Afghan weekly review

28th August - 04th September

Political Developments / Events

Frustrated with new US strategy, Pakistani FM claims Afghan forces sell US weapons

The foreign minister of Pakistan, Khwaja Muhammad Asif, has claimed that the Afghan
security forces are selling the US supplied weapons. He also claimed that almost 40
percent of the Afghan territory is under the control of the Taliban.

We cannot bring Afghan war into Pakistan, Pak army chief

Pakistan Army Chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, has forwarded his utmost support to the War on Terror but has also said that Pakistan cannot afford to bring Afghanistan’s war into Pakistan. He also urged the need to maintain an effective border management in order to curtail the movement of terrorists

Hekmatyar urges Pakistan and India not to turn Afghanistan into its regional rivalry hub

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmyatyar, has urged the regional countries not to bring their rivalry in Afghanistan. In particular, he mentioned India and Pakistan to not “bring their rivalry into Afghanistan” and to work for achieving peace in the region. Hekmatyar said, “We want peace and friendly relations with all in the region and I have urged the Pakistani and Indian Ambassadors not to bring their rivalry into Afghanistan.”

Karzai says he strongly opposes the new strategy for Afghanistan

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he strongly opposes the new strategy of the United States for Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Karzai “The strategy excludes bringing peace and prosperity to Afghanistan and is focused on more war and rivalry in the region. U.S. must seek peace and stability in Afghanistan rather than extending conflict and bloodshed in Afghanistan and the region.”

Top Afghan security officials in regular contacts with Taliban in Pakistan and Qatar

It has been reported that Afghan security officials are in regular contact with the Taliban in order to bring the group into peace negotiations. The two security officials in contact with the Taliban are the national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and the head of the Afghan intelligence, national directorate of security, Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai. Media reported that Taliban group has shown willingness to accept the constitution of Afghanistan. However, the group wants some amendments in the constitution which could be incorporated in due course

Taliban a criminal organization, cannot win on battlefield: Gen. Nicholson

The commander of the US forces for Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission General John Nicholson has said the Taliban are a criminal organization as he insisted that the group cannot win on the battlefield. He said “Taliban have a simple choice: Stop fighting against your countrymen. Stop killing innocent civilians. Stop bringing hardship and misery.”    

Ghani shows concerns about situation along the Durand Line

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday chaired a high level meeting in ARG Palace amid persistent tense situation along the Durand Line. The meeting was also attended by the special representative of the UN secretary general to Afghanistan. The meeting concluded with the recommendations to jointly form a team consisting of representatives of the United Nations and the Afghan government to further discuss the issue. The statement further added that relentless shelling along the Durand Line has sparked a human crisis in the area. The eastern provinces of Afghanistan lying along the Durand Line, specifically the eastern Kunar, Nuristan, and Nangarhar provinces regularly come under artillery shelling which started more than three years ago.

Karzai strongly reacts at civilians deaths in Taliban, ISIS attacks, and US airstrike

Former Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has reacted strongly against the death of civilians in recent attack by the Taliban, ISIS and the US. According to Karzai, the latest killings of the civilians prove that the Afghans are being killed by the foreigners and a foreign cause.

Taliban Chief Says Foreign 'Occupation' Blocking Afghan Peace

Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzada, leader of the Afghan Taliban, has claimed that the main obstacle in achieving peace in Afghanistan is foreign occupation by the US and NATO forces. He repeated his desires for the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan

Pakistan fears Afghanistan may block transit route to Central Asia

Officials in Islamabad are concerned regarding the possible blocking of the transit route to Central Asia and Europe by the Afghan government. The concerns have been shared by the authorities in Islamabad amid deteriorating diplomatic ties between the two neighbors

Islamabad reacts at President Ghani’s remarks of ‘Peace with Pakistan First’

Insisting that Pakistan will contribute and play its due role in all the initiatives taken towards peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khwaja Muhammad Asif, said “Pakistan’s position on Afghanistan is very clear: we want to see peace and stability in the country”. In his message on the first day of Eid Al-Adha, President Ghani said the Afghan government is fully prepared for the peace talks and negotiations with Pakistan for peace is on the agenda of the government. He was apparently gesturing towards his previous remarks where he insisted that peace talks with Pakistan is important and should come first before holding talks with the anti-government armed militant groups.

Pentagon approves new contracts for Afghan Air Force

The United States’ Department of Defense has awarded a new contract for the Afghan Air Force having a value of more than 69 million dollars. The contract will deal with the procurement of the AC-208 Combat Caravan for the Afghan Air Force. The AC-208 Combat Caravan is a counter insurgency (COIN) aircraft converted from a cargo plane. It was developed under the Combat Caravan program of the US. The aircraft has already seen operation with the Iraqi Air Force.

Pentagon approves contract worth $2.2 billion for Afghan forces and others

The United States’ Department of Defense has approved a new contract for the Afghan forces and military of the other nations. According to sources, this fund will be utilized to attain High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle expanded capacity vehicles, associated optional equipment and contractor-unique spare parts packages. “AM General LLC, South Bend, Indiana, has been awarded a $2,205,926,405 firm-fixed-price contract for the production of up to 11,560 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle expanded capacity vehicles, associated optional equipment and contractor unique spare parts packages for foreign military sales customers worldwide, which will be identified with each order, with the first order being for Afghanistan,” Pentagon said in a notification.

Security/Terrorist Activities and Developments

Taliban execute two important ISIS leaders in Nangarhar province

The Taliban have executed two prominent leaders of the ISIS-K in the Nangarhar Province. The Taliban claim that the individuals were responsible for the killing of civilians and Taliban members.

5 killed, 8 wounded in suicide attack in Kabul city

5 people were killed as a deadly bomb blast hit the city of Kabul. The attack took place near the Massoud Square. However, no militant group has come forward to accept the responsibility.

Female ISIS fighter among 14 killed in US airstrike in Nangarhar

In a series of airstrikes conducted by the US, 14 ISIS-K militants have been killed. The airstrikes were conducted in the province of Nangarhar of Afghanistan.

Prominent Taliban leaders Tangna and Haji Gul killed in Laghman airstrikes

14 militants have been killed in a series of airstrikes by the 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army in the province of Laghman in Afghanistan. Two prominent leaders of the Taliban, Haji Gul and Tangna, were also killed in the airstrikes.

Coordinated suicide attack near Afghan lawmaker’s house in Jalalabad city

Two suicide bombers attempted to storm the residence of Haji Zahir Qadir, a prominent Afghan legislator. Haji Qadir is one of the Afghan legislators who has adopted multiple anti-ISIS operations in the recent past. Preliminary reports indicate two people were killed in the attack. However, no group has yet claimed responsibility of the attack.

Pentagon confirms 11 thousand US troops are stationed in Afghanistan

The United State Department of Defense or Pentagon officials have confirmed the exact number of US troops stationed in Afghanistan. The officials have said eleven thousand US forces are currently based and serving in the country.

Haqqani network commander leading a group of 50 insurgents killed in Logar

The Afghan police force has claimed that it has killed a prominent leader of the Haqqani Network in an operation in the Logar province of Afghanistan. According to the Ministry of Interior, the operation that led to the killing of Mawlavi Abdul Rahman who was also famous as Mullah Qand was conducted in the vicinity of Kharwar district by the Special Unit of the Afghan national police forces.

UNAMA says 28 civilians killed, 16 wounded in Logar and Herat airstrikes

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its preliminary findings regarding the deadly airstrikes conducted in Logar and Herat provinces of Afghanistan.

According to UNAMA, at least 28 civilians were killed and 16 others were wounded in the airstrikes, citing preliminary findings the mission conducted into the alleged civilian casualties’ reports.

Taliban insurgents suffer casualties in Kandahar and Paktika operations: MoD

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a statement said at least 9 insurgents were killed and 4 others were wounded during the operations conducted in Khakrez district of Kandahar. The statement further added that a vehicle and six weapons were also destroyed during the same operations.

Major operation to kick off in Kandahar, says Gen. Raziq

The provincial police chief of the southern Kandahar province General Abdul Raziq has said a major operation will kick off against the insurgents in the province. Gen. Raziq admitted that security related issues continue to threaten the residents of Maiwand and Ghorak districts.

Taliban commanders among killed, wounded in Helmand airstrikes

According to a statement by Ministry of Defence, the airstrikes were conducted in three different districts of Helmand, including the provincial capital Lashkargah city. The statement further added that twelve insurgents were killed in total including three of their local commanders. Helmand remains one of the most volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 where terrorist related incidents are frequently reported from its various districts.

Militants suffer heavy casualties in Kunduz airstrikes: Shaheen Corps

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan National Army forces in the north said the airstrikes were carried out in coordination with the Afghan Special Forces. The officials further added that 11 insurgents were killed during the airstrikes and 13 others were wounded.

Views

Pak Afghan and US Relations

a. The fresh policy and onslaught against Pakistan has resulted in harsh protests at various levels alongside critical statements emerging from state officials, which is not a good omen keeping in view the already fractured relations between the three states. All three have to critically analyze their inner follies and mistakes committed while handling Afghan issue and work towards peace and stability. Blaming Pakistan for the wrong doings will further damage the trust deficit.

 

b. COAS assertive words that Pakistan cannot fight nor can the Afghan war be brought to Pakistan is indicative of the realities. Pakistan and Afghanistan have to fight their own wars and look for the resolve keeping own interests in view.

 

c. Trust levels between Pakistan and Afghanistan are at lowest ebb, as is evident from statements from both side. Pakistan’s official’s views that Afghan may block the trade route to central Asia is reflective of the worries at both ends.

 

2. Taliban and Afghan officials are in contact for the negotiations though government is denying it. It’s no more a secret and must not be negated as the efforts are in positive direction. All have to realize that having fought for sixteen years, the end remains elusive, and they must negotiate peace.

 

3. Haibatullah’s views must be considered in correct perspective that with occupation forces in Afghanistan the peace cannot be achieved. Though they have been repeating same since past many years yet it cannot be accepted in totality, but the US and Afghans must work towards some settlements. The war has not yielded positively rather has caused serious damage to the Afghan nation and country.

 

4. The US aid for the Afghan defense and security forces including air forces is appositive gesture but the concern remains as to how must of this will go back to the US and ow much will be spent on real uplifting the efficacy of the apparatus. Over past sixteen years the US and international donners have spent billions on papers and in reality yet the Afghan’s apathy is evident that they are not ready and trained to contest the Taliban.

 

5. Security Situation

 

a. Reports of ISIS activities and the government claims against ISIS dictates that the militants of the organization have gained foothold in Afghanistan and are posing serious danger to already fragile security situation. The US and the international players will have to look into their strategy and thinking of working for peace rather using conflicts as sate policy for domination.

 

b. Taliban are raising the stakes for the Afghan government and international stake holders by seriously challenging the state writ the operations all over. The details of incidents stated in above paragraphs categorically indicates Taliban hold, influence and strength to contest the state apparatus.

 

c. The government operations including ground and airstrikes against Taliban and ISIS and the claimed success are conflicting. The number of casualties and killings, if critically analyzed reveals the false claims to both sides. These operations are resulting in life loss of the innocent civilians which is further damaging the state image and efficacy.

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