Afghan weekly review

04th September - 10th September

Political Developments / Events

Top Pakistani general calls the expanding war in Afghanistan ‘collective failures’

Pakistan’s Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, said Afghanistan’s problems lie within Afghanistan and there is no military solution to the problems of Afghanistan as outside formulas are unlikely to yield any positive results. Gen. Hayat also said “you cannot blame a country, an individual or a country and an institution for the failures that are collective,”

Afghanistan ready for comprehensive talks with Pakistan, Ghani tells Erdogan

In a recent meeting with the Turkish President, Ashraf Ghani has expressed his desires of having good relations with Afghanistan’s neighbors. President Erdogan said the Turkish government is prepared to play its role in improving relations between Kabul and Islamabad as he reaffirmed Ankara’s support towards an Afghan-led peace process.

Sayyaf warns, sidelining of Mujahideen will have negative repercussions

Abdul Rab Rasool Sayaf, former leader of the Mujahideen has warned that keeping the Mujahideen from participating in the peace process will have negative consequences for Afghanistan. He also urged the Taliban to stop the violence and focus on the peace process. He warned that the current fight will not yield positive results unless the nation unites to fight the corruption and growing debauchery.

Sayyaf is one of the most influential jihadi leaders and has been harshly criticizing the Taliban group for their insurgency activities, calling their so called jihad as a move against the principles of Islam.

Dostum invites his rivals for political approach rather than hatching conspiracies

The first vice president General Abdul Rashid Dostum called on his rivals to adopt a political approach rather than hatching conspiracies as he insisted that the new formed coalition will be declared formally in Kabul city in the near future. Gen. Dostum ruled out speculations that the new coalition, coalition for the salvation of Afghanistan, will be disintegrated and will fail, insisting that the coalition will become more powerful and strong.

Abdullah calls Taliban a ‘terrorist group’. Afghanistan marks week of martyrs

Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Government of National Unity, has marked the Taliban as a terrorist group and has claimed that terrorist groups such as the Haqqani Network and the Taliban have support from Pakistan. He also said that the BRICS summit also emphasized on Pakistan to do more against the terrorist safe havens in the country.

The Afghan officials have long been insisting that the ongoing violence in the country has direct links with the freedom of movement and sanctuaries of the Taliban and Haqqani network in Pakistan.

US military apologizes for anti-Taliban leaflets containing offensive material

The US Military in Afghanistan has recently distributed leaflets in the Parwan province of Afghanistan. The leaflets contained an image of a dog along with the Taliban flag. The flag contains holy verses from the Quran. The leaflets have said to have stirred anger and outcry among the residents of Parwan. US military official Gen. James Linder has since apologized for the incident and has said that an official enquiry will be conducted into the matter.

 

Karzai’s Reaction Hatred on the rise among the Afghans, Karzai warns US

 

Former Afghan President has warned the US that the distribution of the offensive leaflets in the country will only help to develop anti-US feelings in the country. He also warned that this aspect of psychological warfare with the Afghan people is likely to be counterproductive and that the US should not play with the emotions and feelings of the Afghan people.

Pentagon awards contract for Afghan Air Force worth over $1.3 billion

Pentagon has recently announced the award of a new contract for the Afghan Air Force. The contract, which is worth $1,385,497,987, has been awarded to MD Helicopter Inc for the procurement of 150 MD 530F helicopters and required production support services to include program management, delivery support, pilot training and maintenance. The contract also includes pilot training and maintenance for the Afghan Air Force.

Pakistan eyes water treaty as Afghanistan plans to step water management

The Climate Change Ministry of Pakistan has prepared a document based on which the country is seeking ways and possibilities to conclude a treaty with the Afghan government. The reports also indicate that the government of Pakistan has started to explore the possibility of entering into a water treaty with Afghanistan to promote integrated watershed management including ecological conservation practices in uphill watersheds.

This comes as President Ghani last month said more water dams will be built in western Herat and other provinces of Afghanistan as he unveiled the government’s new economic perspectives.

Pakistan’s key Pashtun leader welcomes Kabul’s ‘Peace with Pakistan First’ call

The leader of Awami National Party, a secular Pashtun nationalist party, Asfandyar Wali Khan, has hailed the call by President Ashraf Ghani as a positive step. He called on the authorities in Pakistan to respond positively to Kabul’s call, emphasizing that peace and stability was prerequisite for economic development in the region.

Security/Terrorist Activities and Developments

Senior Taliban leaders among several dead in Maidan Wardak airstrikes

The provincial police commandment in a statement said the airstrikes were carried out in the past 24 hours in the vicinity of Salman Fars area located in the central parts of the province. The statement further added that twelve Taliban insurgents including three of their senior commanders were killed in the airstrikes.

Deadly airstrikes on Taliban in Nuristan leaving over 50 dead

The provincial police chief of Nuristan General Mohiuddin Sarwari confirmed that the airstrikes were carried out on Friday in the vicinity of Barg-e-Matal district in the Nuristan province. Gen. Mohiuddin further added that the information received by Nuristan police indicates at least fifty five Taliban insurgents were killed. The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan army in the East said the airstrikes were carried out using the A-29 Super Tucano aircrafts.

ISIS militants suffer heavy casualties in US airstrikes in East of Afghanistan

The airstrikes were carried out in the Haska Mina District in the Eastern region of the Nangarhar province. The airstrikes were carried out by using the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). According to reports, at least 27 to 18, ISIS-K militants were either killed or injured in the attacks. The militants were targeted in Payin, Loy Payin, Gagara, Langari Kando, Shaghal and Mia Baba areas.

US drone strike leaves 11 Taliban insurgents dead in Nangarhar province

In another series of airstrikes in the Eastern Nangarhar Province, at least 11 Taliban militants were killed. According to government reports, the attacks were carried out in the region of the Bati Kot District in the Nangarhar province.

Three militants including their commander mysteriously killed in Nangarhar

The provincial police commandant has said that three militants including a commander were mysteriously killed in the Shirzad district of Nangarhar Province. No militant group has come forward to claim the responsibility of the attack. However, the police also noted that this was not the first time that such an incident was reported in the Nangarhar province. It is also speculated that the killings could be a result of infighting among the Taliban and ISIS-K leadership.

Suicide attack near Bagram airbase leaves four wounded

US Forces in Bagram came under attack as a suicide bomber attacked the entrance gates of the Bagram Airfield. The attack is said to have injured four people. The attack came hours after the US had distributed offensive leaflets. The attack is said to be carried out by the Taliban as a revenge for the distribution of the offensive leaflets.

Taliban casualties toll rises to 78 amid ongoing operations in Kunduz

The 10th Pamir Battalion of the Afghan Army is conducting a series of operations in the region of Chardara district in the Kunduz Province. Officials among the national army claim that so far the operation has killed 78 Taliban insurgents. They also claim that they have been able to eliminate key Taliban leaders such as Qari Hayatullah, Qari Mohammad Sajad, Imamuddin, Zulfiqar, Mullah Asadullah, and Qari Abdulhai.

Afghanistan optimistic possible return of B-52s to eliminate militants

Afghan defense officials have expressed optimism at the US desire to resume bombing in Afghanistan using strategic bombers. To this effect, the US has expressed desires to use the B-52, F-16 and A-10 to bomb militant hideouts in Afghanistan.

Key Hezb-e-Islami member escapes assassination attempt in Kabul city

A key member of Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has escaped an assassination attempt in Kabul city, the party claimed. According to Sayed, Qazi Amin Waqad and his security personnel escaped the attack unhurt and there were no fatalities in the attack. The security officials and institutions in Kabul have not commented regarding the incident so far.

ISIS execute two brothers serving with Afghan army in Nangarhar province

Militants affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) Khorasan have executed two brothers who were serving with the Afghan national army. The provincial government media office in a statement said the men were executed in the vicinity of Haska Mina district after captured by the loyalists of the terror group.

Afghan Special Forces seize Taliban’s large cache of weapons, ammunition

The provincial government media office in a statement said the cache included 9 pistols, 14 different types of rifles, 3 Russian-made PKM machine guns with 5 of its ammunition boxes, 11 thousand rounds of M4 weapon ammunition, 100 rounds of M240 weapon ammunition, and dozens of spares of weapons. The statement further added that the operation was conducted in Greshk district which lasted for almost eight hours. The operation took place in the southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.

Views

1. The political situation in the region in the region has become highly volatile after the US policy statements about Pakistan and induction of more forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan military leadership has strongly contested the US views and criticism of supporting the terror groups.

  • Top military brass of Pakistan has categorically asked for collective efforts towards peace rather blaming Pakistan for the world and US follies. This is obviously the correct approach, as sixteen years of war has not yielded peace in the region and further induction of troops will not contribute positively.
  • President Ghani statement for talks with Pakistan is a positive omen and if pursued in letter and spirit will contribute positively. Both countries have to resolve the matters keeping own interests in mind. Any foreign imposed solution will not work for long.
  • Referring to Sayyaf that sidelining the Mujahideen is not a correct approach while discussing the peace efforts, must be taken in positive perspective. Erstwhile leaders and the warlords do carry weight in today’s Afghan politics. Solutions without taking them on board are not possible.
  • The anti-Taliban group has to keep in view that total defeat of Taliban through fighting in near future is not evident nor has the fighting resulted in peace. Therefore, a negotiated settlement is the answer to the conflict. Calling Taliban a terrorist, as stated by Abdullah, is not leading to resolve, neither is blaming Pakistan.
  • Water treaties between the neighboring states are a need in today’s scenario, as the global environment is leading towards scarcity of resources, especially consumables. Pakistan must play smart and learn from the previous mistakes of Pak-India water disputes.

 

2. The security situation in Afghanistan is not encouraging, the intensity of Taliban attacks and security operations/ bombing by the government/ US indicates the gravity of lawlessness. In specific terms.

 

  • The anti-government armed militants are actively operating in its various districts and often carry out insurgency activities, mainly in the districts lying along the highway connecting Kabul with the southeastern and southern provinces. Kabul- Kandahar- Herat crescent highway is the main trade/ passenger route and is not safe for travel due to Taliban influence in astride the route.
  • Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently increased their insurgency activities in some parts of the province during the recent years. Presence of militancy in adjoining Northern provinces of Kunar and Nooristan has resulted in spillover effects.  In the meantime, operations led by the Afghan forces in coordination with the US forces based in Afghanistan are underway against the ISIS loyalists in this province.
  • ISIS (K) militant activities are on the rise and are a serious threat. This is not the first time the loyalists of the ISIS terrorist group have captured and executed people in the areas under their control. During such incidents, ordinary people have been captured and executed on suspicion of working or spying for the government.
  • The suicide attempt on the life of Qazi Amin Waqad, a senior member of Hezb-e-Islami party led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar, comes as the party has recently adopted a very strict stance against the militant groups in the country, specifically the Taliban insurgents. More attempts may take place in times to come as Taliban have gained strength over the years.

 

3. The insecurity has raised stakes for the internal and external players. The fresh US plans for induction of troops and intended additional powers of engagement to lower commanders may contribute towards excesses. Afghanistan is not moving towards immediate peace rather another long war is in the offing.

 

4. On the political front, the leadership needs to play wisely in order to quash the internal differences rather than supporting the conspiracies and airing the differences. Leaders at the helm of affairs must also look towards a political resolution and settlements within and outside the country.

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