Drone Strikes Resume Near Wana

US drone strike kills 11 in SWA

WANA: At least 11 militants were killed, and three injured in a missile strike carried out by a US unmanned plane in South Waziristan Agency Friday.

According to sources, the pilotless spy plane targeted the suspected militant hideouts located in Nezai Narai area along Afghan border, in which 11 militants were killed.

Following the attack, US drone plane continue to hover over the targeted area.

Afghanistan: The West is Caught On The Wrong Foot

Afghanistan: The West is Caught On The Wrong Foot

The Civil War That Trapped The West Is Propped Up by Karzai et al.

By Khalil Nouri

Pashtun Warriors

Afghanistan is evidently on life support, with severe preexisting symptoms (constantly flaring-up) of ailments ranging from corruption, drug trafficking, and so forth (echoed repeatedly in the media) to recent swelling traumas of tribal feuds, instigated by Karzai family et al in Kandahar. This predicament is rattling all of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan and has doomed, or will cripple, the very foundation of tribal structure and nationalism in the country.

If there is no shift away from the paradigm of Muslim radicalism, certainly a re-emergence of the old bitter civil war between the two powerful Pashtun tribal groups—“Durranis” and “Ghelzais”—that was fought over three centuries ago, will explode upon us today.

KANDAHAR’S POWER BROKERS

This is a complex indigenous phenomenon that requires a versatile perception that is beyond the comprehension of

Karzai Brothers

many in the West, and it is fueled and manipulated by the Karzai’s “Popalzai” clan of Durrani confederacy tribe, headed by Hamid Karzai’s half brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, who is the head of the Kandahar provincial council and has assumed for himself the role of absolute monarch in this Southern Afghan city.

Also included in the mix are the Karzai family’s closest allies, who are more captivated with their own interests rather than a genuine partnership; but they have excluded all traditional elders in the smaller local communities from governance and planning—an alienation of key provincial constituencies.  In addition, they have imposed lengthy technocratic strategies that are incomprehensible to local tribal leaders, which has alienated tribal communities and fuelled resentment that invites insurgents to infiltrate them and secure their allegiance against the state; the consequence is an imbalance of tribal structure that leads to a dire recipe for civil strife.

Furthermore, at the core level, the Karzai family (pictured) has made an informal division of spheres such that; each Karzai brother has his own arena of influence.  In fact, Hamid is the statesman, Mahmuod built a business empire, Qayum quietly manipulates things behind the scenes as the family’s “eminence grise”, and Ahmad Wali Karzai has proved adept at mastering local political dynamics and leveraging brother Karzai’s control as Head of State to slowly build his own power base in Kandahar.  In a sublevel, however, the cousins, cronies and their limited tribal constituents (pictured: left to right clockwise: Gul Agha Sherzai, Haji Jan Mohammad, Arif Noorzai and Mattiullah), claim their own portions of various government posts, including land ownership that took little to no real purchase power in exchange to obtain.

Karzai Inner Circle

In addition, the family has benefited from using the institutions of the Afghan state to their advantage, and in doing so have formed important synergies linking politics in Kandahar and Kabul.

And as Ahamad Wali affirmed in one of his media interviews, “This is a country ruled by kings. The king’s brothers, cousins, sons are all powerful.” He further states, “This is Afghanistan. It will change but it will not change overnight.” This without a doubt shows how he flaunts himself as the ultimate ruler of the land in southern Afghan.  He also describes himself as the “Nancy Pelosi of Kandahar,” portraying himself as a dealmaker capable of working with allies and rivals to stabilize Afghanistan.

Because of this “arrogance in plain sight”, other tribes in Kandahar are showing their deep displeasure and outright resentment (being deprived of living even a basic everyday life) towards NATO and the U.S., because of the empowerment that “foreigners” are given to the Karzai family and tribe.  As a result, this constitutes the main ingredient for insurgency recruitment; and consequently the impending manifestation for a blowback beyond control.

Furthermore, paradoxically the assertion by U.S. officials, that they see Ahmad Wali Karzai, “as a polarizing figure who could complicate their efforts to win over the population”, makes no sense. This clearly sends a contradictory double message to the population, and many view this as a sign of U.S. weakness.  How can you oppose him and back him up with military might at the same time?

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF PASHTUN TRIBAL STRUCTURE:

The multifaceted Pashtun tribes generally consist of multiple subdivisions, including sub-tribes and clans.  In broad

terms, on one side are the “Durranis” – most of the settled population of Kandahar are related to the Karzai “Popalzai” clan; they are the elite, the aristocrats, farmers, traders, and the professional middle class who have gained  certain powers and prestige.  On the other hand of the same body politics are the “Ghilzais”, who are traditionally nomadic, fiercely fundamentalist in religion, and whose tribal and village leaders were dependent on, and subordinate to, the local aristocracy—a class status that was less prominent in other Pashtun areas. Their homelands stretch east into Pakistan as far as Kashmir.

A RELENTLESS PASHTUN TRIBAL BLOWBACK IS ON THE HORIZON

Ever since Afghanistan emerged as a sovereign nation in 1709, when the “Ghilzais” defeated the Persians, its history has been etched in ancient hatreds between “Ghilzai” and “Durrani” groups. During most of that time, the country was ruled by the “Durrani” tribe, who in 1775 moved its capital from the “Ghilzai” stronghold of Kandahar to Kabul in the North.  Nothing more fired up “Ghilzais’” enmity than the many occasions when the “Durranis” attempted to impose their rule from Kabul with the aid of “foreigners”; either “Tajiks” from the north or other outsiders such as the British, who invaded Afghanistan three times between 1838 and 1919 in a bid to secure the North-west Frontier of their Indian empire against the rebellious “Ghilzais.”

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, after years of “Durrani” rule, it was to support a revolutionary “Ghilzai” government.  But this new foreign presence inspired general Afghan resistance, and was why (by the late 1980s) the U.S. was supporting the almost entirely “Ghilzai-run-Taliban”—then called Mujahideen—and their ally Osama Bin laden.  In 1996 the “Taliban-Ghilzai” got their revenge, and imposed their theocratic rule over almost the whole country.  In 2001, the West invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, imposing “Durrani” rule again; now under “Durrani” President Karzai—however, he is from an unpopular “Durrani” side of the “Popalzai” clan.

Now, as so often before, the “Ghilzais” have seen their country hijacked by a “Durrani” regime, supported by a largely Tajik army backed by hated outsiders from the West. One reason why it is so hard for the West to win “hearts and minds” amongst the majority of Afghans is because the West is up against a sullenly resentful population, fired up by a timeless hatred and able to call upon unlimited support, in men and materiel, from their “Ghilzai” brethrens across the border in Pakistan.  As aforementioned, the main reason for the overall resentment and growing insurgency to arrive is because the Karzai family and cronies are seen as an artificially imposed dominant tribal group in Kandahar (from the outset).

AN AFGHAN ARMY OF MINIMAL PASHTUNS

Another factor for a civil war in Afghanistan is the 65% Tajik recruitment in the Afghan National Army (ANA).  There has been consistent reporting by Western media sources with the line that NATO troops operate “in support of” the ANA, and that, this genuine force reflects the whole nation.  This misinformation campaign even released erroneous figures of the ethnic composition of the ANA. These artificial figures reflect the rule set up by the top brass in U.S. and NATO forces.   Under this rule, the Afghan army should be 38 percent Pashtun, 25 percent Tajik, 19 percent Hazara and eight percent Uzbek. This would bring the numbers much closer to reflecting the nation’s ethnic composition.

A reliable source within the ANA—a close affiliate of Afghan Joint Chief of Staff General Bismillah Khan—has revealed, “The truth is that the ANA is now over 65% Tajik, and that figure is increasing.” He went on, “The Pashtun figure is hovering below 18% and may have been overtaken by the Uzbeks.”

In other words, the “Afghan National Army” is just the Northern Alliance with very expensive NATO provided gears and uniforms. Therefore, by sending the Northern Alliance supported by U.S. and NATO troops into core Pashtun tribal areas, all these forces are seen as alien occupiers.  Locals vehemently resent this, and since they cannot identify with any of these forces, they are returning to the Taliban. This is further adding fuel to anger, leading to civil war.

HOW TO DEFUSE TRIBAL TENSION IN KANDAHAR

Since 1707 to December 2009 there were 19 grand assemblies of elders (Loya Jirgas) convened in Afghanistan, and mostly prior to 1880 the exact contents of discussions were never recorded due to the traditional nature of the process.  However the results, discussions and decisions were all expressed orally from generation to generation.

Moreover, as I recall from my youth, my elders were in many political discussions about local tribal politics.  They discussed Kandahar’s ancient tribal feud that required genuine thinking over a century ago, so essentially a Loya Jirga was convened.  In that Tribal Jirga, a unanimous decision was made that “a ruling tribe cannot be in the majority.” Apparently the key idea was not to give prominence to a tribe whose supremacy and empowerment –just as now—could jeopardize the balance of the tribal structure.

Thus, one of the main reasons the “Mohammadzai” clan of “Barakzai” dynasty could rule Afghanistan for over a one-half century was because of its minor tribal constituency. The tribal balancing phenomenon has already been solved long ago, and history may need to repeat itself on this issue once again.

Contrary to the present, the old solution allowed tribal balance to be maintained for decades until 1979; and clearly within the Afghan tribal framework, a Jeffersonian style presidential election is doomed to failure.       

A SUCCESSFUL LESSON FROM THE BRITISH

Another tale from two generations ago; when King Nadir Shah—from the “Durrani” tribe of “Mohammadzai” clan—was backed by the British to be the King in Afghanistan in 1929, he was supported mostly by the “Ghelzais” – largely by the “Waziri” and “Mashud” sub-tribes.

In order to keep the tribal balance between the two groups (the “Durranis” and “Ghelzais”) in check, he agreed to give the “Ghelzais” immunity in exchange of their achievements; conquering Kabul and subduing a rival named Habibullah Kalakani; this inaugurated Nader Shah’s reign.  The immunity for the “Ghelzais” was noncompulsory participation in the Afghan military service, but in contrast, they were given higher ranks in brass appointments.

Conversely, if the King could be installed by his own “Durrani” tribe, the balance could also have been tipped by a “Ghelzais’” revolt.  In hindsight, the old solution was a cautionary and well thought out plan for defusing any uprising.

SOME RECENT TRIBAL REPORTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

The tribal feud thus far is in upward swing; I recently received a telephone call from someone named Mr. Burhanuddin Kushkaki, who lives in Germany.  He told me that 11 members of his family including close cousins in Eastern Afghanistan were among the dead due to a U.S. military night raid on their village of “Kushkak” in “Surkhrod” district of Nangarhar Province on May 14th 2010.  Over the telephone, he played a 20 minutes long recorded tape of his cousin who immediately reported the incident from the scene.  As I was hearing the man in the background explaining this dreadful situation, “This incident happened on the same night that Hamid Karzai was in Washington D.C. complaining about U.S. military raids on Afghan villages that caused loss of innocent lives.” He goes on, “we have done no harm to any one, and the provincial governor had no report of this incident.” Then he said, “This is a wrong intelligence report by someone who wanted to send a message to Karzai and Obama.” He then reiterated, “We are caught in a tribal feud and any able body will revengefully recruit and fight those who are killing us.” I later recalled a similar incident by the “Shinwari” tribe of “Mohmand” clan in early March 2010.

I also recently received another telephone call (on a different subject) from an acquaintance—Mr. Aman Gul Khan who is from the “Ghilzai” tribe of “Zazai” clan in Paktia province.  He said, “I along with some tribal elders including the infamous “Haji Baydar Zazai” are working very hard to elevate the ex-King Zahir Shah’s grandson, Prince Mustapha Zahir.”  He went further, “apparently nothing is working from Kandahar and we will do whatever we can to bring him in the same way we brought his great grandfather King Nader Shah to power.”  This clearly is strong opposition to Kandahar’s current tribal imbalance situation that could rise to anarchy.

Some other tribal elders are suggesting a combined government of Amir Amanullah Khan and ex-King Zahir Shah’s siblings would definitely be supported by the majority in Afghanistan.

IN CONCLUSION — WHAT SHALL WE DO?

Prince Mustafa Zahir

In a recent revealed Pentagon report; out of 121 districts critical to stabilizing Afghanistan, only 29 are sympathetic to the Afghan government.  Forty-four are neutral and another 51 are sympathetic to the insurgency.  Indeed, many people have ties—sometimes blood ties—to Taliban fighters.  Obviously the almost decade old government of Hamid Karzai and the tribal imbalance wrought by Ahamad Wali Karzai are the main causes for the downward spiral into instability.

Evidently an old-fashioned military victory in Afghanistan is impossible. This is exactly the problem for the US; The Pentagon can’t let go. The military brass can’t admit that once again they can’t win a war. Clearly there is desperation in these efforts to secure something out of this mess.

Moreover, even if there were more evidence of United States success in Afghanistan, can anyone believe that the current Afghan leadership would be able to sustain whatever gains were made?

By the way, we are stuck with the notion that Karzai is the best partner available and Mr. Obama should not be looking for anyone else. As Fareed Zakaria says, “As a Pashtun and a major figure willing to ally with the U.S., Karzai is indispensable.”

Pull out the troops, because this war can’t be won, but risk lots of blood in another civil war, and maybe a much worse and more dangerous scenario will emerge? Or shall we stay and take the risk of being trapped in a never-ending conflict, which will cost a huge amount of money, blood and tears?

What can we do?  Let’s do the only thing we can do!  Let’s have a Symposium of Afghans from around the world and do like my father’s generation, and the generations before him.  Let’s seek out immediate, mid-range, and long range solutions for Afghanistan.

1) Let’s call for an immediate truce from all sides of this conflict.

2) Let’s seek mid-range economic solutions such as Biz-Jirgah to Biz-Jirgah, and Biomass to Energy.  We can show how rubber dams can supply water for agricultural purposes and create hydropower energy for villages; but, these rubber dams must not be used to produce narcotics; any narcotics producers will lose their rubber dams to villages that obey international law; the Afghan Government should maintain these rubber dams. We will also offer software solutions for the two-year backlog of tax audits in Afghanistan. The Symposium will conclude with a Resolution Statement and an Action Plan.

3) Let’s seek long- range economic solutions by calling upon Afghans around the world to come together in one voice for peace through prosperity… and to change the current status that says that only 20% of Afghanistan’s national income comes from its people; the other 80% is coming from donor nations. This is unsustainable. We need to flip those numbers around… and to start an economic union of nations in South Asia with Afghanistan and Pakistan at its core. This economic union of nations can evolve into a multi-trillion dollar economy and bring peace and stability to the whole region.

Why fight over funds from other nations when we Afghans can build a bright future for and among ourselves.  Just look around the globe and you will see very successful Afghan’s there.  We know how to fight for what we believe in.  The problem is that we have stopped believing in ourselves as a nation.   Our best and brightest thinkers like Zalmay Khalilzad have not focus on what was best for Afghanistan, but instead, in my view, has favored the few over the many.

I have been very critical of Khalilzad lately as many others have been, and for good cause; but I would be the last person to say that he could never change.  It is men like him that we desperately need, but with a different set of core values and principles.

To Zalmay Khalilzad and every other Afghan in the world; it is time we Afghan’s stop fighting among ourselves and put our ancestral homeland ahead of our differences.  As we have learned from living in a democratic nation; we can have our differences; we can debate each other even in public, but when we are called to serve our ancestral homeland we must put those differences aside and work together for the good of all.  That’s how serious I am about solutions for Afghanistan.  I will exclude no one ahead of time (no one with blood on their hands) who is prepared to work on finding real solutions for Afghanistan.

Nelson Mandela was right in setting up a Truth Commission that allowed those who had wronged the people of South Africa to come forward, tell the painful truth, and be allowed to be reintegrated into society without retribution.  Perhaps Afghanistan should go through this process sometime down the road.  But first we have to stop the violence, bring peace, and put hope back into the minds of Afghans. I believe that once people can see, get a taste of, and believe in images of the future, they will move towards it, as John F. Kennedy knew so well.

Let’s do all this before there is a full blown civil war in Afghanistan!

Khalil Nouri is the cofounder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native think tank for nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan. www.nwscinc.org

Khalil Nouri is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker

Afghanistan is evidently on life support, with severe preexisting symptoms (constantly flaring-up) of ailments ranging from corruption, drug trafficking, and so forth (echoed repeatedly in the media) to recent swelling traumas of tribal feuds, instigated by Karzai family et al in Kandahar. This predicament is rattling all of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan and has doomed, or will cripple, the very foundation of tribal structure and nationalism in the country.

If there is no shift away from the paradigm of Muslim radicalism, certainly a re-emergence of the old bitter civil war between the two powerful Pashtun tribal groups—“Durranis” and “Ghelzais”—that was fought over three centuries ago, will explode upon us today.

KANDAHAR’S POWER BROKERS

This is a complex indigenous phenomenon that requires a versatile perception that is beyond the comprehension of

Karzai Brothers

many in the West, and it is fueled and manipulated by the Karzai’s “Popalzai” clan of Durrani confederacy tribe, headed by Hamid Karzai’s half brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, who is the head of the Kandahar provincial council and has assumed for himself the role of absolute monarch in this Southern Afghan city.

Also included in the mix are the Karzai family’s closest allies, who are more captivated with their own interests rather than a genuine partnership; but they have excluded all traditional elders in the smaller local communities from governance and planning—an alienation of key provincial constituencies.  In addition, they have imposed lengthy technocratic strategies that are incomprehensible to local tribal leaders, which has alienated tribal communities and fuelled resentment that invites insurgents to infiltrate them and secure their allegiance against the state; the consequence is an imbalance of tribal structure that leads to a dire recipe for civil strife.

Furthermore, at the core level, the Karzai family (pictured) has made an informal division of spheres such that; each Karzai brother has his own arena of influence.  In fact, Hamid is the statesman, Mahmuod built a business empire, Qayum quietly manipulates things behind the scenes as the family’s “eminence grise”, and Ahmad Wali Karzai has proved adept at mastering local political dynamics and leveraging brother Karzai’s control as Head of State to slowly build his own power base in Kandahar.  In a sublevel, however, the cousins, cronies and their limited tribal constituents (pictured: left to right clockwise: Gul Agha Sherzai, Haji Jan Mohammad, Arif Noorzai and Mattiullah), claim their own portions of various government posts, including land ownership that took little to no real purchase power in exchange to obtain.

Karzai Inner Circle

In addition, the family has benefited from using the institutions of the Afghan state to their advantage, and in doing so have formed important synergies linking politics in Kandahar and Kabul.

And as Ahamad Wali affirmed in one of his media interviews, “This is a country ruled by kings. The king’s brothers, cousins, sons are all powerful.” He further states, “This is Afghanistan. It will change but it will not change overnight.” This without a doubt shows how he flaunts himself as the ultimate ruler of the land in southern Afghan.  He also describes himself as the “Nancy Pelosi of Kandahar,” portraying himself as a dealmaker capable of working with allies and rivals to stabilize Afghanistan.

Because of this “arrogance in plain sight”, other tribes in Kandahar are showing their deep displeasure and outright resentment (being deprived of living even a basic everyday life) towards NATO and the U.S., because of the empowerment that “foreigners” are given to the Karzai family and tribe.  As a result, this constitutes the main ingredient for insurgency recruitment; and consequently the impending manifestation for a blowback beyond control.

Furthermore, paradoxically the assertion by U.S. officials, that they see Ahmad Wali Karzai, “as a polarizing figure who could complicate their efforts to win over the population”, makes no sense. This clearly sends a contradictory double message to the population, and many view this as a sign of U.S. weakness.  How can you oppose him and back him up with military might at the same time?

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF PASHTUN TRIBAL STRUCTURE:

The multifaceted Pashtun tribes generally consist of multiple subdivisions, including sub-tribes and clans.  In broad

Pashtun Tribal Structure

terms, on one side are the “Durranis” – most of the settled population of Kandahar are related to the Karzai “Popalzai” clan; they are the elite, the aristocrats, farmers, traders, and the professional middle class who have gained  certain powers and prestige.  On the other hand of the same body politics are the “Ghilzais”, who are traditionally nomadic, fiercely fundamentalist in religion, and whose tribal and village leaders were dependent on, and subordinate to, the local aristocracy—a class status that was less prominent in other Pashtun areas. Their homelands stretch east into Pakistan as far as Kashmir.

A RELENTLESS PASHTUN TRIBAL BLOWBACK IS ON THE HORIZON

Ever since Afghanistan emerged as a sovereign nation in 1709, when the “Ghilzais” defeated the Persians, its history has been etched in ancient hatreds between “Ghilzai” and “Durrani” groups. During most of that time, the country was ruled by the “Durrani” tribe, who in 1775 moved its capital from the “Ghilzai” stronghold of Kandahar to Kabul in the North.  Nothing more fired up “Ghilzais’” enmity than the many occasions when the “Durranis” attempted to impose their rule from Kabul with the aid of “foreigners”; either “Tajiks” from the north or other outsiders such as the British, who invaded Afghanistan three times between 1838 and 1919 in a bid to secure the North-west Frontier of their Indian empire against the rebellious “Ghilzais.”

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, after years of “Durrani” rule, it was to support a revolutionary “Ghilzai” government.  But this new foreign presence inspired general Afghan resistance, and was why (by the late 1980s) the U.S. was supporting the almost entirely “Ghilzai-run-Taliban”—then called Mujahideen—and their ally Osama Bin laden.  In 1996 the “Taliban-Ghilzai” got their revenge, and imposed their theocratic rule over almost the whole country.  In 2001, the West invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, imposing “Durrani” rule again; now under “Durrani” President Karzai—however, he is from an unpopular “Durrani” side of the “Popalzai” clan.

Now, as so often before, the “Ghilzais” have seen their country hijacked by a “Durrani” regime, supported by a largely Tajik army backed by hated outsiders from the West. One reason why it is so hard for the West to win “hearts and minds” amongst the majority of Afghans is because the West is up against a sullenly resentful population, fired up by a timeless hatred and able to call upon unlimited support, in men and materiel, from their “Ghilzai” brethrens across the border in Pakistan.  As aforementioned, the main reason for the overall resentment and growing insurgency to arrive is because the Karzai family and cronies are seen as an artificially imposed dominant tribal group in Kandahar (from the outset).

AN AFGHAN ARMY OF MINIMAL PASHTUNS

Another factor for a civil war in Afghanistan is the 65% Tajik recruitment in the Afghan National Army (ANA).  There has been consistent reporting by Western media sources with the line that NATO troops operate “in support of” the ANA, and that, this genuine force reflects the whole nation.  This misinformation campaign even released erroneous figures of the ethnic composition of the ANA. These artificial figures reflect the rule set up by the top brass in U.S. and NATO forces.   Under this rule, the Afghan army should be 38 percent Pashtun, 25 percent Tajik, 19 percent Hazara and eight percent Uzbek. This would bring the numbers much closer to reflecting the nation’s ethnic composition.

A reliable source within the ANA—a close affiliate of Afghan Joint Chief of Staff General Bismillah Khan—has revealed, “The truth is that the ANA is now over 65% Tajik, and that figure is increasing.” He went on, “The Pashtun figure is hovering below 18% and may have been overtaken by the Uzbeks.”

In other words, the “Afghan National Army” is just the Northern Alliance with very expensive NATO provided gears and uniforms. Therefore, by sending the Northern Alliance supported by U.S. and NATO troops into core Pashtun tribal areas, all these forces are seen as alien occupiers.  Locals vehemently resent this, and since they cannot identify with any of these forces, they are returning to the Taliban. This is further adding fuel to anger, leading to civil war.

HOW TO DEFUSE TRIBAL TENSION IN KANDAHAR

Since 1707 to December 2009 there were 19 grand assemblies of elders (Loya Jirgas) convened in Afghanistan, and mostly prior to 1880 the exact contents of discussions were never recorded due to the traditional nature of the process.  However the results, discussions and decisions were all expressed orally from generation to generation.

Moreover, as I recall from my youth, my elders were in many political discussions about local tribal politics.  They discussed Kandahar’s ancient tribal feud that required genuine thinking over a century ago, so essentially a Loya Jirga was convened.  In that Tribal Jirga, a unanimous decision was made that “a ruling tribe cannot be in the majority.” Apparently the key idea was not to give prominence to a tribe whose supremacy and empowerment –just as now—could jeopardize the balance of the tribal structure.

Thus, one of the main reasons the “Mohammadzai” clan of “Barakzai” dynasty could rule Afghanistan for over a one-half century was because of its minor tribal constituency. The tribal balancing phenomenon has already been solved long ago, and history may need to repeat itself on this issue once again.

Contrary to the present, the old solution allowed tribal balance to be maintained for decades until 1979; and clearly within the Afghan tribal framework, a Jeffersonian style presidential election is doomed to failure.       

A SUCCESSFUL LESSON FROM THE BRITISH

Another tale from two generations ago; when King Nadir Shah—from the “Durrani” tribe of “Mohammadzai” clan—was backed by the British to be the King in Afghanistan in 1929, he was supported mostly by the “Ghelzais” – largely by the “Waziri” and “Mashud” sub-tribes.

In order to keep the tribal balance between the two groups (the “Durranis” and “Ghelzais”) in check, he agreed to give the “Ghelzais” immunity in exchange of their achievements; conquering Kabul and subduing a rival named Habibullah Kalakani; this inaugurated Nader Shah’s reign.  The immunity for the “Ghelzais” was noncompulsory participation in the Afghan military service, but in contrast, they were given higher ranks in brass appointments.

Conversely, if the King could be installed by his own “Durrani” tribe, the balance could also have been tipped by a “Ghelzais’” revolt.  In hindsight, the old solution was a cautionary and well thought out plan for defusing any uprising.

SOME RECENT TRIBAL REPORTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

The tribal feud thus far is in upward swing; I recently received a telephone call from someone named Mr. Burhanuddin Kushkaki, who lives in Germany.  He told me that 11 members of his family including close cousins in Eastern Afghanistan were among the dead due to a U.S. military night raid on their village of “Kushkak” in “Surkhrod” district of Nangarhar Province on May 14th 2010.  Over the telephone, he played a 20 minutes long recorded tape of his cousin who immediately reported the incident from the scene.  As I was hearing the man in the background explaining this dreadful situation, “This incident happened on the same night that Hamid Karzai was in Washington D.C. complaining about U.S. military raids on Afghan villages that caused loss of innocent lives.” He goes on, “we have done no harm to any one, and the provincial governor had no report of this incident.” Then he said, “This is a wrong intelligence report by someone who wanted to send a message to Karzai and Obama.” He then reiterated, “We are caught in a tribal feud and any able body will revengefully recruit and fight those who are killing us.” I later recalled a similar incident by the “Shinwari” tribe of “Mohmand” clan in early March 2010.

I also recently received another telephone call (on a different subject) from an acquaintance—Mr. Aman Gul Khan who is from the “Ghilzai” tribe of “Zazai” clan in Paktia province.  He said, “I along with some tribal elders including the infamous “Haji Baydar Zazai” are working very hard to elevate the ex-King Zahir Shah’s grandson, Prince Mustapha Zahir.”  He went further, “apparently nothing is working from Kandahar and we will do whatever we can to bring him in the same way we brought his great grandfather King Nader Shah to power.”  This clearly is strong opposition to Kandahar’s current tribal imbalance situation that could rise to anarchy.

Some other tribal elders are suggesting a combined government of Amir Amanullah Khan and ex-King Zahir Shah’s siblings would definitely be supported by the majority in Afghanistan.

IN CONCLUSION — WHAT SHALL WE DO?

Prince Mustafa Zahir

In a recent revealed Pentagon report; out of 121 districts critical to stabilizing Afghanistan, only 29 are sympathetic to the Afghan government.  Forty-four are neutral and another 51 are sympathetic to the insurgency.  Indeed, many people have ties—sometimes blood ties—to Taliban fighters.  Obviously the almost decade old government of Hamid Karzai and the tribal imbalance wrought by Ahamad Wali Karzai are the main causes for the downward spiral into instability.

Evidently an old-fashioned military victory in Afghanistan is impossible. This is exactly the problem for the US; The Pentagon can’t let go. The military brass can’t admit that once again they can’t win a war. Clearly there is desperation in these efforts to secure something out of this mess.

Moreover, even if there were more evidence of United States success in Afghanistan, can anyone believe that the current Afghan leadership would be able to sustain whatever gains were made?

By the way, we are stuck with the notion that Karzai is the best partner available and Mr. Obama should not be looking for anyone else. As Fareed Zakaria says, “As a Pashtun and a major figure willing to ally with the U.S., Karzai is indispensable.”

Pull out the troops, because this war can’t be won, but risk lots of blood in another civil war, and maybe a much worse and more dangerous scenario will emerge? Or shall we stay and take the risk of being trapped in a never-ending conflict, which will cost a huge amount of money, blood and tears?

What can we do?  Let’s do the only thing we can do!  Let’s have a Symposium of Afghans from around the world and do like my father’s generation, and the generations before him.  Let’s seek out immediate, mid-range, and long range solutions for Afghanistan.

1) Let’s call for an immediate truce from all sides of this conflict.

2) Let’s seek mid-range economic solutions such as Biz-Jirgah to Biz-Jirgah, and Biomass to Energy.  We can show how rubber dams can supply water for agricultural purposes and create hydropower energy for villages; but, these rubber dams must not be used to produce narcotics; any narcotics producers will lose their rubber dams to villages that obey international law; the Afghan Government should maintain these rubber dams. We will also offer software solutions for the two-year backlog of tax audits in Afghanistan. The Symposium will conclude with a Resolution Statementand an Action Plan.

3) Let’s seek long- range economic solutions by calling upon Afghans around the world to come together in one voice for peace through prosperity… and to change the current status that says that only 20% of Afghanistan’s national income comes from its people; the other 80% is coming from donor nations. This is unsustainable. We need to flip those numbers around… and to start an economic union of nations in South Asia with Afghanistan and Pakistan at its core. This economic union of nations can evolve into a multi-trillion dollar economy and bring peace and stability to the whole region.

Why fight over funds from other nations when we Afghans can build a bright future for and among ourselves.  Just look around the globe and you will see very successful Afghan’s there.  We know how to fight for what we believe in.  The problem is that we have stopped believing in ourselves as a nation.   Our best and brightest thinkers like Zalmay Khalilzad have not focus on what was best for Afghanistan, but instead, in my view, has favored the few over the many.

I have been very critical of Khalilzad lately as many others have been, and for good cause; but I would be the last person to say that he could never change.  It is men like him that we desperately need, but with a different set of core values and principles.

To Zalmay Khalilzad and every other Afghan in the world; it is time we Afghan’s stop fighting among ourselves and put our ancestral homeland ahead of our differences.  As we have learned from living in a democratic nation; we can have our differences; we can debate each other even in public, but when we are called to serve our ancestral homeland we must put those differences aside and work together for the good of all.  That’s how serious I am about solutions for Afghanistan.  I will exclude no one ahead of time (no one with blood on their hands) who is prepared to work on finding real solutions for Afghanistan.

Nelson Mandela was right in setting up a Truth Commission that allowed those who had wronged the people of South Africa to come forward, tell the painful truth, and be allowed to be reintegrated into society without retribution.  Perhaps Afghanistan should go through this process sometime down the road.  But first we have to stop the violence, bring peace, and put hope back into the minds of Afghans. I believe that once people can see, get a taste of, and believe in images of the future, they will move towards it, as John F. Kennedy knew so well.

Let’s do all this before there is a full blown civil war in Afghanistan!

Khalil Nouri is the cofounder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native think tank for nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan. www.nwscinc.org

Khalil Nouri is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker

A BRIDGE for Democracy in Turkmenistan

A BRIDGE for Democracy in Turkmenistan

Cover

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 19 May 2010—Turkmenistan’s continued its progress toward transparent elections with a five-day training of regional election officials. The training is a part of a United Nations Development Programme project to help Turkmenistan nurture an ongoing democratic culture.

Workshop participants received interactive training in election administration and training techniques. Topics covered included establishing election commissions, ethics, voter registration, voter education, and the role of international observers. Topics were presented through examples of election administration experiences of Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand and Poland.

The trainees—election officials from each of Turkmenistan’s five provinces —are now expected to train city and district level electoral officials in their respective provinces. Members of the Central Election Commission and the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights also took part in the training.

“I look forward to sharing the literature and skills gained during the training with my colleagues at the district level,” Ismail Mamedov, an election official from Balkan Province, said. “I have some 20 colleagues from six city and six district election commissions who will benefit from this.”

The process of deepening economic and social structural reforms has been under way in Turkmenistan since 2008, opening doors for UNDP to engage with the Government of Turkmenistan in the area of electoral reform to stimulate a review of the electoral framework and bring current electoral practices in Turkmenistan closer to international standards. As part of this process, UNDP helped Turkmenistan to enhance its election administration capacity ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2008, elections to local self-governance bodies in 2009, and now the UNDP training comes just ahead of 2010 people’s council elections.

Launched in 2008, the initiative ‘Cooperation on Enhancing Electoral System and Processes in Turkmenistan’ aims to assist the government in deepening its democratic processes. The five-day training, known as BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) is seen as a way to make those reform efforts self-sustaining. Also as part of the project, efforts are underway to amend Turkmenistan’s electoral framework to meet international standards and establish a unified electoral code. Turkmenistan election officials also recently took part in a study tour to Hungary.
“Our project and this BRIDGE exercise are in tune with Turkmenistan’s efforts to enhance the capacity of election officials and part of the ongoing legal reform in Turkmenistan,” Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Turkmenistan, said.

UNDP is implementing the project in partnership with the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights with the financial support of the Government of Norway.

Asst. Sec. St. Confirms “No Competition” Between US and Russia On Pipelines

[SEE: Obama Trying To Make Rape Look Like Seduction]

“We are not trying to build a pipeline bypassing Russia”

George Krol on U.S. policy in Central Asia

Photo:Yuri Martianov / Kommersant
In Moscow, arrived in Bishkek yesterday U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary George Krol, who oversees the State Department relations with Central Asia. Prior to the talks in the Foreign Ministry and the Security Council, he met with a correspondent of Kommersant ALEXANDER GABUEVYM and tried to convince him that Moscow and Washington did not compete in this region.

- What is the agenda of your current visit to Moscow?

- I have just arrived from Bishkek, where he met with the leadership of the interim government: Rosa Otunbayeva, Almazbek Atambayev, Omurbek Tekebayev and others. I’ve also visited the south in Osh, where he met with leaders of the area and the city, Uzbek community leaders, representatives of NGOs. I arrived in Moscow for consultations with colleagues in the Foreign Ministry, the Security Council and State Duma, including Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and special envoy of President of Russia in Kyrgyzstan, Vladimir Rushailo.

- I was in Kyrgyzstan during the revolution. And as the situation there now?

- Now the situation is generally calm in the country, in Bishkek, and even in the south of the voltage is not felt. All city services are functioning normally, the bazaars are full. Politically, of course, there is a lot of events. Members of the interim government is now trying to establish the country’s administration, but at the same time think nothing of the changes that occur in the leadership after the election. Meanwhile, in addition to concern for its own legitimacy have to deal with a mass of things, such as food and energy. After the energy crises in Kyrgyzstan occur every year. The economic situation is difficult. Kyrgyzstan – a poor country, and besides, she suffered from the global crisis. Now the members of the interim government are different political games. In short, the usual policy in the unusual time. The common people waiting for the appearance of leadership that will address issues, especially corruption, which has ruined regimes Bakiyev and Akayev.

- Do you think that this is the only factor? Bakiyev himself talked a lot about external factors.

- Anywhere in the world, as soon as there are some difficulties, all begin to blame the external factor – Russia, USA, China, just about anybody. But in most cases use the internal factors. In Kyrgyzstan, it seemed to me that most people are united by dissatisfaction with the growing influence of the family to Bakiev’s politics, economy. Parliament became increasingly controlled by the president and his family. This also added a price increase. For many people the feeling that they were kicked out of the process of governance. This applies to the opposition and ordinary people, and even law enforcement. All of them feel that they do not shape the future. It is the totality of these factors led to the well-known events, which, in my opinion, no one planned. Then began the demonstration, then overgrown in the action with violence. The regime collapsed, there was a power vacuum that the interim government has yet to be filled.

- What kind of assistance the U.S. is ready to provide interim government in Kyrgyzstan?

- The United States is working jointly with international organizations: UN, OSCE, IMF, World Bank. The U.S. continues all the programs that we implemented in Kyrgyzstan before the revolution, supporting the development of democracy, the housekeeper, free and independent media. We will provide technical support for the referendum and subsequent elections, including through the American non-governmental organizations. We sent a team of experts to Kyrgyzstan, which will assess the short-, medium-and long-term prospects for our assistance.This assistance should be directed to those areas and regions that the Kyrgyz government will take priority.

- Meanwhile, Russia has already announced the allocation of Bishkek immediately $ 20 million to Moscow was the first to recognize the interim government. Are not you afraid that because of the slowness of the United States will lose the struggle for influence in Kyrgyzstan?

- You talk about the struggle for influence. But we do not see any struggle. No new big game, which is so often write, no. We are not fighting for influence in Kyrgyzstan, with Russia, nor with any other country. That is why I am now in Moscow. And we always kept in touch and discuss with each other in the region. And now the U.S. is trying to coordinate assistance so that all we did not do the same. We welcome the steps that Russia is doing in Kyrgyzstan. She’s great interests: economic, commercial and military. We also have interests there. But the interaction in Kyrgyzstan – it is not rivalry, but a good example of cooperation. For example, when our presidents met in Prague, they are particularly talking about Kyrgyzstan and, in my opinion, it was an initiative of your President. Our two countries are interested in stability, not only in Kyrgyzstan, but also throughout Central Asia.

- You argue that there is no rivalry. But what about the air base at Manas? After all, Moscow sought its withdrawal. For example, in the Security Council of Russia said that in Kyrgyzstan should be one air base – Russia’s.

- Well, they’re right. In Kyrgyzstan, only one air base – Russian in Kant. And we have at Manas – International transit center. This is not a military air base, and this is the essence of our agreements with the Kyrgyz government. There are no combat aircraft. This is only the center for the transfer of coalition forces in Afghanistan, and from it. And we have always been very transparent on this issue, including Russia, with China and with all other countries. Of course, we understand that the presence of U.S. troops in Central Asia worries many in Moscow. And this is understandable. But the most important question: whether it will be a constant presence?And my answer – no. It will not be a permanent facility, even as a transit center. We are not going to turn our Manas military base. The Centre is there only to supply the needs of the coalition in Afghanistan. We do not have plans for the creation of any American military bases in Central Asia.

- So as soon as the operation in Afghanistan is completed, all these facilities will be withdrawn?

- This is our plan. We hope that the situation in Afghanistan stabilizes in the near future. So the need for U.S. presence in the region, and any other foreign troops are unnecessary.

- You were discussing the fate of the Manas during his visit to Bishkek?

- No, because we have no disagreement on this issue. Kyrgyzstan holds a signed agreement.And we too. The U.S. has all the payments specified in the agreement last year, which is also a source of revenue for the country. When the interim government came to power, they immediately gave us a clear understanding that they are ready to continue this cooperation.

- Are not you afraid that the new government to be elected in October, wish to terminate the agreement?

- Agreement may be revised at any time either party. It provides a procedure under which terminate the Agreement shall notify the other party for six months. Accordingly, to six months to turn an object. But in the case of the interim government that will not happen.

- Will you discuss this issue in Moscow?

- I am here to answer any questions that may arise from my Russian colleagues. We work together and not against each other. And we must try to, and outwardly it was not like the competition. Because this attempt to bleed us can be played by various forces both within Kyrgyzstan and external players.

- For external players you mean China?

- No, we are nothing like the Chinese did not hear. We discuss all our relationships in Central Asia and with China and answering their questions.

- When George W. Bush in Central Asia, the war was active pipelines. Will the U.S. continue to participate in them?

- We do not see any competition on the routes of energy flows from Central Asia. We do not try to build some kind of pipe to bypass Russia. The issue is that in the region enormous reserves of gas and oil. And in order to effectively deliver them to markets, need a variety of routes.Looking for new routes at the same time it is necessary to increase the volume of supply to existing ones. Of course, the main route of transportation of energy will always go through Russia. It is effective, it already exists, there is an opportunity to build up the amount of flow.But because the hydrocarbons in the region so much, it would be advisable to have several ways to transport them in different directions. Often, all this trying to submit as a contest, but in reality we do not want to harm the interests of Russia in the region. Just need a diversified system of pipelines, which will serve the interests of the U.S. and Russia, as well as companies – Gazprom “, Exxon Mobil, Chevron. The main thing is that all these pipes were effective from a commercial point of view. All companies want to make a profit, so that the pipe-laying – is a commercial decision and not solely political.

- Then what explains that in 2007 a grant to develop a feasibility study for Trans-Caspian pipeline has allocated U.S. State Department? Washington now supports this project?

- In any case, it makes sense to study this project because it provides an opportunity to diversify the direction of gas supplies. In Turkmenistan, the huge gas reserves. Of course, it still has to work with Azerbaijan on the issue of demarcation of the Caspian Sea. At that time it was only a proposal to provide technical assistance to all to understand whether the project has meaning. But this was not an attempt to develop a route that led to the resources of the pipeline crossing the territory of Russia.

- The Russian-American relations now are “reset”. Raised whether it is Central Asia?

- I work in post-Soviet space for over 20 years and watching the transformation of our policies.During this time the U.S. and Russia have found the opportunity to speak, understand each other, rather than exercising political rhetoric. We should respect each other’s interests, all the painful point in our countries and the region. And the dialogue, which now leads the Presidents Medvedev and Obama, a completely new phenomenon. Take the same Kyrgyzstan. We work together, and in a very difficult situation. We and you have a domestic political context, a lot of stereotypes about each other, but I hope that our government will cope with this. That concrete cooperation, which so long ago to us, and the world. The Cold War finally ended. Take the parade on Red Square – it’s magical. For America in general is very important to understand the role played by the peoples of the USSR in the end this terrible conflict. Similarly, for Russia it is important to understand what role the war played the U.S. and other coalition allies.

- In Central Asia, now has a new powerful player – China. As the United States are strengthening the position of Beijing in the region?

- You are absolutely right, China’s influence in the region is growing rapidly, especially in the economy. You go to the market in any Central Asian country, and it will be swamped with Chinese products. And they built the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China! They had great interests of the region, so that China must also play an important role. Therefore, we are working with China in Central Asia, as well as with Russia.

- “Restart” in Central Asia is clearly affected not only relations with Russia. Recently, for example, dramatically warmed your relationship with Uzbekistan. The United States has forgotten about the Andijan shootings?

- Andijan – a tragedy that should not happen again. Understanding the causes of this conflict is very important for the people and Government of Uzbekistan to understand how to deal with such incidents, such as attempts to revolt. All this is very sensitive domestic issues in Uzbekistan. The U.S. has always been open in their desire to help find out what really happened. The emotions of that period had already subsided. The U.S. has always sought to mutual understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation with Uzbekistan. Tashkent wants to have strong economic and political contacts with us. He plays a very important and constructive role in Afghanistan, in Kabul, electricity comes from Uzbekistan, they are providing humanitarian assistance. United States respects it. So recently we began annual consultations with Uzbekistan, the first round of which took place in November last year. We are looking for ways of how to work together.

Taliban Symbolic Attacks Tarnish American “Warrior” Image

A Mini-Offensive in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s New Threat to NATO

By Ulrike Demmer and Matthias Gebauer

Four high-ranking NATO soldiers were killed in a bloody attack in Kabul on May 18.

DPA

Four high-ranking NATO soldiers were killed in a bloody attack in Kabul on May 18.

The Taliban recently conducted three spectacular strikes against American forces in Afghanistan within the space of a few days. The attacks are creating negative headlines for NATO forces and making it difficult for them to notch up the important successes they need to build support for the deployment back home.

The sign on the sports field reads: “Clean up after using.” But there is no one to be found playing volleyball here on this Sunday morning, and no one is cleaning up either. The field is closed. Two American soldiers are staring at a pile of boards located behind red-and-white barricade tape. The wooden planks are stained with blood.

The site looked different on Saturday. The planks were part of stairs where people used to take coffee breaks. The sports field is surrounded by businesses — there’s the Mamma Mia pizzeria, the United Afghan Carpet company, Green Beans World Café — and all were connected by a veranda. Just after 8 p.m., one of five rockets that had been fired by insurgents at the Kandahar NATO base struck its intended target. Several NATO soldiers and civilian workers were injured.

The missiles struck the ISAF troops in southern Afghanistan in precisely the place where the soldiers were seeking to forget about the war for a few minutes. The four other rockets only caused damage to property. Still, the headlines created by the third Taliban attack in the space of just a few days make uncomfortable reading for NATO. The Taliban, one general conceded, are showing, at the very least, that they are still around.

The insurgents attacked the airport at Kandahar just after sunset. The Kandahar Airfield is so big that it would take a quarter of an hour for a car to cross it from one end to the other. Around 25,000 soldiers live and work here. The base is the staging ground for the last attempt by the alliance to defeat the Taliban. The fresh soldiers being deployed by US President Barack Obama are sent into battle from here.

The tarmac is divided into zones, from A to Z. In Zone W for Whiskey, four airplanes are currently awaiting clearance for takeoff. Flight 073 to Kabul, a Hercules, is full. US solders sit shoulder to shoulder, squeezed into the cargo area of the dark green transport aircraft. Most have their eyes closed. The oppressive heat is only tolerable in body armour if you remain motionless.

War-Like Conditions on Base

It is around 8:45 p.m. when a soldier who is part of the crew on the Hercules hollers: “Is there anybody with ammunition on board?” Three soldiers who are carrying weapons stand up. Rumors circulate of a rocket attack by insurgents, and confirmation follows shortly. Through the loudspeakers over the tarmac, one can hear: “KAF is under ground attack — take shelter in place — force protection are dealing with the situation.”

As the soldiers leave the Hercules and make their way to the bunker, the skies over the tarmac light up as if with fireworks. Six Apache attack helicopters are firing tracer bullets over Zone W, the thunder of an A-10 fighter jet can be heard and sirens are going off.

“Insurgents have fired on the camp with rockets,” says one general. Later it will be reported that 12 ISAF troops were injured and three insurgents were shot as they tried to penetrate the base from the northern edge of the camp.

Meanwhile in the bunker, an interpretation of the attacks is already being discussed. People are saying that, the attack on Kandahar Airfield, the largest base in southern Afghanistan, wasn’t so bad, relatively speaking. In other words, it wasn’t very big, it wasn’t planned very well and it wasn’t as hard to stop as the attack conducted by a handful of suicide bombers against Bagram, the largest US base in Afghanistan, just four days earlier.

It took hours for the US Army to stop attackers at the perimeter of the gigantic Bagram base. Although none of the insurgents breached the perimeter, the skirmishes lasted from midnight to early morning and the Taliban managed to kill an American contractor.

Part 2: The Taliban’s Logistics Appear to Be Working

And on May 18, a suicide attack against a convoy in Kabul resulted in many deaths, including four high-ranking US officers. Two colonels and two lieutenant colonels, more or less the leadership of the US Mountain Warriors from Camp Julien, died in the attack. It had been a long time since the Taliban had succeeded in such a serious strike against the US Army.

The Taliban, which had largely been quiet in recent weeks, have made a formidable comeback. The most one had heard about them previously was that the US Army had detained a mid-range Taliban commander in the south, eliminated a weapons depot or that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had boldly repeated that he wanted to negotiate with the insurgents.

Western intelligence services share the assessment that the attack on Kandahar was largely symbolic. “Naturally this isn’t about a group of fighters trying to capture a base with thousands of soldiers,” says one NATO insider. “The attacks merely served to show their determination.” With their three attacks on Kabul, Baghram and Kandahar, the insurgents certainly succeeded in doing that.

The detailed analysis of the two attacks that preceded the one in Kandahar are sobering. The intelligence services are assuming that a network of one of the most dangerous warlords in Afghanistan, the jihadist legend Jalaluddin Haqqani, dispatched a whole handful of teams of suicide attackers to Kabul to strike American targets. Three Pakistan nationals who had been arrested the day before the attack on the American convoy at the southern edge of the city, and who had hidden explosive vests in the trunk of their vehicle, confessed this after lengthy interrogations.

If the reports of their Afghan colleagues are true, then they provide evidence of the group’s advanced logistical ability. The Haqqani network, which operates relatively freely from the area surrounding the eastern Afghan city of Khost, appears to have dispatched its teams to Kabul from all directions. None of the young Pakistani men knew what had been planned for them. They were first given their deadly instructions in one of the group’s hideouts near the scene of the attack.

Summer 2010 Will Be Decisive

The developments must be especially troubling for the head of the NATO forces. US General Stanley McChrystal knows that summer 2010 will be decisive for his ambitious new strategy as well as his own career. At the very latest, President Obama wants to be able to show at least a small success by the end of the year. Other NATO partners are also under intense domestic political pressure to demonstrate progress in Afghanistan.

Steps toward that goal are expected soon. In the coming weeks, NATO wants to restore the authority of the Kabul government in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. But the insurgents have already announced their own offensive, too. If they follow up their threats with action, in the form of hard-to-prevent attacks like those conducted in recent days, then the situation could get very difficult for the alliance. It is hard to counter images of devastated streets with news of minor successes in the south.

For his part, McChrystal is not allowing himself to be influenced by the attacks. But while he may express optimism publicly, McChrystal’s advisers are preparing for the inevitable: If the Taliban is under significant military pressure both in northern and southern Afghanistan, they are likely to switch tactics and carry out more symbolic attacks.

One day after the Kandahar incident, General McChrystal said that the “attacks were not operationally effective.” He and his forces are preparing for possible further attacks in Kabul, a city that is by no means safe.

Attacks like those which took place last week will have to be prevented at all costs during the upcoming peace jirga at the beginning of June and also at the international Kabul Conference to be hosted by Karzai. Such attacks would not bring the Taliban a military victory — but politically they would be a nightmare.

The Shaky State of Indian Supplied Saeed/Mumbai Evidence

India fails to vet Saeed evidence

DC Correspondent

May 27: There appears to be a twist to the Hafiz Saeed tale, which has so far been about India supplying the needed proof to nail his role as a prime mover in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, but Pakistan treating this as “literature,” rather than “evidence” and refusing to put him away on that basis.

When the Pakistan Supreme Court threw out the case against the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba founder, saying the evidence was not good enough, the foreign secretary, Ms Nirupama Rao, expressed “disappointment” and said all Indians would be disappointed. She urged the Pakistan government to be sensitive to Indian concerns and do more. However, top-level sources, who declined to be identified, appeared to give the benefit of the doubt to the Pakistan judiciary.

“We seem to be in the habit of passing on to Islamabad whatever the (intelligence) agencies are able to put together, without vetting it for its evidentiary value. This is the old Dawood Ibrahim syndrome, when Mr L.K. Advani was the home minister. Then we went to the extent of staking India-Pakistan relations on Pakistan handing Dawood over to us on the basis of the so-called evidence we supplied.”

They noted that the external affairs minister and the Prime Minister had maintained that in the interest of good-neighbourly relations Pakistan should not allow Mr Saeed to roam free as he was in the habit of inciting people to attack India, but these leaders had not staked their reputation on the evidence value of the dossiers on Mr Saeed given to Islamabad.

ISI/JUD Water Alliance–Legitimizing Anti-India Jihad

Saeed-Pak establishment nexus clear from new ‘water-war’ anti-India campaign

Washington, May 28 (ANI): Despite its public stance of wanting a truce with long-time ‘rival’ neighbour, experts have pointed out that the Pakistangovernment has devised a new strategy to continue its traditional ‘proxy war’ through extremists against India.

Pakistani militant groups, particularly the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the banned Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD), under the guidance of country’s security establishments have now adopted the long pending river water sharing issue as a tool to aid their nefarious aims.

The water issue touches millions of Pakistanis, and that is why militant leaders like the JuD chief Hafeez Mohammed Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attacks, have been raising the matter amidst people to incite feelings and gain support against the ‘anti-India’ movement.

Saeed recently led a protest of thousands of farmers in Lahore carrying placards which read :”Water Flows or Blood”, which clearly suggested the motives of the ‘jihadi’ organisations.

Analysts underlined that Saeed’s use of the water issue demonstrates his long-standing links to Pakistan’s powerful security establishment, elements of which do not favour peacemaking, The Washington Post reports.

“Hafiz Saeed is trying to echo the establishment’s line. The government is trying to shift the focus of Kashmir as part of a jihadist thing . . . to an existential issue,” said Rifaat Hussain, a professor of security studies at Qaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad.

The LeT has taken its fight against India beyond Kashmir to stage attacks in Afghanistan and work with militant organizations in Pakistan’s northwest, but Saeed in particular has sought to uphold the group’s Kashmir-focused reputation, making water a bit of a departure, the newspaper said.

Blaming India for the water crisis in the country is meant to ‘inflame public passions’ at a time when it appeared that the Pakistanis were starting to denounce terrorism, the paper said. (ANI)