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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1500 on: February 01, 2017, 09:22:19 AM »



ISLAMABAD—Pakistan, often in the headlines for terrorism, coups and poverty, has developed something else in recent years: a burgeoning middle class that is fueling economic growth and bolstering a fragile democracy.

The transformation is evident in Jamil Abbas, a tailor of women’s clothing whose 15 years of work has paid off with two children in private school and small luxuries like a refrigerator and a washing machine.

For companies like the Swiss food maker Nestlé SA, such hungry consumers signal a sea-change.

“Pakistan is entering the hot zone,” said Bruno Olierhoek, Nestlé’s CEO for Pakistan, saying the country appears to be at a tipping point of exploding demand. Nestlé’s sales in Pakistan have doubled in the past five years to $1 billion.

Although often overshadowed by giant neighbors India and China, Pakistan is the sixth most-populated country, with 200 million people. And now, major progress in the country’s security, economic and political environments have helped create the stability for a thriving middle class.

More at https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistans-middle-class-soars-as-stability-returns-1485945001
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ya
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« Reply #1501 on: February 04, 2017, 08:49:14 PM »

ISIS recruits background in India...YA

IS suspects had formal schooling’
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT NEW DELHI:  JANUARY 20, 2017 00:00 IST
UPDATED: JANUARY 20, 2017 04:25 IST
SHARE ARTICLE  2 PRINT A A A

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Thursday that 80% of the persons arrested for alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) went to formal schools and only 20% had studied at madrasas (Islamic seminaries).

In one of the biggest crackdown in 2016, NIA arrested 52 persons for allegedly plotting terror attacks and being part of the banned outfit.

NIA said nearly half of the suspects were followers of Ahle Hadith (or Salafis/Wahabis who follow the puritan form of Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia) and 30% followed Tablighi Jamaat (Sunni Islamic movement). Only 20% were Deobandis (Islamic school based in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh) and none of them was from the Barelvi sect.

The NIA also said that 47 of the accused were from the Sunni sect of Islam and five had converted from Hinduism and Christianity.

Elaborating, an NIA official said four persons converted from Christianity to Islam and one converted from Hinduism to join the Islamic State.

All the five accused belong to Kochi in Kerala.

Twenty-eight of the 52 arrested persons were aged between 18 and 25, twenty were in the 25-40 age bracket and four were aged 40 and above.

An analysis of their educational qualification indicated that 20 were graduates and had professional degrees, 12 were diploma holders, 13 had done their matriculation, four studied till the senior secondary level and three were post graduates.

Thirty were from the middle income group, nine from upper middle income group and 13 from the lower income group.

The highest number — twelve each — belonged to Maharashtra and Telangana. Eleven were from Kerala, five from Karnataka, four from Uttar Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.


Of the 52 persons arrested for plotting terror attacks, only 20% had studied at madrasas, says NIA
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 08:50:46 PM by ya » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1502 on: February 27, 2017, 02:21:10 PM »

Analysis

Editor's Note: The following piece is part of an occasional series in which Fred Burton, Stratfor's chief security officer, reflects on his storied experience as a counterterrorism agent for the U.S. State Department.

By Fred Burton

When it comes to combating terrorism, Pakistan is an indispensable ally for the United States. But as the two countries' checkered history shows, it is also an unreliable one.

Pakistan seems to be a constant center of terrorism and chaos. The Taliban and al Qaeda have long been present in the country. Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden even hid out in his compound in Abbottabad, a stone's throw away from a military training compound, before Navy SEAL Team 6 took him out in a 2011 raid. Pakistani officials have denied that they knew about bin Laden's presence. But for those of us who have spent time in the world of counterterrorism, it's hard to believe that one of the world's most wanted people lived in the city for years without being detected by the Pakistani government or its intelligence agencies.

The raid took place only when CIA suspicions about the terrorist leader's whereabouts were confirmed by a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi. He used a fake vaccine campaign to obtain samples of the bin Laden family's DNA, pointing U.S. forces to the compound. For his role in the affair, Afridi was convicted by Pakistan of treason and is currently serving a long prison sentence. Afridi became a cause celebre after U.S. President Donald Trump made a campaign promise to have him freed. But when Pakistan reacted angrily to the suggestion, it became another bone of contention between uneasy allies.

Pakistan's turbulent history also includes a pattern of violence toward its leaders, who have been targets of numerous assassination attempts. In 1988, the mysterious crash of a U.S.-made C-130 claimed the life of President Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq and many of his top generals, along with U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Herbert Wassom and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel. Over a decade later, President Pervez Musharraf survived several attempts on his life. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was not so lucky; she was killed in a bombing in late 2007.

In the late 1980s, I was part of a small U.S. team sent to investigate the crash of Zia-ul-Haq's C-130, a tricky case made more complex by the atmosphere we found in Pakistan. First, Zia-ul-Haq belonged to the Pakistani army, but the country's air force was the branch tasked with coordinating our investigation. As in any nation's armed forces, interbranch rivalries ran deep there. From the first briefing with Pakistani officials, it was clear that they had preconceived notions about the cause of the crash, creating immediate friction with our small team. To make an uncomfortable situation even worse, they closely watched our every move.

As an investigator, I strove to rule in or out the variables that could have caused the crash, such as sabotage, catastrophic mechanical failure or weather. Granted, the event was traumatic to Pakistan; after all, it had lost its president. But it was also unnerving for the Diplomatic Security Service. We had lost our ambassador and a brigadier general. In fact, before Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Raphel was the last U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty.

Pakistan's cooperation with the United States on that case and others has not stopped militant groups from festering in the country, despite Islamabad's campaign against them. Pakistan's hard-line Islamist factions and long-running disputes with India provide a breeding ground for militancy, and Islamabad has even had a hand in fostering groups that later committed acts of terrorism.

The recent house arrest of Hafiz Saeed demonstrates the duality of Pakistan's relationship with the United States when it comes to terrorism. As Pakistan's competition with India over Kashmir heated up in the 1990s, its intelligence services supported the development of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the armed wing of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic charity Saeed had founded. Since being turned loose in Kashmir to harass Indian troops, Lashkar-e-Taiba has pursued its jihadist agenda in other regions as well, targeting Americans among other victims.

Saeed himself is the accused mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people, including six U.S. citizens. The U.S. government offered a $10 million reward for his arrest and conviction for the attacks, which targeted several hotels. Despite the price on his head, Saeed continued to live openly in Pakistan, even giving occasional press conferences. That is, until he was placed under house arrest by Pakistani authorities in late January.

Why the change of heart? It could be to ensure that the new U.S. administration continues to funnel military aid to Pakistan, or to avoid being added to the list of countries with a U.S. travel ban. It could also be a sign of a larger shift in Pakistani politics. Islamabad's reasons are rarely straightforward. Either way, it's unlikely that the Pakistani government is motivated by the prospect of the reward, offered through the State Department's Rewards for Justice program, since states are not eligible to cash in on it.

The one constant I've learned over the years is that Pakistan is key to our silent and sometimes violent war on terrorism. The success of the fight also depends on the continued cooperation of men and women with Afridi's courage. I trust that the Trump administration is working behind the scenes to secure his release. Because if anyone deserves a State Department reward for helping run a terrorist to ground, it's him.
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G M
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« Reply #1503 on: February 27, 2017, 07:31:40 PM »

Fred Burton spelled enemy wrong.


Analysis

Editor's Note: The following piece is part of an occasional series in which Fred Burton, Stratfor's chief security officer, reflects on his storied experience as a counterterrorism agent for the U.S. State Department.

By Fred Burton

When it comes to combating terrorism, Pakistan is an indispensable ally for the United States. But as the two countries' checkered history shows, it is also an unreliable one.

Pakistan seems to be a constant center of terrorism and chaos. The Taliban and al Qaeda have long been present in the country. Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden even hid out in his compound in Abbottabad, a stone's throw away from a military training compound, before Navy SEAL Team 6 took him out in a 2011 raid. Pakistani officials have denied that they knew about bin Laden's presence. But for those of us who have spent time in the world of counterterrorism, it's hard to believe that one of the world's most wanted people lived in the city for years without being detected by the Pakistani government or its intelligence agencies.

The raid took place only when CIA suspicions about the terrorist leader's whereabouts were confirmed by a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi. He used a fake vaccine campaign to obtain samples of the bin Laden family's DNA, pointing U.S. forces to the compound. For his role in the affair, Afridi was convicted by Pakistan of treason and is currently serving a long prison sentence. Afridi became a cause celebre after U.S. President Donald Trump made a campaign promise to have him freed. But when Pakistan reacted angrily to the suggestion, it became another bone of contention between uneasy allies.

Pakistan's turbulent history also includes a pattern of violence toward its leaders, who have been targets of numerous assassination attempts. In 1988, the mysterious crash of a U.S.-made C-130 claimed the life of President Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq and many of his top generals, along with U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Herbert Wassom and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel. Over a decade later, President Pervez Musharraf survived several attempts on his life. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was not so lucky; she was killed in a bombing in late 2007.

In the late 1980s, I was part of a small U.S. team sent to investigate the crash of Zia-ul-Haq's C-130, a tricky case made more complex by the atmosphere we found in Pakistan. First, Zia-ul-Haq belonged to the Pakistani army, but the country's air force was the branch tasked with coordinating our investigation. As in any nation's armed forces, interbranch rivalries ran deep there. From the first briefing with Pakistani officials, it was clear that they had preconceived notions about the cause of the crash, creating immediate friction with our small team. To make an uncomfortable situation even worse, they closely watched our every move.

As an investigator, I strove to rule in or out the variables that could have caused the crash, such as sabotage, catastrophic mechanical failure or weather. Granted, the event was traumatic to Pakistan; after all, it had lost its president. But it was also unnerving for the Diplomatic Security Service. We had lost our ambassador and a brigadier general. In fact, before Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Raphel was the last U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty.

Pakistan's cooperation with the United States on that case and others has not stopped militant groups from festering in the country, despite Islamabad's campaign against them. Pakistan's hard-line Islamist factions and long-running disputes with India provide a breeding ground for militancy, and Islamabad has even had a hand in fostering groups that later committed acts of terrorism.

The recent house arrest of Hafiz Saeed demonstrates the duality of Pakistan's relationship with the United States when it comes to terrorism. As Pakistan's competition with India over Kashmir heated up in the 1990s, its intelligence services supported the development of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the armed wing of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic charity Saeed had founded. Since being turned loose in Kashmir to harass Indian troops, Lashkar-e-Taiba has pursued its jihadist agenda in other regions as well, targeting Americans among other victims.

Saeed himself is the accused mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people, including six U.S. citizens. The U.S. government offered a $10 million reward for his arrest and conviction for the attacks, which targeted several hotels. Despite the price on his head, Saeed continued to live openly in Pakistan, even giving occasional press conferences. That is, until he was placed under house arrest by Pakistani authorities in late January.

Why the change of heart? It could be to ensure that the new U.S. administration continues to funnel military aid to Pakistan, or to avoid being added to the list of countries with a U.S. travel ban. It could also be a sign of a larger shift in Pakistani politics. Islamabad's reasons are rarely straightforward. Either way, it's unlikely that the Pakistani government is motivated by the prospect of the reward, offered through the State Department's Rewards for Justice program, since states are not eligible to cash in on it.

The one constant I've learned over the years is that Pakistan is key to our silent and sometimes violent war on terrorism. The success of the fight also depends on the continued cooperation of men and women with Afridi's courage. I trust that the Trump administration is working behind the scenes to secure his release. Because if anyone deserves a State Department reward for helping run a terrorist to ground, it's him.
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ya
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« Reply #1504 on: February 27, 2017, 09:25:48 PM »

Thanks, the question that needs to be asked is: what advantage is there for Pak to reform themselves ?, it will be a big loss for them.

Why Pak does not want reform:. If there was no worldwide terrorism emanating from Pak, their importance to the US would diminish, Coalition Support Funds would go down, and the  paki army cant have that. The paki army is perhaps the only army in the world which does everything except fight and win wars. They run sugar mills, flour mills, textiles most aspects of Pak business. When the Army Chief retires he gets a huge land allottment for building a farm house ofcourse. Land allottments are not just for the Chief, but lower ranks too, just smaller size land plots. So pak plays truant and the US obliges by becoming their sugar daddy. US support for Pak has a historic basis from the time, when India was aligned with Russia and the US wanted to support Pak to maintain balance of power. I think the US is getting tired of this game and support to Pak is declining, iron brother China is becoming their new sugar daddy. US interests align with those of India, especially to maintain balance of power with China. I expect this trend to continue.

Why there can be no peace with India: Traditionally Pak army has created the India bogey, because without India as an enemy, there is really no reason for them to exist, and their budget would be in the 1.5% range. So with the constant threat of India they have a huge budget (no one knows how much, perhaps 15-20 % with all their businesses). The problem with this is, the pak army sucks most of the money away and there is nothing left for education, health and infrastructure investment. So every year the country becomes more backward, foreign investment falls and the Paki army needs a bigger share to maintain their lifestyle.

Changes with new pak army chief, Bajwa: The outgoing pak army chief, raheel shareef had a congenital hatred of India, he was a sunni muslim. Fortunately he did not get an extension (that's another story), in the power play with prime minister nawaz shareef. Nawaz Shareef played a master card by making Bajwa the new army chief. The rumour is that Bajwa is not a sunni muslim, but a qadiani (Ahmedi sect of Islam, which is not recognized as muslim by Pak, its a blasphemy to be an Ahmedi). Infact, some of his relatives are known qadianis and perhaps even his father was a qadiani. However, a qadiani cannot be army chief, so Bajwa claims to be sunni muslim. Sort of like Obummer being a closet muslim with sympathies towards the religion of peace. What ever the truth, he seems to be moderate and right from the start has made peace overtures to India. Recently he put the terrorist Hafeez saeed under house arrest (mumbai blast master mind). It is not clear, why he is doing that. Is it a genuine peace overture ?, concern that Trump might ban Paki muslims, or perhaps pressure from China (since Indo-China relations are going downhill because of terror from Pak, and the Chinese blocking India's entry to NSG). What ever the reason, no one in India believes in reformation by Pak. We have been down this road too many times to know that paki good behaviour never lasts. Infact if relations start to improve, the ISI arranges for a bomb blast in India, which immediately suts down any peace overtures. China's interest in ensuring paki good behaviour is their 50 Billion $ investment in the CPEC project which goes through Pak occupied Kashmir (territory claimed by India), for India can certainly create mayhem there. So interesting times ahead, a lot of plots with subplots in the story.



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1505 on: March 06, 2017, 02:13:58 AM »



http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/chinese-troops-afghanistan?utm_content=bufferd5e2d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1506 on: March 12, 2017, 07:15:27 PM »

http://ijr.com/2017/03/822619-i-had-dinner-with-the-afghanistan-ambassador-what-he-said-about-the-differences-between-trump-obama-is-stunning/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Owned&utm_term=ijamerica&utm_campaign=ods&utm_content=Politics
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1507 on: March 30, 2017, 10:22:40 PM »



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/29/us-gen-votel-russia-providing-weapons-support-tali/

I know that at some point the majority of our supplies to Afghanistan went through Russia.  I'm guessing this is still the case.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1508 on: April 13, 2017, 01:50:34 PM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/13/pentagon-us-dropped-largest-non-nuclear-bomb-in-af/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWTJNd05HRTFNRFl4TWpZMCIsInQiOiI5RXcxR3pTaWJVd1wvY1wvZ3NGZU5kTWlFeWYxamZua3hrNDk3bG9lXC8xZTRaZU8yNmVuU1NkcFlGMld2TWFjcjBjNkk4VXZucGNyNEt1dlN2Zm1xYlFxTloxc2NXbnE2VllDU1wvYklBbkFuZFBoVTU4TE05MUg5RGZWR2pObTRCVngifQ%3D%3D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17lkdqoLt44&feature=youtu.be
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 04:48:24 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ya
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« Reply #1509 on: April 13, 2017, 08:04:01 PM »

https://www.thebalance.com/cost-of-afghanistan-war-timeline-economic-impact-4122493


Cost of Afghanistan War: Timeline, Economic Impact
The Ongoing Costs of the Afghanistan War

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By Kimberly Amadeo
Updated March 14, 2017
The Afghanistan War was a military conflict that lasted 14 years (2001 - 2014) and cost $1.07 trillion. The Bush Administration launched it in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by al-Qaida. The United States attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan for hiding al-Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden. It was the kick-off to the War on Terror.

The war's $1.07 trillion cost had three main components. First is the $773 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds specifically dedicated to the Afghanistan War.

Second is the increase of $243 billion to the Department of Defense base budget. Third is the increase of $54.2 billion to the Veterans Administration budget. Some of these costs are also attributable to the War in Iraq. But the true cost of the Afghanistan War should include the addition to these departments, even if some of the funds went toward both wars. For more on how to determine the actual cost of defense, see the U.S. Military Budget.

Timeline of Afghanistan War Costs
Here's a timeline of what happened each year. A table that summarizes these costs is below.

FY 2001 - $37.3 billion: Osama bin Laden authorized 9/11 attacks. President Bush demanded that the Afghanistan Taliban deliver bin Laden or risk U.S. attack. Congress appropriated $22.9 billion in emergency funding. On October 7, U.S. jets bombed Taliban forces. On December 7, the Taliban abandon Kabul, the capital. Hamid Karzai became interim administration head.

That same month, ground troops pursued bin Laden into the Afghan foothills. He escaped to Pakistan on December 16, 2001.

FY 2002 - $65.1 billion: In March, the U.S. military launched Operation Anaconda against Taliban fighters. Bush promised to reconstruct Afghanistan, but only provided $38 billion between 2001 and 2009.

Bush turned attention to Iraq War.

FY 2003 - $56.7 billion: In May, the Bush Administration announced that major combat ended in Afghanistan. NATO took over control of the peacekeeping mission. NATO added 65,000 troops from 42 countries.

FY 2004 - $29.6 billion: On January 9, Afghanistan created a new Constitution. On October 9, the U.S. military protected Afghans from Taliban attacks for their first free election. On October 29, bin Laden threatened another terrorist attack.

FY 2005 - $47.4 billion: On May 23, Bush and Karzai signed an agreement allowing U.S. military access to Afghan military facilities in return for training and equipment. Six million Afghans voted for national and local councils. Three million voters were women.

FY 2006 - $29.9 billion: The new Afghanistan government struggled to provide basic services, including police protection. Violence increases. The United States criticized NATO for not providing more soldiers.

FY 2007 - $57.3 billion: Allies assassinated a Taliban commander, Mullah Dadullah.

FY 2008 - $87.7 billion: Violence escalated in Afghanistan after U.S. troops accidentally killed civilians.

FY 2009 - $100 billion: President Obama took office. He sent 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan in April.

He promised to send another 30,000 in December. He named Lt. General McChrystal as the new commander. Obama's strategy focused on attacking resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida forces on the Pakistan border. That added $59.5 billion to Bush's FY 2009 budget. He promised to withdraw all troops by 2011. Voters reelected Karzai amidst accusations of fraud.

FY 2010 - $112.7 billion: NATO sent surge forces to fight the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. NATO agreed to turn over all defense to Afghan forces by 2014. Obama replaced McChrystal with General Petraeus. Afghanistan held parliamentary elections amidst charges of fraud.

FY 2011 - $110.4 billion: Special Forces took out Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Obama announced he would withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and 23,000 by the end of 2012.

The United States held preliminary peace talks with Taliban leaders. (Source: Amy Belasco, "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11," Table A1. Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2014.)

FY 2012 - $105.1 billion: Obama announced the withdrawal of another 23,000 troops from Afghanistan in the summer, leaving 70,000 troops remaining. Both sides agreed to hasten U.S. troop withdrawal to 2013. Their presence had become unwelcome. The Taliban canceled U.S. peace talks.

FY 2013 - $53.3 billion: U.S. forces shifted to a training and support role. The Taliban reignited peace negotiations with the United States, causing Karzai to suspend his U.S. negotiations.

FY 2014 - $80.2 billion: Obama announced final U.S. troop withdrawal, with only 9,800 remaining at the end of the year. (Source: "Afghanistan War," Council on Foreign Relations. "Major Events in the Afghanistan War," The New York Times.)

FY 2015 - $60.9 billion: Troops trained Afghan forces. (Source: DoD 2015 OCO Amendment)

FY 2016 - $30.8 billion: The DoD requested funds for training efforts in Afghanistan as well as training and equipment for Syrian opposition forces. It also included support for NATO and responses to terrorist threats. (Source: DoD 2016 OCO Amendment)

FY 2017 - $5.7 billion: The DoD requested $58.8 billion for Operation Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and the Levant, increased European support and counterterrorism. (Source: DoD 2017 OCO Amendment.)

 [RP1]I agree it’s okay not to spell this out.

Afghanistan War Costs Summary Table (in billions)

FY   Cost of Afghanistan War   DoD Budget Increase   VA Budget Increase       Total             Boots on Ground*   Comments
2001   $29.3   $6.5   $1.5   $37.3   9,700   9/11. Taliban falls.
2002   $22.8   $40.8   $1.5   $65.1   9,700   
2003   $68.4   $36.7   $2.6   $56.7   13,100   NATO enters.
2004   $92.1   $11.6   $2.6   $29.6   18,300   1st vote.
2005   $99.8   $23.6   $3.1   $47.4   17,821   Karzai agreement.
2006   $114.7   $10.5   $0.7   $29.9   20,502   Violence rises.
2007   $161.9   $20.9   $5.3   $57.3   24,780   
2008   $182.9   $47.5   $1.2   $87.7   32,500   
2009   $149.1   $34.2   $9.8   $100.0   69,000   Obama surge.
2010   $158.9   $14.7   $3.9   $112.7   96,900   NATO surge.
2011   $153.3   $0.3   $3.3   $110.4   94,100   Bin Laden killed.
2012   $120.9   $2.2   $2.3   $105.1   65,800   Troop drawdown.
2013   $93.3   -$34.9   $2.6   $53.3   43,300   
2014   $82.2   $0.8   $2.0   $80.2   32,500   Troops leave.
2015   $63.1   $1.0   $1.8   $60.9   9,100   U.S. trains Afghan troops.
2016   N/A   $24.3   $6.5   $30.8   8,370
2017   N/A   $2.2   $3.5   $5.7   N/A
TOTAL   $773.0   $243.0   $54.2   $1,070.2       
*Boots on Ground is the number of troops in Iraq. From 2001 through 2013, it's as of December of that year. 2014 - 2017 is as of May. (Source: "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11," Table A-1. Amy Belasco, Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2014.) Boots on Ground for 2015 is for the fourth quarter and 2016 is from the second quarter. (Source: Heidi M. Peters, "Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007-2016," Table 3. Congressional Research Service, August 15, 2016. "Historical Tables," OMB.)

Cost of the Afghanistan War to Veterans
The real cost of the Afghanistan War is more than the $1.06 trillion added to the debt. First, and most important, is the cost borne by the 2,350 U.S. troops who died, the 20,092 who suffered injuries, and their families. (Source: "Total Deaths KIA," Department of Defense, January 13, 2017.) For details on these casualties, see iCasualties.org.

Improvements in battlefield medicine meant that more than 90 percent of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan survived. That's better than the Vietnam War's 86.5 percent track record. Unfortunately, that also means these veterans and their families now must live with the effects of permanent and grave damage. More than 320,000 of soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq have Traumatic Brain Injury that causes disorientation and confusion. Of those, 8,237 suffered severe or invasive brain injury. In addition, 1,645 soldiers lost all or part of a limb. More than 138,000 have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They experience flashbacks, hypervigilance and difficulty sleeping.

On average, 20 veterans commit suicide each day according to a 2016 VA study.​ The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) found that 47 percent of its members knew of someone who had attempted suicide after returning from active duty. The group considers veteran suicide to be its number one issue. (Source: "A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom," Congressional Research Service, Hannah Fischer, February 19, 2014. "Veterans Group to Launch Suicide Prevention Campaign," Washington Post, March 24, 2014.)

The cost of veterans’ medical and disability payments over the next 40 years will be more than $1 trillion. That's according to Linda Bilmes, a senior lecturer in public finance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The cost of caring for war veterans typically peaks 30 to 40 years or more after a conflict,” Bilmes said. (Source: "Costs of War," Watson Institute at Brown University, September 2016. "Iraq War Lives on as Second-Costliest U.S. Conflict Fuels U.S. Debt," BusinessWeek, January 3, 2012. "Final U.S. Troops Leave Iraq," Bloomberg, March 19, 2013).

Cost to Economy
The Afghanistan War cost more than the $738 billion inflation-adjusted dollars spent on the Vietnam War. It's second only to the $4.1 trillion inflation-adjusted dollars spent during World War II.

Unlike earlier wars, most American families did not feel impacted by the Afghanistan War. Unlike the Vietnam War and World War II, there was no draft. There was no tax imposed to pay for the war. 

As a result, those who served and their families bore the brunt. It will cost them at least $300 billion over the next several decades to pay for their injured family members. That doesn't include lost income from jobs they quit to care for their relative.

Future generations will also pay for the addition to the debt. Researcher Ryan Edwards estimated that the United States incurred an extra $453 billion in interest on the debt to pay for the wars in the Middle East. Over the next 40 years, these costs will add $7.9 trillion to the debt. (Source: "Costs of War," Watson Institute, September 2016.)

Companies, particularly small businesses, were disrupted by National Guard and Reserve call-ups. The economy has also been deprived of the productive contributions of the service members killed, wounded or psychologically traumatized.

There's also the opportunity cost in terms of job creation. Every $1 billion spent on defense creates 8,555 jobs and adds $565 million to the economy. That same $1 billion in tax cuts stimulate enough demand to create 10,779 jobs and puts $505 million into the economy as retail sales. The same $1 billion in spent on education adds $1.3 billion to the economy and creates 17,687 jobs.

Causes
Why did the United States start a war in Afghanistan? The Bush administration wanted to eliminate the terrorist threat of al-Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden. It also wanted to remove the Taliban from power since they provided refuge for bin Laden.

Al-Qaida had been in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power in 1996. Before that, al-Qaida had operated in Pakistan's mountainous western border. It returned to Pakistan when the United States ousted the Taliban in 2001. (Source: "Al-Qaida Backgrounder," Council on Foreign Relations, June 6, 2012.)

The Taliban grew out of Muslim opposition to the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. They came from the thousands of mujahedeen (holy warriors) that arrived from all over the world to fight the Soviets. Ironically, the United States supplied anti-aircraft missiles to the mujahedeen to stop the spread of communism in the Middle East. (Source: "The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan," PBS Newshour, October 10, 2006.)

When the war ended, these mujahedeen battled each other for control of the country. An Afghan contingent joined with Pashtun tribesmen to create the Taliban. They practiced a fundamentalist version of Islam called Wahhabism. The Taliban (which means student) had attended schools funded by Saudi Arabia.

The Taliban promised peace and stability. They controlled 90 percent of the country by 2001. They also imposed strict sharia law, such as requiring women to wear burqas. The United Nations Security Council issued resolutions urging the Taliban to end oppressive treatment of women. (Source: "The Taliban in Afghanistan," Council on Foreign Relations, July 4, 2014.)

Al-Qaida shared a similar fundamentalist Sunni Muslim ideology. The Sunnis believe that Shiites want to revive Persian rule over the Middle East. This Sunni-Shiite split is the driving force of tensions in the area. It is also an economic battle. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran both want to control the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's oil passes.

The Taliban's support of al-Qaida came at a cost. It caused the UN Security Council to issue sanctions against Afghanistan. These sanctions, along with the Afghanistan War, led to the Taliban's downfall from power.
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« Reply #1510 on: April 15, 2017, 08:24:49 AM »

 shocked shocked shocked
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« Reply #1511 on: April 15, 2017, 08:26:12 AM »

I read that the Russians are now supplying the Taliban.

With things as they are between the Russians and America now, I wonder what has happened to Russia being a route for us to supply our troops in Afghanistan?

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« Reply #1512 on: May 27, 2017, 11:19:39 AM »

https://www.dawn.com/news/1335574/defence-budget-set-at-rs9202bn-for-fy2017-18

Pak discloses 19.7 % military spend in budget....its probably much higher....if you spend 20 % on the military, you need to create a few bogies, namely India and terrorism, ISIS etc to justify the spend.

Defence budget set at Rs920.2bn for FY2017-18
Dawn.comUpdated about 10 hours ago
1329     82

Pakistan's defence expenditure in the next financial year will be around 7 per cent higher than it was in the outgoing year to Rs920.2 billion, the government announced in Friday's Budget 2017-18 speech.

The PML-N government's total budget outlay for 2017-18, possibly its last year in power, was Rs4.75tr, out of which 19.36pc has been kept aside under the Defence Affairs and Services head.

The operating expenses for the armed forces have been allocated Rs225.5bn, while almost Rs322bn will be sent on salaries and renumeration. The armed forces will get Rs244bn for 'physical assets' and Rs128.35bn for 'civil works'.

The government will separately pay nearly Rs180bn in pensions to retired military officials and jawans. This does not count in the budget allocated to defence services.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who presented the budget in Parliament, also announced a 10pc increase in the pay of all armed forced personnel as a 'special allowance' in recognition for their sacrifices in the ongoing conflicts across the country.

"I announce today that a 10pc will be given on the pay of all officers and jawans as special allowance. This allowance will be in addition to the increase in pay that will be announced," Dar said as he presented the Federal Budget 2017-18.

The Frontier Constabulary's jawans will also be given a fixed allowance of Rs8,000 per month, the government said. The special allowance and the fixed allowance are both separate from the defence budget.

The 'special allowance' was also topped up with a 10pc ad hoc increase in salaries for army personnel, along with other government employees.

Dar additionally said during his budget speech said the National Security Committee had recommended that 3pc of the provinces' Gross Divisible Pool should also be allocated to defence expenditures; however, the provinces have yet to get on board with this proposal.

"Large operations like Zarb-i-Azb require vast sums. This is our national duty against terrorism for which provision of resources is the responsibility of the entire nation," Dar urged during his Friday budget speech.

The government will also be launching a new scheme through the Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) for the welfare of families of martyrs.

Under this scheme, a guaranteed and enhanced profit will be given as a means of support for martyrs' families.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 11:32:32 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #1513 on: July 13, 2017, 11:42:19 PM »

    Articles

    Regions & Countries

    Topics

    Themes

Forecast Highlights

    The Pentagon's move to deploy more troops to Afghanistan, should U.S. President Donald Trump approve it, would be aimed at empowering the Afghan National Security Forces to eventually inflict enough casualties on the Taliban to encourage them to negotiate.

    Until the factors that contribute to the conflict — including the Afghan forces' weakness and Pakistan's support for the Taliban — have been addressed, the prospects for ending the war will be dim.

    Lax border enforcement between Afghanistan and Pakistan will ensure that militants continue launching attacks into both countries from the border regions, further complicating efforts to end the war.

The invasion routes into Afghanistan are well worn at this point in history. The pathways leading out of the country, on the other hand, are far less clear. This is the predicament U.S. President Donald Trump faces as he weighs the Pentagon's proposal to send up to 5,000 troops to Afghanistan to support the struggling Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in their 15-year war against the Taliban. If Trump approves the measure, Washington will escalate its involvement in a conflict that has so far lasted through two presidencies. The move would entail granting U.S. troops greater authority on the battlefield, and may well invite a commensurate personnel contribution from Washington's allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

But as much as the Afghan military could benefit from reinforcements — the Taliban are intensifying their attacks as part of the group's annual spring offensive — Washington understands that more troops will only accomplish so much. The reasons for the war's endurance are much deeper and more complicated than the number of boots on the ground. And until these underlying factors are addressed, peace will continue to elude Afghanistan.

Enfeebled Forces

One of the biggest issues preventing a resolution to the conflict is the Afghan military's weakness. The ANSF lost a key source of support in 2014 when President Barack Obama ordered NATO troops to draw down from Afghanistan. In the years since, the country's forces have struggled to contain the Taliban insurgency on their own while simultaneously grappling with organizational problems such as corruption, defections and a lack of leadership. The Taliban wasted no time in capitalizing on the security vacuums that resulted, and today the group claims some 40 percent of Afghan territory.

In light of the Taliban's gains, Gen. John Nicholson, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, requested a few thousand more troops in February. The Trump administration, which has so far been willing to delegate greater authority to the Pentagon to prosecute the war, looks likely to approve the request. Yet the president must also consider the political consequences of re-engaging the United States in a distant war when much of the U.S. electorate would rather focus on domestic affairs. Consequently, the troop increase, if approved, will be a modest one.

The measure aims to turn the stalemate in the ANSF's favor to keep it from losing the war altogether, even if it can't win. At the same time, the Pentagon hopes that more U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan will help the ANSF inflict a high enough cost on the Taliban that negotiations become a more appealing option for insurgent leaders than continued fighting. But as history has demonstrated, troops alone will not guarantee progress toward peace. After all, the presence of more than 100,000 U.S. military personnel on the ground in Afghanistan in 2010 couldn't persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.
 
Internal Struggles

In some ways, additional U.S. forces in the country could further undermine the ANSF. The Taliban use the presence of foreign troops on Afghan soil to advance the narrative that their country is under occupation and to recruit new fighters to their cause. The group has also made the withdrawal of foreign forces a precondition for participating in peace talks. Despite the dangers of staying in the country, however, NATO forces understand that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan would be riskier still. The Taliban would likely take more territory — perhaps eventually claiming enough land to effectively reconquer the country. Though the United States is open to a power-sharing agreement that includes the Taliban in the interest of ending the war, it won't tolerate a government led by the group. After all, the last Taliban administration abetted transnational extremist organizations such as al Qaeda by hosting them on Afghan territory.

Afghanistan's mountainous terrain, meanwhile, defies unified governance and economic development alike, posing additional challenges to the peacemaking effort. The dearth of tax revenues makes it even harder for the central government in Kabul to project power in the country's hinterlands or, for that matter, to adequately fund its military. The country's complex milieu of ethnic groups, meanwhile, adds to the difficulties of governing. The current National Unity Government, for example, rests on a shaky compromise between President Ashraf Ghani, a member of Afghanistan's largest ethnic group, the Pashtun, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, an ethnic Tajik. The Taliban have skillfully exploited Kabul's limited reach by installing shadow governors in provinces across the country and establishing courts to mete out justice in accordance with Islamic law. Until the central government has addressed its shortcomings, the Taliban will continue to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan as they wage their insurgency.

Friends in High Places

The Taliban, moreover, has a powerful ally on their side — and just across the border. Pakistan has admitted to hosting elements of the Taliban's leadership on its territory and even nurtured the organization during its infancy, helping the group sweep across southern Afghanistan on its way to conquer Kabul in September 1996. Islamabad's long-standing support for the Taliban reflects its own national security interests: Installing a government in Afghanistan that shares some of its priorities would enable Pakistan to guard against potential encirclement by its archrival, India.

Islamabad's strategy derives in part from its experience with the Bengali independence movement of 1971. India intervened in the conflict that ensued to help East Pakistan achieve its independence as Bangladesh. In the process, Pakistan lost a chunk of its territory and half its population. Islamabad is determined to keep the episode from repeating in its restive western territories along the Afghan border, including Balochistan in southwest Pakistan. The province is home to a secessionist movement whose exiled leaders have sought India's assistance in their campaign against Pakistan's government. Cultivating a relationship with the Taliban offers Islamabad a way to keep neighboring Afghanistan from falling into India's orbit by ensuring that it will have a say in the country's post-war future.

Crossing the Line

The Durand Line, the 2,430-kilometer (1,510-mile) border that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan, has historically facilitated this effort. The border, which cuts through the inhospitable terrain of the Hindu Kush mountains, is porous, enabling Islamabad to project influence into Afghanistan through its support for the Taliban. But after 15 years of war on the other side, the boundary's permeability has become more of a liability than a selling point for Pakistan. Militant inflows into the country have aggravated Pakistan's own internal security problems, prompting Islamabad to try to secure the border. As Islamabad clears the way for a merger between its Federally Administered Tribal Areas and neighboring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, it is even putting up fencing along the Durand Line so that it can devote greater military attention to India.

But effective border management will require Afghanistan's cooperation — something that Pakistan is unlikely to secure. For one thing, the ANSF is already stretched thin in its nationwide fight against the Taliban. For another, by guarding the border, Afghanistan would be recognizing the Durand Line's legitimacy, which it has long contested. Enforcement along the boundary will remain lax, giving militants the continued leeway to launch attacks from the border regions into both countries — and further complicating efforts to end the war.

Beyond the number of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, a complex set of factors underpins the conflict there. Even if a troop increase alters the stalemate in the Afghan government's favor, the ANSF and the Taliban will keep hammering away at each other until one of them relents. As the Taliban reportedly once put it, the United States has "the watches and we have the time." Trump will have to consider these factors as he decides whether to recommit his country to its longest-running war.
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« Reply #1514 on: July 28, 2017, 05:07:30 AM »

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/world/asia/pakistan-prime-minister-nawaz-sharif-removed.html?emc=edit_na_20170728&nl=breaking-news&nlid=49641193&ref=cta&_r=0
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« Reply #1515 on: July 28, 2017, 07:00:07 PM »

This article was written before NS got booted out, amazing nation...YA

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/219584-Not-a-single-PM-completed-five-year-term-in-Pakistan

Not a single PM completed five-year term in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Will history repeat itself? Not a single prime minister in Pakistan has been allowed to complete his tenure since the country’s inception 70 years ago. All eyes are on the Supreme Court which is to announce one of the most important decisions of Pakistan’s history today regarding the fate of democratically-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. History might repeat itself.

The political situation in Pakistan has had a bumpy ride ever since 1947, as four times democratic governments were thrown away by military dictators, one prime minister was murdered while another was hanged by judiciary, while many were sent home by presidents and one was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Another one awaits a decision of the apex court. However, never in the history of Pakistan, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has sent home a PM under Article 184-3 of the constitution which is the suo moto jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s first prime minister was murdered in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951. He had assumed the charge of the premier on August 15, 1947. Then the second PM Khawaja Nazimuddin was sent home by Governor General Ghulam Muhammad on April 17, 1953. Nazimuddin knocked the doors of the Supreme Court where Justice Munir had to invent the doctrine of necessity to validate Ghulam Muhammad’s illegal act. Then came Muhammad Ali Bogra who too was dismissed by Ghulam Muhammad in 1954 but later was again appointed as PM but he did not enjoy majority in the Constituent Assembly therefore Governor General Iskender Mirza dismissed his government in 1955. Chaudhary Muhammad Ali succeeded in becoming the PM in 1955 but because of his conflict with Iskender Mirza who had become president as a result of 1956 constitution, Muhammad Ali resigned on September 12, 1956. Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy was the leader of Awami League and led the party through a victory in the 1954 elections for Constituent Assembly. He was the first person from another party than Muslim League to be appointed as a Prime Minister in 1956. He was deposed in 1957, due to differences with Iskander Mirza.

Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar was appointed by Iskander Mirza after the resignation of Suhrawardy. He remained prime minister for almost two months. Chundrigar resigned from the post in December 1957. Then Mirza appointed Feroz Khan Noon as the seventh prime minister of Pakistan. He was dismissed after Martial Law was declared in 1958 by Ayub Khan.

After thirteen years of Martial Law, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto succeeded to power. Bhutto remained President under special arrangement till 1973 Constitution was passed. He resigned as president to become the prime minister of Pakistan after the 1973 Constitution. He went in to elections in 1977 and succeeded but was deposed the same year through coup d'état by General Muhammad Ziaul Haq in July 1977. He was hanged in 1979 by all powerful military-judicial nexus.

In 1985 non-party elections, Muhammad Khan Junejo was elected as PM of Pakistan under the worst dictators of Pakistan. As he was a political breed, he remained a threat to the dictator therefore his government was dismissed on May 29, 1988, just days after Junejo announced to probe the Ojhri Camp incident in Rawalpindi in which military’s weapons depot was exploded killing around 100 people and injuring thousands.

As a result of 1988 general elections, Benazir Bhutto came into power as PM on December 2, 1988. An impeachment move was shot down by PPP in 1989 but President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Ms Bhutto’s government on August 6, 1990 using the notorious presidential powers of Article 58 (2)b. Mian Nawaz Sharif followed Ms Bhutto and become PM for the first time in 1990. His government was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1993 but the Supreme Court restored it later. However, the famous Kakar formula came into play when the then Army Chief Waheed Kakar forced both, Mian Nawaz Sharif and Ghulam Ishaq Khan to resign on July 18, 1993.

Ms Benazir Bhutto again became PM of Pakistan in 1993 but her second government also could last three years and his own handpicked loyal president Farooq Laghari conspired against her and dismissed her government in November 1996 using Article 58(2)b. Mian Nawaz Sharif again became PM of Pakistan as a result of February 1997 election but on October 12, 1999, General Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency in the country and threw Nawaz Sharif out of the power.

Then three PMs under the dictator Musharraf served the office, of which Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali could hold the office for 19 months only and was sent home by Musharraf. Chaudhary Shujaat acted as a stopgap arrangement for two months before Musharraf’s friend Shaukat Aziz became PM in August 2004.

As a result of 2008 general elections, PPP succeeded to secure majority in the National Assembly and Yusuf Raza Gilani was elected as the PM. It was all well for Mr Gilani until he was convicted in a contempt of court case in Supreme Court for not writing a letter against the sitting president to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases. Gilani remained PM of Pakistan from March 25, 2008 to June 19, 2012. The remaining term of PPP government was completed by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who held the office from June 2012 to March 2013.

Mian Nawaz Sharif became the PM for the third time in 2013 but as he entered the last year of his tenure, he has been engulfed by Panama Papers case in Supreme Court. The SC will announce an important judgment on Friday (today) which will decide the fate of Nawaz Sharif. Will the history repeat itself and no PM in the past 70 years would be able to complete his tenure? The answer is yet to come. Fingers are crossed.
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« Reply #1516 on: August 02, 2017, 12:27:15 PM »

As the newest administration in Washington hammers out a strategy for the war in Afghanistan, a rift has opened among U.S. policymakers about how to proceed. On one side is the Pentagon, which has proposed sending up to 3,900 troops to the conflict-ridden country. If approved, the move would escalate the United States' involvement in the war, which began over 15 years ago. On the other side of the debate is the White House, where reports have emerged of calls to draw down the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. War fatigue, spurred by an unwillingness to wade deeper into a feud whose resolution eluded the administrations of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is clearly setting in.

Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asia Alice Wells will lead a delegation to the capitals of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on Aug. 2 to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump's South Asia strategy. It will be the second American delegation to visit these areas in the past month, after U.S. Sen. John McCain led a congressional delegation to Islamabad and Kabul in early July. Despite expectations that its Afghanistan strategy would be revealed in mid-July, it appears that the Trump administration is still mulling its options.

A troop increase would help the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, which currently number 352,000 troops, break their ongoing stalemate with the resilient Taliban. If deployed, the U.S. forces would support Washington's two ongoing missions in Afghanistan: Operation Resolute Support, which is led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and focuses on training, advising and assisting the Afghan military, and Operation Freedom's Sentinel, a counterterrorism mission targeting al Qaeda and the Islamic State's Khorasan chapter. By contrast, a troop decrease would satisfy U.S. lawmakers eager to pull out of the conflict. But with the Afghan army already straining to keep the Taliban in check on its own, withdrawing U.S. troops without compensating for their removal in some way would tip the scales in the Taliban's favor.

Regardless of which path the Trump administration takes, one thing is clear: The Taliban are winning. The militant organization continues to control or contest up to 40 percent of the territory in Afghanistan — a level of dominance that has spurred the Pentagon's request for more troops in hopes of inflicting enough damage to force the insurgents to lay down their arms and negotiate.

How Did We Get Here?

In December 2014, Obama ordered the end of Operation Enduring Freedom — the mission Bush launched in October 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and with it formal combat operations in Afghanistan. The decision moved the United States, along with its NATO and coalition allies, into a smaller supporting role for the Afghan military, which became responsible for fighting the war. But in the year following the drawdown, the diminished international troop presence had serious consequences on the battlefield. The Taliban conquered 24 district centers in 2015, compared with only four in 2014. Moreover, casualties (defined as deaths and injuries) saw a 37 percent increase in 2015 over 2014 — an uptick that particularly affected civilian women. 2015 was also the year that the Islamic State's Khorasan chapter formed in Afghanistan, injecting a new and destabilizing element of transnational jihadism into the conflict. Finally, September 2015 saw the Taliban briefly overrun Kunduz, marking the first time since 2001 that the group had taken control of a city.

These clear signs of trouble factored into Obama's decision in October 2015 to keep 9,800 troops in the Resolute Support and Freedom's Sentinel operations through January 2017. (This number was later modified to 8,400 troops.) In doing so, the president reneged on his promise to end the war before leaving office, passing the conflict on to his successor instead. So while Trump said little about Afghanistan on the campaign trail, his new administration has been paying attention to the moves of Gen. John Nicholson, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan. And during a congressional testimony in February, Nicholson requested a few thousand more troops, hoping to break the ongoing stalemate.

Washington is now weighing its options to determine whether it will fulfill that request. If it does, most of the U.S. troops deployed would join Operation Resolute Support to train, advise and assist the Afghan military. But they would do so at the brigade level rather than the higher corps level, meaning they would be closer to ground-level operations in Afghanistan. This move takes its cue from the Afghan Special Security Forces, which boast only 12,000 personnel and yet are considered the most effective of Afghanistan's combat forces. (They take advice from NATO down to the tactical level.) Fresh U.S. troops would also help to advance Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's military road map. His four-year plan, which includes strengthening the Afghan air force, calls for nearly doubling the number of Afghan special operations forces and placing them at the center of offensive operations, supported by conventional forces. The new U.S. troops would likely arrive during the summer fighting season that commenced on April 28 under the name Operation Mansouri, named for the slain Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
At its highest, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan reached over 100,000.

The Pakistan Problem

The Pentagon's most recent six-month review of the war in Afghanistan revealed that Pakistan is yet another complicating factor in Washington's efforts to make real progress in the conflict. The report cited Nicholson as saying that the sanctuary Pakistan has given to the Taliban and Haqqani network presents the greatest external threat to NATO's counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan. Washington and Kabul have accused Islamabad of playing both sides in the conflict: While Pakistani forces continue to attack militant outposts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan, Islamabad also has a reputation for hosting insurgents. In fact, Pakistan has admitted to harboring Taliban leaders before, and in 1994 the country was instrumental in nurturing the jihadist group during its infancy, supporting its eventual conquest of Kabul in September 1996.

Pakistan's rationale for helping the Taliban highlights its fundamental divergence from the United States on the matter of Afghanistan. Washington, for its part, remains committed to its goal of stabilizing the country so that extremist organizations cannot use it as a base for launching attacks against the United States or its allies. The White House supports an Afghan-led peace process, which would end the war by forging a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Islamabad, however, views Afghanistan through the prism of its relationship with Pakistan's archrival, India. Islamabad's support for the Taliban rests on the expectation that if the group enters a power-sharing agreement with the Afghan government, it will serve Pakistan's interests by limiting India's presence in the country.

Of course, Pakistan is aware that India could respond by encouraging Pakistani secessionists in the borderland province of Balochistan, which would jeopardize the construction of Islamabad's flagship economic project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But Islamabad also believes that an Afghan government including the Taliban would naturally prioritize religious motivations and would not be interested in spurring the unification of the ethnic Pashtun regions on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. (In the 1970s, Kabul floated the idea of merging these regions into one state called Pashtunistan, an initiative that would carve a sizable chunk out of Pakistan's western territories.)

Aware of Pakistan's motives in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is pushing a strategy that would pressure Islamabad, by withholding aid and launching more drone strikes in and beyond the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, to take a more serious stance against jihadist sanctuaries. But there are limits to how much the United States can afford to alienate Pakistan, since it cannot resolve the Afghan conflict without Islamabad's help. Indeed, Washington's ultimate goal is to use Islamabad's cooperation to bring Taliban leaders to the table. But Pakistan, whose strategic imperative is to limit India's influence in Afghanistan, will keep supporting the Taliban and frustrating the United States' plans. As a result, an eventual end to the insurgency will largely depend on the Afghan military's ability to rein in the Taliban on its own.

A Murky Future

In the wake of more pressing foreign policy challenges, including North Korea's missile program and the Syrian civil war, the war in Afghanistan has become a lower priority for the United States. Should Washington give in to its war fatigue and pull its troops out of Afghanistan, it's unclear just how big the drawdown would be. Either way, the presence of fewer troops will force the United States to turn to other measures, such as a greater emphasis on special operations forces and drone strikes, to maintain in its missions in Afghanistan. If, on the other hand, the Pentagon succeeds in sending more troops, the increase will still be only modest, suggesting the United States is interested in conflict management rather than conflict resolution. Regardless of the path the Trump administration chooses, none seem designed to successfully end the war as it rapidly approaches its 16th year.
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« Reply #1517 on: August 05, 2017, 12:58:05 PM »

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/world/asia/iran-afghanistan-taliban.html?emc=edit_ta_20170805&nl=top-stories&nlid=49641193&ref=cta&_r=0
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« Reply #1518 on: August 26, 2017, 01:59:11 PM »

https://www.michaelyon-online.com/afghanistan-trump-going-in-circles.htm
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« Reply #1519 on: August 26, 2017, 08:21:56 PM »

I am in no position to challenge Michael Yon's thinking, as he has ground experience. With that out of the way, I think he is giving too much credence to the multiple tribes as to why Trump cannot solve Af-Pak. Afghans have a few major ethnicities, eg Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik and Hazaras. Each can have multiple tribes. For the most part, Pashtuns are the main ethnicity we need to be focussed on. For the first time an American President is listening to his generals, who identified the problem, i.e. Pakistan. He also got the second important part right, he has threatened to let India into Afghanistan (what pakis fear most). Trump can win this , if he does what he has threatened to do. If he fails it will be because he did not do what he said and listened to Pak supporters in the State department (Robin Raphael).  The reason the US has failed is the sanctuary that Taliban get in Pak. Look at the picture below, its obvious, you need to get access to the underground sanctuaries (Pak), if you wish to solve the problem. So far the US has been playing whacka mole with the Talibs....YA

« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 08:24:32 PM by ya » Logged
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« Reply #1520 on: August 27, 2017, 01:32:19 AM »

A fair and reasoned opinion YA, to which I would add my particular refrain about peeling off Pashtunistan from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 10:20:21 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #1521 on: August 27, 2017, 07:55:56 AM »

A fair and reasoned opinion YA, to which I would add my particular refrain about peeling off Pashtunistan from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I also like Michael's analysis.  I'm wondering if the Pashtuns are the good guys, the bad guys or just a separate group.

Bacha Bazi
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/an-afghan-tragedy-the-pashtun-practice-of-having-sex-with-young-boys-8911529.html
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 10:19:58 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #1522 on: August 27, 2017, 10:39:11 AM »

To win in Afghanistan, we will need to do things differently, for several decades the US has supported Pak perfidies, Trump can be the agent of change, but I am not yet convinced that he will do what he threatens to do. The US will also need to change a few things, depending on what is important to the country in the long term. The Taliban can only hide, if they have access to sanctuary cities  grin in Pak, without that they are mince meat. Here are a few pain points for Pak.
1. $ aid, weapons aid needs to be stopped. Let them rely on Chinese weapons. CPEC will destroy Pak, there is no way that Pak can ever hope to pay back China. Watch what happened in Hambatonta port (Sri Lanka), which was built by Chinese aid. We have probably not discussed CPEC (Colonizing Pak to Enrich China) much, a major disaster for Pak in the offing. Pak will end up ceding land in Gwadar as a warm weather military port.
2. Take away major Nato ally status. That will hurt their H&D (honor and dignity) and continue to drone them as necessary.
3. Pak provides access to US military supply routes: This can be dealt with in two ways, direct rapproachment with Iran or a back channel negotiation with India who built Chabahar port and route to Afghanistan, for a direct and safer supply line to Afghanistan. This is an alternative to using Karachi or Gwadar port (Chinese built) in Pak. See map below. News reports suggest that the Chabahar route is now open.

4. Declare Pak as major terror sponsoring nation. They deserve that accolade more than any other nation. As of today, Pak's green passport is not welcome anywhere and there are only a few islands in the pacific which allow them visa free entry.
5. Finally, if the problem persists a decision needs to be made as to should Pak keep its nuclear weapons. Based on the risk of radicals getting traditional nukes or more likely small mass produced battle field nukes (tactical weapons that no one talks about), Pak needs to be broken (split). Pak has been broken once (1971 creation of Bangladesh), it needs to happen once more, for its far too powerful in its current configuration. The threat to break up Balochistan (independent country occupied by Pak) should be credible. Again not many are aware of the independence movement in Balochistan (topic for another day).
6. The previous US thinking of supporting Pak vis a vis India originates from the days of the cold war. Now China is the main competitor for India and the US and both countries interests converge. Pak is anyway under Chinese influence and has moved away from the US. Already their generals have shifted allegiance to China.

The US has a lot of pressure points in Pak, should Trump decide to use them...YA

P.S. I love the use of the word "Baccha bazi" by westerners...its a cute word thats very hard to translate in the cultural sense, even though its literal meaning is well understood by all.
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« Reply #1523 on: August 27, 2017, 12:11:28 PM »

This is a longish report by ex-Pak ambassador to the US, Mr. Hussein Haqqani and Lisa Curtis from the Hudson Institute, as to how the US should deal with Pak. I note the very similar suggestions that I outline in my post above. The good ambassador is however no longer welcome in Pak!. In essence he suggests the stick when dealing with Pak and he commits the cardinal sin of recommending that Pak should forget inciting terrorism in  Kashmir and instead focus on getting their own house in order. The only country that can save Pak, is India (via trade), but if they trade with India and peace reigns, why would they need the Pak army ?....and so the cycle of terror continues under the tutelage of the Pak army.

https://www.hudson.org/research/13305-a-new-u-s-approach-to-pakistan-enforcing-aid-conditions-without-cutting-ties
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« Reply #1524 on: August 30, 2017, 07:58:15 AM »

When rulers seek unslayable dragons to destroy, they should remember Elba. This tranquil, idyllic isle off the coast of Tuscany was, from May 1814 to April 1815, home to Napoleon Bonaparte. The British and their allies had exiled him there, leaving him to govern the island's 12,000 souls. The emperor, a title he was allowed to keep, enjoyed two splendid houses, a magnificent library, servants, a small army and the company of family and retainers. This was a life for a king, but small recompense for a man who sought to rule the world.

Rather than write memoirs of one of history's greatest dramas, Napoleon escaped. But, wrote biographer Philip Dwyer, "Napoleon left Elba not to save France, but to save himself from oblivion." As we now know, his decision to resume the fight against Britain proved to be a mistake. His country's humiliation followed at Waterloo, leaving thousands of his countrymen and their opponents dead or mutilated and forcing him to abdicate again. He ended his days, not in the congenial splendor of Elba, but on another island, Saint Helena, in the icy waters of the south Atlantic. He died there in 1821.

As I explored the grounds of Napoleon's Palazzina dei Mulini, I thought of U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to send another 4,000 American troops to Afghanistan. The United States' battles began there in 2001, ostensibly with the limited objective of removing Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda followers from the country. That was 16 years ago. Sending more soldiers to risk their lives in the South Asian quagmire would make sense if Trump's strategy differed from the doomed policies of the past. But it doesn't.
A Not-So-New Strategy

No one but a fool — and Trump is no more foolish than his predecessors in the long Afghan war — believes in a magic formula for the use of armed forces to win the war. The Taliban's members are Afghans. They have long received help from neighboring Pakistan and, recently, from its Shiite enemies in Iran. Thanks to geography, culture and language, Iran and Pakistan understand Afghan dynamics better than "the best and the brightest," as David Halberstam put it, from the Ivy League and Mar-a-Lago. I remember how Syria and Iran ran rings around the United States and Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s, to the point that Washington, which abominated Damascus, begged it to send troops back into Beirut in 1987.

Trump outlined a "new strategy" in his Aug. 21 speech. It consists, he said, of not mentioning "numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities"; integrating "all instruments of American power — diplomatic, economic and military"; and changing "the approach in how to deal with Pakistan." His disdain for complexity and diplomacy, which requires dealing with everyone involved on Afghanistan's plains — Pakistan, Iran, India, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, NATO and the Afghans themselves — does not bode well for peace. Most soldiers I've known who have served in Afghanistan contend that military victory, which means eliminating the Taliban, is not viable.

Pentagon sources recently told The Wall Street Journal that around 12,000 American military personnel are based in Afghanistan. Trump's 4,000 will raise that figure to 16,000. Afghanistan's population totals 34 million, 40 percent of whom are from the Pashtun community that dominates the Taliban. Will an additional 4,000 young men and women from the American heartland really make a difference in a country of 34 million people?

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, an old friend and former classmate, has worthwhile ambitions for his country. But it is unlikely that 4,000 more foreign troops will help him to achieve them. Ghani, as hardworking and honest a man as anyone I know, has multiple, potentially Sisyphean, tasks before him: unifying a land that has resisted unity for ages; elevating women to the status of full citizens; cleansing Afghan life of the corruption that cripples the nation's economy and society; and, most importantly, ending the state of war that has persisted there since the Soviet invasion of December 1979. He cannot do this without the cooperation of neighboring states, an understanding with the Taliban insurgents his army is battling and a consensus among his people.
A Path That Has Already Ended in Defeat

America, like Napoleon in 1815, is overstretched. It is engaged in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, while providing arms to governments to repress their populations in some countries and to rebels to overthrow their leaders in others. At home, Americans are confronting one another over history, race and class in ways that should alarm the White House but don't. In 1931, eight years before the Second World War broke out in Europe, Sir Leo Chiozza Money wrote a book called Can War Be Averted? Whether or not war could have been averted, it wasn't and 50 million people died. Money wrote, in words that we might recall today as wars engage the United States around the world and the threat of a nuclear holocaust looms from North Korea, "And just as within a nation social justice must be done before social peace can be attained, so in the world some better approach to equality of opportunity must be made if we wish for peace."

As I watch sailboats riding at anchor off Elba, I wish that Napoleon's confidants had persuaded him to stay on the island, govern it well, cultivate his garden and write books. The failed emperor, however, was unlikely to heed anyone who told him that the same strategy, the same tactics, the same army and the same enemies would produce the same outcome: defeat. In Afghanistan, Trump's "new strategy" looks a lot like the old: counterinsurgency, reliance on unreliable local informants to discover who is and who isn't a member of the Taliban, drone attacks, torture and search and destroy. It hasn't succeeded, and the president gave no reason to believe that an extra brigade on the ground will make it work. My generation remembers Lyndon Johnson's and Richard Nixon's assurances that new approaches would reveal the elusive "light at the end of the tunnel" in Vietnam. We didn't see it until April 1975, when helicopters evacuated the last Americans from Saigon.
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« Reply #1525 on: August 30, 2017, 05:19:55 PM »

Very nicely written article/post, complete withdrawal for the US is an option (probably the wise thing to do), but if the decision has been made to stay in Afghanistan to avoid a power vacuum (like in Iraq, Libya), following the old strategy would guarantee failure (as it has not worked for the last 16 years). I personally do not think Trump will succeed, not because his plan is bad, but because he will not have the guts to execute it. The US has the option to apply incredible pressure on Pak, a country which has now become a Chinese proxy...but for some reason does not. Pak is a failed state, they are bankrupt, IMF keeps propping them up. Their news reports suggest they have money for like 2 weeks of gas and will need to borrow to payoff loans!.The Chinese under CPEC build coal plants in Pak where the guaranteed return is like 18-30 % using foreign coal, chinese prison labor and Chinese equipment. Final cost of electricity is between 2-3 x what it costs in India, which means Paki industry can never be competitive, so the loans will not be paid. Pak will end up giving up territory to China.
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« Reply #1526 on: August 31, 2017, 05:21:29 PM »

Trump should stop feeding pak peanuts!, they might get a stomach ache.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/08/31/pakistan-lawmaker-denies-billions-islamabad-peanuts/

Pakistani Lawmaker Denies ‘Billions’ in U.S. Aid to Islamabad: It’s ‘Peanuts’

Chaudary Nisar Ali KhanAP/B.K. Bangash
by EDWIN MORA31 Aug 201791
A leader of the ruling party in Pakistan has reportedly denied that the United States has provided about $30 billion in American taxpayer funds for security and economic aid to Pakistan since the war started in neighboring Afghanistan 16 years ago.
“It’s not billions of dollars, it is peanuts,” claimed Chaudhry Nisar, a Pakistani lawmaker who until recently served as the country’s interior minister, reports Dawn.

He urged Islamabad to carry out an audit of U.S. aid it has received in the last decade.

Since the war in neighboring Afghanistan broke out in October 2001, the United States has provided “nearly $30 billion” in American taxpayer money for security and economic aid to Pakistan, revealed the U.S. National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015.

Nisar argued that the United States has provided funds to its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for “services rendered by Pakistan” in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

“If our bill [for military services] is $500 million, they [US] sit on it for months … and end up giving us $200 million,” complained the Pakistani politician.Well they bill twice the original amount

CSF refers to U.S. aid that is eligible to be used to reimburse coalition partners for logistical and military support to American military operations.

In recent years, the United States has withheld millions of dollars in reimbursement payments to Pakistan, with plans to cut more, over its refusal to take action against the Afghan Taliban and its ally the Haqqani Network.

Most recently, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration decided to cut about $50 million in 2016 CFS payments to Pakistan.

The Trump administration has also decided to withhold $400 million in 2017 CFS funds to Pakistan, according to the NDAA for that year.

In total, the U.S. has provided $14 billion in CFS funds alone to Pakistan, reported the Washington Post, citing the Pentagon.

While announcing his Afghan war strategy last week, U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged recently that the United States has been “paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars” while the Muslim country has been “housing the very terrorists we are fighting” in neighboring Afghanistan.

The leader of the ruling PML (N) party in Pakistan, Nisar, denounced Trump’s accusation that Islamabad is providing shelter to Islamic terrorists, echoing other officials from his country.

Last week, President Trump accused Pakistan of providing “safe havens to agents of chaos and terror,” to the ire of Islamabad.
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« Reply #1527 on: September 17, 2017, 09:18:56 PM »



https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/16/world/asia/kabul-green-zone-afghanistan.html?emc=edit_th_20170917&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193&_r=0
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« Reply #1528 on: October 05, 2017, 12:09:25 PM »

https://conservativetribune.com/mattis-rules-of-engagement/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=AE&utm_campaign=can&utm_content=2017-10-04
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« Reply #1529 on: November 22, 2017, 07:24:46 AM »

The ravages of a seemingly endless war have kept the United States mired in South Asia for over 16 years. In August, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed a new solution to the intractable conflict in Afghanistan. The new strategy would focus not on meeting a specific deadline but rather on achieving the conditions necessary to bring peace to the war-torn country. To that end, Trump urged India to play a greater role in Afghanistan's economic development. He also had a few choice words for Pakistan.

The president took the large nuclear power, home to more than 200 million people, to task for continuing to harbor militant groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani network. To compel a change in Islamabad's behavior, the Trump administration has threatened to revoke Pakistan's non-NATO major ally status and withhold more of the billions of dollars in aid that the United States has given the country each year since 2002. But the threats aren't working. On Nov. 9, NATO commander Gen. John Nicholson said Pakistan is still offering haven to militants. And even if Washington takes harsher punitive action toward Islamabad, it won't achieve the results it's hoping for. Militancy isn't the only enemy in Afghanistan; the United States is also fighting against the basic forces of geopolitics.
The Struggle for Survival

The foundations of geopolitics lie in the assumption that all nations are trying to survive and that to do so, they employ strategies based on the resources they have available to them. For Pakistan, the fight for survival dates back to its very birth as a country. Just two months after gaining independence in the partition of the British Raj in 1947, Pakistan was embroiled in its first war with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Pakistan's founder and first leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was acutely aware that some circles in India expected their fledgling neighbor state to collapse and began diverting resources away from development to national defense. In the process, he bestowed unrivaled power on the Pakistani army. An ineluctable principle soon emerged that guides Pakistan's foreign policy to this day: India is the enemy.

Tempting as it may be to accuse Pakistan of paranoia, it's important to consider the country's position. Pakistan already shares one border with its archrival. The last thing it wants is to have to contend with New Delhi along its western border — an area whose ethnic and linguistic diversity has given rise to unrest and insurgency — as well. With that in mind, Pakistan must keep New Delhi from establishing a presence along the Afghan border, while working to forge friendly ties with the government in Kabul. (India, likewise, uses development funding to try to buy influence with the Afghan administration.)
Bequeathing a Strategy

After the Soviet-Afghan war began in 1979, the United States helped Pakistan project power into Afghanistan through proxy forces as part of its wider struggle against communism. The CIA, along with Saudi Arabia, funneled money and arms to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to train, arm and dispatch the mujahideen, a motley crew of religious and nationalist warriors, against the Soviets. Eager to destroy the godless ideology of communism — which in their view had no place in the devoutly Muslim country — the mujahideen eventually prevailed. The Soviets, beleaguered after a decadelong counterinsurgency war in unforgiving terrain, withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Washington soon followed suit, leaving the rival mujahideen to vie for control of Afghanistan. The ensuing civil war paved the way for a new fundamentalist movement known as the Taliban to rise to power in southern Afghanistan in 1994.

For Pakistan, which had grown frustrated backing the mujahideen parties, the Taliban presented an opportunity. By supporting the organization, Islamabad could try to stabilize Afghanistan and to use the country as a conduit for energy from neighboring Turkmenistan. Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's administration began funding the Taliban, helping the group take control through its conquest of Kabul in September 1996. That's where Islamabad's interests in Afghanistan started to conflict with those of Washington.

The Taliban played host to Osama bin Laden and his organization, al Qaeda. From the mountains in Afghanistan, bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that prompted the United States to invade in October 2001. The Pentagon's main objective in Afghanistan was to prevent militant groups from using the country as a base for launching transnational attacks. Pakistan, meanwhile, maintained its links to its proxies in the Taliban to keep its stake in Afghanistan.
The Limits of Power

More than a decade and a half later, the intransigence of the United States' longest-running war has compelled the Trump administration to reassess Washington's relationship with Islamabad. By every measure, the United States is more powerful and influential than Pakistan is. It boasts the mightiest military in the history of the world along with an $18 trillion economy. Pakistan, by contrast, is a poor country, and its military — though a formidable fighting force — is no match for the U.S. armed forces. Despite the disparity, however, Washington has failed to coerce Islamabad into cutting ties with the Taliban.

The United States' own cost-benefit calculation is partly to blame for this failure. Consider, for instance, bin Laden's discovery in 2011. Finding the world's most wanted man in Abbottabad, a garrison town in northeastern Pakistan, doubtless raised questions in Washington about the Pakistani army's ties with the militants. Nevertheless, the United States continued its aid to Islamabad, which totals $33 billion to date. The Pentagon concluded that the benefits of a security partnership with Pakistan, including access to critical supply routes and help flushing out al Qaeda operatives seeking refuge in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, outweighed the costs of Islamabad's selective ties with militants. Neither President George W. Bush nor his successor, Barack Obama, would risk jeopardizing those benefits.

That may change under Trump. His administration so far has shown a willingness to question long-standing conventions in U.S. foreign policy as the United States takes a step back from global affairs to focus instead on domestic issues. Washington's alliance with Islamabad could be one of them. But even if Trump and his generals follow through on their threats to punish Pakistan, they are unlikely to change its behavior. So long as the country's survival is at stake in the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan will bear the costs of the United States' rebuke and probably seek alternative sources of funding, namely China. And from Islamabad's perspective, the resurgence of Hindu nationalism in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an existential threat. The movement's hard-line factions, after all, have never reconciled themselves to Pakistan's statehood and still regard it as an affront to their country's territorial integrity. Should Modi win a second five-year term in office in 2019, as he is expected to, his victory would strengthen Islamabad's desire to keep New Delhi from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan — and, by extension, its support for the Taliban.
The View Ahead

Pakistan's actions in Afghanistan derive from the same quest for survival that underlies any country's foreign policy. Ironically, Washington encouraged the very behavior that so vexes it today by helping Islamabad refine its strategy for proxy warfare in Afghanistan during the Cold War. But geography is the real culprit. Even if the last NATO soldier were to vanish from the desolated Afghan landscape tomorrow, Pakistan and India's imperatives to deny each other a space in the land known as "the graveyard of empires" would continue as before.

As part of that mission, the Pakistani army is currently sharpening its country's territorial contours by building a fence along the border with Afghanistan. The initiative is part of a plan to pacify and fully absorb the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which have defied governance since at least the colonial period, so the army can turn more of its attention toward India. The army has also sponsored a proposal to start giving militants an outlet in mainstream politics as a way to exert greater control over them. (The backlash that the creation of the new Milli Muslim League party inspired from Pakistan's Ministry of the Interior suggests, however, that the effort will be yet another source of contention between the country's military and civilian institutions.) And so, as the United States mulls more serious measures to try to weaken Pakistan's support for the Taliban, it will probably only weaken its partnership with Islamabad instead.
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« Reply #1530 on: November 24, 2017, 03:33:34 PM »

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/world/asia/kabul-explosion-police.html?mc=adintl&mcid=facebook&mccr=subscribers&subid2=orange&ad-keywords=GlobalTruth&subid1=TAFI
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« Reply #1531 on: December 08, 2017, 08:43:07 PM »

Paki humor from ZH. They think they are a superpower, same air marshall said pakis will land on the moon in 2 years.

Pakistan Air Force Ordered To Shoot Down US Military Drones
Tyler Durden's picture
by Tyler Durden
Dec 8, 2017 7:35 PM

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has just been ordered to shoot down any foreign drones that violate the country’s airspace including attack drones operated by the United States, Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said on Thursday.
The announcement is a complete change from the air force’s previous view, of which foreign drone strikes on its soil were condemned but the air force never threatened to shoot them out of the sky. “We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace. I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad.

The statement was made about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region along the border of Afghanistan, leading to multiple casualities, The Times of India reported.

This is the first time, the Pakistani government has taken a hard stance against foreign drones, especially the ones operated by US forces based in Afghanistan. The comment from Aman was shocking despite the US has been launching missiles into Pakistan and violating the country’s sovereignty since about 2004. The CIA was responsible for most US drone strikes in Pakistan until November 30, 2017, said The Times of India.

It’s believed, senior members of terrorist groups have been killed over the years in drone strikes, but it has come at a cost of “hundreds of civilian” deaths in the form of collateral damage.

After every drone strike, the Pakistan foreign office issues a condemnatory statement claiming that it will not allow such strikes on its territory.

 Hundreds of civilians, according to media reports, including women and children, as well as many senior members of terrorist groups have perished in these attacks. The status of many more people remains unknow
There has been no official response from the White House concerning this radical shift of how the ‘war on terror’ just got a little more complex over the skies of Pakistan.

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« Reply #1532 on: December 08, 2017, 11:56:57 PM »

December 4, 2017
Pakistan’s Disunion Puts Investment at Risk
By Kamran Bokhari

Jihadism has been radiating out of Pakistan for decades and causing problems for the country’s relationships with other governments. Lately, however, it’s been Pakistan itself that is suffering from its homegrown Islamism. The country was founded on a contradiction between secularism and Islamism, and though it has covered up its incoherence, it has never overcome it. The contradiction is finally catching up to the country, and things in Pakistan will get worse before they get better.

Warning Signs

Evidence that things in Pakistan are reaching their boiling point came, paradoxically, from the outside. A Nov. 22 report by a Pakistani daily said that a Chinese delegation visiting Pakistan had expressed concerns that political instability could adversely affect the tens of billions of dollars that China was investing in the South Asian nation. The report said that on Nov. 21, a joint committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor—part of China's One Belt, One Road initiative—approved the broad parameters of a long-term plan for the CPEC but failed to agree on development projects and financing for special economic zones. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, a Pakistani minister who serves as the country’s point man on the CPEC acknowledged that political unrest since 2014 was undermining the mega-development project.
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Pakistan has grown more unstable since the United States invaded neighboring Afghanistan after 9/11. In fact, over the past decade, Pakistan has been the target of a vicious jihadist insurgency that has claimed as many as 80,000 lives. Yet the Chinese still went ahead with the CPEC in 2013. Four years later, China, usually a stalwart ally, is beginning to second guess its investment plans for Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's relations with its historical ally, the United States, have also hit an all-time low. The incoherence in Islamabad is preventing the country from working effectively with the US to address common concerns about the insurgency in Afghanistan. The top American commander in Afghanistan said Nov. 28 that he had not seen a change in Pakistani support for Afghan militants even though the administration of President Donald Trump has taken a tougher line against Islamabad. US Defense Secretary James Mattis is currently visiting the Pakistani capital, where he has said he will try “one more time” to work with Islamabad before taking “whatever steps are necessary” to address its alleged support for Afghan militants.

India, Pakistan's archrival, has expressed its own concerns about Islamist militants operating from Pakistan. In 2008, terrorists from Pakistan carried out one of the worst attacks in India’s history, killing 164 people and wounding over 300 more in Mumbai. Under intense pressure from India and the US, Pakistan vowed to crack down on Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the group responsible for the attack.

Almost a decade later, however, Jamaat-ud-Dawah is more entrenched than ever in Pakistan. It recently formed a political party, and its founder and leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was released from house arrest on Nov. 23. The United Nations Security Council designated Saeed a terrorist in December 2008, but his political movement has only gained ground in Pakistan, and Saeed himself recently announced his intention to run for public office in next year’s elections.

Finally, Pakistani relations with Iran have also been tense. Iran, which shares a border with Pakistan, has been the target of Islamist militancy emanating from sanctuaries in Pakistan’s southwest. Iran has warned Pakistan several times over the past few years that it will conduct raids across the border in Pakistan if Islamabad does not rein in anti-Iran groups on its soil. Already it has shelled groups across the border.

Political Decay

Pakistan has been incoherent since its inception in 1947. It has never settled the debate over whether it ought to be a secular or an Islamist state. Tensions have only gotten worse since the 2011 assassination of Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer at the hands of his own bodyguard. Taseer’s killer said the governor was guilty of blasphemy for criticizing laws prohibiting individuals from speaking out against religion. Many Pakistanis deemed the assassin a hero, and a team of lawyers enthusiastically defended him. It took the state five years to convict and execute him for the murder. The assassination and trial spawned an entire social movement and is now represented by a new political party, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan.

In early November, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan organized a sit-in at the capital to protest a perceived softening of the government’s stance on blasphemy. The army was finally called in on Nov. 26 to broker a deal, and in the end, the protesters got what they wanted. But even the military, which has ruled Pakistan intermittently for close to half of the country’s 70-year history and is still its strongest institution, can’t control what’s happening to the country.

Pakistan, moreover, used to boast a two-party political system that has since devolved into a patchwork of ideologically rigid groups, many of which are Islamist or otherwise right-wing. One such party is Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. PTI is itself not an Islamist party, but its allies are Islamists. The party is likely to benefit in next year’s federal election from a major corruption scandal that has weakened the current ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League, and forced its leader, Nawaz Sharif, to step down as prime minister. But whether Islamists or secularists control the government, the fight for Pakistan’s soul will not go away.

Neither will its economic struggles. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves hover around $14 billion, enough to cover only about three months’ worth of imports. Its reserves are falling because its exports are falling. Debt servicing stands at 29% of export earnings. Markets are speculating about a depreciation of the Pakistani rupee. And Pakistan’s population is exploding. It exceeded 200 million people this year, according to a 2017 census, and has increased by 57% since the last census nearly 20 years ago. At the same time, educational standards have been declining, with the literacy rate down to 58%. A third of the population lives in poverty.

For Pakistan to recover, it needs outside investment to fund things like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But to secure such investment, the country must overcome the present situation, where multiple powerful factions have paralyzed the government.
 
George Friedman
Editor, This Week in Geopolitics
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« Reply #1533 on: December 10, 2017, 09:38:24 PM »

What even the pakis have not realized is that they are rapidly becoming part of China....sinification of pakistan is becoming a way of life. Secondly, the Chinese govt is now engaging in a soft coup by wanting to deal directly with the army wrt to their CPEC project. Due to the corrupt Nawaz Sharif, the army now has the upper hand and runs everything from foreign policy to defense to sugar mills. Pakistan will likely default, and the Chinese will get a 100 year lease on Gwadar port. The Srilankans learnt it the hard way, when they could not pay the Chinese back, they had to give away Hambatonta port for a 100 years.
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« Reply #1534 on: December 10, 2017, 10:00:57 PM »

What even the pakis have not realized is that they are rapidly becoming part of China....sinification of pakistan is becoming a way of life. Secondly, the Chinese govt is now engaging in a soft coup by wanting to deal directly with the army wrt to their CPEC project. Due to the corrupt Nawaz Sharif, the army now has the upper hand and runs everything from foreign policy to defense to sugar mills. Pakistan will likely default, and the Chinese will get a 100 year lease on Gwadar port. The Srilankans learnt it the hard way, when they could not pay the Chinese back, they had to give away Hambatonta port for a 100 years.

Heh. Yes.
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