Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

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SSridhar
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 30 May 2016 17:54

DNA test confirms killing of Mullah Mansour in drone hit - DT
A spokesman of the interior ministry on Sunday said it had been confirmed through DNA test that the second person killed in the US drone attack in Balochistan was former chief of Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

“It is confirmed that Mullah Mansour was killed in the US drone strike in Noshki area of Balochistan,” the spokesperson said. He said the confirmation was made after a DNA test of Mullah Mansour’s body and matching it with the DNA of a close relative of him, who had come to claim the body. “DNA of Mansour matched with one of his relatives who came to receive his body from Afghanistan.”

According to interior ministry’s spokesperson, the other person killed in the attack has already been identified.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had confirmed on Thursday, after five days of the drone strike, the death of Afghan Taliban chief in Balochistan.

“All indicators confirm that the person killed in the drone strike was Mullah Mansour, who was travelling on a fake identity,” the adviser to the PM on foreign affairs had confirmed.


I think this should put a stop to CTs unless of course this DNA test itself becomes a subject matter of a CT.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Guddu » 31 May 2016 00:20

SSridhar wrote:So, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada is no military man. I am sure he is a Durrani.

Added later: In light of the following, I expect Haibatullah to be an interim Emir to conduct the selection process and guide the Taliban through this vacuum.


SSji: According to Hajam sethi's site "Mullah Haibatullah belongs to the Ahmedzai tribe of Kandahar, and worked at the Ministry of Justice during the Taliban regime.


- http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/mulla ... r-is-dead/

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 31 May 2016 05:16

Guddu, that means he is a Khilji.

Mullah Mansour, as an Ishakzai, was a Durrani.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby JE Menon » 31 May 2016 10:56

^^that adds more weight to the interim nature of his leadership I would think...

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 31 May 2016 13:37

JE Menon wrote:^^that adds more weight to the interim nature of his leadership I would think...

JEM, completely agree.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Rudradev » 02 Jun 2016 20:33

SSridhar wrote:
JE Menon wrote:^^that adds more weight to the interim nature of his leadership I would think...

JEM, completely agree.


Not sure why?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK, the Taliban were always a Ghilzai-dominated rather than Durrani-led movement.

My understanding is that this dynamic has its roots in the rivalry between these two tribes or meta-clans of Pathans over centuries. Since Abdali, Durranis have dominated the official Afghan "state", upto and including King Zahir Shah. Hamid Karzai too was a Durrani of the Popolzai clan. Meanwhile the Ghilzais by-and-large have congregated on the NWFP side of the frontier, and for most of this time they have been the "exiled contender" displaced by the Durranis and motivated by a desire to reassert themselves in Kabul.

The British took full advantage of this dichotomy during the Afghan wars and most of their Sarkari Pathan proxies were Ghilzais, set against the Durrani dynasts of Kabul. The PA/ISI took a leaf from this divide-and-conquer technique when they constructed and backed the 1996 edition of the Taliban... a Ghilzai-driven group based in Pakistan with a hunger to dominate Afghanistan (and particularly Pathan power circles). Of course, events since 2001 must have squashed any number of Durranis, Ghilzais, and other tribal warlords together out of exigent compromise under the ever-shifting aegis of the Afghan Taliban/AlQ umbrella... so the tribal divisions may not be as well delineated today as they were in the Taliban's early days. However, I would think many of the seniormost and most influential Taliban leaders continue to be Ghilzais.

It is indeed interesting, in light of this, to learn that Mansour was a Durrani. That must have added to the ISI's difficulty in foisting him upon the Taliban as an overall leader, and it is actually a credit to his coalition-cobbling skills that he managed to assert himself broadly over the movement's diverse factions. Mullah Omar, OTOH, was I believe a Ghilzai... and hence, Mullah Yaqoob would be one as well.

Thus, wouldn't Haibatullah's status as a Ghilzai actually give him additional legitimacy and an easier time of it gaining control over the Taliban's factions?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jun 2016 12:34

Rudradev wrote:Not sure why?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK, the Taliban were always a Ghilzai-dominated rather than Durrani-led movement.

RD, the Taliban have always been Durrani-dominated. The Kandaharis are largely Durranis as are their neighbours from Helmand, Oruzgan. The Taliban originated from Kandahar. Mullah Omar was a Durrani. The Prophet's Cloak that Mullah Omar so proudly wore to proclaim the title' Amir-ul-Momiineen' belongs to Ahmed Shah Durrani (Abdali). When he wore that cloak on that fateful evening, he conveyed two things: one, as an inheritor of Muhammad's (PBUH) cloak he has the right to be called a Caliph and to the Afghans, he said he was a proud Durrani fit enough to be their Emir.
That must have added to the ISI's difficulty in foisting him upon the Taliban as an overall leader . . .

The difficulty arose from other sources who were equally competing for the same position but not due to the Durrani/Ghilzai dichotomy. See my post a couple of weeks back.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Agnimitra » 03 Jun 2016 19:35

SSridhar wrote:
Rudradev wrote:Not sure why?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK, the Taliban were always a Ghilzai-dominated rather than Durrani-led movement.

RD, the Taliban have always been Durrani-dominated. The Kandaharis are largely Durranis as are their neighbours from Helmand, Oruzgan.

RD ji, as SS says, any Durrani-Ghilzai politics is only a sub-plot of the larger wedge-politics in Afghanistan. The main wedge is between Pashtun and non-Pashtun. In this battle, Durranis and Ghilzais were both used by King Abdur Rehman as a wedge against northerners. Durranis themselves have rifts within, between the more centrist and assimilative, and the redneck stock down south. I had posted briefly on this a while back during the Kunduz offensive:

viewtopic.php?p=1908561#p1908561

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Prem » 04 Jun 2016 22:23

http://afghanistantimes.af/pm-modi-prez ... dship-dam/
Herat: President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly launched the ‘Afghan-India Friendship Dam’, earlier known as the ‘Salma Dam’, here on Saturday.Dedicating the dam to the people of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Modi said, “We are not just launching a project, we are reviving a region, renewing life, restoring hope and redefining Afghanistan’s future. This is yet another giant step in Afghanistan’s march to progress.”.“Afghans and Indians dreamt of this project in the 1970s. The lost decades speak to us about the ravages of a long drawn war. It was a war not of the Afghan making, but it was one that stole the future of an entire generation of Afghans. And, when a new dawn broke over Afghanistan in 2001, we resumed the project. With resolve and patience, courage and belief, we have together overcome distance and hurdles, threats and violence,” said the Prime Minister“Today, the brave Afghan people are sending a message that the forces of destruction and death, denial and domination, shall not prevail. They will not come in the way of the dreams and aspirations of the Afghan people,” he added.Speaking on the occasion, President Ghani said, “Today, with your help, an old dream of our people (Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier Salma Dam) is realised after 40 years of waiting.With the inauguration of the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, the first generation of large Indian assisted projects is completed. Our hope is to see at the right moment the launch of the second generation of such large and sustainable projects.”“Today our people know India through Salma, a source of light and joy for 1000s of our families. In addition, India has completed over 200 other small and big projects for our people. With scholarship assistance by India, over 17,000 Afghan youth were able to acquire education,” he added.The Afghan-India Friendship Dam is a multipurpose project planned for generating 42 MW of power, irrigating 75000 hectares of land, water supply and other benefits to the people of Afghanistan./b]
Salma Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by the Indian Government on river Chist-e-Sharif, in Herat province of Afghanistan.The project is located 165 kilometres east of Herat town and connected with earthen road. Due to security reasons Indian engineers and technicians involved with the project have been reaching the site once in a month by helicopter service provided by Government of Afghanistan.A[b]ll equipment and material were transported from India to Bander-e-Abbas port of Iran via sea and then along 1200 km by road from there to Islam Kila border post at Iran-Afghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.

T

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby deejay » 05 Jun 2016 10:28

I am posting an image from a tweet by @ashrafghani related to PM Modi's visit to Afghanistan here

Ashraf Ghani ‏@ashrafghani now22 hours ago
Most welcome to my dearest friend, @narendramodi to his second home AFG. Look forward to a great conversation.
Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby arun » 05 Jun 2016 10:53

Let the Islamic Republic of Pakistan fulminate. India must help Afghanistan squeeze every drop of water from rivers originating in Afghanistan that flow into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:

Afghanistan’s authorities with the help of Indian experts have completed the feasibilities and detailed engineering of 12 hydro-power projects with capacity to generate 1,177MW of electricity to be built on the river Kabul.

If the 12 projects get completed, they will store 4.7 million acre feet of water squeezing the flow in the river reaching Pakistan.

India, …………………….. is now active to squeeze the water artery coming from Afghanistan.


India out to damage Pakistan’s water interests on Kabul river

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Abhay_S » 06 Jun 2016 23:10

http://thewire.in/2016/06/04/the-story-behind-herats-salma-dam-40763/

New Delhi: For over ten years, the construction of the Salma dam has stretched the capacity of Indian diplomacy, administration and engineering to its limits, as New Delhi kept track of competing warlords on one side to maintain security, and the finance ministry’s beancounters on Raisina Hill.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi got to push a red button together with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, opening the sluice gates and powering the turbines which will irrigate over 80,000 hectares of land and provide electricity to thousands of homes in the western Afghan province of Herat.

“Salma dam was a project that nobody thought would be finished – nobody. Not the Afghans, the Russians, and certainly not us,” an Indian diplomat who had been closely involved in the project, candidly told The Wire.

For Heratis too, the completion of the dam, located in Chesti-e-Sharif district, had always seemed like an impossible dream. “There were feasibility reports made for a dam going back to 1957, so the concept of one day having their own electricity generated was always there in background,” he said.

Across every corner of Herat city, billboards of Afghan leaders – President Ghani, chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, the water and energy minister Ali Ahmad Osmani – compete to take credit for the dam, which observers term as the first concrete achievement of the National Unity Government. The majority of the hoardings include Indian flags and photographs of Modi, next to exhortations of gratitude towards India – a fitting end to one of New Delhi’s most difficult foreign aid projects.

When India took up the gauntlet of building Salma dam 14 years ago, it had looked like a challenging but not impossible undertaking. For India, one of the largest producers of hydro power, it had seemed like a simple undertaking – a 42-megawatt hydroelectric dam is small by Indian standards – with the remote location being the only challenge.

“Remember, the first WAPCOS delegation went in December 2002. Everything was peaceful at that time. The Taliban had been defeated a year back. There was no sign yet that they would try to stage a comeback,” said the Indian diplomat, explaining why India committed to the dam project.

It was not the first time that the work had commenced on the Salma dam project. In the late 1970s, an Afghan firm got the job and had appointed the same small Indian public sector firm, WAPCOS.

The project never really had much of a chance. The communist regime of Barak Karmal and Hafizullah Amin took over in 1978, and within a year, Herat city became the centre of Cold War politics. A young Afghan army captain led a rebellion against the communist administration, in which over a dozen Soviet advisors and their families were killed. Herat was ‘liberated’ for a short while, but it led to a violent reprisal which left over 20,000 dead in a week – and became one of the drivers of the 1979 Soviet invasion.

In the armoured convoy evacuating Soviet personnel from Herat at the time were two WAPCOS engineers also making their escape. In an unusual twist, one of them apparently returned 30 years later in an official delegation to inspect Salma dam, when he narrated his brush with the start of the anti-Soviet jihad to an Indian diplomat.

He was not the only Indian to have apparently found his way back to the Salma dam. The former chairman of the Central Water Commission, R.C. Jha, was an assistant director in an office in Delhi, when he drew the design of some components of the dam “about 35-37 years ago”.

In the second half of 2014, Jha went to Afghanistan for the first time, as an independent director at WAPCOS, for some technical consultation at the Salma dam. “I am so happy that the dam is finally completed. But, I was really delighted to visit the site. Not least, I found that the design for the hoisting gate for the diversion tunnel had largely adhered to my design. A small part of what I did decades ago was still relevant,” the retired central water engineering service officer told The Wire.

With WAPCOS’S knowledge of the project, it was not surprising that India picked up the Salma dam as part of a garland of large development projects in Afghanistan designed for high impact in the initial optimistic years of the Karzai administration – from the Pul-i-Khumri transmission line, the parliament building and the Zaranj-Delaram road.

Cabinet approval of the project came in November 2004 with Rs 351.87 crore sanctioned. The contracts were awarded in 2005, with WAPCOS appointed as project manager, while a specially constituted firm, Salma Dam Joint Ventures was the contractor.

By January 2006, Indian engineers and workers reached the site – a wind-blown mountainous stretch on the Hari Rud river, littered with the rusting remnants of equipment previous contractors left behind 25 years ago.

“When we went for first time, all we saw on the site was heavy equipment, trucks… all abandoned and unusable. The few buildings like a workshop were completely destroyed by rockets,” an Indian engineer, who has been working on Salma dam project for last 10 years, told The Wire.

The remoteness of the location is striking. A 160-kilometre dirt road connects the site to Herat city, but most Indian workers hardly travelled on it due to its notorious reputation as a security hazard. In 2009, a senior WAPCOS official had a close shave from a kidnapping attempt on this road. Instead, they usually flew in and out by helicopter, courtesy of the Afghan military, which provided the service once a month.

There was no human habitation as far as the human eye could see. The nearest villages, mud-brick encampments on the riverside, were around 50 kilometres away.

The Indian workers brought with them the equipment needed to kick-start the project – excavators, concrete pumps, drilling machines. Seven Volvo tippers were purchased from Dubai and brought to Afghanistan via Iran.

But, they did not ship only inanimate objects from India. “In the early years, we even got a barber, a part-time one,” said one of the project engineers. Importing Indian cooks was a “necessity”, but eventually local Afghans were trained and became skilful purveyors of even south Indian dishes. “I had some of the best Indian food in Afghanistan at the project site. It became rather popular with visitors,” reminisced a diplomat.

A doctor was, however, too difficult to procure – despite best efforts. “We put out advertisements asking for a medical doctor. We never got suitable candidates, because of the location. So if we had a problem, the first aid kit was the main hope. If it was for something a bit more serious like a fracture, we went to a local Afghan who was basically a quack, but was good at setting right a twisted bone”.

The living conditions were, however, the least of the problem. Within a few months of the commencement of construction, it became clear that WAPCOS’s feasibility report was out of date.

Sources said that the firm had estimated that 30 lakh cubic metre of River Bed Material could be extracted till 10 kilometres upstream and downstream from the site. “In the end, we could dig up only about 11 lakh cubic metres. Just about one-third,” he said. “So what was the alternative? The site itself is mountainous, so break down the mountains”.

According to senior Indian officials, it was at that stage that alarm bells should have rung that the estimated cost of the project would be woefully inadequate. “But nobody raised any concerns then,” he said.

While blowing up mountains for rock quarry was perhaps the only solution to find enough construction material, it left work paralysed for one and half years – as India struggled to find a way to transport explosive material into Afghanistan.
Rusting machinery at the project site. Credit: Special arrangement

Rusting machinery at the project site. Credit: Special arrangement

“Iran refused to allow dynamite to be transported through their territory and asking Pakistan was out of the question,” he said.

It was Ismail Khan, the veteran mujahideen leader and Herat’s most powerful warlord, who brought back life into the still-born project. “It was Ismail Khan who helped to get us the dynamite through a local company from a central Asian country,” said the senior Indian diplomat.

Conveniently, Khan, who as a young Afghan army captain had led the Herat rebellion, was now ensconced as the minister of energy and water in the Karzai administration since 2005 and directly responsible for the Salma dam project.

His life story has mirrored his country’s destiny. From a soldier, Khan turned into a celebrated mujahideen, defended Herat against Taliban as its governor, spend three years in a Taliban jail, escaped and led the resistance alongside the Northern Alliance. Restored as governor, he later became a minister under Karzai. He was a vice presidential running mate for presidential candidate Abdul Sayyaf in 2014 and lost to Ashraf Ghani, with whom he has a testy relationship.

“Ismail Khan has been one of our strongest ally in completing the project. He is not typical mujhahideen, as he is a trained engineer, so he used to tell us that we haven’t posted enough men to finish all the work as scheduled. He told us that more than the electricity, it was the storage of water in the reservoir which was his dream,” said a senior Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official.

Khan’s remarks were a typical response in the province, a reflection of Herat’s complicated relationship with Iran, Indian diplomats learn quickly once they are posted at the consulate at Herat city. “It is the storage of water which is a matter of pride for Heratis. A way to show their sovereignty to Iran”.

Iran had been uneasy about the implications of the Salma dam project and the flow of water downstream, and even raised it as early as February 2005 with India.


“9. (C) Reflecting on the recent visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Kharrazi, Singh stated that the Iranian Foreign Office and establishment are supportive of Karzai, but the “other lot,” meaning the mullahs, “was of two minds,” and supported his electoral opponents. Iran has also complained to the GOI about the Indian-sponsored Salma Dam in Afghanistan, fearing a reduction in water supplies downriver. In these cases, India told the Iranians to discuss their complaints with the Afghans, Singh stated.” [Wikileaks]

With India not wanting to get involved in the bilateral water dispute, Iran pushed Afghanistan to reach an understanding over riparian rights, but to no avail.

“During wide-ranging meetings in Iran April 10-12, Afghan Foreign Minister Spanta deflected Iranian pressure for an agreement on water rights surrounding the Harirud River and Salma Dam project, pressed Iran to stop supporting the National Front, and declined (again) an Iranian offer to conclude a security agreement. FM Spanta sought a delay in the forced return of one million refugees from Iran but received no commitments.…While Afghanistan welcomes Iran''s technical and economic assistance, growing Iranian influence over Afghan MPs, government officials, and the media are of increasing concern.” [Wikileaks]

A senior Iranian diplomat told The Wire recently that issue of water rights over the river is still very much alive. “Our concerns about the river flow due to the Salma dam persist. We have been keeping a watch on the project and need to have a serious talk with the Afghan side,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran is a ubiquitous presence in the Herat province, where it is the biggest investor in development projects – from roads to power supply. “But Iran is blamed for being behind all things there. If any Indian official ask Herat authorities who is behind any particular incidents, the finger is always pointed at across the border,” said an Indian diplomat.

At frequent intervals, Afghan and international media report accusations from Herat security officials and politicians that Iran is trying to “sabotage” the Salma dam project.

Indian diplomats, however, remain sceptical about such blame-game. “We have seen no signs of Iran being involved in sabotaging our work. Iran has that much influence in Herat, that if it really wanted to stop the project, we would not have been able to build a one-feet high wall”.

Meanwhile, with the security situation deteriorating over the years, project engineers and supervisers had to become adept in keeping track of the fluid loyalties of local warlords. “The upstream part of site, which has the dam reservoir is the area to two local strongmen, Mullah Mustafa and Haji Sayed Wali, who are sometimes friends with each other, sometimes not. They are basically anti-government forces. We don’t see them as part of the Taliban. It was in the downstream section, which has the road to Herat that is under Taliban elements and particularly dangerous,” explained a project official.
The notorious local strongman, Mullah Mustafa, with one of the project's Afghan superviser. Credit: Special arrangement

The notorious local strongman, Mullah Mustafa, with one of the project’s Afghan superviser. Credit: Special arrangement

While ITBP personnel were posted to protect selective Indian assets in Afghanistan, they were not deployed at development projects sites, where they would have been too visible in a sensitive and volatile region.

Since Indian diplomats had to keep a safe distance from ‘anti-government’ rebels, it was left to the project managers, with the help of Afghan employees, to conduct outreach to the local commanders.

Even here, Indians found that their understanding of the ‘good guys’ was diametrically opposite to the Americans, who dropped in from time to time. A 2009 Wikileaks cable indicated that Mullah Mustafa was using the necessity of “peace” at the Salma dam as a bargaining chip to install his man as the district governor.

“…Governor Nuristani was critical of Afghan National Police (ANP) actions in response to these and other criminal activities and took credit for the recent release of individuals kidnapped in January, as well as the return of the body of an Indian citizen killed by Siyashwani’s supporters. The Governor also recounted efforts by strongman Mullah Mustafa from neighboring Ghor Province and others in the bordering Cheshte Sharif District of Herat Province to press him to replace the district governor in exchange for peace at the Salma dam site, a major Indian development project…” [Wikileaks]

The Americans had targeted Mullah Mustafa, bombed his location on multiple occasions, but he escaped every times. While Indian officials describe him as “powerful and ruthless”, he has been supportive to the project. “Once our driver got kidnapped on the Herat Chisti road by the Taliban. He got him released within two days”.

Mustafa is also close to Ismail Khan, who had once helped to get him out of American custody, said an official.

Interestingly, it was not Mustafa, but the dam’s first security commander against whom WAPCOS had complained back home. Syed Gulbuddin Khan or Gullu Khan kept an eye not just on the project, but was also heavily involved in a war of supremacy again Mullah Mustafa – which kept away lot of his guards and brought the intensity of fighting to the site.

A 2009 letter written by WAPCOS officials to the central government talked of living under “constant fear”, with the sound of gunshots being a constant soundtrack. The presidential election had thinned out the security detail for deployment elsewhere, which fueled further anxiety.

The stream of missives from project engineers to the MEA and water resources ministry complaining about the security has remained steady, with the panic button pressed as the fighting intensified in the periphery.

“Last year, we got emails at night from the site officials instructing us what to tell their families in case they don’t make it alive,” said a ministry official. The Taliban had attacked checkpoints near the WAPCOS staff colony, “but these attacks were meant to register their presence, never a real threat to our engineers or the project.”

Indian officials asserted that there was never a direct threat to the project over the last decade, but there had been many incidents in the vicinity. In September 2014, the security convoy for the transmission line project was attacked and 12 people were killed. Then, there was a green-on-green attack, when a Afghan policeman shot dead four colleagues. It is estimated that around 50 Afghan security personnel may have been killed while on duty around the project.

“For security, we had around 200 persons spread out over 10 kilometres. If the Taliban really wanted to attack, they could have,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mustafa and Gullu Khan kept on fighting with each other – a proxy for the rivalry of their mentors, Ismail Khan and his chief rival, Maulvi Khudaidad respectively.

Outreach to the nearby villages became an essential survival tool. “To survive in such place, we had to become a part of them by taking care of them. For the young, we helped in school, provided playgrounds, held football tournament, while for the adults, we repaired mosques and maidans for praying [sic],” said a project official. The annual inter-village football tournament was the first time that the youngsters were introduced to the game, but they soon became proficient and learned to follow international clubs.
The Chisti shrine. Credit: Special Arrangements

The Chisti shrine. Credit: Special arrangement

Asked how they found time for the community outreach amidst their schedule, he pointed out, “We had only site work. Besides, there was no entertainment, no newspapers, no visits, no sightseeing. So, we did have a lot of time on hand for such work.”

Besides the dam, the Chist-i-Sharif had a more enduring link with India as the origin of the Chisti order of Sufism. The most famous Sufi saint in the subcontinent, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, whose shrine in Ajmer is visited by lakhs of devotes, was a follower of this order. His uncle, Khwaja Qutubddin Maudood Chisti has a beautiful blue-hued shrine, with two tall minarets.

“We repaired on the minarets as it was nearly run-down and could have fallen anyday,” said a project official. It was taken up a CSR initiative by the dam officials, as Indian government could not pay for a project which had religious connotations. “Actually, the Afghans pointed out this fine print in the guidelines for our small development projects, so we got the shrine repaired through another way,” said a senior MEA official.

As Indian workers coped with the security situation, they also had to deal with rising costs, coupled with uncertain money flow from India as MEA’s development aid budget was stretched thin as the finance ministry refused to increase allocation.

“There were instances of Afghans dousing themselves with kerosene and threatening to immolate themselves if money was not issued. They thought Indian government was sponsoring the project, so they assumed Indian consulate was the right location for a self-immolation,” said an Indian diplomat.

Official records recount how work came to a “complete standstill” in the last two months of 2013-14, with pending bills of Rs 77 crore. This was mainly because of the delay of three years in giving approval to the revised cost.

With the economy going through a downturn, austerity was the flavour, with North Block not listening to letters from MEA calling for increasing the budget for foreign projects committed at the “highest level”.

For Indian engineers, 2014 was the turning point when it seemed that the project will finally see the light of the day. The filling of the reservoir in August 2015 led to a change in nomenclature in the project to “Afghanistan-India friendship dam”. Street parties sprung up in Herat city, with Indian flags being decorated across billboards.

Even as expenditure increased exponentially, the deadlines continued to be pushed, ever further away. From December 2008, the second deadline was December 2010, followed by January 2015, July 2015 and finally, June 2016.

India’s final tally was Rs 1775.69 crore – an increase of over 400% from the original estimate.

With the project finally over, it is the right time for a detailed study of its difficult implementation. As India moves to enhance its development aid portfolio from Africa to the Pacific Islands, lessons must be learnt from the Salma Dam project to avoid huge cost overruns and inordinate delays – a necessary step to make its development diplomacy an effective instrument.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 09 Jun 2016 12:44

US drone strike kills Haqqani network commander in Afghanistan - DT
A United States drone strike has killed a senior leader of Haqqani network in Afghanistan's Paktika province, reports in the Afghan media said on Thursday.

The leader killed in the drone strike was Sirajuddin Khademi, a logistics commander of the Haqqani network and member of the Quetta Shura in the southeastern Paktika province, the reports said.

Assadullah Sherzad, a police commander in the southeast region told Afghan media that the drone strike targeted Khademi along with another person early in the morning.

However, the Afghan Taliban, to which the Haqqani network is linked, have not confirmed the commander's killing in the drone strike.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby SSridhar » 10 Jun 2016 12:04

Indian woman working with NGO abducted in Kabul - PTI
An Indian woman has been abducted from Taimani area of Kabul and Afghan authorities are trying to secure her release, official sources said on Friday.

The woman from Kolkata was working for Aga Khan Foundation , Afghanistan. She was abducted on Thursday night.

The Indian embassy is in touch with Afghan authorities to ensure her safe release, the sources said.

The government is in contact with the woman's family in Kolkata, they said.


Is she Ismaili Shi'a?

JE Menon
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby JE Menon » 10 Jun 2016 12:37

^^Most likely. Therefore heretic. Ismaili Shias are not invited into Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) gatherings, for instance. They are probably the most liberal of the lot - although they were fundamental in the creation of Pakistan. They are enjoying its fruits in that country now, though.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby member_29378 » 10 Jun 2016 13:06

SSridhar wrote:Indian woman working with NGO abducted in Kabul - PTI
An Indian woman has been abducted from Taimani area of Kabul and Afghan authorities are trying to secure her release, official sources said on Friday.

The woman from Kolkata was working for Aga Khan Foundation , Afghanistan. She was abducted on Thursday night.

The Indian embassy is in touch with Afghan authorities to ensure her safe release, the sources said.

The government is in contact with the woman's family in Kolkata, they said.


Is she Ismaili Shi'a?


Her name is Judith D'souza. Abrahamic but not green (I think). http://www.oneindia.com/india/indian-wo ... icle-tweet

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby chetak » 10 Jun 2016 17:41

SSridhar wrote:Indian woman working with NGO abducted in Kabul - PTI
An Indian woman has been abducted from Taimani area of Kabul and Afghan authorities are trying to secure her release, official sources said on Friday.

The woman from Kolkata was working for Aga Khan Foundation , Afghanistan. She was abducted on Thursday night.

The Indian embassy is in touch with Afghan authorities to ensure her safe release, the sources said.

The government is in contact with the woman's family in Kolkata, they said.


Is she Ismaili Shi'a?


she's got a straight forward xtian name.

Judith D'Souza, nothing shia about that, no??

An advisory was issued by the Indian embassy in afghanistan, hardly a month ago.

Why should the embassy/GOI be responsible for such people??

It's a war zone, after all. Does not the aga khan foundation, who placed her in harm's way, in the first place, not bear any responsibility al all??

what exactly, was the aga khan foundation, employing a xtian aid worker, doing there in the first place??

Are they short of shia volunteers??

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby nvishal » 10 Jun 2016 19:31

For the record, the Aga khan family actively took part in the muslim movement in pre-independent india which eventually led to the creation of pakistan.

Today, they are involved in any nation that has a muslim population, india included. They practice political islam albeit passively.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Pranay » 14 Jun 2016 18:39

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/world ... world&_r=0

Afghanistan and Pakistan Exchange Heavy Gunfire Along Border
By ISMAIL KHAN and ROD NORDLAND JUNE 13, 2016

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani and Afghan forces exchanged heavy gunfire on Sunday and Monday in an unusually serious escalation of tensions at the border, leaving at least 13 people wounded on the Pakistani side and killing at least one Afghan police officer, according to the police and military officials in both countries.

The fighting, which began on Sunday night and resumed Monday, forced the closing of the Torkham border crossing, the busiest between the two countries.

The escalation followed the closing of the Torkham crossing last month after Afghan border security guards objected to the construction of a gate on the Pakistani side. That objection also apparently contributed to the conflict on Sunday, according to official accounts from both sides.

The border remained closed for five days last month but was reopened after a meeting between the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, and Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif.

An official statement by the Pakistan Army late on Sunday accused the Afghan border guards of resorting to an unprovoked attack when work began on the installation of a gate on the Pakistani side.

“Torkham is the most frequented crossing point at Pak-Afghan border, and recently even, most of the terrorists have been found using this gate for entry,” the brief statement said. “In order to check movement of terrorists through Torkham, Pakistan is constructing a gate on own side of the border as a necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement.”

The Pakistani Army statement said that one Pakistani soldier had been wounded but that “security forces responded to Afghan firing effectively.”

A senior civil officer of the Khyber tribal region of Pakistan, the site of the Torkham crossing, claimed that the Afghans had fired mortars, rockets and artillery into Pakistani territory starting at 9:20 p.m. Sunday.

“Shortly before beginning the construction work, we duly informed the Afghan side, although we are under no obligation to do so under international law,” the top civilian administrator in Khyber, Khalid Mehmood, said by telephone from the area.

“The Afghan commander went back, switched off the lights on the other side and, before we could figure out what had happened, they started shelling and firing in our direction,” Mr. Mehmood said.

A mortar shell hit a house in a nearby Pakistani village, wounding six civilians, the administrator said. Two more civilians were hit by splinters and two paramilitary soldiers were also wounded in the exchange of fire, he added.

After a lull of several hours on Monday, fighting resumed in the late afternoon. Zarawar Zahid, the police chief of Nangarhar Province, on the Afghan side of the crossing, posted a video on Facebook saying that he was near the front line and ordering a mortar barrage against Pakistan.

He appears next to two mortars shouting to his men, “Strike hard enough to blow up Nawaz Sharif’s home,” referring to the prime minister of Pakistan who lives in Islamabad, the capital, 150 miles from the border.


When fighting resumed Monday afternoon, both sides began firing with heavy weapons, and Pakistani authorities reported that two paramilitary soldiers were wounded. “There is a heavy exchange of fire,” Mr. Mehmood said by phone from the area. He said the firing resumed from the Afghan side when the Pakistanis continued construction of the disputed border gate.

Afghan officials blamed Pakistan for initiating the fighting, saying the Pakistanis had fired after the Afghan Border Police tried to stop work on the gate. The Afghan Border Police officer’s body was flown to Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Haroon Chakhansuri, the spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, said Pakistan was violating agreements to work jointly on construction of border crossing facilities.

“They opened fire first, then the Afghan security forces responded to them,” he said. “We emphasize that Afghan security forces should always be ready to defend their people.”

Mr. Chakhansuri said diplomatic efforts were underway to resolve the dispute. But officials on both sides of the border said the situation remained tense.

Contributing to the tensions has been an intensifying offensive by the Afghan Taliban, whose leadership shelters in Pakistan. Afghan officials from Mr. Ghani on down have blamed Pakistan for the collapse of peace talks with the Taliban and for continuing to provide sanctuaries for Taliban leaders and fighters inside Pakistan.

Pakistan has responded by cracking down on Afghan refugees in Pakistan and tightening controls along the normally porous border, making it more difficult than usual for Afghans to travel to Pakistan for education, medical care or trade.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:10

https://twitter.com/daryakhan1/status/7 ... 9979902976

Darya Khan Shinwari
‏@daryakhan1
#Torkham Vedio show Pkarmy dies & injured during clash with Afghan force

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:11

https://twitter.com/daryakhan1/status/7 ... 7340072960

Darya Khan Shinwari ‏@daryakhan1 7h7 hours ago
#Torkham pakistani tang destroy by Afg police during yesterday clash


Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:12

https://twitter.com/daryakhan1/status/7 ... 9697020928

Darya Khan Shinwari ‏@daryakhan1 7h7 hours ago
#Torkham 27 Students Graduated from indian national army Academy thanks @narendramodi for such fabulous gift


Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:13

https://twitter.com/daryakhan1/status/7 ... 2511769600

Darya Khan Shinwari ‏@daryakhan1 2h2 hours ago
Breaking News:
the clash between afghanistan and pakistan start once again in #torkham durind line

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:14

https://twitter.com/daryakhan1/status/7 ... 7192672257
Darya Khan Shinwari ‏@daryakhan1 2h2 hours ago
ANA Troops in the way from Kabul to #Torkham


Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:15

https://twitter.com/daryakhan1/status/7 ... 0731684864

Darya Khan Shinwari ‏@daryakhan1 11m11 minutes ago
Checkpost destroyed by ANA #Torkham


Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 14 Jun 2016 21:17

https://twitter.com/omar_quraishi/statu ... 7338331136

omar r quraishi ‏@omar_quraishi 6h6 hours ago
Pakistan army tanks seen heading to the Torkham border with Afghanistan - posted on June 13


Image

Image

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby rakall » 14 Jun 2016 21:26

Atleast 2 Pak army tanks are reportedly destroyed..

The causalities on Pak side are apparently higher than 30..

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby ramana » 15 Jun 2016 09:00

Wonder if Afghans are using Koronet or Tows.
Pranay thanks for posting. Very important clash.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Prem » 15 Jun 2016 09:23

ramana wrote:Wonder if Afghans are using Koronet or Tows.
Pranay thanks for posting. Very important clash.


Pakjabi fear of marauding Pathan now will be in top gear. They are going to lash out on local Pushtun and get it back from them 800%. This is Bismilah of Paki Punjab/Pushtun Problem.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby ramana » 15 Jun 2016 19:30

Jhujar wrote:
ramana wrote:Wonder if Afghans are using Koronet or Tows.
Pranay thanks for posting. Very important clash.


Pakjabi fear of marauding Pathan now will be in top gear. They are going to lash out on local Pushtun and get it back from them 800%. This is Bismilah of Paki Punjab/Pushtun Problem.



So far its Pakistani Taliban who were against the Pakjabi state. If above happens it will be more broad based.


India should allocate some funds to support Afghan weapon purchases from open market like anti-tank rounds and mortar shells.

BTW pretty good mortar fire that lights up the Paki border post.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby member_23370 » 15 Jun 2016 19:44

A few BM-21 grads and 105 mm guns would be a very good start.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby sivab » 15 Jun 2016 20:31

https://twitter.com/bilalfqi/status/742934921380040704

Bilal Farooqi ‏@bilalfqi 12h12 hours ago
The irony of it! Afghan army soldiers enter Pakistani territory in Torkham sector in an India-supplied MI-17 chopper


Image

Image

:rotfl: :mrgreen:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby ramana » 15 Jun 2016 21:19

I think this Torkham raid will be a big boost to the ANA and build their confidence.
Soon Taliban will also cower.
This raid tells the Taliban who is their uncle.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby member_22733 » 15 Jun 2016 21:22

The thing is, Bakis cannot use nooks against Afghanistan. They are biradiri ijjlamic mulk.

A strong, belligerent (against Bakis) Afghanistan is of prime interest for India. Infact can also be argued (to the west) that such an afghanistan would make life secure for the west.

Part 1 of Draining the Baki swamp is to plug the Afghan hole.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby NRao » 15 Jun 2016 21:26

Strategic depth. Cold start for you.

Good for them. Act.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby rsingh » 15 Jun 2016 21:30

Naaajreen, ab Bhartiyo ne bhi hamari le li hei.

BTW First pic with heli is photoshopped salaml

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Gagan » 15 Jun 2016 21:59

Pakistan can't use the 'nukes'. They are for deterrence onlee.
The truth will spill out if they use it, and the pakis won't like it one bit.

But, the pakjabis are going to go crazy with this loss of echendee!!!
Can't imagine all the hyperventilating that will happen on TV now :rotfl:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Gagan » 15 Jun 2016 22:02

rsingh wrote:Naaajreen, ab Bhartiyo ne bhi hamari le li hei.

BTW First pic with heli is photoshopped salaml

All those photos above are false.
Paki border post at torkham does NOT look like that. Pakistan doesn't have a fire tender like that even in isloo. Since when did pakistan have yellow lines painted on their road in remote landi kotal hain ji? They can barely build roads.
How did an afghan twitter wala get pictures of damaged Al-Bakistani T-55 hain ji?

Both sides will probably be exaggerating things here.
But everyone of us supports one nation onlee !!!

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby svinayak » 16 Jun 2016 02:05

arun wrote:Let the Islamic Republic of Pakistan fulminate. India must help Afghanistan squeeze every drop of water from rivers originating in Afghanistan that flow into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:

Afghanistan’s authorities with the help of Indian experts have completed the feasibilities and detailed engineering of 12 hydro-power projects with capacity to generate 1,177MW of electricity to be built on the river Kabul.

If the 12 projects get completed, they will store 4.7 million acre feet of water squeezing the flow in the river reaching Pakistan.

India, …………………….. is now active to squeeze the water artery coming from Afghanistan.


India out to damage Pakistan’s water interests on Kabul river



The Endgames That Never End In Afghanistan

Image

Conclusion : So now the only solution is , “that all Afghans , the army and the civilians , must join hand to fight a final war against Pakistan and take its territory from Durand line to Indus river back. Former King of Afghanistan , Dost Mohammad Khan had also been begging the British Empire to give him back his territory, but he got nothing. Now only and only the Afghans can take back its own occupied territory from Pakistan like Bengali did in 1971. At that time also the West were using unspeakable words against the Indra Gandhi, because they didnt want to disintegrate Pakistan. But it happend and more than half of Pakistan became Bangladehs. But if Afghans are not prepared for that then they must know that for the last 35 years Afghanistan is bleeding and will be bleeding until and unless Pakistan will be disintegrated and make a part of history.


India has to complete the end game.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion - April 2016

Postby Prem » 16 Jun 2016 02:45

Deep fault lines B'ween Pathans and Pakjabi stated by S. Safi and Hassan Nisar ( later half part)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KCXLn6Cjw


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