author traces this to the indiscriminate treatment of whole of Afghanistan as a common theater of war and dealing with the whole population as it was complicit in crimes of Taliban regime.

The emergence of neo-Taliban in Loy Kandahar follows a pattern. The pattern is targeted takedown of tribal leaders and thus creating a leadership vacuum which is then filled in by the Taliban. The region enjoys a strategic importance as it connects with both Iran and Pakistan. The Taliban movement originated from Kandahar and Kandahar Shura was the most powerful Taliban’s decision making body. Later the Taliban’s capital was shifted to Kabul and a Kabul Shura was established, but still the Kandahar Shura enjoyed the ultimate decision making powers. The region is controlled from Quetta Shura now. There is a difference between how the Taliban in Kandahar treats the people from that of how the Haqqani network treat the people in LoyaPaktia. From workings of it, both look separate organizations and thus demands separate set of policies to be tackled down.

Understanding the cultural and social realities of Pashtun land is important to solve the crises Pashtuns are in. To understand the current crisis of political violence it has to be understood that the violence on Pashtun lands is motivated by divergent narrow goals of each player. In shape of Taliban Pakistan found the perfect solution to pan-nationalism of Pashtuns. The pan-nationalism was weakened by the pan-Islamism. A unified Pashtun nationalism which transcends the Durand Line is considered a threat by Pakistan to its existence and thus a theater of war on Pashtun lands is considered a necessity. The current crisis of Pashtun land is not military. It is economic and social in nature. Only military solution will not solve the crisis. Pashtuns on both sides are disconnected from the centers of power. Their struggle is that of integration into a state. Unless the power centers of the region accept that Pashtuns have to be integrated into the mainstream instead of left at the peripheries the Pashtuns lands will continue to suffer.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 13 Dec 2017 03:54

The pashtuns have it rough. The paki army just has to ensure disunity between the power centers -- they supported the Quetta shura for this end in the past. It is a lot easier to create friction between these pashtun groups and stop them from uniting, so that they don't turn their attention to erasing the durand line permanently.

Short of the destruction of the pakistani army as a power center in the region, the Pashtuns don't stand a chance, unless the pakistani army gets too busy dealing with internal troubles within punjab/sindh/balochistan to the extent of not being able to keep up with their strategy to keep pashtuns disunited.

Bu then again we have USA, China, and Russia, all courting the pakistani army, so this is not going to happen any time soon. Even now there is noise in Afghanisthan about Ghani faking voter rolls and whatnot, so it appears that Ghani is going to be replaced by the US/Pakistan combine by someone more sympathetic to pakistan like Ghani was when he was first elected. round and round in circles....such a move will negate any cooperation between India and US to strengthen Afghan forces, and I don't believe this is the first time we are going down this road either.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 13 Dec 2017 17:47

https://www.khaama.com/raid-on-afghan-t ... uror-04017

Raid on Afghan-Turk high school in Kabul sparks furor

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 13 Dec 2017 23:49

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/worl ... tions.html
Afghan President Under Fire as Critics Chafe at Overdue Vote


Ground is slipping from under Ghani`s feet. That may not be an entirely bad thing.
India needs to stay deeply engaged there. Afghanistan is heading for another round of power struggle after US withdrawal.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 14 Dec 2017 21:57

xposted from India-US thread:

SSridhar wrote:The release of the Coalition Support Fund, the removal of LeT's name from the aid bill after pressure from Pakistan, the inclusion of India in the portfolio of the US Special Representative to Afghanistan, the renewed interest the US is showing in mediating between India & Pakistan are all continuation of the same Obama policy, which in turn was a continuum of the US policy over the previous five decades.

The US State Department has institutionalized its belief that peace in Afghanistan is impossible without peace between India & Pakistan. The South Asia policy review by Trump is therefore doing more of the same.

The US has a clear policy with respect to India-China-Pakistan. The India-US relationship would see positive movement when it comes to China especially if India makes more concessions like CISMOA, BECA et al. The India-US relationship wouldn't see any change in the fundamental US position when it comes to Pakistan. Thus, the US pursues a twin-track in its policy prerogative with us. Again, the same as during the Obama regime.

Those who expected no change in the US policy with Trump so far as India-US-Pakistan relationship was concerned stand vindicated.


+1.

All this talk of some new strategic relations between US and India w.r.t. Afghanisthan is all nonsense, notwithstanding whispers from "informed sources".

US is starting a whisper campaign against Ghani because Pakistan wants him gone, and he has become too India-friendly, like Karzai was before the US forced his removal (and rigged the election rules to ensure that Karzai's protege lost the election).

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Parasu » 15 Dec 2017 01:00

periaswamy wrote:US is starting a whisper campaign against Ghani because Pakistan wants him gone, and he has become too India-friendly, like Karzai was before the US forced his removal (and rigged the election rules to ensure that Karzai's protege lost the election).


Your statements are getting weirder by the day.
US is on record stating that Ghani will complete his term notwithstanding whether the scheduled parliamentary elections are held or not. US is backing Ghani.
Ghani was Pak`s man. He is a slippery customer and like most afghans would be happy to play India, Pakistan or any other country.

Ground is slipping from under Ghani`s feet because the tajiks/hazaras/uzbeks and karzai pasand pashtuns have ganged up agaianst him. And this is no whisper campaign. Ghani himself has admitted it.
In his speech at the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Board on 10 July 2017, he admitted that the discontent was increasingly taking on an ethnic hue, bringing about ethnic polarisation, a cause of “invisible annihilation”. Indirectly referring to the new coalition’s leaders, Ghani warned that “unscrupulous leaders and individuals who sacrifice the national interests for their personal gains could manipulate a polarized society”. However, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, pointed to related deficits on the government side when briefing the UN Security Council on 21 June 2017.

https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/th ... overnment/

And the threat is serious enough for Ghani to deny permission to Dostum`s plane to land in Mazar-e-Sharif. He recently stopped Atta Noor from attending an opposing coalition`s meeting in Kandahar.
Ghani has monopolised power and kicked out the tajiks. Dostum is infamous for switching sides. Karzai and Ghani were competitors in Kandahar before any of them reached anywhere.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 15 Dec 2017 01:49

US is on record stating that Ghani will complete his term notwithstanding whether the scheduled parliamentary elections are held or not. US is backing Ghani.

Ghani was Pak`s man. He is a slippery customer and like most afghans would be happy to play India, Pakistan or any other country.


I am sure the US also says other things on the record have proven to be untrue. US's intentions for remaining in Afghanisthan are not what its official stances are either. Ghani was "pak's man" but is no longer so, which should be obvious to anyone paying attention to afghanisthan. Everyone plays everyone in this domain, so that is not some character flaw of Ghani's that renders him a "slippery customer" -- he is clearly looking out for his country's interests, as is expected of him.

Instead of paying attention to what the US says "officially" -- it is more instructive to pay attention to what they do. Everyone lies, but their actions reveal intentions. US sticking to the same afghan policy since 2001, after all the song about Pakistan's perfidy, means India can expect the same level of "relationship" (that amounted to nothing w.r.t. Indian interests) with the US as before.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby ramana » 15 Dec 2017 02:13

periaswamy, Let us stick to Afghanistan here. Bringing India in same post leads to derailment.

Either way Ghani is facing a whisper campaign. That's the fact.

The Tajiks run Afghanistan since before Babur's time. So what's going on?

From Parasu's post its the old Northern Alliance elements ranged against Ghani.
From you post its the US that is behind the whisper campaign.

How does that compute?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby periaswamy » 15 Dec 2017 02:26

It is a little more indirect IMO. US is not directly spreading canards about Ghani.

1. Pakistan is not happy with Ghani
2. the US has reverted to placing pakistan's interests in Afghanisthan above those of other countries in the region.
3. Ghani's positions have moved against Pakistan over the past few years
4. the discontent being stirred up against Ghani is because of assassination attempts of political leaders in Afghanisthan by unknown parties (this is standard pakistani MO, assassinations to cause political realignments) -- the assassinations targeted Tajik political leaders, who have been historically (corrected) anti-"good"taliban
5. While the US overtly says it supports Ghani, allowing pakistan a greater say in Afghanisthan is going to work against Ghani.

Ghani maybe a suave-enough political player and revert to being more pro-pakistan. The alternative is that pakistan will continue to undercut his political position over time -- but there seem to be players in afghanisthan who are now taking directions and consulting with Turkey, so maybe there are other new challengers to pakistan from the Ummah nations.
Last edited by periaswamy on 15 Dec 2017 03:09, edited 2 times in total.


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