Afghan President Ghani Calls Pakistan’s “Peace Talks” Bluff, Threatens To Go To UN Security Council

Ali M. Latifi

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday pulled the plug on his failing effort to start peace talks with the Taliban and issued a direct challenge to Pakistan to battle the insurgents who he said originate from its territory.

In an address to parliament, Ghani said he would no longer pursue the negotiations that have been a centerpiece of his foreign policy since taking office more than 18 months ago. Instead, Ghani said, Afghan security forces would take on the Taliban and other armed opposition groups directly.

Ghani called on Pakistan to act as a “responsible government” and launch military operations against the Taliban and its allies who are widely believed to be based in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He said that if Pakistan didn’t do so, Afghanistan was willing to bring the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

“We do not expect Pakistan to deliver the Taliban for negotiations,” Ghani said, adding that Pakistan should instead keep promises it has made to carry out military operations against insurgents on its soil.

His remarks came nearly a week after a truck bombing killed 64 people and wounded more than 347 others in Kabul, one of the deadliest attacks in the Afghan capital in years. An initial investigation by Afghan intelligence attributed to the attack to the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied group based in Pakistan.

The diplomatic outreach Ghani made to Pakistan since taking office now appears to be over. Hoping to persuade Pakistan to bring Taliban leaders to the negotiating table to help end a conflict now in its 15th year, Ghani opened the door for Afghan military cadets to train in Pakistan, and announced an intelligence-sharing agreement between the two countries.

The moves sparked fervent criticism from opposition politicians and many Afghans who blame Pakistan for turning a blind eye to or directly supporting militant groups in Afghanistan.

Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive of Afghanistan’s unity government, had previously spoken out against Pakistan, particularly following a truck bombing in August that wounded nearly 400 people. But in the ensuing months, both leaders tempered their stance against Islamabad after Pakistan joined Afghanistan, China and the United States in a four-nation effort to start peace talks with the Taliban.

That effort has faltered as the main Taliban leadership has shown little inclination to negotiate while instead continuing offensives that have challenged the government’s control over parts of northern and southern Afghanistan.

“We did not spare any efforts to peacefully put an end to the violence in the country,” Ghani said Monday. “Meanwhile, we have made every effort to defend our people in the undeclared war against us.”

Ghani also referred to the Taliban as “terrorists,” a departure for the Afghan leader, who has previously spoken of the insurgents in more conciliatory tones.

Ghani said Afghan security forces were engaged in 15 military operations, across seven of the nation’s 34 provinces, meant to suppress the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other allied groups. He also told lawmakers that he would nominate a new defense minister and intelligence chief within days.

The current defense minister, Massoom Stanekzai, has been serving in an acting role for more than a year now. The former intelligence chief, Rahmatullah Nabil, resigned in December after he reportedly opposed Ghani’s approach to Pakistan.

Ghani said he would no longer offer “amnesty” to insurgents — an apparent reference to the policy of former President Hamid Karzai, who some experts said freed thousands of captured militants who claimed to have renounced violence. One attacker responsible for the Kabul truck bombing last week had reportedly been freed by Karzai’s administration.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

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Who Is The Real “Fascist,” Obama Or Trump?

Socialist or Fascist

townhall

Socialist or Fascist

It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism. What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector. Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time. Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague. Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.

The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations. One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left. Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s. Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left. It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot — and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat. The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, “We the People…” That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution’s limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges’ new interpretations, based on notions of “a living Constitution” that will take decisions out of the hands of “We the People,” and transfer those decisions to our betters. The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences. Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.

The War To Breed Terrorism

[The following is the Brit press allegedly explaining the Mullah Mansour/Dadullah Faction split for our edification.  First, we have the known truth, that the British press is the official propaganda pipe-organ for the global Establishment; Second, we have the disturbing fact, that ALL of the top leaders of the anti-Taliban faction (a.k.a., Fidai Mahaz or Dadullah Front) have been molded into the leaders that they are, by having spent long periods of time in custody of either US, Afghan, or Pakistani authorities, all of them dominated by the CIA. 

Haji Najibullah, was held after at least two arrests/captures…Mansour Dadullah was held for at least six years by Pakistan…Mullah Zakir/Rasoul spent his hard time in Guantanamo.  This holds to the familiar pattern followed by all of the credible terroristic resistance forces, engaged by Western forces, Afghan Taliban, Al-Qaeda In Iraq, Islamic State, Al-Qaeda In Arabian Peninsula, Al-Qaeda In Magreb…all organized and run by CIA-conditioned leaders. 

The slow release of Guantanamo prisoners, as well as the closures of US Army run POW camps in Iraq and Afghanistan (Camp Bucca being the most notable), has been very selective, always serving to increase the strength of individual terrorist outfits.  All of the targeted releases under the US “proactive counter-terrorism” program have served to improve the P.R. images of the outfits being fought in the so-called “War On Terrorism”, making them appear to be more “credible enemies,” while increasing their combat capabilities. 

A real misnomer if ever there was one, the War On Terrorism, should be understood for what it actually is…a War To Breed Terrorists.  Why Do We Fight?  We fight, so that we might stay there, on the battlefield…just another violent outpost of the Empire of blood.]

Why the Taliban murdered their own leader and the terrifying fallout now threatening the West

the voice times

mirror

Omar bunker built by Osama
Hide out: Bunker Osama bin Laden built for Omar

Desperately ill and growing weaker, one of the world’s most wanted terrorist masterminds summoned his men to his bedside.

Mullah Omar, once the all-powerful Taliban ruler of Afghanistan, was dying after years in exile, his kidney disease worsened by poisons slipped into his medicine.

Bearded men filed into the darkened room, their AK47s close to hand, and bowed to the 65-year-old fighter and scholar they called Amir ul-Momineen – Commander of the Faithful.

Omar’s inner circle, led by his deputy and would-be heir Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, listened intently as their leader whispered his final will.

  Afghan Taliban's deceased leader Mullah Omar
Getty  Assassinated: Mullah Omar, shot by his deputy after rejecting him

Mansoor discovered he was not to be made leader. His hand on a nine-millimetre pistol hidden in his garments, he suddenly interrupted him and asked why.

Then, with Omar refusing to give the answer he wanted and staring back defiantly with his one eye, Mansoor drew the gun and shot him – once in the face and twice in the stomach.

EPA/AFGHAN TALIBAN MILITANTS / HANDOUTMullah Muhammad Akhtar Mansoor
Killer: Mansoor took over Taliban’s leadership

The murderous coup was a treacherous end, even for a man whose fighters caused the deaths of 454 UK troops and thousands of civilians in Afghanistan’s 13-year-war.

And it is feared his execution, described in chilling detail by former senior Taliban commander Omar Khitab, may now spark a perfect and unprecedented storm of terrorism and bloody civil war.

A security source told the Daily Mirror: “This has deadly implications. Mansoor’s influence could plunge the region back into horrific chaos. And as Afghanistan stares into the abyss, so will the rest of the world.”

Mullah Omar's bunker
Lair: Mirror’s Chris Hughes in the entrance to bunker near Kandahar

There have been previous claims that Omar was poisoned in the Afghan city of Kandahar or that he died at a Karachi hospital in Pakistan. But Khitab said an investigation he conducted found that the mullah was murdered by Mansoor.

Khitab quit the Taliban in 2011 when he heard that its deputy chief, acting as caretaker leader because Omar was ill, was opening an office in Qatar.

He claimed that Mansoor struck secret deals allowing the CIA to leave more than 1,000 special forces troops in Afghanistan and promised Shia-run Iran he would wage war on Islamic State, whose brutal Sunni fanatics have now gained huge territories across Asia and North Africa.

And he said Omar, far from controlling the Taliban, was kept prisoner by Mansoor for about two years, too ill to object.

Hooded ISIS gunmen
Brutal: Islamic State fanatics on terror rampage in Middle East

Khitab, now head of an Islamic group called Fidai Mahaz, went on: “When Amir ul-Momineen was reciting his will, Mansoor told him, ‘You can’t name anyone else chief as I’m running the movement. Say I will be chief.’

Mullah Omar said he had already given so much. He recalled he sacrificed his Emirate of Afghanistan by protecting al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden after 9/11 in 2001 and refusing to hand him over to America, thereby starting the war.

“He also told Mansoor he could not give the Taliban leadership to someone who wanted to do such dishonourable deals.

“So Mansoor shot him in the face and stomach. Amir ul-Momineen was killed, first by poison then shot. He needed medicine for his illness and Mansoor told him Pakistani treatment available could not be trusted. So he offered to get medicine from Dubai – and put poison in it.

“That poison damaged Omar’s liver. As he was dying Mansoor and his cronies tried to force him to make the will. When he refused they martyred him.”

He claimed Omar died at the southern Afghanistan hide-out in the afternoon of about April 23, 2013 – three days after the poisoning started.

Khitab
Informer: Ex-Taliban boss [Haji Najibullah, a.k.a., Omar Khitab] hides his face

Khitab said he visited Omar’s grave at Zabul province in southern Afghanistan – but the burial site is being kept secret in case intruders abuse the body of the man who created the Taliban in 1994.

“But I have pictures of the grave and we may reveal the spot when the time is right,” he added.

Anarchy already blights Afghanistan less than a year after the last British and American troops pulled out.

The threat of more war there looms as Mansoor’s shadowy pledge to the CIA to fight IS means old Taliban alliances will split and explode in violence.

Former Taliban warlord Hafiz Saeed Khan is now in charge of IS operations in Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and part of Iran – and may harbour grudges against his former fellow fighters.

IS hates Shia Muslims, who form most of Iran’s population, and has committed atrocities on them across the Middle East and North Africa.

If Khitab’s claim is correct that Mansoor is doing deals with Iran to attack IS, it could mean Tehran will be arming his Taliban network for such a conflict.

And that has horrific implications for the world, as the weapons could be sold on or given to third parties.

British Marines run under fire from Taliban
Under fire: British troops clash with Taliban in Afghanistan

The security source said: “The passing-on of arms by a nation to influence internal war has often gone spectacularly wrong. In the 80s the UK and US gave weapons to the Mujahideen fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, then worried about those same weapons being used against them.

“Ground-to-air missiles were good for attacking Soviet helicopters but can also bring down passenger jets. When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan in the 1990s, there were fears residual weaponry may fall into the hands of guests al-Qaeda. It’s the same thing in Iraq and Syria, where rebels have been given weapons to oppose Assad and now IS has them.

“Afghanistan’s Taliban have not so far been interested in jihad abroad. But with IS getting a foothold there and deals made with jihadists to take them on, their new head Mansoor has proved less a stickler for rules than Mullah Omar.

“Either Afghanistan beats IS off, and that’s unlikely, or forms allegiances with it – and that is a big worry.

“Then you are talking about a war between Iran and Afghanistan’s jihadists, and the West will be forced to take part.”

Landlines going the way of the dinosaur?

Landlines going the way of the dinosaur?

portsmouth daily times

By Frank Lewis – flewis@civitasmedia.com

Let’s say you live in one of the many isolated areas of Scioto County in which cellular service is non-existent and that hasn’t bothered you in the past because you have landline service. But what would happen if you suddenly lost your landline service as well? You may find out.

Ohio has put in the most recent budget, House Bill 64, a law allowing telephone companies to stop offering traditional phone service. That means we are possibly headed in the direction of a day when that dinosaur known as landline service could be going away.

A spokeswoman for the office of State Senator Joe Uecker said it was split in two parts so there may also be parts of it in the Mid-Biennium Review.

“What was put in House Bill 64 wasn’t as extreme as the original legislation,” the spokeswoman told the Daily Times. “It still gives the individual the ability to legally go to the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) and say – if the local provider is removing access and there’s no other options, then they are not allowed to do it.”

One local official says there are two sides that need to be considered.

“I’m not 100 percent in favor especially in our county and south central/east region of Ohio,” Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis told the Daily Times. “The cons are as such…we have major internet/cell phone blackout areas in the northwest part and remote areas of our county. We still have people on land lines in our area. Our senior citizens, low income (and even a few no to low tech middle aged adults) may not have cell phones or computers.”

Davis said it is also because several areas that do not have cell service access to emergency medical services or police/sheriff protection may be hampered, especially in the area’s older citizenry whom he says needs it the most.

“If the electric goes out, computers go out after a few hours and only if they are on battery backup,” Davis said. “Land lines usually carry enough current in the copper lines to keep a connection going. I’m not certain comparable voice over options with comparable cost exist in our remote rural areas.”

Davis said just as there are cons, there are also pros.

“The pro’s for the phone companies are that they can invest in new technologies bettering service instead of re-investing in old technology,” Davis said. “I get it but I’m concerned about public safety mostly.”

Davis said if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) want to do take that action the federal government and state of Ohio needs to fully fund and finish what Connect Ohio started and get the remote areas such as Otway, Rarden and others adequate reliable broadband access before doing it.

“Even then I am concerned about power outages in remote areas that could cost lives,” Davis said.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.