The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010
The AfPak Gazette
issued a decree following the vote, suspending the winter recess of the Wolesi Jirga, to assure the members would remain in session until the process was finalized. Sources: LA Times, Pajhwok
Rising to answer the call of Liberty A Pamphlet of Reasoned Resentment, Chronicling the Villainy of Jihad and the Consequences of Evasion. In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day. Thomas Paine, Common Sense – 1776
January 4, 2010 1)US Determined to Destroy the al Qaeda Network – Appearing on a number of weekend talk shows, on Sunday, January 3rd, the US Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan told ABC News, “We're determined to destroy al Qaeda whether it's in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or in Yemen. And we will get there.” Announcing a mandatory baggage search for all passengers to the United States from terror-prone countries, the White House, on Monday, reiterated US determination to destroy the al Qaeda network. Recognizing the blow delivered to US intelligence by a jihadist suicide bomber in the CIA forward operating base Chapman, Brennan said that the CIA was on the front line in the war along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and would continue to play this role despite the temporary setback in Khost. Sources: Pajhwok, Dawn Quarterly & Yearly Gazette Subscriptions Available 2)Afghan Lawmakers Defy Karzai’s Crony Picks – Laura King, reporting for the LA Times, relayed the results of a daylong vote by the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament in Afghanistan, after it completed a secret-ballot on President Karzai’s 24 Cabinet picks. 17 of the 24 picks were rejected in an unexpected show of defiance by the Afghan lawmakers. According to Basir & Zakeer of Pajhwok Afghan News, President Karzai
3)Karachi Slouches Toward Martial Law – Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, expressing concern over 256 targeted killings of political and non-political party members in Karachi over the last six months, granted extended powers to Rangers in the port city. On Monday, high-level security and intelligence meeting attendees were told that “those killed included 69 people belonging to the MQM, 60 to the MQM (Haqiqi), 28 to the PPP, 23 to the ANP and other political parties and 41 people belonging to religious groups.” Ordering immediate action against the culprits, the meeting placed arms licensing procedures under review, issued reward offers for any video capturing targeted killings, and informed senior officials that 200 motorcycles would be added to the security effort to aid in maneuverability of forces. According to The News International, “The Rangers, where called in aid of civil power, would be given powers under the Anti-Terrorism Act to deal with any extraordinary law and order situation. Appropriate powers, with legal cover, would be given to the Sindh Rangers.” Further, directives of the Pak Prime Minister have established a committee to submit a bi-weekly report on targeted killings. Sources: Dawn, The News
Reasoned Resentment – A Commentary Ticker wires sprang to life as the fourth week of our winter of discontent marked the march of Western correspondents down the Chapman trail. Annual troop and civilian casualty reports from the AfPak epicenter of terror bled into pulp news pages as Western leaders aimed their strategic, political and diplomatic initiatives toward the London “Donor” Conference slated for January 28th. American troop deaths doubled from 2008 to 2009, up from 155 to 318. British troop deaths in 2009 at 108, nearly double the casualty toll for the previous seven years of combat, combined. Reports of thousands of civilian deaths were dangled by Human Rights groups. Yet, nowhere did Western Media attempt to tally or name the enemy dead and captured. With an eye for loss and a consistent blindness for gain, the editors of Democracy’s free presses have robbed public perception of the villains responsible for these grievous material injuries…as Liberty’s champions, armed with Reasoned Resentment, remain determined to paint an accurate portrait of Islamic Supremacy’s character via a counterinfluence campaign of fact. – GHJJ, Editor
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 4)Actionable Intelligence Drives Coalition Success – In Afghanistan, 14 Taliban were killed by joint forces in Kandahar, Helmand and Laghman provinces on Monday. According to Kandahar officials, eight insurgents were killed in a joint overnight operation “based on actionable intelligence” conducted in the Taliban-infested village of Makwan in the Zherai district. Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, in lieu of commenting on the Makwan activity, falsely claimed that 10 US soldiers were killed in a string of bomb attacks in Panjwayee. Abdul Ahad Khan, the district chief of Helmand Province, noted that four rebels were killed and seven were captured in Greshk. Sources indicate a Taliban commander was killed in the joint US-Afghan operation in Greshk; however, Qari Ahmadi claimed those killed were Afghan civilians. Meanwhile, in Laghman province, Brigadier General Abdul Karim Omaryar, the provincial police chief, indicated that insurgents attacked a checkpoint in “the Sorkakhan area of the Qarghayee district.” In the ISAF response to the attack, two militants were killed and five were wounded. Sources: IJC, Daily Times, Pajhwok Gazette Advertising Space Available 5)Seven Taliban Killed in Restive NW Pakistan – Pakistan security forces destroyed two militant hideouts, arrested two Taliban militants, wounded five and killed four jihadists in Bajaur Operation Lion Heart. Separately, three Taliban in the Sewi village were killed when the bomb they were arming detonated. In Mohmand, four pro-government tribal elders were killed in the Baizo area, when Taliban insurgents attacked a lashkar meeting. Elsewhere, in Lower Orakzai, the Taliban of the TTP torched 63 Feroze Khel homes that had remained vacant for over a month. Locals say the arson spree was a punishment for the tribal villagers that chose to flee the violence rather than remain as human shields for the Taliban during the Pakistan military’s aerial and ground offensive. Sources: SATP, Pajhwok Become a Benjamin Franklin Sponsor Today (6)US Commander Eyes Afghan Border Security – Emphasizing the value of strategic cooperation between US & Pak armed forces in the confrontation with the Taliban, US General McChrystal told journalists at the US Embassy that the “trust deficit” between the forces was shrinking. McChrystal was upbeat about the possibility of integrating Taliban fighters into Afghan society. Dismissing Pak military differences with the US “surge” after a meet with Pak General Kayani, McChrystal called for joint efforts to control Taliban infiltration. Sajjad Malik quoted McChrystal as saying, “the borders could not be sealed but could be tightened on both sides through information sharing and cooperation.” Source: Daily Times Gazette Ads Finance Counterterrorism Research
January 5, 2010 (1)UN Chief Weighs in on the Afghan Challenge – Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, released a report on Tuesday, declaring that the conflict in Afghanistan had reached a critical juncture, warning that the deteriorating situation could become irreversible. Citing the flawed 2009 presidential election as a source of undermined public confidence in Afghan leadership, Ban’s report focused on the negative effects of Taliban suicide and complex attacks on the delivery of aid by the international community and the provision of basic services by the Karzai government in Kabul. Dwelling on security, the Ban report noted that a 65% increase in 3rd quarter violence with an average of rd 1,244 incidents per month in the 3 quarter of 2009 had created a “gloomy atmosphere”. According to the Secretary General, “The situation cannot continue if we are to succeed in Afghanistan. Unity of effort and greater attention to key priorities are now a sine qua non. There is a need for a change of mindset in the international community as well as in the government of Afghanistan. Without that change, the prospects of success will diminish further.” With an eye toward the scheduled May 22nd parliamentary elections, Ban’s report noted that the electoral process revealed serious flaws and weaknesses that needed to be corrected before the world body could engage in a similar supporting role in future polls.” Sources: Pajhwok, BBC, PressTV Purchase Gazette Ad Space & Support the Troops (2)Expert Military & Intel Shortfalls in Afghanistan – In recognition that the Afghan campaign has been taxed by a lack of continuity and regional expertise among military personnel, the JCOS Chairman Admiral Mullen, last month, initiated an unconventional military program designed to create a 912-member corps of officers and enlisted service members who will work on AfPak issues for up to five years. According to a NY Times report by CNAS fellow Eric Schmitt, 172 US military members have volunteered for the duty. The Mullen program was “conceived as a way to develop a pool of uniformed experts who would spend several years rotating between assignments in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and desk jobs in Washington...” According to Schmitt, the military expects to fill the first 304 seats by November 2010. Meanwhile, Director of Intelligence ops in Afghanistan Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn released a report through the influential think tank CNAS, on Monday, ordering a drastic overhaul of the US Intel effort in Afghanistan. Barnes & King at the LA Times report that the dramatic overhaul “will broaden the scope of intelligence gathering from hunting down extremists to gathering information about local attitudes, concerns, people and leaders as part of an effort to win over the Afghan population.” Sources: NY Times, Quqnoos, LA Times
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 (3)Kunduz Insurgent Activity on the Rise – 14 Taliban insurgents loyal to commander Mullah Usman were killed in the increasingly restive northern Afghan province of Kunduz when the minibus they were packing with explosives for use against coalition forces prematurely detonated. While the provincial governor Mohammad Omar confirmed the body count, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid falsely claimed the fighters killed six policemen in a bomb attack in Dasht-i-Archi. According to the Kunduz deputy police chief Rahman Haqtash "Troops with the U.S. special forces during a search operation raided a compound in Chardara district late last night and killed three militants including their commander Baz Mohammad.” Rahman Haqtash added that three other militants were arrested during the operation. Sources: Daily Times, Xinhua Memberships Available at www.theafpakgazette.com (4)Afghan NDS Captures Two Taliban Operatives – The Afghanistan National Directorate of Security (NDS) released a statement, on Tuesday, which revealed that Maulvi Abdul Latif and Mohammad Sadiq were detained while planting bombs on the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway in the Sarobi District of Kabul. The NDS added that Latif was a loyalist of the Taliban commander Mullah Atajmir, who is currently operating out of Peshawar, Pakistan. The NDS statement detailed that four mobile phones, a passport, identity cards and a bogus driver’s license were seized along with two pistols, a bundle of wire and a map of targeted areas. Khwaja Baseer Ahmad, reporting for Pajhwok, noted that Latif is the son of Syed Agha, aka Khalid. Ahmad also identified Maulvi Abdul Latif as “the NDS director in Khost during the Taliban regime”. Source: Pajhwok (5)Security Sweeps on the Pak Frontier – Five Taliban were killed in Swat search & clear ops that led to the uncovering of multiple weapons caches and the arrest of 90 suspected militants. Dawn reports that Tariq Afridi, chief of Darra Adamkhel and Khyber Agency Taliban, and Maulana Akhunzada Aslam Farooqui, head of Orakzai Agency Taliban, have been intimidating the Shia clan of Stori Khel. The intimidation campaign has led to the desecration of the grave & remains of spiritual leader Anwarul Haq and the bombing of six local shrines. In Bajaur, Pak security rounded up 12 suspected militants and the Taliban bombed a boys’ school. Meanwhile, in Mohmand Agency, Colonel Saifullah, commander of Pak security ops said that 80% of the agency had been cleared of militants after a year of fighting which has left 350 Taliban, 65 Pak security forces and over 100 lashkar elders and volunteers dead. Security sweeps in South Waziristan also killed at least five militants and injured seven others during an anti-Taliban offensive. Sources say one Pak soldier died in the operations. Sources: Dawn, PressTV, ISPR
January 6, 2010 (1)Twin CIA Drone Strikes Kill 17 Militants in FATA – Three CIA drones targeted a known compound for Taliban and al Qaeda militants of all stripes in the Datta Khel tehsil (revenue unit) of the North Waziristan agency of Pakistan’s tribal frontier on Wednesday afternoon with two rounds of missile strikes. According to Bill Roggio, the Datta Khel region in North Waziristan is a known haven for the al Qaeda network. The US has conducted multiple drone strikes in the Datta Khel region, “which is administered by Hafiz Gul Bahadar and the Haqqani Network,” including the recent Dec. 17, 2009 targeting of Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Sheikh Saeed al Saudi, a known member of al Qaeda's Shura Majlis (Executive Council). Moreover, Datta Khel neighbors the Jani Khel region, which Roggio has identified as “the headquarters for al Qaeda's Shura Majlis back in 2007”. Advices from Pajhwok report that 14 were killed in the twin attacks. Political administration official Zamarud Khan told Pajhwok six people perished and five others sustained injury in the first attack that “comprehensively flattened the fort-like house” and eight individuals were killed in a second missile assault that came hard on the heels of the first raid. Without identifying any of those killed in the strike, Dawn News reported that the number of dead had risen to 17, pegging the North Waziristan compound hit by hellfire on Wednesday as “a Taliban training base”. A Pakistani intelligence official said four of the dead were foreign nationals, but could not admit their origin. Sources: LWJ, Pajhwok, Dawn, WSJ Business Card Gazette Advertising Space Available (2)Mazina Explosion Hits Afghan-NATO Convoy – In Nangarhar, on Wednesday morning, as US soldiers were handing cookies and candy to a crowd of children in the village of Mazina, a bomb blast ripped through the area, killing two Afghan civilians and wounding upwards of 82 children. NATO officials reveal that nine NATO soldiers were also wounded in the blast. In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, villagers claimed that NATO forces threw grenades into the crowd of children. Angered villagers staged a protest against foreign troops that closed the Torkham-Jalalabad Highway. Shocked to learn of the tragedy, President Hamid Karzai ordered a probe of the event, sending an official delegation to the region, led by former Kunar Governor Assadullah Wafa, to draft a report of the investigation findings. Separately, a powerful roadside bomb blast killed four Afghan policemen in the Khwaran area of Khoganyi district, according to Nangarhar Gubernatorial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai. The spokesman further noted that one policeman had also died in the Mazina blast, bringing the bloody day’s death toll to seven. Sources: Pajhwok, Reuters
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 (3)Afghan Youth & Women’s Rights Held Hostage – Every day in 2009, on average, three Afghan civilians under the age of 18 were killed according to a report by the Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM) released on Wednesday. In 2009, over 2,000 cases of child rights violations occurred, including “the recruitment of children as suicide bombers and foot soldiers, murder, rape, forced labor, and the denial of essential services by warring parties and criminal groups.” Elevated Taliban attacks on schools and aid workers have deprived thousands of Afghan children the right to an education. Suicide attacks, air strikes, improvised explosive device blasts and crossfire between warring parties led to 1,050 youth deaths in 2009, alone. Not since 2001 have youth death tolls been so high in Afghanistan. Notably, the Director of ARM, Ajmal Samadi, decried the NATO th attack of December 26 in Kunar which left eight students dead, saying “NATO’s accusation that the teenagers were involved in bomb-making activities does not justify their group killing.” A Human Rights report was also released from Canada’s Foreign Affairs department, assessing women’s rights in Afghanistan, with a focus on 2008 statistics and NGO findings against the backdrop of last year’s rape law, which attempted to codify social and religious practices of women and was eventually, with slight modifications, passed into law. According to the report, suicide is growing as an escape path for Afghan women, enslaved to constant brutality and violence in their daily lives. Honor killings are on the rise; rape is rampant. According to one British Report, 87% of Afghan women claim to be victims of sexual violence, adding “that 60% of marriages are forced, and 57% of marriages involve girls under the age of 16.” Sources: IRIN, Pajhwok, Canadian Press (4)Pak Military School Targeted by Suicide Bomber – On Tuesday, Pak President Zardari remarked “The whole focus of the world is on Pakistan. Regional peace is linked with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and peace can only come if the issue is resolved.” Seemingly on cue, four Pakistani soldiers were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomber attacked the barracks of an army training facility in Tarar Khel, 150 miles East of Muzaffarabad, near the demarcation line with India and Kashmir. Senior officials confirmed that 11 personnel were critically injured in the blast and moved to the Combined Military Hospital. The elected leader of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider, condemned the attack and blamed Taliban-linked extremists. Also on Wednesday, an ISPR press release detailed that one Pakistani soldier was killed and two were injured when Taliban militants unleashed a rocket barrage on their Razmak positions in South Waziristan. Meanwhile, in Swat operations, Pak security forces killed seven Taliban gunmen in continuing security sweeps. Sources: Dawn, Pajhwok, SATP
(5)Joint Ops Kill 23 Key Insurgents in Late 2009 – The US military, on Wednesday, released a report which said that between November 9th and December 25th, Afghan security personnel, assisted by ISAF & Coalition forces, detained or killed 23 key insurgents, “mostly Taliban and Haqqani Network senior leaders”. On November 9th, Engineer Hekmat, a Taliban commander and facilitator in Logar and Wardak provinces, was killed. Baryalai, a Taliban enabler in Maidan Wardak province, and Maulvi Sharif, a Taliban facilitator in Wardak, were killed on November 9. Noor Akbar, a Haqqani network enabler in Khost, was also killed on the 9th. Maulvi Qadir, a Taliban sub-commander of over 100 Taliban fighters under Haji Ghafoor in Nuristan province, was killed on November 14. A Kunar-based Taliban Commander and IED facilitator, Qari Farooq, and a Haqqani weapons facilitator, named Ishaq, were killed November 19th. The al Qaeda linked, Pech River Taliban Commander, Dawran, was killed in Kunar on November 26, while Qari Masiullah, al Qaeda’s security chief in Kunar, was killed December 1. December 9th was a triumphant day for Joint forces in 2009, netting the deaths of 10 key insurgent leaders. Five Taliban-linked facilitators responsible for coordinating suicide bombers and arming terrorists with IEDs, were killed in joint operations on December 9 and are now identified as Khatib, Dr. Zakir, Ehsanullah, Mullah Bozarg, and Mohammed Hussein. Two Taliban sub-commanders of Wardak province, Mohammad Baryalai & Rohullah, were killed December 9th as well. The Ghazni Taliban sub-commander Ahmad, the Paktia Taliban subcommander Abdul Wali, and the (Bakht Ali associated) Kunar Taliban Commander Ghulam Farooq rounded out the joint operation tally of enemy leadership killed as th 2009 closed. Separately, a January 6 NATO report claimed killing and capturing multiple insurgents. In Khost operations, RPGs & rifles were found and insurgents were detained during a search of a Badikhel village. Also in Khost, a rifle and grenade attack on ISAF forces left a number of Taliban dead and a Haqqani facilitator in custody. In Kunduz, an overnight search raid of a compound in the Charar Dara district led to a gunfight in which two militants were killed. While in the Kandahar town of Adirah, allied forces captured “an insurgent commander involved in IED attacks and suicide bombings” along with a number of insurgents. The identities of the captured and killed have not been released. Sources: Pajhwok, IJC, NATO Become a Thomas Paine Sponsor Today
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010
January 7, 2010 (1)Lashkar al-Zil Commander Killed in December – On January 4th, Asia Times Online’s Taliban-insider correspondent, Syed Saleem Shahzad reported that Lashkar al-Zil hatched the suicide bomber infiltration of the CIA’s Khost FOB Chapman. According to Shahzad, following weeks of Pakistan-based prep, the martyr plan was carried out “after Lashkar al-Zil's intelligence outfit informed its chief commander, Ilyas Kashmiri, the CIA planned to broaden the monitoring of the possible movement of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.” Shahzad relates that the CIA’s obsession with hitting al-Zawahiri led to the blunder of exposing the intelligence facility to Brigade 313, “led by Ilyas Kashmiri” and comprised of “jihadis with extensive experience in Pakistan's Kashmir struggle with India.” According to The Long War Journal, “The Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, is the successor to al Qaeda’s notorious Brigade 055, the military formation that fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan from 1996-2002.” Shahzad clarifies this understanding, stating “Lashkar al-Zil comprises the Pakistani Taliban, 313 Brigade, the Afghan Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan and former Iraqi Republican Guards.” The Shahzad report was problematic to Western counterterrorism analysts, who understood that the chief of Lashkar al-Zil was a Libyan national named Abdullah Said al Libi, a terror leader who rose to power following a late 2008 CIA drone strike in South Waziristan, Pakistan which killed Lashkar al-Zil’s chief commander Khalid Habib in Baitullah Mehsud controlled territory. The natural question, then, is what happened to Abdullah Said al Libi? Demonstrating the confusion as to Ilyas Kashmiri’s position in Lashkar al-Zil, the United States, on January 6th, accused Kashmiri of coordinating the Chapman attack and petitioned the Pak government to arrest and extradite Kashmiri, who was referred to as “Commander Ilyas Kashmiri, the fugitive chief of the Azad Kashmir chapter of the pro-Kashmir Jihadi group, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI).” On January 7th, the al Libi question was answered by Al Qaeda, when Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, said that Abdullah Said al Libi was killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan. Yazid also confirmed that Saleh al Somali, al Qaeda's former external operations chief, was also killed in a US attack. A US intelligence official told The Long War Journal "Al Libi's death is significant, but there is little doubt he has been replaced by perhaps the most capable military commander in al
Qaeda's stable." In this frame, Shahzad notes that “Under the command of Ilyas Kashmiri, the [Lashkar alZil] intelligence network's coordination with its special guerrilla action force has changed the dynamics of the Afghan war theater.” With an estimated force of between 8,000 and 12,000 fighters now under Kashmiri’s unique style of jihadi command, the death of Abdullah Said al Libi has proven fortuitous to al Qaeda. US intelligence eventually placed the death of Abdullah Said al Libi in the Datta Khel area drone swarm attack of December 17, 2009, which reportedly killed Zuhaib al Zahibi, a “General officer-equivalent” in Lashkar al-Zil. According to US intelligence officials speaking with Bill Roggio’s team, the December 17 drone strikes in Datta Khel, which targeted “a Lashkar al Zil command complex," killed six al Qaeda operatives and nine Haqqani network fighters. Sources: Asia Times Online, LWJ, The News Gazette Sponsors Enjoy Print & Web Benefits _____________________________________________ (2)Paktia Suicide Blast Claims 10 Lives – About 50 miles south of Kabul in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber walked up to a “security commander” named Nasir Paray outside of a regional branch of Kabul Bank at 4:30 in the afternoon and detonated an explosive vest, killing the Afghan Special Forces commander, three of his associates, four children, and two civilians. Sources indicate 27 wounded Afghans were treated in area hospitals following the terror strike. Reports have portrayed Nasir Paray as a “pro-government militia leader”, a “security company manager”, and the leader of a Logan province Afghan Special Forces unit. The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid claimed one of their fighters named Zulfikar carried out the strike. Questions remain about Paray’s identity. Meanwhile, in the deteriorating security situation in the southeastern province of Khost, the acting Governor Tahir Khan Sabri was injured when a large explosion ripped through his heavily-guarded compound, hurting seven & bringing the two day injury toll in Khost City bombings to 21. Previously, 13 people were hurt in a Khost City blast on Wednesday in Hamam Square. Separately, Afghan NDS officials reported killing five militants in an encounter outside of Khost on Thursday. Sources: NY Times, PressTV, Pajhwok, Dawn
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 The Consequences of Evasion – On Diplomacy Bridging the AfPak disconnect is an exhausting exercise in drawing order from multiplying chaos. Barely three days of America’s fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda have been brought down to eye level in this narrative chronicle. 18 stories of AfPak surface tension is frozen in our winter of discontent as five pages of timely black ice; yet, in light of the UN Secretary General’s assessment of Afghan security – 1,244 violent incidents per month on average in the third quarter of 2009 – the Western witness cannot help but be taken with the reality that the Afghan people were subjected to upwards of 300 violent incidents of intimidation & terror on a weekly basis over three volatile months. The number of violent incidents in Pakistan during the third quarter of 2009 is a blank out unknown. Cut off from the events of the AfPak by the omissions of Western media and wrapped in domestic issues of monumental import at home, average Americans do not, at present, have the time to invest in the scholarly effort of keeping current with the crisis of human rights taking place in the AfPak at the hands of Islamic Supremacy. Worse, the consequences of the Western evasions in the region and the villainy of jihad’s constant quest to usher in Shariah Law are tragically lost in the void. The same disconnect existed in the 1970s and 1980s due to a lack of media capacity. Americans were blind to the 1980s clandestine CIA operations that sought to counter the USSR’s attempt to conquer the region. It is certain that by giving rockets and weaponry to the tribal Mujahideen in Afghanistan to level the battlefield, and by providing financial support to the ISI in Pakistan to form the ranks of the Taliban as a hedge against Soviet expansion, America sowed the seeds of its own present headache in the AfPak. In short, the American people looked away as Western statesmen helped to usher in an international jihad against Soviet Russia in the early 1980s, blessing the Saudi Wahhab radicalization of the Taliban militias in Pakistan without a hint of discontent. The same disconnect existed in the 1990s as Kandahar madrassas gave birth to the Afghan Taliban with the rise of Mullah Omar. Locked into a stock market dot com boom, Americans were clueless to the extent of the warlord-driven crisis in Afghanistan as Western NGOs were run out of the region by the Taliban. As a civil war raged, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and fighters
were killed. In the late 1990s, the Taliban rose to power with little Western notice, and the women of Afghanistan were caged by an unconscionable cultural slavery. As the 1990s ended, Americans remained unaware of the nature of the warlord underground of drugs, kidnapping, smuggling, and jihad – Afghanistan was a black hole. The same disconnect existed at the turn of the century as the Western world remained numb to the value of the assassination death of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9, 2001, which signaled al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on America to proceed. However, America awoke to the reality of al Qaeda safe havens in Taliban controlled Afghanistan and applauded the routing of the radical jihadists before turning to the reality TV of the Iraq invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein from power. By the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush to the presidency, the purple fingered victory signs of democracy in Baghdad and the relatively routed Taliban presence in Afghanistan yielded a complacency of perceived accomplishment in the war weary American people as the narco-terror financing syndicates of dozens of Taliban elements gained traction and shelter in the tribal belt of Pakistan, running from the arid steppe of Baluchistan north through the Swat Valley… The NATO coalition in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2007, attempting to push through a reconstruction plan for Afghanistan to support the young Karzai-led government in Kabul saw few casualties from localized insurgents as cross-border raids became the order of the day. Caveats of involved partner countries ensured NATO allies would pursue uncoordinated methods of dealing with militant activity. The lack of continuity, however, was largely unnoticed while casualty reports remained low. As al Qaeda insurgent activity waned in Afghanistan, al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) terror destabilized the Iraq situation to the point of civil war before an American surge, led by General David Petraeus, with the help of armed local militias like the Sons of Iraq, turned the tide in 2007. Al Qaeda and multiple Taliban elements, regrouped and entrenched in the FATA & NWFP via the poppy culture’s Afghan warlords, took advantage of the porous border and the black-market smuggling networks of South Asia and rose as muscle for a crime-terror syndicate with claws deeply lodged in corrupt Afghan & Pak officials, operating, at times, with cover provided by corruptible ISI agents or underpaid Afghan power brokers. A resurgent Taliban, then, in 2007 and 2008 laid siege Afghanistan.
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 The second term of the George W. Bush presidency will be analyzed by historians and political leaders for years to come. However, without probing too deeply into the Bush diplomatic and military response to the resurgent Taliban, what is evident is that the Bush Administration, locked into a war in Iraq with over 150,000 US troops in harm’s way, after failing to properly deliver a knock-out blow to the al Qaeda network, faced the resurgent Taliban without the support of the American people. With a media machine covering anti-war protests, Muslim apologists, and the rising body count in both theatres, the plight of Afghan Human Rights was lost in the disconnect as cross-border raids on coalition forces ramped up in Afghanistan and terror attacks swept over the Pak tribal belt. What is certain is that the outgoing Bush administration left a plan to the incoming Obama administration for a troop surge to stabilize Afghanistan. President Obama, taking the helm of state, immediately commissioned the counter-terror expert Bruce Riedel to work with the co-founder of CNAS, Michele Flournoy and Vice President Joe Biden to assess the Afghanistan situation in a 60 day review. The result was two-fold. The President, on March 27th, announced that the Afghan crisis was inextricably linked to the Pakistan troubles. In the formulation of a regionalized AfPak strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the al Qaeda Network, President Obama signed off on a July 2009 deployment of 17,000 additional combat troops and 4,000 trainers to the region to help increase the capacity of Afghan security forces in what he referred to in his campaign as a “necessary” war. The second result was the emergence of CNAS as a premiere broker of influence on national defense as the young Obama administration pledged to fully resource the Afghan war effort. Gripped by the pain of a deepening financial recession, at the dawn of the Obama administration, after eight years of a costly war on terror, the American people were not armed with knowledge enough to support or reject the President’s regionalized plan of action. The American people didn’t know why Richard Holbrooke’s appointment to the post of AfPak special envoy and the engagement philosophy of a “contact group” were linked in terms of diplomacy and peace. The American people didn’t have any clue what a Reconstruction Opportunity Zone was or what a Kerry-Lugar Bill would look like. In the following months, the AfPak disconnect was apparent when the shift in command from McKiernan to
McChrystal brought with it a change in the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for our combat troops in Afghanistan as Operation Strike of the Sword hit Helmand in July. Americans were mute cattle by and large. As the death toll ticked up higher and higher for coalition forces, the American people began to ask “Why are we in Afghanistan?” The AfPak disconnect was so apparent that Foreign Policy Magazine, in association with the New America Foundation, launched The AfPak Channel in Fall 2009, marshaling dozens of independent experts and journalists to the task of bridging the divide. In Pakistan, by Fall 2009, over 2,000 innocent men, women and children had fallen to the bombs and butchery of al Qaeda and the Taliban in two terrifying years. President Obama was true to his word that good American intelligence on terrorist whereabouts, if not acted on by Pakistan, would be met with an American response. By June, the CIA drone strike rate escalated and laid waste dozens of jihadists in The Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) of Pakistan. Only by following the reports of the CIA drone strikes was America able to identify its jihadist offenders. By August, those Americans newly beginning to follow the AfPak carnage learned that Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Tehreek-i-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP), was killed in a CIA drone strike. Their first question – What is the TTP? Their second question should have been – Why have I not heard of the TTP? With a little study, the inquisitive among the newly aware stumbled upon reports of the Taliban butchers of the SWAT valley, whose weekly public executions in Mingora quickly devolved into a daily affair as the Taliban pushed within 100 miles of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The Pak military, in response, launched a Swat Valley offensive which has killed over a thousand jihadists and imprisoned upwards of 4,000 suspected militants. Newcomers intent on figuring out who America was fighting in Afghanistan, learned from the McChrystal report, leaked by Bob Woodward in late September, that The Quetta Shura, the Haqqani Network, the Peshawar Shura and Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin were the primary sources of insurgent strikes in Afghanistan. A mountain of unknowns greeted the newly awakened, striving to understand. And then, as Obama deliberated with his war council on a second troop surge for Afghanistan, all hell broke loose in the AfPak in October 2009.
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 Following the admission of US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, that Baluchistan – home of the Quetta Shura, the command and control center of the Taliban – was an American intelligence black hole, keeping up with the AfPak in October 2009 suddenly became a matter of pressing national security. On October 3rd, two coalition combat outposts in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan province were assaulted by over 300 jihadists in a complex attack that lasted from dawn until dusk. Sources report that eight American soldiers and as many as seven Afghan security forces died in the assault. NATO reported that over 100 enemy fighters were killed. Americans following the situation were forced to gather the story over two weeks in scraps across the spectrum of media and slowly found that Mullah Abdul Rahman Mostaghni and Dost Mohammad, the “shadow Governor” of Nuristan, led the assault against the Kamdesh Camp Keating. As the information about the attackers streamed through the ticker feeds, it became clear that elements of the Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin Taliban and an al Qaeda “shadow army”, known as Lashkar al-Zil, were responsible for the attack. And while the identity of the enemy sank in, what caught most researchers by surprise was the fact that the remote security base was already scheduled to be drawn down due to McChrystal’s shift towards a more populationcentric counterinsurgency model. th
On October 9 , Mullah Mostaghni and five of his Taliban associates were reportedly killed in an airstrike. But those digging for info on Kamdesh, on the 5th, learned that the UN’s World Food Program offices in Islamabad were hit by a suicide bomber; five died in the blast. th Then, on the 8 , 17 civilians were killed and over 80 were wounded in a suicide strike on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. In Peshawar a jihadist suicide blast left 49 civilians dead and over 100 wounded at the Khyber Bazaar. Then, the Pak military HQ in the garrison town of Rawalpindi near Islamabad was assaulted by terrorists wearing Army uniforms, killing six soldiers including a brigadier general and a lieutenant colonel. 41 innocents were killed in a NWFP suicide bombing in Shangla on October 12th. A drone strike in North Waziristan on the 14th killed four Haqqani fighters, while on October 15th a suicide bomber struck a police station in the NWFP, killing eight security th personnel. Also on the 15 , 12 policemen, nine terrorists
and five civilians were killed in a terrorist assault on three Lahore security buildings. 14 died when suicide bombers attacked a police station in Peshawar on the th 16 . After weeks of organizing and logistics efforts to bring 30,000 soldiers to the South Waziristan agency, Pakistan launched Operation Rah-e-Nijat on October 17th. In less than three months of fighting in South Waziristan, over 500 Taliban fighters would be killed. As 2009 closed, US drone attacks matched the pace of Taliban suicide attacks in Pakistan. For those Americans monitoring the CIA drone strikes, gathering intel on the Taliban leadership as October dawned, Body of Lies author, David Ignatius’ October 1 op-ed in the Washington Post “A Showdown in Waziristan” foretold of the coming Pak offensive. With CIA drone strikes centering on the Haqqani bases of North Waziristan, Pak military fighters pushing through South Waziristan’s Al Qaeda safe havens to knock out the TTP, now led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, and a bulked up American force to the West of the Durand Line, the Taliban seemed to be encircled. Between 5,000 and 10,000 Taliban fighters were thought to be in the South Waziristan snare according to Pak intelligence officials. Somehow, then, at least 4,000 Taliban slipped the noose. Hundreds of thousands of tribesmen sought refuge in neighboring territories to escape the fury of the Pak military might. Between the launch of Operation Rah-e-Nijat on October 17th and the close of the fourth week of Winter 2010 on January 10th, at least 15 CIA drone strikes killed an estimated 100, primarily Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists. In this small window of time, researchers following the action could not help but discover that there was such a thing as “good” and “bad” Taliban. Apparently, before the launch of Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan, a peace agreement was signed by the Pak government with a handful of “good” Taliban leaders, whose organizations focused on cross-border strikes on foreign forces in Afghanistan rather than on Pakistan security forces and installations. By the close of 2009, 53 CIA drone strikes disrupted the Taliban and al Qaeda operational leadership in Pakistan. Following the attack on FOB th Chapman on December 30 , six targeted drone strikes in ten days on Waziristan targets set an unprecedented pace for the CIA’s use of hellfire. Also, Pak intelligence officials admitted in late December that North Waziristan had become an intelligence black hole after roughly three dozen undercover operatives were ferreted out by the Taliban and executed as spies through the Fall.
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 On the diplomatic front, the Obama administration’s efforts in the AfPak were challenged by the fraud-ridden th August 20 presidential election, which gave rise to a power vacuum in Afghanistan. Upon Karzai’s re-election, the public perception of an illegitimate democratic process fed discontent among many tribes and Islamists, while feeding the jihadist propaganda machine of the al Qaeda network. And while engagement with the Muslim world was paramount to the Obama administration’s message of hope and change, strategic partnership based on shared responsibility was the logical result of the presence of Dennis Ross in the role of Special Assistant to the President. As the Director of the Central Region, Ross is responsible for framing the diplomatic tenor of the Obama administration’s statecraft in the Middle East, Iran, and the AfPak. According to Ross, “Statecraft requires marrying objectives and means; it requires reality-based, not faith-based or ideologically driven, assessments.” Tactical engagements are the means. Strategic partnerships are the objectives. Moreover, according to Dennis Ross, when dealing with conflict in historical, national, or ethno-religious matters of state, “playing the clarifying role” lends one the capacity “to preserve a negotiation process that is moving toward agreements and tangible results.” Is it likely that Dennis Ross would disregard his own logic found in Myths, Illusions, & Peace, when framing AfPak diplomacy? On July 10th, over a month before the re-election of President Karzai, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations which set the tone for the diplomatic thrust of American foreign policy. In the “Town Hall” speech to CFR, Clinton announced the establishment of the QDDR, the Quadrennial Diplomacy & Development Review, while expressing exasperation over the vetting process for a new USAID Administrator. Noting her work on the Armed Services Committee as a Senator, Clinton stated that the Quadrennial Defense Review was a valuable strategic tool for planning and budget justification efforts at the DoD. In a word, the Pentagon figured out how to get its projects funded by Congress. Seeking to integrate the diplomatic and development communities to harness USAID’s power, Secretary Clinton proposed the elevation of Development as a Pillar of US foreign policy on par with Defense and Diplomacy in strategic value. Projecting QDDR’s completion in February of 2010, the Secretary discussed
the idea of “smart power” as the way forward in strengthening engagement and partnership, to deliver comprehensive, “whole of government” solutions, based on common sense. It should have come as no surprise, then, to America th when President Obama, on October 16 , signed the “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009”, aka the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Providing $7.5 Billion over 5 years to the Pakistan Government, the legislation delivers an unprecedented multi-year commitment of development aid to improve the living conditions of the Pakistani people and to support the Zardari administration’s fight against “extremism”. Written largely by Senator Lindsey Graham, the “bi-partisan” Kerry-Lugar legislation placed the Pak government on notice that the Secretary of State would be developing a strategic review of Pak military needs in the fight to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban. As the ink dried on the new law, President Zardari ordered General Kayani to proceed with Operation Rah-e Nijat in South Waziristan. The Kerry-Lugar act epitomized strategic partnership in the Ross frame. Building an effective partnership with Pakistan has dominated President Obama’s strategic approach to the region’s contingency operations. On December 1st, the decision to announce a surge in Afghanistan with a transition target date for a combat troop drawdown was met with concerned criticism, particularly from the Pak military establishment. However, it cannot be denied that the core elements of the Obama AfPak strategy were: “a military effort to create the conditions for a transition; a civilian surge that reinforces positive action; and an effective partnership with Pakistan.” In the Ross framework, 30,000 troops plus a development-based engagement to build future capacity plus a strategic partnership equals the clarifying role necessary to establish a negotiation process toward tangible agreements. Obama is marrying means and objectives. It is up to the American people to consider the nature of the evasion at play when the “negotiations” begin. On January 6th, 2010 Secretary Clinton spoke at the Center for Global Development and related that the QDDR and the “Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy” were underway. Sharing steps the administration was taking to ensure impact and success, Clinton noted that partnership rather than patronage would guide development, saying “True partnership is based on shared responsibility.”
The AfPak Gazette – Winter 2010, Volume 4 January 13, 2010 th
Also on January 6 , following months of US discussions on how best to peel back layers of the Taliban and reintegrate the more moderate elements of the militant movement into Afghan Society, a UN Security Council debate provided the platform for Afghan Ambassador Zahir Tanin to propose that the U.N. Security Council lift sanctions on Taliban members “willing to renounce violence and join the peace process.” By lifting asset freezes, arms embargoes and travel bans, Tanin argued, a new strategy against the militants was possible. Indicating that the Afghans were ready to take over responsibility for their security, Tanin stressed that stability and peace could not be achieved without reconciliation of all Afghan citizens and integration of the former combatants. The Russian ambassador Churkin agreed that an Afghan-led reconciliation was a favorable development, cautioning: “the possibility of agreements with Taliban leaders and other terrorists and extremist organizations should not be seriously considered.” The U.S. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo responded to the Tanin proposal positively, relating that support of Afghan-led efforts to reintegrate Taliban members who renounce al Qaeda, lay down their weapons and engage in the constitutional process was “one key element” of the United States’ political strategy. On cue, Secretary Clinton swore in Rajiv Shah as the new Acting Administrator of USAID on January 7th. The three “D”s – Defense, Diplomacy and Development – were now in position to execute a “smart power” approach to the AfPak. In effect, when the US Delegation led by Senator McCain, Senator Lieberman and Ambassador Anne Patterson met with President Zardari the same day, the Ross framework of statecraft was glaringly apparent. “Ultimately,” Ross notes in Myths, “statecraft involves the use of all our tools and assets, including diplomacy (both public and private), economic leverage, and the application of coercion.” In the meeting with the US delegates, Zardari hailed President Obama’s commitment to a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan. But then, what did Zardari do? He stressed the need for early adoption of ROZ legislation by the US Congress and communicated that eight years of waging a war on terror had cost Pakistan $35 billion and had virtually paralyzed the Pak economy. In a blink, the table was set for negotiations with the Taliban…as diplomacy’s hooded eye looked to London. – Gary H. Johnson, Jr., Pamphleteer
The Villainy of Jihad – On Intelligence Intelligence is only as valuable as the moral muscle built with its discovery. In his January critique of US Intelligence, Major General Michael Flynn hinted at the disciplined intelligence response necessary to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, saying “Analysts must absorb information with the thoroughness of historians, organize it with the skill of librarians, and disseminate it with the zeal of journalists.” To this frank assessment, The AfPak Gazette rises as a testament of promise. For, while a forward operating base on the Pakistan border might yield tactical human intelligence for the coalition forces, in the long war to root out Islamic Supremacy in the AfPak, it is up to the American people, in the forum of ideas, to undergo the fatigues of supporting its intelligence community with an active, public debate aimed at exposing the identity, ethics, and exploits of the multiple enemies of state at play in the region – that a reasoned public response to the villainy of our offenders might soon arise to temper American Statecraft’s inclination toward accommodating or negotiating with Jihadists. Analyzing the history of good and evil is a study in the flexing power of ethical movements. When appraising intelligence drawn from the AfPak disconnect, Reason’s champions should not evade the fact that the uniquely human battle of good and evil is found in vivid relief in the living chronicle of the Taliban and al Qaeda. In this human battle, heroism and villainy are only as self-evident as the portrayal of the characters in the procession play. Intelligence is the single-most important tool of statecraft the American people can marshal in defense of its sovereignty from the persuasions of evasive statecraft. Liberty, itself, is calling out across the AfPak disconnect. Building a case of reasoned resentment against the villainy of jihad requires courage. Answering the call of Liberty requires, primarily, the flexing power of Heroism. Arise Heroes. Welcome…to The AfPak Gazette. – Gary H. Johnson, Jr., Founder of The AfPak Gazette A pamphlet production of www.theafpakgazette.com
Published on May 24, 2011
Published on May 24, 2011
issued a decree following the vote, suspending the winter recess of the Wolesi Jirga, to assure the members would remain in session until th...