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American Resistance To Empire

Afghanistan About To Take Delivery of Mi-17 “Hip” Helicopters

ANI  |  Kabul

 

Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Alexander Mantytskiy, has said the negotiations for the delivery of Mi-17 helicopters to are underway.

Briefing the reporters in Kabul on the bilateral ties between both nations, Mantytskiy said Moscow has agreed to deliver helicopters to the Army following the recent meeting between President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, reports Khaama Press.

He also maintained that the recent delivery of Mi-25 gunships to the Afghan Army by concluded with the agreement of Russia, insisting that the equipment could only be transferred once the country of origin agrees with it.

Mantytskiy asserted that gunship helicopters were being used to counter the insurgency led by the group and ISIS loyalists in the country.

Asserting that 10,000 Ak-47 rifles were already delivered in the country to support the Afghan national security forces, besides 49 army cadets sent to Moscow for trainings in February, the Russian Ambassador hoped the agreement between Moscow and Kabul is concluded to further help strengthen the Afghan armed forces.

He revealed that at least 75 army cadets were last year sent to for military trainings.

 

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Pakistan’s Multi-Front Wars and the Return of the Military Dictatorship

Pakistan’s multi-front wars

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G Parthasarathy

India shouldn’t have exaggerated expectations of any real breakthrough

Pakistan’s multi-front wars
The Pakistan army regards itself as being above the law, disregarding even court notices.

PAKISTAN is one of the few countries today, which puts its defence minister in a virtual “purdah”. All those who deal with Pakistan, have heard of, or seen the ubiquitous Gen Raheel Sharif. Does anybody, however, know the name of the person who holds the high office of the defence minister in Pakistan? The peripatetic General Sharif is in Washington on one day, in Kabul on the next. He is also frequently travelling with Nawaz Sharif to countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. When VIPS, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, or US Vice- President Joe Biden visit Pakistan, they visit the GHQ, to pay respects to the army chief. But defence minister Khwaja Asif, a Muslim League stalwart, is rarely seen or heard.  Pakistan’s defence ministry hardly has the gumption or authority to turn down anything that the army chief based in the GHQ in Rawalpindi says or does. General Sharif has never been seen accompanying, meeting or talking to the hapless Khwaja Asif. He is only seen sitting opposite, or besides the Prime Minister, behaving like a co-equal of the Prime Minister. Even federal ministers and the Prime Minister’s brother and Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, have to seek permission to meet the regal General Sharif in his hallowed GHQ. The army regards itself as being above the law, disregarding notices from the Supreme Court on its operations in Baluchistan and undermining the court’s efforts to bring Musharraf to book for violating Pakistan’s constitution. Given this exalted role of the GHQ, one was surprised to recently read a widely publicised statement made to a parliamentary committee by Pakistan’s defence secretary. Incidentally, given their contempt for “bloody civilians”, the Pakistan army routinely insists that the defence secretary should be a retired army officer.   Defence secretary Lt Gen Alam Khattak told the parliamentary committee on April 6 that India’s “infamous” R&AW had set up a “special cell” to sabotage the much-hyped “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”, which the Pakistan army believes is the “magic wand” to solve all the country’s economic ills. General Khattak’s statement came the day after General Sharif said the same thing while blaming India for “destabilising” Pakistan. General Khattak added the usual “masala” to his statement by alleging that Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan were working with that country’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan counterpart of the ISI, by carrying out “subversive activities” in Baluchistan and the Pashtun tribal areas of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan. Such allegations against India are not new. The recent addition has been the references to that “notorious” Indian “spy” Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was first said to have been arrested along the border with Afghanistan and was later claimed to have been arrested in Baluchistan. But here again, Pakistan finds itself in a bind. By denying India customary “consular access” to an arrested Indian national, statements made by Jadhav while under Pakistani custody will be seen to have been made under coercion. If Pakistan releases him, which seems unlikely for the present, Jadhav will sing a different tune and severely embarrass his captors with the many truths he will reveal.  The Jadhav episode has also cast a shadow on Pakistan’s efforts to mend its strained relations with Iran. The bumptious General Sharif chose not to be present when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. With his customary swagger stick in his hand, he separately met President Rouhani the next day. The obedient army spokesman dutifully tweeted that his exalted boss had given “evidence” to the Iranian President about the evil Indians using Iranian soil to destabilise the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. An obviously irritated President Rouhani bristled with anger, when he was asked about this, noting that India, like Pakistan, was a friendly country. The Iranian embassy reiterated this a few days later. All this is occurring at a time when Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan are going through a critical phase. With great difficulty and with significant help of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the infamous Taliban linked Haqqani Network, the ISI has united a number of top Taliban leaders, including members of Mullah Omar’s family, with its handpicked protégé, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. The ISI calculation had been that with the Obama Administration beating a hasty retreat from Afghanistan, its Taliban protégés would take over, with China facilitating this process of transition. China obviously expects that a Pakistan-sponsored regime in Kabul would help it in eliminating the insurgency by its Muslim population in its neighbouring Xinjiang province. With the Taliban determined to seize control of more and more territory, one can expect heavy casualties in the ensuing months in Afghanistan. More so, as the China-US-Pakistan brokered peace talks, which are said to be “Afghan led” and “Afghan owned”, are going to be headed nowhere. Pakistan cannot remain unaffected by the conflict across the Durand Line. General Sharif’s operation Zarb-e-Azb in Pashtun tribal areas has resulted in nearly one million Pashtun tribesmen being uprooted from their homes, with bleak prospects of early return and rehabilitation. The Tehriq-e-Taliban, now operating from Afghan soil, has hit back, with attacks on institutions in Pakistan, linked to the Pakistani military. For the first time, the army is fighting its citizens in all four provinces of Pakistan. With Pashtuns comprising around one-fourth of the army, its generals will have to start looking at the reliability of its Pashtun soldiers. General Sharif has obviously learnt nothing from history. The only time Punjabi soldiers have prevailed over Pashtuns was under the command of a Sikh General, Hari Singh Nalwa, during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Sadly for Pakistan, General Sharif does not have the attributes of military leadership of 

Hari Singh Nalwa.

It is clear that the present dispensation in Pakistan has neither the imagination, nor foresight, to escape the inevitable consequences of its blunders in Afghanistan. Moreover, after the revelations of Nawaz Sharif’s family’s offshore accounts in Panama, Pakistan’s Prime Minister himself faces an uncertain future and tempestuous times ahead. While continuing a process of engagement with Pakistan, we should not have exaggerated expectations of any significant “breakthrough”. General Sharif should be left to stew in his own juice, along Pakistan’s western frontiers.

Congressional Warmongers Push To Give Pentagon Leverage Over White House

Defense bill amendment targets Obama micromanagement, gives Pentagon leverage

washington times

News of the amendment comes in the wake of sharp criticism from President Obama’s former defense secretaries — Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel — that their access to and influence over the president were often stymied.

A key congressional Republican hopes to use a major defense bill to give the Pentagon more leverage in policy fights with President Obama’s White House aides, following complaints from past defense chiefs that the West Wing has tried to micromanage national security and military policy and ice the Defense Department and other agencies out of major decisions.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry plans to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill to cap the size of the National Security Council, now headed by close Obama aide Susan E. Rice. The bill also could subject the council’s head to congressional confirmation in the future, The Washington Times has learned.

News of the amendment comes in the wake of sharp criticism from Mr. Obama’s former defense secretaries — Robert M. Gates, Leon E. Panetta and Chuck Hagel — that their access to and influence over the president were often stymied by an inner circle of less-experienced White House officials.

The move would have little effect on the remainder of Mr. Obama’s term but would be a clear sign of congressional unhappiness with the way the president has run his defense policy team and serve as a warning to future chief executives.

Four months ago, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, said dissatisfaction of the White House among those serving in uniform was at its highest level since Vietnam.

His assertion found support from Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

A key congressional aide said Mr. Thornberry’s amendment would require that Ms. Rice’s successors be confirmed by the Senate if the president allows the National Security Council staff to balloon past a cap set by Congress.

The aide said Mr. Thornberry is still weighing what exact cap to propose but that it should be below 400, the estimated size of Mr. Obama’s National Security Council staff.

Another aide said Mr. Thornberry does not intend to introduce the proposal until the $610 billion defense spending bill makes to the House floor in coming weeks because other committees with jurisdiction would have to scrutinize the measure. The move on the National Security Council was first reported in The Washington Post over the weekend.

While there is some legal murkiness of whether the Armed Services Committee can demand structural changes to the council, the aide argued that Congress created it nearly 70 years ago during the Harry S. Truman administration.

“Of course, even the committee chairman cannot do something that is the jurisdiction of other committees, but any House member can offer any amendment, regardless of the issue, once the [national defense spending authorization] is on the floor,” the aide said.

The measure would be just a small part of a massive spending and policy blueprint for the Pentagon made public Monday. The draft bill would add billions of dollars to pay for more ships, jet fighters, helicopters and more, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Thornberry’s blueprint shifts $18 billion from the account that finances ongoing war operations to prohibit further troop cuts and buy weapons the Pentagon didn’t include in its $583 billion request. To make up for the large shortfall in war spending, the next president will have to submit a supplemental budget to Congress early next year.

The blueprint rejects the Pentagon’s proposal to cut one of the Navy’s 10 carrier air wings. It also includes 11 additional F-35 stealth fighter jets, which cost roughly $100 million each, more Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, and troop-carrying V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, according to the AP.

Pentagon Taking Secret Aggressive Mini-Wars To The Entire World

CIA document reveals zero justification for Iraq war

US military challenged territorial claims of India, China: Pentagon

Document: Pentagon 2015 Freedom of Navigation Report

Tomgram: Nick Turse, A Shadow War in 150 Countries

“SEAL Team 6 has received extensive coverage, what could be considered the military story of the twenty-first century, the massive, ongoing expansion of a secret force (functionally the president’s private army) cocooned inside the U.S. military — now at almost 70,000 personnel and growing — has gotten next to none. Keep in mind that such a force is already larger than the active-duty militaries of Australia, Chile, Cuba, Hungary, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and South Africa, among a bevy of other countries.”–A Secret War in 135 Countries

Pentagon denies mission creep in Syria deployment

the hill

Getty Images

The Pentagon pushed back Monday afternoon against criticism that deploying 250 troops to Syria constitutes mission creep in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying the deployment is needed to meet current requirements.

“These are specific capabilities … specific needs right now as we talk to our partners,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters. “And including our assessment, talking to local leaders on the ground in Syria, these are decisions that we think makes sense to accelerate this campaign and to further enable those local forces.”

“This is not a question of putting in thousands of American forces to wage this fight,” he later added. “We are looking to others to carry this fight out but to do what we can to support them.”President Obama announced Monday he had authorized sending another 250 troops to Syria. Previously, just 50 special operations troops were in the country.

Monday’s news, coupled with the Pentagon’s announcement last week that about 200 more troops will be sent to Iraq, has led to lawmakers from both parties slamming the administration’s incremental increase in the number of troops being sent to the region. Republicans say more are needed, and Democrats argue the gradual increases risk drawing the United States deeper into the conflicts.

Troops in Syria will not be on the front lines, Cook said, echoing the president.

Rather, their role will be to connect with, train and assist local forces, and provide intelligence from the ground, Cook said.

The Pentagon expects the troops to act similarly to the original 50 special operations forces sent in, he added.

“Force multipliers is the best way to look at this,” he said. “A small number of Americans with these kinds of capabilities can bring an enormous weight to bear in this fight and in support of these forces. And those forces who have come into contact and worked with U.S. forces, I think would attest to that.”

In additional to special operations forces, the 250 troops will include medical and logistical personnel, Cook said.

The administration settled on 250 on the recommendation of military commanders, Cook said.

Cook did not rule out the possibility of sending more troops to Iraq or Syria down the line.

“We’re going to continue to look at every single opportunity we have, work with our local partners, to see how we can accelerate this campaign,” he said. “As you have seen from these specific — very specific — deployments and decisions, that what we’re looking at here is specific capabilities.”

Russian State Organ TASS Reports IS Preparing Force of 10,000 In Afghanistan For Central Asian Invasion

IS Afghan wing preparing attacks on Central Asia and Russia — diplomat

tass russian news

There are more than 10,000 militants of Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) in Afghanistan now

Islamic State militants in Kunar province, Afghanistan

Islamic State militants in Kunar province, Afghanistan  © EPA/GHULAMULLAH HABIBI

MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. The number of militants of the Islamic State terrorist group in Afghanistan has increased many times over recent years, which poses a serious threat to Central Asia and Russia, Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told a news conference on Tuesday.

According to the diplomat, one of the new factors is the appearance of IS in Afghanistan, while the Taliban have rejected the idea of global jihad and position themselves as a national military-political movement.

“There are more than 10,000 militants of Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) in Afghanistan now. Just a year ago there were 100 IS militants there as a maximum. Such growth rates are impressive. The IS Afghan wing is specifically tailored to Central Asia – even Russian is among the working languages in their training camps. They are definitely prepared not for the Afghan war, but for the war against Central Asia, against Russia’s interests,” Kabulov said.

Russia to stop regarding Taliban as terrorists if they meet national reconciliation conditions

According to the official, Russia will not have grounds to continue regarding the Taliban as a terrorist organization if they are ready to meet the national reconciliation conditions.

“When the Taliban were included in the so-called Russian sanctions list after being blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council, we started regarding them to be a terrorist organization and we had every ground to do that,” Kabulov said.

“We have been studying and watching the Taliban actions carefully after the movement has introduced changes to the principles and guidelines mentioned it its program. If the Taliban are ready to meet the three national reconciliation conditions – the recognition of Afghanistan’s constitution; cessation of military hostilities and the abruption of ties with extremist organizations, then we will no longer have grounds to consider them to be a terrorist organization. They will turn into one of the political forces in Afghanistan that will have the right to exist and be recognized,” the Russian diplomat said.

“But it’s not up to us to decide. It should be confirmed by the Afghan government and recognized by the U.N. Security Council,” Kabulov stressed.

Full-blown crisis observed in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is experiencing a full-blown crisis that threatens its statehood, Kabulov went on to say.

“The situation is also aggravated by the fact that the load of unresolved problems kept growing over several years,” the envoy said.

The situation that has developed in that country gives us the grounds “to speak about a full-blown crisis that threatens Afghan statehood. The national unity government was a compromise between two conflicting camps,” the Russian presidential envoy said.

“We see the growing influence of Taliban and other extremist forces,” the Russian diplomat said.

“This combat season promises to be especially hot this year. Taliban fighters are using a new strategy and they have kept forces inside Afghanistan. They are setting the task of strengthening control over the country’s’ large regions,” the diplomat said.

US refuses to cooperate with Russia on Afghanistan

According to the official, the United States and NATO do not cooperate with the Russian side on Afghanistan but Moscow is not going to persuade anybody into interaction.

“They have announced – both NATO and the Americans – that we do not have cooperation. Yes, we can talk but we do not cooperate,” Kabulov said.

“We are professionals, and so we talk to them via diplomatic and military channels. They are talking and even cooperating with us in Syria when they need that badly,” he added.

“We have been unsuccessful in doing that in Afghanistan so far. But we are not going to persuade anybody,” the diplomat said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is surprised by the fact that the United States bombs the Taliban that have refused to cooperate with the Islamic State terrorist group and leave alone the field commanders that keep in contact with IS.

“In some majestic way those field commanders that refused to cooperate with IS in Afghanistan – it’s their detachments that come under the American aviation strikes,” Kabulov said. “And those who cooperate (with IS) are left alone,” Kabulov said.

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