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Old 10-06-2006   #21
Jedburgh
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The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 5 Oct 06:

Pakistan's Peace Deal with Taliban Militants
Quote:
...Anticipating the "bright future," Pakistan set out to build bridges to the Taliban. The September 5 peace deal is the first major step in this direction. Musharraf is now painting the Taliban as a popular resistance movement. On September 11, he told an audience in Brussels: "The center of gravity of terrorism has shifted from al-Qaeda to the Taliban," which "has its roots in the people" (Dawn, September 12). The Afghan government, however, was quick to reject his revisionist view, dismissing the Taliban as "a creation of Pakistan" (The Nation, September 13). Musharraf's thinking on the Taliban, however, does not square with his policies. In Kabul, he asked the Afghan government, "Let's fight the Taliban together" (Daily Jang, September 11). Yet, why does Musharraf make peace with the Taliban if he wants to fight them?

These contradictions reflect Musharraf's desire for Pakistan to be seen as a frontline state in the war on terrorism, which left it $20 billion richer by 2003. Most recent estimates, which have been widely circulated in the Pakistani media, show that Pakistan has cashed in $50 billion (half of its GDP) in grants-in-aid, soft loans, debt write-offs, debt-rescheduling, preferential terms of trade, selective investment and remittances between 2001 and 2006. While Islamabad is realigning its strategic interests with the resurgent Taliban, it certainly does not want to lose billions of dollars either, which have continued to flow in its direction since 9/11. Hence, Islamabad stands by the Taliban and fights them too.
...and, for a different perspective, from the International Relations and Security Network:

Pakistan Toys with New Strategy on Border
Quote:
...Pakistan's military president General Pervez Musharraf has embarked on a new strategy designed to chip away at the Taliban insurgency by standing down the army and seeking to win the hearts and minds of the country's North Waziristan tribal agency, which borders Afghanistan.

The deal, announced earlier in September, has seen the some 80,000 Pakistani military troops deployed in North Waziristan reduce their profile and allow some local militia forces to take over the manning of some checkpoints in the area. The deal has also seen the release from custody of some tribal militants captured during the Pakistani military's recent operations in the region.

Reports also say the local tribal leaders have reciprocated by pledging to lower their profile as well, and to ensure that Taliban forces do not infiltrate the border from Afghanistan.

Musharraf believes that by standing down military troops and working toward reconstruction and development in the area, the tribal population - traditionally sympathetic to the Taliban - could shift its loyalties and work towards securing the border area...
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Old 10-07-2006   #22
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6 Oct 06 Telegraph: Nato's top brass accuse Pakistan over Taliban aid
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...The cushion Pakistan is providing the Taliban is undermining the operation in Afghanistan, where 31,000 Nato troops are now based. The Canadians were most involved in Operation Medusa, two weeks of heavy fighting in a lush vineyard region, defeating 1,500 well entrenched Taliban, who had planned to attack Kandahar city, the capital of the south.

Nato officials now say they killed 1,100 Taliban fighters, not the 500 originally claimed. Hundreds of Taliban reinforcements in pick-up trucks who crossed over from Quetta waved on by Pakistani border guards were destroyed by Nato air and artillery strikes.

Nato captured 160 Taliban, many of them Pakistanis who described in detail the ISI's support to the Taliban.

Nato is now mapping the entire Taliban support structure in Balochistan, from ISI- run training camps near Quetta to huge ammunition dumps, arrival points for Taliban's new weapons and meeting places of the shura, or leadership council, in Quetta, which is headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the group's leader since its creation a dozen years ago.

Nato and Afghan officers say two training camps for the Taliban are located just outside Quetta, while the group is using hundreds of madrassas where the fighters are housed and fired up ideologically before being sent to the front...
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Old 10-07-2006   #23
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Default Pakistan's farewell to arms in war against Taliban

There is ample reason to question Pakistan's deal with the tribal leaders and considerable evidence that it has helped the enemy. It is hard to say whether this AP story in the NY Times is evidence of Pakistan responding to the criticism or attempting to look like it is.

Quote:
Police acting on a tip raided several militant hide-outs in southwestern Pakistan and arrested 48 suspected Taliban who had arrived in small groups from Afghanistan, police said Saturday.

The arrests were made during the past 24 hours in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, said Wazir Khan, the city police chief.

However, no important Taliban figures were among the detainees, he said. They were being questioned to determine the purpose of their presence in Pakistan.

...
The last quoted paragraph may say something about the sincerity of the Pakistan effort. What the story does not say is whether the tribal leaders were responsible for the information leading to the arrest or whether the arrest show the tribal leaders are in violation of their agreement.
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Old 10-14-2006   #24
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USIP, Oct 06: Resolving the Pakistan-Afghanistan Stalemate
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Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the neighboring regions would all benefit from a recognized open border between the two countries. Such a border would clarify that all Pashtuns have rights as citizens of one or another state and would enable them to communicate, trade, and develop both their economy and their culture in cooperation with one another. Such a settlement would strengthen democracy in both states and facilitate both Pakistan’s access to Central Asia and Afghanistan’s access to the sea. It would lessen domestic ethnic tensions and strengthen national unity in both states. It would, however, require difficult internal changes in both countries, a reversal of the hostility that has predominated in relations between the two governments for sixty years, and credible international guarantees.

A major challenge to such objectives is the Islamist insurgency on both sides of the border. In 2005 Musharraf responded to charges that the Taliban were engaging in cross-border activity by proposing to fence and mine the Durand Line, a solution reminiscent of the policies of Israel and Uzbekistan. As in Central Asia and the Middle East, such a solution will not work for many reasons. International political and military officials in Afghanistan, as well as counterinsurgency experts, agree that the key to strategic success is disrupting the Taliban’s command and control, mainly in Quetta and Waziristan, not wasting resources on the impossible task of blocking infiltration by easily replaceable foot soldiers across snow-capped mountains and trackless deserts. Fencing would further isolate the border region and create an additional obstacle to its economic development.
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Old 04-06-2007   #25
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Default 10 April PBS Frontline - Afghanistan: The Other War

Afghanistan: The Other War - 10 April on PBS Frontline.

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Inside an underground bunker in a secret location in Kabul, soldiers from an international military force monitor daily attacks from the Taliban, which has re-emerged this year as a major threat to Afghanistan's weak national government. The bunker is manned by members of the small NATO force now in charge of countering a growing insurgency there, as the United States shifts many of its own combat troops to Iraq. In "The Other War," FRONTLINE/World correspondent Sam Kiley confronts the reality of the West's struggling campaign in Afghanistan, with exclusive access to the NATO command in Afghanistan and provocative reporting from the front lines in the run up to a major offensive the Taliban has promised this spring.
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Old 04-11-2007   #26
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Watched part of this last night. Very enlightening, especially the segment on the Canadian PRT in Nuristan. Hard to believe that they could not even repair more than 3 water pumps for the village. At the end of the effort, NATO boards the choppers and flies away, leaving the village completely at the mercy of the Taliban. One wonders at the lack of resources available for the mission there.
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Old 09-25-2007   #27
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Default Taliban must be involved in peace process: UK Defence Minister

Taliban must be involved in peace process: Defence Minister - AFP 25 Sep.


Quote:
Afghanistan's Islamist Taliban militia will have to be involved in the country's peace process, Defence Minister Des Browne told delegates at the Labour Party conference.

Browne also echoed comments made by the head of the British Army General Richard Dannatt, who said in June that Britain faced a "generation of conflict."

"In Afghanistan, at some stage, the Taliban will need to be involved in the peace process because they are not going away any more than I suspect Hamas are going away from Palestine," Browne told delegates at a fringe meeting late on Monday.

"But in my view, those who convene that process are entitled to say there are some basic parameters that people ought to apply to their engagement ..."
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Old 09-26-2007   #28
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20990358/

"165 insurgents reportedly killed in Afghanistan
Two battles takes heavy toll on fighters, U.S.-led coalition statement says"
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Old 09-26-2007   #29
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Quote:
Afghanistan's Islamist Taliban militia will have to be involved in the country's peace process, Defence Minister Des Browne told delegates at the Labour Party conference.
Interesting stuff--I had a not-for-attribution conversation with a senior UK official in the spring on this issue, and was told in no uncertain terms that the government was dead-set against dialogue with Taliban elements. Indeed, I was rather taken aback with the vehemence with which the view was expressed.

I wonder if its a MoD/FCO split, a Blair/Brown difference, a change over time, or whether my interlocutor was expressing a personal view as government policy.
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Old 09-26-2007   #30
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One wonders how much of this is related to current strains in Afghan politics.

Karzai's continued replacement of former Northern Alliance and associated former mujahidin/warlords/commanders in both the provinces and in the central government has largely gone unnoticed and unremarked upon. That a lot of the replacements are semi-Westernized Popolzai Pashtuns like Karzai himself is significant, and increasingly the Tajiks and Uzbeks are feeling marginalized. A real showdown is brewing and we had better be ready.
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Old 01-17-2008   #31
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RFE/RL, 17 Jan 08: Former Taliban Commander Advises US Ambassador
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....Salaam, a powerful local commander who has brought some 300 militia fighters to the side of the Afghan government in northeastern Helmand Province, even gave the U.S. ambassador tactical advice on how to prevent the Taliban from attacking the strategic Kajaki hydroelectric dam, which is about 25 kilometers from Musa Qala.

In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on the sidelines of the talks, Salaam said the international community must understand that residents of Musa Qala blame British forces for allowing the Taliban to seize their town in February 2007.

He says that is because of a deal brokered by the British in 2006 under which local militia fighters were disarmed and then expected to prevent the Taliban from moving back into the area.....
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Old 03-23-2008   #32
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Default The Taliban

The Globe and Mail has an excellent series of video interviews with 42 rank-and-file Taliban fighters in the Kandahar area. The series (which has just started) can be seen here.
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Old 03-27-2008   #33
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An excellent series, btw. Graeme Smith relies upon Tom Johnson of the Naval Post-Graduate School for some of his expertise. Here's Johnson's latest-

The Taliban Insurgency and an Analysis of Shabnamah (Night Letters)- NPS
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"This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"
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Old 04-03-2008   #34
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2 Apr 08 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Strategic Chaos and the Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan:

LTG (R) David Barno
Quote:
....In the command and control arena, the US three star HQ which I commanded, based in Kabul – a HQ which built a comprehensive civil-military counter-insurgency plan tightly linked to our embassy led by Ambassador Khalilzad -- has now been dis-established. In late 2006, NATO assumed the overall military command of Afghanistan. Our senior American military HQ – now a two star organization -- is located at Bagram air base, a ninety minute drive north of Kabul. Its geographic responsibility under NATO comprises only Regional Command East – territory representing less than one quarter of the responsibilities which the same US HQ at Bagram held in 2004. Its immense capabilities to oversee a broad counter-insurgency fight all across southern Afghanistan – much as it did in 2004 – in my judgment are being under-utilized.

The enemy in Afghanistan -- a collection of Al Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbi Islami, and foreign fighters – is unquestionably a much stronger force than the enemy we faced in 2004. There are many reasons for this change, but it is -- I am afraid -- an undeniable fact. And of course this enemy extends and in many ways re-generates within the tribal areas of Pakistan. Recent events there – particularly the worrisome prospect of a new Pakistani government entering into some sort of negotiations with the Taliban and other terrorist groups in the tribal areas – are developments which give cause for grave concern.....
Seth Jones, RAND
Quote:
....insurgents have established a sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan. Every major insurgent group – such as the Taliban, Haqqani network, Hezb-i-Islami, and al Qa’ida – has established a command-and-control apparatus on the Pakistani side of the border. Al Qa’ida poses a particular concern because of its international scope. It has a core membership, not counting the Uzbek presence, of several hundred people clustered in such Pakistan tribal agencies as North Waziristan, South Waziristan, and Bajaur. Al Qa’ida takes advantage of other militant groups' networks to operate in settled areas of Pakistan. It has revitalized itself and returned to the operating style it enjoyed prior to 9/11. Leadership is divided among functional shura councils, covering such areas as military, political, financial, and media affairs. Finally, parts of the Pakistan government – especially current members of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate and Frontier Corps – continue to provide support to the Taliban and Haqqani network.....
Mark Schneider, ICG
Quote:
....Equally if not more serious, the Afghan Government has not been held accountable to its commitments on disarmament, transitional justice and human rights, and anti-corruption. The creation and demise of the Special Consultative Board for Senior Government Appointments, part of the Compact, deserves special mention—as the very first benchmark and critical to nearly everything else to be achieved in Afghanistan. The commitment was that “a clear and transparent national appointments mechanism will be established within six months, applied within 12 months and fully implemented within 24 months for all senior level appointments to the central government and the judiciary, as well as for provincial governors, chiefs of police, district administrators and provincial heads of security.” Although its members were appointed with much fanfare, the board has never properly functioned, does not have adequate staff or support and is rarely consulted. We fault the Bush Administration, the other embassies, the UN, the EU and NATO for not standing firm on that key systemic reform for transparency, human rights and institution-building.

While effective military action may deny victory to the insurgency—only effective governance will defeat it.
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Old 04-03-2008   #35
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Default Obviously the meds need to be changed...

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...We fault the Bush Administration, the other embassies, the UN, the EU and NATO for not standing firm on that key systemic reform for transparency, human rights and institution-building.
or this guy has never tried to herd cats...

Gotta love 'em.
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Old 04-16-2008   #36
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Asia Times, 11 Apr 08: The Taliban Talk the Talk
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....Afghanistan is about to enter a new phase; for the first time since their ouster in 2001, the Taliban will scale back their tribal guerrilla warfare and concentrate on tactics used by the legendary Vietnamese commander General Vo Nguyen Giap, an approach that has already proved successful in taming the Pakistani military in the tribal areas.

"For the first time, the Taliban will have a well-coordinated strategy under which we will seize isolated military posts for a limited time, taking enemy combatants hostage, and then leaving them," "Dr Jarrah", a Taliban media spokesman, told Asia Times Online in a telephone conversation from Kunar province in Afghanistan.

"This is the second tier of General Giap's guerrilla strategy. The third tier is a conventional face-to-face war. This aims to demoralize the enemy," Jarrah explained. "We have been delayed by rainfall, but you shall see action by mid-April.".....
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Old 04-23-2008   #37
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Default The Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan organization, leadership and worldview

All,

Great Item in this month's Military Review for those interested in Afghanistan:
The Taliban: An Organizational Analysis by Major Shahid Afsar, Pakistan Army; Major Chris Samples, U.S. Army; and Major Thomas Wood, U.S. Army

Quote:
The Taliban did not grow out of the dark overnight, nor was it unknown in the Middle East, the region of the world most severely affected after 9/11. Following its emergence in 1994 from madrassas, the Taliban achieved surprising victories over its enemies and assumed rule over much of Afghanistan.2 Simultaneously hailed as saviors and feared as oppressors, the Taliban were an almost mythical phenomenon that seemed to embody the very essence of Afghan cultural beliefs, especially revenge for transgression, hospitality for enemies, and readiness to die for honor. The Taliban knew the Afghan people and their ways and embedded themselves in the complex Afghan web of tribalism, religion, and ethnicity.

Despite their quick overthrow in 2002 by a small coalition of U.S. forces and anti-Taliban groups, the Taliban has not gone away. In fact, today, in the face of thousands of NATO and U.S. troops, a growing Afghan National Army (ANA), and a popularly elected government, the movement’s influence in Afghanistan is increasing. It continues to wage an insurgency that has prevented the new government from establishing legitimacy, and it has created massive unrest in Pakistan. Clearly, it behooves us to know something more about this archaic but formidable enemy
.

Read the whole thing. Also posted on the COIN.ARMY.MIL AKO and Sharepoint.

Regards,
Major Niel Smith

Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-25-2010 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Fixed link.
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Old 08-22-2008   #38
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This actually first appeared on the 20th in another paper:

"Taliban fielded battalion-size force only 10 months after rout, reports say", by Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press (in the The Globe and Mail),
21 August, 2008:

Quote:
OTTAWA -- Taliban militants reportedly amassed a 600-strong fighting force and dragged out bigger weapons only 10 months after being routed by NATO forces in a landmark 2006 battle west of Kandahar, newly released documents have revealed.
More at the link. During the summer of 2006 (OP MEDUSA), coalition forces bagged a Taleban force of some 400-500 men operating in and around Panjwai out of some 2,000 Taleban believed to be in the region. Early on in the operation, a force of some 100 Taleban repulsed a Canadian rifle company (leading a battle group) attempting an "unopposed" river crossing (higher had prevented proper reconnaissance from being performed prior to the attack). The Taleban got very comfortable moving around in such large units of 100 or more in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces, and this led to some coalition forces abandoning far-flung outposts or turning them over to PMC's due to lack of manpower and difficulties in reinforcing or relieving said outposts in contact.

As the article at the link points out, the released DND documents confirm that southern Afghanistan has served as a sort of proving ground for Taleban tactics and operations using company-sized elements, with the potential to operate at battalion-level. With the Taleban increasingly operating in company-sized elements in the East now for some time, might this open the way for battalion-level ops in the not-so-distant future? At Panjwai in 2006, the Taleban got clobbered when they did so, but conditions in the East are considerably different from the South, the generally much closer terrain just for starters (not to mention proximity to refuges and bases in Pakistan).

Last edited by Norfolk; 08-22-2008 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 08-23-2008   #39
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Default Taliban commentary

Check this on the Kings of War blogsite, from Kings College London War Studies Dept.: http://kingsofwar.wordpress.com/2008...-how/#comments

Cross-posted on the French troops ambush thread, as it comments on that incident and the wider impact of the Taliban.

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Old 08-24-2008   #40
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A piece by Jason Burke in today's Observer;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/24/afghanistan

Quote:
While clashes in remote Helmand dominate the headlines, another battle is being waged by the insurgents on Kabul's doorstep. There, the Taliban are winning support by building a parallel administration, which is more effective, more popular and more brutal than the government's
Not very cheering, to say the least.
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