Afghans infuriated by shelling from Pakistan

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ejazr, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Afghans infuriated by shelling from Pakistan - The Washington Post

    KABUL — Public and political anger at weeks of cross-border shelling from Pakistan boiled over in Afghanistan, as protesters took to the streets of the capital, lawmakers demanded explanations from the central government, and a senior border police official submitted his resignation.

    According to Afghan officials, more than 760 rockets have been fired into the eastern Afghan border provinces of Konar, Nangahar and Khost in the past six weeks, killing at least 60 people and wounding or displacing hundreds more.

    Afghan officials, including President Hamid Karzai, have lodged formal objections with Pakistan’s government, but Pakistani officials have denied direct involvement in the attacks, saying they are being carried out by anti-Afghan militias beyond their control.

    “The people carrying the bodies of their loved ones on their backs come to me. I am the responsible person here, but nobody is listening to my voice,” said Gen. Aminullah Amarkhel, chief of the national border police in eastern Afghanistan, who offered his resignation Friday in the past week in protest. He spoke by telephone to an Afghan TV news channel.

    In downtown Kabul, about 200 demonstrators staged a peaceful rally Saturday outside the U.N. representative’s office, chanting, “Down with Pakistan, down with the Pakistani army, down with the ISI,” a reference to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

    “The government must break its silence on these attacks,” said Najibullah Kabuli, a political activist who organized the rally.

    In Parliament, the defense and interior ministers and the director of the intelligence police were summoned to explain the government’s position on the attacks, which have heightened bilateral tensions as Afghanistan is seeking Pakistan’s support for peace talks with Taliban insurgents, and as the Obama administration is set to begin a gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

    Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi told legislators that in several recent meetings, Afghan officials had shown Pakistani officials shrapnel, shell casings and ammunition as evidence of the attacks, but that “each time they shamelessly deny it.” He said he had told the Pakistanis, “You want to hide something as big as the sun with two fingers.”

    Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak also said diplomatic efforts had failed to stop the cross-border attacks. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan’s military and intelligence services of supporting some Islamist militant groups, including those that seek to destabilize Afghanistan.

    “This violation . . . has hurt the feeling of every son of this nation and necessitates an urgent reaction,” Wardak said. He urged the lawmakers to deliberate carefully but said that if he is ordered to respond militarily, “we will not spare our lives or whatever we have.”

    Wardak speculated that the rocket attacks were in response to U.S. drone strikes on militant targets in Pakistan’s tribal border region. He also suggested they could be a test of NATO forces’ resolve and capabilities as they begin to withdraw from Afghanistan later this month.

    Last month, a high-level delegation to Pakistan led by Karzai complained that Pakistan was providing havens for Taliban and other anti-Afghan militants. The group asked Pakistan to crack down on recalcitrant militants and encourage repentant ones to join the peace talks.

    A spokesman for the national intelligence police told journalists that the government “totally rejects” Pakistan’s assertions that it has nothing to do with the recent rocket attacks. The spokesman, Lutfullah Mashal, said many of the recovered rockets were too heavy and sophisticated for guerrilla groups. “Only the army has them,” he said.

    The United States is also pressing Pakistan to curb violent Islamist militancy within its borders, but Pakistani army and intelligence officials have faced a domestic anti-American backlash — including from within their own ranks — since U.S. Special Forces discovered and killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani city in May.

    Salahuddin is a special correspondent. Correspondent Pamela Constable contributed to this report.
     
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Afghan general resigns over Pakistan shelling | World | Reuters

    KABUL (Reuters) - A barrage of 40 rockets was fired into eastern Afghanistan from Pakistan on Friday, a senior official said, as the top border police commander for the region offered his resignation over the government's response to weeks of attacks.

    General Aminullah Amarkhil, head of the border police in the eastern region, said he was not able to return fire and could not stand by as people were killed by the shells.

    "I have submitted my resignation to the Interior Ministry because I can't see my people being killed by shells fired from Pakistan," Amarkhil told Reuters.

    "I have promised my people here that the shelling would be stopped, but people are still dying because we have no order from the central government to respond," he added.

    The Afghan Foreign Ministry said in late June that four children were killed in eastern Kunar province by Pakistani artillery shells, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Pakistan had fired 470 rockets over the border that month.

    Pakistan last Monday rejected the Afghan allegations of large scale cross-border shelling, saying only that "a few accidental rounds" may have crossed the border when it pursued militants who had attacked its security forces.

    Amarkhil's spokesman said the resignation had not been accepted, but Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the ministry had not received a resignation letter.

    Pakistan blames Afghanistan for giving militants safe haven on its side of the border, leaving Pakistan forces vulnerable to counter-attack when it chases them out of the country's ethnic Pashtun tribal areas.

    But Kabul has limited reach in many of Afghanistan's border regions, where insurgents that target Karzai's government have been gaining ground in recent years.

    The most powerful insurgent groups are also based in Pakistan, and widely believed to receive covert support from factions in Islamabad, which makes Afghans deeply resentful of allegations of cross-border meddling.

    Gul Agha Sherzai, the governor of eastern Nangarhar province, said around another 40 rockets were fired across the Pakistan border and hit both residential and non-residential areas.

    Sherzai has sent a letter to the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad asking for an immediate halt to the attacks, and warned that the attacks could damage ties.

    "Such attacks from the Pakistani side, and the absence of actions to prevent them, could hurt relations between the two neighbouring countries," his spokesman said in a statement.

    Fighting across the border overshadowed talks when the two countries met last week, along with the United States, to map out plans for talks with the Taliban.

    Deep distrust remains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of continuing to support the Afghan Taliban, whom it openly backed when they were in power from 1996 to 2001, to maintain its influence in Afghanistan.

    It is impossible to verify independently exactly what is happening on the remote mountainous border.

    (Reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Paul Tait and Sugita Katyal)
     
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  4. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Anti-Pakistan demo held in Kabul


    Afghan protesters hold a banner that reads: "ISI clear enemy" during an anti Pakistan demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, July 2, 2011. Several hundred people demonstrated against rocket attacks that have killed an estimated 36 civilians along the eastern border with Pakistan in recent weeks. - AP Photo




    KABUL: Around 200 Afghans joined a protest on the streets of Kabul on Saturday against what Afghanistan says are Pakistani rocket attacks.

    The protesters carried banners with slogans such as: “We condemn Pakistan’s invasion on to our soil” and calling the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) a “known enemy” of Afghanistan.

    The demonstration broke up peacefully after a couple of hours, a reporter at the scene said.

    Separately, the border police commander of eastern Afghanistan, General Aminullah Amarkhail, confirmed he submitted his resignation on Thursday over the attacks.

    Western and Afghan officials see assistance from Pakistan as crucial to efforts to open up a communication channel with the Taliban amid early stage contacts over peace talks in the near 10-year war in Afghanistan.—AFP
    .........................................................................................................................................................................................
     
  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Everytime I look at posts like these I wonder, "what happened to Pakistan's dream of ruling the Islamic world from Turkey to Indonesia"? :rotfl:
     
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  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Afghan army increases movement on Pak border, Parliament told | Demotix.com

    Afghan army increases movement on Pak border,

    Afghan forces have heightened their activities along the border with Pakistan after a series of attacks from the neighbouring country into Afghanistan's eastern provinces. Kabul, Afghanistan, 02, July 2011

    Afghan forces have heightened their activities along the border with Pakistan after a series of attacks from the neighbouring country into Afghanistan's eastern provinces, Parliament was told on Saturday.

    The lower house of parliament on Saturday summoned the defence minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and interior minister, Bismillah Mohammadi, to brief lawmakers on efforts at preventing the continued cross border attacks from Pakistan into eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces.

    A number of lawmakers condemned the government for not responding to the excursions that had left a number of people dead and wounded and many others displaced.
     
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  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is time to invest Pakistan with a few rocket of Afghanistan's own.

    A tooth for a tooth and all that!
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Yes AF-Pak should be equal-equal if we don't do it USA definetly will.
     
  9. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    We should get enough for ourselves first.
     
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  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    The Associated Press: Border strife in Afghanistan shows wider tensions

    Border strife in Afghanistan shows wider tensions

    SIRKANAY, Afghanistan (AP) — On a mountain trail toward the border with Pakistan, the explosions became louder, more constant and finally visible as puffs of smoke on distant peaks and rising from valleys.
    Families escaping the fusillade led donkeys strapped with mattresses and bags of clothes the other way, down the steep footpaths. They passed crippled trees, cratered houses, empty villages. Some of the villagers had shrapnel scars and described seeing relatives blown apart during a five-week artillery barrage from Pakistan.
    "My grandson was nine years old," said Juma Gul, a 60-year-old village elder in the Sirkanay district in eastern Afghanistan. "He and three other children were herding our goats when a rocket came. All four were killed. We could not find most of their bodies."
    A loud crack sounded and rolled over the peaks. Gul swept his hand toward the mountain range rising toward Pakistan. "Still the rockets are landing here," he said.
    The shelling in Kunar province is taking place along one of the most strategically important fronts of the war — a haven for hardcore insurgent groups fighting in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    Pakistan has been so stung by insurgents' recent cross-border attacks, they launched an offensive that also highlights NATO's struggles to pacify the area and the lack of cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan against their common foes.
    NATO officials, in fact, say they were unaware of the extent of Pakistan's artillery barrage across Afghanistan's border until last week because Western troops have been pulled back from more remote outposts in Kunar.
    Afghan government officials have accused Pakistan of launching more than 761 rockets over the border into Kunar province since May and causing the deaths of at least 40 people and injuring 51. Pakistan has denied hitting Afghanistan intentionally, but acknowledged its military has been targeting Islamic militants to halt cross-border raids and that some rockets may have strayed off course.
    Last month, President Hamid Karzai complained about the shelling to the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari.
    Since those meetings, however, the assaults appear to have intensified in Kunar, about 125 miles (205 kilometers) east of Kabul.
    During a two-hour visit to three mountain villages, an Associated Press reporter witnessed at least 50 artillery strikes. One rocket struck a mountain slope about five miles outside of the provincial capital, Asadabad.
    The bombings have reopened old wounds along the Durand Line, the disputed 19th century demarcation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both countries claim rugged Pashtun tribal areas on either side of the poorly marked border — which is now the sanctuary for some of the fiercest insurgent groups in Central Asia. The Afghan- and Pakistan-based wings of the Taliban, Hizb-i-Islami, and more international faction such as al-Qaida and Lashkar-e-Taiba also have bases there.
    Coalition officials acknowledged that recent tensions along Kunar's border has festered for weeks without an adequate response from the international alliance, in part because they consolidated troops from scattered valley and border outposts to centralized bases after coming under relentless attacks from militants.
    The redeployment reflects a tactical shift from counterinsurgency operations — emphasizing development projects and regular contacts to win over local populations — to counterterrorism operations that emphasize killing militants.
    Last week, U.S. forces launched an offensive in Watapoor district in central Kunar province, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Chad Carroll, a spokesman for the 1st Calvary Division at Regional Command East. Carroll said the objective of the operation was less to take strategic terrain than to target insurgents.
    "It's more about enemy locations than it is about a spot on the ground," he said. U.S. soldiers have killed 80 to 100 militants in the district, Carroll said.
    But Taliban fighters still manage to stage attacks on both sides of Kunar's border, Afghan officials say.
    "There are only finite resources, manpower," said British Maj. Tim James, a NATO spokesman.
    "The shelling has routinely gone on where we don't have troops," he said.
    A study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published in June says "the reorganization of U.S. forces in Kunar and Nuristan has led to an insurgent advance."
    "The fact is, the force was too dispersed, and local opposition — the population was allied with the insurgents — led the American command to evacuate the most isolated valleys ... as well as certain border outposts," wrote Carnegie visiting scholar Gilles Dorronsoro.
    The fighting then shifted to areas where U.S. forces evacuated and now "is intensifying throughout the rest of Kunar," Dorronsoro added.
    The situation along Kunar's border suggests the kind of future challenges Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO will face as U.S. forces leave according to President Barack Obama's schedule for the withdrawal of combat troops by 2014, when security will transition to Afghan control.
    During two days in Sirkanay district, Afghan Border Police were the most conspicuous forces on the roads, where they appeared to operate with a degree of autonomy from NATO. Only two other security units were seen: An armored NATO patrol and a newly established local police unit. Two new border police camps built next to NATO bases housed a well-maintained fleet of new Ford pick-up trucks and young policemen carrying AK-47s.
    The border police's movements, however, were severely limited by shelling from Pakistan and by Taliban hiding in mountain villages.
    Gen. Aminullah Amerkhail, the eastern region commander of the Afghan Border Police, accused Pakistan of assisting the insurgents — using artillery to clear Afghan villages so Taliban fighters could use them as sanctuaries. Between 700 and 1,000 families have fled border areas in Kunar and neighboring Nangarhar province, Amerkhail said.
    "The withdrawal of NATO forces has had a direct effect on insecurity," said Amerkhail, who added that his forces were not strong enough to assault known Taliban positions. "I will not go to those villages without air support from the Americans."
    Amerkhail, who earned a reputation for interdicting heroin shipments when he was in charge of security at the Kabul International Airport, offered his resignation to the Afghan interior minister on Thursday to protest NATO's and Pakistan's response to the problems along the border.
    Pakistani officials, too, have complained about NATO inaction in southeast Kunar.
    Five times in June, militants based in Kunar and Nangarhar massed up to 300 fighters to stage cross-border attacks against Pakistani security checkpoints, killing 55 paramilitary soldiers and tribal police, Pakistani army officials said. Pakistani air and ground assaults drove the insurgents back.
    Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Athar Abbas said that no rounds have been fired into Afghanistan intentionally, although it is possible that "a few" rounds may have accidentally fallen over the border. Abbas defended the assaults.
    "There is no effort to act against these strongholds or sanctuaries," he said. "Many terrorist leaders are gathered there, and there is no pressure on them to leave."
    Whatever Pakistan's defensive rationale, Afghanistan views the border attacks as an infringement on its sovereignty.
    "The Pakistani artillery attacks are just a continuation of various kinds interference by our neighbors during the last 10 years," said Lutifullah Mashal, a spokesman for Afghanistan's intelligence service. "These have included suicide attacks, roadside bomb attacks and sometimes, sending terrorists to hotels and hospitals and sometimes by firing at us directly."
    Afghan security officials have warned Pakistan that continued artillery fire into its territory will be met with a response that could include Afghan military action.
    Three villages the AP visited along the Afghan side of the border — Khadikhail, Shingi Salehabad and Sabagai — were each separated by a 20-walk along undulating footpaths. A fourth village, Mullah Goray, was further away from the Pakistani border, but all four were close enough that interviews were punctuated by the sounds of detonations at various ranges. Some shelling was so close that both the launches and impacts were heard. Pakistani helicopters could also be seen over the mountains in what villagers said was Afghan territory.
    "Here is shrapnel from Pakistan's artillery and rockets, which killed our innocent villagers and children playing in front of their houses," said Mohammad Hasan, 45, in Shingi Salehabad. A rocket exploded within earshot and he looked toward Pakistan. "Attacks are still going on. You can still hear the sound of heavy artillery. During the night we cannot go to sleep."
    A villager named Fazel, 18, said he and five relatives were all struck by flying metal.
    "The rocket hit our house when we were at home," he said. "Day and night our villages are under attack. In my village 25 people have been killed and wounded."
    His relatives fled with 60 other families, he said. He was trying to take care of the remaining animals but did not know how long he would be able to stay.
    As the bombs continued falling, Fazel showed visitors his shrapnel scars.
     
  11. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    I'd be watching with interest how this rivalry develops in time.
    But on the other hand I also don't like seeing Afghans create another destabilising factor for themselves right in the neighborhood.
    It is not bearing good signs for them, they have a tough task cut out for themselves and such ruffling of feathers will only deviate them.

    Best would be that afghans stabilise their country on a progressive path and try to pay least attention to Pakistan.
    Once the peace and development starts paying off, they'd realise that there's no possible need/justification of Qaida's or Talibans of any kind.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Stability is impossible with pakistan ready to ravage the country.
     
  13. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    These things can be sorted out between both the governments if they sit together and realise that the enemy is ultimately common, whatever the name is - Qaida, Pak Taliban, Afghan Taliban or anyone.

    As far as direct military actions like these are concerned. They are not major assaults and would never get escalated if the governments or militaries on both sides have even a partial co-ordination so atleast some innocent lives could be saved (although collateral damage is never ruled out of battle)
    What is more dangerous is the non physical side of it - the geo political game Pakistan is playing inside Afghanistan with its favorite bunch of terrorists hiding in its pocket.
     
  14. ganesh177

    ganesh177 Regular Member

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    If india do not see the opportunity in this, then that will be foolishness.
     
  15. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

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    That would be very unrealistic!!
    Not to forget, We dont have enough for our own. ;)

    A simple BM-21 or Mortar Fire could solve the problem. The Afghans Army already has BM-21s and Artillery of thier own, Some reliable sources say they even have Scuds and M114 155mm howitzers in their Inventory


    The question would be is whether your Mad enough to fire them and take a step forward.

    What else can we do???
    The Only thing we can do is expressed our deep concern. Other than that,....we can do nothing.

    We cannot just supply Weapons to Afghanistan right under the Coalition Forces nose. Even if we did, The using of those weapons would be depending on Govt and American approvel.
     
  16. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    As I said before still the best antidote of the Afghan government against Talibanism is a good dose of nationalism. Fan the flame of anger against Pakistan and voila the Afghan society will unite behind the government. The Taliban will be isolated if it does not side with Afghanistan.

    It seems Pakistan finally found its match. No doubt with US' weight behind it Afghanistan may prove to be too hot to handle for the Pakistan and its ISI...
     
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  17. Pakistani Nationalist

    Pakistani Nationalist Regular Member

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    Nationalism in Afghanistan? lol!
    Every ethnic group hates the other,ANA doesnt even have pashtuns..... govt is formed of NA!

    Pakistan fired the rockets r taliban whom have started attacking our posts n villages... its coz the US forces have started to close their bases along the border and the taliban r regrouping ... and in the past few days they have killed innocent tribesmen and soldiers!

    What do u expect? let them come n kill our people...... sorry cant do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  18. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    By this logic India has the right to target groups on Pakistani soil which are threatening our national security.
     
  19. Pakistani Nationalist

    Pakistani Nationalist Regular Member

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    Try it..


    Plus we have proof.. Even the media aired a video showing afghan talibastards shooting 36 innocent people! Hundreds of them r attacking................ and we r retaliating..
     
  20. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    And so you are shelling Afghan villages?
    Afghan can similarly attribute their response to Pakistani terrorists trying to destabilize their country.
     

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