Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: The Golden Era of Afghanistan

‘‘After the Americans leave, people will remember this period as a golden era in Afghanistan.’’ 

Forget all the blood, death, destruction, environmental damage, chemical weapons use, torture, corruption, etc, etc, etc., and never mind the fact that residual forces will be left behind.

When I read the quote in the upcoming article, dear readers, my heart sank. The war propaganda is really becoming unbearable.

"Years after invasion, the US leaves a cultural imprint on Afghanistan" by Sudarsan Raghavan Washington Post   July 04, 2015

KABUL — In a private room inside the Wiana Cafe, Mahmood Rezai snapped his hands to an imaginary beat, mimicking the actions of his favorite rap stars: Eminem, 50 Cent, and Tupac.

Under the Taliban, Rezai’s own lyrics — blistering critiques of social woes — would have earned him a beating, or worse. Today, he is a testament to the subtler influences of the nearly 14-year-long American presence in Afghanistan.

‘‘I love gangsta rap,’’ said Rezai, wavy-haired and clean-shaven and wearing a big silver watch. ‘‘It’s like being in a desert, so very free.’’

How history will remember America’s longest war will be shaped by public debates over the United States’ failures and successes and visible consequences such as the collapse of the Taliban regime and the death of Osama bin Laden. But the US engagement has also affected urban Afghan society in indirect ways, seeping into its culture, language, and attitudes.

It can be seen in the graffiti art that covers blast walls in some neighborhoods and the Tom Cruise-style haircuts sported by hip Afghan youth.

In Yementoo.

It can be heard in the vernacular of Afghan security guards after they frisk visitors — ‘‘You’re good to go, buddy’’ — and the alternative American rock music that fills Kabul’s illegal underground bars.

And they called it freedom and liberation.

The US influence can also be seen in the threads of handmade carpets emblazoned with drones and F-16 jets. Or in the indifference of Afghan elites, grown wealthy on American military contracts, calmly losing thousands of dollars in Texas hold ’em poker games. 

Your tax dollars at work!

‘‘I have personal freedom. I can wear what I want,’’ said Samira Ahmadi, an employee at a consulting firm. ‘‘Now we can have mixed parties with boys and girls, and we are going to picnics. This was all unimaginable under the Taliban.’’

Yet what was once forbidden is unfolding under a cloud of history. Afghans remember the liberal 1970s, when women in Kabul wore miniskirts and jazz clubs were the rage. But those freedoms had evaporated by the 1990s.

Yeah, because Zbig Brzezinski decide the U.S should give the Russians their own Vietnam; thus, U.S.-supported jihadists flowed into the country, precipitating the Russian invasion.

Remember what I told you? We lost long ago.

The society is still mostly conservative and tribal, many women remain subjugated, and centuries-old traditions rule. Even as they enjoy the new liberties, a question lingers among many Afghans: How long will they last?

How long are these mixed messages going to last?

Over the past 5,000 years, Afghanistan’s myriad invaders, from Genghis Khan to Tamerlane to the Mughal dynasties, have left indelible marks. The nation’s population is among the world’s most ethnically diverse. 

It's known as the "Graveyard of Empires," and looking back past the false flag inside job of 9/11, one can see it was the beginning of the end for the American empire.

In Zabul province are remnants of a fortress built by Alexander the Great, and in Herat and Ghowr, ancient minarets erected by Persian kings grace the landscape.

Yeah, those were the last guys who managed to subdue the place, and it was thousands of years ago.

In Kabul, the British cemetery, which houses the graves of soldiers killed in the two Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th century, is a reminder of Britain’s ill-fated colonial experience. By the time Soviet forces pulled out in 1989, they had built apartment complexes, factories, universities, and even a theater house that are still in use today.

But the Soviets left no cultural imprint like AmeriKa (because radical fundamentalists supported by the U.S killed the leaders).

America’s contribution may prove to be more psychological than anything else — the silent reshaping of the psyche of a society and its people, even as they view their occupiers at once with great expectations, suspicion, and animosity. 

Oh, they have reshaped the psyche of the people, yeah. 

This WaPo rot is f***ing sickening!

Steps away from a stadium where the Taliban once stoned people to death, teenage skateboarders twist and fly off curved ramps in a cavernous gym. Seventeen-year-old Farid Wahidi rattled off the names of his heroes: ‘‘Rodney Mullen, Chris Cole, and Tony Hawk’’ — all American professional skateboarders.

And he wants to be just like them, from the kneepads and brown Vans shoes he is wearing to his outsize ambitions.

‘‘My dream is to go to the United States and win a skateboarding tournament, just like the ones sponsored by Red Bull,’’ Wahidi said with a confident smile. ‘‘I want to be as famous as Tony Hawk.’’

Then we DID WIN the WAR!

In video stores around Kabul, bootleg DVDs of Hollywood films such as ‘‘Furious 7’’ and ‘‘Taken 3’’ are hot sellers. So are Walt Disney cartoons, which parents use to teach their children English. 

I suspect Hollywood will soon be raising a $tink.

Billions of American aid dollars have ushered in a new class of capitalists, bold attitudes, and a collective outspokenness. 

(Readers?!! I mean, really. Look at this propaganda pre$$ fellatio)

That outspokenness is most visible in Afghanistan’s free-wheeling independent media, largely created by American funding. Under the Taliban, the press was shackled.

Yeah, too bad we have a self-censoring, agenda-pushing, war-pre$$ back here.

Now, it’s among the most liberated in the region, often unafraid to criticize government policies and expose wrongdoing.

‘‘If these freedoms stop once again after the Americans leave, people will remember this period as a golden era for the freedom of speech and freedom of media,’’ said Najibullah Amiri, chief editor of Salam Watandar, a US-funded network of radio stations across the country. 



And there it is again.

Oh, btw, same day:

"Afghan security forces battling the Taliban about 30 miles west of Kabul have suffered heavy casualties, officials said Saturday, as senior government members criticized the response to the assault as slow and ineffective. Details of the fighting in Wardak province, which began Thursday, were murky, but statements by various officials said 16 to 30 members of the Afghan Local Police, a militia controlled by the Interior Ministry, had been killed, along with at least two civilians. Some of the dead were decapitated, officials said. The battle comes as Afghanistan’s struggling coalition government remains without a defense minister 10 months after taking office. President Ashraf Ghani’s third nomination for the post was rejected by Parliament Saturday." 

Yeah, good thing that Taliban has collapsed.

"Afghanistan said Saturday that recent US airstrikes it assisted with destroyed the top leadership of a fledging Islamic State affiliate there, potentially striking a major blow to an insurgent group already targeted by local Taliban fighters. While US officials declined to confirm it, Afghan authorities said an American airstrike Friday killed Islamic State affiliate leader Hafeez Sayeed and more than 30 other militants (AP)." 

Yup. The U.S.-supported and supplied ISIS was dealt a blow by the US airstrikes -- which, of course, will be remembered by Afghans as the golden era.

The latest:

"At least 100,000 people have fled their homes around a northern Afghan city amid fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents, the United Nations said Saturday. The fighting around Kunduz comes as authorities said gunmen killed at least two people and kidnapped 36 others in an assault on a cricket match Thursday. The battle in Kunduz began April 24. Army reinforcements have been deployed to the city (AP)."

RelatedUS Embassy: American citizen killed in Afghanistan attack

It was an hours long siege with gunmen at the restaurant in a central neighborhood that is home to United Nations compounds and a foreign-run hospital.

"Gunman targeted foreigners at Kabul hotel" by Joseph Goldstein New York Times  May 15, 2015

KABUL — A lone gunman, armed with a pistol, rifle, and suicide vest, opened fire in the courtyard of a popular Kabul hotel Wednesday, then went room to room targeting foreigners, according to witnesses and Afghan and foreign officials.

Yeah, whatever. Means it was either a hit team false flag or this is complete fiction.

By the time police killed the gunman, at least 14 people were dead at the Park Palace Hotel, which Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said was targeted “in order to attack the important meeting of senior Americans and other foreigners.”

How they know about it?

In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, the spokesman said it had been conducted by a gunman named Mohammad Edris.

Of course, I believe whatever is cited by my lying, war-promoting press.

Nine foreigners were among those killed, including an American woman, four Indians, two Pakistanis, and an Italian, according to an Afghan security official and foreign diplomats. The US Embassy refused to identify the American.

As violence has surged across the country this year, Kabul has largely been spared of attacks. Many hotels and restaurants that cater to foreigners have increased their security, particularly after an attack in March 2014 at the Serena Hotel killed nine people and the suicide bombing in January 2014 at a popular cafe killed 21.

Wasn't the first or last time I've seen that script.

Police said they were still investigating how the gunman got past hotel security guards.


The attack began in the evening, before a concert featuring one of Afghanistan’s most famous classical musicians. With the musicians still in their rooms, gunfire erupted outside, witnesses said.

Several people were killed in the courtyard, and some of the hotel’s expatriate guests were shot in their rooms as a gunman went door to door, apparently targeting foreigners, survivors and employees said.

Among those killed were several auditors assisting the Afghan government and a consultant working with Afghanistan’s Agricultural Ministry.

Who didn't want some corruption discovered!!???

Until Thursday afternoon, Kabul police officials had declared that five people had been killed. A statement issued by the United Nations, in condemnation of the attack, said 14 people had died. An Afghan security official confirmed those figures.



"Suicide car bomb by Kabul airport kills 3, including Briton.... The attack in Kabul comes amid a stepped-up Taliban campaign targeting foreigners. The assaults show the challenges facing Afghan security forces, which have been in charge of their country’s war since NATO and US troops ended their combat mission at the end of last year."

"Taliban suicide car bombing in Afghan capital kills 4 people.... Shortly after the blast, the Taliban claimed responsibility. It was the third large attack in the capital in the past week. The Taliban said they were behind an attack on a Kabul guesthouse last week that killed 14 people and also a suicide car bombing this week that killed three people."

"Taliban surround Afghan police compound in Helmand; Militant groups battle each other in west province" by Mirwais Khan Associated Press  May 26, 2015

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Taliban gunmen surrounded a police compound in the volatile southern province of Helmand after killing 19 police officers and seven soldiers in an ongoing siege, a senior police officer said Monday from inside the compound.

Yeah, they look defeated.

Napas Khan, the police chief in the Naw Zad district, said by telephone that the insurgents had advanced to within 65 feet of the compound after seizing police vehicles and weapons and blocking all roads out of Naw Zad.

‘‘We need an immediate response from the government,’’ Khan said.

He said the attack started before dawn Monday when the insurgents overran multiple police checkpoints across the district.

‘‘They destroyed or captured most of our checkpoints and now they have reached our police headquarters,’’ Khan said. ‘‘They are mostly firing at us from the hills overlooking our compound.’’

As Khan spoke, gunfire and shouting could be heard in the background.

Helmand has long been a heartland for the Taliban, who profit heavily from opium produced in its fertile river valley.

AP must be smoking the opium.

Government forces launched an operation against the insurgents in March, in the hope of reducing the effect of the Taliban’s annual warm-weather offensive. Since that offensive was launched, however, in late April, attacks across the country have intensified, spreading government forces thin.

Looks like we're losing.

As well as the time-worn guerrilla-style tactics of fight-and-run, the insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks and, in some areas, targeted assassinations and kidnappings.

The Taliban, however, have also been clashing with rival insurgents claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group, officials said. In three days of clashes in the western Farah province, at least 10 Taliban fighters and 15 Islamic State supporters were killed, Governor Asif Nang said. He provided no further details.

Yeah, now U.S-supported and trained ISIS™ is now in Afghanistan.

The clashes provide the latest indication of a small but growing Islamic State presence in the country. Afghan and foreign officials differ over the extent to which the extremist group, which rules large parts of Syria and Iraq, is able to operate in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been waging war against the Western-backed government for more than a decade.

Also on Monday, a suicide truck bomb attack and a separate roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan killed 11 people and wounded dozens more, officials said.

The truck bomb struck the gate of the provincial council’s compound in the capital of Zabul province, killing at least five people and wounding 62, council director Atta Jan Haqbayan said.

Three of the wounded were council members, Haqbayan said. Mirwais Noorzai, Zabul’s police chief, said the attacker used a small truck.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

The hallmark of a false flag.

Insurgents have stepped up attacks in recent months in Zabul, which borders Pakistan, and a number of Hazara Shi’ite men have been abducted in the province.

Later on Monday, a roadside bomb exploded in neighboring Kandahar province, killing six people, according to the governor’s spokesman, Samim Khopalwaq.

Three police officers were killed elsewhere in Kandahar when a firefight erupted between two groups of officers, said provincial police spokesman Zia Durrani. Four officers fled the scene, he said, adding that the incident was under investigation.

Meanwhile, in northern Sari Pul province, police said the body of a local official in charge of religious affairs, Abdul Wodod, was found Monday, three days after he was kidnapped. General Habib Gulbhary, the provincial police chief, said the man was abducted by unknown assailants.


On the diplomatic front, officials said Monday that a peace envoy from Afghanistan met in western China last week with former Taliban officials with close ties to Pakistan’s intelligence agency, The New York Times reported.

The meeting, hosted by China, was an attempt to keep open the possibility of formal Afghan peace talks. It took place on Wednesday and Thursday in Urumqi, capital of the western region of Xinjiang, which has borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan and is home to many Muslims.

Last week’s meeting was arranged by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the spy agency.

The fact that China agreed to host the talks was the latest sign that Beijing is encouraging peace efforts and an end to Afghanistan’s 13-year civil war.



"Kabul enlists militias to halt losses in northern Afghanistan" by Mujib Mashal New York Times  May 25, 2015

KABUL — Facing a fierce Taliban offensive across a corridor of northern Afghanistan, the government in Kabul is turning to a strategy fraught with risk: forming local militias and beseeching old warlords for military help, according to Afghan and Western officials.


Yup, install the FORMER WAR CRIMINALS the U.S. supported.


“The board ruled that the Taliban is a de facto government, that the Afghan government is unable to control the Taliban or to protect people from the Taliban,” Borowski said. Afghan officials in Washington strongly disagreed with that assessment Tuesday. “The Taliban is not a de facto government in Afghanistan,” said Bilal Askaryar, spokesman at the Embassy of Afghanistan. “Their control is limited, and they are on the defensive.

I wonder what they will do for an encore after the strip tease.

The effort is expected to eventually mobilize several thousand northern Afghans to fight against the Taliban in areas where the Afghan military and police forces are losing ground or have little presence.

The action is being seen as directly undermining assurances by officials that the security forces were holding their own against the Taliban.

Oh, we have been LIED TO AGAIN?

Further, the plan to turn to irregular forces is stoking anxieties of factional rivalries and civil strife in a nation still haunted by a civil war in which feuding militia commanders tore the country apart in the 1990s.

Some of the commanders involved in that bloodletting a generation ago now hold senior government positions and are encouraging the current effort to rearm and mobilize militias.

“We have experienced this failed experiment of militia-making before,” said Fawzia Koofi, a member of Parliament from Badakhshan, one of the provinces where the government is planning to form the militias. “This will spread the war from house to house, starting rivalries as everyone begins arming their own groups.”

The establishment of the Afghan military and police forces, which are said by officials to number more than 320,000 members as of late last year, has been held up as one of the signal accomplishments of the US-led presence here.

By many accounts, the forces have continued to fight effectively in a number of areas across the country, even with far less of the air support and logistical assistance that the United States had provided.

Yeah, sure. Of course, if they get in trouble they can just call ‘1-800-air power.’

But the Afghans are taking casualties at an alarming rate. In the first four months of 2015, more than 1,800 soldiers and police officers were killed in action, and another 3,400 were wounded, according to a Western military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss figures not officially being released by the Afghan government.

That's called progress and success.

Those casualties are more than 65 percent higher than the amount during the same period last year, the official said.

Now, the militia plan suggests diminished confidence in the Afghan army and police forces, which are important national institutions in a country with few of them. Indeed, the stated intent in creating nationalized forces was to replace the patchwork of militias around the country with a unified body that was better trained and more accountable to the government.

I see failure.

Even as Afghan forces launched offensives in insurgent strongholds across the south this year, the military was caught flat-footed by the gathering Taliban forces in the country’s north, according to local accounts and some officials in Kabul, the capital. By April, the Afghan army was losing ground to the Taliban in several northern provinces.

And the NORTH is NOT considered a TALIBAN STRONGHOLD! That's the south and east!

In mountainous Badakhshan, the Taliban broke through army checkpoints, taking prisoners and beheading a number of soldiers. Gruesome accounts of the violence shook public confidence.

I thought Taliban didn't do that. It's an IS shtick.

The Taliban advance spread, threatening more than a few remote mountain districts and suggesting an ambitious Taliban strategy to carve out territory in the north.

This from, what we were told, was a collapsed movement.


"Taliban fighters retake remote area in Afghanistan.... Hundreds of Taliban fighters overwhelmed a remote district in northeastern Afghanistan on Saturday in an area where the government’s influence has waned in the past two years, officials said. The governor of Badakhshan province, Waliullah Adeeb, said security forces had retreated about a half-mile from their position in the center of Yamgan District, a sparsely populated area."

Quick, someone call the police:

"Taliban kill 17 at police station in Afghanistan" by Rod Nordland New York Times   June 13, 2015

KABUL — Afghanistan’s police force took another severe blow from the Taliban on Saturday, as 17 police officers were killed in a clash with the insurgents in the southern province of Helmand, officials said.

The insurgents overran a police base near the center of the strategically important district of Musa Qala, the officials said. Local police officers and witnesses described a large-scale attack that began after midnight and continued until daylight.

“There are also casualties to the Taliban, but we do not know the figures,” said Omar Zwak, the spokesman for the governor of Helmand province. “We are investigating how this happened. Why didn’t the district center headquarters send reinforcements? It’s a big loss. We are saddened.”

Of the 19 police officers stationed at the base, 17 were killed and two were wounded, he said.

One police officer, stationed at a base near the one that came under attack, said the insurgents surrounded it and by dawn had completely destroyed it. Roads around the base were planted with mines and booby traps, preventing its defenders from escaping and other officers from coming to their aid, the officer said.

Musa Qala, in Helmand’s north, adjoins the district of Baghran, which the Taliban already control, according to Major General Mohammad Afzal Aman, chief of operations for the Ministry of Defense. Officers assigned to fight the Taliban in Baghran were stationed at the Takhtapol base, less than a mile from the district headquarters in Musa Qala.

That pisses me off.

Afghanistan’s poorly trained and ill-equipped national police force has borne the brunt of the fighting, and the casualties, in Helmand, as in many other parts of the country. Of the 5,588 Afghan government security forces killed last year, 3,720 of them were police officers — twice the number of regular soldiers killed.

How much has the US taxpayer shelled out for this sh**?

On May 25, 20 police officers were killed in Taliban attacks in Helmand. In April, the provincial police chief in southern Oruzgan province was killed, just six weeks after his predecessor met a similar fate.

“We do not have modern weapons to fight the Taliban and have no aircraft to target them,” said a police officer from Musa Qala, who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make statements to the news media.

What have we given them? Swords and spears?

“When we learned that Taliban ambushed the police base, we cannot assist them, due to fears of ambush or IEDs,” the officer said, referring to improvised explosive devices.


Related: "An Afghan family returning home after fleeing a possible military operation struck a roadside bomb Saturday in the country’s south, killing at least 12 of them and wounding eight, authorities said. The blast struck the family’s van in Helmand province’s Marjah district (AP)."

At least the government is doing a good job:

"Afghan Parliament extends its term" Associated Press   June 22, 2015

KABUL — Afghanistan’s Parliament has voted to extend its term beyond the constitutionally mandated five years, with the support of President Ashraf Ghani.

The term was scheduled to expire Sunday, but lawmakers approved an indefinite extension until an agreement can be reached on how and when to hold national elections.

Ghani’s office said that Parliament “will continue its work” until elections can be held and that a date for those elections would be announced within a month.

Aides to Ghani said the decision was made after consultations among leaders of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches, although some legal analysts and members of Parliament have questioned the legality of the move.

In a separate development Sunday, Taliban insurgents said they were on the verge of taking control of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, and residents began to flee the area, but the central government said its forces continue to control the city. 

Who do you think I'm believing?

For months, several districts in Kunduz and Badakhshan provinces in the north have gone back and forth between government and Taliban control, as the insurgents have intensified their fighting in the north.

Oh, okay. People dying for nothing then.


And the very next day(?):

"Suicide bomber, gunmen hit Afghan Parliament; Taliban attack repelled by government security forces" by Rod Nordland and Joseph Goldstein New York Times  June 23, 2015

KABUL — A Taliban suicide bomber and seven gunmen staged an audacious attack on the Afghan Parliament on Monday just as lawmakers were convening for their third attempt to confirm a defense minister.

That's all it may have been, too -- a staged and scripted incident.

Also Monday, a second district fell to Taliban insurgents in northern Afghanistan.

Oh, the attack took attention of the losing of the war, huh?

The seizure of the Archi district, which borders Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province, deepened concern that an attack on the provincial capital was imminent. It was the second neighboring district to fall in two days.

After the suicide bomber struck the entrance to the Parliament building, Taliban gunmen tried to storm the heavily guarded compound in the heart of the capital. Afghan security forces repelled the attack, killing all seven gunmen and ensuring that no members of Parliament were seriously injured.

Yeah, see? They aren't so bad after all.

But the gun battle left two civilians dead, the Associated Press reported. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said a woman and a 10-year-old girl were killed as the battle raged on the streets outside Parliament. Officials said 31 other civilians were wounded.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the assault.

‘‘Targeting innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan is a clear act of hostility against the religion of Islam,’’ he said in a statement, adding that the attackers ‘‘are criminals who are bound by no creed or religion.’’

Yeah, makes you wonder WHO WAS REALLY RESPONSIBLE! Smells like AmeriKan assets or mercenaries to me! Especially in light of the PAKISTAN-CHINA PEACE TALKS!

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States condemned the attack, which he said ‘‘demonstrates the gulf between the Taliban and the people of Afghanistan and shows blatant disregard for human life and for democracy.’’

That's pretty much a confirmation that they were involved.

The Parliament attack was apparently timed to coincide with the appearance of the acting defense minister, Masoom Stanekzai, in an effort to win confirmation. It was initiated just as Stanekzai and the country’s second vice president, Sarwar Danish, arrived at the hall in southwestern Kabul.

Yeah, who knew all this would be going on?

The country has been without a confirmed defense minister for nearly 10 months, since Ghani’s coalition government was inaugurated in September. Stanekzai was Ghani’s third choice for the post; his other candidates were rejected by Parliament.

The term of the Afghan Parliament expired Sunday, with no arrangements yet agreed upon between Ghani and his coalition partners for new elections. Ghani extended its term in office until new elections are held, although it is unclear whether such a move was constitutional.

Legislators inside the Parliament building posted photographs on Twitter showing the main hall filled with smoke and dust from an explosion. Seconds after the blast, the speaker of the lower house, Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, sought to continue the session, telling colleagues not too worry, even as smoke filled the room and lawmakers could be heard heading for the exits.

Urfanullah Urfan, a member of Parliament reached by telephone inside the hall, said no lawmakers had been killed, “but there are possibilities of minor injuries.”

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, posting what the insurgent group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, described as “live tweets.”

(Blog editor shakes head. It's all a propaganda operation)

“Parliament of the puppet administration of Kabul is under heavy martyrdom-seekers attack at a time which they were casting confidence vote for the minister of defense,” one of Mujahid’s Twitter posts read.

The attack began with a car bomb that detonated in front of one of Parliament’s gates, off one of the city’s main boulevards and a frequent site of suicide attacks. The blast left a crater more than 6 feet wide and blew out windows hundreds of feet away.

In the moment after the blast, at least seven gunmen tried to enter Parliament, but they were thwarted by the building’s security detail, according to police officials.

Urfan, the member of Parliament, said it appeared that some of the gunmen may have entered a nearby building and began firing from that position on Parliament, although other officials said the gunmen were quickly cut down as they charged Parliament.

By early afternoon, seven bodies could be seen laid out on the street. The police and security officials said that all the attackers had been killed.

Police and hospital officials said 31 people were wounded by the blast, mostly nearby motorists and bystanders. Twenty-six of the injured — including five women and three children — were taken to Istiqlal Hospital, said the hospital head, Dr. Mohammad Ali Ehsan.

It was not clear, as of Monday afternoon, when Parliament would convene to consider Stanekzai’s nomination.

In northern Afghanistan, a local police commander said the Archi district fell to the insurgents Monday morning. On Sunday, the Ministry of Defense and other officials confirmed Taliban claims that Chahar Dara district had fallen to the insurgents that morning.

Both districts border the provincial capital, Kunduz, the country’s fifth-largest city.

After seizing Archi district, the Taliban advanced into an adjoining district in neighboring Takhar province, said a former member of the Takhar provincial council, Haji Zia ul Haq.


Can anything stop them?

"Afghan president appoints a second female governor; Expects to face political backlash" by Mujib Mashal New York Times  June 29, 2015

KABUL — President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan on Sunday appointed a second woman as a provincial governor, something that was welcomed by reform-minded activists even though his first appointee has been unable to take office because of fierce opposition and protests.

Already, there are signs that the second female governor, Seema Joyenda, who is to serve in Ghor province in central Afghanistan, one of the poorest places in the country, will face many of the same challenges.

Joyenda, 43, a former member of Parliament and a mother of nine, said she was well positioned to lead the province.

“This is not new to me,” she said. “As their former representative, I traveled the province, I know my people’s pain. This just multiplies my responsibility.”

Yet residents and elders in Ghor, a tribal society with Taliban influences as well as hundreds of militias loyal to local strongmen, expressed misgivings.

“I don’t believe the appointment of a female governor will be effective for Ghor,” said Abdul Basir Qaderi, a local elder. “This is a traditional society, and it is an insecure province facing enemy threats. A female governor will struggle to lead military and security meetings.”

Mohamad Mahdawi, a provincial council member, said he was not optimistic: “The situation here is fragile, and a woman cannot have an active military position in suppressing the enemy.”

As this debate unfolded, Masooma Muradi, appointed by Ghani to govern Daikundi province, has been stranded in Kabul as protesters linked to a strongman in Daikundi have held sit-ins to keep her from office.

Strongman means he is one of those warlords the U.S. is turning to for help.

One of Ghani’s chief aims has been to increase the representation of women in his government. He has appointed three female Cabinet ministers, a female judge to the Supreme Court, and promised to appoint more women as governors and ambassadors.

Many see that as a slight shift from the administration of his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, who appointed one female governor, Habiba Sarabi.

“The commitment of the current government is better,” said Sarabi, who now advises Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s chief executive, who shares power with Ghani.

It's a GOLDEN ERA for women in Afghanistan!

The two men “have promised to appoint three female governors,” Sarabi said. “But the selection needs to be very careful as we women are vulnerable.”

Joyenda lamented that her appointment comes at a time when international aid had diminished and the “government is struggling economically.” Meeting the needs of people in a deprived province like Ghor, with a literacy rate of about 21 percent, will be difficult, she said.

“I do wish I had been appointed to a province that if it had security problems, it would be better on the development front, and that if it had development problems, it would be better on the social front,” she said. “Ghor, unfortunately, has problems in all those areas. But we will adjust to the reality, we will try to be transparent with the little we get and make sure everyone feels a part of the government.”

Governors, who control all civilian and military activities in each of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, enjoy substantial authority and patronage, at least on paper.

End print version. 

Yet in a country where institutions often take a back seat to warlords and strongmen, a governor is required to maneuver among clashing local forces. What is happening over Muradi’s appointment is an example of that. Provincial strongmen and political leaders in Kabul want one of their allies to become governor.

There have been similar protests against the appointment of a new governor for Bamian province, a man, suggesting that Muradi has been as much a victim of clashing political interests as of sexism.

“The ordinary people of Daikundi are happy with the central government’s decision to appoint a female governor, and they fully support the decision,” said Haji Ghairat Jawaheri, a member of the provincial council in Daikundi. “However, there are a series of issues relating to political leaders here that is stopping her.”

A senior official in Kabul said negotiations with various factions in the provinces were continuing. “The government will not backtrack from its decision as it will set a wrong precedent,” added the official, who asked not to be named to avoid angering the parties involved in the negotiations.

Jawaheri said that nearly 100 activists went to the Daikundi police chief Sunday and asked him to disperse the protests so Muradi could take office. Then, they appealed to the demonstrators, saying, “Let her hold the position to prove that she is able to bring changes in Daikundi,” suggesting that if she failed, they could then stand against her, Jawaheri said.

“But the protesters did not give us any positive response,” he said. “They invited us to join in their protest.” 

So what were they really protesting?

In a separate development Sunday, Zafar Hashimi, Ghani’s deputy spokesman, said the Islamic State is now active in the Afghan provinces of eastern Nangarhar, western Farah, and southern Helmand. He said the government is determined to drive the militants out and has launched operations against them. 

They can't even take on Taliban but they are going to get IS!

The Taliban, who have been at war with the government for nearly 14 years and are also active in the three provinces, have warned the Islamic State to stay out of the country. Both groups want Islamic rule, but the Taliban do not recognize their rival’s self-styled caliphate.  

That means the enemy of my enemy.... sigh.


This won't make the women happy:

"Afghan judge halts four death sentences" Associated Press  July 03, 2015

KABUL — An Afghan court has overturned the death sentences for four men convicted of taking part in the mob killing of a woman outside a Kabul shrine, a judge said Thursday.

Three of the men convicted of the murder of Farkhunda Malikzada in March were instead given 20-year sentences, and the fourth was sentenced to 10 years, said Appeals Court Judge Abdul Nasir Murid.

The ruling was made in a closed-door hearing Wednesday and first reported by the independent Tolo TV, which said the court acquitted the peddler at the shrine who allegedly incited a mob by falsely accusing Malikzada of burning a Koran.

Word of the ruling outraged her family, which has no legal representation in the case and had not been directly informed of the change in sentencing.

‘‘The verdict of 20 years means freedom, it means they will be released. We want the earlier decision for the death penalty,’’ Malikzada’s brother Najibullah, 37, said.

Lawmakers and activists also criticized the ruling, saying the court bowed to the conservative religious establishment and failed to uphold rule of law.

The war has been lost in every way, shape, and form. 


And with no law, it's the Wild West:

"Afghans protest US raid on gun cache" New York Times   June 30, 2015

KABUL — Protesters in the northern Afghan province of Parwan blocked the main highway there Monday after US forces raided the village of a local leader and blew up his weapons depot, officials and residents said.

The raid Monday morning demonstrated that US troops in Afghanistan, even months after President Obama declared their regular combat mission over, are engaged beyond their publicly stated role of advising the Afghan forces and carrying out targeted counterterrorism operations.

Yeah, OBAMA is a LIAR!!

It also highlighted how, despite a lengthy campaign to disarm illegal militias, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, armed groups that have no apparent ties to Al Qaeda or even the Taliban are considered by the US mission as much a threat as the insurgency, which is waging a sustained offensive across the country.

That strips away all pretense. It isn't about terrorists or anything else; it's about occupying the place for geo-strategic purposes.

The raid target was Jan Ahmad, a local commander who fought the Soviets and then the Taliban. Hours after the raid, shops in Charikar, the capital of Parwan province, remained closed as Ahmad’s supporters shouted “Death to America” and “Death to the enemies of Islam.”

He must have turned on AmeriKa.... or AmeriKa turned on him (it's happened before).


"Afghan commandos raid, search Doctors Without Borders post" by Joseph Goldstein and Ahmad Shakib New York Times   July 04, 2015

KABUL — Afghan military commandos raided and searched a Doctors Without Borders’ hospital in the north of the country, firing several shots in the air and threatening the staff, the humanitarian group said Friday.

In a statement, Doctors Without Borders condemned the “violent intrusion,” which occurred on Wednesday, as a breach of the Geneva Conventions.

That's okay; they are a U.S. ally. 

The group said that it had temporarily suspended work at the facility, which is in Kunduz, and is the main trauma hospital in Afghanistan’s northeast. The hospital has stopped admitting new patients, although the current patients are still being treated, the organization said.

What were they doing, treating Taliban wounded?

“This serious event puts at risk the lives of thousands of people who rely on the center for urgent care,” Dr. Bart Janssens, the organization’s director of operations, said in the statement.

The local army brigade commander in Kunduz, Colonel Nader, said he did not think the army was involved. “Afghan National Army Special Forces have neither raided any hospital nor arrested anyone whatsoever,” he said. “We completely deny that Afghan National Army had any involvement at all.”

Why would Doctors lie?

Local officials, however, speculated an army unit from another part of the country was involved. Calls seeking clarification from the Interior Ministry went unanswered Friday night.

Afghan civilians hurt in crossfire and bomb blasts across the nation turn to trauma care hospitals run by nongovernmental groups like Doctors Without Borders or Emergency, an Italian group. Patients often come from neighboring provinces for care.

The hospitals generally refuse to permit armed men onto the premises, but they treat not only civilians but also wounded combatants from both sides of the conflict. “We never take sides,” Janssens said in the statement. “Our doctors treat all people according to their medical needs.”

That's why they were raided. 

It's a war crime, by the way, raiding a hospital.

The doctors often offer the best, and usually only, front-line care in a conflict that is killing and wounding more civilians than ever before.

It's the END of the GOLDEN ERA, thank God!

Which reminds me, wanna hear any rap tunes?

Civilian casualties from the war exceeded 10,000 people last year, the highest number since the United Nations began tracking them in Afghanistan in 2007. That number is expected to increase this year, as the Taliban gain ground and the fighting grows fiercer between the insurgents and the Afghan army and police forces, which number more than 300,000 strong.

(It is with a feeling of resigned sadness and failure with which I read that).

Doctors Without Borders has been operating in Afghanistan for 30 years, although it did withdraw from Afghanistan for a five-year stretch after five staff members killed in 2004.

Kunduz, a commercial city near the border with Tajikistan, has been threatened by the Taliban since April, with fighting encroaching into the city’s outskirts. The government has rushed forces in from across the country to fight the insurgents.

Doctors Without Borders said that this was the first “armed intrusion” at the facility, known as the Kunduz Trauma Center, since it opened four years ago.


"Suicide bomber attacks NATO convoy near US Embassy in Kabul; Casualty count is unclear; more violence elsewhere" by Sayed Salahuddin and Daniela Deane Washington Post  July 01, 2015

KABUL — A suicide bomber targeted a NATO convoy on the road between the international airport and the US Embassy here in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, police and a NATO official said.

It was not clear how many people were killed or wounded in the afternoon attack.

A spokesman for the NATO coalition, Tommy Fuller, confirmed that a coalition convoy came under attack, but he said there were no casualties among the troops.

Witnesses said five Afghan civilians were killed, however, and more than half a dozen wounded. The attack occurred near a shopping plaza, about 500 yards from the embassy.

The blast shook buildings and rattled windows in the capital’s heavily fortified diplomatic enclave, news reports said. An armored vehicle, part of the NATO convoy, was badly damaged, witnesses said.

The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack, which came as government employees were leaving their offices and traffic was heavy during a shortened workday as part of the fasting month of Ramadan.

A second attack occurred outside the main police station in the capital of southern Helmand province. Two civilians were killed and 50 people, including several police officers, were hurt, according to provincial officials.

The attacks came just hours after President Ashraf Ghani said at an event in Kabul that despite growing violence, political instability, and the emergence of the Islamic State militant group in some areas of the country, Afghanistan will not collapse.

Ghani urged regional powers, including Russia and India, to forge a consensus, however, on how to stabilize his country.

Why is he turning to outside powers when he has AmeriKan peacekeepers on soil?

Since assuming office 10 months ago, Ghani has focused on improving ties with neighboring Pakistan, where the Taliban leadership is thought to reside. He has also tried to procure monetary aid and weapons for Afghanistan for its fight against the Taliban and other extremist groups.

But Taliban insurgents have stepped up and broadened their attacks despite an unprecedented round of meetings between Afghan and Pakistani officials. Ghani hopes that Pakistan can persuade the Taliban to agree to some political negotiation. Many Afghans, however, remain skeptical of Pakistan’s role as an interlocutor.

Last week, Taliban insurgents attacked the Afghan parliament, an audacious daylight assault that forced lawmakers to flee the heavily fortified government installation.

Meanwhile, an official said Monday that 11 Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taliban ambush in a western province that borders Iran, according to the Associated Press. On the same day, six other troops lost their lives during a battle with the Taliban in southern Kandahar province.

Yup, war is going real good and its conning to an end.

The Afghan army convoy in Herat province was heading to a neighboring province on Sunday when it came under attack, said Hesanullah Hayat, spokesman for the provincial governor, the AP reported.

The western region has experienced increased insurgent activity since the Taliban launched its spring offensive in April.

Attacks across the country since then have forced Afghan security forces to spread out, thinning their ranks and leading to an uptick in the number of casualties suffered by the army and the police.

But Ghani sounded a defiant note on Tuesday, saying, ‘‘No one should gamble that, God forbid, Afghanistan will collapse.’’

‘‘We have lived for 5,000 years and protected this soil and will give sacrifice for another 5,000 years to protect this soil,’’ he added.

Sounds of desperation.


"Afghanistan, Iraq bombings kill 54; One attack hits checkpoint at US military base" by Rahim Faiez Associated Press  July 13, 2015

KABUL — A wave of bombings killed at least 54 people in Afghanistan and Iraq on Sunday, authorities said.

A suicide car bombing near a US military base in eastern Afghanistan that once hosted CIA employees killed at least 25 civilians, local officials said, the latest insurgent attack after foreign forces ended their combat mission there.

The Afghanistan bombing hit a checkpoint monitored by members of the Khost Provincial Force, an Afghan unit that guards Camp Chapman for the American forces there, said Youqib Khan, the deputy police chief in Khost province.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the bomber was trying to get onto the base or what led to his attack, Khan said.

A local hospital received the bodies of the civilians, most of whom were women and children, said Dr. Hedayatullah Hamedi, the province’s health director.

“The explosion was so loud and strong that almost all of the city of Khost was shaken by the blast,” provincial police chief General Faizullah Ghyrat said.

The suicide bomber carried out his attack when many civilian vehicles were waiting to pass by on a main road, said an Afghan police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to discuss the attack. He said the women and children killed and wounded were in vehicles waiting for their turn to pass.

Foreign and Afghan forces blocked journalists and police from accessing the site after the blast.


Pentagon officials referred comment to NATO authorities in Afghanistan. In a statement, NATO said “no US or coalition personnel were injured as a result of the attack,” without elaborating.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Another hallmark of a false flag.

Camp Chapman, named after the first US soldier killed in combat in the war in Afghanistan, is near Forward Operating Base Salerno, a large Soviet-built airfield that was targeted by a Taliban truck bombing in June 2012.

Camp Chapman was the site where seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer were killed in a Pakistani Taliban suicide bombing in December 2009.

Related: Who Feels Sorry For the CIA?

That they were given State Department cover?

Six more agency personnel were wounded in what was considered the most lethal attack on the CIA since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001 and possibly since the 1983 embassy bombing in Beirut.

It’s not clear whether the CIA still operates out of Camp Chapman.

The beginning of the article implied they didn't!!!

In a separate development Sunday, Afghan security officials said a pair of roadside bombings killed at least 12 civilians in the country’s east and north. The Taliban frequently use roadside bombs and suicide attacks to target Afghan army or police forces across the country....


Just remember, it is the GOLDEN ERA!

"Afghan, Pakistan toll put at 149,000" Washington Post  June 04, 2015

WASHINGTON — War has directly resulted in the deaths of 149,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan between 2001 and 2014, according to estimates in a new report released by Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. That figure includes US military members, contractors, and opposition fighters — as well as at least 26,270 civilians in Afghanistan and 21,500 in Pakistan.

These figures illustrate not only the drastic human cost of the US-led “war on terror” in Afghanistan since 2001 but also that the war is not over.

‘‘While the US formally ended combat operations in Afghanistan in December 2014, US uniformed troops remain advising the Afghan security forces and engaging in combat,’’ the study’s author, Boston University professor Neta Crawford notes. ‘‘The war has not diminished in intensity. Rather . . . in the numbers of civilians and Afghan military and police killed, the war has escalated.’’

Figures included in the report show that civilian deaths in Afghanistan appear to have grown over the past few years.

While the study finds that the vast and growing majority of these civilians appear to have been killed by antigovernment forces, Crawford observes that a downward trend in the number of civilians killed by pro-government forces appears to be reversing.

The report also emphasizes that the conflict in Pakistan is heavily affected and has resulted in a high number of casualties as well, with a total of 57,000 killed versus 92,000 in Afghanistan.


They would have been better of being tortured in prison:

"Guantanamo detainees ask to be freed, saying war is over" Associated Press  June 18, 2015

WASHINGTON — Two Guantanamo Bay detainees are using President Obama’s own words to argue that the US war in Afghanistan is over — and therefore they should be set free.

The detainees, who were captured in Afghanistan, are asking a federal court to consider at what point a conflict is over and whether Obama crossed that line by saying the American ‘‘combat mission in Afghanistan is ending.’’

The questions are important since the Supreme Court has said the government may hold prisoners captured during a war for only as long as the conflict in that country continues.

‘‘The lawyers for the detainees are asking the right questions,’’ said Stephen Vladeck, a national security law professor at American University. ‘‘And what’s really interesting is that the government can’t quite seem to figure out its answer.’’

Yeah, war-criminal tyranny is interesting.

The Justice Department is opposing the detainees’ challenges, arguing that the conflict in Afghanistan has clearly not concluded and that the president did not say all fighting had ended.

The court challenges are the latest example of the yearslong legal wrangling tied to Guantanamo, whose status as a prison for terrorism suspects has long defied resolution. Obama promised to close the prison at the US naval base in Cuba and has transferred out more than half of the detainees who were there when he took office in 2009. In just the last week, six detained Yemenis were relocated to Oman, leaving 116 prisoners.

You can pause for a look.

At its peak, in June 2003, Guantanamo held nearly 700 prisoners. More than 500 were released under President George W. Bush. Obama came into office pledging to close the prison in a year, but Congress stopped him by imposing restrictions on transfers.

Obama could close it with one of those executive orders, but he doesn't have the balls.

Over the last decade, detainees have challenged the military tribunal process used to prosecute them, their treatment behind bars, and efforts to force-feed them, among other issues.

Government no longer releasing information about what is happening there.

The latest arguments, which could presumably be adopted by other detainees captured in Afghanistan, have played out in recent months in the federal court in Washington. No judge has yet ruled, though legal experts say they expect an uphill battle for the detainees, given the deference courts generally afford the government on matters of national security.

And a losing one.

One of the petitions was brought by Faez Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti who was shipped to Guantanamo following his 2001 capture after the battle of Tora Bora. Another came from Muktar Yahya Najee al-Warafi, a Yemeni who a judge has determined aided Taliban forces.

The two men, both held without charges, argue that an end to the fighting in Afghanistan means their detentions are now unlawful under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. That law provided the legal justification for the imprisonment of foreign fighters captured on overseas battlefields. The Supreme Court stressed in a 2004 opinion, Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, that such detention is legal only as long as ‘‘active hostilities’’ continue. 

Everything Hitler did was legal, too. No longer can the U.S. lecture others on human rights.

Defense lawyers say Obama unequivocally signaled an end to the military conflict when, on Dec. 28, 2014, he declared, ‘‘Our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.’’ 

But we are leaving behind 10,000 or so troops just in case (as the war escalates!).


Yeah, about those peace talks:

"Afghan government holds talks with Taliban" by Joseph Goldstein New York Times   July 07, 2015

KABUL — After years of failed efforts, an Afghan government delegation met with Taliban officials in the Pakistani capital Tuesday in a significant effort to open formal peace negotiations, according to Afghan, Pakistani, and Western officials.

The Islamabad meeting was the most promising contact between the two sides in years, and it followed a series of less formal encounters between various Afghan officials and Taliban representatives on the sidelines of international conferences. The Taliban denied or played down those meetings but by late Tuesday night had not issued any statement confirming or denying the Islamabad session.

A peace process that would lead to the Taliban ending their insurgency has long been seen as a crucial part of the US strategy to stabilize Afghanistan after a long and costly 14-year war.


New York F***ing Times!!!!!!!

But previous promising moments in that effort, including the formal opening of a Taliban political office in Qatar in 2013, either fizzled or backfired, with the insurgents expressing more interest in meeting with US officials than Afghan government representatives in any case.

Now, even as the Taliban are making some of their biggest gains on the battlefield in years, they have appeared more willing to talk. Some Western and Afghan officials see that shift as evidence of the Taliban’s long-term inability to dominate the entire country by force even if they have succeeded in capturing parts of it. 

If you turn that inside-out and upside-down then it makes sense. The U.S found they couldn't dominate and now want to talk as they are losing on the battlefield.

On the Afghan side, officials said the delegation was led by Hekmat Karzai, the deputy foreign minister and a prominent cousin of the previous Afghan president. Other members of the delegation included a member of the government’s high peace council and several important regional representatives, officials said. 

I kinda miss him.

On the Taliban side, however, it was unclear who was attending. Afghan and Western officials characterized the insurgent representatives as mid-level but significant, including some Taliban officials who had gone to the less-formal talks.

I no longer take peace talk seriously in a war-promoting paper. Sorry.

Afghan and Western sources said officials from the United States and China were at the meeting as observers Tuesday and were expected to attend a follow-up session Wednesday. China has played a growing role in trying to broker peace talks.

President Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, said the White House welcomed the talks, calling them “an important step in advancing prospects for a credible peace.”

The meeting in Islamabad was an important victory for Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, who has spent considerable political capital over the past seven months trying to persuade Pakistan to help bring the Taliban to the table.

Still, expectations for concrete results are not high. The Afghan government and its foreign backers are likely to consider the meeting a success even if the only point of agreement is to meet again, regardless of whether the fighting continues or escalates, according to one senior Western diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering colleagues, amid concern that the Taliban would be less forthcoming if word of the talks leaked out.

That is where the print copy ended it.

In the past, both the Afghan government and the Taliban have been wary of using Pakistan as a go-between for discussions. For its part, the Afghan government has long feared that the Pakistan military would scuttle any peace talks in hopes of using the Afghan Taliban, its traditional ally, as a proxy force to maintain its influence over Afghan affairs.

Elements of the Afghan Taliban, even as they have found shelter in Pakistan, have chafed at their vulnerability to the country’s military and intelligence forces. That, in part, is why the group opened a political office in Qatar and insisted that any official diplomatic communications go through there.

But the Pakistani role in aiding and hosting the meeting Tuesday was taken by some officials as the most concrete sign yet that Pakistani attitudes toward the Taliban were changing, at least to some degree. 

Attitudes were changing, but not in that way.

Another turning point came in December, when the Pakistani Taliban carried out a gruesome attack against a school in Peshawar. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured Afghan leaders that Pakistan made it “clear to the Afghan Taliban that they could either join the peace process or face the consequences,” a senior Afghan official who was present for one such conversation said in May.

That school attack was a fake.

While Taliban figures of varying significance have met with Afghan leaders in the past, the group has often said afterward that they were acting as private individuals, not in their official capacities. After one such meeting in Qatar, the Taliban released a statement saying that it “should not be misconstrued as peace or negotiation talks.”

After Afghanistan’s main peace envoy met with former Taliban officials in western China in May, the insurgents sounded a more strident note, deriding reports of the meeting as part of a disinformation campaign by Kabul.

“The enemy wants to raise the spirits of its morale-lacking security personnel with such propaganda while publishing false news about the Mujahedeen,” it said in a statement.

The diplomat said that the Afghan government did not expect the meeting to have much affect on the fierce fighting currently underway, but that it hoped it could yield a framework for future discussions in the coming months. 

And how many more lives must be lost over lies?

In a telephone interview in June, a member of the Taliban delegation in Qatar, speaking on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to brief the press, said that the increase in informal diplomatic meetings in recent months was a natural outgrowth of the insurgents’ stronger military position.

Political progress is connected to military progress,” the Taliban official said. “The more the military achievements increase, the more the political efforts and activities increase.” 

They are thinking more like AmeriKa all the time!

Still, for the past decade, the Taliban have expressed a desire to discuss a possible settlement to the war not with Afghanistan, but with the United States, which it considers the real power behind the Kabul government. But intermittent efforts to establish such talks have largely faltered.

The one deal the two sides have struck — the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was being held in captivity, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — proved to be a one-time deal, despite anticipation that it might lead to more sustained negotiations.

Sorry for vacating the story.

When the US combat mission officially came to a close at the end of last year, formal peace talks seemed less likely than ever, at least in the short term. Most military analysts assumed that the Taliban would try to press its military campaign even harder now that the Afghan military is no longer backed to the same extent by US forces.

Return of print.

Even with an apparent opening for substantive talks, one concern is that lower-level Taliban commanders would bridle or even split off if talks with the Afghan government reached a serious point, especially given their more recent battlefield gains, officials said.

In recent months, too, the Taliban have faced a threat that could intensify its risk of splintering: the emergence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. That group, though not yet thought to pose a significant threat in Afghanistan, has managed to attract a wide array of disaffected Taliban leaders and other insurgents who doubt that the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, is even alive. The Islamic State has managed to push the Taliban out of at least one district in the eastern province of Nangarhar, and skirmishes between the two groups have broken out in several provinces.

The Islamic State’s appearance in Afghanistan could persuade the Taliban to seek a political settlement to the war if the Taliban leadership believes fighters will continue to defect. 

Oh, that's what the IS disinformation is for.

On the other hand, the diplomat said, the Islamic State’s growing relevance could reduce the possibility of peace talks. Under that scenario, any move to negotiate peace would have the effect of speeding up defections to the rival group.

Or the U.S. could ally with the Taliban.


RelatedWhere will all the weary Taliban fighters go?

Wherever the U.S. sends them.

"Pakistan sees progress in Afghanistan, Taliban talks; Both sides agree to hold more meetings soon" by Asif Shahzad Associated Press  July 09, 2015

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan said Wednesday the first official face-to-face discussions between Afghan government officials and the Taliban have made progress, with the two sides agreeing at a meeting near Islamabad to work on confidence-building measures and hold more such talks after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

I'm not against. I'm always for peace.

The statement by the Foreign Ministry came after Islamabad hosted the landmark, one-day talks Tuesday at the hilltop resort of Murree, close to the Pakistani capital. The meeting, supervised by US and Chinese representatives, ended with both sides agreeing to meet again, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Honestly, the propaganda pre$$ is making too much of this. 

What's the agenda-pushing angle?

The talks came after several informal contacts between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives, most recently in Qatar and Norway.

See: SILLI Scandinavia

The fact that Tuesday’s talks were the first formally acknowledged by the Afghan government and the semi-public nature of the meeting suggested possible progress, after years of frustration in trying to bring the two sides together.

The Islamabad statement said the participants recognized the need to ‘‘develop confidence-building measures’’ and exchanged views on ways to bring peace and reconciliation to Afghanistan, where fighting has continued since the Taliban were removed from power by US-led forces in 2001.

Since taking office in September, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has made it a priority to find a peace accord for his country. He has sought Pakistan’s help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence with the group.

Afghan forces are now bearing the brunt of the insurgency after the US and NATO forces reduced their combat role.

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the development, praising Pakistan and thanking Washington and China. ‘‘We believe that if there is a good and strong intention in the peace process, there will be good results,’’ the ministry said. Previous efforts to start a dialogue had stalled. Also, there have been differences among the Taliban over the talks in the past. It was not clear whether the Taliban representatives who attended the Pakistan meeting had the green light from their supreme leader, Mullah Omar, or the insurgents’ political office in Qatar.

Mullah Omar has not been seen in public for more than a decade, and the Taliban themselves are divided among various factions. Some of the Afghan insurgents have also recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group fighting.

Analysts believe there is no guarantee all factions would fall in line — even if the talks made significant breakthroughs. Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, told a local TV station that with so many groups in the mix, it is likely each would question what it could gain from peace.

‘‘I don’t see a cease-fire anytime soon, say in next six months,’’ she added.


That's the first step towards peace.

A Taliban statement by the insurgent group’s spokesman did not provide clarity on whether the talks were fully endorsed by Taliban leadership.

But a Pakistani intelligence official familiar with the meeting said the Taliban delegation was led by Mullah Abbas Stanekza and included Mullah Jalil, both considered important Afghan Taliban leaders.


Golden era almost at an end. Hope you enjoyed it.


"Afghan Taliban leader backs peace talks with Kabul officials" by Rahim Faiez Associated Press  July 15, 2015

KABUL — The reclusive Afghan Taliban leader backs peace talks with the Kabul government, saying in a rare message Wednesday that the goal of these efforts is an ‘‘end to occupation’’ by foreign forces.

This guy hasn't been seen in years and is likely dead. It's the OBL angle for propaganda purposes.

Mullah Mohammad Omar’s message was released ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In the statement, he also urged Muslim leaders of the world to unite and pledged to continue holy war, or jihad, until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

Related: When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing 

It has reached the point where "voice recognition and a broadband Internet connection [can] cater to digital whims."

He made no specific mention of the first face-to-face Kabul-Taliban talks that were hosted by Pakistan earlier this month. The talks, supervised by US and Chinese representatives, were said to have made progress, with the two sides agreeing to work on confidence-building measures and hold more such meetings after Ramadan. The talks came after several informal contacts between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives, most recently in Qatar and Norway.

But during and immediately after the July 7 meeting near Islamabad, it was not clear whether the Taliban representatives who attended had the green light from Mullah Omar or the insurgents’ political office in Qatar, which was specifically set up to work toward a peace deal.

Wednesday’s message appeared to be Mullah Omar’s endorsement.


Ousted from power by the 2001 US-led invasion, the Taliban soon regrouped as an insurgency battling NATO troops and Afghan security forces.

After the war began, Mullah Omar went into hiding and has not been seen in public since.

Though the Taliban are divided among rival factions, Mullah Omar continues to enjoy the loyalty of many local figures.

Also Wednesday, a suicide bomber attacked a police checkpoint in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, authorities said. General Nabi Jan Mullahkhail, the provincial police chief, said the blast wounded four officers. A local doctor, however, said the blast killed three officers and wounded five.

That's the afterthought paragraph of the piece.