Vol .1,Issue3 Oct .2012
Af ghani st an Speci al :
Gr owi ng Ir ani an Inf l uencei n Af ghani st an Af ghani st an: ThePr ospect sf oraNegot i at ed End t oOngoi ng Tal i ban Act i vi t yand Insur gentVi ol ence
Looki ng atAf ghani st an Beyond 2014
Monitor Publisher: SIRS Consultancy Ltd.
Editors In Chief:
Welcome to our third issue of Monitor. 2012 has been a very successful year, and we as a country are still riding on the good feeling of delivering an excellent and secure Olympic Games. However, we must take the lessons learned from these Olympics, and use them while going forward. Around the world, we have seen an increase in the number of threats and the situation has worsened in some areas.
Suhel Abo-Hatab email@example.com
Christian Cullen firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Lautier email@example.com
This edition of Monitor, which is an Afghanistan special. As we approach the endgame in Afghanistan in 2014, we will be examining what the situation is like, and what the future may hold.
www.sirsconsultancy.com Thanks To Our Contributors: Grace Ayibowu Maitreya Buddha Samantaray Dr Rituraj Mate Mariana Monterios Paul Johnstone Mikko Keltanen Dr Veronika Valdova Vojtech Vohanka If you wish to contact any contributors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Cover image © U.S. Army Images in this publication may be under copyright. Copyright © SIRS Consultancy Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced copied or transmitted in any form or by any means stored in any information storage or retrieval systems without the publishers express permission. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the material published. SIRS Consultancy can accept no responsibility.
Furthermore, we have an excellent article on potential negotiating strategies in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that successful peace talks between insurgent groups, primarily the Taliban, and the Afghan Government would be the best possible outcome of this conflict for everyone involved. However, history is not littered with the best possible outcomes. Far too often, the parties involved in peace talks continue to pursue their own interests, which is what we are now seeing in Afghanistan. This excellent article highlights several potential obstacles to successful negotiations, but also common ground which may make them feasible. These must be recognised so that the peace talks do not become no more than a cover for prolonged struggles or stalling tactics by either side. Other articles examine issues including future developments in Afghanistan, and growing Iranian influence in the country. Furthermore, we will examine Pakistan’s influence, and their role as the NATO-led ISAF forces prepare to pull out of Afghanistan. This issue also contains an update on Boko Haram in Nigeria, an examination of the legal constraints on SIGINT in Sweden, and an overview of the current state of ETA. The shooting during the premiere of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado on 20 July this year, should also make people remember that there are a number of threats aside from terrorism. In the article by personal security expert Paul Johnstone, he describes the common misconceptions about a lone-shooter attack, or an attack using firearms. Furthermore, he gives advice on how to deal with such a situation. This can be adapted in order to react successfully to other types of threats. We hope you enjoy our latest issue of Monitor, and as ever we welcome any further comment and analysis.
Comprehensive Cyber Surveillance â€“ Can The UK Learn From Swedenâ€™s Problems?
23 With an eye on the world 24/7 Vojtech Vohanka
11 Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA): Do we still need to worry?
27 The Dangers Of Outsourcing Personal Medical Data of PTSD Patients
Mariana Monterios Dr Veronika Valdova
18 Cyber-Security: How
31 Countering Lone-Wolf
Serious are Governments?
Jonathan Lautier & Suhel Abo-Hatab
37 Boko Haram an Update Grace Ayibowu
Afghanistan Special: 40 Growing Iranian Influence in Afghanistan SIRS Consultancy
48 Afghanistan: The Prospects for a Negotiated End to Ongoing Taliban Activity and Insurgent Violence Jonathan Lautier
44 Re-Opening Of Nato Routes And Its Implications On Pakistani Dr Rituraj Mate
54 Looking At Afghanistan Beyond 2014 Maitreya Buddha Samantaray
Monitor | Europe
Comprehensive Cyber Surveillance – Can The UK Learn From Sweden’s Problems? On 1st December 2009 the Swedish signals intelligence organization, National Defence Radio Establishment (Förvarets Radioanstalt, FRA), received the authority to monitor and collect almost all electronic traffic (including phone and internet communications) in Sweden. This made Sweden one of the first nations to pass a comprehensive law allowing the monitoring and collection of all electronic traffic. Now the UK is following a similar path with the Communications Data Bill, which is currently in its draft phase. How did it all start?
and collect all domestic traffic but also traffic passing through Sweden. The FRA Law According to Swedish legislation, FRA has the mandate to monitor traffic for various threats and also to collect data as they see fit. This is accomplished through the tapping of communication cables going through Sweden with the assistance of the service providers. This arrangement gives FRA unhindered access to traffic. Data gathering is performed using key parameters that are defined by the FRA, very likely in line with current general or specific threat profiles. The gathered material is then analyzed and disseminated, in accordance with the intelligence cycle model, to policymakers and other institutions.
During the Cold War, Sweden had its share of terrorist activities, mainly from far-left groups, but it was only in the 21st Century, when Sweden (along with the rest of the Western world) woke to the threat posed by the new form of international terrorism. To fight these threats the Swedish parliament Riksdag approved the so-called FRA Law which enabled the SIGINT establishment to expand their operations from military intercepts to intercepting traffic related to terrorism How the Swedish Defence Radio Authority collects and processes communication © M. Nilsson, M. Klamberg & A. Petersson and criminal activities. The Law does not force the traffic to be directly readable by FRA (i.e. nonIn Sweden’s case the critical issue in encrypted), but according to Top500, a the legislation is the monitoring of all website listing supercomputers, the traffic, thus enabling FRA to monitor Swedish Government has the computing power necessary to break
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heavy encryptions, presumably enabling access to the majority of the traffic. The collected data is also stored for an undisclosed amount of time, in order to better to respond to new threats. The UK’s Communications Data Bill The UK’s Communications Data Bill, an extension or a part-replacement of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, would give the UK law-enforcement community similar capabilities to monitor and store internet traffic in order to investigate, deter and solve serious crimes and terrorism. Criticism of the FRA Law The FRA Law was widely opposed by political parties, civil rights groups and even some foreign nations. The main reason for the uproar from the political parties was the invasion of privacy and the implication of collecting ‘unspecified’ data and storing it for an uncertain amount of time. In theory this can be interpreted to mean you are suspected even if you have not done anything wrong. The opposition from foreign countries was related to the fact that Finland, Norway and Russia route some of their international communication traffic through Sweden. FRA Law compromises the confidentiality of this traffic, forcing some companies move servers away from Sweden to regain this confidentiality. The Russian Government has also stated their dissatisfaction over the FRA Law as there has been speculation that Russian military and diplomatic communications might be one of the main targets of the whole system.
Anti-FRA demonstration in Sweden, 2008 © M. Kolu
As in the UK, in Sweden the FRA Law is viewed as an anti-terrorist legislation package as its main aims are uncovering terrorist plots and hindering organized crime operations. The principles behind this kind of legislation are well-founded due to a relatively high number of international criminal organizations and terrorists operating on both British and Swedish soil. For example the mafia organizations from the Balkans have a strong foothold in Sweden, and Somali and Palestinian terrorist organizations have connections and support networks in the country. The UK has its own long history of confronting terrorism, criminal gangs, and international and domestic organized crime. To be able to respond to these types of threats, it is necessary to gain enough intelligence and to this end communications monitoring legislation in the two countries is very well suited. Regardless of the increased risks,
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threats and the potential value of the FRA Law or the Communications Data Bill, together with similar legal frameworks, there still are some problems concerning the legislation and the use of wide-ranging communications monitoring, collection, analysis, and storage. Even though SIGINT has been conducted since the birth of the radio, ethical, political and legislative issues are still very relevant. Some suggestions for more ethical intelligence operations have been created and the ethics of intelligence tradecraft have been discussed quite widely. While basic ethical principles, such as the right to privacy, are present in modern SIGINT operations, there are still many grey areas where the ethics can be hard to pin down. This aspect brought the FRA Law severe public opposition, as it was seen as being Orwellian.
The FRA Law a Threat to Individuals? The hostility against the FRA Law was (and still is with some parties) partly due to the ethical mistrust that is often linked with intelligence and government control, either clandestine or overt. Another reason why the FRA Law was seen as a threat, especially to young people, was its authorization of unrestricted internet monitoring. While the fear of individual surveillance was partly the reason for the outcry, general security aspects were also brought to light. In 2008 Finlandâ€™s Green League requested that the Finland explores potential alternatives for routing its communications as the FRA Law technically allows Sweden to legally engage in financial espionage. This kind of activity is not mentioned in the FRA Law. However, from a pragmatic point of view it would be unsurprising.
Concerns regarding surveillance and the alleged invasion of privacy exist in both Sweden and the UK. ÂŠ Ivansanchez
Monitor | Europe Sweden has also been suspected of looking for tradable intelligence from communications intercepts, which brings completely new characteristics to the Law. Sweden’s previous history of intelligence trading during the Second World War and the Cold war does not help to reduce suspicions. With this kind of issue floating around even the most idealistic person might find it difficult to see the process as ethical if the material is used as merchandise and potentially employed to circumvent safeguards and legal limits. Fighting Crime and CounterTerrorism The original aims of the FRA Law, countering terrorism and organized crime, also give some possibilities for speculation about the ethics of the legislation. As previously mentioned, Sweden has had experiences with a variety of different terrorists. Even though Islamist terrorism has been on the rise, an increase in left or rightwing terrorism is also a possibility. The agencies handling the monitoring have two possible options in this case. Either the general population is screened equally for potential terrorists or surveillance targets are identified from within the wider public. Surveillance would then be focused on these persons or groups. Both methods bring out different problems. Screening the whole public for potential terrorists is very straining on the limited resources and it will be seen as a severe breach of individual privacy, especially if the person has nothing to do with extremism. On the other hand, targeting certain groups, such as immigrants, politically active persons, or minority groups can easily
create a suspicion of state racism or prejudice against these groups. Intelligence Gathering without Analysis?
These issues significantly deter the adoption of similar laws by other countries. The benefits gained from the legislation, such as nearly unlimited intelligence gathering potential, may appear questionable if there is constant opposition towards the FRA Law. In Sweden, the situation is problematic as the intelligence gathered by the FRA was meant to be shared with different law enforcement agencies, but only now, in 2012 (four years after the FRA Law was passed), is the necessary intelligence sharing legislation being considered. It is very likely that liaisons were put in place earlier and intelligence sharing has occurred, for example through the National Terror Threat Analysis Center (Nationellt centrum för terrorhotbedömning). To the general public though, it seems that the legislation has been lagging behind and the FRA operates only for its own murky agendas. Furthermore, it seems that the legislation and the FRA’s capabilities have not worked in practice. Take the lesson of the first suicide bomber in the Nordic countries, Taimur Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly. He had sent emails, revealing his intentions, to the Swedish news agency TT (Tidningarnas telegrambyrå), to his wife and, strangely, to the Swedish security service, Säpo. Neither the FRA nor Säpo noticed the emails and Al-Abdaly was able to detonate his explosives in Stockholm’s center. Fortunately the explosives did not fully detonate and Al-Abdaly was the only
Monitor | Europe
casualty of the attack. This kind of issue still raises suspicions regarding the effectiveness of comprehensive cyber surveillance: if you are not able to pick up terrorists sending emails to intelligence agencies, who are you going to pick up?
Cyber Surveillance Comprehensive cyber surveillance is a potential tool for large-scale intelligence gathering, but in the publicâ€™s current mind it is associated with a controlled rather than a democratic society. This can be mitigated by proving that the system is properly supervised. In addition, it should be shown to the public that the system has benefits and a real usage, not just providing intelligence services a carte blanche for general surveillance. There is no denying that the Communications Data Bill would grant significant advantages for the law enforcement establishment. But the general hostility towards internet monitoring could hinder the political will to implement the Bill in the end. However, if the UK Government is able to avoid the problems faced by the Swedish Government - and provide tangible proof of the success of the system, both political and public support will increase; thus bringing out the full potential of the Bill and helping to secure the UK.
Police close a street after the December 2010 Stockholm Bombing ÂŠ Hegvald
It is quite likely that in the UK the Communications Data Bill will have similar flaws as the FRA has had in Sweden - a lack of legislation, possibilities of circumventing safeguards, unclear utilization of collected data, etc. These could increase the mistrust towards the intelligence community and its growing capability requirements, as could the fact that its operations have yielded only limited visible results.
By: Mikko Keltanen
Monitor | Europe
Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA): Do we still need to worry? Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) is unlikely to carry out a violent campaign and it is unlikely to pose a threat to the Spanish Government in the near future, because of its diminished operational capabilities and statistically verifiable decrease in the number of killings during the last 20 years, with the last fatal victim killed in March 2010. Henceforth, ETA has also been involved in a peace process and a drive to attain independence for the Basque country through political means; nevertheless, related youth organisations still plan and execute attacks, some of them fatal. ETA’s capabilities are presently at one of its weakest points and growing weaker. Successive and effective French-Spanish (and more recently Portuguese) joint counterterrorism operations resulted in massive weapon seizures and member arrests, disrupting its leadership and capacity to continue prolonged operational campaigns. The Basque population now largely demands a halt to violence in favour of political dialogue, despite a continuing support for the independence of the Basque country.
One of many ETA logos.
ETA Organisation, Weapons and Finances The majority of ETA’s leaders and members are jailed, and its hierarchy is seriously debilitated. Spanish authorities and scholars estimated, in 2010, that the organisation only had around 100-300 operational members, but with successive arrests in 2011, this number should be smaller. Ibon Gogeascoechea, ETA’s last known top leader, and his two alleged successors were captured in 2010, leaving the organisation without a central leadership; other arrests also left several important cells without their respective leaders. According to Oscar Elía, ETA specialist and analyst at the Strategic Studies Group in Madrid, ETA has previously shown to have a reservoir of people to fill this gap. However, he affirms, the last leaders have been younger, less criminally experienced, less resistant to joint Spanish and French police actions. However, in 2010, Europol detected clear links between ETA and FARC, with the former travelling frequently to Venezuela – the aim was exchanging expertise and knowledge of armed struggle, which could be an attempt to familiarise current members with ‘the work’. In the past, ETA has recruited members from Segi (from the Basque ‘to follow’), its youth organisation, when its numbers were low; this trend may indicate a possible future repetition, due to ETA members’ arrests – these youths are untrained militants, but experienced in low intensity terrorist attacks, mainly
Monitor | Europe
directed towards property such as law enforcement buildings, using flammable liquids and incendiary devices. Segi has recently announced its dissolution, but many sources indicate its resurgence under a new name, maintaining its members.
achieve maximum organisational effectiveness: successful leverage of members, assets and operations and minimisation of successful police operations. However, the latter’s failure, in the past few years, may have ‘flipped the coin’ on the network’s efficiency, with the growing number of arrests possibly creating a gap in communication and operational coordination between cells.
ETA resorts mainly to IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and VBIEDs (Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices) in its attacks, normally using homemade explosives joint law enforcement operations have been Aftermark of an ETA attack in Madrid, December 2006 © S. Garcia seizing these caches for Joint French, Spanish and Portuguese years, severely damaging ETA’s law enforcement operations dissoluted military logistic wing. The explosive various ETA cells, arresting numerous materials’ precursors are bought in the members. ETA operates mainly in the market or stolen from fabricating or Basque autonomous regions of storing companies, generally less northern Spain and southwestern secure against theft than those that France and is organised in small, manufacture explosives per se, and geographically distributed cells, the bombs are fabricated by ETA’s safehouses and itinerant groups - all experts. Commercial explosives are co-ordinated by a military command. used less, possibly due to French France is the fallback base where it security measures to protect factories improves logistical means and militarily and storage units. trains/houses activists. ETA finances itself primarily through Portugal is equally used for logistical extortion of business people in the support, with several activities Basque country and Navarra; detected by law enforcement agencies however, analysts report that ETA’s – renting vehicles for ETA operations present disorganisation and weakness and storing explosives. Additionally, and the legal repression of terrorism several ETA members were trained in financing, through counterterrorism Lebanon, Libya, Yemen and policies, increased difficulty in Nicaragua, and others received intimidating extortion targets, which sanctuary in Cuba. This network-like could mean increasingly deficient geographical distribution intends to
Monitor | Europe operational capabilities. Many large companies in the Basque region refuse to pay ETA’s tax, so the organization also targets smaller unprotected businesses. Nevertheless, according to Europol, ETA managed to extort €3.1M in 2010’s first semester alone. Since new member recruitment/training and search for new weapon and explosives storage areas continued throughout 2010, despite police seizures and arrests, the money was possibly used towards this. Additionally, ETA raises funds from kidnapping for ransom, robberies, drug trafficking, selling of its publications and fundraising raffles. ETA’s present operational strength is diminished. With the main leaders and majority of members imprisoned, its cells lack experienced guidance and operational coordination to sustain large-scale operational attacks. ETA’s geographical dispersion, traditionally an advantage, could have turned against it, hindering new operations. Despite detected connections between ETA and FARC to interchange expertise and knowledge, its currently unknown or possibly nonexistent leadership and its active membership appear powerless to contradict these changes. Joint police investigations and operations seized massive caches of explosives and weapons, ruining ETA’s operational capacity. The organization’s reputation was also weakened and Spanish counterterrorism laws have been strengthened, resulting in major difficulty in obtaining funds. ETA Terrorism - What For? The organisation’s main goal is to establish the sovereignty and selfdetermination of a Basque
independent state based on Marxist principles, in the ethnically Basque regions of northern Spain and southwestern France.
Map of the Basque Country © Fortunatus
However, achievement of this goal is unlikely through ETA’s modus operandi – the use of violence through attacks on civilians and politicians and through Segi’s low-intensity terrorism (mainly public and private property damage). Partido Popular has a history of refusal of talks to ETA, having already banned ETA’s political wing Batasuna, in 2003. Any advances in the talk of independence of the Basque country will most likely come from the Amaiur because it won 7 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 3 seats in the Senate, and favours independence. Former Batasuna leaders (including some politically active ones, now standing behind other political parties), who used to glorify ETA’s armed struggle and ‘martyrs’, have renounced violence and lost faith in armed struggle, pressuring ETA to declare and maintain its current ceasefire. ETA’s official statement, in which it declared the current ceasefire, encompasses a halt to the violent campaign and a persecution of a democratic solution to the conflict through peaceful means, to achieve their goal of an independent Basque state. In October 2011, ETA
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announced, through the Basque newspaper Gara, the dissolution of Ekin (its main leadership group), after a year of alleged debate between leaders. According to sources within the Comisión Internacional de Verificación (CIV), the mechanism to verify and ensure ETA’s definitive abandonment of violence and disarming, the separatist organisation is open to this verification. In the light of these recent moves towards peace talks and the standing ceasefire, ETA’s intention seems to be the abandonment of armed struggle and the pursuit of independence for the Basque country through political means. What History Tells Us ETA has employed terrorism since the 1960s making it the longest-enduring active European terrorist group. It was founded by former dissidents of the Partido Nacionalista Vasco in 1959, who were dissatisfied with what they considered a passive stance on Basque independence. Francisco Franco’s dictatorship repressed any manifestations of Basque culture and language, which gave way for cries of armed struggle, especially between the younger Basque nationalists.
government reacted by nearindiscriminate jailing, torturing and exile of Basques. This resulted in ETA gaining popular sympathy, new members and more support for its cause. In 1973, the terrorist group assassinated thenPrime Minister and Franco’s alleged successor – Admiral Carrero Blanco. After the death of Franco and restoration of democracy, in 1975, the Basque region was granted autonomy and able to form a parliament, institutionalise Basque as the official language of the region and control areas like education and taxes. ETA, by this point, was divided into two separate organisations: ETA pm (political-military) and ETA m (military) – the former wanted political participation in the new democracy, eventually dissolving in 1983; the latter defended continuation of armed struggle towards total independence of the Basque country, subordinating its political wing Herri Batasuna, and constituting what is now known simply as ETA.
The escalation of attacks in the 1970s peaked in 1980, ETA’s bloodiest year. However, these actions provoked a dramatic increase of ETA’s persecution - in ETA took its first military October 1982, GAL, a ETA Graffiti saying “Basque Country: We have to win” © D. Van der Ree action in 1961, with an military group, was unsuccessful attempt to derail a train established to persecute ETA, killing carrying Franco supporters. In 1968, 23 people, most of whom were not ETA produced its first victims – two related to the organisation and, again, police agents – to which Franco’s driving ETA to more offensive actions.
Monitor | Europe Since the mid-1980s, Spain has endorsed security measures to deal specifically with ETA, forcing the group to simplify their attacks and, consequently, provoking a sharp fall in fatalities. Since then, the killings under the Basque nationalist flag have been gradually decreasing (with irregular fluctuations) – the main causes are the establishment of democracy, creating decentralization which, in turn, permitted the establishment of an autonomous Basque region, and the adoption of repressive state policies, particularly regarding law enforcement, and efforts to socially re-integrate exmilitants. In 1992, ETA’s leadership was arrested, leading to its long period of decline, because the rate of arrests would remain higher than the recruitment rate until the present date. ETA has a history of calling truce or cease fires and appealing to talks with the government when its capacity is feeble. In 1988, ETA declared a 60day truce for peace talks with the government – in February, they kidnapped a businessman, held him hostage for months and executed him despite public appeals for release; in 1989, ETA declared another ceasefire in exchange for talks with the government, which ended abruptly, with the terrorist organisation declaring the continuation of fighting ‘on all fronts’; in 1992, again, in exchange for peace talks, ETA offered a ceasefire, until ordering shootings against two civilian guards; in 1996, ETA ended its one-week truce by bombing an airport and wounding 35 people; in 1998, ETA declared a temporary halt to armed struggle (largely considered successful) in order to promote better dialogue in the political arena, calling for an end to the ceasefire later that
year; in 2006, they announced a ‘permanent’ ceasefire, which lasted for 9 months and culminated in the detonation of half a ton of explosives at Barajas airport, killing 2 people and wounding 12; finally, in 2010, with the decline in violence and the numerous arrests and apprehensions of materials, ETA declared a ‘permanent and verifiable ceasefire’, reaffirming its commitment in January and October 2011, announcing a ‘definitive cessation of armed activity’. What Can We Expect? Despite having a history of not following through with their cease fires, during and after these periods of truce and conversation between the government and the etarras, there seemed to be a reduction in the number of fatalities – this seems to dissipate eventual fears that ETA could be using these periods to regain lost strength. Since 2000, the separatist group has killed less than 60 people. Thirty years ago, this would be its monthly figure. The total number of killings is 829, spanning from the late 1960s to March 2010 – henceforth, it has honoured its unilateral ceasefire. The longdecreasing number of killings, attacks and incidences of violence, coming to a complete halt since March 2010 and thus continuing until the present day, seems to indicate ETA will continue this trend of non-offensive actions in the future. These assessments of ETA’s capabilities, intentions and history seem to point towards a steady reduction in its violence, increasing disorganisation and scattered leadership, deficient operational capabilities and an overall desire to
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pursue the goal of Basque independence through political means, by ending the armed struggle. However, knowing ETA has called ceasefires when its strength is diminished, these could be seen as a temporary call for non-violence. Spanish intelligence services and authorities have been more sceptical than the politicians to embrace the ceasefire – for example, they refer that the dissolution of Ekin resulted from its inability to operate, rather than from a peace gesture. Furthermore, despite the 2010 ceasefire, the organisation continued to recruit members, extort money and search for storage areas for explosives and weapons. This can hardly be interpreted as a laying down of arms. What is more, the militants generally claim their violent campaign created the current opportunity for peace and do not mention their victims, focusing instead on their dead, imprisoned or exiled ‘comrades’.
verifications, giving ETA some room to manoeuvre and see how its political endorsements have behaved and their ability to push forth the Basque independence issue, after the elections in November 2011. Thus, an alternative approach, contrary to what seems to be the norm in the international and Spanish political discourse, could point to ETA’s ‘internationally verifiable ceasefire declaration’ being a ‘studied choreography’ – because of its feeble present condition, it could be temporarily endorsing political action and renouncing military campaign. If this path proves unsatisfactory to attain their objectives, a return to armed conflict would be possible, like it has done in the past.
ETA also maintained its propaganda activities in 2010, spreading its message of armed ETA spokesman addressing the audience in 2006 © Barcelona Indymedia struggle to achieve independence for the Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and Basque country through TV, radio and despite the various cease-fires and internet-spread statements, and returns to armed struggle, the fight conceding/seeking interviews with against Basque terrorism was much foreign media (in an attempt to attract more concerned with the etarras’ international attention for this cause). human rights – this might have helped to soothe a sort of ‘war memory’ The aforementioned Comisión created from the brutal Internacional de Verificación would counterterrorism efforts of the Franco take several months to exercise those regime and of the 1980s, and
Monitor | Europe prevented the spread of radicalism to the subsequent ETA generation. Thus, the ‘flame’ and the outrage began to die out. Furthermore, the reforms in the Spanish police forces and intelligence services, prompted a more humane treatment of ETA members and, indirectly, permitted the dissociation of the Basque population from the terrorist ideals.
Public protest against ETA © C. Garcia
ETA is now considered by most Basques to be a terrorist organisation, who now demand a halt to violence in the name of Basque independence – this lack of sympathy for the armed struggle, sympathy which gave ETA the flag for its campaign as defenders of the Basque people, is now mostly reduced to an acknowledgement of the importance of the cause, but a condemnation of the means to achieve it. With the transition to democracy, the Spanish state recognised the Basque country’s struggle and its unique characteristics, and did so by forging and approving the Statute of Autonomy, granting the Basque country pretty much what it can reasonably hope for - the freedom to have its own Parliament, to decide its own school curricula, promote Basque culture and traditions, develop their
own justice system and economy, and speak/be taught Basque. ETA Still a Threat? ETA’s present capabilities/intentions and past history point to a complete future cessation of its violent campaign, meaning that It will most likely not constituting a serious threat in the near future. It is, thus, unlikely their goal of an independent Basque state will be achieved through their offensive actions, since they do not seem to possess the capability or intention to maintain a prolonged campaign, but also because the succeeding government refuse to give in and make any concessions under the flag of psychological and physical exhaustion and isolation. Since the 2010 ceasefire, the jailed members and former leaders have called for an abandonment of the violent campaign, and the organisation has been ‘coached’ by leaders of Sinn Fein and the IRA during this process. For the aforementioned reasons, the chimes celebrating the halt of offensive action may also be announcing the end of the last European terrorist group.
By: Mariana Monterios
Monitor | World
Cyber-Security: How Serious are Governments? According to Deborah Plunkett from US National Security Agency (NSA), cyber attacks are now conducted without any sense of restraint as well as a recklessness that neither the USA nor the Soviet Union would have dared to attempt during the Cold War. Her open statement shows how intense the cyber attacks that are conducted against the USA have become. The cyber-security firm McAfee has ascertained that critical computer networks within four out of every five countries have been targeted. The steep increase of computer virus production is alarming; IT security company Kaspersky Lab estimates that 700,000 new computer viruses come into existence each day. Cyber Security Situation in the USA According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan, speaking in May 2011, under a revised US cyber defence strategy, cyber attacks carried out by foreign nations against the United States will be categorised as acts of war. This policy recognises that cyber-attacks have at least the same destructive potential as conventional physical attacks, such as widespread civilian casualties and disruption to infrastructure. In future, a US President could consider economic sanctions, cyber-retaliation or even a military strike as legitimate responses to a severe cyber-attack carried out by a foreign government against the United States. However, the Pentagon’s cyber security strategy does not indicate possible US responses to cyber attacks carried out by terrorists or individual hackers who
are not employed by a national government. It would be interesting to see the first military response by a nation against a cyber attack or a UN resolution as a consequence of it. US Cyber Command The US Defence Department’s Cyber Command became operational in 2010, and is tasked with protecting the US Military’s digital infrastructure, which encompasses 15,000 networks and over seven million computer devices. However, until now, US cyber-security has been inadequate. In a 2011 statement to a Congressional Committee, General Keith Alexander, head of Cyber Command, argued that “we do not have the capacity to do everything we need to accomplish. To put it bluntly, we are very thin and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces.”
Logo of US Cyber Command
Monitor | World Cyber-Espionage Cyber-espionage, in addition to more general cyber attacks designed to cause Critical National Infrastructure disruption, is a genuine security threat that must be guarded against. For example, the US Defence Department estimates that more than 100 foreign intelligence organisations have attempted to break into North American computer networks. The US Government has admitted that its computer systems are attacked “millions” of times per day. Significantly, in 2008 malicious software on a flash drive commandeered military computers at the US Central Command. Cyber-Espionage Campaigns Against the US In 2011, China was accused of conducting a cyber-espionage campaign, the targets of which included the Gmail accounts of senior US officials, military personnel, and prominent journalists. This scam employed the practice of ‘spear phishing’. This tricks email users into divulging their username and password by directing them to a web page that closely resembles an e-mail login page (in this case the Gmail web page) but which is in fact run by hackers. Having obtained the user’s login details, the hackers then tell Gmail’s service to forward incoming email to another account which the hackers themselves have created. Although the White House stated that it did not believe that official US Government email accounts had been compromised, this assurance does not account for information that could still have been unwittingly passed on to those who, for example, might have
posed as colleagues via private inboxes. In 2011 there were 15,500 breaches of US Government agencies, according to the General Accounting Office. Chinese state involvement in the 2011 hacking campaign against Google has been officially denied by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which has also stated that China is as much a victim of hacking as other major states. Moreover, Google did not accuse the Chinese Government directly of being responsible for the hacking campaign. This resulted in an proactive step in 2012 from Google to inform users if any hacking attempts by states are detected. Scepticism exists regarding official denials of Chinese state involvement in hacking and cyberespionage. Some experts have argued that although the 2011 Google hacking campaign originated in the Chinese city of Jinan, which is thought to house the ‘technical reconnaissance bureaus’ of the People’s Liberation Army (together with a technical college which has been linked to a previous hacking campaign). However, its “amateurish” execution suggests that it might have been the work of a single freelance individual. This person could have been motivated by patriotism, the hope of financial reward or an official suggestion that the hacking campaign be carried out, but possibly without direct state involvement. The problem of identifying the exact source of a cyber-attack may also be compounded by the launching of ‘false flag’ cyber attacks or cyber-espionage operations, which are designed to conceal their point of origin. For example, security experts have noted that some Russian hackers have
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deliberately written Chinese code into their programmes in order to hamper any investigation into their activities. Also, it has been suggested that the 2011 Google hacking campaign might have been carried out by hackers based outside of China, utilising a computer situated in Jinan, which was remotely hijacked. If these assessments are accurate, then greater technological and intelligence efforts will need to be made by individual states, in order to identify the genuine origin of cyber attacks of which they have been a target. Defences and Countermeasures US Cyber Command has reduced the number of ports through which commercial internet traffic enters and leaves military computer networks, and has installed defence systems which detect and repair network breaches in real time. The NSA now utilises its ability to monitor foreign communications to detect potential cyber intrusions before they reach US Military computer networks, prior to the cyber intrusion(s) in question being countered by automated defences once they arrive. These active countermeasures are now employed to protect all defence and intelligence networks in the ‘.mil’ internet domain.
NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland © J. MCashan
In May 2011 the White House proposed legislation to protect US infrastructure from cyber attacks, whatever their origin or purpose. If enacted, this legislation would empower the Department for Homeland Security to impose its own security standards on industry, including financial and energy firms. Cyber Security Situation in the UK The UK is also increasing its cyber security efforts and is acknowledging the threat. The UK Ministry of Defence stated in 2011 that it would recruit “hundreds” of cyber experts to “shore up” UK defences. Also, the UK Government has allocated £650 million for use during the period 2011-2015 in order to support efforts to improve the UK’s cyber security. A genuine threat of cyber attacks against the MoD certainly exists. For example, in May 2012, Major-General Jonathan Shaw, the UK Military’s head of cyber security, admitted that cyber criminals had managed to hack into some of the MoD’s most sensitive computer systems. Major-General Shaw also conceded that a number of further attacks may have gone undetected. Cyber-security experts will also be increasingly deployed in operational theatres alongside service personnel. An MoD statement recognising the need for increased cyber security in operational theatres has recently been issued: “Our forces depend upon computer networks, both in the UK and in operations around the world. But our adversaries present an advanced and rapidly developing threat to these networks.”
Monitor | World Economic Costs of Cyber Attacks
It has been estimated that cyber-crime, which includes intellectual property theft, industrial espionage, extortion, direct online theft and the theft of customer data including bank details, costs the UK economy £27 billion per year. In what might be sobering reading for the Government, this compares to the UK Home Office’s annual budget, estimated to be approximately £10.7 billion per year for the period 2012-2015. The potential economic threat posed by cyber attacks was further demonstrated in September 2012 when the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) warned the chief executives of Britain’s largest companies that their organisations were failing to protect themselves from cyber threats to the security of their personal data, online services and intellectual property. According to a recent GCHQ publication, Executive Companion - 10 Steps to Cyber Security, “There have been determined and successful attempts to steal intellectual property...”. It is envisaged by the UK Government that only nine per cent of the £650 million directed towards improving UK cyber security during the period 20112015 would be sufficient to combat cyber-crime. If this assessment is accurate, then the cost of preventing and combating cyber-crime is likely to be significantly less than the catastrophic financial losses incurred by the UK economy as a result of successful cyber-crime carried out during this period. This example surely demonstrates that it is cheaper for individual states to actively combat cyber-crime than for national
Collage of stills from YouTube videos posted by the hacking group 'Anonyomous'. © HonestReporting
UK Cyber Security Policy In October 2010, the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme was announced as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. It will see several government departments working with industry and academia to achieve the following objectives: “Reduce vulnerability to cyberespionage, improve ability to detect and defend against cyber-attack, incorporate cyber into mainstream defence concepts and doctrine, ensure the UK’s critical infrastructure, vital government networks and services are resilient from attack.” The extent to which the UK Government takes the threat of cyber attacks seriously was perhaps most visibly demonstrated by the creation of the Cyber-Security Operations Centre within GCHQ in 2009. Recent UK Cyber Attacks Recent attacks on the websites of UK Government departments have demonstrated how vital it is to ensure that adequate cybersecurity measures exist. For example, in April 2012 the hacking group ‘Anonymous’ carried out a denial of service attack that rendered
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the Home Office website inoperable for at least one hour. During the following month, the Serious Organised Crime Agency was forced to take its website offline due to a similar attack. Of perhaps greater concern than these attacks is the fact that the hacking group ‘Team Poison’, in April 2012, claimed that one of its members was able to eavesdrop on and record conversations by police counterterrorism officers staffing the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) anti-terrorist hotline, as a result of being able to bypass obsolete security technology. This followed a ‘phone denial of service’ attack by Team Poison against the MPS anti-terrorism hotline, which resulted in the hotline being ‘bombarded’ with around 700 individual phone calls. The attack was carried out using customised software installed on an overseas server. If this claim by Team Poison is accurate, it highlights a genuine risk to national security. The fact that Team Poison has also been able to record conversations between UK police personnel and members of the FBI further demonstrates the need for effective cyber security measures.
acknowledgement was before the Google ‘spear fishing’ campaign in 2011. It can just be assumed that other nations, acknowledging or not, have similar military cyber units. The Chinese Government has been keen to stress that it is as much a victim of hacking as other states. If this is the case, China is woefully underprepared (even with a multi-million pound budget) against cyber attacks given their ‘cyber blue team’ comprises just thirty personnel. China’s Cyber Warfare Capability In March 2012 China publicly announced that it had conducted a cyberspace attack simulation in 2010 in order to test the potential use of cyber attacks to disrupt an enemy’s ability to mobilise troops and material in the event of war. This exercise also aimed to test the extent to which cyber attacks could be used to create panic within an enemy population. This announcement does not reflect whether, in the case of a war, this could be done successfully. Instead it highlights a strategy which will most likely be adopted by many nations in the world. More needs to be done
China Many Cyber attacks could be traced back to China but less information is available in the public domain as to the extent to which China has been attacked or the Chinese Government’s arrangements to counter cyberattacks. However, at the end of May 2011, officials in China acknowledged that a so-called “cyber blue team” now exists within their military capability, which, according to the Global Times, is based within the Guangdong military command. Significantly, this
We live in a world where no government can just ‘pull the plug’ and not use or rely on any IT systems. Governments have to learn to deal and reduce the risk instead of ignoring it. A lot has been done to protect Critical infrastructure networks but that is not enough. The West needs to develop it’s capabilities as cyberspace has the potential to become the new frontier of warfare between states.
By: Jonathan Lautier & Suhel Abo-Hatab
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With an eye on the world 24/7 The closed circuit television system (CCTV) cameras have always been considered to be highly important from a security point of view. They were specifically designed for safety and management applications in different environments. In the past twenty years, technological advances have made video monitoring systems much more effective for security and affordable as well. Therefore, the newest developments in the surveillance industry are: megapixel cameras (easy identification of subjects); HDCCTV (allows a security manager to continue using standard analog equipment); storage solutions (storage capacity has finally increased enough to meet systems demand) and analytics (a capability of identifying certain objects in rapidly moving video). The CCTV cameras are easy to set up, are proved to be effective and have been especially employed in streets, schools, stores, banks, government offices, hospitals and public and private institutions. The Usefulness of CCTV There are a few roles that CCTV systems play in reducing crimes, assaults and assisting police investigations. CCTV cameras capture images of offences taking place (detection). In some cases this leads to the removal of an
offender’s ability to break a law (crime deterrence). The potential offender becomes aware of the presence of CCTV, assesses the risks of breaking in a location and chooses either not to take action or to go ahead elsewhere. However, CCTV failed to deter people from committing crimes during the England Riots. This demonstrates that the deterrence theory of surveillance had no connection with the motivations of the rioters. The theory of street crime as a rational act then failed. Evidence of the CCTV deployment shows where CCTV does work and that is for example in garages, banks, shops etc. In this case, a CCTV system makes perfect sense as part of a burglar alarm that switches on for instance when the glass breaks. Generally, people behave according to the social contract, the collection of rules that impose them together by instilling with internal surveillance in the form of regulation and aspiration. For this reason, CCTV systems are an invitation to walk away from the contract and their duty to one another, to become the lawlessness the CCTV is meant to prevent.
Violent acts during the August 2011 England Riots, such as the fire that destroyed this building, were not prevented by the widespread presence of CCTV cameras. © SIRS Consultancy
The CCTV devices also introduce selfdiscipline. In this respect, everyone can be constantly reminded of the “risks” that they have to be aware of at all times.
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They can accordingly change their behaviour by trying to increase their alertness. CCTV cameras can then produce self-discipline through fear of surveillance, if real or imagined. Professor Martin Gill’s report, The Impact of CCTV fourteen case studies, 2005, supports this notion. Prof. Martin Gill says that the impact of CCTV has been variable and the suitability of CCTV will depend at the very least on the nature of the problems, the presence of other measures, the commitment and skills of management and staff to making CCTV work. The belief that CCTV alone can counter complex social problems is unrealistic in the extreme. CCTV can work the best alongside other measures to generate some changes and there is still a lot to be learnt about how to use it to the greatest effect. In addition, CCTV cameras allow those monitoring the scene to determine whether police assistance is required. This crime prevention mechanism requires that police can respond in a timely manner to any significant incidents identified by CCTV operators, and that the local criminal justice system can pursue the offender’s conviction. The availability of local resources is a crucial factor in the success of this mechanism. CCTV footage can also help identify potential witnesses who might not otherwise come forward to police. Therefore, this ensures that police resources are called out only when necessary (efficient deployment). Finally, “a presence of a capable guardian” is the most important theory which suggests that for a crime to be committed there must be a motivated offender, a suitable target and the
absence of a capable guardian. Any act that prevents the approach of these elements will reduce the likelihood of a crime taking place. The CCTV systems that security companies set up nowadays are already fully integrated and complete with security lighting, access control and alarms. For this reason, clients can be offered “top of the line security”.
A CCTV camera, widely used in the UK © M. Fleming
The basic functions of CCTV Systems The basic CCTV system consists of a camera (imaging device), transmission medium (connecting cable) and monitor. Larger CCTV systems use more cameras (which can be remotely controlled); include multiple viewing points (monitors, controllers, multiplexers); use a variety of transmission mediums to send the signal from the camera to viewing device (coaxial cable, fibre optic, twisted pair, landlines or wireless transmission via microwave). Recorders store video images and printers generate a ‘hard copy’ of selected images. Switching devices allow operators to select specific cameras and direct their output to specific monitoring instruments.
Monitor | World Controllers permit operators to point the camera at an area of interest and to zoom in or out. Choosing an Adequate CCTV System The quality of any security system depends on ‘the weakest link’. In the case of CCTV systems, ‘the weakest link’ is often the cameras where the image creation stage is the most difficult to understand and the easiest to get wrong. Cameras’ assemblies can be grouped into fixed, pan/tilt/zoom, covert, overt and dome. In order to select the correct camera, there is a need to clearly understand a range of selection and performance criteria which can combine or conflict when putting together an integrated CCTV system. The quality of the camera is dependent on the lens. A first point to remember is that not all lenses fit all cameras. The issue of the lens mount must be taken into account. A second factor with lenses is if they are fixed focus or varifocal. Lenses are also offered in different focal lengths.
Today, most cameras capture their images on solid state sensors, known as a Charged Coupled Device (CCD). The CCD camera has greater light sensitivity than other types of camera, giving it larger operational range. The resolution of a CCD camera is measured in pixels. Basically, resolution is the amount of picture detail, the greater the resolution, the better the picture quality. Most CCD cameras are colour, due to the advantages of a colour picture for identification purposes. However, colour cameras require decent lighting to provide good images. Monochrome cameras are also sensitive to natural and actively generated infrared light and can therefore be used in night time applications where normal lighting is not preferable or acceptable. Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras are able to monitor external activity over a wide area and provide the advantage of allowing an operator to zoom in on suspicious activity. PTZ cameras also have disadvantages, such as: they are very expensive in
There are specific requirements that control the sizes of comparison with CCTV systems are not always fixed. They are often images for the mounted on vehicles. (c) adamlarge regular fixed recognition and cameras; require a detection of stronger mounting due to their individuals. For this reason, a lens increased weight and do not provide calculator should always be used 24/7 coverage of a given location due when selecting and installing cameras. to the fact that their direction of view is altered when operated manually.
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Dome cameras create an impression of 360° surveillance. There are two types of dome camera available, the first is a simple fixed camera and the second type is a fully functioning PTZ assembly suitable for internal or external use, providing full 360° coverage. Panning is very quick; this system can be operated manually, set to “patrol” through various sequences or a combination of both. CCTV – Implications for Security Managers Regardless of the technologies used in designing and implementing a CCTV security system, there are a number of issues that must be addressed in all situations. First, what information does a client/security manager want the system to provide? There are three basic possible answers: Detection indicate something is happening in the field of interest. Recognition - determine exactly what is happening. Identification - determine who is involved in the activity. Second, there is a need for a different type of specification – the performance specification which specifies not what the system should be but what a client/ security manager want it to be capable of doing under defined conditions. In this way, there is a clear and written understanding between the purchaser and installer that the system must comply to agreed performance parameters. This particular point will be important once the system is in use and it does not work as agreed. If a client/security manager agree a technical
specification and the installer installs what they ask for but it then does not give the quality that they require then it may be more difficult for them to put it right. Third, the starting point for any CCTV performance specification is to first draw up an operational requirement. A clear understanding of the operational requirement is fundamental to the design, test and operation of an effective and economic CCTV system. The operational requirement (OR) document provides all of the information that the security manager requires to begin the OR process including examples and checklists for CCTV planning and implementation. CCTV may not be able to completely reduce crime or deter criminals; however it is used effectively to target specific offences. Furthermore, there is no doubt that it is a powerful and innovative weapon in the security/ police arsenal and it widely helps in controlling crime and giving moral support to the law.
By: Vojtech Vohanka
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The Dangers Of Outsourcing Personal Medical Data of PTSD Patients Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a signature injury of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which affects 13-20% of veterans. It significantly overlaps with depression and anxiety, and can be fatal because of high risk of suicide. In the U.S., service members and their families have the advantage of the Department of Defense triple option managed health care program TRICARE. In the UK, apart from National Health Service (NHS) and commercial insurance plans, there are numerous charities which offer their services to veterans, and especially focus on psychotherapies. Brief look at sponsors and management boards of the concerned organizations suggests wide variety of possible agendas, including intelligence gathering about recent operations. Available pharmacotherapies Most guidelines - the Veteran Administration (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD), International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), American Psychiatric Association (APA), British Association of Psychopharmacology, World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, and International Psychopharmacology Algorithm Project (IPAP) recommend Selective Serotonine Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and some other antidepressants and antipsychotics as first-line therapy for PTSD, usually in combination with psychotherapies. Antidepressants have been in use for treatment of PTSD since 1960â€™s and
remain the mainstay therapy in most guidelines. UK and Australian guidelines recommend drug therapy only as a second choice unless the patient declines psychotherapy or manifests particular clinical features. Despite very extensive research the only two active pharmaceutical ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for indication PTSD remain sertraline (1999) and paroxetine (2001). Numerous other drugs are being prescribed off-label or as investigational drugs for PTSD. VA drug benefit data from 2003/2004 showed that psychotropic drugs were prescribed for 80% of the veterans with PTSD, of whom 89% received an antidepressant, 61% anxiolytic or hypnotic, and 34% antipsychotic. Not all medications were prescribed offlabel; they could be prescribed to treat co-morbidities. New policy guidance on assessment and treatment of PTSD issued by the U.S. Army (2012) requires healthcare providers who prescribe atypical antipsychotics and benzodiazepines to clearly document their rationale for using them in the patientâ€™s medical record and obtaining informed consent from the patient. Off label and investigational use: Good medical practice and the best interests of the patient require that physicians use legally available drugs, biologics and devices according to their best knowledge and judgment. If physicians use a product for an indication not in the approved labeling, they have the responsibility to be well informed about the product, to base its use on firm scientific rationale and on sound medical evidence, and to maintain records of the product's use and effects.
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VA PTSD Committee review of efficacy of PTSD treatments, 2008: The data below are based on information from 2008 and 2012 PTSD VA Committee reviews, and demonstrate assessment of efficacy of available pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies.
Pharmacotherapies as per the VA/DoD PTSD treatment guidelines and the 2012 review.
Psychotherapies, the way forward? In its 2008 review, the VA Committee concluded that there is not enough evidence to support efficacy of any of the assessed drugs for the treatment of PTSD. Minority opinion stated that available evidence suggests that treatment with SSRIs is not effective. Atypical antipsychotics olanzapine and risperidone were assessed as probably effective. Four years later, the VA/DoD PTSD Working Group recommended that initial treatment include both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. SSRIs and venlafaxine remain first line therapy for PTSD and there is fair evidence for efficacy of other antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics (olanzapine and risperidone) as adjuvant therapy. Anticonvulsants, guanfanadine, benzodiazepines, and nefazodone are not recommended because their risks outweigh benefits.
The Veteran Administration Committee Review of PTSD pharmacotherapies, 2008.
Most PTSD guidelines are rather consistent on recommendation of controlled exposure psychotherapies. Exposure is a treatment that involves confrontation with frightening stimuli and is continued until anxiety is reduced. Compared to medication, these therapies proved to be rather effective and their main problem is high potential for abuse of sensitive data from psychotherapeutic sessions which can and do contain information from operations abroad. Whilst the U.S. Army pays lot of attention to developing a scheme which can be offered to veterans (Virtual Reality Exposure) through TRICARE, military and intelligence personnel in the UK have to rely on NHS, commercial providers, and charities. Vetting of medical staff is non-existent, and growing number of NHS staff are non-UK and non-EU citizens with degrees acquired in countries with which the UK is currently at war. Moreover, medical data is shared across the globe due to outsourcing of medical information processing to jurisdictions where enforcement of Data Protection Act is illusory. Data security is a
Monitor | World major concern and this can be one of important factors why people are very reluctant to seek medical help. Elephant in the room: Handling of medical data Medical professionals are not supposed to share data about their patients with third parties, but every system is only as good as its weakest point, which, in this case, is interface between health care provider and the medical data administrator and also the insurer. More importantly, the UK health care system is increasingly dependent on immigrants from non-EU countries who can have many reasons to feel bitter about UK engagement in war operations in their home countries.
subject to Indian jurisdiction, and that German (and UK respectively) territory ends at the companyâ€™s reception desk. Certain differences in understanding of legal and cultural specifics have to be clarified in advance to prevent the use of non-conventional means of business dialogue in the office. This also applies to mutual understanding of rules which apply to security and sharing of the processed information. NHS workforce by ethnicity and country of graduation The NHS pays lot of attention to monitoring of ethnic diversity of their staff. This data reveals nothing about staff loyalties in terms of foreign or dual citizenship, immigration status, or religious affiliation. Should we only be interested in a sub-segment of NHS staff with wide access to medical databases and obvious affiliation with a religious or interest group or country against which the UK is waging war at that time, it would be very difficult to get this information because government agencies do not monitor this type of data. These simple charts show how UK health care system is becoming increasingly dependent on immigrants from non-EEA countries.
For cost-saving reasons, the NHS is sending millions of patient records and confidential medical notes to India for processing despite reassurances of political representation that personal information would not be sent overseas. Among other information, these records also include names, addresses, and NHS numbers. In the past, some of these medical records were searchable and available online because of inadequately secured file sharing. To make things even worse, the outsourcing mantra failed to achieve what it promised, and only disproportionately increased risks associated with data sharing with countries out of reach of UK law enforcement. Jurisdiction under certain conditions can be very flexible and not necessarily territorial. In board rooms of multinational corporations one can hear that Indian subsidiaries and staff in EU Medical staff by ethnic category, 2001-2011. Source: NHS staff numbers. member countries (in this case the UK and Germany) are
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This dependence applies to both the civilian population and military and intelligence personnel, both active service and retired.
for treatment. Off label prescription has serious effect on legal liability for any harm suffered by the patients in terms of any adverse effects. While off-label use does not necessarily fall under the laws of human experimentation, the discrepancies in the laws concerning offlabel drug use for the manufacturers and the doctors fails to adequately protect the patient. The only therapies which consistently proved effective in the treatment of PTSD are psychotherapies which contain some element of controlled exposure. Their biggest problem is data security resulting from the outsourcing of the processing of medical data to Asia and non-existent vetting of medical staff. Shift of focus from pharmacotherapy to psychotherapies would require changes equivalent to an earthquake in medical data processing and outsourcing strategies.
Medical staff by country of qualification. The chart shows disproportionate representation of staff qualified outside EEA.
What are the dangers of data outsourcing? PTSD is a serious condition which can be fatal because of risk of suicide. Antidepressants and many other drugs have been extensively studied for their efficacy for PTSD. Despite showing dubious results in some trials where their effect was comparable to placebo they remain the mainstay therapy for PTSD in most guidelines. The most obvious evidence of lack of supportive data for the use of SSRIs for PTSD is the fact that there are no new active pharmaceutical ingredients approved for this indication, and sertraline (1999) and paroxetine (2001) remain the only FDA approved therapies on the market. This disparity between guidelines and market approvals results in a situation where most drugs for PTSD are prescribed off-label. Recent U.S. Army guidelines for the treatment of PTSD require clinicians to justify in detail the prescription of certain drugs and to obtain the patientâ€™s informed consent
By: Dr Veronika Valdova
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Countering Lone-Wolf Shooters The sad and tragic shooting of innocent people in a Colorado movie theatre in the United States on 21st July was an overwhelming reminder that these events are becoming more and more frequent throughout the world. Coupled with this is that the same month witnessed the first anniversary of the massacre in Norway that left 77 people dead and many more wounded in mind and body at the hands of lone gunman Anders Behring Breivik.
a huge challenge to police and the community. Spotting an Active Shooter These lone gunman, similar to the ‘Lone Wolf threat’, are hard to pick out of a crowd, often they have no criminal record and won’t show up on police reports until after they have acted. They haven’t told anyone about their plans and have compiled a weapons cache legally.
Dealing with The 21st July an attacker shootings in who is Colorado would shooting at a have group of immediately people brought back (active dark memories shooter) is for the local not an easy community of task. Not for the 1999 the victims massacre at The Century 16 Theater in Aurora Colorado, scene of the July 2012 Shootings © Algr and their the nearby families and Columbine nor for the first responders that attempt High School, when students Eric to stop the threat of continued violence Harris, 18 and Dylan Klebold, 17, and assist the traumatised victims. systematically killed 12 classmates and a school teacher and wounded But what is an active shooter? another 21 people before they According to the United States committed suicide. Department of Homeland Security, an active shooter is an individual actively Throughout history there have been engaged in killing or attempting to kill shootings and massacres across the people in a confined or other world. However, over the past two populated area. From the many case decades there has been an increase in studies examined, the evidence the number of innocent lives taken at demonstrates that active shooters use the hands of active shooters in firearms or sub machine guns, they do churches, schools, shopping centres, not discriminate against their victims in tourist locations, parks, hotels, the most cases and that they are work place, and in movie theatres. extremely unpredictable and pose Subsequently, it is now extremely difficult to predict the origin of the next threat and where it will happen.
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In 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a United States Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood in Texas. A further 32 people were wounded and an unborn baby was killed. If not for the actions of police officers who responded, many more would have been killed and wounded. Hasan faces the death penalty on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder when his court-martial takes place.
The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26th November and lasted until Saturday, 29th November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308. Although more prominent in the United States, many countries throughout the world have had their own tragic history involving active shooters. Australia and the United Kingdom have not been immune from active shooters and several prominent cases have raised the issue of gun control in both countries. On Saturday 17th August 1991, people were shocked to hear that Wade Frankum, a man armed with a hunting knife and Chinese-made semiautomatic rifle walked into a shopping plaza in the Sydney suburb of Strathfield and killed seven people and wounding a further six before killing himself as police arrived at the scene.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, Fort Hood shooter ÂŠ U.S. Army
In 2008, 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks were carried out across Mumbai, India's largest city, by terrorists who came from Pakistan, which is also where they trained. The attackers allegedly received reconnaissance assistance before the attacks. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive by Indian authorities, later confessed under interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan's ISI.
Just under five years later on 13th March 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into a primary school gymnasium in Dunblane in Scotland and shot dead 16 children and their teacher before killing himself. As a result of the killings, the government passed legislation banning ownership of all handguns under 60 centimetres in overall length throughout Great Britain. Then only one month later on 28th April 1996, Australia would account for one of the worldâ€™s deadliest and most shocking atrocities committed by a single active shooter when Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded a further 23 at Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination in Tasmania. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the massacre and was given 35 life sentences without parole.
Monitor | World But who are these lone gunmen and why are they becoming more frequent? Understanding Active Shooter Incidents An active shooter is an individual killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. Typically, there is no pattern in the selection of victims in an active shooter incident, however in some cases a particular person/s have been targeted. Common motives include, anger, revenge, ideology, and untreated mental illness. Employees can in some cases help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals need to prepare themselves both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation. Defending against an Active Shooter In an active shooter situation, individuals should quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect their own life. o o o
Evacuate: If there is an accessible escape route, attempt to evacuate the premises Hide out: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you Take action: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter
Evacuate If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to: o o o
Have an escape route and plan in mind Help others escape, if possible Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow Leave your belongings behind Call the emergency services when it is safe to do so Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be Do not attempt to move wounded people Follow the instructions of any police officers Keep your hands visible
o o o o o o
Hide Out If safe evacuation is not possible individuals should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find them. The hiding place should be out of the active shooterâ€™s view. It should provide protection if shots are fired in your direction, e.g., a room with a closed and locked door. When selecting a hiding place, do not trap yourself or restrict your options for movement. To prevent an active shooter from entering and to stay safe in your hiding place: o o o o o o
Lock the door Blockade the door with heavy furniture Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks) Close, cover, and move away from windows Silence their mobile phone as even the vibration setting can give away a hiding position Remain quiet
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During the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, a waiter who heard the explosions and shouting instinctively locked the doors and turned out the lights. A short time later, staff and guests could see an armed terrorist trying to peer into the darkened restaurant from the courtyard. He moved on. At that moment besides the staff, there were 60 vulnerable guests sitting in the restaurant.
Once an individual decides to ‘play dead’ then they are very restricted and have given the shooter full control of their life as they lie there hoping that he doesn’t see a still lifeless body breathing uncontrollably, or a chest rising excessively due to a fear response. Furthermore, in cold or wet conditions a body when under duress or during physical activity will naturally generate steam as warm air from your body connects with the cold air.
Finding Sufficient Cover Consider the difference between cover and concealment. Cover will protect from gunfire and concealment will merely hide you from the view of the shooter. Choose the best space that is available quickly. It is important to understand that you can still be shot even if you take cover behind a large object such as a table. There are misconceptions that what people see in movies translates into the real world. Taking cover behind a table in a movie might provide a sense of security that you are safe from high calibre projectiles. However; in reality, it may well cause death or serious injury Brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles and any other object such as these must be utilised as both cover and concealment. ’Playing Dead’ as an option? Some people may believe that ‘playing dead’ is an option. It may work, but only in some cases as it is well known, as was the case in Norway that the shooter walked around and shot at bodies already laying on the ground. If you are attempting to hide then you are better off trying to conceal yourself with natural or man-made objects.
When Evacuation and Hiding Are Not Possible When possible, try to provide the following information to police officers or emergency operators: o o o o
Location of the active shooter. Number of shooters, if more than one. Physical description of the shooter(s). Number and type of weapon(s) held by the shooter(s) i.e. pistol, shotgun, rifle o Number of potential victims at the location.
Take Action As an absolute last resort, and only when your life is in real and imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter: o Act as aggressively as possible against him/her. o Throw items and utilise improvised weapons. o Scream at the person whilst attacking them as this can act as a distraction and furthermore, enhance your own determination and confidence under stress. o Commit to your actions and do not stop until the threat is over or you can safely escape. o Maintain self-preservation at all times.
If an individual is directly confronted by an active shooter then time is critical and in the initial attack they should
Monitor | World follow their â€˜gutâ€™ feeling to get away from the threat. When James Holmes carried out his attack at the crowded movie theatre in Aurora in Colorado, many witnesses assumed that it was a promotional stunt related to the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Holmes began his attack by throwing two gas canisters into the theatre and he then began shooting into the crowd. Many of the crowd, including Holmes were dressed as characters from the anticipated movie so initially the crowd would not have reacted as quickly considering they would not have had a reason to believe that at a midnight showing of a movie, their lives would be destroyed by the actions of a lone gunman.
Once the decision has been made to counter-attack it is up to the individual(s) there on the day to act and once they do it is imperative that they commit and fight through as aggressively as possible using whatever is close by as an improvised weapon. This is a very dangerous choice of action. However, it is no more dangerous than doing nothing and dying in place. A moving target is much harder to hit then a stationary one and the last thing an active shooter will expect is to be attacked by an unarmed person. Yet, any option taken may still result in a negative outcome. How to Respond When Police and Emergency Services Arrive
It is important for individuals and employees to be trained so that they can react if they are ever confronted with an active shooter situation. As these situations evolve quickly, quick decisions could mean the difference between life and death. If an individual is in harmâ€™s way, they will need to decide rapidly what the safest course of action is based on the scenario that is unfolding before them.
If an individual takes this action and is subsequently approached by police officers it is imperative that they follow all instructions given by them until they can be identified and evacuated away from the threat. If the individual has used an improvised weapon then it is imperative that they discard it immediately on being confronted with law enforcement officers and comply with all directions given.
If a victim is not in the immediate line of fire then the option of a direct approach utilising basic yet effective takedown techniques is a potential solution to incapacitate the active shooter and cease their attack. In theory, it may sound simple but taking into account the mental state of the victim whilst they are scared and under duress, it may not be possible and being able to make that decision is no easy task.
The purpose of the police is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Therefore, it is important to understand the following; o o o
Police officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard. Officers may arrive in teams of two or various numbers. Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment of various colours. Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns and ballistic shields.
Monitor | World Officers may use OC spray or tear gas to control the situation. Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety or until they have been identified.
How to React When the Police Arrive o o o o o o o
Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets) Immediately raise hands and spread fingers Keep hands visible at all times Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.
Additional Ways to Prepare For and Prevent an Active Shooter Situation No one knows when the next active shooter incident will occur and it’s almost impossible to predict. In the United States alone, the threat of the lone gunman has become such a concern that in 2009, the FBI, created a task force to identify common behaviour traits and characteristics. So what can you do to prepare? Individuals should familiarise themselves with at least two evacuation routes. Your employer should post signs indicating evacuation routes in conspicuous locations throughout the facility. The safety tips and guidelines in this article are not all-inclusive, but if understood and followed up with periodic reminders, every individual can increase their chances of surviving an active shooter incident.
There are a number of excellent training programmes available that educate about the threats and defensive measures pertaining to active shooters. These programmes have combined to offer a theory and practical based training program that trains its participants to prepare and respond during violent confrontations involving an active shooter, and to enhance their survival mindset and self-preservation skills. Once an active shooter opens fire, immediate action needs to be taken to reduce the risk of deaths and serious injuries. Potential victims should bear in mind that an active shooter will continue to kill until they run out of ammunition, run out of victims, is stopped, or takes their own life. They are unique in that they are fully committed to their ‘cause’ and ensuring that they achieve as many kills as they can and achieving a ‘top score’. We must be vigilant of those within our community that may be planning to be a lone gunman. It is almost impossible for law-enforcement organisations to identify or predict the who, what, when, how and why.
By: Paul Johnstone
Monitor | World
Boko Haram an Update The Boko Haram insurgency that has plagued Nigeria since 2004 is one that continues to this day and it seems to be one for which a solution has eluded the countryâ€™s leadership. It has now become a painful and protracted insurgency that has led to huge human and financial losses and is gradually becoming an ingrained part of national politics. Since 2010, over 1,400 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks carried out in Northern and Central Nigeria according to a 2012 report by Human Rights Watch. This figure is likely to rise as Boko Haram is still carrying out its activities. Although such measures like state of emergency and military crackdown are often implemented in the immediate aftermath of an attack, they are not proactive as lives are already lost before these measures are put in place. Besides the loss of human capital to the country, Nigeria has also counted some great financial losses stemming from Boko Haram attacks. According to a World Investment Report of the United Nations Trade and Development Conference, the economy has lost about N1.33 trillion of Foreign Direct Investment due to Boko Haramâ€™s activities. Local businesses, Churches, Mosques, banks, government secretariats, agencies, embassies, most Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have all felt the economic pinch of Boko Haram. A large chunk of their budgets is now allocated to retaining security services. The Federal Government has also had to divert a whopping N921.90 billion of its 2012 budget to security. This in turn has resulted to a reduction in the
budget of other sectors such as health, agriculture, power, and education. For instance, the N400.148 billion allocated to the education sector is far below the UNESCO recommendation of 26%. The power sector was allocated only N161.42 billion, while agriculture was allocated N78.98 billion which is considerably low in light of the importance of these two sectors to the Nigerian economy.
FACT SHEET Official Name: Jama'atu ahlus sunnah lid da'awati wal jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad). Founder: Ustaz Mohammed (deceased in 2009)
Ideology: Islamist, Wahhabi, Salafist, Jihadist Current leadership: Abubakar Shekau, Abu Qaqa (spokesman), Abu Zaid (Spokesman) Operational Base: Northern Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Somalia, Mali, Cameroon. Number of terrorist attacks / Casualties: 21/Over 1000 since 2009 Training: al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Shabaab, other alQaeda training camps in some parts of North Africa such as Niger and militant camps in Mali Group affiliations: al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Shabaab Organisational Structure: Cell type structure operating both locally and internationally. The leader commands Regional Leaders who in turn oversee over 26 different operational cells in Nigeria
Monitor | World Islamist Terror Attacks
Recent attacks by the group have included a new dimension: attacks on traditional Islamic symbols in Nigeria. For instance, in July and August 2012, the Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Fika managed to escape bomb attacks by the group. These new targets of the Boko Haram insurgency point to the existence of a hardcore Islamist element within the group. These strikes seemed to target some Emirs and the Sokoto Caliphate, which is regarded as the Islamic headquarters for Muslims in Nigeria. The Sokoto Caliphate was founded in 1809 during the Fulani Jihad led by Uthman Dan Fodio. This Jihad forms a very important part of Islamic history in Nigeria and to this day the position of Sultan of Sokoto is held by descendants of Dan Fodio. As a state, Sokoto was created in 1976 and is located in the extreme North-West region of Nigeria. It is more or less regarded as the ‘Mecca’ for Nigerian Muslims. The name Sokoto, which is a modern version of the word ‘Sakkwato’, has Arabic origins representing ‘suk’, which means ‘market’. Sokoto state is the seat of the former Sokoto Caliphate; it is predominantly Muslim and serves an important learning centre of Islam in Nigeria. The Caliphate is headed by a Sultan who is revered as the spiritual head of Nigerian Muslims and so attacks in this region signify a dramatic escalation. The group has re-emphasised its commitment to the Islamisation of Nigeria through law and politics. Recently, the group dismissed claims that it was involved in ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government and reiterated that the
only resolution to the insurgency is the comprehensive implementation of the Sharia Law system throughout Nigeria. This has demonstrated the lack of understanding about the insurgency by the country’s leadership and the latter’s seeming inability to bring the former under control. Also Boko Haram destroyed some telecom towers in some Northern states as a result of the its alleged spokesman man who was arrested in February, after his phone was tracked by the security service. Between Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th September, at least 24 masts were attacked in Kano, Maiduguri, Gombe and Bauchi and experts say the damage done could run into millions of dollars as the cost of a single tower is over £627,000. Companies targeted include MTN owned by South Africa and Etisalat owned by The United Arab Emirates. Negotiation as a Solution? So far there has been no claim of ongoing negotiations or backroom talks with the Government by the leadership of the group. Boko Haram has dismissed claims of the group’s representatives in these so-called negotiations with government officials and has described them as fake negotiators dealing with the Government. It has also accused them of collecting huge sums of money from the Government on their behalf. In the light of this new dimension, recent calls for a Federal GovernmentBoko Haram dialogue should be clearly and thoroughly considered. There is good reason to be concerned with the Government’s clamour for dialogue and negotiation. There are some key questions to be considered
Monitor | World as the country’s leadership continues to make attempts to open lines of communication with the group: · Are/should terrorists be susceptible to negotiations? · What kind of terrorists should be negotiated with? · Does negotiation with terrorists set a precedent for terrorists to follow? · Can Boko Haram be rightly classified as a terrorist group? · Would the Nigerian Government be willing to agree to the Islamisation of the Northern part/some parts of Nigeria or of the country as a whole as part of the group’s demands?
The answers to these questions are important as they will help create the structure upon which a resolution can be formed. A dialogue may seem to be a smart idea and even perhaps a buoyant one, but even the most brilliant and engaging dialogue holds no assurances for productive results. The officials involved in current dialogue base this on past precedent such as the Nigerian Government’s back-channel communications with the Niger Delta militants, which eventually resulted in an amnesty resolution. However, it should be remembered that the Niger Delta militants’ struggle was based on political and economic grievances rather than religious. The same cannot be said of Boko Haram as its ‘struggle’ is religionbased rather than secular or national. In addition, this could make the conditions for negotiations or a dialogue questionable as one wonders what offers would be on the table for negotiation: Islamisation of the country or its division into Islamic North and Christian South? In this vein, it is indeed difficult to see how a meaningful dialogue can take place.
Boko Haram: A Threat to Africa itself? In the final analysis, Boko Haram remains largely a local threat with huge potential for expanding its operations internationally as it has already established links with other internationally-recognised terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Therefore, the first steps that are needed to confront this threat should be taken by the Nigerian Government and rightly so. For more information on the links Boko Haram has with Al-Shabaab and AQIM, refer to Boko Haram: Threat To Nigeria’s Interests?, in Monitor, Vol. 1. Issue 2. Boko Haram has now expanded beyond a handful of mosques and progressed from the use of traditional bows and arrows to the use of locallymade bombs, which have proven to be been very effective. As such, the common Nigerian practice of extrajudicial convictions would only help to drive the insurgents further into hiding while sustaining the insurgency at the same time. As a first measure in countering the insurgency, widespread overhaul and reform of the security and intelligence strategies is necessary. Corruption and all corrupt government officials should not only be dealt with, but should also be seen by Nigerians and the rest of the world to be dealt with. This is a key factor in removing a major and valid objection of the group and would go some way in countering the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
By: Grace Ayibowu
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
Afghanistan Special: Growing Iranian Influence in Afghanistan Deadlines are now set and most foreign troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014. However, where will that leave the country? There is a danger of a power vacuum, and ever increasing Iranian influence. Afghanistan has been the focus of huge power rivalry over the past two centuries. As a country that has been invaded, yet never fully conquered; it has encountered a failed British occupation, a failed Soviet one and what some deem to be a failing ISAF one. Successive attempts to influence this country even have their own historical moniker, â€˜The Great Gameâ€™. As the NATO led ISAF forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, there is an ever increasing danger of Iran gaining a strategic advantage in the country. This is particularly pertinent, after seeing Tehran gather influence in
Security analysts state that the withdrawal could lead to increasing instability and then to civil war, which is an opportunity for Iran and others to move into the resulting power vacuum. When the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 following a decade-long occupation and the proMoscow government in Kabul collapsed, Afghanistan's neighbours moved in to arm and fund proxies to gain regional influence as the country plunged into civil war. Although Kabul's ties with Tehran have seen sporadic improvement since the 2001 ousting of the Taliban, which had emerged triumphant after the civil war, the relationship is combustible.
Monitor | Afghanistan Special The latest flashpoint is the recent signing of a long-term strategic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan. This pact was meant to signal U.S. financial and security commitments to Afghanistan through to 2024, particularly for funding the large Afghan National Army. Iran, whose frayed ties with the United States have worsened over its disputed nuclear programme, sees the pact as a threat. Iranian-backed media in Afghanistan responded by churning out reports critical of the agreement, and Tehran's ambassador to Afghanistan Abu Fazel Zohrawand threatened to expel Iran's one million Afghan refugees if the pact was not rejected. As the diplomatic row played out, Afghan intelligence leaked a video purporting to show two Afghan men confessing to spying for Iran and attempting to carry out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. They admitted to belonging to Sipah-e Mohammad, a group of Afghan refugees who allegedly received training by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
inside Iran. What is more, we are now seeing a ‘soft power’ strategy being used in Afghanistan, which was trialled in Iraq. Currently in Iraq, more than half of the 171 TV, satellite channels and radio stations licensed to broadcast in Iraq today are funded by Iran. Now in Afghanistan, Iran is allegedly using the media in the country to gain influence against Washington. Afghan officials have stated that nearly a third of the media in this war-torn country is backed by Iran, either financially or through providing content. This is worrying for the West, as what Iran has now managed to do, and what they have been striving to do for decades, is build a power base in Afghanistan which can counter American influence. This is being done, without doubt, by the support and funding given to Afghan media.
The Revolutionary Guards, the men claimed, were recruiting and providing training Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iran, Hamid Karzai, President of for Afghan Afghanistan, Khalid Abdulla-Janahi, Chairman, Ithmaar Bank, Bahrain during the session ‘Reaching South: Building the New Silk Road’ at the World Economic Forum on Europe and militants from the Central Asia 2008 © World Economic Forum Taliban movement and the extremist Hizb-e Islami group in training camps
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
According to some figures, Iran spends $100 million a year in Afghanistan, much of it on the media, civil society projects and religious schools. However, this Iranian media strategy is just one facet in a multipronged projection of ‘soft power’ into Afghanistan. These two countries share cultural, language and historical links. Furthermore, these two countries have a long and porous border, and were for centuries, part of the ancient Persian Empire. Iran’s strategy in Afghanistan is reminiscent of its manoeuvring in Iraq, where it allegedly helped fuel the insurgency and persuaded Iraqi politicians not to yield on allowing the Americans a small military presence beyond 2011.
Iraq because Kabul is expected to remain heavily dependent on foreign aid for years. The presence of American troops on Iran’s eastern and western flanks for much of the past decade has deeply concerned officials in Tehran. The country fears that U.S. bases in the region enhance the West’s ability to gather intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program and could give the United States a major strategic advantage if the two countries go to war. Tension between Washington and Tehran soared in December of 2011, after Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone that had been launched from Afghanistan.
Although not yet determined, the U.S. commitment could entail a small contingent of troops staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when foreign combat troops are scheduled to leave. The remaining U.S. troops would assist Afghan forces in defending Kabul's sovereignty, US troops instructing Afghan National Police personnel in 2007. It is now envisaged that a including contingent of US personnel could remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014. © U.S. Army taking part in actual combat missions against However, after having failed to keep a external threats. small contingent of troops in Iraq past a 2011 withdrawal deadline, U.S. officials appear eager to reach a deal with Afghanistan that would include a substantial military partnership beyond 2014. The United States has far more leverage in Afghanistan than it did in
Iran fears the prospect of a large Afghan military backed by the U.S. and Western financial clout. Furthermore, an extended U.S. military presence in Afghanistan could provide Washington
Monitor | Afghanistan Special a strategic advantage to conduct surveillance and perhaps even future military attacks on Iran. The agreement signed on May 1, while light on specifics, is intended to signify the United States' financial and security commitment to Afghanistan through to 2024. On the military level, the security pact sets general terms for the funding and maintenance of a large Afghan National Army. In the wake of the signing, Kabul-Tehran relations have soured considerably. Iran has sought to keep a low profile in its efforts to influence policy in Afghanistan, though not always successfully. President Karzai acknowledged in 2010 that presidential aides regularly received bags of cash from the Iranian government; he characterized the money as routine aid. An Afghan official who declined to be identified has told various news sources that up to 44 of the 249 members of the Afghan parliament are suspected of receiving money from Iran. Although, Iran has not responded to those allegations, they have also been aired in the Afghan media. In conclusion, Iran's influence in Afghanistan is now set in concrete: new roads across the country, power grids that supply remote cities with electricity, and planned railways form ties that bind. Tehran has also left its mark in less obvious ways, for example through its export of cultural and political views, strong media presence, and the funding of religious schools. But even while welcoming the much-needed assistance, Kabul should be weary of Tehran's advances.
As there is now a danger that Tehran could be poised to make Afghanistan an ideological battleground should Kabul not see things its way. The tipping point, undoubtedly, is the recent signing of a long-term strategic agreement between Afghanistan and the United States. This agreement has made Iran feel like it is surrounded. Finally, if the U.S. maintains control in Afghanistan, considering the state of relations between Iran and the U.S., Tehran could feel that Afghanistan may represent a threat in the future, which will definitely create tension between the two countries.
By: SIRS Consultancy
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
Re-Opening Of NATO Routes And Its Implications On Pakistani Security Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, NATO has been the most important US ally in its War on Terror. The USA has been striving to reduce the international threat posed by terror organisations based in Afghanistan, in order to safeguard its national interests. NATO’s interests match those of the USA to a large extent. In order to confront Al- Qaeda and its hosts the Taliban, the US and NATO countries were compelled to deploy troops in the landlocked country of Afghanistan. It has been, and still is, vital for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to be able to adequately deploy troops in order to combat insurgency and support Afghan security personnel. Lengthy military deployments require robust political support and logistics mechanisms. Due to this ISAF explored all possible routes to ensure a strong logistic backup to its forces that were going to wage war on Islamist terrorists inside Afghanistan. In order to ensure a strong logistic backup support channel, the USA and NATO countries decided to access south Afghanistan via Pakistan.
The US and NATO use two routes via Pakistan to ensure logistical support for their armed forces and reconstruction teams stationed in Afghanistan. These routes are:
Supply routes via Pakistan are strategically and economically viable for US and NATO forces as they facilitate the relatively cheap transportation of material and are also helpful in reaching NATO forces and reconstruction teams located in remote areas of southern Afghanistan. Apart from this, routes via Pakistan also give a bargaining power to NATO countries in deciding terms and conditions for other supply routes that cross member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Supply routes via Pakistan NATO supply routes via Pakistan. © A. Reginald
Monitor | Afghanistan Special Motivations to Attack NATO Convoys To state the obvious, Taliban’s enmity towards the USA and NATO forces is one of the significant reasons behind attacks on supply convoys. But, there are other reasons behind these attacks and one has to understand these factors as they could affect postwithdrawal access to Afghanistan via Pakistan. It is essential that these access routes remain intact in order to ensure that the reconstruction and redevelopment of Afghanistan can continue.
Cultural Similarities The People of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan and areas of southern Afghanistan have many cultural and religious similarities based upon their family relationships, interdependence of people from both sides for daily needs. Since some of the members of Afghan families living in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region support the Taliban and these families view NATO forces as invaders, an element of hatred exists towards NATO forces amongst people on both sides of the border.
These reasons may be stated as follows: Anti-NATO Sentiments and Religious Solidarity As radical Islamist ideology prevails in Afghanistan and North West Frontier province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) the influence of Islamic solidarity happens to be very strong in the region. In fact, the presence of this element amongst people in the region compelled the Taliban to continue supporting Osama Bin Laden after 9/11. Since then, the Taliban has been successful in convincing sections of the population of southern Afghanistan to consider NATO and its allies as ‘invaders’. Some Pakistani citizens feel a strong affinity with the Taliban and their resistance to perceived international aggression. Due to this sentiment and desire to extend help to brothers in need, sometimes these local people living in tribal areas of Pakistan on the Afghan border help to execute attacks on NATO convoys.
Economic Aspects There have been incidences where miscreants have kidnapped convoy personnel and later released them in exchange for ransom. Investigations later revealed that that these miscreants were unemployed youths from local tribes. Therefore, many attacks do take place due to economic objectives. However, such incidents are often, to an extent, linked to Pakistan’s soil in areas in which Pakistani forces are responsible for maintaining security. In these areas, Pakistani security forces are tasked with several roles including the sanitizing of routes, opening of routes and their maintenance, local support for counter-terrorism forces etc. Some examples in this regard can be stated as follows:
In 2008, according to Newsweek, Korean hostages were released in return for a ransom of 4 million USD by Taliban in the Pakistani city of Quetta.
Newsweek has also reported that the French journalists Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
Taponier, who were in captivity of the Taliban for 18 months, were released in exchange of ransom of 15 to 20 million USD in 2011
In March 2012, according to The New York Times, a number of Swiss hostages were released in exchange for 3 to 4 million USD.
Most of the cases executed for ransom by the Taliban have some Pakistani connections. These can include the presence of deal negotiators, together with logistics support bases and hideouts in which to keep hostages. Such cases of kidnapping and the subsequent release of hostages in exchange of ransom money has proved to be useful in attacks on NATO convoys transporting supplies to southern Afghanistan. Apart from this, the Pakistani Government also considered NATO supply routes as one of its most significant sources of funds, as it had imposed taxes, duties and fees for facilitating the movement of the convoys that used them. Doubtful Integrity of Pakistani Establishment The Pakistani Government has not allowed convoy protection by NATO for vehicles moving on the routes to Afghanistan on Pakistani soil. This means that Pakistani forces are responsible for protecting NATO convoys whilst they are still in Pakistan. These forces are less trained and less well- equipped compared to their NATO counterparts. Another aspect is the inclination of many security officers towards radical Islamic groups due to their belief in radical Islamic ideology. This, generates an element of sympathy for miscreants amongst those who are
responsible for securing convoys on Pakistani soil.
Cases that have arisen related to the involvement of the Pakistani Government:
According to The Telegraph, Major Shezad was arrested in connection with an attempted but failed New York square bombing. In addition, The Telegraph has reported on the involvement of Pakistani army officers Major Sayeed, Major Iqbal, Major Sameer and Colonel Shah in the devastating Mumbai attacks.
According to the Washington Post, Brigadier Ali Khan got arrested for having links with outfits like Hizb-ut- Tahrir, that is known for extending support to radicals and terrorists active in several countries.
Data generated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal indicates that, most of the attacks that have occurred on NATO convoys on Pakistani soil have resulted in the looting of goods followed by their destruction. Moreover, the number of incidences where Pakistani security forces actually engaged miscreants while protecting NATO convoys is significantly low suggesting that Pakistani officials are not making an adequate effort to secure NATO logistics convoys within Pakistan. Internal situation in Pakistan Pakistan today is clearly divided into two segments. Firstly, the Pakistani Government that comprises the ruling political class on federal and provincial levels, bureaucracy, army and others who have supported the USA and its allies in the War on Terror.
Monitor | Afghanistan Special Secondly, others who have been affected by this ‘War on Terror’ in the region.
general and members of ruling alliance in particular will face more challenges in the form of assaults and attacks on individuals and gatherings from the Taliban and other armed groups that continue to survive on Pakistani soil.
Whereas the radical elements present inside Pakistan understand the significance and importance of a democratic system in the modern world, they also know that if a Taliban-style attempt is made by them to reach power circles in Pakistan they would face immense challenges from several directions. Opponents of such a political system could include people within Pakistan that hold liberal and moderate views, along Joint Resupply Mission in Southern Afghanistan © ISAF Media with pro-democracy Furthermore, the elements of the forces like the USA and other Western Pakistani Army which have been close countries. Therefore, radical groups to radical Islamist groups are likely to present within Pakistan apparently extend their covert support to armed want to obtain power through groups and encourage them to democratic means and then enforce a execute more attacks on NATO Taliban-style system of government in convoys in coming days. Pakistan. To sum up, it is essential to consider the possible implications of reopening supply routes for NATO and to understand why NATO routes were originally closed. Routes were closed due to pressure on democratic forces by the Pakistani Army which had faced some significant casualties due to drone strikes by the US inside Pakistan. Although the US has expressed grief over such incidences, it is doubtful whether the expression of such concerns will have a significant impact on the Pakistani Army’s senior leadership.
Therefore, it is vital that the US and NATO (including donor nations) understand the problems in this region. As ISAF approaches the ‘endgame’ in Afghanistan, it is crucial that these routes are protected to sustain future growth in the region. As decided by the donor nations involved in this war, there is going to be huge financial support given to Afghanistan in the years to come. These supply routes will help to secure a brighter future for both Afghanistan and the region at large.
It can be said that democratic forces in
By: Dr Rituraj Mate
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
Afghanistan: The Prospects for a Negotiated End to Ongoing Taliban Activity and Insurgent Violence Peace and Conflict Resolution: Possible Negotiations with the Taliban According to Taliban Perspectives on Reconciliation, a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) report published in September 2012, some senior Taliban figures are prepared to negotiate a ceasefire, which would help to stabilise Afghanistan, and also to accept a long-term US presence in the country as part of a wide-ranging peace plan. This report was the result of interviews conducted with four unnamed individuals who have either current or previous links with the Taliban leadership.
perceived as American efforts to involve the Afghan Government in the talks in question. The Taliban regard the government of Hamid Karzai as illegitimate, and refuse to negotiate with it largely because of its alleged corruption record. Despite the Taliban’s apparent inflexibility, recent developments indicate that it may be adopting a more conciliatory approach to negotiating with the Karzai Government. In June 2012 an active member of the Taliban Shura (council) held talks with Masoom Stanakzai, a senior figure in the Afghan High Peace Council and adviser to President Karzai.
Two of the interviewees were ministers in the pre-2001 Taliban Government, and one of these is described as being “closely associated” with Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader. A third individual is identified as being a former senior Mujahideen figure and lead negotiator for the Taliban, although not part of the organisation, and the fourth, according to the RUSI report, is an experienced Afghan mediator who has negotiated with the Taliban. Although the RUSI report is often positive regarding a potential negotiated ceasefire and long-term reconciliation involving the Taliban, attempts to negotiate with the Taliban have stalled for several reasons. In March 2012, the Taliban suspended ongoing peace talks with the US Government due to what they
Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The Taliban view his government as illegitimate due to its alleged record of corruption. © World Economic Forum
Monitor | Afghanistan Special Although this, together with the findings of the RUSI report, can be viewed as a positive development, several obstacles to negotiations between the Taliban and the Karzai Government in order to ensure both a ceasefire and long-term peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan still exist. Negotiating a Ceasefire As an organisation, the Taliban is currently defined as being all those individuals and insurgent factions who acknowledge the leadership of Mullah Omar and the Leadership Shura, and who are in turn acknowledged as being members of the Taliban movement. According to the RUSI report, the so-called Quetta Shura, headed by Mullah Omar, is the “primary vehicle” driving the Afghan insurgency, and that, in the view of the individuals interviewed for this report, it still retains the allegiance of other key insurgent groups. This demonstrates that a functioning hierarchy still exists within the Taliban, and that a negotiated settlement with Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura could help ensure an organisationwide ceasefire. The key findings of the RUSI report apparently confirm this. The report states that “A ceasefire endorsed by Mullah Mohammad Omar has the greatest potential for success”. One of the key individuals interviewed for the report stated that Mullah Omar’s authority is “still accepted 110 per cent”. The individuals upon whose testimony the RUSI report is based all agreed that a ceasefire endorsed by Mullah Omar would have the greatest chance of success due to the fact that a rebellion against it would be seen as a revolt against the authority that all Taliban recognise. However, relying on the authority of one individual to
guarantee a general Taliban ceasefire could prove problematic. There was no general agreement among the four individuals interviewed for the RUSI report as to whether Mullah Omar would be actually willing or able to negotiate and support a general ceasefire, despite the fact that the report itself argued that the concluding of a ceasefire as a first step towards a wider peace settlement would have “traction” amongst the majority of the Taliban Political Committee and with Mullah Omar himself. According to ‘Individual C’, the former senior Mujahideen commander interviewed for the report, Mullah Omar might be unwilling to immediately endorse ceasefire negotiations that may take effect anytime soon. ‘C’ also argued that even if Mullah Omar was willing to do this, the fact that he and the Taliban’s senior leadership are currently based in Pakistan would mean that their participation in such negotiations may not be feasible. ‘C’ elaborated on this by proposing that compelling the Taliban leadership to relocate from Pakistan, thus straining their links with their sponsors in that country, may be necessary in order to put them in a position from which they could negotiate a ceasefire. This raises the question as to whether the Taliban leadership would be willing to jeopardise links with its crucial support networks in Pakistan in order to negotiate a ceasefire across the border in Afghanistan. Divisions within the Taliban leadership could also threaten attempts to negotiate a ceasefire, or a long-term peace and reconciliation strategy. The authors of the RUSI report on possible
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
reconciliation strategies involving the Taliban indicated that they were “less confident” that the positive views regarding reconciliation that they encountered from the four individuals whom they interviewed, could also be attributed to the more hard-line Military Commission located within the Quetta Shura. The report’s authors also conceded that the views they encountered represented a significant but not a majority opinion within the Taliban.
The clear factional divisions between the Taliban and Hezb-e Islami represent a definite obstacle to a comprehensive negotiated ceasefire and a wider peace and conflict resolution strategy in Afghanistan. The sheer number of different individual insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan arguably makes the prospect of a negotiated ceasefire and comprehensive long-term conflict resolution less likely.
The Problem of Factional Divisions Divisions within the wider Taliban movement could also make such a ceasefire or a long-term peace plan difficult to implement. For example, although the so-called ‘Haqqani Network’ based in south-eastern Afghanistan has pledged allegiance to the Quetta Leadership, divisions between the two remain. Another insurgent group that remains active in Afghanistan is Hezb-e Islami, which is led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan is a key aim of this faction. This could make any negotiations to halt both Taliban and wider insurgent violence in Afghanistan problematic due to the fact that, according to one of the interviewees upon whose testimony the RUSI report is based, the Taliban leadership is willing to conditionally accept a long-term US military presence in the country, provided that this does not compromise Afghan independence or Islamic jurisprudence. This issue will be examined at greater length later in the article. Although Hezb-e Islami has at times cooperated with the Taliban, it has also engaged in combat operations against it.
Whilst the Taliban and some insurgent factions may be willing to lay down their arms following negotiations, others may not. © ISAF Media
For example, in 2007, the Tora Bora Military Front was created by the son of veteran Mujahideen commander Younus Khalis. This group’s main stronghold is the district of Khogyani, and the Pachir Agam and Shinwar areas. The Mansur clan is active in south-east Afghanistan, and in the east of the country a number of smaller Salafi groups and Pakistanbased insurgent factions are currently operating. Furthermore, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is active in Kunduz, Takhar, Balkh and Faryab. However, this faction has links with the Taliban, and so could potentially be included in any negotiated ceasefire or conflict resolution strategy involving the latter.
Monitor | Afghanistan Special According to the governor of Herat, Dawoud Shah Saba, up to 55 groups have a presence in that Afghan province alone. The fact that many of these groups are not thought to be genuinely affiliated to the Taliban further demonstrates the inherent difficulties in either negotiating a comprehensive ceasefire or formulating and implementing a longterm conflict resolution strategy. Even if a ceasefire or conflict resolution strategy were successfully negotiated with the Taliban, there is no guarantee that either of these could be applied throughout Afghanistan. Long-Term Peace and Conflict Resolution Despite the likely difficulties in attempting to involve the Taliban leadership in negotiations designed to bring about a ceasefire, the findings of the RUSI report indicate that the organisation may be willing to make concessions that would be welcomed by both the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Afghan Government. These concessions concern both the ending of al-Qa’ida (AQ) operations in Afghanistan, and the setting of parameters for wider conflict resolution between the Taliban and the Afghan Government. For example, with regard to AQ, the report concluded that once a general ceasefire and/or a political agreement have been reached, the rank-and-file membership of the Taliban would completely renounce AQ if ordered to by Mullah Omar. However, this outcome would depend on the granting of a level of political recognition to the Taliban in exchange for which they would gradually “delink”
themselves from AQ. The RUSI report does not speculate on the likelihood of the Afghan Government entering into such an agreement. The report does however indicate that following a renunciation of involvement with AQ, the Taliban would act to ensure that the former would be unable to operate in Afghanistan and that the Taliban are open to the possibility of cooperating with ISAF and the Afghan Government in creating a Joint Monitoring Commission to investigate any ongoing AQ activities. Potential Obstacles to Negotiation and Conflict Resolution The RUSI report found that the Taliban are also willing to make concessions which could aid long-term conflict resolution and reconciliations. The fact that the Taliban views any outright acceptance of the Afghan Constitution on their part as tantamount to surrender constitutes a major obstacle to any peace and reconciliation strategy involving the Afghan Government and the Taliban. The reason for the Taliban’s stance regarding the Afghan Constitution is that, in their view, it endorses the Karzai Regime, which they regard as “utterly corrupt”. However, according to Individual ‘D’, an Afghan mediator who has negotiated with the Taliban, there is “...nothing in the constitution that the Taliban actually oppose”. Also, ‘D’ argued that the Taliban largely agreed with the substance of the Constitution, which is based on concepts of Islamic jurisprudence. According to individuals ‘B’, a former deputy Taliban minister and a founding member of the organisation, and ‘D’, this issue can only be resolved if Taliban perceptions regarding the acceptance of the
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Afghan Constitution, which presently equate acceptance with surrender, can be changed. These two individuals have also recommended that one way to achieve this would be for the Taliban to help shape the Afghan Constitution through its participation in a Loya Jirga, or assembly, whose job would be to approve the Constitution itself. Despite the Taliban’s general acceptance of the content of the Afghan Constitution, this potential condition, and a prevailing belief that acceptance of the Constitution would be tantamount to ‘surrender’ arguably represent major obstacles to any Afghan peace and reconciliation strategies involving the Taliban.
and US governments for a decadelong US military presence in Afghanistan after 2014 has been endorsed by Afghan tribal elders. Therefore, any opposition of this agreement by the Taliban could lead to its isolation within wider Afghan society. If the Taliban wants to survive, it should aim to maintain good relations with tribal elders. This is due to the fact that Pashtun tribes have been the source of recruits for the Taliban. This means that alienating tribal elders could lead to a reduction in recruitment.
The main Taliban policy shift that is likely to make negotiations between it and the Afghan Government possible is the fact that, according to ‘Individual B’’s testimony to RUSI, the Taliban is willing to accept a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan, provided that this does not compromise Afghan independence or Islamic jurisprudence. ‘Individual B’ elaborated on this by stating that the prospect of the US military operating out of five primary Afghan bases could be agreed through ‘negotiation’.
As noted, the Taliban opposes the Karzai Regime on the basis that, in their view at least, it is “utterly corrupt.” The former believes that, due to its ‘corrupt’ nature, the Karzai Regime cannot be relied upon to deliver “clean elections” in 2014. As ISAF operations in Afghanistan are scheduled to end by December 2014, it is vital that either the Karzai Regime addresses its allegedly inherent corruption, or the Taliban accepts that both the Regime and the 2014 Afghan election are legitimate. The successful following of both or either of these approaches could prove crucial in averting potential Taliban violence during the 2014 election period, thus meaning that ISAF’s withdrawal plan can proceed on schedule, and also helping to ensure increased political stability in Afghanistan.
Despite this apparent condition, the fact that the Taliban appears to be provisionally willing to accept the presence of US military personnel in Afghanistan can only aid negotiations and reconciliation between it and the Afghan Government. This acceptance could prove crucial if the Taliban is to be reintegrated into Afghan society, as the agreement between the Afghan
Despite the fact that the Taliban is unwilling to renounce its belief in the corruption of the Karzai Regime, and opposes the presence of any member of the Karzai family as a candidate in the 2014 election, there are indications that Hamid Karzai is attempting to tackle corruption within the Afghan Government. In July 2012, President Karzai issued an anti-corruption
US Military Bases and Alleged Afghan Government Corruption
Monitor | Afghanistan Special decree, although Aizizullah Lodin the head of the Afghan High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption has argued that its effects are likely to be negligible. Even if President Karzaiâ€™s anticorruption decree does not have as great an impact as originally hoped, it still indicates that the Karzai Regime recognises that allegations of corruption can prove politically damaging. Therefore, this move by the Karzai Regime could, at least to an extent, persuade the Taliban that the Afghan Government is tackling corruption, thus prompting the former to potentially recognise the 2014 election and, possibly, to negotiate with the Karzai Regime as part of a long-term peace and reconciliation strategy.
Obstacles to Successful Negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan Government Remain The prospect of a negotiated peace and conflict resolution strategy involving both the Taliban and the Afghan Government is to an extent still remote due to the formerâ€™s refusal to accept the Afghan Constitution or view the Karzai Regime as legitimate. However, the fact that the Karzai Regime appears to be attempting to tackle corruption, and that the Taliban has no objection to the actual contents of the Afghan Constitution, indicate that common ground could potentially be found on both of these issues. Further Taliban concessions regarding issues such as its links with AQ and the presence of US forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014 also indicate that a peace and conflict resolution strategy involving the Taliban could still be feasible. However, even if successful negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan Government take place, there is no guarantee that any ceasefire or conflict resolution strategy that emerges from them will be applied universally. This is due to the diverse range of insurgent factions currently operating in Afghanistan.
By: Jonathan Lautier
A polling station during the 2009 Afghan Election. The Taliban do not believe that the Karzai Government can deliver "clean elections" in 2014. ÂŠ Canada in Afghanistan
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Looking At Afghanistan Beyond 2014 Militant violence has increased in Afghanistan since the start of the Taliban's annual spring offensive in early May 2012. For the record, the month of June alone witnessed the highest number of attacks in nearly two yearsâ€™ time, with over a 100 assaults a day across the country. On 7 August, 2012, seven Afghan civilians died and eight others sustained injuries when a roadside bomb attack targeted a bus in Balasan-e Khaldari in Paghman, near Kabul. Targeting passenger vehicles is a rather rare event in and around Kabul, although it is a More common occurrence in other parts of Afghanistan. On 6 August, a mine planted on a donkey detonated in Charsada, a district in the central province of Ghor, killing its police chief and three others. Ghor hardly witnesses militant violence. These two events send a grim reminder - that no part of Afghanistan is immune to militant violence, manifesting itself through suicide attacks, roadside bombings, surprise raids, and improvised explosive devices and the like.
Resilient Militant Force and Their Interim Strategy The intensification of militant violence comes at a time when the Third Phase of the Security Transition is underway in a number of Afghan provinces. When this transition phase is completed â€“ a task that should take the next couple of months - Afghan forces will have taken control of security duties from the NATO troops, thereby taking responsibility for territory containing 75 percent of Afghanistan's population in the process. The transition of security responsibilities from NATO forces to the Afghan Army and Police forces began in July 2011 and is due to end in 2014. The development also comes at a time when the Western forces in Afghanistan are facing a crisis of confidence, globally and also in their home countries. There have been certain key recent developments that have eroded the credibility of the Western forces in Afghanistan. Glaring cases include US soldiers burning copies of the Koran, footage apparently showing US marines urinating on bodies of dead Taliban fighters, accidental killings of civilians during US attacks on the Taliban, and several green-on-blue attacks, in which Afghan security force members attack the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel.
The training of Afghan National Police personnel is vital in ensuring future stability in Afghanistan.ÂŠ ISAF Media
As per the UN report, there has been a steady increase in civilian casualties in the past five years due to the ongoing war against terror. In 2011, the figure was a
Monitor | Afghanistan Special record 3,021, with the majority of the deaths blamed on militants, especially the Taliban. It is widely believed that the Taliban is likely to intensify its operations against prominent targets in the interim period (at least until 2014) in an attempt to demonstrate the weakness of the Afghan Government, to erode extant public support for Karzai and to combat the security objectives of ISAF. However, the group is not expected to wage major military confrontations with ISAF as these involve huge costs, besides loss of manpower. Militant offensive activities also come at a time when an apparently corrupt and incompetent Afghan political apparatus is facing a dilemma over the strategy needed to bring about peace, stability and growth. Political leaders probably need to understand that seeking longterm US support whilst engaging in peace overtures with the Taliban could be problematic. Taliban Support Base and Containment Strategy Any attempt towards the restoration of a peaceful order in the region post2014 firstly depends upon the clever management of Taliban activities in the region. Currently a dominant section of the Pashtun population in Afghanistan, a substantial majority in Pakistanâ€™s tribal areas and neighbours like Iran support the activities of the Taliban, either directly or indirectly. This is primarily because of their antiAmerican stance, as opposed to being motivated by a radical ideological inclination. Besides, there are also opportunist supporters like Al-Qaeda, sectarian organizations and warlords, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as alleged sections within the military establishment in Pakistan and political
establishment in Afghanistan who have been trying to use the Taliban to further their own interests. These groups not only strengthen the Taliban but also strive towards their legitimization within the international community by engaging in dialogue with global scholars, who do not consider all Taliban as dangerous. Their other modus operandi includes indulging in media manoeuvring by participating in dialogue and contributing articles. However, there is a small majority that is comprised of Uzbeks, Mohajirs, certain sections among Pashtuns, especially the elders, and sections of the political elite in the region from the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and the ruling Pakistan Peoplesâ€™ Party in Pakistan. This majority publicly oppose the Taliban. There are also large segments that oppose Taliban activities but it appears that they lack the courage to come out in the open. The international community needs to push for a UN Security Council resolution that will formally authorise the Afghan Government to negotiate with the Taliban. It is sensible to seek a resolution that would allow the NATO and Afghan forces to provide adequate security to the fighters and their families who would like to surrender, to enlist them through international agencies like the UN High Commission for Refugees or the International Committee of the Red Cross for developmental and capability enhancement initiatives with the support of the Afghan Government and to remove the names of Taliban leaders from the list of designated terrorists, as well as to release the remaining prisoners held at GuantĂĄnamo and the like. Diplomatic efforts must be intensified in order to
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encourage Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to help the Taliban set up a legal political party pursuing legitimate aims through legitimate means, as other Afghan militants, such as former members of Hizb-i-Islami party, have done. The Taliban leadership should be provided with a neutral venue, where it can hold talks with the Afghan Government and NATO.
and promotional activities at the historical site of the Bamiyan devastated by the Taliban in 2001 and promote sustainable eco-tourism in other spots like the remote and peaceful northeastern Wakhan Corridor.
Developmental Alternatives It is essential that certain economic initiatives are undertaken in order to gradually push the country towards prosperity. The Silk Road Initiatives, a plan named after the ancient trade route and designed to bolster connections across South and Central Asia Projects such as this road construction effort are crucial for Afghan eceonmic development. ÂŠ United Nations Photo and subsequently to Europe, New Zealand recently granted USD can be encouraged. Other initiatives 1.2 million for the Bamiyan province to like the Central Asia Regional launch an eco-tourism development. Economic Cooperation â€“ Asian With the improvements in Development Bank project of transport infrastructure, the Afghan Government corridors connecting the five Central needs to think of opening avenues for Asian states, as well as Afghanistan, starting direct flights to these areas Mongolia and Azerbaijan needs to be from foreign countries in order to encouraged. attract more tourists. All these developments will ensure the active As a part of the SILK-Afghanistan involvement of the regional and project, NATO has provided satelliteinternational communities as channel based affordable, high-speed stakeholders in the process of access to the Internet and IT development and not as powerbrokers. infrastructure to Afghan universities and other governmental institutions Looking Forward since 2006. Afghanistan needs to be given preeminence in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SAARC regional centres could also be set up in Afghanistan as they have been other member countries. In order to attract tourists, the Government of Afghanistan must speed up infrastructural development
The Government of Afghanistan needs to sincerely focus on the reintegration and rehabilitation of fighters belonging to various armed groups including the Taliban. The US must put its weight behind the strategy to bring the Taliban into some sort of a powersharing agreement with the Afghan Government. This approach currently appears to be prudent and
Monitor | Afghanistan Special unavoidable. The political engagement strategy may prompt factional differences within the Taliban organization over time. Due their strategic importance, priority must be given to forces that have been vocal against the Taliban, with regard to issues of power-sharing, policy formulation and dialogue with antigovernment forces. Reconciliation can truly be achieved if negotiated from a position of strength; otherwise, militants will buy time to improve their capability using the pretext of negotiations. Additionally, militants will feel the necessity to negotiate only when they realize that the cost involved in waging a war is greater than that of a negotiated agreement. A phased international troop withdrawal and subsequent transition to training and advisory roles for a long-period, together with continuous developmental support will create such environment.
breakdown. It has received nearly USD 60 billion in civilian aid since 2002. Some sort of a pragmatic regional solution needs to be evolved. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal who are among the five largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations and being Afghanistanâ€™s immediate neighbours, should take genuine interest in contributing to peace and development. The region also has an equally big stake in Afghanistan's stability. Following the American withdrawal, a South Asian peacekeeping force could also be formed with due approval from the UN by taking into confidence some of its persistent opponents.
In order to usher in a mature political system, the need of the hour is to revamp the rule of law in consonance with the Afghan culture and tradition, reform the anti-corruption legislation to conform to the UN Convention Against Corruption, and efficiently counter narcotics trade. Besides, attempts must be made to encourage civic societies championing the cause of ethnic or sectarian unification, massive investment in its human capital for long-term return and a national Projects such as the reintegration of Taliban members in the province of Ghor dialogue on a revised could help to stabilise Afghanistan follwing the end of ISAF operations.ÂŠ ISAF Constitution for a Media decentralized political It needs to be remembered that foreign system replacing a personality-centred aid constitutes up to 97 per cent of the Presidential system. country's gross domestic product and if donors withdraw funding quickly, Economic development can be Afghanistan, which is one of the accelerated in a secure environment worldâ€™s 10 poorest countries, would under politically sound leadership. certainly be on the brink of economic None of the political parties today have
Monitor | Afghanistan Special
a pan-Afghan character and the country is yet to have a national leader in the true sense. Thus, the country is far from attaining the stage of political legitimacy currently needed. Dreaming of a sudden transformation to capitalism through foreign investments is mere wishful thinking. Attempts must be made to strengthen the institutional capacity to handle future foreign investments. Both public and private sector investments can be encouraged in areas such as agriculture, mining, energy, capacity building and infrastructure. At this stage, any foreign investment in lucrative sectors like mining and hydrocarbons will be considered by locals as an invasion and would be a fodder for militants to stimulate antigovernment sentiments. Significantly, most of these mineral deposits are concentrated in remote areas dominated by ethnic communities who are mostly anti-Western. Now, private players may not be keen to invest in traditional sectors as seemingly this would bring fewer returns. As far as investors are concerned, some of them, especially Western governments may not be keen to continue supplying the amount of aid that they have previously been providing, to successive corrupt governments of Afghanistan post2014, given their own domestic economic climate. Investments can be brought into the country at an appropriate time when the security environment and political conditions are somewhat under control. It is an obligation of regional and global powers to work collectively for the betterment of Afghanistan as the countryâ€™s current situation is to a considerable extent the result of
regional and global power rivalries. Nonetheless, the proactive engagement of the regional and international communities must continue to empower the Afghanistan Government in order to check the vilification of its past achievements.
By: Maitreya Buddha Samantaray
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