Afghan Villagers Hang Taliban Militants


NBC news

Ghazni, Afghanistan


Afghan villagers hanged four captured Taliban militants from a tree on Saturday as security forces battled the insurgents for a sixth day in a district of Ghazni province, an official said. The hangings were carried out after Taliban fighters had killed more than 100 people in the area in the past week, including more than a dozen who were beheaded, according to Ghazni deputy governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi.

The battle in the Ajrestan district of Ghazni, southwest of the capital Kabul, is part of an escalation of Taliban attacks around the country as the militants take advantage of dwindling U.S. air support as foreign forces leave. The assault by an estimated 700 Taliban fighters began about six days ago but Afghan army commando reinforcements and the threat of NATO air strikes have so far prevented the district from falling under Taliban control, said Ahmadi. Heavy fighting continued on Saturday in Ajrestan, in the far west of the province.



Hundreds of Taliban Attack District


written by Aazem Arash

TOLO news

26 September 2014


Hundreds of Taliban insurgents have attacked and occupied Arjistan district of eastern Ghazni province on Friday, killing 50 Afghan Local Police (ALP) and beheading 12 members of ALP families, local officials said.

Deputy Governor of Ghazni, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, said that the insurgents have torched hundreds of civilian homes while exchanging gunfire’s with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). He stresses that the situation in Arjistan needs air support, otherwise the district will fall into the hands of the Taliban.

“If air support and commandos are not sent soon the district will collapse,” Ahmadi said, urging the government to take quick action. “If we lose control of the district now, it will be very difficult to regain it.”

Ghazni’s Provincial Council Head, Abdul Jami Jami said there is a large number of ANSF casualties’, stressing that “if more troops are not deployed to the district, we will witness a humanitarian disaster.”

Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Sediq Sediqqi said that additional troops have been deployed to the area to assist in clearing the district of insurgents.

“The police chief of Ghazni and several other troops have set out to Arjistan to crackdown on the Taliban,” Sediqqi said.

A number of Afghan MPs have also warned the government of the possible collapse of the district and the repercussions it will cause the administration, calling it “dangerous for the government.”

“If the district collapses the Taliban can easily take control of Qarabagh, Nawa and other districts of Ghazni, which will be very dangerous for the government,” Afghan MP Harif Rahmani said.

Local officials have said that the insurgents from the provinces of Uruzgan, Zabul and Daikundi had strategically planned to attack Arjistan.

Afghanistan has witnessed a rise in the number of active insurgency throughout the nation targeting several prominent provinces such as Ghazni, Helmand and Kunduz.



The Afghan National Army (ANA)


written by Sayed Sharif Amiry

TOLO news

25 September 2014


Formation of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were among President Hamid Karzai’s top priorities during his 13 year presidency.

Now as his term comes to an end, Karzai leaves behind his presidential legacy with security forces able to protect the nation despite all challenges.

According to the Ministry of Defense (MoD), if the ANA is provided with necessary arms and weaponries, the forces could be regionally unique.

“We can count on the ANA on a regional level,” MoD spokesman Zahir Azimi said. “With more investments, the ANA could be unique in the region.”

Meanwhile, critics have stated that the ANSF’s ability to maintain security in many parts of the country is questionable, adding that the forces have missed massive opportunities for growth.

After the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 through 2005, security was not a major issue for the Karzai and his administration. However, the Taliban were able to regain their capabilities and disrupt the security once again starting with rising insecurities in 2007.

“Helmand, for instance, didn’t face any major threats until 2007,” MP Shukria Barakzai said. “Regrettably, lack of good governance, lack of coordination among politicians and the U.S. war in Iraq contributed to the rising insecurities in Afghanistan.”

The ANA has conducted at least 6,000 nighttime military operations and has accomplished major military tasks despite the lack of sufficient artillery.

“We still have no defending army, it is only an anti-rebel army, it still has long ways to go,” military commentator Jawed Kohistani said.

The total number of soldiers serving in the ANA ranks is about 150,000, with an additional 195,000 in the Afghan National Police (ANP) branch.

With the new president being inaugurated on Monday, the new government’s approach to the ANA’s future and development is a major topic of discussion.



Karzai’s Epilogue


by Rahim Faiez & Jason Straziuso

Associated Press / Yahoo News

Sept. 23, 2014


KABUL, Afghanistan — Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai used his farewell speech on Tuesday to take one last swipe at the United States, capping a long-testy relationship with the accusation that America hasn’t wanted peace in Afghanistan. The U.S. ambassador called the comments ungracious and ungrateful.

The only president Afghanistan has known since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion said the United States wanted war in Afghanistan “because of its own interests.” Karzai’s relationship with the U.S. has grown increasingly fragile in recent years, but the U.S.-Afghan relationship may get a reset on Monday, when President-elect Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will be sworn in.

The United States has spent more than $100 billion on aid in Afghanistan since 2001 to train and equip the country’s security forces, to pave crumbling dirt roads, to upgrade hospitals and to build schools. But Karzai in his speech thanked a slew of countries for their help — India, Japan, China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Germany — without thanking the U.S.

The speech fingered the U.S. and the military leaders of neighboring Pakistan as the powers backing perpetual war.

“If America and Pakistan really want it, peace will come to Afghanistan,” Karzai said. “The war in Afghanistan is to the benefit of foreigners. But Afghans on both sides are the sacrificial lambs and victims of this war.”

More than 2,200 U.S. forces have died in Afghanistan operations since 2001. Nearly 20,000 have been wounded.

U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham called Karzai’s comments ungracious and ungrateful, though he said he believes the wider Afghan public appreciates American assistance and efforts over the last 13 years.

“It makes me kind of sad. I think his remarks which were uncalled for, do a disservice to the American people and dishonor the huge sacrifices Americans have made here and continue to make here,” Cunningham told a gathering of journalists.

Cunningham noted that Karai has overseen the country’s first peaceful transfer of power, part of a positive legacy overall. The president, he said, “undoubtedly had one of the more difficult jobs in the world for a long time.”

The United Nations says that some 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in the conflict over the last five years alone. Karzai for years has railed against U.S. military strikes for the civilian casualties that some of them cause — although the United Nations has said insurgents are to blame for the overwhelming majority of casualties.

In his final year in office Karzai refused to sign a security agreement with the U.S. that would set the legal framework to allow about 10,000 American military advisers and trainers to stay in the country next year. Ghani Ahmadzai has said he will sign it

Samehullah Samem, a member of parliament from the western province of Farah, said as a decade-long ruler Karzai has earned respect among Afghans, but that he should be more careful with his words toward an ally. He noted that the Afghan economy is faltering.

“We are completely dependent on the international community. We need the support of the international community, especially the United States of America,” Samem said.

U.S. military and intelligence operatives helped transport Karzai around the region in late 2001, shortly after the attacks in New York and Washington. That U.S. connection helped pave the way to the presidency.

Ghani Ahmadzai’s entrance is more conventional. A former finance minister, the new president has worked at the World Bank and earned a PhD from New York’s Colombia University. His path to the presidency follows a long election season that ended with negotiations for a national unity government and the election commission giving him 55 percent of the runoff vote.

Cunningham said the U.S. was asked to be involved in the unity negotiations and that the U.S. exerted itself to help Afghanistan succeed, an important achievement especially given the “psychic investment as well as blood and treasure” here since 2001.

The 13-year war against the Taliban has largely been turned over to Afghan security forces, a development that has seen casualties among Afghan soldiers rise significantly this year.