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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 14 Sep 2016 21:03
by svenkat
Afghanistan is landlocked but thinks openly, Pak has access to the sea and thinks like a landlocked country: Afghanistan Pres. Ashraf Ghani
ANI ‏@ANI_news 2h2 hours ago
Afghanistan is at crossroads, it's no longer a landlocked country, those who block us will be blocked: Ashraf Ghani
Why are we concerned tht a country(Pak) can block 2 great nations(India-Afghan) from trading: Anyway, with Chabahar monopoly will end-Ghani

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 14 Sep 2016 23:56
by schinnas
Incredible to see the 180 degree change in India's influence in Afghanistan. Let me just capture some of the key developments:

1. Afghanistan government relationship with India.
Afghanistan's National Unity Government (NUG) has two major power centers - President Ghani and CEO Abdullah. Ghani was widely perceived to be a US plant in a rigged election and Abdullah favored India. Initially Ghani was pro-Pakistan and event went to the extent of getting RAMA cadre trained by ISI. RAMA is Afhganistan's intelligence agency set up with India's help. In the past year, Ghani woke up to the duplicity of Pakistan and has become its hardest critic. At the same time, he seems to have realized that India's long term interests are in a stable and prosperous Afghanistan that controls its soverignity and is not dependent upon or be a supplicant to Pakistan. As a result, currently while Abdullah and Gani camps and other smaller power centers pull in different directions, they are all positively disposed to India and the trust level between Afghan government and Indian government seems to have really increased. At an institutional level, there is established partnership, training programs and official to official relationships between ANA (Afghan National Army) and INA (Indian National Army) and between RAMA and RAW and supply of arms and spare parts. Similar institutional co-operation is being widened to various civilian fields as well. Such institutional relationships provide long term strength to relationships between both countries and couldn't easily be modified even if governments change in either countries.

2. India's soft power and reputation:
For years, India was struggling to complete the signature projects it started in Afghanistan - primarily the Parliament building and the Salma dam. In the past two years, GoI seems to be working on Afghan related projects on a war footing and Modi inaugurated their new Parliament building and the Salma dam. It is not over-exaggeration to say that most of educated Afghans regard India with goodwill and consider them as a friend. There were several hoardings of Modi when he inaugurated the Salma dam! These accomplishments provide to India a credibility as a doer that can deliver on the ground in a difficult area. Not just Afghan, but all countries with stakes in Afghanistan are now likely to view India with respect.

3. Alignment of US & India on Afghanistan:
Despite multiple attempts, India was kept out of all or most multilateral forums and dialogues on Afghanistan by US, China and Pak. Finally, US seems to have found common ground with India. The trilateral US-India-Afghanistan forum is the best platform where India formally gets a seat at the table to participate in the great end game various regional and global powers are planning and executing in the Afghan theatre.

4. Progress on Chabahar port and India-Iran relationship:
There are signs of progress on Chabahar port and GoI seems to be accelerating the efforts to make it a reality including potentially getting Japanese economic assistance to make it successful. Chabahar and its road link to Afghanistan is a more of a strategic and tactical blessing for Afghanistan than it is for India. Afghanistan, being a land locked country till now had to rely only on Pakistan for sea access. Once (when and not if) Chabahar and road connectivity to Afghanistan becomes a reality, Afghanistan will truely be independent. This will also cement the long term partnership and inter-dependence between Afghanistan and India.

5: Increasing isolation of Taliban and Pakistan:
A year ago, Taliban appeared to have all the upper hand. Talibanized Afghanistan is nothing but extension of Pakistan. Now with their leadership decimated, and without the aura of Mulla Omar, Taliban is losing the plot of public support even amongst Pashtuns. Increased scrutiny from US makes it difficult for Pukis to overly support Talib leaders or for Talib leaders to move around freely like they used to do a year ago. Warlards like Heckmatyar signing peace treaty with Afghan government is a very welcome development as it pushes Taliban and Pakistan into a corner.

Overall, MAD has lot to be happy about and also lot to do.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 01:29
by Aditya G
Superb article by Praveen Swami ... a-3031150/

Can Ashraf Ghani and Narendra Modi stop the Taliban’s perpetual-motion war machine?
Ashraf Ghani wants to keep doing what Afghanistan has been doing this past decade—just with a little more bang in its arsenal.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 02:13
by Prem
India offers $1bn in fresh aid to Afghanistan

NEW DELHI: India offered Afghanistan a fresh $1 billion in economic assistance after their leaders met in New Delhi on Wednesday to strengthen already close ties between the neighbours.Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India's commitment to helping the war-torn country strengthen its education, health, agriculture and other sectors during talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.In a joint statement, India announced the $1 billion offer, but there was no mention of providing weapons to help Afghanistan fight militants, which it has previously asked for.
Modi and Ghani called in the statement for an end to sponsorship and support of militants.They did not name Pakistan, but they have previously accused their neighbour of supporting Islamic extremists.“The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives,” Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.
“They called upon the concerned to put an end to all sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists, including for those who target Afghanistan and India,” he told reporters.Ghani is expected to give a speech to a think tank on “global terrorism” later Wednesday as part of his two-day visit to the capital.India, the fifth largest bilateral donor in Afghanistan, has been a key supporter of Kabul's government and has poured more than $2 billion into the country since the Taliban was toppled in 2001.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 02:43
by g.sarkar ... 160914.htm » News » Exclusive! How India reached out to the Afghan Mujahideen
Exclusive! How India reached out to the Afghan Mujahideen
'It was a mission undertaken in darkness in every sense -- literally, because Afghanistan had no electricity at that time; and, metaphorically because Delhi historically dealt only with the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and the foreign ministry's vast archives had nothing to offer on the culture and politics of the northern tribes in the Hindu Kush.'
Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar, who played a stellar role in beginning India's systemic dealings in Afghanistan in 1994, reveals for the first time how he undertook that most important and risky mission.
One thing I learnt early enough in South Block was that as head of a territorial division, the success of a policy initiative almost always would lie in slipping it in innocuously when the superiors were overworked. Even if the idea were heretical, the chances of it finding habitation depended on the timing.
That was how the saga of India's systemic dealings with the Afghan Mujahideen began in 1994.
The fifteenth anniversary of the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the legendary 'Lion of Panjshir,' becomes an appropriate occasion to reminisce.
But, first, it is necessary to summon some history from the attic of the mind. Circa 1991, it wasn't particularly difficult for an Indian diplomat to bump into an odd Afghan Mujahideen representative accidentally at an embassy reception in Islamabad.
But they could never engage in a conversation, despite immense curiosity (on both sides), being acutely conscious of the prying eyes of Pakistani intelligence.
With the vague hint of a smile and a slight bow, the proud Afghan would slip away, half-apologetically, wary that even a small bite of the forbidden fruit would exile him forever from the Garden of Eden in Peshawar.
For, the endgame had already begun for the Communist regime in Kabul, and the Mujahideen knew their hour of reckoning had come, and that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence could condemn them to perish or give them everlasting life.
Then, in April 1992, the Mujahideen became Fateh Kabul, overthrowing the Communist regime headed by Najibullah. Soon afterward, when I returned to Delhi to head the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan Division in South Block, I was confident that Foreign Secretary J N Dixit (whose deputy I had been in the mission in Islamabad) would instinctively sense the raison d'etre of the need to deal with the Mujahideen government in Kabul.
But then events overtook us as a mob ransacked our mission in Kabul and our diplomats hastily vacated to Delhi. We shut down the embassy. There was no option, but to bide time.
Then, in end-August, we received a curious query from Kabul wondering whether the aircraft carrying President Burhanuddin Rabbani and his delegation could refuel in Delhi en route to Jakarta to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit meeting (September 1 to 6, 1992).
It took some effort to get the approval of the concerned authorities. (Dixit had already left for Jakarta.) Indeed, Indian establishment thought it was a bizarre idea to allow a planeload of 'Wahhabis' to land in Delhi as our State guests. (The mindset was not very different from what we have today vis-a-vis the Taliban.)
But, fortunately, it took a split second only for the razor-sharp mind of the then acting foreign secretary K Srinivasan to get the point, when I hardly began explaining that the Mujahideen were likely sending a complicated signal to us, reaching out to us, and bypassing their Pakistani mentors by contacting us directly.......
I had expected Massoud to be 'different.' Perhaps, that was because somehow I associated him with another handsome Tajik leader I got to know in 1990 in Najibullah's government -- Farid Mazdak -- who was a member of the politburo of the Afghan Communist Party but also an ardent exponent of national reconciliation with the Mujahideen.
However, I find that before retiring for the night later that evening, I had made a noting in my scrap book -- 'He resembles Bob Marley.'
Our conversation was held in two parts clocking 5 to 6 hours on successive days, interspersed with a field trip to the 'war front.'
The Jamiat was locked in mortal combat with another Mujahideen group, the Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar at that time for control of Kabul and was jostling with Ittehad, the Mujahideen group led by Rasul Sayyaf, whom also, interestingly, I was to meet later during the visit. (Jalaluddin Haqqani was a commander under Sayyaf during the jihad.)
Massoud greeted me warmly by observing that I was the first Indian official he was met through the entire period of the Afghan jihad. I responded that nonetheless he was far from a stranger to us, and that we always admired him, albeit from a distance, as a robust Afghan nationalist. Massoud was visibly pleased and I felt I struck the correct chord for a transparent conversation.
Our meeting took place in a room, which would correspond to the 'map room' in South Block in the ministry of defence. My mission was deceptively simple -- convey to the leadership of various Mujahideen groups that we were not their enemies and that we hoped for cordial, friendly relations, which were after all civilizational, rooted deeply in history.
Massoud gave a lengthy statement explaining the Jamiat's ideology, couched heavily in nationalistic idiom with plentiful innuendos and loaded remarks about Pakistan's intrusive policies toward Afghanistan.
He spread out the maps and with a pointer and explained at some length the overall security situation. Of course, at that precise moment, he saw Hekmatyar as an existential threat....
Massoud asked for India's help in the struggle to regain Afghanistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
I could sense that he had a good grasp of the India-Pakistan tensions at that time. (The insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir was nearing high noon by that time -- the bloody violence and mayhem in the valley, orchestrated by Pakistan, was driving Delhi to despair.)
Evidently, Massoud was hinting at the shared concerns of Kabul and Delhi in checkmating the Inter Services Intelligence. He (and Rabbani whom I met separately) harped on the importance of India reopening the mission in Kabul at the earliest. He offered full protection for our diplomats and chancery premises.
Ironically, I picked up the bazaar gossip later that 'Panjshiris' too had played their due part in the looting and ransacking of our mission, and were second to none in stealing our embassy vehicles, chandeliers and the imported furniture and Kashmiri carpets -- even embossed crockery and silver cutlery at the Residence.....
PS Gulbuddin Ghusaomatyaar, where did I hear that name before? And what happened to Bhadrakumar after retirement? why did he change?

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 02:54
by Rahul M

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 03:36
by g.sarkar ... 02136.html
Twenty-two missing Keralites reached Afghanistan in July to 'join Islamic State'
New Delhi: Twenty-two Keralites accused of leaving India to join the Islamic State are learnt to have reached "the Caliphate" in Afghanistan in the first week of July, said investigators who grilled the arrested Islamic State sympathiser Yasmin Mohd Zahid.
The 29-year-old Yasmin was arrested at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport while trying to exit India for Afghanistan on 1 August.
She informed investigators that thirteen of the missing Keralites were men, six women and three children, and "they had left their houses in Kasaragod and Palakkad districts of Kerala between mid-May and the first week of July."
Citing Yasmin's statement, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) official, close to the investigation, told IANS that all of the missing Keralites had "exited India from Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Mumbai airports for Kuwait, Dubai, Muscat or Abu Dhabi from where they are learnt to have travelled to Afghanistan through Iran."
During custodial interrogation, Yasmin further said that she had got married to Abdul Rashid, 30, on 3 May this year in a nikah ceremony solemnised over the phone. Rashid is one of the accused who left India along with other Keralites.
Investigators said that two other co-accused Ashfak and Yahya acted as witnesses of the nikah ceremony while another co-accused Shihas acted as "wali" (guardian) of the bride.......

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 03:58
by g.sarkar

Thanks, but it was a rhetorical question Sir.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 15:07
by arun
A week old article from Afghanistan’s Khaama Press stating that work has long last started on the Afghanistan end of the railway link to Iran. The Khawaf, Iran to Herat, Afghanistan railway is a 130Km link, of which 70Km is inside Iran and 60Km inside Afghanistan.

Great to see ongoing projects that create transit alternatives that bypass the Islamic Republic of Pakistan thereby providing Afghanistan ability to weather any threat of Pakistan cutting transit links:

Afghanistan-Iran railway construction kicks off near Herat

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 15 Sep 2016 16:19
by Raja Ram
Ghani's visit to India and his answers on Baluchistan clearly indicates that he has lost patience with Pakistan and he is losing time to deliver some sort of peace arrangement that can enable an Afghan recovery. The Taliban seems well entrenched in certain areas, but they are also showing signs of getting to an independent mode from Paki ISI clutch. That is no way easy and it may be too early to come to the conclusion that Taliban really wants that or can survive if they try that.

Ghani obviously did not come out and say that he is for an independent Balochistan but said enough to put Pakistan on the backfoot. He also clearly understands that an Afghan-Iran arrangement can happen only through Indian involvement. The threat posed by the Chinese presence is something that they are not looking too kindly. The Afghan hate for Communists of any hue is only second to the hate they have for Pakistanis at the present.

The promise of another USD 1 Billion in assistance by India and all linked to economic revitalization, creation of assets, training and defence sectors are clear markers that Afghanistan-India projects can pan out to Taliban controlled areas should there be a peace process. It is also clear that any peace process in Afghanistan can no longer exclude India. The Afghanis understand that they will know no peace if India is not involved and Pakistan is involved.

When Karzai left and Ghani came in, there was so much joy expressed in Pindi GHQ. Ghani did come with an idea of making peace with Pakistan backed Taliban and Pakistan. He was able to successfully persuade American backing for his candidature against a more pro-India Abdullah. Within a year of his Presidency, he has woken up to the true nature of Pakistan.

The Modi gambit of opening up Balochistan and the way he has quickly got on board Bangladesh as well as Afghan tacit support and understanding has indeed caught Pakistan, the US and China flat footed to a certain extent. The fact that Iran, who is actually quite wary of Balochistan movement given its own problems with that ethnic group, has also not come forward to denounce a free Balochistan, goes to show that an active Indian diplomatic corps has delivered over the last 2 years. The reactions of China and the US are along expected lines, but they are not in a position now to deny Indian enhancement in Afghanistan or support to Balochistan.

India has made some significant investments in building up international support for its initiatives in the region including for the ones in Afghanistan. Pakistani attempts to stop the free fall of relationship with Afghanistan have not been successful and in fact have gone the other direction. The decision of Afghanistan to stop access to Pakistan in retaliation for denial of over land links to India, their decision to upgrade defence links and expand Indian projects in Afghanistan and the tripartite agreement on Char Bahar port are all practical manifestations of Afghanistan's rejection of Pakistan involvement or control on the reconcilation process.

More importantly, the remarks made by Karzai and Ghani on the Durand Line means that they are biding their time and if and when Balochistan issues becomes an open conflict, the Durand Line's legitimacy will also be challenged by Afghanistan. They are waiting for a consolidation of forces inside Pakistan who can challenge the integrity of the state.

This visit marks the beginning of a even more expanded relationship between India and Afghanistan and an intransigent Pakistan will matter even less in the fast changing dynamics of South Asia. Even its very existence will come to question if it is not able to give up being a sponsor of terror and mayhem. As a failing state it may delay the inevitable but it has already crossed a point of no return.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 16 Sep 2016 10:56
by g.sarkar ... an-2255550
US welcomes US $1 billion Indian aid pledge to Afghanistan
ri, 16 Sep 2016-08:40am , PTI
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said, "We view it as a very positive sign and we appreciate India's effort."
The US has welcomed the US $1 billion aid pledge made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards development in Afghanistan.
"The fact that India is willing to invest in that future (of Afghanistan), we view it as a very positive sign and we appreciate India's effort," State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference on Thursday.......

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 16 Sep 2016 12:27
by Manish_P
^ :roll: ya right.. please also give India a chance to appreciate you back.. You can start by reimbursing us the 1 Billion USD. Just put it down as our expenses incurred in the WoT or GWOT or whatever it is being acronymed now

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 16 Sep 2016 13:18
by SSridhar
The full circle of reason - Shashank Joshi, The Hindu
If any proof were needed of the dramatic course correction under way in Afghanistan’s foreign policy, then President Ashraf Ghani could not have given us a better example on his second official visit to New Delhi. There were agreements on extradition, mutual legal assistance, and even space cooperation. But the most telling moment of the trip was none of these things. Nor was it India’s announcement of $1 billion in aid. Rather, it was Mr. Ghani’s address at the think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) where he praised C. Christine Fair’s book, Fighting to the End: the Pakistan Army’s Way of War, as the best exposition of the Pakistani military establishment’s philosophy. Ms. Fair’s book, spotted in the arms of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last summer, characterised Pakistan as a “purely greedy state, driven by ideological motives”. “Military defeat short of nuclear emasculation,” she warned, “is not likely to convince the Pakistan Army that its goals are unreasonable.” “Pakistan is a revisionist state,” echoed Mr. Ghani at IDSA, “every defeat is celebrated as victory.”

Realignments over time

If the Afghan President is a convert to these ideas, it is a far cry from his fulsome words at Rawalpindi’s General Headquarters in November 2014. Mr. Ghani’s election earlier that year halted a decade-long improvement in Indo-Afghan ties, notably with the landmark strategic partnership of 2011, and led to a period of frenzied diplomacy between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Taliban. That process, nurtured by the U.S. and China, withered in the heat of the Taliban’s relentless advance over the past year. Peace talks fell apart, the city of Kunduz fell to insurgents last September, and a series of large attacks hit Kabul.

The turning point came in April when a disillusioned Mr. Ghani told a joint session of parliament that he had abandoned hope that Pakistan would deliver the Taliban to the table. He has kept up this tone. Last week, Mr. Ghani sternly warned Pakistan that if it continued to restrict Afghan trade with India, Kabul would consider blocking Pakistan’s own access to Central Asia. It was a hollow threat, given the small volume of Pakistani trade that flows that way, but it followed clashes and troop build-ups at the Torkham and Chaman border crossings earlier in the summer.

This diplomatic initiative is now pressing Kabul and New Delhi back together, potentially breathing new life into the strategic partnership signed five years ago. During his trip, Mr. Ghani publicly reinforced India’s new approach to Balochistan, demanding that “this violence needs to be covered.” Though it was an afterthought to a line on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it is hard to imagine this was anything other than a carefully planned barb. It came on the very same day Indian diplomats were denouncing “authoritarian Pakistan’s human rights record in Balochistan at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, several thousand miles away.

A second prong of this diplomatic offensive involves Iran. “Why are we concerned that [Pakistan] can block two great nations from trade,” asked Mr. Ghani. “With Chabahar the monopoly will end.” India has been involved in Iran’s Chabahar port for well over a decade, motivated by the promise of access to Afghanistan, but development stalled as sanctions on Iran intensified, Tehran’s attention was absorbed in the Levant, and Pakistan-Iran relations improved. Then in May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Ghani, and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani signed a trilateral agreement to accelerate the project. Apart from the broader strategic implications of Indian access to Afghanistan and a deeper alignment between all three of Pakistan’s neighbours, Chabahar will generate Indian opportunities for intelligence collection and activity, as at Bandar Abbas further west and Zahedan to the north.

Turning to India

The third prong concerns the old question of Indian arms for Afghanistan. It is by now well known that Mr. Ghani suspended a long-standing request for Indian weaponry in late 2014, to lubricate his abortive outreach to Pakistan. But a year later, India handed over several attack helicopters to boost Afghanistan’s ailing airpower. Last month, Afghan Army chief General Qadam Shah Shahim visited New Delhi to present the old wish list, including more attack helicopters, transport helicopters, tanks, artillery, and ammunition. I would be surprised if we did not see a breakthrough very shortly indeed.

This visit was specially important because it came just weeks after one from General John Nicholson Jr., commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and NATO’s mission in the country. In 2009, the U.S.’s then top general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, famously wrote that “while Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures”. Seven years on, Gen. Nicholson struck a very different tone. “The U.S. favours India’s military support to Afghanistan,” he declared, noting “an immediate need for more” helicopters. More broadly, both India and Afghanistan will be buoyed by hopes that the Congressional mood on Pakistan is shifting, as evidenced by the decision to block funding for F-16 sales and $300 million of funds earlier this summer. Looming U.S. elections may also point to a course correction. “I and others thought we could not trust Pakistan,” wrote Hilary Clinton bitterly in her 2014 memoirs, pointing out that she viewed the relationship as “strictly transactional”.

The question is what all this adds up to. Mr. Ghani is turning to India because his relationship with Pakistan is breaking down. It is breaking down because Pakistan has neither reined in the insurgency nor compelled the Taliban to negotiate. India cannot do either of these things, nor heal the widening rifts within Afghanistan’s dysfunctional National Unity Government. “Chief Executive” Abdullah Abdullah, who was long perceived to be close to India, has condemned Mr. Ghani as “not fit for the presidency”. Political tensions escalated through August, while former President Hamid Karzai hovers as a spectre at the feast. Reforms due for this month are unlikely to happen, though international donors, who meet in Brussels on October 4-5, have no desire to see the unity government fall apart. Among other crises, the capitals of both Uruzgan and Helmand province are under siege by insurgents. Five of the latter’s 14 districts are Taliban-held, despite U.S. forces having been thrown back into direct combat. A handful of Indian helicopters — indeed, even a phalanx of new tanks — will not stop the rot within.

Shashank Joshi is a Senior Research Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in London

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 01:18
by g.sarkar
Our friend Ghusaomatyaar:
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar: Afghan Ex-PM And 'Butcher Of Kabul'
World | Agence France-Presse | Updated: September 22, 2016 15:58 IST
Many remember Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for overseeing the massive shelling of Kabul.
KABUL: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who signed a landmark peace agreement with Kabul on Thursday, is one of the most notorious warlords in Afghanistan's history, chiefly remembered for his role in the bloody civil war of the 1990s.
A former prime minister, Hekmatyar was a prominent anti-Soviet commander in the 1980s and stands accused of killing thousands of people in Kabul from 1992 to 1996, a period when various mujahideen factions fought each other for supremacy and which ended when the Taliban emerged victorious.
Widely lambasted as the "butcher of Kabul", he is believed to be living in hiding in Pakistan, though his group claims he is inside Afghanistan.
Following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan and fall of the Taliban, the US State Department designated him a terrorist, accusing him of taking part in and supporting attacks by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
But his Hezb-i-Islami terrorist group has been largely inactive in recent years, with its last big attack in Afghanistan, in which 15 people including five Americans were killed, in 2013.
Many Afghans remember Hekmatyar for overseeing the massive shelling of Kabul in the early nineties -- despite being named prime minister in 1992 to gain his support for a fragile coalition government.
Now in his sixties, he is the latest among a series of controversial figures that Kabul has sought to reintegrate into Afghan politics in the post-Taliban era......

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 13:22
by SSridhar
Discussions have been on-going with Gulbuddin hekmatyar for a long time now.

In Late March, 2010 reports appeared of President Karzai meeting with representatives of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was strong in the East and the North of Afghanistan. His delegation, which also included an ex-Minister and also the son-in-law of Hekmatyar, demanded that foreign forces left by July, 2010, a full year before the US planned to start withdrawal. The plan also calls for the current Afghan parliament to serve through December. After that, the parliament would be replaced by an interim government, or shura, which would hold local and national elections within a year. The Karzai Government_Hekmatyar Representative meeting followed an incident of violence between the Hezb-e-Islami and the Taliban a month earlier in the northern province of Baghlan where the Afghan National Army came to the Hezb’s rescue. Simultaneously, the Hizb also announced a meeting with the UN delegation. It is significant to note that in an August, 2009 interview to CNN, Hekmatyar promised to help the US if the ISAF announced a timeframe for withdrawal. On May, 21, 2010, the Maldives government spokesman announced that representatives of Hizb-e-Islami and the Karzai government were holding talks there, which was confirmed by Humayun Jareir, a prominent member of Hizb-i-Islami and Hekmatyar's son-in-law. He further said that the meeting was to bring together people who were influential in both Afghanistan's government and insurgent groups to try to come up with ideas for a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan.

On December, 21, 2012, representatives of the Afghan government, the Chief of the High Peace Council, Salahuddin Rabbani (son of the murdered Rabbani), Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami, Shi’a Hazara community, Yunus Qanuni, the ideologue of the opposition National Coalition of Afghanistan led by Abdulla Abdulla, and Ahmed Zia Massoud, the brother of late Ahmed Shah Massoud met with Taliban representatives - Shahabuddin Delawar, the Taliban’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Mollah Salam Zaeef, the Taliban regime’s last Ambassador to Pakistan - outside Paris.

The Afghan government’s High Peace Council (HPC) and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami, the second largest militant group in Afghanistan, signed a draft peace agreement (pending a final one) on May 18, 2016. The salient features of the draft peace agreement prominently include: Hizb’s promise not to have any links with anti-government armed militants, the Government’s offer of an official pardon to associates of the HeI militant group and its promise to work towards removing the group from the United Nations blacklist; the promise to recognize the Hizb as a political party involved in major political decisions; the legal immunity given to all Hizb members for all past political and military actions and mandatory the release of all Hizb prisoners within three months. Under the agreement, Hekmatyar would have a consultant role on important political and national decisions. A month earlier Hekmatyar had resiled from his usual position that all ‘foreign forces’ must first quit from Afghanistan before peace talks can proceed. Since Hekmatyar had in c. 2015 announced his support for the IS, this new development was considered significant. It is most likely that Hekmatyar played a game to force the hands of the Afghan government to a quick agreement.

Time alone can tell the effects of this deal.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 00:12
by sudhan
Another assault on Kunduz by taliban.. ... index.html


Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 06:58
by SSridhar
Taliban fighters enter Kunduz, mount assault - Reuters
Taliban fighters mounted a coordinated assault on the northern city of Kunduz overnight [Sunday, October 2], attacking from four directions and entering the city itself, a senior city police official said.

Sheer Ali Kamal, commander of the 808 Tandar police zone in Kunduz, said the attack began at around midnight (1930 GMT Sunday) and fighting was still going on in and around the city. “We are putting all our efforts together to push them back," he said.

Military helicopters were flying overhead and gunfire could be heard in the city.

Repeated bouts of heavy fight

Kunduz, which fell briefly to the Taliban a year ago, has seen repeated bouts of heavy fighting as the insurgents have sought to repeat their success of 2015.

Monday’s attack, a day before the start of a major donor conference in Brussels, underlines the precarious security situation in Afghanistan, where government forces are estimated to have control over no more than two thirds of the country.

“A massive operation started on Kunduz capital from four directions early this morning,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in his official Twitter account. He said the Nawabad area with four checkpoints had been captured and a number of soldiers had been killed. It was not immediately possible to verify the claim.

Five Taliban fighters seen

A Reuters reporter saw at least five Taliban fighters armed with AK-47 assault rifles, machines guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the city.

The attack came as the Taliban have stepped up operations in different parts of Afghanistan, including the strategic southern province of Helmand, where they have been threatening the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

The fall of Kunduz last year was one of the most serious blows suffered by the Western-backed government in Kabul since the withdrawal of most international troops at the end of 2014.

Growing strength

Although the insurgents abandoned the city after a few days, the demonstration that they were able to take a provincial capital underlined their growing strength and exposed serious flaws in Afghan security forces.

A Taliban raid on Tarin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan in the south, on September 8 also sparked fears of another collapse like that in Kunduz last year.

Mujahid said in the Taliban statement that the militants were pressing ahead with their assaults on Helmand and Uruzgan.

Ahead of 2-day global meet

Afghanistan’s international partners are due to start a two-day conference in Brussels on Tuesday, where they are expected to approve maintaining billions of dollars in funding for the government over the next four years.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 07:19
by Karthik S
Noob ques, what will be the relationship between the taliban and the pakis now that relationship have strained? Or is the strained relationship between Afghan govt and the pakis only ?

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 11 Oct 2016 02:15
by Rudradev
^^^The purpose of operation "Zarb-e-Azb" by the Pakistan army in North Waziristan in 2014 was to encourage as many defections as possible from anti-Islamabad Taliban groups to pro-Islamabad Taliban groups, and kill as many as possible of those Taliban who continued to resist Islamabad. To a large extent it succeeded. The anti-Islamabad faction of Taliban, TTP, was weakened in its ability to carry out brazen attacks against Pakistan itself. Meanwhile Pakistan continued to nurture and facilitate various Taliban factions, including the Quetta Shura and Haqqani Group, in their ongoing military efforts against NATO and the ANA.

Pakistan also contrived the appearance of setting up a "peace process" with the US govt and the Afghan govt of Ashraf Ghani to reach a "diplomatic solution" whereby the pro-Islamabad Taliban groups would be accommodated in the future politics of Afghanistan. The talks under this peace process came to nothing, of course, because the Pakis and pro-Islamabad Taliban groups sensed victory with the impending US/NATO withdrawal, and kept demanding more and more unreasonable terms. Finally the US was so disillusioned with Paki perfidy that they droned Mullah Mansour... the man who ISI had chosen as the successor to Mullah Omar as head of the Quetta Shura.

So all said and done, the Taliban militants who are now attacking Helmand, Kunduz and other places in Afghanistan are on good terms with Pakistan Army/ISI, and believe that on the whole the Pakistanis have successfully managed to back their resurgence in Afghanistan despite US pressure. Meanwhile on the anti-Pakistan side, TTP continues to resist Islamabad under Mullah Fazlullah. Other anti-Islamabad elements of Taliban who were attacked during Zarb-e-Azb have gone over to Islamic State in the Indian Subcontinent.

That in a very simple nutshell is the situation as I understand it today.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 11 Oct 2016 13:21
by Philip
Afghanistan ,India and BDesh,along with the Baluchis,MQM,etc.,must coordinate efforts to dismember paka s was done in '71.THis also may require support from Iran and the states of the former N.Alliance. Working in concert,Pak must be savaged day by day,paying it back in the same coin of terror.Both overt and covert mil ops,and ops by "non-state actors" :rotfl: ,must slice Pak into a thousand pieces. The time is ripe now.WE must seize the day. ... -militants
[quote]Afghanistan security 'undermined by efforts to crush Pakistani militants'
Afghan president says ‘unintended consequence’ of action against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was that Afghanistan was now full of foreign jihadis
Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani meets the Pakistan prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, at an airbase in Rawalpindi

Efforts to crush Pakistani militants have further undermined security in Afghanistan as growing numbers of terrorists have entered the country, the Afghan president said on Wednesday at a major regional summit in Islamabad on the future of his country.

Ashraf Ghani made the pointed comments during a Heart of Asia gathering of more than 31 countries, which was also notable for attracting the foreign minister of India – which is also deeply distrustful of Pakistan’s relations with militant groups.

The Afghan president said operations against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in the wake of last year’s killing of more than 130 schoolchildren in the city of Peshawar had created “unintended consequences” and additional security challenges for his country.

He said Afghan special forces had been forced to launch more than 40 operations against the TTP and that the country was now a hotbed of international jihadis. “Al-Qaida, Daesh [Isis] and terrorists from China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Middle East are all, unfortunately, present on our soil,” he said.

Afghanistan’s enduring security crisis was highlighted once again on the eve of Ghani’s arrival in Islamabad when dozens were killed during a Taliban attack on Kandahar airport, a major civilian and military hub in the country’s south. The upsurge of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan that followed the revelation in late July that the movement’s former leader, Mullah Omar, had died more than two years before has proved a major setback to efforts by Ghani to improve ties with Pakistan.

He had hoped, that in return for a series of concessions, Islamabad would use its influence to broker talks with Taliban representatives. But the succession dispute within the Taliban triggered by news of Omar’s death ensured only one such meeting was ever held. The spike in insurgent attacks heaped pressure on Ghani not to continue engaging with an eastern neighbour many Afghans believe supports the rebels.

Despite the difficulties there were strong hints from officials of a push to restart talks with insurgent leaders soon. The US deputy secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the Afghan and Pakistani leaders renewed their commitment to an “Afghan owned and Afghan led” process during a meeting with US and Chinese diplomats.
Blinken said the first meeting between Afghan officials and authorised Taliban representatives in the hill town of Murree on July 8 had been a “very significant development” and there was a “clear desire to return to that process”.
Salahuddin Rabbani, the Afghan foreign minster, said he hoped to see
“positive moves in the coming weeks” on peace talks.

Doubts had persisted until the last few days over whether Ghani and the Indian foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, would attend a diplomatic conference that was first held in Turkey in 2011 in a bid to find regional solutions to Afghanistan’s security crisis.

But Swaraj’s arrival at Islamabad airport on Tuesday night marked the highest-level Indian visitor since 2012 and came amid a long period of frosty relations between the two sides.

It was time India and Pakistan displayed “the maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation”, Swaraj told the conference.
“The entire world is waiting and rooting for a change. Let us not disappoint them.”

There have been few high-profile meetings between Pakistani and Indian officials after the Indian government made clear it was only prepared to discuss terrorism-related issues with Pakistan and not the contested region of Kashmir. Aziz Ahmed Khan, a former Pakistani ambassador to both Kabul and New Delhi, said there was now a “ray of hope” for improved relations with India.

However, bitter experience meant “you should never be overly enthusiastic because you never know where the next stumbling block will come”.

Khan doubted there would be an immediate resumption of Pakistani-brokered talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, saying there now needed to be an “intra-Taliban reconciliation process” between the splintered insurgent movement.

“Ashraf Ghani probably did have reason to be upset with us so the fact that he has come here and everyone has talked at the highest level is something,” he said.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 14 Oct 2016 12:44
by Philip
Can Afghanistan offer ‘other Indus’ option to India against Pakistan?
Pranab Dhal Samanta | ET Bureau | Updated: Oct 14, 2016, 11:30 IST

When Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani visited India last month, officials said, he specifically raised the possibility of developing Afghanistan’s eastern river system.

NEW DELHI: Can Afghanistan offer India the 'other Indus' in its strategic offensive against Pakistan? Both countries are actively exploring this via possible Chenab-like run-of-the river projects on Afghanistan's eastern rivers. Of particular interest is river Kabul, senior officials, speaking off record, told ET.
This river has some features identical to River Chenab in Jammu & Kashmir, including similar recorded average flow of around 23 million acre feet. Afghanistan desperately wants to tap irrigation and electricity potential of its eastern rivers, most of which flow untapped into Pakistan.
In retaliation to Uri attacks+ , India had upped the ante by giving the go-ahead to three run of-the-river projects on river Chenab. These had earlier been put on hold due to objections raised by Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty.
Pakistan, however, does not have any such treaty with Afghanistan. The rules governing flows of Afghanistan's eastern rivers, mainly Kabul, Kunnar and Chitral, into Pakistan are just some internationally accepted principles.
"By helping Afghanistan build some of these run-of-the-river projects, India will end up sending a very strong signal to Pakistan, which is already quite concerned over repeated Afghan requests to donors on this issue. So we need to examine the fallout closely," an official familiar with the issue told ET.
When Afghan President+ Mohammed Ashraf Ghani visited India last month, officials said, he specifically raised the possibility of developing Afghanistan's eastern river system while conveying gratitude on India completing the Salma dam project despite serious terror threats.

The two sides are in touch on this subject, said officials, adding that quiet official-level deliberations and visits are underway to discuss specific projects. Ghani is slated to be back in India in December first week to inaugurate the Heart of Asia ministerial meet on Afghanistan in Amritsar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too is expected there for the inaugural.

A strong, independent Afghanistan with a powerful military that can match up to the Pakistan's perverted military might is a necessity for regional peace and stability.
Dhairya Mehta

Afghanistan, officials said, has long made the argument that a proper irrigation system could transform the economy of some of its eastern provinces like Nangarhar, Pakhtia and Khost - currently hotbeds of terrorist activity. Improved agricultural prospects, according to Afghanistan's assessment, will incentivise people against terrorism, besides ending support to foreign terror groups.
The problem for Pakistan is that even though it's a lower riparian state, it has not exploited these water systems on its side of the Durand Line, another unsettled border. As a result, Pakistan may end up buying electricity from Afghanistan if it were to build these projects soon with the help of India and other international donors.
For India, the gains are many in terms of having a role in exploiting river systems entering Pakistan on its West and the East. But building these dams, officials said, will be fraught with risk. Indian engineers were constantly targeted by Pakistan-based terror groups in Salma as well as on the Zaranj-Delaram road. "These are issues we will have to look closely at as we examine this possibility," an official told ET.
Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App.

Indus treaty rethink: PM Narendra Modi to get official briefing today
‘Blood and water can’t flow together’: PM Narendra Modi gets tough on...

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 14 Oct 2016 14:54
by asgkhan
My wishlist :

1. Have a massive base holding expeditionary force of 1000 +
2. Setup a airbase with sukhois squadran
3. Have a S400 setup

On Afghan soil, this will make Bakis brown their pants 24 / 7

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 20 Oct 2016 11:02
by habal
NATO/Cia/Mossad make up to 1500 (speculated) billion dollars a year from Afghanistan opium trade to the EU and USA through Turkey.

NATO has spent 15yrs in afghanistan and this is what they have to show for it. ... 54867.html

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 25 Oct 2016 01:47
by Gagan
The taliban drone footage is correct.
Here is the place on google earth. Coordinates in the picutre. The google earth image is from 2004, when the camp was still under construction.


Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 25 Oct 2016 04:06
by tandav
Gagan wrote:The taliban drone footage is correct.
Here is the place on google earth. Coordinates in the picutre. The google earth image is from 2004, when the camp was still under construction

Huge explosion, extremely precise surgical strike with Mil grade explosives, would have left no survivors within that compound. What were the number of casualties? If a single suicide bomber can take out a base or military camp like this the morale of the Afghan Army must be quiet low. The Taliban seem to control the countryside and are able to assemble and delivery the payload with great precision, record drone footage for internal debrief and showcase this publicly like the ISIS for Shock and Awe to boot (most likely had great recce to manage this strike parallels to URI camp). Unless the Afghan State Forces are able to pay back in the same coin to the leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan this asymmetrical war will only result in Taliban victory.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 30 Oct 2016 17:03
by Malayappan

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 01 Nov 2016 02:22
by Karthik S ... .html?_r=0

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s internal debate over whether and how to negotiate with the Afghan government is playing out in the open, even as there have been renewed attempts to restart talks.

Breaking with nearly 15 years of public silence, Sayed Muhammad Tayeb Agha, who until recently was the Taliban’s chief negotiator and head of their political commission, issued a letter about peace talks to the insurgency’s supreme leader over the summer and discussed reconciliation efforts in an interview with The New York Times this month, his first on the record with a Western publication in years.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times and appeared in the Afghan news media, Mr. Agha supported the idea of talks, and said the insurgency should be urgently trying to position itself as an Afghan political movement independent from the influence of Pakistani intelligence officials who have sheltered, and at times manipulated, the Taliban since 2001.

Mr. Agha led efforts to open the Taliban’s political office in Qatar in 2011, and he was instrumental in negotiations that led to the release of the last known American prisoner of war held by the Taliban, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees from the American prison camp at Guantánamo Bay. But he became disgruntled over the internal power struggle that broke out in 2015 after the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Muhammad Omar, for whom he was a trusted aide. He remains in exile abroad.

Within the Taliban, discussions of whether or how to take up negotiations has proved divisive. Some of the group’s most senior field commanders openly bridled at the possibility in 2015, when a meeting in Pakistan seemed to signal that talks might progress. Now, however, with the insurgents seizing so much territory in Afghanistan and badly bloodying the security forces, some officials believe the Taliban might be more amenable to coming to the table.

Mr. Agha’s letter, which he sent in July but has not yet been answered by the new Taliban leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, was a sign that not all senior Taliban figures were so reluctant to talk. In fact, he insisted that it should be a priority for the insurgency — and that the Taliban movement must change to allow it or risk disintegrating into splinter groups, making way for bandits and Islamic State loyalists.


Mr. Agha was the head of the Taliban’s political commission and a trusted aide of the movement’s founder.
Much of Mr. Agha’s letter, about four pages long and containing eight recommendations, was focused on steps that would reform the insurgent group from a force that sees itself as divinely mandated, but is largely dependent on Pakistan’s intelligence service, to a relatively independent political movement that could fit into a framework of reconciliation with the Afghan government.

He suggested the insurgency break with foreign fighters in its ranks, call itself a movement rather than an Islamic emirate, and stop pretending it is a parallel government. And he wrote that the Taliban leader should avoid the claim to the Islamic title of Amir ul-Momineen, the commander of the faithful, because the reality of his ascent to power did not fit the criteria of allegiance, and the effort of forcing allegiance had spurred a bloody power struggle in the ranks over the past year.

His most important recommendation was that the insurgency’s leadership, which has operated in exile in Pakistan since the toppling of its regime in 2001, should leave that country to avoid being used as proxies.

“The presence in Pakistan of the movement’s key and decisive members and structures … will force on the movement things that are against the interests of the movement and Afghanistan,” Mr. Agha wrote in the letter.

In the interview, conducted by email, Mr. Agha said the most opportune moment for peace talks was 2010, when Mullah Omar signed off on the idea and his representatives began directly negotiating with the Americans, though not with the Afghan government.

But Mr. Agha insisted that progress could be made now despite the existence of a public ultimatum from the Taliban that they would never negotiate with the Afghan government as long as American or other foreign troops were still in Afghanistan — a demand he characterized as flexible.

“Not at all — we did not have the precondition that the American forces leave and then we will sit down with the Kabul government, because that would not be wise and practical,” Mr. Agha said in the interview. “Of course, if we had reached that stage of negotiations, we would have asked for a deadline, for a timetable. And this was our right, and also a wise condition.”

Now, some officials say, there have been renewed efforts to contact Taliban representatives and start working toward peace talks. But most described those attempts as preliminary, and there was some worry that the Taliban would continue pressing their military offensives while trying to fool the Afghan government by saying they were amenable to talks.

Pakistan’s role in any negotiations also remains a divisive issue.

The new Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani banked tremendous political capital on trying to convince Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the table. After just one round of talks in a Pakistani resort town last summer with a Taliban delegation of suspect legitimacy, the process fell apart. Mr. Ghani’s government now publicly claims a Pakistani military hand in the Taliban battlefield gains this year.

Officials remain divided on the extent of Pakistan’s control over the Taliban, and how much that affects their intention to talk about peace. A former senior Afghan official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, said that individual members of the Taliban’s leadership council might well support the idea of talks and moving away from Pakistan’s sphere of influence. But put them all together in the same room, the official said, and none would say so — out of fear as well as internal mistrust.

Nevertheless, Afghan officials say Pakistani influence over the Taliban is an increasingly touchy issue within the insurgency’s ranks.

“The Taliban were angered by Ashraf Ghani saying somewhere that if they make a deal with Pakistan, then Pakistan can deliver the Taliban. They were offended,” said Anwar ul Haq Ahadi, a former Afghan cabinet minister involved in some of the contacts with the Taliban. “Peace through Pakistan — that has failed. The assumptions were wrong.”

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 01 Nov 2016 08:06
by SSridhar
'All top leaders will be forced to leave': Upset at being sidelined in talks, Pakistan warns Taliban - AP
Two senior Taliban figures said that Pakistan issued a stark warning to the militant group, apparently surprised and angered over being excluded from the insurgents' secret talks with the Afghan government. {So, the usual cliches that Pakistan mumbles such as 'Afgan-owned' and 'Afghan-led' peace talks etc are mere lip service, then?}

They said the Pakistani government warned the Taliban that unless they consult with Islamabad+ during the negotiations all top Taliban leaders will be forced to leave Pakistan along with their families.

The Islamabad ultimatum was given last week to a three-person Taliban delegation visiting Pakistan from Qatar, where the militant group's political office is located, said the two Taliban figures. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks.

Pakistan's government declined to comment on Monday. It denies Afghan accusations+ that Islamabad is providing a safe haven to the Taliban.

"We won't communicate with the Taliban through the media. I have no comment to make," said Sartaj Aziz, a government adviser on foreign affairs.

The three members of the Taliban delegation are Mullah Salam Hanifi and Mullah Jan Mohammed, both former ministers in the Taliban government, and Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. They arrived from Qatar two weeks ago, apparently aiming to smooth Pakistan's ruffled feathers after it was revealed that the Taliban held secret talks with the Afghan government in September and October.

Under pressure+ from both Washington and Kabul to get the Taliban to the negotiating table, Islamabad has been frustrated by the refusal of Taliban leaders living in Pakistan to participate in talks.

The three Taliban representatives are now in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's southwest Baluchistan province, to brief other leaders of the group about their discussions with Pakistani officials, said the two Taliban figures.

Many of the Taliban leaders living in Pakistan are accompanied by their children, who attend school in the country. Several also own property and businesses in Pakistan. Some of them trace their association with Pakistan back three decades. Although the Taliban have carved out some areas in Afghanistan where they can live in relative safety, it would be difficult for them to move there with their families, especially with children, who would have no access to school.

While Pakistan provides+ health care to wounded Taliban fighters and shelter to many of its leaders, the relationship between the two is often quarrelsome and tainted with mistrust on both sides.

In one of several official Taliban Whats App groups, an app that the insurgent group uses to chat, as well as for issuing claims of responsibility for attacks and sharing pictures, the militants recently accused Pakistan of helping the United States kill Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who died in May in a US-drone strike in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.

Several senior Taliban are in jail in Pakistan, either for refusing Pakistan's demands to open peace talks or for talking to Afghan government officials without involving Pakistan. During their meetings, the Taliban delegation wanted information on group members currently in jail, the two Taliban officials told The Associated Press.

Among those in jail is Mullah Nanai, a former intelligence chief during Mansour's rule. Nanai was arrested earlier this month after he reportedly refused to take part in the quadrilateral talks involving the United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the Taliban officials.

Pakistan also tried to arrest Amir Khan Muttaqi, who was one of the most senior ministers in the Taliban's government and opposed talks. He was not home at the time of the raid in Quetta, officials said.

Further complicating efforts to forge ahead with talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan are the divisions within the Taliban over whether to participate in negotiations. Many of the militant group's foot soldiers have balked at talks, particularly given their recent battlefield successes. Nanai and Muttaqi are also flatly opposed to Afghanistan peace negotiations, yet the Taliban's Doha office has held talks.

Earlier this month, the former head of the Taliban's Doha political office, Tayyab Aga, wrote a letter addressed to the Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada in which he called for Islamabad to be excluded from talks with the Afghan government and urged all Taliban leaders to leave Pakistan. He also urged the Taliban to drop its name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, a longstanding demand of the Afghan government, and instead refer to themselves as a movement.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 01 Nov 2016 22:59
by Falijee
Taliban Envoy Breaks Silence to Urge Group to Reshape Itself and Consider Peace
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s internal debate over whether and how to negotiate with the Afghan government is playing out in the open, even as there have been renewed attempts to restart talks.Breaking with nearly 15 years of public silence, Sayed Muhammad Tayeb Agha, who until recently was the Taliban’s chief negotiator and head of their political commission, issued a letter about peace talks to the insurgency’s supreme leader over the summer and discussed reconciliation efforts in an interview with The New York Times in recent days, his first on the record with a Western publication in years.In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times and appeared in the Afghan news media, Mr. Agha supported the idea of talks, and said the insurgency should be urgently trying to position itself as an Afghan political movement independent from the influence of Pakistani intelligence officials ( easier said than done !)who have sheltered, and at times manipulated, the Taliban since 2001.

Not sure , whether this sudden turn around is geniune, or maybe it is Taqiyya in action !

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 02 Nov 2016 17:18
by Austin
Mi-25s supplied by India prevented further deterioration of security: Ghani

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday that the Mi-25s supplied by India prevented further deterioration of the security situation of the country.

Speaking during a joint conference of the leadership of security institutions, President Ghani said “The situation could further deteriorate if the Mi-25s supplied by India would not arrive on time.”

Hailing the Afghan Air Force (AAF) leaders for their efforts to provide air support to the Afghan forces during the ongoing fighting season, President Ghani said “We were forced to use the Mi-17 transport helicopters as gunships during the last Afghan fiscal year.”

President Ghani further added that the Afghan nation witnessed the re-establishment of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) during the ongoing fiscal year of 1395 and that led to an Afghan-owned decision making in providing air support to the fghan forces.

Emphasizing on the importance of the confernece, President Ghani said the Afghan security institutions should remain target oriented for the upcoming fiscal year of 1396 as they have passed a year of survival in 1394 and are in the process of going through the national mobilization to defend in 1395.

India started the delivery of lethal military equipment to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces late in December 2015.

The Afghan Air Force received 3 of the 4 Mi-25 gunship helicopters late in the month of December last year which coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Afghanistan.

The Indian sources earlier said India is preparing the fourth gunship helicopter for the delivery to the Afghan armed forces and hope hope that the delivery will be done in the near future.

“The fourth helicopter is yet to be transferred. It needs spares before it can be made fully operational and the spares have to come from Russia,” diplomatic sources said.

The sources further added that efforts were on to fix the issue. “There was an issue with the spares. It is being sorted out. It should be delivered very soon,” a senior defence official said without specifying a timeframe.

According to reports, the four helicopters were taken from the inventory of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Air Force station in Pathankot.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 03 Nov 2016 21:59
by ramana
News reports say there is siege in Kunduz.
Two US service men killed by Taliban.

30 civilians killed or injured by NATO bombing!!!
Hope that Mi-25 gets delivered before winter sets in.

NATO airstrikes will kill more Afghans while saving them.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 05 Nov 2016 15:06
by JE Menon
Anticipate Chinese anti-air missiles in theatre. Stinger copies.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 12 Nov 2016 12:05
by arun
X Posted from the “Pakistani Role In Global Terrorism” thread.

“In an exclusive interview with VOA in Kabul, Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of the National Directorate of Security, said Pakistan helped create a strike force called the Red Force or Red Brigade in late 2014, and that it started operating in early 2015 when international forces had mostly left and surveillance had been reduced.” :

Former Afghan Intel Chief Accuses Pakistan of Militarily Supporting Taliban

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 13 Nov 2016 03:01
by Bhurishravas
Afghanistan's parliament today dismissed three government ministers including that of foreign affairs over poor performance, in a blow to President Ashraf Ghani's fragile government. ... 877_1.html

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 13 Nov 2016 04:07
by Prem ... .html?_r=0
Sharbat Gula, Famed ‘Afghan Girl,’ Is Welcomed Back to Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed Afghan woman whose photograph as a young refugee girl was published on the cover of National Geographic magazine three decades ago, received a warm welcome on Wednesday from Afghanistan’s president after she was deported from Pakistan.Ms. Gula was received warmly by President Ashraf Ghani, in line with his government’s policies to encourage Afghans to come back to their country, and he handed her the key to a government-provided apartment in Kabul, according to Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a presidential spokesman.
Mr. Murtazawi said that the Afghan government had arranged for Ms. Gula’s release from detention and her return to Afghanistan.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 13 Nov 2016 04:09
by Prem
Afghanistan wants Sharbat Gula treated in India ... 322063.cms
NEW DELHI: Sharbat Gula, the 'Afghan girl' of National Geographic fame, who is facing deportation by Pakistan, could end up in India. The Afghan authorities have reached out to India, informally asking if she could undergo treatment here for hepatitis C. While the Indian government is still waiting for a formal request, it's unlikely she will be refused.Gula was rounded up by the Pakistani authorities last week in a drive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to pick up Afghan refugees who had got illegal Pakistani identity cards. But she had retained her Afghan passport as well. After she was arrested, Gula was convicted of fraud by a special immigration court and ordered to be sentenced to 15 days in prison and fined over 1 lakh Pakistani rupees before being deported. She is expected to travel on November 9.Over the weekend, the provincial government reversed the deportation order but left it to her to decide. Gula, according to sources, is suffering from hepatitis C and needs medical help. She has apparently lost her husband and a son as well.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 14 Nov 2016 07:54
by arun
X Posted from the Pakistani Role in Global Terrorism thread.

Link between the Mohammadden terrorist fomenting Islamic Republic of Pakistan and last Thursdays attack on the German Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharief is found. Afghanistan’s Northern Balkh province acting governor Mohammad Eshaq Sarwari points to the Islamic Republic Pakistan :

Northern Balkh province acting governor Mohammad Eshaq Sarwari said on Sunday the attack on the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif was masterminded six months ago in Peshawar, Pakistan.

He said an arrested would-be suicide bomber confessed he had been trained for two months in Pakistan to carry out a suicide attack.

Sarwari said: "The arrested man said the attack plan was drawn up in Pakistan six months ago."

"The plan was drawn up in Peshawar. He (arrested man) was trained for months on how to fire a Kalashnikov and a pistol. Then, here (Mazar consulate) was specified to them as a target and they were sent to carry out the attack," he added.

A car bomb was detonated on Thursday night at the entrance to the consulate. The building sustained severe damage in the attack. ……………………………

Six people were killed and 129 wounded in the incident.

From here:

Attack On German Consulate Masterminded In Pakistan

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 16 Nov 2016 14:33
by SSridhar
X-post from 'Managing Chinese Threat' thread.

Viv S wrote:Russia, Pakistan and China to hold talks on Afghanistan - The News

Have there been previous trilateral conferences involving Russia, China & Pakistan?


In early 2016, a Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States on Afghan Peace and reconciliation process was setup but the flux in the Taliban ranks after the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death and the opposition to the elevation of ISI-sponsored Mansour to Emirship led to non-participation in the first meeting in January 2016. The third round of the QCG was held in Islamabad on February 6, 2016 and it was announced that direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban would be held by the end of that month. The next meeting of the QCG was planned for the 23rd of February.

Hiwever, the Mansour-led Taliban group laid down pre-conditions for resumption of talks, such as stopping all attacks on them and withdrawal of all ISAF troops. A statement by its spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Taliban “reject” peace talks and that reports of their participation were “rumours.” It also said “(Islamic emirate) once again reiterates that unless the occupation of Afghanistan is ended, blacklists eliminated and innocent prisoners freed, such futile misleading negotiations will not bear any results”. Earlier, the Pakistani Foreign Advisor Sartaj Aziz had claimed that Pakistan could deny the Taliban access to their families, medical facilities, etc, if the group was not willing to partake in the peace negotiations. He even posited that the leadership could be expelled from Pakistan if they failed to comply; this was the first time ever such a threat was publicly made by a senior official of Pakistan. Sartaj Aziz had thereby admitted that the Taliban leadership resided in Pakistan, a long-known open secret.

The Taliban had concluded that they were having an upper hand and could dictate terms. This assessment was proved correct when the Taliban kicked off their annual Spring Offensive (what the Taliban leadership council, Rahbari Shura called like a regular military operation, as ‘Operation Omari’ in honour of Mullah Omar)on April 19, 2016 with a bloody truck-bomb attack with hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives on an elite division of the Afghan National Army in central Kabul killing 37 and wounding 300 more. This came after the brief take-over of Kunduz about six months earlier in September, 2015 and many significant attacks around the country even during the winter.

The Afghan-Pakistan relationship, already under much strain, nosedived. So was the case with the US-Pakistan relationship. In his address to a joint session of the Afghan Parliament after the attack, Pres. Ghani termed the attacks as “undeclared war” which “ is not a civil war, but a war waged by terrorists and their regional supporters against our country”. Referring to the unfulfilled promise made by Pakistan to bring around the Taliban to the negotiating table, Pres. Ghani said, “Those who have failed to implement their commitments within this international framework or have been unwilling to implement them, are isolated more than ever today”. The Presidential Spokesman had been blunt earlier saying, “Pakistan is in a state of isolation. We want to use diplomatic initiatives to isolate Pakistan at the regional and international levels and to tell the world community where the terrorists are and which country and intelligence (agency) supports them.” Pakistan which was already deporting the Afghan refugees, began to detain a large number of Afghan Pashtuns and the rift between the two countries widened.

Simultaneously, the US State Department said, “We have consistently expressed our concerns at the highest level of the Government of Pakistan about their continued tolerance for Afghan Taliban groups such as the Haqqani Network operating from Pakistani soil. And we did again – after this week’s attack [April 19, 2016 Kabul Attack] we have pressed the Government of Pakistan to follow up on its expressed commitment not to discriminate between terror groups regardless of their agenda or their affiliation by undertaking concrete action against the Haqqanis.” Ultimately, the US Congress in late April 2016, put its foot down on the sale of eight F-16 aircraft to Pakistan under US aid by asking it to pay the entire cost of USD 770 million. In early August 2016, the US Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter, said that the Pentagon would not pay Pakistan USD 300 Million under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) because he could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network.

On May 21, 2016, the US State Department said that a drone had killed the Emir of Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a remote area in Balochistan in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Amidst all these, a fierce clash erupted between the ANA and the Pakistani Rangers at Torkham border crossing in mid-June 2016 as Pakistan began constructing a border checkpost there to which the Afghans objected claiming that they did not recognize the Durand Line and hence would not allow Pakistan to construct anything there. Both sides mobilized heavily as fierce shelling continued for a few days before eventually ceasefire could be effected. A Pakistani Major was killed while Afghanistan lost three soldiers.

The QCG was buried at this point.

On July 18 (– 22), a Taliban delegation, led by Abbas Stanakzai (a trusted lieutenant of the slain Taliban Emir Mansour Akhtar), had visited Beijing at China’s invitation and later a Taliban spokesman said “We wanted the Chinese leadership to help us raise these issues on world forums and help us get freedom from occupying forces.”. In early August 2016, China and Afghanistan held their first strategic military dialogue led by Gen. Fang Fenghui, member of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), and Gen. Qadam Shah Shahim, chief of general staff of the Afghan National Army. After that new military quadrilateral mechanism involving China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan was established, which was more targeted towards Central Asia. In the meanwhile, China announced that the Afghan QCG had gone defunct, after the killing of Taliban Emir Akhtar Mansour. China claimed that the involvement of Tajikistan was to plug the hole that existed for Islamist terrorists between Xinjiang & Tajikistan and Tajikistan & Afghanistan, trying to assuage Russia for its omission. Effectively, the USA was shunted out of the earlier QCG.

An alternative QCG was expected and seems to be developing in the form of China, Russia, Pakistan & Afghanistan. Whether it could achieve anything without the gorilla sitting in Afghanistan with almost 10000 soldiers is a moot point. With a new administration in the US coming in, we will have to wait for another six months for clarity from them. This period may be crucial for the Taliban as well as for the new QCG to consolidate.But, Afghanistan is slipping out of Pakistan's clasp is my estimation.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 02 Dec 2016 06:11
by SSridhar
X-posted from the India Foreign Policy thread

Terrorism, enhanced connectivity to top agenda of Heart of Asia meet - Nayanima Basu, Business Line
Terrorism emanating from the South Asian region and the political will to fight and eradicate it will be the main agenda of the upcoming sixth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia (HoA), Istanbul Process. The conference will also focus on improving connectivity with Afghanistan.

The conference, which India is hosting for the first time in Amritsar from December 3-4, will see participation from over 30 countries, including China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia and the US.

“Terrorism is something that Afghanistan has suffered the most. And we all know it is Pakistan that continues to support state-sponsored terrorism and turns a blind eye to cross-border terrorism. This will be the main agenda of the talks, undoubtedly,” a senior official told BusinessLine requesting anonymity.

The HoA was launched in an effort to improve the security situation of the war-torn country thereby improving connectivity to the region in an effort to make it a hub for trade and commerce.

According to Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Shaida M Abdali, terrorism is a “continuous threat” to the country. He urged for collective measures to fight terrorism and its breeding ground.

“We all know, terrorism is a creation of this region and the solution lies within this region only,” Abdali said hinting at Pakistan.

In an effort to contain terrorism and thereby developing the region, the Afghan government held reconciliatory talks with the Taliban under a so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China.

But the process has not been successful owing to the rapid deterioration of ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The deteriorating ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to remain a hurdle in the talks. But the Heart of Asia is a process where the US and China also get a platform to discuss issues concerning terrorism, which is most important. Unless there is a radical change in Pakistan’s policies, the situation will not change,” said Kanwal Sibal, former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is also keen to revive the old financial linkages with India. And in this it is important to understand why Amritsar was chosen as the venue for the meeting.

“Amritsar was the original wholesale market for agricultural products of Afghanistan. That traditional wholesale market has to be revived and that is crucial for the revival of the Afghan economy,” said former Ambassador Rakesh Sood
, who has also served in Afghanistan and Nepal.

Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 23:22
by Shankas

President Ashraf Ghani and I offered prayers at the sacred Golden Temple, Amritsar.