Kabul: Is Ghani pulling a Gujral?

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by Singh, May 20, 2015.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

    Feb 23, 2009
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    In Taliban peace bid, Ashraf Ghani orders spies to end war on ISI

    In 2008, the United States intercepted communications between Haqqani commanders with ISI officers, who directed attacks on its embassy, and that of India, in Kabul.

    [​IMG] President Ashraf Ghani’s visit provides India the opportunity to do a reality check, recalibrate ties with Afghanistan.
    Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi | Updated: May 19, 2015 1:28 am
    Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has ordered the country’s intelligence service to end a bloody campaign of retaliatory covert action against Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, in a bid to secure Islamabad’s support for talks with the Taliban leadership expected to unfold this summer, government sources in Kabul and New Delhi have told The Indian Express.

    The decision, the sources said, was formalised in an agreement signed last week, committing Afghanistan’s Riyasat Amniyat e-Milli, or National Defence Service, to share intelligence and facilitate interrogation of suspects by the ISI.

    President Ghani’s decision comes even as Kabul has decided to issue passports to over 200 active Taliban jihadists operating from Pakistan, in an effort to facilitate communications between them and negotiators for the group now stationed in Doha. The Taliban’s negotiators are believed to currently be using Pakistani passports.

    New Delhi is watching President Ghani’s high-stakes peace gamble warily from the sidelines—concerned that it could spark off rebellion from leaders of ethnic minority groups in the country, as well as anti-Pakistan Pashtuns, undermining the country’s fragile polity.

    “Frankly”, a senior government official in New Delhi said, “our assessment is that this peace bid is more likely to spark off a civil war than result in a peace deal”

    Kabul newspaper Hasht-e-Subh reported that Rahamatullah Nabil, the head of Afghanistan’s intelligence intelligence service, refusing to sign the agreement, leaving the task to a deputy. In a press conference on Monday, NDS spokesperson Haseeb Sediqi denied reports that the agreement would lead to the training of Afghan intelligence personnel by Pakistan. He added that the agreement was in “the interests of both countries”.

    “I can understand why the NDS would be so angry about this deal”, said Vikram Sood, a former chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing. “Its being asked to give up its trump card, and display its hand, with no guarantee its going to get anything in return”.

    The intelligence-sharing deal, informed sources in Kabul said, was hammered out during a secret visit by ISI chief Lieutenant-General Rizwan Akhtar to Kabul early this month. In one-on-one meetings with President Ghani, Lieutenant-General Akhtar asked for the termination of Afghan intelligence ties to jihadist groups fighting against

    Hard evidence had emerged of the NDS’ links with Pakistani jihadist groups in 2013, after United States special forces snatched top Tehreek-e-Taliban leader Latif Mehsud, while he was on his way to a meeting with the NDS. Aimal Faizi, former president Hamid Karzai’s spokesperson, publicly said that the NDS had been working with Latif “was part of an NDS project like every other intelligence agency is doing [sic]”.

    In addition, the NDS is believed to have run an assassination campaign targetting top Pakistan-based jihadists—one of whom, Nasiruddin Haqqani, was killed at his Islamabad home, blowing apart Pakistan’s claims it had no knowledge of his whereabouts.

    The NDS’ cultivation of Pakistani jihadists had begun in 2006-2007, to retaliate against the ISI’s sponsorship of the Haqqani Network—a Taliban affiliate based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, which was described by former United States military chief Admiral Mike Mullen as “a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency”.

    In 2008, the United States intercepted communications between Haqqani commanders with ISI officers, who directed attacks on its embassy, and that of India, in Kabul.

    Following the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, highly-placed government sources in New Delhi said, former National Security Advisor MK Narayanan had tasked India’s Research and Analysis Wing to explore the prospect of targeting the Lashkar-e-Taiba through Afghanistan. The project, however, did not secure the approval of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

    The intelligence sharing deal has come in for harsh criticism in the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, with Members of Parliament demanding that NDS chief Nabil be summoned to testify before them. First Deputy of the Wolesi Jirga, Zahir Qadeer, ordered parliament’s security and international relations commission to summon National Security Council officials to explain the situation to the house.

    President Ghani’s spokesperson, Ajmal Abedi, said that “the memordandum of understanding between Afghanistan and Pakistan is not a new thing. In the past, both institutions had such agreements, but now the focus is on fighting terrorism”.

    In 2007, Turkey had brokered an intelligence sharing pact between the governments of General Pervez Musharraf and President Hamid Karzai. However, the two countries remained locked in an adversarial relationship, after Pakistan failed to rein in the activities of the Quetta-based leadership of the Taliban.

    Eight Afghan military personnel for sent for training in Pakistan this summer, in a military confidence-building measure that provoked sharp criticism from Afghan lawmakers, who described Pakistan as an enemy state.

  3. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

    May 29, 2009
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    India should restrains itself even commenting on his experiment. We should wait him to fail than predicting his failure as it may get factored in as one of the reasons for his failure, i.e. India prompted ethnic leadership especially Uzbek, NA et el against Gani's peace initiatives with Pakistan.

    Good reporting Nontheless.
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Afghan will go back into civil war under Ghani. He has not learnt from the 14 years of WoT and US failure due to the perfidy of Pakistan. He wants to make a deal with ISI when it's own former chief said they raised Taliban as a counter to India and everything is fair in the game.

    Afghans know better than all as to how Pakis have made their lives miserable. Ghani is going against the Intel guys, the Jirga & larger public opinion against Pak. He will face backlash for sure.

    I doubt the Afghan Intel will collaborate with ISI despite this deal. They wouldn't want to give away their sources & assets. ISI will only use this deal to eliminate elements that are against Pak not the assets Pak has created for use against India & Afghanistan.

    Pak will not want a stable & peaceful Afghanistan either as it will risk the question of the Durand line being raised once again.
    Dharmateja and Alien like this.
  5. blueblood

    blueblood Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 28, 2011
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    A joint survey by the Afghan firm ATR Consulting and TOLOnews has found that President Ashraf Ghani has dipped in popularity in the past three months, with 43.5 percent of those surveyed stating they are "not satisfied at all" with his performance.

    And this not the only poll which is saying that. Ghani is not a seasoned politician like Karzai and his immaturity and naivety is letting down Afghans big time. Although, I don't understand why you guys are surprised. ISI was shouting at the top of their lungs that they rigged the elections for Ghani. He is just returning the favour.
  6. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 13, 2013
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    Pro Peace dummies needs reality check.
    This is not good for Afghanistan and the region as such.
  7. Dharmateja

    Dharmateja Regular Member

    Jan 9, 2013
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    Will there be a palace coup? If this deal is actually implemented, it will create serious faultlines, probably catastrophic.
  8. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

    Apr 28, 2012
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    That is what happens when you elect technocrats. This guy spend his best time in west and thinks he can take the lessons of peace and solidarity to the war zone. Peace follows from position of strength and not by begging/understanding.
    sorcerer, Dharmateja and Alien like this.
  9. GokuInd

    GokuInd Regular Member

    Mar 31, 2009
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    Any chance of - say - subtly obfuscating Ghani's "reconciliation" attempt by wooing the more pro-Indian anti-Pak forces within government? Lots of potential is available. Present government is anything but stable and united. "National Coaliton of Afghanistan" headed by Abdullah Abdullah comes to one's mind.
  10. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 13, 2013
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    The game is becoming very inreresting.. Ghani just upped the ante.

    The convergence is all regional parties want the United States and its western Allies out of Asia.

    Why did the Taliban go to Tehran?

    Reports of an official Taliban delegation’s clandestine visit to Iran this week raised eyebrows in both Kabul and Tehran: why would Iran, a Shia powerhouse involved in proxy wars with several Sunni states and sectarian groups in the Middle East, host a radical Sunni militant group on its soil?

    The two erstwhile foes once came to the brink of a full-blown war against each other. However, when it comes to regional politicking the two have found much in common, including their fear of the spread of the Islamic State influence in the region.

    In 1998, Tehran deployed more than 70,000 forces along the Afghan border in a clear show of military might and threatened to invade Afghanistan and avenge the deaths of at least eight Iranian diplomats at the hands of Taliban in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif that year. Iranian generals predicted they would topple the Taliban regime within 24 hours, but the situation was defused when the United Nations interfered.

    Then, when the US-led coalition forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of attacks on 11 September 2001, Iran tacitly supported the operation.

    However, more than a decade later, the two archrivals seem to be willing to coexist in the face of the growing threat posed by Isis.
    This dovetails with another shared goal: pushing the United States and its western allies out of Afghanistan.

    While Tehran may not wish to see a return of a Taliban government on its eastern border, Iranian officials would not have a problem seeing the Taliban becoming part of the current western-backed Kabul administration through a much-awaited reconciliation.:doh:

    It is for this reason that a delegation of Taliban, led by Mohammad Tayyab Agha, visited Iran on Monday and held talks with Iranian leaders. While officials in Tehran denied the visit, Iranian newspapers and Taliban confirmed that the delegation was comprised of Taliban members from their political bureau in Qatar. A Taliban statement said that the delegation discussed a number of issues with Iranian officials, including the current situation in Afghanistan, regional and Islamic world issues, and the condition of Afghan refugees in Iran.

    Monday’s visit was not the first time a Taliban delegation has visited Iran. They have already been to the country twice. Two years ago, they even attended an Islamic “vigilance” conference hosted by Iran, according to state media reports.

    Given the ideological differences between the two, this tepid friendship between Iran and the Taliban can be explained through regional rivalries and the emergence of Isis in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

    Isis leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has proclaimed himself as a Caliph of all Muslims, the same title that the one-eyed Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, claimed nearly two decades ago.:cowboy:

    Since last fall, the Taliban and a small number of militants have pledged their allegiance to al Baghdadi and raised black Isis flags during several armed skirmishes inside Afghanistan. Although the Taliban themselves repeatedly targeted civilians in the past, its spokesmen have condemned Isis for carrying out a deadly attack in eastern Afghanistan last month that left at least 35 people dead.

    Although both groups rival one another in brutal attacks, the Taliban has called on Isis to “avoid extremism” in their war in the Middle East, a plea that al Baghdadi mocked. He reportedly called Mullah Omar “a fool and illiterate warlord” undeserving of a religious title.

    Similarly, Iran has been fighting Isis forces through its militia groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Tehran has reportedly sent more than 1,000 military advisers to Iraq, conducted airstrikes against Isis targets, and has spent more than $1b dollars in military aid to Iraq. The last thing Tehran wants is an Isis presence inside Afghanistan, from where the militants could attack targets inside Iran.

    An Iran-Taliban alliance would not only serve as deterrence vis-à-vis Isis, it could also act as a bargaining chip in Tehran’s relations with the new government in Kabul, whose recent signals of support for Saudi Arabia’s military strikes against Shia factions in Yemen did not go unnoticed. Supporting a fundamental Sunni group could also show that Tehran is not in an all-out-war against Sunni Muslims.

    Sectarian violence

    During the Taliban regime in the late 1990s, they were accused of ethnic cleansing by massacring Hazaras, a Shia minority ethnic group in Afghanistan, and of burning their villages as they advanced towards northern regions of the country. However, since its ouster, the Taliban has largely avoided sectarian and ethnic undertones in their narratives.

    In fact, the Taliban have recently publicly condemned sectarian violence against Shia. When five civilians were reportedly kidnapped and killed in a central region of the country on 17 April, the local officials blamed the Taliban for the killing. However, a Taliban statement rejected the claim a day later, saying the Kabul administration and “certain media” were stoking sectarian violence. It said the Taliban militants on the ground had tried to find and rescue “our Hazara countrymen,” but they were killed before they succeeded.

    Additionally, when 31 Hazara passengers were kidnapped on Kabul-Kandahar highway earlier this year (19 were released in an apparent prisoner swap later) the Taliban vehemently denied being behind the abduction. A Taliban statement last month even said that their militants diverted a convoy of Hazaras to protect them from crossfire between their fighters and government forces in the southern region.

    Although it is difficult to prove that the recent spate of attacks against Hazaras and Shia are the work of Isis associates or Taliban splinter groups operating without the orders of their leadership, the Taliban’s public positions on the events are noteworthy.

    In past months, the Taliban appears to be softening its formerly hostile position towards both Iran and Shia minorities.

    When a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began airstrikes against the Houthis, an Iran-backed Shia group in Yemen, in late March, most Sunni Islamic states, including the Afghan government, supported the operation. Hezi Islami, an insurgent group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar that has separately waged war against the Kabul administration, not only supported intervention, but showed readiness to send fighters in support of the Saudi-led operation. However, despite Saudi Arabia being one of the three countries that formally recognized the Taliban regime in 1990s, the Taliban has yet to declare its official position regarding the war in Yemen.

    While a public show of cooperation is new for Iran and the Taliban, the two have covertly cooperated in the past. In 2007, Afghan border police officials in the western province of Herat showed this reporter confiscated land mines with clear Iranian trademarks intended for the Taliban in Afghanistan. They blamed Iran for training Taliban near the Iranian holy city of Mashhad.

    The same year, Nato officials accused Iran of supplying Taliban with armor-piercing bombs, or explosively formed projectiles, the same weapons that Iran was accused of providing to Iraqi insurgents fighting against US forces. Both sides denied the allegations.

    The public rapprochements concerning Iran-Taliban relations proves one thing: when faced with a common enemy – in this case Isis – even archrivals like Iran and the Taliban, which ascribe to opposing radical ideologies, can put aside their sectarian differences for the sake of national and group interests.

    Farhad Peikar is a former Afghanistan bureau chief for Deutsche Presse Agentur. This article was written in collaboration with afghanistan-today.org

  11. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 18, 2011
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    Very mysterious though, no one is talking about it.
  12. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 13, 2013
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    Afghanistan's Ghani: Pakistan Needs to Do Something About the Taliban
    It seems the Afghan-Pakistan rapprochement was, indeed, a mirage

    After a bloody weekend in Kabul and a Monday morning suicide bombing at the airport, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addressed the nation. His statement was firmly directed at Pakistan:hehe:. One of the most-remarked-upon aspects of Ghani’s presidency has been his willingness to work with Pakistan–a country his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had a noticeably antagonistic relationship with. But the rapprochement may indeed have been a mirage.

    Ghani said, “Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us messages of war.” He called out Pakistan’s relative silence with regard to the skyrocketing civilian toll of Taliban attacks.:doh: The Afghan president urged Pakistan to imagine that the spate of attacks rocking Kabul over the weekend had occurred in Islamabad, carried out by groups with bases in Afghanistan: “Will you have looked at us as friends or enemies?”:facepalm:

    The latest iteration of the peace process in Afghanistan was born and died in less than a month. An early July meeting between a delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council and members of the Taliban in Islamabad, facilitated by the Pakistanis, was heralded as an extraordinary (though at the same time minute) step forward. I wrote at the time:

    The Taliban, ostensibly still led by Mullah Omar (who no one seems to be sure is still alive), has fractured between field commanders carrying on the fight in Afghanistan and political leadership based outside of the country, mostly in Pakistan. While Ghani’s strategy in wooing Pakistan into helping press the Taliban leadership to the table might, one day, turn into a peace process–the Afghan government will still need to deal with the fighters in the field.

    Turns out, Mullah Omar is dead and has been for two years. The fracturing of the Taliban seems to have accelerated after the news broke–conveniently right before the second round of peace talks was to take place.

    Ghani, in his Monday address, said that future moves toward peace talks would be done by Afghanistan alone.:shock: “We don’t want Pakistan to bring the Taliban to peace talks, but to stop the Taliban’s activities on their soil,” he said.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said in the past that the enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of Pakistan. Ghani is unwilling to take him solely at his word: “now the time has come for him to prove it.” Ghani said that the Taliban was operating bomb-making factories and suicide training centers in Pakistan and that Islamabad needs to do more to cut the Taliban off. “We know they have sanctuaries there, we know they are active there. We need all those activities to be stopped,” he said, as reported by the AP.

    The wave of bombings over the weekend–resulting in over 50 deaths and hundreds of injuries– has been seen by many as the fallout of a leadership struggle following the confirmation of Mullah Omar’s 2013 death (and subsequent revelation of a two-year coverup) and the recent appointment of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour to replace him as the leader of the Taliban. While the Taliban, in its original form, drew strength from the unity that differentiated the movement from the various mujahideen parties, it finds itself now just as fractious as the mujahideen of the early 1990s. Meanwhile, ISIS has emerged as an alternative, perhaps just in terms of branding if not connection to the original group fighting in Iraq and Syria.



    Paki pulls a fast one on Ghani

    World: This is gonna end very badly, "Your Majesty". And when this jungle law does fail, I will have four sweet, sweet words for you.

    Ghani: Ohhh. "I love King Ghani"?

    World: Ye- No. "I told you so"!

    Rowdy likes this.

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