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

  1. #346
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Something S2 said a while ago about Turkey becoming 'like' Pakistan rings a bell here.

    China joins U.S. and India against Pak terror funding | Sunday Guardian | Jun 30 2018

    The “Wuhan Spirit” ensured that China joined with India, the United States, Russia and the European Union in rejecting the bid of Turkey to take Pakistan off the “Grey List” of terror funding of the 37-nation Financial Action Task Force at its plenary meeting in Paris last week.

    The Pakistan delegation sought the support of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, China and Turkey to be taken off the Grey List of countries that have made unsatisfactory progress in stopping terror funding. Should Islamabad not show visible progress in stopping terror funding within 15 months, it will be placed on the terror Black List, which at present includes only Iran and North Korea.

    The Pakistan delegation argued that “Muslim nations should stand together” against any move by FATF to place “the world’s second largest Muslim country” on the Grey List, aware that it was only a short step from there to the Black List, which would make it mandatory for the world’s significant trading nations to impose financial sanctions on Pakistan.

    Inspired by the fight-back against Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia under the direction of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and the rejection of extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood by another important Muslim country, Egypt, the GCC rejected such lobbying and pointed out that Muslims themselves have been the worst victims of terrorism and therefore should unite in support of moves to choke off funding to terror groups.

    Interestingly, Turkey has found itself on such a list on multiple occasions, and now hosts the leaders of several groups tethered to violent solutions to political problems. Soundings within Ankara indicate that President Erdogan himself gave the command to “stand by Pakistan come what may” out of worry that the same label may get affixed to Turkey. Under President Erdogan, as many as 15 armed extremist groups, active mostly in the Middle East, have substantial segments of their leadership resident in Turkey, including two groups associated with the Pakistan army’s ongoing campaign of terror against India.

    Although several calls were made from Rawalpindi GHQ to the headquarters of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) in Beijing to ensure that China joined with Turkey in getting Pakistan dropped from the Grey List, now that President Xi Jinping has taken charge of the “India Account” (the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in the case of China), it was not possible for pro-Pakistan voices in the PLA to join hands with pro-Pakistan, India-phobic elements in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Beijing to make the Chinese delegation at the FATF plenary side with Pakistan at the expense of those countries that were longstanding victims of Pakistan terror groups.

    Saudi Arabia in particular had been lobbied very hard by the Pakistan delegation at the plenary meeting, but that country stood behind India in the matter of ensuring that Pakistan was on the Grey List. Although as yet the pro-Pakistan lobby in the PLA is blocking UN action against certain leaders of Jaish as well as Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, at the Paris meet, the Chinese delegation did not demur when these entities were all included in the list of organisations to which funds should be cut off totally, no matter the fake names they operate by.

    Although the Pakistan delegation swore, for example, that funds to Hafiz Saeed as well as his media access have been cut off, during 2015 and 2016 there were nearly 70 Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) public rallies in Pakistan, almost all of which was reported by the Pakistan media, which is known in its reporting to go by the wishes of the ISI. On average, there were nine violent incidents per month in Jammu & Kashmir that were caused by those sent across the border from the well-funded terror training camps in Pakistan.

    Of course, the JuD has now morphed into the Tehreek-e-Azaadi-e-Jammu & Kashmir (TAJK) from mid-January last year. And while Hafiz Saeed has been “detained” in 4-star comfort, both Abdul Rehman Makki and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi (both designated as terrorists by the US) remain free to roam across Pakistan and recruit impressionable youths to their terror outfits, the destructive purpose of which gets described by LeT and JuD leaders publicly in speeches every day.

    As for Saeed, while still technically in detention, he gave a live press conference outside the JuD headquarters to 11 media channels, in each of which he threatened violence and mass terror in India. Saeed continues to reside at 4 Chauburji, Lahore, and runs a network of colleges and hospitals that receive money from Pakistan and outside, especially the Middle East.

    The LeT still operates not only in India but in Europe and Afghanistan, and there are reports that it is setting up a base in the US. Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FiF) has now spread to 13 countries, including Turkey, Indonesia, Myanmar, Somalia and Yemen. Terror groups active in Pakistan and from there to other countries include TAJK, FiF, HuNM, ISIS, HuD, JeD and the various strands of the Taliban.

    It is unlikely that GHQ Rawalpindi will stop funding such auxiliary organisations in the 15 months’ grace period FATF has given it. Thus far, the Pakistan army was confident that China would block action against it as a sponsor of terror, no matter what it did in every country except of course China. However, the Wuhan Spirit created by the Modi-Xi discussions has ensured that Beijing joined hands with India and other countries to hold Pakistan to account for its use of terror as a weapon of war.

    China being on the same page as India on the issue of terror factories and their funding during the Paris plenary, shows that Xi will no longer allow certain elements in the military to blindly back Islamabad at the expense of China’s reputation as a fighter against the terror factories of the world, many of which operate from Pakistan.

  2. #347
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    /\/\/\ You seem to be a fan of Nalapat.

    I don't agree with the premise of the article, nor the gist. 3 countries opposed - China/Turkey/KSA, right?

    KSA is under US influence and knows if the US pulls the rag from under its feet, there'd be no KSA. They treat the sub-continents' Muslims as slaves. They also think PA as mercenaries for hire. The trade-off was getting an observer status in FATF.

    China and US have frictions, but China is a practical country. The CCP shouted for Pak, then got the position of VP of FATF, and took out their support. For this very case, I remain doubtful if Pakistan will see the black-list.

    Turkey and US, to me, as an outsider and a watcher have frictions since the Gulen uprising. Erodgan is deeply suspicious of US intentions and vice-versa. While US still now have not thought of Turkey being a PITA, it might change. Turkey is a member of NATO, and houses US nukes. Straining relations with Turkey will need European consent as far as NATO is concerned.
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  3. #348
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    /\/\/\ You seem to be a fan of Nalapat.
    He's unique in his commentary and by that i mean i've not found a way to challenge what he says as yet. I came across him first a year back when Doklam was on and this classic 'force China to do a Nixon with India' line amazed me. The only guy i came across with a way to work with both China & the US

    I don't agree with the premise of the article, nor the gist. 3 countries opposed - China/Turkey/KSA, right?

    KSA is under US influence and knows if the US pulls the rag from under its feet, there'd be no KSA. They treat the sub-continents' Muslims as slaves. They also think PA as mercenaries for hire. The trade-off was getting an observer status in FATF.

    China and US have frictions, but China is a practical country. The CCP shouted for Pak, then got the position of VP of FATF, and took out their support. For this very case, I remain doubtful if Pakistan will see the black-list.

    Turkey and US, to me, as an outsider and a watcher have frictions since the Gulen uprising. Erodgan is deeply suspicious of US intentions and vice-versa. While US still now have not thought of Turkey being a PITA, it might change. Turkey is a member of NATO, and houses US nukes. Straining relations with Turkey will need European consent as far as NATO is concerned.
    I think i know where you're going with this. A little too India centric ?

    The opener seems to suggest because of Wuhan get together than China got on board the FATF greyist. Well, we cut a deal with them first and persuaded the Americans to go along

    https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/wo...ng/552585.html

    So if this is what Xi & Modi had in mind about 'Wuhan spirit' then this is just plain business. We did enough to counter the pro-Pak lobby in China.

    As for the Saudis, Trump deciding to pull out of the Iran deal would be enough to gain KSA's assent. Squeezing Iran in exchange to squeeze Pakistan. This is KSA agreeing with the US more than India but its a win for us nevertheless.

    I was trying to figure why Turkey would want to back Pakistan here. They've been on the list in the past according to Nalapat and siding with Pakistan doesn't exactly explain how it helps Turkey other than by showing solidarity. US nukes have been quietly withdrawn from Turkey i understood in other threads here.

    Pak getting on the black list is a stretch for now. I don't understand why he says its not hard to get in there after being greylisted. We'll know more fifteen months from now.

    But the Paks were unable to blag their way out of the greylist is the point which means they are going to have to come up with credible actions that meet the rigours FATF imposes.


    Btw you had posted an article earlier by a general from IDR (i see him on RSTV from time to time) that said China bailing out Pakistan after this greylisting blunts the effect. I think that cash infusion into Pak's banks by China is more to keep the Pak economy viable so as to pay back CPEC loans than blunting any anti-terror measures
    Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Jul 18, at 14:30.

  4. #349
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Inside the Secret Taliban Talks to End America’s Longest War | Daily Beast | Aug 02 2018

    The Taliban are open to the idea of keeping U.S. troops on Afghan soil, a retired Army colonel and ex-U.S. ambassador learned during months of quiet diplomacy.
    That ex-U.S. Ambassadr happens to be Robin Raphel

  5. #350
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    US cuts Pak security aid to historic low, ends conditions | The News | Aug 03 2018

    ends conditions ?

    The National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19), however, removed certain conditions—like action against Haqqani Network or the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
    eh?

  6. #351
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Too early. Wait for the report to come out in western press.
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  7. #352
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    She was kicked out by the previous administration because she apparently was too close to the deep state in Pakistan. Whose bidding she's doing to bring the Taliban to talks is anyone's guess. CFair is her biggest supporter. She calls Robin a patriot, even though Robin under-mined her own country's interests in Pakistan. There is a reason why Indian intelligence agencies hate her.
    Last edited by Oracle; 05 Aug 18, at 08:13.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

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  8. #353
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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  9. #354
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Why the Taliban’s Assault on Ghazni Matters

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The American-led invasion of Afghanistan routed Taliban extremists from power after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 17 years later, after tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of billions of dollars spent and two White House administrations come and gone, those extremists are not only undefeated but seem as strong as ever.

    Since Friday, Taliban fighters have roamed the streets of Ghazni City, a strategic urban center less than 100 miles from the capital, Kabul, killing dozens of Afghan soldiers and police officers, cutting communications and severing the main highway from Kabul to the south and beyond.

    The Ghazni assault has demonstrated a stunning display of Taliban tenacity that belies the official Afghan and American narrative of progress in the war and the possibility for peace talks. It also has revealed remarkable bumbling by the Afghan military, including the wrong kind of ammunition sent to besieged police officers. Moreover, the siege has raised basic questions about what conditions the Taliban might accept for peace talks.

    What is happening in Ghazni?
    For months, residents and local officials in Ghazni, a city of about 280,000 people, had warned that the Taliban was surrounding the city and making inroads of control. Taliban fighters were even collecting taxes in some areas. On a visit in June, I found the city in fear — people avoided large gatherings. Assassinations were more frequent.

    On Aug. 10, more than 1,000 Taliban fighters stormed the city in a predawn assault. Officials claim the Taliban were aided by foreign fighters, including Pakistanis and Chechens, and even some Al Qaeda affiliates

    The police were forced to retreat and protect the main government facilities — the governor’s office, the Police Headquarters, the intelligence compound, the main prison — leaving the Taliban assailants to entrench themselves elsewhere. The Afghan minister of defense on Monday said that about 100 police officers and army soldiers and more 20 civilians had been killed. He put the number of dead Taliban fighters at about 200.

    Why does it matter?
    The siege of Ghazni is perhaps the most audacious example of a Taliban resurgence that has whittled the gains made after tens of thousands of American troops launched a campaign to oust them from power.

    While not the first time Taliban fighters have invaded a major Afghan city in recent years, Ghazni’s strategic location is important. Its proximity to Kabul and location on the major highway connecting the capital to the south makes it a vital lifeline.

    Rahmatullah Nabil, a former Afghan intelligence chief, said Ghazni also was important because some of its neighboring provinces border the tribal areas of northern Pakistan, where militants have long moved with impunity. Who controls Ghazni also impacts how freely the insurgents can move into other parts of the country, Mr. Nabil said. Taliban control of Ghazni also raises the possibility that Taliban eventually could surround Kabul itself.

    Is this a sign of Taliban strength or government weakness?
    In recent years, as Afghan forces have largely taken ownership of the war from American forces, the Taliban have continued to gain territory. In some areas, they have struggled to hold a district or city that they briefly entered, but in others they are firmly embedded.

    According to the United States military, the Afghan government controls just over half of the country’s nearly 400 districts — about 56 percent. Taliban insurgents control 14 percent, and the rest of the country is contested.

    A major deterrent to further Taliban gains has been American and Afghan airstrikes. The United States military alone has dropped about 3,000 bombs in the first six months of this year. But air power alone is insufficient.

    Mr. Nabil said the internal political struggles of the Afghan government and its inability to outthink the Taliban’s moves before insurgents invaded a city were underlying problems. He likened the Ghazni battle to the 2015 siege of Kunduz, when it took more than two weeks for government-backed forces to retake the city.

    “It was like this in Kunduz also — they first went after the outlying districts, then military bases, and eventually they made it to the city,” Mr. Nabil said. “Once the city is totally surrounded, entering inside the city becomes easy.”

    How is the U.S. military involved?
    The United States maintains about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan; they play an advisory role to Afghan troops and support a small counterterrorism mission. That is down from the peak of about American 100,000 soldiers in the country, at a time when the American military was leading the fight to defeat the Taliban in Afghan villages.

    Military officials said American advisers were on the ground with Afghan forces in Ghazni. American forces also have conducted about 25 airstrikes in the city.

    But much like the Afghan government, the United States military played down the extent of the crisis, in assessments completely at odds with the information from the locals.

    A statement by the United States military said, for example, that the main highway to the south remained open. But passengers on both sides remained stuck, and local Afghan officials said the highway was closed.

    It is unclear how many American troops are on the ground in Ghazni. But in cities such as Farah and Kunduz — assaulted by Taliban militants in 2015, 2016 and this year — the American military sent teams of Army Special Forces to call in airstrikes and fight alongside their Afghan commando counterparts.

    One American military official said he wasn’t surprised by the attack on Ghazni. Turmoil between Ghazni’s Pashtun and Hazara tribes helped lay the foundation for the assault by the predominantly Pashtun militants. Local tribal dynamics, he said, is one reason the Afghan government struggles to hold territory.

    He added that these kinds of battles — heavy fighting in dispersed towns and small cities — were likely to keep happening well into the future, with American air power often acting as the deciding factor between victory and defeat.

    To the west in Helmand Province, American troops are preparing for potential attacks on American and Afghan outposts because of concerns that Taliban fighters may be preparing to expand their offensive in Ghazni.

    How will this affect peace talks with the Taliban?
    For months now, a new, urgent push has been underway to persuade the Taliban negotiate. Such efforts have failed before, but now there are some important differences.

    First, both sides announced a rare, overlapping cease-fire. Then, American diplomats met with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, in what was seen as an icebreaker to ease the insurgent group’s long-held demand that it would first talk to the Americans without Afghan government officials present.

    The increase in violence and the siege of Ghazni come at a time when the Afghan government and its international partners have been pushing for a second cease-fire in coming weeks. Although the violence is unlikely to change those plans, it does complicate the government’s effort to counter critics of the peace efforts.
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  10. #355
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