Hundreds of Militants/Troops Pour Across the Durand Line Into Afghanistan

[As usual, the recriminations and obligatory denials are flying over the latest mass movement of militants/troops across the Durand Line into Nuristan in Afghanistan.  What is unusual though, is how part of it managed to be captured for YouTube.  The Russian version of the incident calls the invaders militants, while the Afghan story below that charges that they are Pakistani troops disguised as Taliban fighters.  Who knows?

The beat goes on.]

Hundreds of Pakistani militants attacked the Afghan province of Nuristan 

Afghan province of Nuristan

© Mercator

MOSCOW, August 2 – RIA Novosti.

Squads of Pakistani “Malysz” – Border Police formed on tribal grounds – on Thursday invaded the districts of Matale Kamdesh Barga and the eastern Afghan province of Nuristan, the provincial governor told the media Tamim Nuristani.

According to him, for two miles along the Afghan-Pakistan having undefined boundaries of militants, dressed in traditional Afghan clothing Taliban stormed the administrative building and fire houses. Pakistan Malysz opposed only to the police, army units in the area of ​​the incident there.

According to the Nuristani, accurate data about the losses on both sides yet, but the skirmish lasted for many hours.

According to the head of the security forces control the police Nuristan Gulyamully Khan, 250 militants attacked Barga Matale district and another 350 – County Kamdesh. The militants came from the area of ​​the gorge Mandegal, which shares a border with Afghanistan for seven miles.

According to preliminary reports, and police officials, the first attack has been contained, at present all along the line of collision is firing.

The fighting in Nuristan go along the so-called “Durand Line” – the former Indo-Afghan border, established in 1893 by agreement of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Anglo-Indian government Mortimer Durand with the Emir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan. Currently, however, the Afghans do not recognize the “Durand Line” (which is acknowledged Pakistan – part of the former British India), because they believe that the Afghan native land, with a population pushtunskime tribes are Afghan territory.

Kamdesh attacked by Pak troops, claims Nuristani

by Abdul Mueed Hashimi

JALALABAD (PAN): Dozens of Pakistani paramilitary troops in the guise of Taliban attacked the headquarters of Kamdesh district in eastern Nuristan province, officials said on Thursday.

But the Taliban and an Afghan National Army official said they were unaware of the cross-border attack on the district centre with heavy weapons.

Governor Tamim Nuristani said a fierce gunbattle was ongoing between the attackers and security forces. The assault was launched from the Mandgal Dara area — two kilometers from the district headquarters.

The attackers sneaked into the area from the Ola Gul area of Barg-i-Matal district, the governor said, claiming that the assailants were Pakistani paramilitary troops disguised as Taliban.

He said the attackers would not be able to advance on the district, much less overrun it, due to the presence of Afghan National Army troops. Nuristani had no information about casualties, but said the firefight was ongoing.

Police chief Col. Ghulam Ali Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News they had reports that 250 Pakistani paramilitary troops had entered Barg-i-Matal district and 350 Kamdesh.

He said some Pakistani soldiers killed in the latest skirmish with Afghan forces were buried in the Titigul valley. The attack was aimed at taking revenge for their deaths, he continued.

Khan said Mandgal Dara, a seven-kilometer pass, started from the border with Pakistan’s Chitral district and stretched to Kamdesh. The insurgents are in control of the district.

He said the Afghan army and police retaliated with artillery fire, forcing the attackers to retreat.

A spokesman for the 201st Selab Military Corps, Col. Mohammad Noman Hatifi, said he was unaware about the attack. However, he acknowledged the area was under threat from rebels.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, also said he had no information about the Kamdesh attack.

ma/mud

Photos from the Military Operation In Khorog

Tajikistan: Following the military operation in Khorog left many traces of the fighting (photo)

 

Ferghana

During the fierce exchange of fire in Khorog , the administrative center of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) in southeastern Tajikistan , were damaged or destroyed many buildings. News Service of the Central Asia Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) offers readers pictures of the damaged buildings, raked with bullets the walls and set on fire vehicles.


The wreckage of the building, destroyed in a battle between government troops and rebels. Photo IWPR

Recall a special operation in Badakhshan started on July 24 in connection with the murder of Chief of the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) in Badakhshan, Major-General Abdullah Nazarov. At his death, authorities suspect group deputy Ishkashim Tolib Ayembekova border detachment. According to official data , in Khorog killed 12 security forces, 30 militants and one civilian. According to unofficial killed at least two hundred people, half of them – civilians.


The rally in front of the local government in Khorog. Photo IWPR


The rally near Khorog State University. Photo IWPR


Residents returning to the streets of Khorog, after the ceasefire came into effect. Photo IWPR


Residential building, riddled with bullets. Photo IWPR


Burnt out car. Photo IWPR


Another building, a cafe, with traces of the fighting. Photo IWPR


Burned-out car. Photo IWPR


In this part of Tajikistan’s never been a riot, not to mention the scenes of violence. Photo IWPR

The international news agency “Fergana”

Possibly Rahmon’s Motivation for Launching America-Pleasing Khorog Operation

U.S. administration hails Tajikistan’s ability to conduct effective operations against terrorists

Silk Road Newsline

DUSHANBE, August 2, 2012, Asia-Plus — The Obama administration hailed Tajikistan’s ability to conduct effective operations against terrorists in its annual report to Congress on worldwide terrorism released in Washington on Tuesday, Silk Road Newsline.

“In 2011, Tajikistan corrected weaknesses in its counterterrorism strategy and demonstrated its ability to conduct effective counterterrorism operations,” according to the Country Reports on Terrorism 2011. “Tajikistan’s counterterrorism policies focused on marginalizing radical Islamist elements and on increasing the capacity of Tajikistan’s military and law enforcement community to conduct tactical operations through bilateral and multilateral assistance programs.”
The report also warns that “while Tajikistan made progress in improving border security with bilateral and multilateral assistance, the challenge of effectively policing the remote and rugged border with Afghanistan continued to exceed the capabilities of the government.”

“Tajikistan’s inadequate criminalization of money laundering and terrorist financing and its inability to effectively identify and investigate suspicious transactions was of concern,” says the report noting “the lack of an effective Financial Intelligence Unit” in Tajikistan.

While stemming violent extremism and radicalization was a top priority for the Tajik government, internal critics claimed that some of the government’s restrictive measures could drive the practice of religion underground and could ultimately contribute to the growth of violent extremism, the report says.

The 270-page study was prepared by the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and presented to reporters by the bureau head, Coordinator for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin.

“The total number of worldwide attacks in 2011 was more than 10,000 in 70 countries, resulting in more than 12,500 deaths. But that figure, large as it may be, is a drop of 12 percent from 2010,” he said.

“Terrorists could still cause to significant disruptions for states undergoing very challenging democratic transitions. The report’s narrative notes, among other things, the continued weakening of the al-Qaida core in Pakistan, but it also demonstrates that the al-Qaida affiliates, while also suffering losses, increased their overall operational ability,” Benjamin said. “As a result of international pressure and events such as the Arab Awakening, both al-Qaida the organization and al-Qaida the idea are evolving. Understanding the group’s strengths and weaknesses and the trajectory of its evolution are continuing critical challenges for us and will remain so in the years ahead.”

The Khorog “Crackdown” Was Totally An American Event

[The following news, that possibly half of those either killed or detained in the operation, proves that the Khorog “crackdown” was totally an American event.  The deadly military assault was purely a demonstration project, staged to convince the rulers of the other four “Stans” of the dangers posed by a post 2014 scenario in Afghanistan to the neighboring states.  The bloody operation was a quiet American appeal to turn away from the Russian/Chinese dominated SCO defense arrangement, toward a more pressing American Afghan agenda.  It was to put the fear of “narcoterrorism” into their souls, so that they might tremble at a resonant frequency to the Imperial controllers.  So that their thinking will be thereafter tuned to the grand production that America has put together, a few Afghans and Tajiks have been sacrificed on the satanic altars of the New World Empire.  

To those who protest that this is a Russian event, staged by the Kremlin to force America to reconsider the 2014 withdrawal, I must counter, that Moscow understands that America and NATO are not leaving in 2014, so why would they need to send a bloody, subtle message to Washington?  President Rahmon is dancing to Obama’s tune.  Does that mean that the Tajik overlord has become deaf to Putin’s piping?  

Can such a ploy really influence Afghanistan’s neighbors to take responsibility for cooling down the Afghan war, in order to facilitate an actual American redeployment from Afghanistan deep into Central Asia?  Washington’s grand “Silk Road” strategy depends on this hand-off of authority in Afghanistan and Central Asia, as well as in the key state, Pakistan.  Governments must buy into the bullshit that Hillary is peddling and become partners to the United States and NATO.  In exchange for the right to pipeline CA’s resources, America builds highways and national security (surveillance) systems to protect their Silky presence.  Agreeing to use their armies to help the American “Big Brother” in Afghanistan, makes America’s pipe dream possible, as long as everybody stays with the same script.  Obama was simply using the government of Tajikistan to heighten awareness of the dangers of a demilitarized Afghanistan, as an offhand way to exert American pressure on Afghanistan’s hesitant neighbors, to persuade them that the Taliban are a greater threat to them all than the three dangers (terrorismseparatism and extremism) outlined by NATO’s competitor in Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).]

Afghan regional security force commander detained in connection with the Khorog events

Avaz Yuldoshev

DUSHANBE, August 1 2012, Asia-plus  — Afghan regional security force commander Qari Wadud has been detained in Afghan Badakhshan in connection with the Khorog events.

Radio Liberty reports officers from the Afghan National Security Agency arrested and took to Kabul Qari Wadud, commander of the security forces in the Shuhada district in Afghan Badakhshan Province.  Qari Wadud is reportedly suspected of being involved in the events that took place in Khorog, the capital of Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) last week.

Provincial security chief for Afghan Badakhshan Samunwal Sakhidad confirmed this information in an interview with Radio Liberty and noted that Qari Wadud was the first person detained in Afghanistan in connection with the Khorog events.  According to him, detention of other persons involved in the recent events in Khorog will be continued.

Samunwal Sakhidad also confirmed that eight nationals of Afghanistan were killed and four others were detained during a special operation carried out by Tajik government forces in Khorog.

We will recall that President Emomali Rahmon reportedly had a telephone conversation with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on July 25.  The sides expressed concern about the situation in southeastern Tajikistan, in particular in the city of Khorog.  In the course of the talks, President Karzai said that the Afghan authorities were sending additional forces to Badakhshan Province and they would stay there until full normalization of the situation on the Tajik-Afghan border.

Tajik Govt. May Expel All Afghan Refugees

[SEE:  Pakistan Plans Eviction of 3 million Afghan Refugees]

Tajik authorities may force Afghan nationals to leave Tajikistan

DUSHANBE, August 2, 2012, Asia-Plus – Tajik authorities are considering the possibility of deportation of Afghan refugees living in Tajikistan, Afghanistan.ru reports, referring to a source close to the Afghan diplomatic mission in Dushanbe.

According to information provided on the basis of anonymity, the plans for forced expulsion of Afghan migrants from Tajikistan are connected with involvement of a number of Afghan nationals in the Khorog events, Afghanistan.ru said.

According to official data, eight Afghan militants have been killed and four others have been detained during the special operation in Khorog.

A number of Afghan media sources reported a number of Afghan border officers had been arrested in Afghan Badakhshan Province on suspicion of being involved in the Khorog events.

According to the Kunduz-based media outlet, Bostan, the list submitted by the Tajik authorities to the Afghan law enforcement agencies includes names of more than ten influential persons, Afghanistan.ru reports.

Who is Tolib Ayombekov?

Who is Tolib Ayombekov?

Post image for Who is Tolib Ayombekov?

by JOSHUA FOUST

Recent events in Tajikistan has put one person’s name on the lips of the media, knowledge of whom up until a week ago was limited to the borders of Badakhshan province.

This is a translation by @eTajikistan, who assembles and tweets news and analysis about Tajikistan. The original source is: Farhod Milod, “Толиб Айёмбеков кист?,” Radio Ozodi(RFE/RL), 27 July 2012.

Now, organs of the Government of Tajikistan describe him as a smuggler and
criminal, but for his followers he is a champion worthy of sacrificing one’s life for.

Tolib Ayombekov, aka «Commander-Tolib», General of border guard directorate of Tajikistan’s SCNS [State Committee for National Security, GKNB, aka ‘KGB’], up until the eve of 21 July [2012] was working under General Major Abdullo Nazarov, head of the SCNS directorate in Badakhshan. But after than evening, he was declared a suspect in the murder of his own boss and only for his insubordination was it that government forces entered Khorog.

Some describe these events as a way for the Government of Tajikistan to bring Badakhshan under its control, some call it an internal clamp-down on the smuggling market of various goods and some also refer to it as the beginnings of the next round of insecurity arising due to pressures on the Government of Tajikistan from regional discussions on military and water. Tolib Ayombekov is referred to as a key individual and excuse for implementing [“омили иҷрогари”] this big plan.

Khushnud Rahmatulloev, spokesperson for the SCNS border guard directorate of Tajikistan, says that formal information about Ayombekov is secret, but he was not an important figure from among such authorities: «He was merely the deputy to the head of the directorate in the Ishkoshim detachment. There they first have the head of the detachment and then the head of the directorate and then deputy to the head of directorate, i.e. he was a second in command person.»

Security officials have charged Tolib Ayombekov and members of his group in the murder of General Abdullo Nazarov, and in the statement which lists the reasons for entry of government forces into Khorog have said that the said person and his associates not only have not surrendered to the authorities, but also have disregarded the requests of the authorities engaged in investigating the murder. In this statement, Tolib Ayombekov and his illegal armed group are charged with the smuggling of drugs, tobacco, precious stones and also with [other] serious crimes including banditry. Furthermore, the government considers Tolib Ayombekov as the reason for the commencement of the Khorog operations which so far has resulted in tens of deaths and injured.

The 46-year-od Tolib Ayombekov, the key personality in the Khorog events, is the brother of Abdulamon Ayombekov, aka “Alyosh-Gorbun” or “Hunchback Alyosh”, who was killed in 1994.

According to Davlat Usmon, the [former] commander-in-charge of all of UTO
(United Tajik Opposition) in Qaroteguine and Badakhshan, Tolib was a member of his brother’s group and after his [brother’s] death, he took up the leadership of the same: «It was 1994. He came to fore after a series of mysterious deaths of

Badakhshan commanders. Those days, unidentified persons blew up the vehicle of his brother, Ambdulamon. Two other famous commanders, Majnun Pallaev and Hoji Abdurashid were eliminated, they were poisoned. That is, he took up a reputation [or position] due to his brother’s reputation».

After the end of the civil war, from the 30 percent quota of the opposition in the Government of Tajikistan [per the 1997 Peace Accord] Tolib Ayombekov became the battalion commander of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Khorog, but after a while he was taken off this responsibility. He was unemployed for a while, but after the 2008 demonstrations in Khorog, which they consider Tolib as among its organizers, he found a new government position in the border guard directorate.

In July of that year, when the government sought the disarmament of Tolib Ayombekov, Mamadboqir Mamadboqirov, Imonnazar Imonnazarov and Yodgorsho Mamadaslam’s groups, hundreds of people from among the women [of Khorog] took to the centre of town and demonstrated against the [government’s] pressure and the possibility of bloodshed.

The officials claim that Ayombekov took over the said position «by force», as they say, so that he could have access to legal and illegal trade and up until 21 July [2012] he was involved in the trade of drugs, tobacco and precious medals.

​But Alim Sherzamonov, head of the SDPT [Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan] in Badakhshan and a friend and supporter of Tolib Ayombekov, who is now in Moscow, says that [Ayombekov] was not involved in drug trafficking without the knowledge of high officials and powerful hands from Dushanbe: «I know well that he was engaged in the trade of precious stones. But in any trade that he participated in, the associate and owners of this trade were among the higher-ups in Dushanbe. Or tobacco is transported by the “Planeta” company trucks, which I do not know who owns it, but surely it is not that of the Badakhshan commanders».

Alim Sherzamonov says that he grew up with Tolib Ayombekov in two adjacent streets of Khorog. He says that during childhood there were fights among [the kids] of their streets, but Tolib would stop them. He evaluated Tolib as an educated person who differed from other commanders, thus the government saw him as their main enemy. He added that Tolib would not allow people from Dushanbe to be sent for government posts to Badakhshan, so that they could harm the people of the province or to extort bribes.

But another one of our interlocutors who was born in Khorog who introduces himself as Nekqadam, says that Tolib Ayombekov and other commanders were the «second but main government» in Badakhshan. He added that if someone had a disagreement with government officials or another, he would go not to the police [милиса], but directly to Tolib Ayombekov and the latter would solve his problem. Nekqadam said that even government representatives who come to Badakhshan from Dushanbe, they first «pay their respects» to the commanders, and only then do they meet with the provincial government.

He added that the decisions which were taken in the government, were to not hurt the interests of the commanders, indeed the real [de facto] head of the police was Ayombekov himself:

«Tolib Ayombekov is the same as Mirzo Jaga [Mirzo Ziyoyev] and commander Jomi and other commanders, he is of the same crop [полиз]. He does not have much of an education, they say he completed the teachers’ college. They gave him the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel titles from the 30 percent quota and he became a government person, but he was against the government. This man has no intelligence. He has persecuted many people and taken their goods/violated their rights [ҳаққи бисёриҳоро хӯрдааст]. He has built his life based on illegal activities, he has homes in a number of places in Khorog. In reality [only] his relatives back him, the people are fed up with his face. They know that he is involved in drug trafficking, his hands are not clean».

A government interlocutor of ours says that Ayombekov was so little respect for the head of the Anti-Drug Agency under the President of Tajikistan that the sale of opium in schools and streets was done openly.

Our interlocutor tells of the murder of Major-General Abdullo Nazarov as the height of Tolib Ayombekov’s crimes. But in his last interview with Radio Liberty [Radio Free Europe], Tolib Ayombekov described his relationship with his boss as very friendly:

«We met periodically. He [General Nazarov] participated in the wedding of my son and my nephew. We both [were good Muslims who] said our prayers. We would sit together and discuss things like older and younger brothers. I do not understand it, this is politics, a conspiracy or what? But as to how my relationship was with the General, his wife knows this very well.»

My other interlocutor as well refers to the very good relations between the two key individuals in the Khorog events. But our government interlocutor says that Tolib Ayombekov is directly linked to the murder of General Nazarov, because the two individuals whom he has not surrendered to the officials are his brother and his son.

Furthermore, some have also linked the transformation in the relationship between these two high officials to the overall changes in the politics of the region. Experts claim that Russia took over Badakhshan in the 19th century so as to own Central Asia later on, and today as well it wants to [таҳти назорат] control Badakhshan, so that in the future it would not lose the region. They say the reason behind the longevity of Tolib Ayombekov and [other] Badakhshan commanders was also that with knowledge or ignorance they [Russia] had and have this mission.

According to our information, Tolib Ayombekov had one day fled to Afghanistan and once again returned. As to what fate will bring him depends on what happens with the events in Khorog which are still going on …

Syrian rebel execution could be ‘war crime’

Syrian rebel execution could be ‘war crime’

J. DAVID GOODMAN

Human rights groups protest shocking video of Free Syrian Army rebels carrying out an execution in Aleppo.

Syrian insurgents’ execution of several members of a prominent Aleppo family with close ties to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, captured on video and circulated widely, appeared to constitute a war crime, according to human rights activists.

“As the opposition gains more territory, it is important to hold them to the same standard we would apply to all sides.”

While the details remained murky, the killings appeared to stem from the pitched battles that have raged for days in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria and its commercial hub. Rebels accused members of the Barri family, a large Sunni clan well known for suppressing opposition to Mr Assad, of killing 15 anti-government fighters after initially pledging to let them pass through an area the Barri family controlled.

Video posted by anti-government activists showed more than a dozen men, some with bloodied faces and torn clothing, who are said to be members or associates of the clan. Held in what appeared to be a room at a school, they were made to state their names and accused of being pro-government militiamen known as shabiha. The man sitting in the centre, described as a leader of the group, said his name was Ali Zein El Abidin Barri, also known as Zeino.

video, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, appeared to show several of the men, including an older man bleeding from his face and wearing only black underwear, being led by rebels with assault rifles onto an Aleppo street, where a crowd had formed. The men, prisoners of the rebel fighters, were forced to sit along the wall of a local school, decorated with a painted mural of Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants and other cartoon characters kicking a soccer ball.

“The Free Syrian Army forever,” the crowd chanted. “Stepping on Assad’s head.”

Then, seemingly without warning, someone among the armed rebels fired a single shot. That set off a hail of bullets that continued for nearly 45 seconds. Many in the crowd, including the videographer, backed away from the ad hoc firing squad. As a cloud of dust cleared, the lifeless bodies of the captured men could be seen. A reporter with al-Jazeera in Aleppo identified one of the dead as a local politician, Zeino al-Barri.

A third video clip showed masked gunmen inside a home said to have belonged to Mr Barri, smashing, stomping on and shooting at pictures of Mr Assad.

The execution clip has prompted a vigorous debate online, with some foes of the government objecting to the executions, with others welcoming it. Others justified the executions as the consequence of the government’s brutal response to the 17-month-old uprising.

“Intentionally killing anyone, even a shabiha [thug], once he is outside of combat is a war crime, regardless of how horrible the person may have been,” said Nadim Houry, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, in a telephone interview. “As the opposition gains more territory, it is important to hold them to the same standard that we would apply to all sides.”

Mr Houry was quick to point out that Human Rights Watch had, in an April report, documented scores of extrajudicial killings by the Syrian government during the conflict, as well as in previous reports of human rights abuses by the rebels. None of those acts of brutality justified executions without judicial process, he said.

But after making a similar point on Twitter about war crimes, Mr Houry found himself in a debate.

Shakeeb al-Jabri, a Syrian activist in Beirut, said expectations that rebels would adhere to international law were idealistic. Someone using the Twitter handle @rinno33 responded, “How is it a war crime if he had killed over 15 Syrians that day alone?”

Other activists criticised the expressions of approval posted on the video of the executions. “The video is disturbing but the supporting comments are really shocking,” Wissam Tarif of the human rights group Avaaz wrote on Facebook. “Few condemned and most commentators approved and congratulated. This is not what Syrians or at least most Syrians are fighting for.”

The circumstances leading to the capture and execution of the Barri clan members have not been made clear, but they appeared to follow a street battle on Tuesday.

Underscoring the decentralised nature of the rebels under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, a battalion in Homs posted a video this week proclaiming that it would adhere to international law in the treatment of detainees. “We are committed as best we can to applying the articles and subarticles of the Geneva Convention No.4 that details the treatment of prisoners of war,” read a man who was identified as a fighter with the Farouq Brigade in Homs.

“We are committed to treating them in a humane way, and we tell everyone that we are revolting against a barbarous regime that always tortured and treated detainees and arrestees in brutal ways that led to the death of many,” he said. “That is why we can never adopt the behaviour of that very entity we are revolting against.”