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Thread: US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure

  1. #271
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Don't hear to much about the TTP after their Peshawar school attack but they're around

    Why the Pakistan army can't subdue the TTP | Rediff | Jan 06 2015


    One of the key reasons for the TTP's survival has been Pakistan's policy of using terrorist groups as instruments of State policy. In this context, the Pakistan army's protection of the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban as 'strategic assets' has helped the TTP to retain its sanctuary and its attack capabilities. The areas dominated by the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban have provided TTP with 'strategic depth.'

    Whenever the Pakistan military stepped up its offensive in the tribal areas, the TTP found it convenient to move into the Taliban-controlled areas. There is substantial evidence that the Haqqani Network has also helped the TTP to survive the military onslaught which, in any case, has been selective and hence ineffective. For instance, before launching the current operation, the Haqqanis were alerted and moved to safer locations.

    It is fairly apparent that the TTP benefits in many other ways from its association with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This becomes apparent from Pakistan's noticeable failure to persuade the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban to keep the TTP in check or help the army to destroy the group.

    Both the Haqqanis and the Afghan Taliban, like the TTP, are Pashtun groups.
    And nobody seems to want to do much about the drug trade.

    US drones have been more effective at taking out TTP leadership than the Pak Army
    Last edited by Double Edge; 22 Feb 18, at 00:06.

  2. #272
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Khawaja Asif's tweet suggests they've merely won a three month reprieve. Which means June before we see any action. Nothing has fallen through yet.

    US bid to put Pakistan on terror financing watch-list falls through | Tribune | Feb 21 2018


    Foreign office sources attributed the success to Pakistan’s frantic diplomatic efforts over the last few weeks. Although no details were available, sources suggested that China, Turkey, and Russia, all of whom are part of FATF, opposed the motion which was jointly-moved by the US and the UK against Pakistan.

    After failing to arrive at a consensus, the FATF dropped its plan to table the motion for voting in its plenary session starting on Wednesday (today).
    It is believed that Pakistan’s recent move to ban Jamaat-ud-Dawa and related charities run by Hafiz Saeed played a crucial role in helping Islamabad’s case.

    Last Friday, President Mamnoon Hussain promulgated the ordinance that allowed the government to outlaw all organisations that are declared to be terrorists under UN Security Council resolutions.
    Or China moving behind the scenes ? they have an interest here


    Pakistan remained on the global terror financing watch list from 2012 to 2015. Had the US move succeeded this time, Pakistan’s economic woes would have multiplied. Not only the cost of doing business would have increased, but the foreign investment could have dried up as well, worsening the country’s macroeconomic position which is already under pressure due to a widening trade deficit and falling foreign exchange reserves.
    Whether this close call makes a difference or not. Not because they will say they have done enough as usual

    At present, the 11 jurisdictions are on the high risk and monitoring list of the FATF, which include North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka.
    Bolded bit is curious. Sri Lanka is still on this list. No wonder they had to agree to stiff Chinese terms
    Last edited by Double Edge; 22 Feb 18, at 10:06.

  3. #273
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    Last edited by Oracle; 22 Feb 18, at 12:24.

  4. #274
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Looks like they're getting back on that list

    Global watchdog to put Pakistan back on terrorist financing watchlist: sources | Reuters | Feb 23 2018

    FEBRUARY 23, 2018 / 2:44 PM

    Kay Johnson, Drazen Jorgic

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A global money-laundering watchdog has decided to place Pakistan back on its terrorist financing watchlist, a government official and a diplomat said on Friday, in a likely blow to Pakistan’s economy and its strained relations with the United States.

    The move is part of a broader U.S. strategy to pressure Pakistan to cut alleged links to Islamist militants unleashing chaos in neighboring Afghanistan and backing attacks in India.

    It comes days after reports that Pakistan had been given a three-month reprieve before being placed on the list, which could hamper banking and hurt foreign investment.

    The United States has spent the past week lobbying member countries of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan on a so-called grey list of nations that are not doing enough to combat terrorism financing.

    Pakistan had launched last-minute efforts to avoid being placed on the list, such as taking over charities linked to a powerful Islamist figure.

    But the campaign proved insufficient and the group decided late on Thursday that Pakistan would be put back on the watchlist, a senior Pakistani official and a diplomat with knowledge of the latest FATF discussions told Reuters.

    “The decision was taken yesterday. The chair (of FATF) is expected to make a statement some time this afternoon in Paris,” the diplomat said.

    Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman declined to confirm or deny the news at a regular news briefing on Friday, saying the FATF would make an announcement on its website.

    “Let the things come out, and then we can comment on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” spokesman Mohammad Faisal said.

    Pakistan was on the list for three years until 2015.

    PAINFUL CONSEQUENCES?
    Earlier in the week China, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were opposing the U.S.-led move against Pakistan but by late on Thursday, both China and the GCC dropped their opposition, the diplomatic source said.

    He added that the financial consequences would not kick in until June, which, in theory, could allow Pakistan time to fix financing issues.

    “But the odds of that, particularly in an election year, seem slim,” he added.

    Pakistani officials and analysts fear being on the FATF list could endanger Pakistan’s handful of remaining banking links to the outside world, causing real financial pain to the economy just as a general election looms.

    Under FATF rules one country’s opposition is not enough to prevent a motion from being successful. Britain, France and Germany backed the U.S. move.

    Pakistan has sought to head off its inclusion on the list by amending its anti-terrorism laws and by taking over organizations controlled by Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistan-based Islamist accused by the United States and India of being behind 2008 militant attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in which 166 people were killed.

    On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that Pakistan had received a three-month reprieve, adding that it was “grateful to friends who helped”.

    U.S. President Donald Trump last month ordered big cuts in security aid to Pakistan over what the United States sees as its failure to crack down on militants.

    Pakistan rejects accusations that it sponsors Taliban militants fighting U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan and says it is doing all it can to combat militancy.

    Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel

  5. #275
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    There is still some nuance here. btw, the 2012-2015 was only for money laundering. This time its for terror financing.

    Financial Action Task Force to put Pakistan on grey list for terror financing | Hindu | Feb 23 2018

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday decided to put Pakistan on the 'greylist', submitting it to intense scrutiny on terror financing under a "Compliance Document".

    According to sources, while the listing had been agreed to during the Plenary session of the FATF on Friday, Pakistan would undergo a review at the next Plenary in June, when it would be presented a full action plan on how it is expected to crack down on terror groups banned by the UN Security Council that operate on its soil, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

    Earlier this week, Pakistan claimed victory in the ongoing FATF meeting, as a preliminary discussion in the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) failed to build a consensus on putting it again on the watch list.

    However, U.S. and Indian officials had called the claim “premature” and said a final decision was still to come.

    Pakistan was on the FATF watch list from 2012 to 2015, then only on issues of money laundering.
    Indrani is more clear. They will be put on the list only in June at the next plenary so have three months to do any necessary financial planning before they get hit

    Pakistan back on terror financing watchlist as China stays silent | TOI | Feb 24 2018

    Pakistan will get on to the list from June 2018. They have time until then to make changes in their actions against terror groups. That is why, sources said Pakistan is not mentioned in the final statement by FATF today but will be put on the list at the next plenary which is in June.

    The final decision was a big victory for the US, UK, France and Germany who had co-sponsored the move back in January, complaining that Pakistan’s money laundering and terror finance infrastructure remained on paper, while big terror groups like JuD, LeT and Taliban continued to flourish inside Pakistan. The US under Trump has taken a tougher line against Pakistan, which apparently found resonance at the FATF meetings, particularly because there was no Indian presence here.

    However, the US reintroduced the motion after the Pakistan minister breached confidentiality with that tweet. Hectic negotiations were on in Washington for the past couple of days, as China was persuaded to stand down, as were GCC and Turkey. Turkey in fact, remained the last country blocking it. The US persuaded GCC to lift their opposition. Russia was also tilting towards Pakistan but were persuaded by India. As for China, it was a tough call, given its ties with Pakistan. But China is lobbying for a top position in the FATF and will need support from the sponsor countries. India and US pledged support to China in return for China's neutrality on Pakistan.

    China’s action is significant, not only because it has invested over $60 billion in CPEC and to build Gwadar port — but China too has been plagued by Pakistan’s terrorists, losing workers to terror violence. Last week, reports said China had begun direct talks with Baloch nationalists who have every reason to sabotage the CPEC. The FATF listing may not affect China’s investment inside Pakistan which is a sovereign strategic decision by Beijing and not directed by international trends. But it does send a strong message to Pakistan that it needs to roll up its terror infrastructure if China is to stay invested. In addition, a decision like this by China also indicates a "deal" being struck with one or more of the sponsor countries.

    Financial agencies said Pakistan may be staring at a risk downgrade by IMF, World Bank, and other multilateral lenders, in addition to making it difficult to source funding from international markets. However, it must be remembered that during its previsou listing period, Pakistan received an IMF bailout, largely because it was supported by the US.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 23 Feb 18, at 23:35.

  6. #276
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  7. #277
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  8. #278
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Pakistan and FATF

    2012 to Oct 2014 - black list

    Feb 2015 to June 2015 - grey list

    June 2015 onwards - only review

    Feb 2018 - grey list again

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    THE GREAT FATF FUMBLE

    ALL through the day on Friday, as one news outlet after another from outside the country broke the news that things had not gone well for Pakistan at the plenary meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) being held in Paris, the government here maintained an awkward silence.

    On Tuesday the motion advanced by the United States to ‘grey list’ Pakistan had been discussed, and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted triumphantly that it was blocked due to opposition from “friends”.

    Later we heard that three countries in particular — Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey — were among those “friends” who had opposed the motion.

    Then suddenly on Friday morning, we heard things had changed on Thursday night. The motion had been put up for discussion one more time, in an unusual move, and this time our “friends” — specifically China and Saudi Arabia — withdrew their objections, allowing it to pass. All this we heard from international media while the government remained silent.

    The signs that something had gone wrong were evident in the manifest absence of triumphant rhetoric from the returning members of the delegation, who slunk back into the country on Friday and disappeared behind a veil of silence.

    When the FATF official statement was released later that evening, and Pakistan’s name was not on it, speculation intensified that perhaps all the news from the international media was wrong. But it turned out to be otherwise.

    The news was correct, and confirmation finally arrived in the form of an interview given by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail on a TV channel more than two hours after the FATF statement was uploaded on their website.

    If the news that things had gone wrong in Paris could be shared on a TV channel, why could a press release not be issued to clear up the confusion? Why wait till the end of the day, by when the matter has turned into an international story with the only people not in the know being the people of Pakistan?

    This was the great FATF fumble. The first fumble was the foreign minister’s premature triumphalism, announcing to the world that the motion to grey list Pakistan had been blocked with a little help from our friends.

    The same international media that broke the story of the great reversal on the motion also claimed that it was precisely this tweet which triggered the second round of discussions because it violated the commitment to keep the details of the proceedings at the plenary confidential until they are released formally by the organisation itself.

    The second fumble was the bad handling of messaging upon return, which made the country look foolish and clueless, even as stories of the great disappointment in Paris swirled all around us.

    But the biggest fumble of them all is the reason why Pakistan has been in trouble at all international forums to start off with: for trying to use terrorist groups as instruments of foreign policy, while denying their presence or their involvement in terrorist acts even as the United Nations designates them as terrorist entities.

    This foreign policy, which relies on vain attempts to pull little fast ones, and some crude rhetorical gimmickry worthy of a TV talk show to sustain itself, is now pushing the country towards growing isolation.

    A number of questions need to be asked now. How did the sponsors of the motion get China and Saudi Arabia to change their minds? Clearly both of these countries seem confident that they can manage whatever animus their change of heart will earn for them in Islamabad.

    Whatever was on the plate before them mattered more to them than what they are getting from Pakistan.

    But this question is largely academic in nature. If pursuing it helps divest our policymakers of the immature assumption that there is such a thing as “brotherly relations” in international affairs, then it will serve a useful purpose.

    The only meaningful question to ask now is: how far is this tightening of the screws going to impact? And at what time will the message sink in that using militant groups as a tool of foreign policy is turning into a quagmire, sucking the country into a quicksand of extremism, violence, stagnation, isolation and confusion, while yielding no tangible or measurable benefits?
    Similar concerns, Alone at FATF

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  11. #281
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    The Devastating Paradox of Pakistan
    How Afghanistan’s neighbor cultivated American dependency while subverting American policy

  12. #282
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Something weird is going on. Ghani only a month later after those attacks has decided to talk to the Taliban and now he considers them a legitimate party

    This literally amounts to a capitulation by the afghan govt to the Taliban


    Afghan President Offers Opening to Talks With Taliban | WSJ | Feb 28 2018

    Ghani says he would treat insurgents as political party if they cease fire and recognize Kabul’s authority

    By Craig Nelson and Habib Khan Totakhil
    Feb. 28, 2018 3:24 p.m. ET

    KABUL—Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered Wednesday to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party if it agrees to a cease-fire and enters negotiations to end more than 16 years of war.

    As part of that proposed peace process, Mr. Ghani said Afghanistan’s largest insurgent group should acknowledge the legitimacy of the central government in Kabul and the country’s constitution, particularly the rights it enshrines for women.

    “Now the decision is in your hands—accept peace... and let’s bring stability to this country,” the Afghan president said at a meeting of regional officials and representatives of nongovernmental organizations in Kabul.

    The Taliban had no immediate response to the Mr. Ghani’s proposal, which omitted any mention of American and other foreign forces in Afghanistan or when they might withdraw—a principal Taliban demand.

    On Monday, however, the group said it was willing to enter talks to find a “peaceful solution” to the war, in response to comments by a senior State Department official that the U.S. supported dialogue with the Taliban.

    “It would help in finding a solution if America accepts the legitimate demands of the Afghan people and forwards its own concerns and requests for discussion to the Islamic Emirate through a peaceful channel,” it said in a statement.

    The Taliban have repeatedly said they would talk only with the U.S., which it regards as its principal adversary and main prosecutor of the war. The High Peace Council, the Afghan government agency designated to handle negotiations, has little or no power, and analysts say the Taliban hasn’t taken seriously.

    Since President Donald Trump announced a rejuvenated U.S. policy in Afghanistan in August, the U.S. has dramatically increased military pressure on the Taliban, especially through airstrikes. What U.S. military officials described earlier last year as a stalemate has turned in the government’s favor, they say. The aim of the increased pressure, U.S. and Afghan officials say, is to force the insurgent group into negotiations.

    Yet the Taliban have more funds and sophisticated weapons that at any time since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. According to the Long War Journal, a reporting and analysis outlet run by the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, a Washington-based think-tank, 162 of the country’s 398 districts are either contested or controlled by the group.

    At the same time, the Taliban face internal divisions over strategy and an external rival for pre-eminence among radical Islamists in the form of the local affiliate of Islamic State.

    Little of what Mr. Ghani said on Wednesday was new. But in raising the prospect of peace talks with the Taliban, a group he vilified as terrorists after a spate of ferocious attacks in Kabul this year, his invitation represented a shift in tone as he considers running for another five-year term in presidential elections scheduled for next year.

    Afghan officials say back-channel contacts with the Taliban have continued through even the bloodiest episodes of war. But until now Mr. Ghani has offered little detail on his conditions for broader talks, prompting criticism among many war-weary Afghans that Mr. Ghani is pursuing a solely military solution, a prospect few here view as realistic.

    In his speech Wednesday, Mr. Ghani posed the possibility that if the Taliban agreed to a cease-fire and engaged in efforts to reach a negotiated solution of the war, it could be removed from international blacklists and have its own office in Kabul. The government would also consider issuing passports to members of the Taliban and undertaking a prisoner swap, he said.

    Some observers said some elements of Mr. Ghani’s proposal appeared nonsensical. One Afghan political analyst noted, for instance, that the offer of Afghan passports in exchange for the Taliban’s participation in the peace process was odd because its members already have passports. More generally, he said, political recognition is a moot point for the group.


    “The Taliban see themselves as much more than a political entity” he said. “They already have a shadow cabinet and government.”
    Last edited by Double Edge; 01 Mar 18, at 17:15.

  13. #283
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    /\/\/\ This is not pressure from Washington. From China (Pak)? Ghani is falling for the same trap Karzai fell earlier. The strongman is not happy.

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  15. #285
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    ^^^ pretty thorough analysis of his speech, catches all the nuances

    Little of what Mr. Ghani said on Wednesday was new. But in raising the prospect of peace talks with the Taliban, a group he vilified as terrorists after a spate of ferocious attacks in Kabul this year, his invitation represented a shift in tone as he considers running for another five-year term in presidential elections scheduled for next year.
    Maybe this


    There has been definite shift from the previous rhetoric about peace talks to the serious peace offer at the 28 February 2018 Kabul Process meeting. It seems that the Afghan government’s position has reached a new quality, moving from general ‘invitations to talk’ to some concrete suggestions. It also might have to do with president Ghani’s wish, one year before his presidential term ends, to achieve a break-through on peace. He also had started his term with a peace initiative (read AAN analysis here).
    Same

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