Hundreds of TTP Forces Relocated To Afghanistan Strike Pakistani Checkpost In Bajaur Fazlullah Faqir Muhammad

Hundreds of Afghan-based militants launch raid into Pakistan

By Mian Saeed-ur-Rehman

KHAR, Pakistan | Mon Jul 4, 2011 12:53pm EDT

(Reuters) – At least 300 militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and attacked a Pakistani checkpost, government and intelligence officials said on Monday, the sixth cross-border attack in a month that has raised tensions between the neighbors.

One Pakistani soldier was killed and another wounded in the late Sunday attack in the Pakistani tribal region of Bajaur, intelligence officials said. At least four militants were also killed in the fighting, they said.

Pakistan says 56 members of the security forces have been killed and 81 wounded in a series of militant attacks from Afghanistan over the past month.

Villagers from Kitkot, where the attack took place, told Reuters that militants used rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and AK-47 assault rifles.

“Heavy firing was going on, and it lasted for several hours,” tribal elder Juma Gul said.

One government official said the militants were driven back into Afghanistan by Pakistani security forces. There were no civilian casualties, he added.

A military spokesman in Rawalpindi, however, said no militants have crossed the border, but instead fired rockets into Pakistan, killing one Pakistani soldier.

It is difficult to independently verify what is happening in the remote mountain region that divides Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sunday’s raid follows allegations by the Afghan Foreign Ministry that a number of rockets fired from Pakistan into the Afghan province of Kunar had killed and injured Afghan civilians in recent months.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Pakistan had fired 470 rockets over the border in June. Pakistan has denied the allegations.

Pakistan says militants, including Pakistani Taliban commanders, have taken refuge in Afghanistan following military operations to drive them out of its Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

It was angered by a U.S. decision to thin out its troops in eastern Afghanistan, including the Korengal valley in Kunar province, when Washington decided to concentrate on population centers in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban heartland.

“For quite some time we have been highlighting that there are safe havens across the border,” Pakistan army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said. “Something should be done about these.”

(Additional reporting by Sahibzada Bahauddin in Peshawar and Kamran Haider in Islamabad; Writing by Rebecca Conway; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Sanjeev Miglani)

“if old adversaries like the Soviet Union and the United States can work in common cause,”–Old Bush

“As you know, I’ve just returned from a very productive meeting with Soviet President Gorbachev. And I am pleased that we are working together to build a new relationship. In Helsinki, our joint statement affirmed to the world our shared resolve to counter Iraq’s threat to peace. Let me quote: “We are united in the belief that Iraq’s aggression must not be tolerated. No peaceful international order is possible if larger states can devour their smaller neighbors.” Clearly, no longer can a dictator count on East-West confrontation to stymie concerted United Nations action against aggression. A new partnership of nations has begun….’

user posted image

Russian Destroyer Admiral Chabanenko in Norfolk Virginia

NATO, Russia moving towards strategic partnership

Today at 10:11 | Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — NATO’s top official says the alliance and Russia must build on their cooperation in the Afghan war and the fight against maritime piracy to create a solid strategic partnership.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday the former Cold War rivals “are not yet there but are making progress.”

Envoys from the alliance’s 28 members and Russia are in the resort city of Sochi for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, which normally meets at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.

The wars in Libya and Afghanistan and plans to build a ballistic missile shield are expected to dominate the meeting.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the alliance’s bombing of Libya, saying it violates the U.N. resolution that sanctioned the military operation.



Lebanon P.M. Miqati Says March 14 Coalition Is “Sabotaging the Nation”

[See March 14 accusations HERE.)

Miqati Says ‘Sabotaging the Nation is a Crime,’ March 14 Suffering from ‘Disorder’

by Naharnet Newsdesk


Prime Minister Najib Miqati snapped back at the March 14 alliance on Monday accusing its members of carrying out a crime against the nation and attacking the cabinet for being unable to confront the truth that they lost power.

“Sabotaging the nation is a crime,” Miqati said in a statement. “It is the national responsibility of everyone to preserve civil peace and stability and not to sabotage or make fictitious heroic acts that stir tension.”

He said the March 14 forces that met at the Bristol hotel in Beirut on Sunday were suffering from “disorder and bouts of extreme anger,” and were verbally attacking the cabinet for “failing to confront the truth that they lost power through democratic means.”

According to Miqati, the Bristol conferees “used the crime against former Premier Rafik Hariri to pour their anger and their hatred on the cabinet for known reasons.”

He said the March 14 forces had expected that Miqati’s government would not be formed and the country would remain in a vacuum over the “failure” of the caretaking cabinet of Premier Saad Hariri to carry out its duties.

The prime minister reiterated that clause 14 of the policy statement stresses the right to achieve justice in ex-PM Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination unlike what the March 14 statement said.

The Bristol conferees said that Miqati’s government disavowed in its ministerial statement the demand for justice to which the Lebanese state has committed itself in previous policy statements.

March 14 further misled the public by accusing the government of evoking the hostility of the citizens and relatives of martyrs and pushing the Lebanese state outside international legitimacy, Miqati said.

Everyone knows about the “settlement” that the coalition tried to reach at a certain stage at the expense of martyrs, the premier said.

“There is enough proof and documents on how the suggestions, at times printed and other times handwritten, were making the rounds inside Lebanon and outside to lure direct and indirect offers” for a settlement, he added.

Miqati also criticized the March 14 conferees for saying that the new cabinet has carried out a coup against the Lebanese. “As if those who met at the Bristol have the sole authority to represent the Lebanese or are the sole agents of the blood of martyrs.”

Tribal Sources Claim Hakeemullah Faction Already Fled from Kurram Agency

Military operation launched in Kurram Agency

PARACHINAR/PESHAWAR: The government on Sunday launched a full-fledged military operation against militants in the violence-hit Kurram Agency, forcing 4,000 families to flee their homes for safer areas.

Pakistan Army spokesman and Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, however, said the operation had not yet been launched but preparations were underway for initiating action against the militants in Kurram tribal region.

He said it would enable the militants to flee from their hideouts if reports about the likely military operation appeared in the media before the action was actually started. However, tribal sources said Pakistan Army contingents backed by gunship helicopters, tanks and artillery guns had been moved into the troubled spots of Kurram Agency to take on militants affiliated with the Hakimullah Mahsud-led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The troops, the sources said, entered the strongholds of militants in the mountainous central Kurram Agency from Sadda and also Thall area in Hangu district.

Villagers said they heard artillery guns and tanks pounding suspected positions of the militants in the mountainous Zaimusht, Munda, Khoaidadkhel and Alisherzai areas. There was, however, no information about any casualty suffered by the militants.

Sources said that curfew had been imposed and communication of the entire Kurram tribal region with the rest of the country was suspended before the launch of the long-awaited military operation.

Tribesmen who reached Sadda town where the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) have set up camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) said the troops had reached the area and occupied hilltops. The displaced tribesmen also claimed that militants were still present in remote villages in the mountains and were allegedly forcing the villagers not to leave their homes due to fear of military operation.

Government officials said some of the fleeing villagers told them that the militants were asking the tribesmen to stay home as the forces would not come there. They felt the militants might use the tribespeople as human shields in their fight against the security forces in the far-flung areas of the region.

It is not clear whether Pakistani troops would fight against Fazal Saeed Haqqani, who recently parted ways with Hakimullah Mahsud and his TTP and formed his own organisation named Tehrik-e-Taliban Islami Pakistan (TTIP). Fazal Saeed Haqqani said he had deserted the TTP because it was carrying out suicide attacks in public places and was targeting civilians. Also, he claimed he was affiliated with a powerful Afghan faction of the Taliban, the Haqqani Network fighting against the US-led forces in Afghanistan. Members of the Haqqani Network, however, have disowned him and said they had nothing to do with Pakistani militant groups and their activities.

Fazal Saeed Haqqani was nominated the TTP chief for Kurram Agency by Baitullah Mahsud in December 2007 soon after he formed this conglomeration of militant organisations Tribal sources said a majority of the militants loyal to Hakimullah Mahsud had already fled Kurram Agency for the neighbouring Orakzai, Khyber and North Waziristan tribal regions.

Three years ago the government had launched military operation in Orakzai Agency and forced the militants to flee their positions for nearby Khyber and Kurram tribal regions. Militants in Kurram Agency found enough time to strengthen their positions and were then able to make this picturesque valley a “no-go” area for their opponents.

For three years there was no traffic on the main Thall-Parachinar road and dwellers of the tribal region used to go to their homes by undertaking a normally risky journey via Afghanistan. Efforts had been made in the past by members of both religious sects, Shias and Sunnis, to resolve their differences and restore peace in the volatile tribal region, but they could not succeed due to a host of reasons.

Meanwhile, FDMA officials said 4,000 tribal families had so far arrived in Sadda town, where temporary arrangements have been made for their stay and food. Officials, however, said only 500 families had turned up in the government camp to register themselves and the remaining had gone to their relatives and friends in the nearby villages.

FDMA officials feared they might not be able to cope with the influx of the IDPs in case more families were uprooted from their villages as a result of fighting.


Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?       

The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.

By Sibel Edmonds and Philip Giraldi

Sibel Edmonds has a story to tell. She went to work as a Turkish and Farsi translator for the FBI five days after 9/11. Part of her job was to translate and transcribe recordings of conversations between suspected Turkish intelligence agents and their American contacts. She was fired from the FBI in April 2002 after she raised concerns that one of the translators in her section was a member of a Turkish organization that was under investigation for bribing senior government officials and members of Congress, drug trafficking, illegal weapons sales, money laundering, and nuclear proliferation. She appealed her termination, but was more alarmed that no effort was being made to address the corruption that she had been monitoring.

A Department of Justice inspector general’s report called Edmonds’s allegations “credible,” “serious,” and “warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI.” Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have backed her publicly. “60 Minutes” launched an investigation of her claims and found them believable. No one has ever disproved any of Edmonds’s revelations, which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files.

John Ashcroft’s Justice Department confirmed Edmonds’s veracity in a backhanded way by twice invoking the dubious State Secrets Privilege so she could not tell what she knows. The ACLU has called her “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.”

But on Aug. 8, she was finally able to testify under oath in a court case filed in Ohio and agreed to an interview with The American Conservative based on that testimony. What follows is her own account of what some consider the most incredible tale of corruption and influence peddling in recent times. As Sibel herself puts it, “If this were written up as a novel, no one would believe it.”

* * *

PHILIP GIRALDI: We were very interested to learn of your four-hour deposition in the case involving allegations that Congresswoman Jean Schmidt accepted money from the Turkish government in return for political favors. You provided many names and details for the first time on the record and swore an oath confirming that the deposition was true.

Basically, you map out a corruption scheme involving U.S. government employees and members of Congress and agents of foreign governments. These agents were able to obtain information that was either used directly by those foreign governments or sold to third parties, with the proceeds often used as bribes to breed further corruption. Let’s start with the first government official you identified, Marc Grossman, then the third highest-ranking official at the State Department.

SIBEL EDMONDS: During my work with the FBI, one of the major operational files that I was transcribing and translating started in late 1996 and continued until 2002, when I left the Bureau. Because the FBI had had no Turkish translators, these files were archived, but were considered to be very important operations. As part of the background, I was briefed about why these operations had been initiated and who the targets were.

Grossman became a person of interest early on in the investigative file while he was the U.S. ambassador to Turkey [1994-97], when he became personally involved with operatives both from the Turkish government and from suspected criminal groups. He also had suspicious contact with a number of official and non-official Israelis. Grossman was removed from Turkey short of tour during a scandal referred to as “Susurluk” by the media. It involved a number of high-level criminals as well as senior army and intelligence officers with whom he had been in contact.

Another individual who was working for Grossman, Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson, was also removed from Turkey and sent to Germany. After he and his Turkish wife Can returned to the U.S., he went to work for Douglas Feith and she was hired as an FBI Turkish translator. My complaints about her connection to Turkish lobbying groups led to my eventual firing.

Grossman and Dickerson had to leave the country because a big investigation had started in Turkey. Special prosecutors were appointed, and the case was headlined in England, Germany, Italy, and in some of the Balkan countries because the criminal groups were found to be active in all those places. A leading figure in the scandal, Mehmet Eymür, led a major paramilitary group for the Turkish intelligence service. To keep him from testifying, Eymür was sent by the Turkish government to the United States, where he worked for eight months as head of intelligence at the Turkish Embassy in Washington. He later became a U.S. citizen and now lives in McLean, Virginia. The central figure in this scandal was Abdullah Catli. In 1989, while “most wanted” by Interpol, he came to the U.S., was granted residency, and settled in Chicago, where he continued to conduct his operations until 1996.

GIRALDI: So Grossman at this point comes back to the United States. He’s rewarded with the third-highest position at the State Department, and he allegedly uses this position to do favors for “Turkish interests”—both for the Turkish government and for possible criminal interests. Sometimes, the two converge. The FBI is aware of his activities and is listening to his phone calls. When someone who is Turkish calls Grossman, the FBI monitors that individual’s phone calls, and when the Turk calls a friend who is a Pakistani or an Egyptian or a Saudi, they monitor all those contacts, widening the net.

EDMONDS: Correct.

GIRALDI: And Grossman received money as a result. In one case, you said that a State Department colleague went to pick up a bag of money…

EDMONDS: $14,000

GIRALDI: What kind of information was Grossman giving to foreign countries? Did he give assistance to foreign individuals penetrating U.S. government labs and defense installations as has been reported? It’s also been reported that he was the conduit to a group of congressmen who become, in a sense, the targets to be recruited as “agents of influence.”

EDMONDS: Yes, that’s correct. Grossman assisted his Turkish and Israeli contacts directly, and he also facilitated access to members of Congress who might be inclined to help for reasons of their own or could be bribed into cooperation. The top person obtaining classified information was Congressman Tom Lantos. A Lantos associate, Alan Makovsky worked very closely with Dr. Sabri Sayari in Georgetown University, who is widely believed to be a Turkish spy. Lantos would give Makovsky highly classified policy-related documents obtained during defense briefings for passage to Israel because Makovsky was also working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

GIRALDI: Makovsky is now working for the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, a pro-Israeli think tank.

EDMONDS: Yes. Lantos was at the time probably the most outspoken supporter of Israel in Congress. AIPAC would take out the information from Lantos that was relevant to Israel, and they would give the rest of it to their Turkish associates. The Turks would go through the leftovers, take what they wanted, and then try to sell the rest. If there were something relevant to Pakistan, they would contact the ISI officer at the embassy and say, “We’ve got this and this, let’s sit down and talk.” And then they would sell it to the Pakistanis.

GIRALDI: ISI—Pakistani intelligence—has been linked to the Pakistani nuclear proliferation program as well as to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

So the FBI was monitoring these connections going from a congressman to a congressman’s assistant to a foreign individual who is connected with intelligence to other intelligence people who are located at different embassies in Washington. And all of this information is in an FBI file somewhere?

EDMONDS: Two sets of FBI files, but the AIPAC-related files and the Turkish files ended up converging in one. The FBI agents believed that they were looking at the same operation. It didn’t start with AIPAC originally. It started with the Israeli Embassy. The original targets were intelligence officers under diplomatic cover in the Turkish Embassy and the Israeli Embassy. It was those contacts that led to the American Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and then to AIPAC fronting for the Israelis. It moved forward from there.

GIRALDI: So the FBI was monitoring people from the Israeli Embassy and the Turkish Embassy and one, might presume, the Pakistani Embassy as well?

EDMONDS: They were the secondary target. They got leftovers from the Turks and Israelis. The FBI would intercept communications to try to identify who the diplomatic target’s intelligence chief was, but then, in addition to that, there are individuals there, maybe the military attaché, who had their own contacts who were operating independently of others in the embassy.

GIRALDI: So the network starts with a person like Grossman in the State Department providing information that enables Turkish and Israeli intelligence officers to have access to people in Congress, who then provide classified information that winds up in the foreign embassies?

EDMONDS: Absolutely. And we also had Pentagon officials doing the same thing. We were looking at Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. They had a list of individuals in the Pentagon broken down by access to certain types of information. Some of them would be policy related, some of them would be weapons-technology related, some of them would be nuclear-related. Perle and Feith would provide the names of those Americans, officials in the Pentagon, to Grossman, together with highly sensitive personal information: this person is a closet gay; this person has a chronic gambling issue; this person is an alcoholic. The files on the American targets would contain things like the size of their mortgages or whether they were going through divorces. One Air Force major I remember was going through a really nasty divorce and a child custody fight. They detailed all different kinds of vulnerabilities.

GIRALDI: So they had access to their personnel files and also their security files and were illegally accessing this kind of information to give to foreign agents who exploited the vulnerabilities of these people to recruit them as sources of information?

EDMONDS: Yes. Some of those individuals on the list were also working for the RAND Corporation. RAND ended up becoming one of the prime targets for these foreign agents.

GIRALDI: RAND does highly classified research for the U.S. government. So they were setting up these people for recruitment as agents or as agents of influence?

EDMONDS: Yes, and the RAND sources would be paid peanuts compared to what the information was worth when it was sold if it was not immediately useful for Turkey or Israel. They also had sources who were working in some midwestern Air Force bases. The sources would provide the information on CD’s and DVD’s. In one case, for example, a Turkish military attaché got the disc and discovered that it was something really important, so he offered it to the Pakistani ISI person at the embassy, but the price was too high. Then a Turkish contact in Chicago said he knew two Saudi businessmen in Detroit who would be very interested in this information, and they would pay the price. So the Turkish military attaché flew to Detroit with his assistant to make the sale.

GIRALDI: We know Grossman was receiving money for services.

EDMONDS: Yes. Sometimes he would give money to the people who were working with him, identified in phone calls on a first-name basis, whether it’s a John or a Joe. He also took care of some other people, including his contact at the New York Times. Grossman would brag, “We just fax to our people at the New York Times. They print it under their names.”

GIRALDI: Did Feith and Perle receive any money that you know of?


GIRALDI: So they were doing favors for other reasons. Both Feith and Perle were lobbyists for Turkey and also were involved with Israel on defense contracts, including some for Northrop Grumman, which Feith represented in Israel.

EDMONDS: They had arrangements with various companies, some of them members of the American Turkish Council. They had arrangements with Kissinger’s group, with Northrop Grumman, with former secretary of state James Baker’s group, and also with former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.

The monitoring of the Turks picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.

Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client’s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.

GIRALDI: Armitage was deputy secretary of state at the time Scowcroft and Baker were running their own consulting firms that were doing business with Turkey. Grossman had just become undersecretary, third in the State hierarchy behind Armitage.

You’ve previouly alluded to efforts by Grossman, as well as high-ranking officials at the Pentagon, to place Ph.D. students. Can you describe that in more detail?

EDMONDS: The seeding operation started before Marc Grossman arrived at the State Department. The Turkish agents had a network of Turkish professors in various universities with access to government information. Their top source was a Turkish-born professor of nuclear physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was useful because MIT would place a bunch of Ph.D. or graduate-level students in various nuclear facilities like Sandia or Los Alamos, and some of them were able to work for the Air Force. He would provide the list of Ph.D. students who should get these positions. In some cases, the Turkish military attaché would ask that certain students be placed in important positions. And they were not necessarily all Turkish, but the ones they selected had struck deals with the Turkish agents to provide information in return for money. If for some reason they had difficulty getting a secuity clearance, Grossman would ensure that the State Department would arrange to clear them.

In exchange for the information that these students would provide, they would be paid $4,000 or $5,000. And the information that was sold to the two Saudis in Detroit went for something like $350,000 or $400,000.

GIRALDI: This corruption wasn’t confined to the State Department and the Pentagon—it infected Congress as well. You’ve named people like former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, now a registered agent of the Turkish government. In your deposition, you describe the process of breaking foreign-originated contributions into small units, $200 or less, so that the source didn’t have to be reported. Was this the primary means of influencing congressmen, or did foreign agents exploit vulnerabilities to get what they wanted using something like blackmail?

EDMONDS: In early 1997, because of the information that the FBI was getting on the Turkish diplomatic community, the Justice Department had already started to investigate several Republican congressmen. The number-one congressman involved with the Turkish community, both in terms of providing information and doing favors, was Bob Livingston. Number-two after him was Dan Burton, and then he became number-one until Hastert became the speaker of the House. Bill Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno, was briefed on the investigations, and since they were Republicans, she authorized that they be continued.

Well, as the FBI developed more information, Tom Lantos was added to this list, and then they got a lot on Douglas Feith and Richard Perle and Marc Grossman. At this point, the Justice Department said they wanted the FBI to only focus on Congress, leaving the executive branch people out of it. But the FBI agents involved wanted to continue pursuing Perle and Feith because the Israeli Embassy was also connected. Then the Monica Lewinsky scandal erupted, and everything was placed on the back burner.

But some of the agents continued to investigate the congressional connection. In 1999, they wiretapped the congressmen directly. (Prior to that point they were getting all their information secondhand through FISA, as their primary targets were foreigners.) The questionably legal wiretap gave the perfect excuse to the Justice Department. As soon as they found out, they refused permission to monitor the congressmen and Grossman as primary targets. But the inquiry was kept alive in Chicago because the FBI office there was pursuing its own investigation. The epicenter of a lot of the foreign espionage activity was Chicago.

GIRALDI: So the investigation stopped in Washington, but continued in Chicago?

EDMONDS: Yes, and in 2000, another representative was added to the list, Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic congresswoman from Illinois. Turkish agents started gathering information on her, and they found out that she was bisexual. So a Turkish agent struck up a relationship with her. When Jan Schakowsky’s mother died, the Turkish woman went to the funeral, hoping to exploit her vulnerability. They later were intimate in Schakowsky’s townhouse, which had been set up with recording devices and hidden cameras. They needed Schakowsky and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois. They already had Hastert, the mayor, and several other Illinois state senators involved. I don’t know if Congresswoman Schakowsky ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman.

GIRALDI: So we have a pattern of corruption starting with government officials providing information to foreigners and helping them make contact with other Americans who had valuable information. Some of these officials, like Marc Grossman, were receiving money directly. Others were receiving business favors: Pentagon associates like Doug Feith and Richard Perle had interests in Israel and Turkey. The stolen information was being sold, and the money that was being generated was used to corrupt certain congressmen to influence policy and provide still more information—in many cases information related to nuclear technology.

EDMONDS: As well as weapons technology, conventional weapons technology, and Pentagon policy-related information.

GIRALDI: You also have information on al-Qaeda, specifically al-Qaeda in Central Asia and Bosnia. You were privy to conversations that suggested the CIA was supporting al-Qaeda in central Asia and the Balkans, training people to get money, get weapons, and this contact continued until 9/11…

EDMONDS: I don’t know if it was CIA. There were certain forces in the U.S. government who worked with the Turkish paramilitary groups, including Abdullah Çatli’s group, Fethullah Gülen.

GIRALDI: Well, that could be either Joint Special Operations Command or CIA.

EDMONDS: Maybe in a lot of cases when they said State Department, they meant CIA?

GIRALDI: When they said State Department, they probably meant CIA.

EDMONDS: Okay. So these conversations, between 1997 and 2001, had to do with a Central Asia operation that involved bin Laden. Not once did anybody use the word “al-Qaeda.” It was always “mujahideen,” always “bin Laden” and, in fact, not “bin Laden” but “bin Ladens” plural. There were several bin Ladens who were going on private jets to Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The Turkish ambassador in Azerbaijan worked with them.

There were bin Ladens, with the help of Pakistanis or Saudis, under our management. Marc Grossman was leading it, 100 percent, bringing people from East Turkestan into Kyrgyzstan, from Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan, from Azerbaijan some of them were being channeled to Chechnya, some of them were being channeled to Bosnia. From Turkey, they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back.

GIRALDI: Was the U.S. government aware of this circular deal?

EDMONDS: 100 percent. A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium with NATO planes. After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the U.S. via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago and Paterson, New Jersey. Turkish diplomats who would never be searched were coming with suitcases of heroin.

GIRALDI: And, of course, none of this has been investigated. What do you think the chances are that the Obama administration will try to end this criminal activity?

EDMONDS: Well, even during Obama’s presidential campaign, I did not buy into his slogan of “change” being promoted by the media and, unfortunately, by the naïve blogosphere. First of all, Obama’s record as a senator, short as it was, spoke clearly. For all those changes that he was promising, he had done nothing. In fact, he had taken the opposite position, whether it was regarding the NSA’s wiretapping or the issue of national-security whistleblowers. We whistleblowers had written to his Senate office. He never responded, even though he was on the relevant committees.

As soon as Obama became president, he showed us that the State Secrets Privilege was going to continue to be a tool of choice. It’s an arcane executive privilege to cover up wrongdoing—in many cases, criminal activities. And the Obama administration has not only defended using the State Secrets Privilege, it has been trying to take it even further than the previous terrible administration by maintaining that the U.S. government has sovereign immunity. This is Obama’s change: his administration seems to think it doesn’t even have to invoke state secrets as our leaders are emperors who possess this sovereign immunity. This is not the kind of language that anybody in a democracy would use.

The other thing I noticed is how Chicago, with its culture of political corruption, is central to the new administration. When I saw that Obama’s choice of chief of staff was Rahm Emanuel, knowing his relationship with Mayor Richard Daley and with the Hastert crowd, I knew we were not going to see positive changes. Changes possibly, but changes for the worse. It was no coincidence that the Turkish criminal entity’s operation centered on Chicago.

Sibel Edmonds is a former FBI translator and the founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. Philip Giraldi is a former CIA officer and The American Conservative’s Deep Background columnist. 

Turkey Shows Its True Colors On NATO’s Libyan Assault

[This move clearly demonstrates on which side of the Imperial debate the “moderate Islamist” State stands.  Like Russia before them, they are serving the Empire, in hopes of gaining a place in the New Order.  This is what was meant by Davutoglu’s ‘Zero Problem Policy.  Sibel Edmonds was right.] 

Turkey cuts ties with Gaddafi’s Libyan government

ISTANBUL: Turkey has cut its diplomatic ties with Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan government and has recalled its ambassador, the Turkish official gazette reported.The move comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the eastern stronghold of Benghazi on Sunday and pledges $200 million in aid to the rebel Transitional National Council.

It was time for leader Muammar Gaddafi to leave Libya, Davutoglu said. He declared that the rebel National Council was the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

Turkish Militant Arrested On Way To North Waziristan

[Was that Turk perhaps named, Abu Zarr?  (SEE:  A New Psyop Plot Line, With Multiple Sub-Plots, Allegedly From Waziristan).]

Foreigner, on way to join ‘Jihad’ arrested

PESHAWAR: Law-enforcement agencies have arrested a foreigner in Bannu district when he was allegedly on his way to North Waziristan Agency to join the militants, a source confided to The News on Friday. The foreigner was identified as a Turk national who introduced himself as Abdullah. The man, in his late 20s, has been handed over to the intelligence agencies for further investigation.“He was on way from Peshawar to North Waziristan when intercepted by the police at a checking point. He was taken into custody and shifted for interrogation,” the district police officer (DPO) of Bannu, Mohammad Sajjad Khan, confirmed to The News.

The official added that during interrogation, it was found that he was planning to join the militants in North Waziristan for taking part in Jihad. “He seemed to be a diehard militant and that made him travel to North Waziristan,” added the police official.

The sources disclosed that the foreigner had come to Islamabad from Istanbul and later moved to Peshawar by bus. From Peshawar, he was proceeding to North Waziristan alone when the cops at a checkpost became suspicious and stopped him for investigation. A number of foreigners are suspected to be fighting alongside the militants in North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies for the last several years.

Thousands of Pak Army Troops, Backed By Pak Air Force Begin Anti-TTP Offensive in Central Kurram

[If all goes well in Kurram, we should expect a North Waziristan operation to rapidly follow.  Hakeemullah, that little criminal, is on the defensive, perhaps on the run today in Pakistan.]

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakeemullah Mehsud (centre), is shown in a February 19 militant video as he orders a masked gunman to kill a man identified as former ISI official Col. Imam (seated). Some analysts doubt the corpse shown later in the video is that of Imam, and say the video was produced to show that Mehsud is still alive. [Video screen grab courtesy Javed Khan]

[Then we have this news from US CentCom website, that the Kurram operation has already ended, with  68 soldiers and 200 militants killed.]

Kurram cleared of Taliban militants, army says


Staff Report

PARA CHINAR – The Pakistani army said it has mostly cleared Kurram Agency of Taliban militants, media reported July 1.

Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Asif Yaseen Malik said June 30 that a jirga of tribal elders earlier this year called upon the army to launch the anti-militant operation, Aaj News reported.

Sixty-eight soldiers died in the Kurram operation and 300 were injured, while 200 militants were killed, Malik said.


Troops air-dropped Operation launched in central Kurram

PARACHINAR, July 3: A military offensive has been launched against militants in central tehsil of Kurram Agency and families have started fleeing the conflict zone, sources said.

A senior official in Peshawar confirmed that a `full-fledged operation’ had been launched in the valley on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, the government had notified 80 square kilometres of the area in central Kurram as conflict zone.

“I have no specific details, but operation has started in the mountainous area,” the official said.

Central Kurram is adjacent to Tora Bora, reportedly the stronghold of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Militants having lost their positions in Waziristan and other parts of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have set up their sanctuaries in Central Kurram.

The sources said that troops had been dropped from helicopters in Manato and Zaimukhet and army and paramilitary forces, backed by air force, were conducting a joint operation in the area.

They said that thousands of troops were taking part in the operation.

The military offensive has triggered displacement as large numbers of families have started moving to lower part of the tehsil where a relief camp has been set up at Durrani area.

The Fata Disaster Management Authority has set up two registration centres where 500 displaced families have enrolled
themselves so far.

According to official estimates, over 4,000 families are likely to flee their homes because of the military operation.

The Demolition of Afghanistan Is Going Swell, When Does the Rebuilding or New Construction Start?

Destruction is Rebuilding, or: Fare thee well, population-centric COIN

by: Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN)

Words and deeds differ more and more in the US strategy in Afghanistan. A blogger made AAN’s Senior Analyst Thomas Ruttig think about her question ‘Is This What Population-centric Counterinsurgency Looks Like?’, remember some reports he read recently and conclude that the answer is ‘no’.

Yesterday, we added a blogdescribing – and carrying a photo of – a ‘50-mile long barrier in Kandahar’ built to separate US troops from intruding Taleban to our ‘recommended reading’ column (to which I use the opportunity to point again). As can be expected, ‘from the US Army’s perspective, the wall’s construction has been a success’. As also must be expected, the Afghans’ perspective is another one. The wall keeps away direly needed rain water from some fields but not the Taleban; the number of attacks is increasing as far as they are concerned. ‘Instead of driving a wedge between insurgents and the population, counterinsurgency strategy as practiced in Kandahar is further dividing US troops from the people they are risking their lives to protect’, concludes the author. Its headline reads: ‘Is This What Population-centric Counterinsurgency Looks Like?’.

Good question, I thought because I was reminded of a few articles that came up today – and which make me give a clear ‘no’ for an answer.

The Global Post simply reports how US Special Operations Forces’ night raids make the locals in Nawa district very angry(*).

An AP report from Sangin, also in Helmand province, today carries the tell-tale title: ‘US Marines in deadly Afghan valley say destruction key to lasting progress’ and contains a couple of stunning quotes. A locally based US Marines company commander, for example, says in pure Orwellian that ‘[w]e are here to rebuild, but sometimes that takes destruction’. His ‘troopers’ (that’s how Gen. Petraeus has started calling his soldiers in hisCongress hearing earlier this week) task is described as ‘clearing […] an area called Wishtan’ in Sangin district. Doing this, the report continues, ‘[t]he Marines have used a much more aggressive strategy […] than British troops who were there for four years before the U.S. took over’.

The marines also use new technology:

‘ a powerful weapon called a MICLIC — Mine Clearing Line Charge — that is essentially a flexible tube several hundred feet (meters) long containing more than 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) of C-4 explosive that is shot out along the road using a rocket, then detonated.

At least 25 bombs were destroyed and the Marines were able to clear the 3,000-foot (900-meter) long road in three days, but the blasts from the charges blew out windows, toppled walls and collapsed ceilings in the densely packed mud compounds that fill the area.

The Marines also bulldozed every vacant compound within 330 feet (100 meters) of the road — all but three — because their 15-foot (4.5-meter) high walls made it easy for insurgents to sneak in and plant more bombs.’

But what is the definition of ‘vacant’? Or should it read ‘vacated’, in fear of the ‘more aggressive strategy’ or, before, of the Taleban? In this case, the original residents might have planned to return. But this won’t be possible anymore.

The marines also bulldozed a mosque because it ‘was abandoned and had wires running into it that could be used to detonate roadside bombs’. They build a new mosque now. I am sure the local will call it ‘the American mosque’ then and go for prayer elsewhere. ‘Anyone who doesn’t think there is some pain before progress has never been to the dentist’, the Orwellian commander also said.

Population-centric COIN? Not along this road – and neither elsewhere because, as can be read from the AP report, ‘U.S. troops have used this tactic in other parts of Afghanistan, including Kandahar province‘, too.

Example no. 2 comes from today’s Independent. The London daily tells the story of a taxi-driver-turned-commander Azizullah from Paktika who is operating together with US Special Operations Forces – CIA, Army or Navy is not clear – in the triangle of his hometown Urgun, Barmal and Sarobi, based in Forward Operations Base Shkin(**) south of Barmal and close to the Pakistani border (see a map here), and has ‘launched a two-year spate of violence involving burglary, rape and murder of civilians, desecration of mosques and mutilation of corpses’.

Azizullah’s unit is labelled ‘Afghan security guard(s)’ (ASG***), a term well-known in the areas – sometimes slightly differently called ‘Afghan Guard Force’ (AGF****). These forces are indeed hired by US forces to guard their compounds. But they also go ‘on patrol’ with them, ‘disrupting al-Qaeda’ (Obama) and the Taleban. The Afghans usually call them ‘campaign [forces]’ indicating an understanding of where they belong: This ‘campaign’ was ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’, as long as it was separate from ISAF.

As Mark Sedra and the late Michael Bhatia write the AGF ‘primarily consist of demobilised AMF(*****) soldiers who live in close proximity to the sites that they are mandated to protect. In many cases, they are stationed at the same posts that they occupied while serving in the AMF; they have mere been “re-hatted”’.

‘Re-hatted’, and not disbanded. In other words, US forces simply ignored the disbandment and hired them right away, which means nothing less than undermining the Bonn agreement which had called for demobilisation of militia forces.

In another paper (with Bhatia as co-author again) the AGF’s aim is described as ‘in part to create a 5-6,000-strong ethnic Pashtun rapid reaction force’. This sounds rather different from ‘guarding’ and might even link them to the infamous 3000-man strong, CIA-led ‘Counterterrorist Pursuit Teams’ the existence of which only became known as the result of a wikileak.

The two authors quoted above also called the AGF ‘an interim measure’. As we see, they still exist today – which should make us think twice when we hear that the Afghan Local Police – the latest reincarnation of the long series of local militias created as stop-gaps for the still-ailing ANP – are called temporary.

According to the author of the Independent article, ‘some’ describe these forces as ‘the most effective fighting formation in Afghanistan’. He himself calls them ‘mercenaries’. This, indeed, they are. According to Afghan law, there are the Afghan National Security Forces – i.e. ANA and ANP – and, also sanctioned by the Karzai government although probelmatic, what is now called the Afghan Local Police. But ASG/AGF are completely outside the realm of Afghan law.

The author also mentions that the UN had passed a report on Aziziullah Nato’s deputy commander in Afghanistan, David Rodriguez.

‘”There was a derogatory report via UN channels last summer, but when we tried to research it, there was really little information to substantiate what were essentially claims,” [confirmed] Lieutenant-Colonel John Dorrian, chief of operations at Nato’s public affairs unit in Kabul. “As a matter of due diligence, we subsequently tried to backtrack to the origin of the claim, but nothing credible could be found.”’

But maybe, Dorrian is just on the line of the former CIA Libya station chiefwho said recently (about his agency’s secret contacts with Qaddafi’s intelligence with regard to al-Qaeda) that ‘to get intelligence about bad people, you can’t just deal with nuns and Boy Scouts‘.

When I was working for the UN in Gardez, the US SOF usually left their prisoners to their Afghan allies first for ‘interrogation’. One of the commanders of such an Afghan ‘force’ was later killed by a suicide bomber in Gardez. The attack was attributed to the Taleban. But who knows? There were enough people who wanted to take revenge for their or relatives’ time under torture.

In any case, it looks as if Aziziullah will be allowed to continue operating as he does, at least as long as the Independent doesn’t kick up more dust on this affair, and as if this is no population-centric counterinsurgency, either. On the opposite: People from the area say that many ‘have joined [the] Taliban because of Azizullah’s atrocities.’ Militia-centric Taleban recruitment, rather.

Apart from question marks behind Petraeus’ COIN strategy, there are also worrying ethnic implications in the latter case. There, a minority (Tajik) commander operates in an overwhelmingly Pashtun environment. I am not sure whether the Americans instrumentalise ethnic animosities here or whether the responsible commanders are unaware of them. In both cases, however, they will run the risk that ethnic tensions are further fanned. In a similar case, US special forces used Hazara militias in Pashtun areas of Uruzgan which led to the displacement of a number of communities when the Taleban announced they would take revenge on the families who had allowed their sons to join these forces. This does not bode well for the tiny and isolated Tajik minority in Urgun where it has been part of the community for a long time.

In general it seems that the US forces in Afghanistan continue to directly operate with Afghan forces that are factually illegal armed groups banned under Afghan law and that they provide them cover if they are accused of atrocities. Their US cover amounts to impunity. It looks as if General Petraeus’ population-centric COIN has become pure waste-paper. The logic of the capture-or-kill has put the ability of fighting forces to provide bodies to be counted back into the focus, human rights or population-centrism had to retreat into the second line. Sentences like ‘we recognize that we and our Afghan partners cannot just kill or capture our way out of the insurgency in Afghanistan’ are just window-dressing.

The sequel of Petraeus’ famous COIN manual is not out yet. It should be called: ‘Forget everything, and take the gloves off – it doesn’t make a difference anyway’.

(*) Earlier blogs on night raids and SOF operations are here and here andhere   and here, only to mention some.

(**) Renamed Fire Base Lilley in 2007, in honour of a killed Special Forces soldier.

(***) Please do not confuse with the Asia Security Group, one of the Private Security Companies to be dissolved according to a Karzai farman.

(****) AGF was officially established in 2004, based on an agreement between the Afghan MoD and the US military. Guard forces were active much earlier. See here.

(*****) AMF stands for Afghan Militia Force and covered those former mujahedin units to be disbanded and (individually) re-integrated into Afghanistan’s new army or police or into civilian life, through the not-so-successful DDR programme.

Uzbek-Afghan railway to start running in July

[It is starting to look hopeful for Afghanistan, with the inauguration of two new rail lines (SEE:  Railway linking Iran to Central Asia On Schedule, Funding Approved Despite the U.S.).  I hope that is not an actual photo of the new locomotive below.]

Uzbek-Afghan railway to start running in July

Maksim Yeniseyev

TASHKENT: The long-awaited Hairatan–Mazar-i-Sharif railway, which Uzbekiston Temir Yullari (UTY) Co. finished, building in November, is scheduled to start running in July. Once it begins service, this transport artery will become the only completed long-distance railway in Afghanistan, connecting Hairatan, a town on the Uzbek-Afghan border, to the Mazar-i-Sharif airport. Another international railway, extending westward from Herat, is still incomplete. Afghanistan had only about 25km of railway until the early 21st century. “Currently, the railway is capable of transporting a wide range of cargo,” Abror Vokhidov, one of UTY’s chief engineers, said. “The project infrastructure will also enable Afghanistan to carry passenger traffic … in the future.” The Hairatan–Mazar-i-Sharif railway is 75km long and can carry eight trains in each direction per day, or nearly 9m tonnes of cargo per year. The Asian Development Bank financed much of the project, lending US $165m (7.8 billion AFA or 281 billion UZS). Afghanistan allocated US $5m (235m AFA or 8.5 billion UZS) from its national budget. Construction took from January to November 2010. “Tests have now been completed proving the safety of all railway components, including main lines, storage tracks and sidings, as well as electrical equipment and switches,” Vokhidov said. Although ready to operate, the railway has been idle since February because Afghanistan failed to complete some legal formalities and because some security concerns existed. “Now the Afghan side says it has ensured full protection and security, and so have we,” Uzbek National Security Council officer Vokhid Shukurov said. Trade boom expected “EU countries are pinning great hopes on this railway; we expect it to boost the delivery of cargo, including humanitarian assistance, to this country,” Akmal Ruiziboyev, an official at the German embassy in Tashkent, said. “This railway will promote Central Asian countries’ economic co-operation with Afghanistan,” economist Ravshan Bagromov said. “Growth in trade is expected as early as year’s end.” Afghanistan now has two railways – from Herat extending westward (but incomplete), and from Hairatan to Mazar-i-Sharif, UTY spokesman Rasul Khalikov said. “We helped build the latter line, and it’s up to Afghanistan now to make it operational. Professional railway personnel need to be trained, and locomotives and cars purchased,” Khalikov said. The Afghan side plans to start running its own trains by year’s end, he added. “Afghanistan needs access to Central Asian markets and … regional energy resources,” Uzbek political scientist Yevgeny Khan said. “The (Uzbek) Tashguzar–Baisun–Kumkurgan and Hairatan–Mazar-i-Sharif main lines enable Afghanistan to import resources from Kazakhstan and Russia. These two countries are interested in promoting co-operation (with Afghanistan): Kazakhstan would benefit from that economically, and to Russia it’s a strategically important issue, apart from everything else.” Some security misgivings Analysts warn that the launch of an important transport corridor may attract terrorist attention, worsen the regional situation and expose Uzbekistan to a terrorist incursion. “This aspect of the problem has to be reckoned with too,” Khan said. “For it is not in Uzbekistan’s interests to walk away from projects that strengthen its political and economic positions in northern Afghanistan.” While acknowledging reasons for concern, Shukurov called against giving up the project. “We have everything needed to protect the railway,” he said. Uzbekistan is already drafting a new project – a railway line from Mazar-i-Sharif to Herat. That line could link to the westbound railway out of Herat, although a challenge exists. “We would have to solve the economic and infrastructure problem of the difference in railway width – 1,435mm on the line westward from Herat, and 1,520mm on our segment of the railway,” Khalikov said. CIS countries have continued using the wider railway gage that they inherited from the former Soviet Union. “Afghanistan will have to purchase additional locomotives and cars to make these two branches compatible,” he said. That would be a soluble problem, he added.

Insurgents “bought” suicide bomber – Afghan spy agency

[The following story is highly suspicious because of the elements involved and its location, as well as the fact that the key figure in the story, a Tajik Commander Azizullah (who works for US Special Forces), was reported killed last year by the ISAF’s own website, even though he has been charged since then with committing war crimes,  “including rape, the summary execution of children, and torture.”  The Reuters story claims that Sirrahuddin Haqqani purchased a trained suicide-bomber from Hakeemullah Mehsud to be sent to kill Azizullah.  Azizullah controlled an area in Paktika Province adjacent to Wana, S. Waziristan.  This means that he was terrorizing the Pashtun people in an area where Hakeemullah Mehsud would like to relocate in a strategic withdrawal, as Faqir Mohammed and Fazlullah have done next door to Bajaur and Mohmand.  They are using the Afghan safe zone to launch hundreds of fighters into Pakistan, provoking the cross-border shelling in response that is upsetting the Karzai govt.  If Hakeemullah is to survive the new Pak Army offensive in Kurram and Orakzai, he too will need to “get out of Dodge.”  A well-placed suicide-bomber would have made Azizullah’s territory open for colonization. 

I see no reason why Haqqani would have been involved in helping-out Mehsud.  That part must be disinformation.]

Azizullah is accused of crimes such as torture


Azizullah is accused of crimes such as torture

Insurgents “bought” suicide bomber – Afghan spy agency


(Reuters) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said on Sunday that a senior commander from the Pakistani Taliban sold a suicide bomber to an Afghan militant network, to carry out an attack on a local commander in eastern Afghanistan.

Relations between the neighbors are already strained by weeks of cross-border shelling of Afghanistan’s east. Pakistan denies more than “a few accidental” rounds have landed in Afghanistan; Kabul says hundreds have hit.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, said the bomber was a Pakistani national and was detained by NDS agents in Jaji Maidan district of eastern Paktia province before he could carry out his mission.

Sher Hassan was sent by the Haqqani network, considered one of the most dangerous insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan, but had not signed up to join them, the NDS said in a statement.

Instead he said he was bought by the group to target “Azizullah,” a commander whose affiliation and rank were not given by the NDS. Hassan then spent a month after his sale training with the Haqqani network.

“The detained man added that a commander under Hakimullah Mehsud sells suicide bombers at 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 Pakistani rupees ($70,000 to $93,000), to the Haqqani network for suicide missions,” the statement said.

Mehsud is the leader of Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, blamed for many suicide bombings across Pakistan. The statement did not say what price Hassan had fetched, nor how he had been detained.

Parts of east Afghanistan share a long, and porous border with the often lawless tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan where insurgents targeting both the Pakistan state and Afghanistan — including the Haqqani — have their hideouts.

The Haqqani network, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, is allied with the Taliban but also believed to be closely linked to al Qaeda and the architect of several high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including a brutal gun battle inside a bank.

Effective daily management of the group has passed from Jalaluddin Haqqani, who forged his reputation fighting the Soviet occupation of the 1980s but is now thought to be ill, to Sirajuddin, his eldest son.

Violence has flared across Afghanistan since the Taliban announced a spring offensive at the beginning of May. The detention of Hassan comes days after a group of suicide bombers staged a brazen attack on a landmark hotel in western part of capital Kabul that killed at least ten.

Afghan officials say sanctuaries inside Pakistan’s borders help militants to train, rest, and recruit fighters before crossing into Afghanistan to stage attacks.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison)

Azizullah, Commander

Name Azizullah, Commander
Ethnic backgr. Tajik
Date of birth 1980
Function/Grade Paktika Warlord Afghan Guard Force ASG

3. Biodata:
azizullah_commander_paktikaAzizullah was born 1980 in Urgun District. The head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission Nader Nadery has urged Hamid Karzai’s government and Nato to investigate allegations that the Afghan strongman Commander Azizullah in Paktika Province, who is employed by United States Army Special Forces embarked on a spate of war crimes, including rape, the summary execution of children, and torture (20110323).

The Independent (London) published claims made by a number of independent witnesses – and backed up by several leaked reports including two drafted by UN officials – that Commander Azizullah had exploited his patronage by US Special Forces to wage a campaign of violence against civilians he suspected of sympathising with, or harbouring, the Taliban.

Although a Nato spokesman said the coalition had looked into the allegations 2010 and found nothing, human rights experts say the security force is too often willing to brush aside claims of rights abuses.

Commander Azizullah’s relationship with US Special Forces began in 2001 when he was hired as a mercenary to protect a Special Forces base in Paktika, and by 2007 he had become a commander of some sway. Battlefield reporting published by WikiLeaks noted that he acted with a degree of autonomy, contradicting his own claims.

Azizullah who hails from Paktika Province is operating together with US Special Operations Forces – CIA, Army or Navy is not clear – in the triangle of his hometown Urgun, Barmal and Sarobi, based in Forward Operations Base Shkin south of Barmal and close to the Pakistani border  and has ‘launched a two-year spate of violence involving burglary, rape and murder of civilians, desecration of mosques and mutilation of corpses’. Azizullah’s unit is labelled ‘Afghan Security Guard(s)’ (ASG), a term well-known in the areas – sometimes slightly differently called ‘Afghan Guard Force’ (AGF).

A Pashtun cleric said that friction between the Tajik and Pashtun communities in eastern Paktika province, where Azizullah operates, had never been so high.

A Western contractor with first-hand knowledge of the area said: “Tajiks… say the guy is a national hero. [However] they also say, ‘We’ll pay for that’. If the coalition leaves they’ll have to leave too. They disapprove of his actions. If you send a Tajik as sheriff to a Pashtun area you’re bound to fail. It’s a very ethnically polarised area.”