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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Pakistan - Taliban Hub
    Posted: 01-Mar-2007 at 11:17
Originally posted by Afghanan

Originally posted by maqsad

Well the idea that you consistently promote in this thread is that the Taliban are a pakistani creation and that all of them, wherever in the world they may be, are trained, controlled and financed by the I.S.I. My posts are simply to provide fresh insights that directly contradict and discredit this theme. 

Come again?  You posted an article about a warlord crime in Northern Afghanistan, how does that have to do with the Taliban Hub in Pakistan?    Again, another irrelevant article. 
Had you actually cared about womens rights and rape and what not, you would devote a topic to that account, and maybe even add a few articles on rape in Pakistan to allow 'fresh insight' . Embarrassed


I'm sorry to interrupt your 5 pages of onesided anti-paki propaganda with  Afghan warlord crimes but I wanted to remind everyone that the Northern Alliance firstly are not angels and secondly are regarded as thugs just like the Taliban are and were. And my second article quotes NATO personel complaining about Afghani based taliban operating from their kandahar "hub" who obviously have no connection with the ISI or they would not be acting this way in the north. See post above regarding that as well. So the second article is highly relevent in my opinion...I have stated why so.
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Mar-2007 at 11:11
Originally posted by Zagros

Those articles are still irrelevant to this thread since they do not allude to the Taliban being nurtured in Afghanistan or Pakistan. They merely provide examples of crimes commited in Afghanistan by criminals without any specific geopolitical agenda in commiting those crimes.



Sorry but one of them certainly did relate to the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan because the bolded portion of one of the the second article says that the price of weapons on the black market in Northern Afghanistan has been bumped up because the weapons are being bought by taliban in South Afghanistan. I believe this is relevent because it shows increasingly desparate attempts by Afghani Taliban to arm themselves to the teeth. If the paki ISI was truly the "mother hen of taliban terrorists" as Afghanan fanatically tries to promote with your full approval then they would not need to run to the north to buy weapons. Its obviously drug lords operating with their own cash and since similar weapons are much cheaper in Pakistan its plain obvious the ISI is not helping them.
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 19:59
Originally posted by maqsad

Well the idea that you consistently promote in this thread is that the Taliban are a pakistani creation and that all of them, wherever in the world they may be, are trained, controlled and financed by the I.S.I. My posts are simply to provide fresh insights that directly contradict and discredit this theme. 

Come again?  You posted an article about a warlord crime in Northern Afghanistan, how does that have to do with the Taliban Hub in Pakistan?    Again, another irrelevant article. 
Had you actually cared about womens rights and rape and what not, you would devote a topic to that account, and maybe even add a few articles on rape in Pakistan to allow 'fresh insight' . Embarrassed


Edited by Afghanan - 28-Feb-2007 at 19:59
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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 16:33
Those articles are still irrelevant to this thread since they do not allude to the Taliban being nurtured in Afghanistan or Pakistan. They merely provide examples of crimes commited in Afghanistan by criminals without any specific geopolitical agenda in commiting those crimes.

Edited by Zagros - 28-Feb-2007 at 16:35
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 16:02
Well the idea that you consistently promote in this thread is that the Taliban are a pakistani creation and that all of them, wherever in the world they may be, are trained, controlled and financed by the I.S.I. My posts are simply to provide fresh insights that directly contradict and discredit this theme. 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:49

Post what you want but NOBODY disagrees that the Taliban exist in Afghanistan, it is a irrelevant discussions since everybody and their grandmother knows that Afghanistan is openly at war with them.

What you could have posted was the links between the "Northern Alliance" and the Taliban, including their links with funding Gulbuddin and other low-level commanders.  Again, ANOTHER TOPIC, in another thread, not relevant to Pakistan's meddling.    Unless you can find a link between the Northern Alliance and Pakistan?
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:45
I just wanted to remind posters that the taliban's real hub is in Afghanistan and also that the northern alliance is alive and well and also guilty of a lot of crimes. Instead of creating another thread titled "Afghanistan - Taliban Hub" I thought I would put articles relevent to the taliban that present a diametrically  opposite view of them being nurtured in and by pakistan.  Since these posts are rebuttals I would argue they are relevent to the Taliban being[in this case not being] in Pakistan.

I edited out one of the rape posts, it did seem irrelevant.
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:45
I made one for him.
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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:37
Maqsad, that is irrelevant, if you want, make a new topic for it.
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:28

What does that have to do with the Taliban existing in Pakistan?

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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:23

2,000 illegal armed groups active in northern Afghanistan.


27 February, 2007


By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer 50 minutes ago

PUL-E-KHUMRI, Afghanistan - The disarmament of Afghanistan s illegal private militias has ground to a halt and the price of weapons in the countrys relatively quiet north is skyrocketing a sign of the embattled central governments failure to assert its control, Afghan and Western officials say.

This mountainous, ethnically diverse region has been spared the intense violence in the past year that has rocked the south and the east, where the Taliban has staged a violent comeback, launching scores of suicide bombings and brazen guerrilla attacks on Afghan, U.S. and NATO forces.

"No (provincial) governor has stayed for more than three or four months in the job because there are powerful people and networks" who force them out, said Habibullah, a car mechanic in Pul-e-Khumri, the provincial capital of Baghlan, where the top Kabul-appointed administrator was replaced three times during 2006.

The price of a Russian-made AK-47 assault rifle has risen in the past three years from $100 to $400, officials and local commanders said.

"Everybody is looking after themselves," said Malek, who today heads Afghanistans Liberty Party.

That was supposed to support a parallel effort to build a strong national army and police force.

A subsequent U.N.-Afghan effort then was launched to disarm and disband illegal armed groups with up to 120,000 members involved in crime, extortion and drug smuggling.

Some 2,000 illegal armed groups each with at least five fighters remain active, including new groups that have popped up across the country, said Ahmad Jan Nawzadi, a spokesman for the disarmament program. It originally hoped to disarm all fighters by the end of 2007.

That has worrying implications for the Western-backed project to rebuild a country scarred by the civil war between rival mujahedeen factions that broke out after the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

A new report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based on more than 1,000 interviews with Afghans and 200 experts, says that northern militia commanders who took part in the initial disarmament drive have begun to rearm, and former warlords retain de facto control, blunting Karzais influence in the region.

Mohammad Zamir, a 25-year-old shopkeeper, said people in Baghlan dare not go out after nightfall.

"Even in my house I have weapons to ensure the security and dignity of my family," Zamir said.

But rising weapons prices in the north, where there are large arms stockpiles left over from the civil war, are not just stimulated by local demand.

Arms dealers are "buying and smuggling to the Taliban areas in the south," according Bashir Khan Baghlani, a former senior commander of the Islamist militant group Hezb-i-Islami.

"These smugglers buy from the locals, put them in their vehicles and pay off the corrupt local police, who turn a blind eye to the trade," Baghlani said.

Western officials confirm that trend, which presents a threat to the 47,000 U.S.-led coalition and NATO forces that are bracing for a surge in Taliban attacks this spring. Thousands of people were killed in violence last year that shook confidence in Karzais weak government.

"The north is a place from where the weapons go to the south," said 1st Lt. Laslo Tor, safety and security adviser to the Hungarian Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baghlan province.

___

Associated Press Writer Amir Shah contributed to this report.


http://localnewsleader.com/jackson/stories/index.php?action=fullnews&id=68402



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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:16
edited---somewhat irrelevent to taliban.


Edited by maqsad - 28-Feb-2007 at 15:42
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:11

Sanobar, 11-years-old girl is abducted and raped by warlords

Malom Zafar Shah, the district chief, and powerful warlord Mehmood, both from the Northern Alliance, are accused of this crime


Sanobar, 11-years-old daughter of Gulsha, an Afghan widow, has been abducted, raped and then traded in exchange for a dog by warlords in Aliabad district of Kondoz province in North of Afghanistan.

The suffering mother, while crying, says: "a month ago at 11 o'clock of night armed men entered my house and after beating and threatening me by gun, abducted my only daughter."

She accused the district chief Malom Zafar Shah and a powerful warlord Commander Mehmood to be responsible for this crime.

Gulsha says later it was found that her daughter has been raped and exchanged with a dog and a sum of money to another person but her whereabouts are still unknown.

While crying she told journalists: "I approached human rights office and police but none of them could help to find my daughter. The district chief himself has 4 daughters but he sold my daughters to others. With many difficulties and problems I grown up my 2 daughters, one was previously sold [by him] to a Kandahari man and taken to Pakistan and another was exchanged with a dog. Please bring them to justice." 

Both Malom Zafar Shah and warlord Mehmood are from the "Northern Alliance" and members of Jamiat-e Islami Afghanistan led by Burhanuddin Rabbani (currently member of the Parliament). They have a long record of such crimes and brutalities against people of Kondoz. Malom Zafar has been appointed as district chief directly by Qasim Fahim the former defense minister and vice President and now member of Senate.

In an interview with Ariana TV, Malom Zafar rejected all charges against himself and Commander Mehmmod telling "no Jehadi brother is involved in such crimes."

Mohammad Zahir Zafari, chief of the human rights office in Kondoz says, they have tried since a month to find the child but police is also unable to do anything as powerful people have link to the crime. He also exposed that his office was threatened a number of times to stop following of the case.

Pajhwok Afghan News quoted Zahir Zafari on Nov.7, 2006: "The only person responsible for the abduction of Sanobar is the warlord Mehmood, who exchanged the girl with a dog which he got from Nimatullah and then sold it for 150,000 Afghanis (US$3000)."

Such crimes happen on daily bases in Kundoz and other parts of Afghanistan where warlords have established jungle law and have all the key positions in their possession.

Unfortunately only few of such cases find its way to the media, most journalists are too afraid to report it as it can have dangerous consequences for them.


Malom Zafar Shah, the District Chief, a warlord of the "Northern Alliance" is involved in many such crimes.



http://www.rawa.org/gulsha.htm




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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:04

Pakistan's Musharraf on Thin Ice

SPIEGEL (Germany) / February 27, 2007
By Matthias Gebauer in Peshawar, Pakistan

US Vice President Dick Cheney's recent visit to Pakistan was far from a gesture of friendship. The United States are putting massive pressure on Pakistan to finally take action against the Taliban active on the country's border. But can Musharraf afford it?

If you believe Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, there was nothing unusual to report this Monday. US Vice President Dick Cheney had just arrived in Islamabad for an unannounced visit on his way to Afghanistan and was having lunch with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. Perfectly normal security precautions, a press spokeswoman said in reply to questions as to why the visit has been kept secret. A "normal visit between partners."

But even the few photographs made available from the visit suggest that the speedy stopover by President George W. Bush's right-hand man was not the friendly bonding session the spokeswoman would have one believe. Cheney barely managed an awkward smile when he shook the hand of his host for the camera.

He left Pakistan after just a few hours -- without giving a public statement or even holding a press conference with Musharraf. "Visits between friends look a bit different," one Western diplomat commented. It is likely, he added, that Cheney's had stopped in Pakistan to admonish US-ally Musharraf.

The visit is the clearest indication of just how tense relations between Washington and Islamabad have become. Even as Pakistan remains nominally a strategic partner in the ongoing struggle against the Taliban and al-Qaida, such an explicit hand-slapping -- administered in part publicly but also in anonymously circulated allegations -- is rare. The accusation is that Pakistan is not doing enough to fight terror groups in the border region near Afghanistan -- and that Islamabad may even be partially responsible for the Taliban comeback. With the Taliban spring offensive imminent, it seems US patience has run out.

Still, the official account of the visit sounded relatively harmless. "Cheney expressed US apprehensions of regrouping of al-Qaida in the tribal areas and called for concerted efforts in countering the threat," Musharraf's office said. The statement also referred to Cheney expressing "serious US concerns on the intelligence being picked up of an impending Taliban and al-Qaida 'spring offensive' against allied forces in Afghanistan." Musharraf, on the other hand, was reported to have insisted his forces had already "done the maximum" to combat extremists active on Pakistan's territory.

Threats behind closed doors

Once behind closed doors, though, Cheney didn't mince words. With CIA Deputy Director Steve Kappes by his side, Cheney threatened them US Congress, with its Democratic majority, could deny Pakistan its promised aid of $785 million if Musharraf didn't finally take action against the Taliban. Congress only recently voted to reconsider aid to Pakistan on an annual basis. Only if Pakistan made good on its promises to fight terror, the message went, would money be forthcoming.

Cheney's visit comes after weeks of similar trips by US officials to Islamabad in recent weeks. But now the tone seems to be shifting and becoming more acrimonious. An unnamed member of the Bush administration was quoted by the New York Times as saying that the administration is tired of listening to Musharraf's promises.

"He's made a number of assurances over the past few months, but the bottom line is that what they are doing now is not working," one senior administration official told the Times. "The message we're sending to him now is that the only thing that matters is results."

But it's not just the Taliban giving the United States a headache. Several Western intelligence agencies suspect that al-Qaida militants are also grouping in the border region and using the territory -- which is only loosely controlled by Pakistan's military -- for training. US President George W. Bush recently characterized the region as "wilder than the Wild West." Analysts told the Times it has once again become a "hub of militant activity."

So far, solid evidence to suggest the terror network is active in the region remains thin. Those arrested in London last year on suspicion of planning to attack a number of passenger jets are said to have had connections to the border region. Several Pakistani terrorists who killed a US diplomat with a car bomb in Karachi in March, 2006 are also said to have had contacts to al-Qaida leaders from the North Waziristan border region.

According to the New York Times, intelligence services have even identified an al-Qaida training camp. What has been known for years is that the Taliban use the area as a safe retreat after military operations -- and that the Pakistani troops controlling the border are doing little to prevent it.

"Absurd, biased and unsubstantial"

Pakistan, not surprisingly, denies these allegations. President Musharraf's spokesperson called them "absurd, biased and insubstantial" in a conversation with SPIEGEL ONLINE. Pakistan's military is doing everything to "recognize and eliminate" Taliban structures, General Shaukat Sultan insisted. He pointed out the military has stationed 80,000 soldiers along the border, whereas only few soldiers are to be seen on the Afghan side of the border. "We've done our part; now the Afghans should do theirs," the general demanded.

It's not dissimilar from the message the Pakistani has for years tried to disseminate. "We always say the same thing," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz admits. And then he cites the same numbers given by military officials -- 80,000 soldiers on the border, more than 1,000 manned posts. But mostly politicians emphasize the military has already suffered 700 casualties in its struggle against the Taliban. "We've suffered more than other states, because of Afghanistan," the Prime Minister says, sounding almost proud.

But it was precisely the high number of casualties that forced Pervez Musharraf's government to go soft on the Taliban last year. A messenger from Islamabad signed a ceasefire with a number of militant groups active in the region -- groups known to openly support the Taliban. After the peace deal, Pakistan's troops retreated to their headquarters, venturing forth only rarely to attack Taliban positions or camps. The Taliban have been operating in the region "virtually undisturbed" ever since, according to Western intelligence analysts.

The peace deal -- really a ceasefire that was effectively forced on Pakistan -- symbolizes President Musharraf's dilemma. He knows from experience that every military offensive against the Taliban or other militant groups active in the border region will lead immediately to attacks on him or military facilities. Moreover, his own political survival is based in large part on support from radicals, say observers. Any action taken against the radicals is potentially dearly expensive.

But the US, it seems, is tired of excuses. They're said to have issued a clear threat in the past weeks that if push comes to shove, they will clear up the border region themselves. Such US-led attacks, which have occurred only rarely in the past, would break Musharraf's back politically. US intervention would be just what both fundamentalist Muslims and more moderate parties in Pakistan are waiting for to be able to attack Musharraf.

From Musharraf's point of view, much turns on when and how the United States make good on their threats. About $300 million of the US financial aid provided to Pakistan goes to the country's powerful military, which also secures the President's own power. No one has a stake in endangering Musharraf's political authority. As dissatisfied as Washington may be with his efforts to combat the Taliban and al-Qaida, what a new Pakistani government would look like in the event of Musharraf being overthrown is simply too unpredictable. And so a solution to the conflict seems difficult to achieve. But one thing is certain: Musharraf is facing a difficult year.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 15:00

The border post where bribes buy an easy entry for Taleban

The Times (UK) / February 24, 2007

Tim Albone in Spin Boldak, Kandahar province

The border town of Spin Boldak is a dangerous place. Men in black turbans zip around on motorbikes, smugglers rub shoulders with the Taleban, the border police are corrupt and weapons and drugs are everywhere.

The town is dusty, smoky and rugged, like a Wild West frontier town. The difference is that there is no alcohol and fortunes are made smuggling heroin, not prospecting for gold.

Just nine miles (15km) over there is a Taleban training camp, Muhammad Nasim, 27, the head of the Afghan border police, told The Times pointing into Pakistan to a cluster of mud buildings.

The Taleban have no problem crossing the border . . . they are trained by Pakistan. The ease with which Taleban fighters can pass through an official border crossing is certain to concern British troops in Helmand province, which borders Kandahar.

Intelligence reports suggest that Taleban fighters are massing in Quetta, across the border, for a spring offensive and it is feared that Britains 5,000 troops in Helmand will bear the brunt of it.

Pakistan has given repeated assurances that it is clamping down on Taleban insurgents after accusations by Afghan and Western officials that they get training, finance and a safe haven in the neighbouring province of Balochistan. President Musharraf of Pakistan has said he will mine and fence known insurgent crossings.

The picture on the ground is very different: here at the main border crossing guards were seen taking bribes in a way that would allow smugglers, Taleban fighters or even suicide bombers through checkpoints unchallenged.

Its all bulls**t that Musharraf is trying to stop them. He supports the Taleban. They [the Pakistanis] give them weapons and training, said Khaliq Daad, 32, a fierce-looking, one-eyed smuggler who lives in Chaman on the Pakistani side of the border.

We have to pay bribes every day to the Pakistanis so that they dont search our vehicles, said Zadar Muhammad, 30, another smuggler from the town of Chaman.

For less than the equivalent of 1, a man with no passport can pass through Pakistani and Afghan checkpoints without so much as a frisking; for 25 a driver can get his truck through without documents.

The road is paved from Spin Boldak to Quetta, capital of Balochistan, and about 50,000 people cross the border every day. It is believed that among the masses are Taleban fighters and suicide bombers who use Quetta as a training ground and a place to rest during the winter months.

When The Times visited the border post, Pakistani guards could clearly be seen taking bribes and allowing people through without searching them. It is not just Pakistanis who take bribes, however.

Both sides are asking for bribes, Akhtar Muhammad, 28, the second-in-command of the Afghan police force in Spin Boldak, told The Times with alarming honestly.

What makes the border so tricky to police is that many of the local tribes dont recognise it as a border at all. The Durand Line between Pakistan and Afghanistan was drawn up by the British in 1893 to split up the fierce Pashtun tribesmen who inhabit these parts. The border split families up and tribesman still cross the border for tea with a relative.

The world should realise we dont recognise this as a border. Its difficult to tolerate as we are one people and one nation, Akhtar Muhammad said.




Edited by Afghanan - 28-Feb-2007 at 15:01
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 14:58

Our Pals in Pakistan

Charles Pea / antiwar.com

February 28, 2007

Making an unannounced stop in Pakistan on Monday, Vice President Cheney "expressed U.S. apprehensions of regrouping of al-Qaeda in the tribal areas and called for concerted efforts in countering the threat" according to an aide to Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. According to Musharraf, Pakistan "has done the maximum in the fight against terrorism." Furthermore, Musharraf contends that there is no evidence that either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban's Mullah Omar are hiding out in Pakistan. But if bin Laden and company are not in Pakistan, where does Musharraf think they are? Did they flee Afghanistan to sip pia coladas on the beach in Fiji?

Pakistan is supposed to be an ally in the war on terrorism. The United States should not have to plead with an ally to go after public enemy number one. Nor should the United States have to put up with constant excuses for why the man responsible for ordering the Sept. 11 attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon remains at large.

To be sure, some of the bigger successes in the war on terrorism have come in Pakistan. The biggest success being the March 2003 capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. In each of these successes, the U.S. military or intelligence was involved in some way. But when left to their own devices, there has been a Keystone Kops-like aspect to Pakistani efforts. For example, in March 2004 the Pakistani military claimed they had surrounded several hundred al-Qaeda fighters, including a "high value target" thought to be Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second in command. But when the dust settled from the pounding by helicopter gunships and artillery in southern Waziristan, Zawahiri was nowhere to be found. Despite Pakistani military claims to have sealed off a 20-square-mile area that no one could have escaped from, Zawahiri either slipped the noose or was never there to begin with.

Another farce also occurred in March 2004 when Pakistani intelligence claimed that al-Qaeda spy chief Abu Mohammed al Masri (AKA Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists for his involvement in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya) was killed. The next day, however, the Pakistanis admitted to a case of mistaken identity the slain militant was only a small fry local operative and not an al-Qaeda big fish. To add insult to injury, not only did the Pakistanis come up empty-handed during their March 2004 terror sweep, but they also had 12 soldiers killed and 15 wounded when a convoy was ambushed.

Although capturing or killing bin Laden and other senior al-Qaeda leadership will not put an end to the terrorist threat facing America, they are nonetheless important targets too important to be delegated to the Pakistanis if they are unable or unwilling to mount a serious effort to hunt them down. Gary Schroen a former CIA officer who oversaw agency operations in the region until August 2001 believes Musharraf is willing to hand over lesser al-Qaeda figures, but unwilling to go after any of the big fish because he fears a horrendous Islamic backlash if he is seen as capturing or killing a man viewed as Robin Hood by many Muslims around the world. According to Newsweek's Michael Hirsch:

"As evidence, Schroen says that it took the Pakistanis five months to act against [Abu Faraj] al-Libbi [thought by many analysts to be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's successor] after the Americans delivered intelligence on the whereabouts of an al-Qaeda suspect who could not, at the time be specifically identified; Schroen believes the Pakistanis acted only after determining that the suspect was not bin Laden but a smaller fish. 'We gave them information on Libbi back in December [2004 al-Libbi was captured in May 2005],' says Schroen. 'They didn't want to do it.'"

Lack of seriousness on the part of the Pakistani government is further evidenced by all their deals to halt or curb military operations in southern Waziristan, the very area where bin Laden and al-Qaeda's senior leadership are thought to be in hiding. For example, in April 2004 the Pakistani military announced it had reached an agreement to halt military operations against tribesmen in return for a pledge not to harm Pakistan's interest. Yet, at the same time, the tribesmen announced they were ending their hunt for al-Qaeda militants. The most recent deal was struck with tribal leaders last September, in which they are supposed to take responsibility for curbing militant activities. As with past deals, critics believe that the Musharraf government has abdicated its responsibility and that the deal essentially cedes control of the area to militants, allowing them to step up recruitment and cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

But if Pakistan is going to claim to be an ally in the war on terrorism and be treated as such such folly cannot be allowed to continue. If for whatever reasons the Pakistani government is not willing or able to go after al-Qaeda with a vengeance, then the U.S. government must be willing to take matters into its own hands. This does not mean a large-scale military incursion of Pakistan. Rather, it means that U.S. special forces must be allowed to act in discrete operations against al-Qaeda targets when there is reliable, actionable intelligence. Officially for understandable reasons the Musharraf government may not be able to sanction U.S. military operations in Pakistan. But unofficially, the Pakistani government needs to allow U.S. forces to conduct covert operations into Pakistan against al-Qaeda.

Admittedly, this is easier said than done. On the one hand, the United States does not want to take actions that would destabilize the Musharraf regime because a likely successor government could be radical Islamists who would inherit Pakistan's nuclear weapons. But at the same time, the United States cannot continue to embrace Musharraf as an unequivocal ally in the war on terrorism if his government is not willing to do more to find bin Laden and other important al-Qaeda figures hiding out in Pakistan.

Perhaps most importantly, the United States cannot afford to turn a blind eye (as it seemingly does to Saudi Arabia has anyone noticed how the U.S. government doesn't complain about all the Saudi money being used to fund the Sunni insurgency in Iraq?) to the possibility that Pakistan may be enabling and facilitating al-Qaeda. Although it is important to consider the source, India has previously claimed that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI is aiding al-Qaeda. Given the ISI's involvement aiding the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s and their previous support for bringing the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, such accusations cannot be blithely ignored.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2007 at 14:57

The Problem With Pakistan

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
The Washington Post / February 28, 2007

In the you-are-either-with-us-or-against-us paradigm, the Bush administration has always had a difficult time dealing with Pakistan, a country that just happens to be both with us and against us.

In testimony before the Senate yesterday, the new Director of National Intelligence retired Admiral John M. ("Mike") McConnell, was as careful as all U.S. officials, lauding Pakistan's "ongoing efforts," but also highlighting many of America's concerns and disappointments.

One can't help but read the annual "threat" assessment from the intelligence community and come to the conclusion that for all of the American honor involved in "victory" in Iraq, the real danger of terrorism, and the country with the greatest potential for a world-shattering implosion, is not Iraq or Afghanistan or even Iran: it is Pakistan.

Saying that 2007 will be a "pivotal year" for Afghanistan, as well as raising concerns that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leadership are rebuilding and that the Taliban is in resurgence, retired Vice Adm. McConnell, Director of National Intelligence for just a week, had some special words about Pakistan.

Any new attack on the United States, McConnell said, is "most likely" to emerge from Pakistan, which hosts the al Qaeda leadership and other international terrorists in the ungoverned northwest region, and which serves as the breeding ground for broader Islamic radicalism.

"Many of our most important interests intersect in Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qa'ida maintain critical sanctuaries," McConnell said in his written report. The country, McConnell said "is our partner in the war on terror and has captured several al-Qa'ida leaders. However, it is also a major source of Islamic extremism."

The Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, agreed with McConnell. In his written testimony to the same committee, Maples said that the "Afghanistan Pakistan border area remains a haven for al-Qaida's leadership and other extremists."

Maples said that despite a September 2006 accord between Islamabad and North Waziristan tribes to curtail attacks into Afghanistan, "the tribes have not abided by most terms of the agreement," leading to increased "freedom of movement and operation" for al-Qaeda's network.

Pakistan's internal inaction against terrorists and other militants, Maples and McConnell both agreed, also threaten stability in Afghanistan and India. "Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan are strained due to continued Taliban reliance on safe-haven in Pakistan," Maples said. "Pakistan-based militants continued attacks against India undermine Pakistan's ability to make lasting peace with its neighbor," he continued. McConnell spoke of the need to eliminate the "safehaven" that the Taliban and others have found in Pakistan's tribal areas, but he also bent over backwards to explain the country's failure to bring the region under central government control:

"We recognize that aggressive military action, however, has been costly for Pakistani security forces and appreciate concerns over the potential for sparking tribal rebellion and a backlash by sympathetic Islamic political parties. There is widespread opposition among these parties to the US military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. With elections expected later this year, the situation will become even more challenging--for President Musharraf and for the US."

Democracy in Pakistan, McConnell also said, "has not been fully restored since the Army took power in 1999." It has, he meant to say, not been restored. Upcoming elections are not expected to change Musharraf's status: He will continue to be President and commander-in-chief and head of the Army and hold all of the actual power.

So, here is the American contradiction: Al-Qaeda is the greatest threat to the United States, at least according to the U.S. intelligence community and conventional wisdom. The terrorist organization is headquartered and lodged in northwest Pakistan, where it has virtual impunity. It operates within a country that has nuclear weapons and is labeled "a major source of Islamic extremism."

And yet the United States excuses and explains away a military dictatorship for eschewing a "costly" battle that might weaken it? Isn't the very core argument of the Bush administration in Iraq that we need to accept the cost and sacrifice -- no matter what -- in the name of our future security? But Pakistan doesn't? No wonder the Bush administration's worldview is so questionable.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Feb-2007 at 14:20

Where the Taliban breeds

Analysis | The porous Afghan-Pakistani border has been lawless since being imposed on Pashtun tribes in 1893. But this wild frontier must be tamed if Afghanistan is to flourish.

Olivia Ward
The Toronto Star
February 18, 2007

When Hassan Abbas, then a Pakistani police chief, went on a raid in the country's lawless border region, he was surprised to find himself outside his territory and inside Afghanistan.

"We weren't the only ones who were confused," says Abbas, now a fellow of the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

"For hundreds of years, people have been living on both sides of the border, and when it was divided they found it inconceivable that they should suddenly be residents of another country."

The story illustrates how porous is the wild, mountainous frontier that separates the two countries along the 2,400-kilometre line, which is still in dispute more than a century after it was negotiated by British diplomat Sir Henry Mortimer Durand.

But for Canadian and other NATO troops and the traumatized people of southern Afghanistan the border is real and menacing as they anxiously await a predicted spring onslaught of Taliban fighters and suicide bombers from Pakistan.

The coming battles are said to be crucial for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

"Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership presence inside of Pakistan remain a very significant problem," said the outgoing American commander in Afghanistan, Lt.-Gen. Karl Eikenberry, urging a "steady, direct attack" on their operations bases in the border areas.

But those who are familiar with the turbulent border regions say the realities there are far more complex than Western policy-makers believe. And they warn that putting a stop to the "Talibanization" that is threatening both Afghanistan and Pakistan will not be accomplished by military means alone.

"The Pashtuns are the historically dominant group in the area, and they have been split by the Durand Line, so that there is a feeling their destiny has been interrupted," says Selig Harrison, director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and author of five books on the border regions.

Moreover, he says, no foreign army has ever subdued the fierce border tribes.

The Durand Line, which divided Pashtun tribes between British India and Afghanistan in 1893, is viewed with resentment by people on both its sides and many of them of them consider it irrelevant.

"When you look at the partition today, it doesn't make a lot of sense," says geography professor Jack Shroder of University of Nebraska, Omaha, who has mapped the rugged areas.

"In the time of the British Raj, it was a ploy to divide and rule, and they put down white rocks to mark it. But people move the rocks around, because the border doesn't exist for them."

Like the border, law and order is a fluid concept in the tribal lands.

Pakistan has never managed to take control of the largely Pashtun area and created seven semi-autonomous units Bajaur, Momand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram and North and South Waziristan administered by federally appointed political agents.

Six smaller Frontier Regions provide a buffer between the agencies and the North West Frontier Province to the east. To the south is the large but sparsely populated province of Baluchistan, whose capital, Quetta, is said to be a Taliban command centre.

In the tribal regions, Pakistani courts and law enforcers have almost no sway, and the real power are the jirgas, or assemblies of elders, says Abbas, author of Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror.

The border regions have a population of some 38 million, including members of 60 Pashtun tribes and 400 sub-clans. With a literacy rate of little more than 10 per cent, few job opportunities beyond subsistence farming, deeply conservative religious views and an abundance of guns, the regions are a staging ground for militancy, drug trafficking and numerous smuggling rackets.

All these factors give the Taliban a head start in recruiting.

"The Taliban are sons of the soil, not foreigners," says Kamran Bokhari, a Toronto-based senior analyst for Strategic Forecasting Inc. "Over the past two decades, there has been a drift toward their kind of conservative Islam. An Islamist wave has hit the region, and there are many people who don't believe 9/11 happened and are convinced that there is a war going on against Muslims."

The tribal areas also have sheltered foreign and Afghan fighters fleeing previous wars in Afghanistan, and some of them have married local women and settled there.

Abbas says the Taliban was encouraged by "the Pakistani military's hidden alliance with religious political parties," in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. When the United States urged Pakistan to attack the militants, the campaign was brutal but disastrous. In a territory where revenge is part of the traditional code, secular parties lost out and Islamists gained ground.

But pockets of secular Pashtuns who oppose extremism still remain, with little support from the government and constant threats from Islamist groups.

Some analysts point to these secularists as the hope for future peace on the borders. A leader of the nationalist Pashtun Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali, recently defeated pro-Taliban politicians in an election in Bajaur Agency.

Nevertheless, Islamists in Bajaur have threatened local men against shaving their beards, and while some men have protested, Abbas says, the episode demonstrates the strength of extremism even in opposition areas.

But even among the Taliban, there are divisions and opportunities for negotiation, says veteran Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, author of several books on militancy in the borderlands.

"Negotiating with the present leadership (Mullah Omar, Mullah Dadullah and others) is not acceptable," says Rashid, adding that there are "moderate elements" who are willing to talk to the Afghan government and have met with the secular and nationalist Pashtun groups.

Rashid points out that the Pakistani government is deeply suspicious of those groups, fearing a new secession movement if they gain support. Pakistan rejected a recent peace plan put forward by Wali and approved by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to hold a jirga of tribal leaders from both sides of the border.

"Wali believes it's the last hope for the region," says Abbas. "But in Pakistan, it is difficult to challenge the military intelligence establishment."

Bokhari, who had a recent meeting with President Pervez Musharraf, says the Pakistani leader admitted he had "no magic wand" for solving the crisis on the borders but was open to political negotiation, as well as fencing and mining the frontier (the latter opposed by Canada). And Musharraf denied reports that the Pakistani intelligence service was supporting militants, saying that creating an unstable neighbour was against his country's interests.

But as the countdown to a predicted spring offensive continues, so will pressure on Musharraf to shut down Taliban bases in Pakistan's borderlands.

Says Harrison: "Since the economic viability of Pakistan depends on continued aid, a credible threat to cut it off would alarm the armed forces and other sectors of the Pakistani business and political establishment, forcing Musharraf to tack with the wind."

But most analysts agree that force alone will not be effective on the frontier. They say that tightly targeted attacks against the hard core of the Taliban, avoiding civilian casualties, should open the way for negotiations with those who are willing to lay down their arms.

"People who want to fight can be tackled militarily, and NATO must not allow (the militants) to believe they will just leave the area," says Abbas.

But Pakistan, he adds, is only part of the problem.

"It's crucial to support development of Afghanistan. A person with a job, and kids in school, will think twice before picking up a gun."

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Feb-2007 at 14:16
Maqsad, get over it already, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban work as one.  If you still think this is a problem for one country alone, you're really naive.
 
 
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Feb-2007 at 12:46
Originally posted by Sparten

As for incursions that is all talk. NATO is a political entity. Not a militray one. They may talk about incursions, but any actual attempt to go into that terrain will lead to disaster for them. Not enough troops,
Another good point about NATO being a political entity.  The effort in Afghanistan is not a true unified NATO military effort .  There in reality two NATOS in Afghanistan.  Canada, USA and Britain that are willing to send troops to fight in the south.  And the other NATO countries who have either refused to send more troops or have creative rules designed to keep their troops from ever being deployed to the Taliban areas.
Originally posted by Sparten

I say we should mine the border. And be done with it. 
Disagree here.  Mining the border would take millions of mines that would last for generations.  Minefields are useless with out being constantly watched.  Sure, the mines would kill a few Taliban, but then the Taliban and local sympathizers would quickly learn where the minefields are, how to cross them and which mine fields are being actively monitored.
 
Instead of actually mining the border, more effort can be put towards stopping non Afghan and non Pakistani "Taliban" at the airports and harbors.  Tight Visas controls  deny visiting privelages to anybody who even appears to be a Jihader.   Intelligence experts at airports identify potential Jihaders who still got visas.  Numerous  intelligent, focused sweeps in the interior detain and deport foreign Jihaders already in Pakistan as simply being illegal aliens.  


Edited by Cryptic - 18-Feb-2007 at 13:26
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