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.
written by Aazem Arash
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.
written by Sayed Sharif Amiry
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.
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.
by Pajhwok reporters
Sep 21, 2014
KABUL: Following a deal between the candidates on a government of national unity, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday announced the final result of the disputed presidential election.
At a brief news conference in Kabul, IEC Chairman Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani declared former finance minister Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the winner. The announcement ends weeks of uncertainty about the future administration.
Surprisingly, Nuristani gave no vote figures, saying the results had been shared with the presidential hopefuls, who signed the agreement on power-sharing earlier in the day at the Presidential Palace.
Previously, both runners claimed winning the rigging-marred election. However, they arrived at the accord a national unity government — thanks to intervention from the United Nations and the United States of America.
According to an authoritative source, Ahmadzai has won 3935567 votes, or 55.27 percent of the ballots cast in the mid-June polls. Abdullah earned 3185018 votes according to the final tally.
With 44.73 percent of the 7120585 votes, Abdullah trails his opponent by 755549 ballots, said one IEC official, who did not want to be named.
The source revealed the figures were not released to the media as part of an understanding reached with the commission’s international supporters, notably UNAMA.
edited by Xuxin
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its call on neighboring Afghanistan to eliminate “hideouts of the Pakistani militants on the Afghan side of the border.”
Security officials insist that Pakistani Taliban leaders, who have fled the country as the result of military operations, now operate from the Afghan border regions.
On Tuesday, the military said a group of 90 to 100 militants from Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika province attacked a border post in North Waziristan and killed four paramilitary troops.
The Foreign Ministry Wednesday summoned the Afghan charge d’ affaires and a protest was lodged on the attack.
The spokeswoman told reporters in Islamabad on Thursday that Pakistan had lodged a formal protest after the attack from Afghanistan into Pakistani territory from across the international border.
“We have asked Afghanistan in very clear and categorical terms to eliminate the terrorist sanctuaries that have taken root in Afghanistan in various provinces there,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam said at her weekly briefing.
On its part Afghanistan also claims that rockets are fired into its border areas from Pakistani side of the border. Kabul also alleges Afghan Taliban are hiding in Pakistan, the charge denied by Islamabad.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson avoided response to recent Afghan allegations that Pakistani intelligence agencies are ” sending fighters to Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan is a mature country. We are a very important country we have to behave in a mature manner. It does not behave use to respond to all baseless allegations,” she said.
edited by Mu Xuequan
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Taliban’s fraction ” Punjabi Taliban” on Saturday announced to give up militancy permanently and vowed to start welfare work in the country, local media reported.
According to the reports, the militant wing distributed a pamphlet in the northwestern areas of the country, in which its leader Asmatullah Muawiya announced that they would not take part in militant activities in Pakistan any more.
Muawiya said they have decided to give up militancy and to surrender their arms.
The chief of the Punjab Taliban of the country’s eastern Punjab province also urged other Taliban leaders and fighters to follow their precedent to lay down arms and come to table for negotiations to solve their issues.
Muawiya said they are abandoning the armed struggle to start preaching and welfare work in the country, especially in the flood- hit areas.
Rustam Shah Mohmand, an analyst, said that Punjabi Taliban’s decision would be a big blow to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s ( TTP) because majority of the hardcore fighters were coming from the Punjab province.
In August last year, the TTP central committee dismissed Punjab ‘s chief Muawiya from his post over welcoming table talks offer by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In response to the TTP’s decision, Punjabi Taliban rejected the TTP’s central council decision by saying that their group has its own entity.
The group was accused by police for attacking Sri Lankan cricket team in the country’s eastern city of Lahore in March, 2009, but the group never claimed the attack.
There was no response from government officials so far.
The announcement from the fraction came at the time when Pakistan’s armed forces are conducting their operation successfully against the militants in the northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan.
According to the Pakistan army, more than 1,000 terrorists have been killed and dozens of others arrested, while a number of hideouts and command and control centers of the militants have been destroyed so far in the operation.
by Muhammad Tahir
ISLAMABAD — A military offensive in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region has blown apart the network of the Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants as the country has seen a substantial decrease in attacks and fatalities.
Taliban’s continued deadly attacks forced the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to go after the Taliban insurgents in North Waziristan, their biggest sanctuary, in June this year after they ended a temporary ceasefire. They had declared a 40-day ceasefire in March as the government had given a last chance to peace and had started talks with the Taliban.
Nawaz Sharif had received widespread support among the major political parties and the parliament for the military operation that was needed to make it a success. General public also threw weight behind the decision because the Taliban’s violent extremism had brought large scale killings and huge economic losses.
Top military leaders are satisfied at the outcome of the operation over the past three months as security forces have cleared most of the areas in major towns from the Taliban.
The military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa says about 1,000 militants have so far been killed and dozens of their training centers and bomb-making factories destroyed. Most of the main towns including Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan, and Mir Ali, the militants’ stronghold have been cleared and the forces have consolidated positions.
Some Taliban are thought to have either fled to neighboring Afghanistan or moved to nearby tribal regions.
The main achievement of the operation is a substantial decrease in suicide attacks and bomb blasts in the country since the operation had been launched three months ago. The Taliban threat has subsided but not completely ended.
They have carried out several attacks on the country’s three airports in this period to take revenge of the military operation. However a sense of fear among the general that had gripped Pakistan due to the Taliban attacks now falls down.
The much-anticipated operation has now denied what was previously described “safe heavens” in North Waziristan. Many Taliban have either been killed or fled the region. The Pakistani army chief, General Raheel Sharif, who twice visited North Waziristan, has vowed not to allow the militants return to the region.
The operation also led to cracks within the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as the banned group is now divided in at least four groups. The internal rift has weakened the outfit and it is not in a position to pose a serious challenge to the security forces.
The TTP leaders had been involved in infighting in recent weeks. A splinter group has allegedly claimed lives of nearly 200 Taliban militants including several senior commanders.
A senior Taliban leader, who was heading the group in the biggest province Punjab, announced on Saturday that he has ceased militancy and will now preach a “peaceful Islam.” Political watchers described the dramatic announcement by Asmatullah Muaweya to return to peace as the outcome of the operation.
Muaweya group had been blamed for several high profile attacks in the country.
The Pakistani Taliban, remnants of al-Qaida and dozens of other foreign and militants groups had been using North Waziristan as their biggest sanctuary for training and planning attacks in the country, across the border into Afghanistan as well as in other countries.
The majority of the foreign militants had arrived in the region after the U.S. launched military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.
Several suicide bombers arrested alive in Pakistan have admitted that they had received training in North Waziristan. A Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested in connection with the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt in May 2010, had disclosed that he had received training in North Waziristan.
A Jordanian national, who had attacked the CIA center in Afghanistan’s Khost province in December 2009, appeared in a video along with then Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone attack last year.
Sept 18, 2014
KABUL, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — The lingering process of Afghan presidential elections would last for several more days, if not for weeks or months, as presidential aspirants Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have failed to reach a power sharing agreement.
The duo has been in a hard bid to set up a national unity government and the authorities of president and chief executive in the next administration.
Spokesman for Ghani Ahmadzai’s team Faizullah Zaki in talks with reporters on Tuesday admitted that the candidates had failed to resolve differences on formatting a national unity administration, saying the meeting was held in friendly environment but no significant progress had been achieved.
Reacting to the talks between presidential candidates, a spokesman for Abdullah’s camp, Mujiburahman Rahimi, in talks with a local television, expressed hope for reaching agreement and overcoming the stalemate soon.
Meanwhile, Afghan observers are of the view that the election impasse would persist for several more days if not weeks or months.
“It would take the country into worst crisis if the election commission announces the election results in the absence of the agreement between the two candidates,” political analyst Nazari Pariani said in talks with local television channel Tolo.
Afghanistan’s presidential election was held on April 5 and since then, none of the eight contenders had failed to secure more than 50 percent of the votes, the runoff was conducted between two frontrunners Abdullah and Ghani Ahmadzai on June 14.
Abdullah who won majority of the votes in the first round of the elections dropped down in the second round balloting disputed the transparency of the polls and demanded recounting votes and auditing the ballot boxes.
To solve the stalemate, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul in July and brokered a deal between the two candidates, under which, the election winner becomes president and the loser to become Chief Executive, a post equal to that of Prime Minister in the proposed national unity government.
Both candidates have held series of talks to reach agreement but differences over the authorities of the president and chief executive continues to snag the talks.
Chairman of the election commission told reporters last week to announce the election results within days.
Furthermore, Afghan defense minister General Bismillah Mohammadi in his speech in Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday admitted that the continued election standoff had affected security situation, urging the candidates to reach an agreement for the sake of national interests.
Ghani Ahmadzai’s team has been insisting that the president should be the cabinet chief, while Abdullah’s camp opposes the notion and instead required the chief executive to be cabinet chief.
“Continued inflexibility over power sharing between the two teams has blocked the way to reach agreement,” the political analyst said, saying that the stalemate would continue further than expected.
Sept 16, 2014
KABUL, Sept. 16 — Two suicide bombings conducted by militants in Afghanistan since Monday night have claimed the lives of three soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) besides turning to ashes more than 20 oil tankers.
In the latest suicide bombing occurred in central part of Kabul city Tuesday morning, at least three ISAF soldiers were killed and 13 Afghan civilians sustained injuries.
“We can confirm three International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF) members died as a result of an enemy attack in Kabul today. Currently, Afghan officials and ISAF are reviewing the incident,” the NATO-led ISAF said in the statement released here hour after the deadly suicide bombing.
The attack took place at around 8:10 a.m. local time Tuesday when the bomber targeted an ISAF convoy in a four-line street which leads to the Kabul international airport and U.S. embassy.
However, the statement gave neither the nationalities of the victims nor the details about the incident under the ISAF policy.
Furthermore, 13 Afghan civilians were wounded and 17 civilian cars and several military vehicles were destroyed or damaged in the blast, according to Afghan Interior Ministry.
Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media via telephone from unknown location accepted responsibility for the attack, saying a Taliban suicide bomber targeted foreign forces convoy destroying two military vehicles on the spot.
In a similar incident hours earlier, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a parking lot of oil tankers in the border town of Torkham linking Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province to Peshawar of Pakistan late Monday night, burning to ashes more than 20 oil tankers.
Confirming the incident, spokesman for Nangarhar’s provincial government, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai told reporters that 22 oil tankers were burned due to the attack.
Meantime, Taliban purported spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in talks with media claimed responsibility. He said a group of militants including suicide bombers stormed the parking lot of NATO-led forces’ oil tankers Monday night, and besides burning dozens of oil tankers, also inflicted huge casualties to the troops, a claim rebuffed by Abdulzai as groundless.
NATO-led forces in a separate statement released Tuesday also confirmed that a service member of the alliance was killed on Monday, as a result of “an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turning his weapon against ISAF members in western Afghanistan yesterday.”
Col. Sheena Johnson
U.S. Army legend
Sets-up a teepee above Pluckame
High on the mountain ridge
Here she hones her arrowheads
& prays to St. Joan of Arizona
Her ex-Taliban husband Habibullah
Young enchantress Mamoodia
The other Sufi archer of Pluckame
Her bow vibrant & arrows a quiver
Life in a Sufi bubble
Has it’s ups & downs
But mostly it floats
Miracles often occur
Sheena becomes so angelic
She sprouts wings
Every curve of her body
And Habibullah swears
Text / Copyright Clyde Collins 2014