The Colonel’s Arrow Hits It’s Mark

Tanya as Col. Johnson

~~~

by

Rawclyde!

~

Col. Sheena Johnson stretched her limbs

Tossed a blanket, sat up, stared back at the midget trio

She leaped to her feet into a combat pose

Slapped the half-pints around playfully

~

They were aghast, eyes big marbles, mouths gaping caves

The colonel’s semi-naked attributes stunned

These little Muslim boys in the highest elevations of Afghanistan

She bounced them around like basketballs & they all cleaned-up the place

~

After a while they were making mud bricks

Repairing walls & painting murals on them

Of historic battles in various nearby locales

With splattered suicide bombers hobnobbing with virgins in the clouds

~

The virgins had naked navels, long blond hair & blue eyes

Just like Col. Sheena Johnson

One of the midgets, who everyone called Ollie, was painting a halo

On one of the virgins when his older Taliban brother walked-in

~

This feller turned into a hurricane of destruction

Undid all the work the short fellers & their new friend had done

The colonel had disappeared, was no where to be found

But one of her arrows returned, calmed the hurricane down

~

(Copyright Clyde Collins 2013)

~~~

final_inline

The Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

~~~

Taliban Reply To The Loya Jirga

LandownersandLaborers,LowResolution,NAM

Landowners & laborers in old Afghanistan…

~~~

Statement of Islamic Emirate regarding the predetermined decision of the farce Loya Jirga in Kabul

~~~

Voice of Jihad

November 25, 2013

~~~

Just as we had said previously, the farce Loya Jirga was convened in Kabul by the stooge Karzai regime in order to protect American interests. All its participants were government employees or active American stipendiary, decisions were preordained, it did not recognize things such as creed, nation or interests and with its historical treachery, it clearly proved that these known faces are submissive to American decrees and ready for every kind of treason and dishonor all the while labeling such steps as national interests. Finally the participants of the sham Jirga, after a quick read, remarks, amendments and a few fake recommendations, approved the accord of slavery and clearly exhibited that it gives precedent to American presence so they can prolong their authority, the bazaar of interest and bribery as well as the ongoing process of administrative and ethical corruption for a few more days under the protective shadow of America which has provided the opportunity for all these crimes.

The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns such Jirgas and resolutions of slavery and declares that such illegal worthless agreements and promises by slaves will not benefit the aggressing Americans or their criminal stooges. Rather the wrath of the nation will become even stronger and the accords between a master and his slave will be discredited and remain futile just like the past documents of slavery in Afghanistan.

Our nation is not an orphaned nation whose destiny can be decided by a few treacherous and infamous faces all the while the nation is rolling in its own blood due to the brutality, cruelty, bombings, raids and oppression of the invaders.

In the recent past, the communists also repeatedly tried to abuse the revered Afghan custom of Jirga and councils in order to expiate themselves of historical crimes however everyone witnessed that when the time of trial and account of the nation began, none of those processes and ploys benefited. The heroic Afghan nation is still heroic and under no cost or concessions shall it back away from its Islamic stance and Afghan honor or put the noose of slavery around its neck. Such agreements will only increase the fervor of Jihad in the arteries of true Afghans and will strengthen their Jihadi ranks. Afghanistan shall truly become the graveyard of the international arrogance and not a ground for perpetual bases, Allah willing, and nothing is hard for Allah Almighty.

~~~

Elders Endorse U.S. Troops’ Presence

Afghan elder, interpreter, US soldier...

~~~

by Tim Craig

Washington Post

November 24, 20013

~~~

KABUL — An emotional showdown between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and 2,500 tribal elders here Sunday ended with some — but not all — of what the United States was hoping for.

The elders endorsed an agreement under which the United States will continue to provide advice and training to Afghan security forces, and conduct counterterrorism operations, after the withdrawal of international combat forces at the end of next year. Although President Obama has yet to indicate the size of a potential post-2014 force, most estimates are that it would include up to 10,000 troops.

Delegates said it was in Afghanistan’s “vital national interest” to have a partnership with the United States, and they urged Karzai not to delay the signing of the bilateral security agreement until after the country holds elections in April.

“President Karzai should promise us, he should sign the [agreement] as soon as possible,” said Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, the former Afghan president who chaired the four-day gathering, known as a loya jirga. “This agreement will be beneficial for the people.”

But Karzai remained defiant, taking the stage during the final hours of the jirga to repeat that his signature will not come easily ~ or quickly. Karzai said he wants additional assurances from Washington that the United States will not meddle in the April elections. He also wants the Obama administration to ensure security within Afghanistan and at the same time to promise that a U.S. soldier will never again enter the home of an Afghan citizen in a military operation.

“Peace, security and a transparent election are preconditions for signing,” Karzai declared. “From now onward, Americans don’t have the right to raid our homes. If they raid our homes one more time, there will be no agreement.”

Secretary of State John F. Kerry praised the elders’ decision to endorse the agreement and urged Karzai to sign it before the end of the year.

“I can’t imagine a more compelling affirmation from the Afghan people themselves of their commitment to a long-term partnership with the United States and our international partners,” Kerry said. “The critical next step must be to get the [agreement] signed in short order.”

When he called for the jirga a few months ago, Karzai said he needed to obtain a national consensus about whether U.S. troops were wanted after next year and if so, under what terms. He said repeatedly in recent weeks that the jirga’s vote would heavily influence his decision on whether to forward the agreement to parliament for final approval.

But faced with strong support for the agreement from the jirga, Karzai remained deeply skeptical. His speech to the delegates Sunday was frequently interrupted by elders who urged him to avoid delays in finalizing the accord.

Uncharacteristically, Karzai appeared to abruptly cut off his prepared comments in the face of the outbursts. “On your behalf, I will continue negotiating,” Karzai said as he quickly walked off the stage.

Unlike in his opening address to the jirga last week, Karzai appeared to stop short of directly stating that he won’t sign the agreement until after his successor is chosen in April. That omission is likely to please U.S. officials, who had been looking for an opening to try to get him to move up his timetable…

Afghan elder, interpreter, ISAF soldier

“We are studying President Karzai’s speech. We continue to believe that signing the agreement as quickly as possible is in the interests of both countries,” said Robert H. Hilton, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

The Obama administration has suggested that there is little room for additional negotiating on the agreement, saying the version now up for consideration was the “final offer.”

But the jirga, whose vote is not binding, set a few conditions before expressing approval of the agreement. Most notably, the elders called for a 10-year time limit on the post-2014 troop presence and said they would seek reparations for damages caused by U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan.

In stark contrast to the jirga delegates’ endorsement of the U.S.-Afghan partnership, Karzai denounced the U.S. government in his remarks Sunday, which were made with U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham in the room.

Karzai said the Obama administration undermined him when it allowed Taliban leaders to establish a temporary office in Doha, Qatar, in June, during an unsuccessful effort by the United States to broker peace talks between the Taliban and Karzai’s government. He accused the Obama administration of interfering in the country’s 2009 elections, which he called an attempt to weaken the Afghan government. And he lashed out at the U.S. military for entering the homes of Afghan civilians.

After Karzai spoke, Mojaddedi pleaded with Karzai to reconsider.

“Mr. President, give us your pledge that you will sign the deal soon,” Mojaddedi said. He added, apparently in jest, that Karzai would have to move out of Afghanistan if there is no long-term security deal with the United States.

Then, in an extraordinary moment in Afghan politics, Karzai returned to the stage so that he and Mojaddedi could briefly debate the matter before the 2,500 delegates and a national television audience.

“They must commit that they will not kill Afghans in their homes,” Karzai insisted, adding, “If they do this, then we will sign.”

As the encounter was ending, Mojaddedi said, “If you don’t sign it, we will be disappointed,” according to an account published by the Associated Press.

“Fine,” Karzai said, as he once again left the stage.

Sayed Salahuddin and Mohammad Sharif contributed to this report.

Afghan Elder 2

Afghan Elder

~~~

Karzai Says He’ll Sign Later

not til nex yer

~~~                                                                                                     Not ’til next year…

by Azam Ahmed

New York Times

November 21, 2013

~~~

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai stood before thousands of Afghan leaders on Thursday in a watershed moment for his tumultuous rule. Having just come to an agreement with American leaders on a security deal that would commit the two countries to a lasting military alliance, and which would surely define his legacy, he convened the assembly that would decide the deal’s fate.

And then, in what has become a signature move, he hit the brakes.

After a speech in which he bluntly described his relationship with the United States as one of mutual distrust, he told the gathering, known as a loya jirga, that even if it approved the deal, he would wait until after the April presidential elections to sign it.

The declaration, which surprised both American and Afghan officials, instantly put at risk an American deadline to have an agreement signed this year. And it served notice that even with his leadership set to expire next year, Mr. Karzai intended for the United States to continue working through him at every turn until then.

The play is not without danger for Mr. Karzai. As American officials’ exasperation with him has intensified, they have increasingly noted the possibility that no American troops — and by extension, no international funding — would be left in Afghanistan after 2014.

They did so again on Thursday. In a White House background briefing, administration officials said they were seeking a clarification of Mr. Karzai’s intent, and suggested that leaving the deal’s completion until next spring would make it impossible to keep any American forces there.

The officials also emphasized that Mr. Karzai had agreed to a one-year timetable when the two countries began negotiating the security agreement last November.

Mr. Karzai’s brinkmanship is also creating anxiety within his own government. The military and police establishments, in particular, have urgently pushed to finalize the deal because it would ensure training and heavy international funding for the Afghan security forces.

Still, officials noted on Thursday that there was nothing to keep Mr. Karzai from changing his mind again if the loya jirga were to approve the security agreement by its close on Sunday. (Originally called for three days, the meeting has since been stretched to four, with the option to go even longer if needed, Afghan officials said.)

And if anything, Mr. Karzai’s statements seemed of a piece with a series of negotiation moves that appeared calculated to squeeze every last American concession out of the process — though each usually ended in Afghan compliance.

Earlier this month, the issue of American soldiers being granted immunity from prosecution in Afghan courts was highlighted by Afghan officials as a potential deal-breaker, until it was not. On Sunday, the Afghans drew a line in the sand about United States forces searching Afghan homes, a demand that also largely fell by the wayside.

And a public statement on Tuesday from a Karzai spokesman saying that the Americans were prepared to essentially apologize for past mistakes during the war turned into an embarrassment for the Karzai administration when two senior administration officials denied there was an apology in the works.

Indeed, there was a certain familiarity in much of Mr. Karzai’s speech on Thursday, delivered to the gathering in a tent at the Polytechnical University of Kabul. While he said he approved the security agreement, he made a point of lashing out at his American allies repeatedly during the hourlong appearance.

“There’s a mistrust between me and the Americans,” he said. “They don’t trust me, and I don’t trust them. I have always criticized them, and they have always propagated negative things behind my back.”

Mr. Karzai called on an assortment of rhetorical devices he has employed over the past decade. He was at times humorous, at times outraged, at times personal and emotional.

It mattered little on Thursday that the coalition commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., and the American ambassador, James B. Cunningham, attended the loya jirga. Mr. Karzai offered no quarter to the Americans during his speech, even as he made clear his desire to see the bilateral security agreement signed, a move that would secure an American troop presence through 2024 and pave the way for billions of dollars in financial assistance.

“Those who oppose this security agreement shouldn’t be labeled as Pakistani or Iranian agents,” Mr. Karzai said, referring to a common Afghan belief that Afghanistan’s neighbors want to see the country weak and unstable. “There are people who are pro-B.S.A., but we can’t call them American agents. I am pro-B.S.A., but I have my preconditions.”

“We want the Americans to respect our sovereignty and laws and be an honest partner,” he said.

He then added, “And bring a lot of money,” prompting a wave of laughter in the crowd.

At times, his speech sounded like a defense of his tenure: He made the Americans wait to sign the agreement. He played hardball on crucial issues. He refused to sign any agreement without putting it to the Afghan people, as represented by the loya jirga, which is composed of 2,500 influential leaders selected by the government.

Still, a prevalent view of the assembly was that it had been called, essentially, to grant the leader political cover for the approval of the security agreement. Mr. Karzai, after all, had final approval over the delegate list.

Though his administration made concessions, Mr. Karzai held up a letter from President Obama as evidence of America’s respect and read passages that expressed sympathy with Afghan concerns about “the sensitive issue of the safety and privacy of people in their own homes.”

The letter, a copy of which was posted on the Afghan president’s website, also pledged that “U.S. forces shall not enter Afghan homes for the purposes of military operations, except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of U.S. nationals.”

During his speech, a woman in the audience heckled Mr. Karzai about foreign raids on Afghan homes, a breach of privacy seen as deeply offensive here. Specifically, she pressed him about the concession that foreign raids would be permitted only in “extraordinary circumstances.”

“All the night raids can be categorized as exceptional cases,” she yelled, carrying on for more than a minute before she was ushered from the room.

“This sister has left every jirga,” Mr. Karzai said, referring to her claim that she had been invited to the last two nationwide jirgas. “I know that, but her views should be respected.”

Beneath the levity and criticism, however, Mr. Karzai exudes genuine bitterness over how the American campaign has turned out here. He has seen the hope of many Afghans after the fall of the Taliban fade into cynicism, and has watched yet another generation schooled in the vernacular of war.

As he has in the past, Mr. Karzai mentioned his son during the speech. He recalled coming home after the Ministry of Defense was attacked one night and being greeted by his toddler.

“My son was only 3 years old when he learned the words ‘Ministry of Defense,’ ” he told the gathering, a rare glimpse of family life in a very guarded society. “Can you show me another 3-year-old who knows the words ‘Ministry of Defense?’ ”

Rod Nordland contributed reporting from Kabul, and Mark Landler and Matthew Rosenberg from Washington.

~~~

hamid 1

Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, his website:

http://president.gov.af/en

~~~

Afghans Gathering

afhan2

~~~

by Rod Nordland

New York Times

November 21, 2013

~~~

KABUL, Afghanistan — The loya jirga is a venerable Afghan institution in which representatives of Afghan tribes are summoned, in the absence of formal government, to discuss issues of concern. Afghan rulers used them to ratify their rule whenever they seized power or expanded territory, because if there is one defining characteristic of a loya jirga, it is that it rarely says no…

kabul ruins

That has certainly been the case of the five loya jirgas summoned in the past decade. The first of those, an emergency jirga in 2002, elected Hamid Karzai as president. He was also the choice of the international community, which supported him for interim leadership and had effectively convened that loya jirga…

D3Mj1

Another loya jirga that began in 2003 ratified the present Afghan Constitution  — and also set out the terms of what in the future would constitute a loya jirga, or grand assembly, specifying that it included all members of Parliament, as well as district and provincial council chairmen…

US soldier in Afghanistan

Mr. Karzai, who has openly expressed his longing to be seen as a champion of Afghan tradition, has been particularly fond of loya jirgas, convening four of them, including the present one. This one was billed as a “consultative loya jirga,” because it did not actually fulfill the strict constitutional requirements of a loya jirga, since the delegates, all chosen either directly or indirectly by the president and his aides, were a more numerous and diverse group than specified in the Constitution, including tribal elders, civic groups, and many other nongovernmental figures…

Afghan Warriors

Two of Mr. Karzai’s previous jirgas discussed peace, and the most recent one, in 2011, affirmed the government’s support for a strategic agreement with the United States — the precursor to the present security agreement being discussed this week…

afghanistan-2007-oil-on-canvas

Critics of loya jirgas say the one now underway, expected to conclude on Sunday, is doubly undemocratic. First: as a consultative loya jirga it is chosen by the government outside of constitutional rules. And second: why have a loya jirga in a country that now has an elected Parliament?

Samiullah Sameem, a member of Parliament from Farah Province, supports the security agreement. But he refused his invitation to the jirga. “It is undemocratic and symbolic,” he said. “With democratic institutions like Parliament, there is no need for jirgas.”

“The jirga delegates will endorse what the government tells them to endorse,” said Jawed Kohistani, a political analyst. The jirga’s deliberations are broken down into 50 committees, he said, each headed by a government loyalist. The only way the jirga is likely to say no to a security agreement with the Americans, he said, is if Mr. Karzai wants it to say no…

afghan-girl-darlene-keeffe

Aimal Faizi, Mr. Karzai’s spokesman, disagrees, saying that the jirga organizers cast a wide net, sending out some 3,000 invitations. There are 2,500 attendees. All members of Parliament and local government officials down to the district level were among the invitees, as well as representatives of the Taliban — who did not come — and other opponents of the president, some of whom did. Most mainstream opposition figures, however, either were not invited or boycotted the event…

_44650568_abdulwashamdard_416

In his opening speech, Mr. Karzai encouraged the delegates to vote their consciences. “I want you to make your decision independently,” he said. “Whoever comes to you and claims to be my representative, don’t believe them.”

~~~

Afghan

art and photos gathered by

Rawclyde!

~~~

Loya Jirga Eyeballs Security Agreement

Mr. Eyeballl

 ~~~

by Hassan Khitab

Pajhwok Afghan News

~~~

KABUL: Some participants of the consultative Loya Jirga on Friday called for changes in parts of the draft Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), warning the deal — if signed without amendments — could damage Afghanistan’s long-term interest.

Around 2,500 people’s representatives, tribal chieftains, religious scholars, lawmakers, women, civil society groups, the nomadic Kuchi tribe, traders and rights activists are attending the four-day grand assembly in Kabul.  

On the second day of proceedings, 50 jirga committees started debating the deal, clause by clause. The discussions will continue tomorrow, according to organizers. On the final day, committee heads will present their recommendations before the assembly takes any decision.

Some participants believed portions of the BSA text needed a careful review to safeguard the country’s future interest. The Badakhshan provincial council head suggested changes to the articles concerning civilian house searches and legal jurisdiction over foreign troops.

Abdul Wahid Tayyebi told Pajhwok Afghan News: “If these parts of the draft aren’t amended, I fear Afghanistan will be placed in harm’s way.” However, he hoped the Americans would continue to extend sincere assistance to the impoverished ally.  

A representative of the disabled from eastern Laghman province, Syed Sharif, also slammed the jurisdiction clause as violative of Islamic teachings. All parts of the draft agreement that were in conflict with the national interest and inconsistent with the religion must be changed, he demanded.

He viewed the draft accord as detrimental to Afghanistan, because it offered no concrete guarantees of the country’s security and prosperity. US leader Barack Obama’s letter to President Hamid Karzai was also devoid of such commitments, he insisted.

Sharif claimed that the two sides had already concluded the agreement, calling the ongoing tribal forum an exercise in absolving President Karzai of blame and shifting the responsibility for future consequences to the nation.

For his part, Karzai has emphasised on participants to study the entire agreement minutely before sharing their opinion with the government.

Haji Mohammad Usman, a tribal elder from eastern Nangarhar province, insisted sovereignty of the country must be respected; otherwise the agreement would be not approved. The jirga was free of foreign pressures, he said, explaining no one wanted to harm the national interest.

“We have thrashed out more than 10 articles of the pact, but did not find a single article that is against Afghanistan,” he continued.

But an attendee from northeastern Badakhshan province, Mufti Abdul Rahman, condemned legal protection of US forces as a clear breach of Islamic values. Another debatable article concerned house searches, he maintained.

A participant from Balkh province, Nazif Qarizada, noted signing the pact was to the advantage of the country. Afghanistan would face serious challenges if the agreement was not signed, she warned, saying she had studied the whole text but there was nothing negative in it.

Ghulam Hussain Hazara, a political expert and participant of the jirga, opined signing the BSA would benefit Afghanistan in terms of equipping, training and strengthening its security forces. Economic development was another benefit that Afghanistan could gain, he concluded

~~~

Pajhwok Afghan News:

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2013/11/22/some-delegates-seek-changes-bsa

~~~

Loya Jirga Opens

Afghan Soldier Kabul
                                                                        Afghan troops are providing security…
~~~

~~~

The Afghan legend of a people never conquered is deeply woven into the fabric of the nation, and that is why President Hamid Karzai has called a Loya Jirga gathering – he does not want to be remembered as the man who signed away Afghan sovereignty on his own.

Mr Karzai is looking for political cover for a deal to allow US troops to stay on Afghan soil after the end of 2014. But the Loya Jirga opens in the most chaotic of circumstances with US officials saying the published text is not complete.

US Secretary of State John Kerry talked to President Karzai on the phone twice in two days, and said there is now a deal to be put to the Loya Jirga to decide on.

The US has agreed that their troops should not “target Afghan civilians” but can enter Afghan homes. A US official said that an agreed additional line saying that this should only be in “extraordinary circumstances to protect American lives” does not appear in the final text.

President Karzai has raised this issue often in the past – most recently in an interview with the BBC last month – when he said that international forces had brought only suffering to his country.

But after days of political theatre, he failed to win concessions, at one point even demanding that the Americans admit past mistakes, a tactic that won a blast of contempt from Washington.

Given the complexity of working in three languages, with many delegates unable to read, a lot now depends on how the mercurial and unpredictable president of Afghanistan presents the text when the Loya Jirga opens.

When asked to convene the meeting, even the chairman of the Loya Jirga, the veteran Afghan politician Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, questioned whether it was necessary.

He believed that a future US presence was already covered by an agreement signed off by a previous Loya Jirga.

The Loya Jirga process is a modern version of an old Afghan principle of elders gathering together to govern by consent.

“Consultation has a deep root in Afghan culture,” said Najib Amin, deputy head of policy for the Loya Jirga.

There are 14 separate categories of delegates including elders from remote places, but also some MPs, provincial councillors, a women’s section and representatives from NGOs.

Mr Amin said that the Loya Jirga would begin with a speech by President Karzai, which will set the tone, and it will then break into small groups where there would be a chance for delegates to express their views…

There has been a lively debate in the Afghan parliament over whether the Loya Jirga can approve the security deal with the US on behalf of the nation. But realistically it is hard to see parliament or the president rejecting a Loya Jirga decision.

The last-minute wrangling over the text was a surprise even to seasoned Karzai watchers as he pushes the talks beyond the brink, perhaps not realizing that the US would have walked away.

All the indications are that the “zero option” of no foreign troops in Afghanistan, remains a possibility.

One senior Western diplomat said that “the probability of success is 90%”. But 10% is an uncomfortably big number.

When Mr Kerry left Kabul after face-to-face talks last month, he believed he had the wording he wanted to allow troops to enter Afghan homes.

At the time the only outstanding issue appeared to be the issue of whether US troops should be tried in the US or in Afghanistan for any crimes committed on Afghan territory.

Both men agreed to leave this to be decided by the Loya Jirga.

Both the US ambassador here, James Cunningham, and the most senior US general, ISAF commander Joseph Dunford, have held lengthy talks at the presidential palace, investing time and energy in reaching an agreement.

‘Stakes are high’

Ideally the US would have wanted the agreement signed some months ago, to make proper planning as they draw down from almost 50,000 troops to around 10,000, and reconfigure the force as a training and advisory mission, with a small counter-terrorism element.

Failure to reach a deal quickly also jeopardises the contribution from other Nato forces – notably German, Turkish, and Italian – who have agreed to command regional headquarters after the end of 2014. And it would mean UK forces pulling out of their commitment to support the fledgling Officer Training Academy.

The agreement also includes a reference to the US commitment to fund Afghan forces at $4.1 billion a year.

So if there is no deal, that commitment too would be questioned by US lawmakers, impatient to cut funding wherever they can, and weary of Afghanistan.

Amrullah Saleh, the former head of the Afghan Intelligence service the NDS, said he was confident that the deal would be agreed on terms acceptable to both sides.

“The only thing that gives me high confidence and hope that this will not be a goodbye Jirga, but it will be a Jirga bonding the two nations together is that the stakes are high for the two nations,” he said.

“Abandoning a country as strategically located as Afghanistan will be committing the mistakes of previous world powers… the mission is not finished,” Mr Saleh added.

But the continued presence of US troops has significant critics. Wahid Mozhda, a member of the Movement Against Foreign Bases, said that the Americans had failed to defeat the Taliban with 100,000 troops – how would 10,000 manage to do the job? he asked.

As a reminder of continuing insecurity, a bomb close to the area where the Jirga is being held killed 10 and injured many more over the weekend. The Taliban have threatened to carry out further attacks.

Thousands of extra police have been drafted-in to lock-down the city centre to try to prevent further attacks.

~~~

The Obama Letter

111115_1afghan1643377_10pk

Afghan VIPs at Loya Jirga anticipate having a love letter from President Barack Obama recited to them…

~~~

by Rod Nordland

New York Times

November 19, 2013

~~~

KABUL, Afghanistan — Months of fraught negotiations and public posturing over how a long-term American military force could remain in Afghanistan have suddenly come down to a demand for a single personal gesture: a display of contrition by President Obama for military mistakes that have hurt Afghans.

Afghan officials said Tuesday that in return for such a letter from Mr. Obama, President Hamid Karzai would end his vehement opposition to American counter-terrorism raids on private Afghan homes — one of the most contentious issues between allies over a costly dozen-year war — clearing the way for an agreement to keep a smaller American troop force in the country past the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

As described by Mr. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, the letter would be tantamount to an apology, though he did not use that word. But not even that would be enough to ensure the final passage of a security agreement the United States had pressed to have in hand before next year. The Afghans have made final approval subject to an Afghan grand council of elders, a loya jirga, that is to begin meeting on Thursday, and aspects of the security deal remain deeply unpopular with the public.

The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, would not confirm details on Tuesday, but he nodded to the potential deal-breaking potential of the meeting. “There are ongoing negotiations,” he said. “I would simply say this agreement is not reached until it goes through the loya jirga.”

The 11th-hour discussions were the latest lurch in a start-and-stop negotiation process that has exposed raw feelings between allies, and has also highlighted Mr. Karzai’s taste for public brinkmanship.

Just two days ago, Afghan officials said that the raid issue had created a stubborn impasse.

Afghan and American officials said that the potential for breakthrough was opened by a phone call from Secretary of State John Kerry to Mr. Karzai on Tuesday.

According to Mr. Faizi, Mr. Kerry offered to write a letter assuring the importance of an agreement and acknowledging American mistakes, and Mr. Karzai issued a counteroffer: He would compromise if the letter was from Mr. Obama instead. Mr. Faizi said Mr. Kerry agreed to those terms.

But Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, flatly denied in an interview with CNN on Tuesday night that there would be any presidential apology. “No such letter has been drafted or delivered,” Ms. Rice said. “There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan. Quite the contrary. We have sacrificed and supported them in their democratic progress and in tackling the insurgency and Al Qaeda.”

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss continuing negotiations, was more noncommittal, saying that a letter acknowledging past issues like civilian casualties was a possibility being weighed. “We will consider his request for reassurances, including the option of a letter from the administration stating our position,” the official said.

Under the Afghan description, in return for the letter, Mr. Karzai would then accept wording that allowed American Special Operations raids to search and detain militants within Afghan homes, but only under “extraordinary circumstances” to save the lives of American soldiers. That would seem to greatly hamper the American intent behind those operations, which commanders have said are critical to taking the fight directly to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Among members of the Afghan public, though, foreign raids on private homes are seen as deeply offensive, and the prospect of continued American commando operations after 2014 is unlikely to receive a warm reception from the roughly 3,000 delegates to the loya jirga.

But Mr. Faizi said that a letter from Mr. Obama would help win critics over. And Afghan political observers have noted that Mr. Karzai, who despite his harsh negotiation tactics has repeatedly mentioned the importance of a lasting security deal with the United States, had the power of approval over the delegate list, making it more likely he could sway the council.

Mr. Faizi made it clear that the Afghans had a very detailed understanding of what they expected a letter from Mr. Obama to say, and without that there would be no deal.

The letter would clarify what was meant by “extraordinary circumstances” justifying home raids, and go beyond that as well. “The idea was to indeed mention that there were mistakes made in the conduct of military operations in the past, in the conduct of military operations by United States forces in the last decade, and that Afghans have suffered, and that we understand the pain and therefore we give assurances and make sure those mistakes are not repeated,” Mr. Faizi said.

Afghan officials said they expected to see the text of the letter by Wednesday before Mr. Karzai signs off on the security agreement.

With one day remaining to finalize the wording of the security agreement before the loya jirga meets, Mr. Faizi said that was the remaining issue in talks, carried out in their last phase by Mr. Karzai with the American ambassador, James B. Cunningham, and the American military commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.

“The rest, everything is solved,” Mr. Faizi said.

He also said that the Afghan side had agreed to acquiesce on another sticking point: the American requirement that the United States retain legal jurisdiction over its soldiers in Afghanistan. In essence, that would make United States military personnel immune to Afghan prosecution for their actions in the country, though they would remain subject to American prosecution.

A similar requirement led to the collapse of talks with Iraq to establish a long-term security deal, and an immediate final withdrawal of American troops from that country in 2011.

In recent weeks, American officials have mentioned that the result in Iraq could be duplicated, and that the 2014 military withdrawal from Afghanistan could be made complete and final if their terms on home raids and legal jurisdiction were not met.

Eric Schmitt and Mark Landler contributed reporting from Washington.

~~~

Kabul Bombing

afghan-police-in-kabul-moping-up-taliban-attack-6-10-2013

Police in Kabul

~~~

by Azam Ahmed & Jawad Sukhanyar

New York Times

November 16, 2013

~~~

KABUL, Afghanistan — A powerful car bomb that exploded near the site where Afghan elders are set to vote on a long-term security agreement with the United States killed at least 10 people on Saturday, rattling central Kabul and underscoring the insurgency’s desire to prevent an American presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

The bomb exploded shortly after 3 p.m. near the gates of Kabul Educational University, as students and pedestrians were filtering through the area, police officials said. An Afghan Army Humvee patrolling the area was also struck, killing at least one soldier and wounding three others, according to witnesses and the spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

As the area is cleared, more bodies are likely to be uncovered.

The scene around the gates of the school was one of devastation. More than a dozen cars were destroyed in the blast, which leveled structures and pulverized bystanders, leaving shattered glass, blood and pieces of flesh covering the ground. The attack occurred at a police checkpoint on the way to the university, which is near a major transportation hub. A large bus filled with people was shredded in the blast.

“Students and schoolgirls were passing,” said Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Zohair, an employee of a nongovernmental organization with offices nearby. “Lots of people got injured and probably killed.”

The gate of the university is just a few hundred yards from the site where elders and other important Afghans are scheduled to assemble to vote on the security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States on Thursday. The approval of the pact by the assembly, known as a loya jirga, is a vital step toward allowing United States forces to remain in the country and continue training the Afghan Army.

“We believe it was meant to bring disorder before we convene the jirga,” said a spokesman for the loya jirga, Abdul Khaliq Hussain Pashayee. “We are hopeful and expect Afghan security forces to provide a better security environment for the representatives of the people who will be meeting next week.”

Violence has been somewhat muted in Kabul in recent months. A spate of major attacks on the capital early in the summer, including one that killed at least nine people, gave way to an uneasy silence.

Afghan security forces have been on high alert in the days before the vote. Soldiers and police officers have been searching the area surrounding the site in recent weeks, demanding documentation and ownership papers from people in households in the vicinity.

The bombing on Saturday was a major blow to efforts to protect a significant symbol of the country’s fledgling democracy. About 2,500 people are expected to convene next week for the jirga, supported by President Hamid Karzai.

The Taliban, which did not immediately take responsibility for the attack, have been vehement in their opposition to the security pact, calling Mr. Karzai’s jirga a “farce.” The group released a statement last week denouncing the security deal and urging Afghans to boycott the jirga.

The Karzai government, the Taliban wrote in the statement, wants to carry out the wishes of the Americans and “implement a treacherous deal which in our history will forever be known as national sedition and a criminal act against our nation. Under this treacherous deal, undertaken between a master and slave, the barbarian American Army will continue its occupation of our beloved homeland.”

As recently as a month ago, it was far from assured that the Afghan government even wanted to sign the deal. Bitter recriminations between Mr. Karzai and his American counterparts had led to a stalemate, leaving the future of training — and, indirectly, funding — for the Afghan forces up in the air.

But last month, Afghan and American officials reached a crucial breakthrough. Secretary of State John Kerry spent nearly 24 hours negotiating with Mr. Karzai, ending the marathon session with an agreement on major elements.

But crucial issues remain unresolved, in particular the requirement by the United States that its troops are granted immunity from prosecution under Afghan law. The issue is a deal-breaker for the United States, which withdrew its forces from Iraq when a similar demand was not met. Mr. Karzai, meanwhile, has not indicated any softening in his own stance on the matter, saying only that he maintains a different view from his American allies.

The loya jirga, as a traditional gathering of elders and other important figures in Afghanistan, is often viewed as an expression of the will of the Afghan people. Mr. Karzai has insisted on using the gathering to make the formal decision on the bilateral security agreement, in part so as not to be seen as a puppet of the Americans.

Still, most here expect the vote to reflect the will of Mr. Karzai.

Haris Kakar contributed reporting.

~~~

Continue reading

Col. Johnson Wakes Up In Pluckame

~~~

wake up sleepy head 2

~~~

by

Rawclyde

!

~~~

She carried on constant dialogue with

Saint Joan of Arizona, her best friend

Whom she had never met face to face but

Saint Joan was Sheena’s favorite spirituality

~

Colonel Sheena Johnson of the US Army

Begged Holy Jesus for salvation, Holy Mary for holy prayers

When she caught a wink of rest she woke up

Surrounded by God, His angels, and Afghan villagers

~

Her hair-splitting arrows, her death-begotten spear

Her footprints filled Taliban hearts with fear

For some holy reason she never missed nor was hit

Al Queda, so full of it, finally ducked out & split

~

Colonel Sheena Johnson of the US Army

Of the entire planet & the universe too

Held Islam like a coin in the palm of her hand

And the little brains in her toes understood Afghanistan

~

One morning she awoke in the ruins of

A small mosque in the beat-up village of Pluckame

Perched invisible on a distant mountain ridge

3 midgets watched her eyes open like she was a cartoon on TV

~

Sitting cross-legged in a row with 3 grinning faces

These poverty-stricken midgets were doomed to grow up Taliban

That is, before they found Col. Sheena Johnson

Who immediately became their favorite cartoon character…

~~~

(Copyright Clyde Collins 2013)

~~~

favorite cartoon character

Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

http://www.comicvine.com/sheena/4005-31442

~~~

The Killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani

~~~

Written by Bill Roggio

November 12, 2013

The Long War Journal

~~~

The Afghan Taliban condemned the killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani, a top official in the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network who was gunned down yesterday in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The statement announcing the “martyrdom” of Nasiruddin was released November 12th on the Afghan Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad. It was signed by “The Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the official name of the Afghan Taliban.

Nasiruddin served as a key financier and facilitator for the group. He also served as an “emissary” to al Qaeda, and often traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2004-2009 to carry out fundraising for the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

“It is with great regret that we have learned about the martyrdom of Nasiruddin Haqqani (may Allah accept him), the elder son of the famous Jihadi and scholarly personality and member of Leadership Council of Islamic the respected Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani,” the Afghan Taliban said.

While the Taliban did not describe how Nariruddin was killed, they said he died “in a cowardly terrorist attack of the enemy ….” Nasiruddin was gunned down outside a bakery run by Afghans in the Bhara Kahu area of Islamabad. The unidentified shooters were riding motorcycles when they attacked him.

No group has claimed credit for killing Nasiruddin. The Afghan Taliban’s statement did not define the “enemy.” The Pakistani Taliban accused the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Pakistan’s military intelligence service, which backs the Haqqani Network, of executing the attack. But given the Haqqani Network’s relationship with the ISID, Nasiruddin is more likely to have been killed in an Afghan or US intelligence operation, by rival jihadist groups (the Haqqani Network is rarely involved in jihadist infighting), or by criminals.

The killing of Nasiruddin in Islamabad puts a dent in the narrative of the Taliban as well as the Pakistani government, that the Haqqani Network is based in eastern Afghanistan and does not operate in Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban maintain this position in order to portray their jihad in Afghanistan as a nationalist fight and to protect their Pakistani backers. The Pakistani government and military maintain that the Haqqanis operate only in Afghanistan, in order to rebuff US and Western pressure to act against the group. The Haqqani Network is closely tied to al Qaeda and is one of the most effective jihadist groups operating in Afghanistan.

Haqqani Network is part of the Taliban

The Taliban’s statement is further confirmation that the Haqqani Network is a key part of the Afghan Taliban. In the past, Western officials have attempted to delink the Afghan Taliban from the Haqqani Network, as part of an effort to weaken the Taliban movement and divide the groups in order to negotiate a peace deal. While the Haqqani Network operates with a degree of autonomy in eastern Afghanistan, the group still falls under the command of the Afghan Taliban.

But the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network have publicly denied that the Haqqanis operate outside the aegis of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In a statement released on Voice of Jihad in September 2012, the Afghan Taliban addressed this issue head on.

The Taliban claimed in that statement that there is “no separate entity or network in Afghanistan by the name of Haqqani,” and that their overall leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a member of the Quetta Shura, the group’s top leadership council.

“The honorable Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani is a member of the Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate and is a close, loyal and trusted associate of the esteemed Amir-ul-Mumineen [leader of the faithful, Mullah Omar] and those Mujahideen entrusted under the command of his sons are in fact the heroic Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate who like other Mujahideen strictly obey the esteemed Amir-ul-Mumineen and wage Jihad against the invaders throughout the country,” the Taliban statement said.

The Taliban also claimed that the Haqqani Network was created by the US as part of “its satanic plot” to divide the group.

“By employing its satanic plot, America is trying to create and black list a separate entity in the organized and unified rank of Islamic Emirate …,” the statement continued.

Haqqani Network leaders have also rebuffed claims that the two groups operate independently.  In a 2008 interview with Al Somood, the Taliban’s official magazine, Jalaluddin outlined his role in the Taliban and said he was a member of the Quetta Shura. He also denied that his followers constituted a separate entity from the Taliban.

The Haqqani Network frequently releases its propaganda tapes and statements through Voice of Jihad and its leaders are often interviewed in Al Somood. The Afghan Taliban also issue martyrdom statements for slain top Haqqani Network leaders, such as Nasiruddin or Badruddin Haqqani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan in 2012.

~~~

The Long War Journal

http://www.longwarjournal.org

~~~

The Big Gundown

stick em up

~~~

     “Nobody can defeat the Taliban militarily,” says Karzai, shaking his head.  “As long as Afghanistan exists, the Taliban will exist.  They are the sons of Afghanistan and they will always have their place.  But the Taliban are not one entity.  They are like ~ what is the name of that Greek monster with all those heads?  If you cut off one, another will take its place.”

     “A hydra.”

     “A hydra.  But the Taliban can’t unify my country.  They cannot repeat their earlier success.”

     “Success?” asks H.  “Do you call their kind of government a success?”

     “My friend,” he says.  “For a scorpion, even hot sand is a relief.  We have to start where we are.  The Taliban have their place in that.  You cannot deny them their achievements.  People who have not seen the conditions in the country cannot understand their popularity.  But by bringing foreign fighters onto the Afghan earth they have done a thing which Afghans cannot forgive.  People can see where they are taking our country.   That is why we need friends, real friends, who can help to defeat them politically.”

     “Does that include America?” I ask.

     “Of course,” he says.  “Why shouldn’t it?  I don’t dislike America.  But America is like the Taliban.  It doesn’t have one head.  Listen, my friends.  I have talked to American diplomats here and in Islamabad.  I have talked to the State Department in Washington.  I have talked to the CIA and the military.  Every one of them has a different idea about Afghanistan, but only America is powerful enough to help us.”  He sweeps his hand again over his head.  “Their great weakness is to see the world in black and white.  It’s always good guys and bad guys with them.”  He chuckles.  “In meetings they always ask, ‘Is he a good guy or a bad guy?’  They want it to be black and white.  But nothing is black and white in Afghanistan.  There are a thousand shades between black and white…”

from

The Network

a novel by Jason Elliot

copyright 2010

pages 254-255

~~~