Pakistan, US agree on new Afghan set-up

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Rage, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistan, US agree on new Afghan set-up

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    News Analysis By Absar Alam


    ISLAMABAD: A strategic shift in Pakistan’s three-decade old Afghan policy has taken a quiet but effective shape as Islamabad has successfully negotiated a peace plan with Mustafa Zahir Shah, the grandson of late King Zahir Shah, who would play a key role in future political dispensation comprising all ethnic groups. “It is a strategic coup by Pakistan against rising Indian influence in Afghanistan,” an analyst tartly remarked commenting on the development. As Islamabad has agreed to untangle the complicated jihadist network fabricated by General Ziaul Haq in 1979, it has acquired ‘iron-clad’ guarantees from Washington and other world capitals to gain advantages not only in regional political and economic affairs but also to get peaceful nuclear technology related benefits, sources privy to the most significant development taking place in the region in more than quarter a century, claimed.

    Prime Minister Gilani’s spokesperson Shabbir Anwar, when contacted, said Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan. “We will do whatever we can in strengthening of the political institutions in Afghanistan.”

    Anwar, however, said the Foreign Office would be in a better position to comment on such a development. The foreign office spokesman could not be reached despite repeated attempts as his cell phone was switched off.

    “Karzai is fast becoming a seat-warmer for Mustafa Zahir Shah,” a diplomat commented. “But the young leader will have to perform a very complicated balancing act by satisfying both sides of the ethnic divides in the world’s one of the least governable countries.”

    To continue to have a political foothold in Afghanistan and counter Pakistan’s thriving liaison with Mustafa Zahir Shah and the Northern Alliance, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Saudi Arabia to get help in establishing contacts with Taliban. Saudi Arabia reportedly has refused to oblige.


    According to the clinched deal, Islamabad would help cobble together a consensus political dispensation in Kabul comprising all ethnic groups, help ensure its stability, dismantle the dreaded militant infrastructure and carefully comb its security apparatus to avert the rise of radicalism. On all counts, Pakistan has already started delivering and brick-by-brick demolition of Jehadi infrastructure has already set in motion. A high-level Pakistani delegation held a final round of negotiations with Mustafa Zahir Shah and Northern Alliance in Kabul a couple of weeks ago.

    Islamabad’s diplomatic circles are abuzz with this new, exciting development taking shape during the last few weeks. “To convince Mustafa Zahir Shah to lead, and make the leaderships of Northern Alliance and Taliban share power among themselves is a major breakthrough successfully engineered by Pakistan to reclaim its lost position in Afghanistan,” the sources said.

    In addition to winning over the confidence of Mustafa Zahir Shah, the weaning off Northern Alliance from India is the most important milestone in Pakistan’s foreign policy as ties between the two sides had been strained for Islamabad’s tilt towards Taliban. As final touches are being given to level the rough contours of this win-win policy, the diplomatic sources in Islamabad are attributing great significance to the sudden dash of Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to Kabul over the weekend.

    In return for the success of this policy, the sources claimed, Washington has given guarantees to Islamabad that it would support Pakistan’s efforts to buy nuclear power plants from France for peaceful purposes, limit India’s political role in Afghanistan and Pakistan would have the right to buy oil and gas on less-than-market price from the proposed oil and gas pipelines originating from Central Asia and Afghanistan to India. The royalty that Pakistan would earn on these energy pipelines passing through its territory would be in addition to the above benefits.

    DG ISPR Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, when contacted to ask if Pakistani officials were engaged in negotiating such an understanding with the help of the US and the Nato in return for political and economic benefits of the country, he said: “It is a political issue and I have no comments”.

    When asked about the high level contacts between Pakistani officials and Mustafa Zahir Shah and Northern Alliance leaders, Abbas said: “Not to my knowledge.” The arrests of top Taliban commanders from Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar two weeks ago to Abu Yehya Gadan over the weekend is a testament to Islamabad’s sincere commitment with this new approach.

    In his weekend visit Gen Kayani met Afghan President Hamid Karzai to, what the sources said, discuss his role, if any, in the new setup. Almost a week prior to Kayani’s visit to Kabul, a high-level delegation comprising officials who have been handling the Afghan strategy for decades, visited Kabul and met Mustafa to finalise the future peace plan for Afghanistan. The success has been reached following a series of behind-the-scene meetings in and outside Pakistan between Pakistani officials, Mustafa Zahir Shah, Saudi and US officials, and key leaders of Northern Alliance who have earlier been sceptical of Islamabad’s intentions.

    The difference this time would be that Pakistan would ensure the acceptance of this new formula both by the Northern Alliance and Taliban with Mustafa Zahir Shah leading the brood. Sources claimed that the new plan would guarantee Pakistan’s political and economic interests in the region as well as the existence of a peaceful Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US and the Nato troops.

    The sources claimed that the establishment is quite serious now in reigning in radical elements who have been creating difficulties for Pakistan in the past. “Now they will not be given a free hand anymore and the elements within the establishment supporting such ideologies and activities would be sidelined in the next round of promotions starting from next month,” source said.


    Courtesy: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27714
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    In return for the success of this policy, the sources claimed, Washington has given guarantees to Islamabad that it would support Pakistan’s efforts to buy nuclear power plants from France for peaceful purposes, limit India’s political role in Afghanistan and Pakistan would have the right to buy oil and gas on less-than-market price from the proposed oil and gas pipelines originating from Central Asia and Afghanistan to India. The royalty that Pakistan would earn on these energy pipelines passing through its territory would be in addition to the above benefits.


    This was always a oil war more specifically an oil pipeline war while it fooled the world into thinking it was a war on terror. Osama Bin Laden was never caught, Taliban were never defeated, and pipeline is complete mission accomplished, let's leave Afghanistan to the good taliban and start pumping out the oil.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    War on Terrorism or Oil War? See the Map of the Pipeline!
    http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/hardtruth/oil_war.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    one thing i wont get is why usa after spending trillions of dollars on wot and waiting all 20 years after ussr's withdrawal is making afganistan as pakistan's vassal just for oil pipe lines.usa could have done this right after ussr's withdrawal in 1990 when usa had much greater leverage with pakistan compared to today and usa was sole super power then as compared to today.And looking at the map some of the oil/gas pipelines are criss-crossing iran.does that mean usa after settling afghanistan with pakistan's help will go after iran.?other questions will arise as compared to 1990s there are ather 2 most powerful players russia and china today in central asia.and they are in much greater position to oppose usa's gas pipeline from central asia than they were say in 1990s.And as of today usa is much weaker economically and militarily.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    cross-posting from Afghan reality:india might talk to ISI and taliban thread

    Gen Kayani’s moves suggest that he sees the final lap, argues Nitin Pai

     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    US had to wait for many things one was a US friendly government in Pakistan, that happened when Musharraff took power with coup de tat,second was the Russian had to be cooperative with the fall of the Soviet union and the new countries in Central Asia this became easier,Also Iran was under Ayatollah rule and the Chinese relations with USA were not what they are today a top trade partner, I don't think India factored into this too much but since Hamid Karzai was in India in some ways it may have played a role behind the scenes??
     
  7. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    what exactly is this 'Moderate Taliban' ?
    Ain't that sounds similar to 'Good & Bad Taliban', really funny how Indians are trying to undermine the arrest of Bradar the second in Command of Afghan Taliban by calling him 'Moderate Taliban'
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  8. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    A titanic power struggle in Kabul


    By M K Bhadrakumar

    The flurry of diplomatic activity in Kabul during the past week heralded the opening shots of a titanic power struggle, the outcome of which will largely determine the contours of an Afghan settlement.

    In what is shaping up as a multi-layered power struggle, the principal protagonists are the United States and Britain, Pakistan, Iran and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    The struggle is set to accelerate during the coming weeks and will lead all the way to the Afghan loya jirga (the traditional tribal council), which by present indications is expected to take place in Kabul on April 29. Undoubtedly, the stakes are high for all protagonists and the battle lines are being drawn.

    The sudden dash by Pakistani army chief Pervez Kiani to Kabul last Friday to discuss "matters of mutual interest" with Karzai, the two-day unannounced mission on Monday by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (whose primary intent was to check out on the intensifying exchanges between Kabul and Tehran), Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad's consultations in Kabul on Wednesday ostensibly to discuss the bright prospects for Afghan-Iranian economic cooperation, and Karzai's own two-day trip to Islamabad from Wednesday - all served to highlight the overlapping templates of the power struggle.

    Karzai digs in ...
    In a fashion, forming part of the mosaic was London's timely decision last week to place Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Britain's special representative for Afghanistan and formerly ambassador in Kabul, in the Afghan capital as its suave Man Friday in the crucial time until the loya jirga is safely home and dry. Ideally, this role could and should have been US special representative for AfPak Richard Holbrooke's by birthright, but then, his type of muscular diplomacy may prove counterproductive in the sensitive times ahead. Cowper-Coles, on the other hand, can be equally tough as Holbrooke, while smiling all the way.

    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's major speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Wednesday, "The war in Afghanistan: How to end it", assertively underscored that London intended to be very much in the driving seat in steering Afghanistan politically to a new era.

    Several templates are discernible in the power struggle. First and foremost, Karzai insists on his legitimate leadership as elected president under the Afghan constitution to lead national reconciliation which can bring the war to an end.

    This translates as his prerogative to convene the loya jirga, and decide its composition. Karzai also holds a mandate from the January 28 international conference in London to draw up the "reintegration" plan for the Taliban, which he is expected to present and seek approval at the loya jirga. Karzai has said his confidante, Ghulam Farooq Wardak will handle the "reintegration" plan.

    Karzai hand-picked Wardak for education minister in his new cabinet in December. Having previously held the post at the ministry, a large recipient of Western aid, Wardak was not one of the new faces that the US and Britain had sought.

    The choice of Wardak as mentor for the "reintegration" plan is significant. He comes from an influential Pashtun family in Wardak province adjacent to Kabul and Parwan, which forms the gateway to Bamiyan. Wardak is a base of Deobandis and Hezb-i-Islami, and the Taliban have been strongly entrenched in the province.

    Conceivably, Karzai would have considered while deciding on Wardak's appointment that he was educated in Peshawar and lived and worked there for a decade. Wardak should be acceptable to Pakistan. This is important as Karzai needs maximum cooperation from Pakistan in ensuring that the loya jirga endorses his road map for the reconciliation of the Taliban. There is always an inherent risk that the assembly turns out to be "uncontrollable" once in session and throws up nasty surprises.

    Therefore, Karzai is making preparations with great circumspection, no matter how the Americans and British attempt to force the pace. Washington and London were originally not in favor of Karzai's plan to hold the loya jirga. Now they are stuck with it - and are determined to influence its proceedings.

    Their preference will be that the loya jirga leads to a consensus favoring formation of an "interim government", which would force Karzai to step down from the presidency.

    ... as Miliband baits Pakistan
    Karzai, on the other hand, hopes to conduct the parliamentary elections soon after the loya jirga, which would consolidate his power base for the following four years. He has already decreed that no more will there be any US or British proxies in the Afghan election commission.

    The fact of the matter is that while both the US and Britain may have grudgingly accepted Karzai's re-election as president, they estimate that he has long since ceased to be anything other than an obstacle to the kind of Afghan settlement that fits their geopolitical agenda towards Central Asia.

    Miliband's lecture at the MIT on Wednesday was, in fact, intended to send a loaded "message" to Karzai. "The international community will judge him [Karzai] by his actions, not his words ... The Afghans themselves must own, lead and drive such political engagement [with the Taliban]," Miliband pointed out.

    Miliband's speech stopped short of calling for an interim government. He urged Karzai to consider bringing Taliban supporters into the political system and argued that "now is the time for the Afghans to pursue a political settlement with as much vigor and energy as we are pursuing the military and civilian effort".

    The Western countries view Karzai's idea of holding a loya jirga as a move by the astute leader to extract legitimacy for continuing as president by heading off the need for an interim government that would require he step down. They anticipate that if Karzai has his way with the loya jirga, he will set the political calendar for the coming years, which would in turn devolve on his presidency till 2013 at a minimum and block any chance of "regime change".

    Miliband in his speech literally appealed over the head of Karzai to the participants of the loya jirga when he underlined the framework of a "political outreach", which he saw in terms of a sustainable Afghan government with more inclusive ethnic Pashtun participation, primacy on regional governors and governing councils, a pronounced shift of the locus of constitutional power away from the president to the parliament and a political leadership in Kabul that will forcefully address the "pervasive problem of corruption" in the Afghan government.

    Miliband made an undisguised pitch for rallying Islamabad's support by stressing that Pakistan "holds many of the keys ... [and] clearly has to be a partner in finding solutions to Afghanistan". Interestingly, he also called on countries with "vested interests" in Afghanistan - including India, Russia, Turkey and China - to recognize the basic fact that "the status quo in Afghanistan hurts all".

    With Miliband's speech, the US and Britain have literally prompted the loya jirga to dictate the peace terms to Karzai.

    Iran stands by Karzai ...
    As the Afghan leader sizes up the challenge ahead. so too is Tehran, which is extremely concerned that if the US-British game plan succeeds, it will lead to an open-ended presence of American troops in the region bordering eastern Iran, which Washington can always put to use to pressure Iran.

    Ahmedinejad's visit to Kabul on Wednesday was primarily intended to make a big statement of solidarity with Karzai, urging the latter to stand up to the challenge and conveying Tehran's willingness to stand shoulder-to-shoulder by his side .

    In essence, Tehran abhors the idea of a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan and wants a settlement that duly reflects Afghanistan's plural society. Tehran shares Karzai's thinking that while the Taliban can participate in any inclusive settlement, that has to be on the basis of a willingness to lay down arms and accept the Afghan constitution, which provides for a democratic plural society safeguarding the interests of all religious and linguistic groups.

    The US and Britain have been trying to tarnish Karzai by caricaturing him as an appeaser of the Taliban, but Tehran sees through the Western ploy.

    Thus, Karzai can hope to tap into Iran's influence with various Afghan groups, which traditionally focused on the Persian-speaking Tajiks and Hazara Shi'ites but today also extends to segments of the Pashtun population. Significantly, Ahmedinejad was received on Wednesday at Kabul airport by the Northern Alliance leader Mohammed Fahim, who has become the first vice president in Karzai's new government despite strong opposition from the US and Britain.

    On the other hand, the US and Britain can count on Afghanistan's former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah to raise the banner of revolt against Karzai in the loya jirga. They can also count on sundry disgruntled old war horses like Sibgatullah Mojaddidi and Burhanuddin Rabbani to criticize and isolate Karzai. Some circles have already floated the name of Mustafa Zahir Shah, a grandson of the late Afghan king, as the head of an interim political dispensation in Kabul to succeed Karzai.

    But with help from Iran (and Turkey and Russia), Karzai can hope to have the bulk of the Northern Alliance extending support to him. Besides, Karzai has also reached out to Hizb-i-Islami leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is interested in a political accommodation in the power structure in Kabul.

    ... but all eyes are on Islamabad ...
    The "swing factor" nonetheless will be the extent of Pakistan's cooperation.

    Iran and Turkey, which remain supportive of Karzai's leadership, have been working with Pakistan to form a sort of regional condominium that offers a regional solution to the Afghan conflict. Ultimately, Pakistan's mind will be swayed by the extent of confidence it has in Karazi's ability to accommodate its legitimate interests in Afghanistan.

    And right in the first circle of Pakistan's interests falls Islamabad's demand that Karzai should not stand in the way of a rollback of Indian influence in Afghanistan.

    From the available reports, Karzai used his visit to Islamabad to assure Islamabad will have a critical role in any reconciliation with the Taliban. He acknowledged publicly that without Pakistan's cooperation, his reconciliation plan would not get anywhere.

    Karzai also seems to have extended assurances as regards Pakistan's legitimate strategic interests. Of note, he had a separate meeting with Kiani.

    In his press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Karzai drew a subtle distinction between India and Pakistan in the Afghan perceptions. Karzai said, "India is a close friend of Afghanistan but Pakistan is a brother of Afghanistan. Pakistan is a twin brother. We are conjoined twins, there's no separation."

    Karzai also stressed Afghanistan's neutrality. "Afghanistan does not want any proxy wars on its territory. It does not want a proxy war between India and Pakistan. It does not want a proxy war between Iran and the US on Afghanistan."

    However, Pakistan will still closely watch how Karzai goes about fulfilling his assurances that its concerns on India would be addressed, while drawing satisfaction that his tone and tenor on Wednesday and Thursday were exceedingly positive.

    The Pakistani leadership went out of the way to roll out the red carpet for Karzai. Almost the entire cabinet turned up at the airport to receive him. A cosmetic outcome of Karzai's visit is that the two sides have agreed to revive the two-year-old idea of holding joint jirgas. Thus, a mini-jirga ("Jirhagai') will be held in Kabul following the April 29 assembly, and another loya jirga in Islamabad later on with a view to narrow down the differences between the two countries and to delineate the role of Pashtun tribes straddling the border areas.

    Quintessentially, Pakistan has put its demands vis-a-vis Karzai on the table: Islamabad seeks the "stabilization" of Afghanistan with a minimal Indian role and presence and expects traditional Pashtun influence in the power structure in Kabul will be restored.
    The Pakistan army has also offered to help train the Afghan army, which will be a key instrument of power for the Afghan state. "I cannot afford to have Afghan soldiers on my western borders trained by the Indians with an Indian mindset," Kiani is reported to have remarked recently.

    ... as it bargains with the US
    Speaking to the media in Islamabad, however, Karzai left the door open on Kiani's offer. He said, "We have discussed this offer from Pakistan where some equipment has also been offered. We accepted this [equipment]. As far as the training of Afghan soldiers, my minister of defense will study and we will come back on this." He pointedly recalled that the Soviets had also "trained" the Afghan army and "so, we are careful".

    Without doubt, Islamabad will now turn towards Washington and assess what it has to offer. There is much satisfaction in Islamabad that recent US statements have virtually acknowledged Pakistan's drive for gaining "strategic depth" in Afghanistan.

    Almost the entire Pakistani leadership is going to Washington for consultations in the coming weeks. Pakistani navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir reaches the US capital on March 17, followed by Kiani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Shuja Pasha, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the end of the month, and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in the second week of April. Pakistan-US strategic dialogue is also scheduled to take place in Washington in the last week of March at the level of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Beyond the Indian presence in Afghanistan, beyond Karzai's political future, beyond imponderables over the loya jirga, and even beyond the fortunes of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, Islamabad will calculate that the time has come to assess if, how and to what extent the US is prepared to accommodate Pakistan's aspirations as a regional power.

    Specifically, Islamabad expects parity with India as regards the US strategic partnership.

    Islamabad estimates that with the endgame in progress in Afghanistan, the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bandwagon is already preparing to roll onto the Central Asian steppes, and the great game for the containment of Russia, China and Iran is about to commence in earnest.

    The first moves on the Central Asian chessboard have been made already. Washington won over to its side Uzbekistan, a key country in Central Asia, and has significantly eroded Russia's traditional ties with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

    The US Embassy in Bishkek last week confirmed the sensational news that Washington proposes to build up a counter-terrorism training center in Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan, close to China's border, which ironically enough will be in immediate proximity to a proposed Russian base.

    That is to say, the US estimates that Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is in reality much ado about nothing. At any rate, Tashkent has succeeded in paralyzing the CSTO's proposed activities with regard to mobilizing a rapid reaction force that would have rivalled NATO as a guarantor of regional security.

    According to the US ambassador in Bishkek, Tatiana C Gfoeller, "Brand new, modern military equipments ... are arriving in Kyrgyzstan daily and being distributed to Kyrgyzstan's armed forces." It seems the crack Scorpion Battalion of the Kyrgyz military has received "extensive training from US forces".

    Close on the heels of Holbrooke's Central Asia tour last month, Central Command chief David Petraeus paid a two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan this week. Following the talks in Bishkek, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said that "all the main challenges and security threats to Central Asia" come from Afghanistan and "therefore, Kyrgyzstan is interested in providing security and stability in this country, and will continue its efforts to offer its endeavor for rebuilding Afghanistan - along with the international community".

    Pakistan will carefully factor in all these trends, which unmistakably suggest that the Barack Obama administration has quietly expanded its AfPak brief to include Central Asia so as to bring it in harmony with NATO's future enlargement.

    Islamabad will assess that progression of the AfPak policy will involve greater US (and NATO) dependence on cooperation from Pakistan, which is the strategic "beachhead" to the Central Asian hinterland.

    All in all, therefore, Pakistan will take a final call on the developing Afghanistan situation only after the series of intense consultations in Washington. Karzai would have estimated that Pakistan is keeping its trump cards in readiness for playing at a penultimate stage in the titanic power struggle unfolding in the Hindu Kush. Afghanistan's future depends on the US-Pakistan strategic nexus.

    Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

    (Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LC13Df01.html
     
  9. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    ^^^
    each & every line is worth reading
     
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  10. gogbot

    gogbot Regular Member

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    Pakistan cant get rid of India that easily.

    The Afghan Parliament it self was built by Indians.

    You cant just roll in and alter years of double talk.

    Besides i dont Think Obama would leave Afghanistan to be Pakistan vassal after all these years and money spent.
    He wants its to be a US stronghold and it will be that.

    Indian trained afghan troops are already joining the army in droves taking up enlisted and officer position's.

    I dont how Pakistan can even Muscle out India, Iran and Russia.

    it simply lack the resources
     
  11. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    agreed

    built not elected

    of course they won't

    didnt knew about it, can u post some links

    Well I personally we can't muscle out but we can certainly 'contain' them, Americans won't want any Iranian & Russian interference in it, for Russians they are making Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) ineffective by using Kyrgyzstan, for Iranians a big LOL & for India thats what we will be talking about once our leadership settles in America, You can find solution without India but not without Pakistan :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  12. Kinshuk

    Kinshuk Regular Member

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    http://www.dnaindia.com/world/repor...-conjoined-twin-of-afghanistan-karzai_1357959

    Second last para.

    India has been training a few Afghan officers in the training colleges here. Analysts here believe that New Delhi has to do much more than this. India should step up its training activities and make sure it plays a major role much as it does in building capacity in other areas of Afghanistan
     
  13. gogbot

    gogbot Regular Member

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    They are not our puppets nor do want them to be. Simply A pro-Indian regime would help India secure its Iran-Russia And Afghan relations

    One that is beneficial to all member's involved.

    Afghanistan will make Billions in trade and energy transit.

    US wants India to step up training of Afghan army

    NEW DELHI: With US President Barack Obama spelling out his troop surge and eventual exit policy on Afghanistan, the US wants India to step up its ongoing efforts to train the fledgling Afghan army.

    Washington, however, is not pressing for Indian soldiers to be deployed in the war-ravaged country as of now. "It's for the Indian government and military to decide (on troop deployment),'' visiting US Pacific Command chief Admiral Robert F Willard said on Friday.

    "We have not sought any ground-level cooperation (military presence) from India. We are very happy with India's significant rebuilding role in Afghanistan,'' he said after meeting top officials here.

    Earlier this week, Obama announced that the US would dispatch another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan to "stabilise'' the situation there but, at the same time, vowed to begin the exit of American troops from the region by the summer of 2011.

    Admiral Willard said the troop surge in the AfPak region would soon start since the US was interested in "succeeding in Afghanistan and stabilising Pakistan''. But Obama's statement should not be misinterpreted to mean that the subsequent troop withdrawal would begin even before a resolution of the problem was in sight.

    While the volatile AfPak region has figured in top-level discussions between India and US, New Delhi remains publicly opposed to deploying troops in the embattled country despite serious strategic concerns.

    "We think India is playing a responsible role in Afghanistan,'' said Admiral Willard, adding that it was for India to decide whether it needs to do more there.

    "We have been talking to India about its assistance to Afghan people and humanitarian assistance, and its continuing support to see that Afghanistan stabilises,'' he added.

    India has undertaken several development projects to rebuild Afghanistan as well as help in training the Afghan army. Around 100 Afghan defence personnel, for instance, are trained at different Indian military academies every year. India has also posted some of its Army officers in Afghanistan to teach basic military fieldcraft and English skills to the Afghan army.

    The Hamid Karzai government, in fact, has sought "further capacity-building'' of its armed forces with India's assistance. For instance, Afghanistan is interested in some training programmes for its pilots and technicians of Mi-35 helicopter gunship
    s.

    The US, in turn, has asked India if it can send some Indian special forces instructors to train Afghan military personnel in counter-insurgency and commando operations


    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-wants-India-to-step-up-training-of-Afghan-army/articleshow/5301319.cms

    India wary but won't scale down Afghanistan ops

    NEW DELHI: India is not about to reduce its footprint in Afghanistan, but the home ministry says it will be issuing terror threat advisories to Indian citizens living and working in Afghanistan who are increasingly coming under attack from Pakistan-based terror groups.

    Simultaneously, India, high level home ministry sources said, was stepping up security and moving more security personnel to Afghanistan to protect its facilities and people, primarily working in government projects. The foreign office, though, disagrees vehemently. Denying reports that India was scaling down its presence in Afghanistan, the MEA, in a statement, dismissed such reports as "being baseless and factually incorrect". "India's commitment to its development partnership with Afghanistan remains undiluted," it added.

    Jayant Prasad, India's ambassador to Afghanistan, said, "Not a single project, not a single medical mission is being closed down." In fact, after the February 26 terror attack at guesthouses used only by Indians, senior officials were sent to interview all workers in medical missions in other parts of Afghanistan. "Everybody said they wanted to stay on," said an official. The Kabul medical mission has been temporarily shut after it was hit by Pakistani terrorists.

    The threat to Indian citizens was not from Afghans but from Pakistani groups, officials said. To that extent, India was stepping up its security presence in Afghanistan to protect its facilities and its projects. At particular risk from Pakistan are Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar.

    But it will be physically impossible to secure private projects that employ Indians, because many of them are overseas projects. And intelligence inputs say that Indian citizens will be targeted by Pakistani terror groups because Pakistan is making a determined push to get India out of Afghanistan.

    In many ways, India is feeling the cost of keeping its presence in Afghanistan confined to its "soft power", because it gives Pakistan unbridled opportunity to hit India, put India on the defensive. And since India has not developed any offensive capacity, it is now going to constantly battle perceptions that it is running scared.


    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-wary-but-wont-scale-down-Afghanistan-ops/articleshow/5668880.cms







     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    these are old news and videos since feb mid events ve thaken 1`80 degree turn.only the news item India wary but won't scale down Afghanistan ops is recent which speaks of india's confusion and isolation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  15. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Beats me what you find so ridiculously side-splitting about the Iranian involvement in Afghanistan:



    Iranian Influence in Afghanistan: Recent Developments

    By Maseh Zarif, Ahmad Majidyar
    August 21, 2009


    [​IMG]
    Herat (Photo by Wien Sven Dirks, available at Wikimedia Commons)


    Iran has actively increased its influence in Afghanistan over the past several years. Iranian firms continue to contribute to Afghanistan’s economic construction, tapping into Kabul’s demand for investment and infrastructure development. Iran’s cultural and religious presence also permeates western Afghanistan where Iranians have historically held sway. Iran and Afghanistan have also appeared more politically aligned of late, especially in the days after the disputed June 2009 elections in Iran when Afghan President Hamid Karzai unequivocally supported Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tehran increasingly attempts to undermine Afghanistan’s relationship with the U.S. and fracture Kabul and Washington’s joint commitment to stabilizing Afghanistan, lobbying publicly for a withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. Its leaders have exploited periodic fractures in the relationship between Afghanistan and the U.S. in order to undermine the American position in Afghanistan as well as offer President Karzai a public outlet to voice his dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama’s administration.

    Iran’s growing influence in Afghanistan has also rewarded it with other political benefits, including an opportunity to broaden its reach in the region. Afghanistan has welcomed the proactive approach from its western neighbor, inviting much-needed economic resources from Iran and simultaneously preserving a public relationship with Iran that allows President Karzai to “balance” the U.S. when political circumstances warrant such demonstrations.

    Iranian-Afghan relations have not been exclusively beneficial, however. Indeed, Iran and Afghanistan’s contentious six hundred-mile border fuels ongoing tensions over Afghan refugees, border insecurity, and illicit narcotics trafficking. Iranian entities continue to lend material support to insurgent activity in Afghanistan. Tehran, nonetheless, has been able to maintain close relations with Kabul, firmly ingraining itself and its interests in the country. Kabul, for its part, has gone out of its way to avoid complicating the political relationship by restraining its responses to Iranian policies regarding sensitive border issues.


    Economic Positioning

    Iran has invested several hundred million dollars in Afghanistan’s construction while broadening its export market into the country. Iran’s non-oil exports to Afghanistan in 2008 amounted to over half a billion dollars.[1] The scope of Iran’s ambitious economic proposals in Afghanistan, many of which will require stable conditions in the future, reveals a long-term focus within the borders of its neighbor that would extend Iran’s regional influence.

    Iran’s economic influence in Afghanistan is most visible in western Afghanistan, namely in Herat province. Much of the city’s infrastructure, including a major road connecting the Islam Qala border post to the province’s center and a proposed railroad link between Iran and Afghanistan, owes its funding and construction to Iranian firms and investors.[2] Herat city’s electricity, partly supplied by Iran, runs non-stop for its residents.[3] The Afghan capital of Kabul, by contrast, only recently achieved that feat after years of a limited electricity supply and still experiences power shortages in some areas.[4]

    Iranian firms have also invested in building business operations in Afghanistan during the past year. Iran’s largest automobile maker, Iran Khodro, announced in March 2009 that it planned to invest twenty million dollars towards a manufacturing plant in Herat.[5] This commercial interest in building physical infrastructure indicates a long-term perspective of Iranian economic presence in Afghanistan. Iran recently demonstrated a commitment to this presence in Herat province in May 2009 by opening a chamber of commerce in order to facilitate continued trade ties within the province.[6]

    Iran has also proposed further expanding commercial links beyond Herat and into Afghanistan’s northern provinces over the past year. Iranian vice president Pervez Davoudi indicated in February 2009 that Iran and Afghanistan planned to develop a railway connecting Iran with Tajikistan through Afghanistan’s northern provinces.[7] Construction on the five-year, $2 billion railway has started with an initial link between Iran and Herat.[8] Another proposed railway, discussed between the two countries in July 2009, would connect Iran with China through central and northern Afghanistan.[9] Iran likely views these proposals as incremental steps towards the regeneration of the Silk Road hub that will link the region’s economies—a driver behind the current efforts of the regional Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) led by Iran.[10]


    Socio-Cultural Sphere

    Iran’s increasing economic efforts also allow it to engage directly with Afghanistan’s population, developing channels to provide educational resources to Afghans and develop close ties with religious and ethnic minorities. Iran has complemented its economic interests in Afghanistan with efforts aimed at expanding Iran’s educational, religious, and cultural influence in the country in recent months. Iran has fostered ties with Shi’ia minorities and sought to further its presence in Afghanistan’s developing educational institutions. Iranian development projects in the Afghan capital of Kabul include a one hundred million-dollar university.[11] Additionally, existing Iranian educational institutions are building their presence in Afghanistan. Iranian officials announced in February 2009 that Iran’s Payame Noor University will open a campus in Afghanistan and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad will open a campus in Herat named after a Persian poet who resided in Herat during the eleventh century.[12]

    Iran’s influence in the field of education also fuses religious outreach, especially in western Afghanistan. Currently, Iran funds significant educational and religious outreach programs in Herat. The Iranian consulate in Herat, for example, funds several publications produced by the Iranian-funded Shi’i Sadiqiya mosque in Herat.[13] Iranian-made texts disseminated in Afghanistan have also generated controversy in recent months. Herat’s Shi’i Scientific School of Sadiqiyah instructs students using Iranian textbooks that “openly praise Iranian-backed militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.”[14] On “Qods Day,” an Iranian charitable organization – Khomeini’s Emdad Committee – organized one hundred children to stage a peaceful march in Kabul to show solidarity with Palestinians. The students chanted slogans against the killing of children in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.[15]

    Iranian textbooks sent to Afghanistan have aroused local suspicion and sparked debates over Iran’s religious influence and intentions. In February 2009, customs officials in western Afghanistan’s Nimroz province seized books imported from Iran which, according to Nimroz province Governor Gholam Dastagir Azad, “seriously insult a number of companions of the Prophet Muhammad and the Sunni faith, including the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, Bibi Aisha.”[16] After consultation with religious scholars and local officials, Nimroz officials ordered authorities to dispose of several hundred copies of the book. Azad said elsewhere, “the books were provoking, defamatory and would create religious conflict.”[17] He added that the books were considered “more dangerous than Taliban bullets.”[18]

    Iran also maintains ties to Afghanistan’s major Shi’i cleric: the leader of the Harakat-e Islam-i Afghanistan, Ayatollah Mohammad Asif Mohseni, who directs a radio station, Tamadon, and a religious seminary in Kabul, Khatem al-Nabyeen. One commentator recently concluded that these institutions are “part of [a] larger Iranian-sponsored agenda to spread Shi’ism in the region.”[19] Ayatollah Mohseni had previously received Iranian support in the late 1970s to establish a Shi’i movement to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, which was founded in Qom, Iran in 1978.[20]

    Iranian leaders have also reached out to Afghanistan’s Sunni leaders. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president and current head of the Assembly of Experts, invited a senior delegation of Afghan Sunni leaders to Iran in June 2009. Rafsanjani stressed the importance of Shi’i and Sunni unity and opined that the “Occupation of Afghanistan by western forces coupled with the civil war in that country, are among the major problems in Afghanistan which can be resolved through the unity of Afghan people and Ulema.”[21]


    Regional Politics

    Senior Iranian and Afghan officials have held several publicized meetings in recent months aimed at reinforcing political and economic ties in bilateral, trilateral, and international settings. President Karzai traveled to Tehran in March for an Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) conference to promote broader ties among regional countries.[22] Iran’s deputy foreign minister attended an international conference on Afghanistan in the Netherlands, also in March, where he stated that “Iran is fully prepared to participate in the projects aimed at combating drug trafficking and the plans in line with developing and reconstructing Afghanistan.”[23] Iranian leaders have emphasized the desire to develop “regional solutions” to shared concerns with Afghanistan in several meetings. President Karzai traveled to Tehran for a tripartite summit with Iran and Pakistan in May to discuss extremism and illicit narcotics in the region.[24] At the meeting, President Ahmadinejad said that “Although the presence of foreign forces in our region was under the pretext of establishing security…it has not been much of a help to the establishment of permanent security and political and economic growth,” and also criticized “...others who are alien to the nations [of our region] and cultures of our nations.”[25] Ahmadinejad, hosting the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan in Tehran, demonstrated Iran’s growing regional influence. He also used Iran’s political alignment with Afghanistan in a not-so-subtle attempt to undercut his intended target: the U.S. and coalition countries.

    Iran increasingly uses its political relations with Afghanistan to undermine U.S. interests in the region and delegitimize American efforts at stabilizing Afghanistan. Iranian leaders’ hostile rhetoric towards the U.S., specifically, remains a consistent theme in their relations with Afghan leaders. Pro-Tehran newspaper Siyasat-e-Ruz summed up Iran’s five primary interests in Afghanistan after Iran was invited to the March 2009 international conference on Afghanistan at the Hague: the flow of drugs from Afghanistan into Iran; shared cultural, historical, and linguistic backgrounds; security for Iranian investment in Afghanistan; border security; and the “withdrawal of occupying forces from Afghanistan.”[26] Iran’s representative at the Hague conference reinforced the last point—Iran’s desire for the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan—in no uncertain terms while speaking at the conference, saying: “The presence of foreign forces [in Afghanistan] has not improved things in the country, and it seems that an increase in the number of foreign forces will prove ineffective, too.”[27] President Ahmadinejad told Afghanistan’s parliament speaker Muhammad Yunis Qanooni in April that extremism in Afghanistan resulted from “foreigners’ presence” and claimed there were “heavy colonial plans” for Afghanistan.[28] Iran’s Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki, in a July 2009 with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta, reportedly “pointed out that those who have come from long distances are not familiar with [Afghanistan] and the region…solving Afghanistan [sic] problems needs regional tactics and lending people's affairs to themselves [sic].”[29]

    Iranian efforts to fracture the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan in 2009 are also aided by tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan. Shortly after the Obama administration took office in January, senior U.S. administration officials reportedly indicated that the president intended to “adopt a tougher line toward Karzai.”[30] Senior U.S. government officials indicated in May 2009 that the U.S. intended to maintain “an arm’s-length relationship” with Karzai’s government and, moreover, would “seek to bypass” Karzai by developing relationships with cabinet members and channeling aid directly to local officials.[31] Iran is keen to provide Afghanistan with an outlet for expressing dissatisfaction with the U.S., following from the recognition that relations between President Karzai and President Obama are, indeed, fragile.

    President Karzai’s reaction to Iran’s disputed presidential elections in June was hardly surprising, given the inherent Washington-Kabul tension of late and increasingly close Tehran-Kabul ties. Karzai congratulated Ahmadinejad on winning the election just two days after Iran’s June 12 vote, when reports of election fraud were followed by demonstrations and protests in Iran. Karzai reportedly conveyed his sense that “the large turnout in the election signaled the interest of Iranians in defining their destiny” during a phone call with Ahmadinejad.[32]

    Iran exercised its influence to blunt the impact of outrage in Afghanistan over the Iranian government’s violent post-election crackdown. The Iranian consulate, for example, filed complaints with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Culture after a university newspaper in Herat criticized the Iranian security force’s assault on protestors. The complaints led university officials to close the newspaper for nearly two weeks and fire the journalists who wrote the stories; the university eventually reopened the publication without any mention of the protests.[33] The Afghan government also prevented Iranians from staging a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul to demonstrate against the election results.[34]

    The Afghan media’s lack of coverage on Iran’s post-election unrest received criticism from some media outlets. Afghanistan’s Hasht-e-Sobh publication lambasted Afghan media in a June 26 editorial, likening it to Iran’s state-owned news outlets for its pro-Tehran reporting. The editorial went on to say that, irrespective of political considerations, “When the media in Afghanistan are expressing concern about conflicts in Palestine, poverty in Africa and displacement of people during conflicts with insurgents in Pakistan, there is no reason to ignore post-election tensions in Iran which have turned into a crisis.”[35]


    Insurgent Activity

    Iran continues to support insurgent activities within Afghanistan, while maintaining its long-term economic and political strategy in Afghanistan. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair told a U.S. Senate committee in 2009 that:
    Iran is covertly supplying arms to Afghan insurgents while publicly posing as supportive of the Afghan government. Shipments typically include small arms, mines, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), rockets, mortars, and plastic explosives. Taliban commanders have publicly credited Iranian support for their successful operations against Coalition forces.[36]

    American intelligence sources claimed in March 2009 that Iranians were supplying militants with SA-14 Gremlin missiles that could be used to strike helicopters.[37] The recovery of Iranian-sourced weapons has been reported in Afghanistan in recent months. The commander of Afghanistan’s 205 Army Corps, General Sher Mohammad Zazai, stated that security forces seized Iranian-made weapons during operations in Helmand province’s Marja district in May 2009.[38]

    Afghan authorities have recently traced individuals suspected of engaging in insurgent activity back to Iran. The governor of Afghanistan’s western Nimroz province Ghulam Dastagir Azad announced in July that police forces had arrested five persons suspected of planning suicide bombing attacks; the detained men were Afghans who had come from Iran according to governor Azad.[39] Another report from a pro-Kabul newspaper in January indicated that militant groups active in western Afghanistan maintained training camps in Iran’s Khorasan and Kerman provinces.[40] The report, citing unnamed sources, claimed that the armed group of Mullah Mahmood Baluch had training camps in Kerman and Bagh-e Shams of Khorasan.[41] A previous investigation by Afghan parliamentarians in 2007 discovered that Iran was training insurgent fighters in several cities in Iran’s Khorasan province, including Torbat Jam, Birjand, and Taibat.[42]

    The head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, noted in March 2009 that there was “increased activity between Iran and the Haqqani network” of insurgents based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan and operating primarily in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika, Paktia, and Khowst provinces.[43] One anonymous U.S. military intelligence source in Khowst province stated that the Haqqani network maintained operatives close to the Iranian border with Afghanistan and, further, that intelligence indicated the network had discussed the idea of building training camps close to the Iranian border.[44]

    Local officials in Afghanistan’s Farah province have raised the issue of insurgent passage to Iran this year. Farah police chief Abdul Ghafar Watandar stated in January 2009: “The issue of free travel of the insurgents to Iran has turned into a questionable issue for our detection services. Though the Islamic Republic of Iran is well aware that these insurgents are fighting the Afghan government, their families live in Iran and they travel to Iran freely and that the [sic] issue is questionable for us. I cannot say that to what extent the Islamic Republic of Iran is interfering in Afghanistan.”[45]

    Nimroz province, south of Farah on the Iran-Afghanistan border, has recently been an entry point for insurgents originating from Iranian soil. Nimroz’s Police Chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Jabbar Pordali reported on July 29, 2009 that authorities arrested seven suspected militants, including five foreigners crossing the border from Iran.[46] He stated that the detainees also carried inflammatory letters and cameras. The arrest took place after a clash between local policemen and Taliban fighters in the Khashrud district of Nimroz; further details regarding the detainees have yet to be released.[47]

    Concerns about insurgents originating from Iran were recently heightened when, on July 3, Afghan security officials arrested the first Iranian potential suicide bomber in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.[48] Gen. Mohammad Naim Khan, a Helmand security official, said the would-be suicide attacker was a resident of the eastern Iranian border town of Teftan. The suspect told the investigators that he had been trained by Mawlawi Khoda-e Nazar at the Hefaz Qazi madrassa in the Alband area of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. The trainers then sent him through Dishu district in southern Helmand to Helmand’s capital city of Lashkar Gah. The potential bomber, according to security officials’ accounts, carried a suicide vest that contained thirty kilograms of explosives. The nineteen-year-old suspect, who speaks Persian, Pashto, and Urdu, introduced himself as Ali and confessed to having intended to carry out a suicide attack on domestic or foreign forces.


    Refugee Issues

    Iran’s forced, and often untimely, expulsion and mistreatment of Afghan refugees remain a point of friction between Tehran and Kabul. Nimroz governor Azad, in January, claimed that Iran expelled almost eight hundred Afghan refugees every day into Afghanistan’s Nimroz province.[49] A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugee Affairs stated early in January 2009 that more than 9,000 Afghan refugees had been expelled from Iran. The United Nations Children’s Fund reported that Iran deported over one thousand child refugees to Herat in 2008, many of whom were extremely impoverished and vulnerable to abuse.[50] The expulsions in early 2009 occurred despite a verbal agreement between Afghan and Iranian officials in December 2008 that signaled Iran would suspend its expulsion of Afghan refugees until March 2009.[51]

    Roughly 900,000 Afghan refugees are legally living in Iran.[52] An unknown number of illegal refugees also reside in Iran, many of them migrant workers who have been deported multiple times after reentering the country.[53] Iran’s interior ministry claims that over one million Afghan refugees in Iran are considered illegal immigrants.[54]

    The Iranian government has deported illegal Afghan refugees in one million cases over the past three years.[55] Iranian authorities often frame the expulsion of Afghan refugees in the context of legal issues, justifying the measures based on the illegal status of many Afghan refugees in Iran. The legal justifications, in certain cases, are debatable and Afghan officials publicly question the discretion taken by Iranian authorities in expelling refugees on the basis of their legal status. Nimroz province governor Azad, following a November 2008 expulsion of Afghan refugees, stated that most of the refugees “…possess legal resident permits to live in Iran. But, Iran expelled them by force. These Afghans are in a very bad condition in the capital of Nimroz.”[56] The Iranian government has also heightened restrictions on legal Afghan refugees in Iran. Iranian security forces arrested thirty Afghans in June for their alleged involvement in recent violence in Zahedan city; the arrests prompted Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry to order a probe into the incident.[57] Iran’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in May 2009, imposed an employment ban on Afghan women in a move that was condemned by Afghan parliamentarians.[58]


    Illicit Narcotics

    Iran continues to be a leading consumer of opium emanating from Afghanistan. Iran, moreover, serves as transshipment point for illicit narcotics trafficking through Asia and Europe. Regional and international efforts in 2009 aimed at curbing Afghanistan’s opium trade have enlisted Iran’s support. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Iran and Afghanistan, along with Pakistan, recently began conducting cooperative counter-narcotic operations, including interdiction measures.[59] Iran reportedly seized one thousand tons of illicit narcotics moving through its territory in 2008, according to Iran’s top counter-narcotic police official, General Hamid Reza Hossein Abadi, and spent over half a billion dollars to combat drug trafficking.[60]

    Iran is taking steps to seal its eastern border with Afghanistan partly to address its concerns regarding the migration of Afghan refugees and drug flows. Iran spent nearly a billion dollars since 2006 constructing a ninety-mile long border wall, over one hundred and fifty border watchtowers, and several hundred miles of trenches in addition to training Afghan customs officials and constructing a customs checkpoint at Islam Qala.[61] The entire border with Afghanistan will be sealed with concrete walls by 2010, according to an official at Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters; one Afghan foreign ministry official reacted to this announcment by pointing out that the two countries had yet to resolve several outstanding border disputes under a bilateral agreement that could conflict with a potential border wall.[62] Iranian Police Chief Brigadier General Ismail Ahmadi Moqaddam stated in July 2009 that Iranian police forces had “tightened surveillance and control operations along the country's borders.”[63] Iranian and Afghan border police, in the meantime, have begun to conduct coordinated patrols along the shared border.[64]

    The Iranian border police’s law enforcement approach to the drug trade, however, stands in stark contrast to the role of some Iranian intelligence agents, according to journalist Gretchen Peters. According to Peters’ interviews with Afghanistan’s former anti-narcotic police chief Kamal Sadat:

    [Iran] has erected massive ramparts along the border to block smugglers, and lost some 3,400 soldiers and police in battles with drug convoys over the past five years. However, Iran, like Afghanistan and Pakistan, battles a corruption problem. Multiple sources and western intelligence cables seen by the author report corrupt Iranian intelligence agents are helping to move drug shipments in their vehicles, which have special plates and don’t get searched by Iran’s anti-drug police.[65] ​


    Certain organs of the Iranian government have a vested interest in curbing the drug trade in Iran. Institutional efforts undertaken by law enforcement officials are indicative of that interest and commitment. The role of other elements of Iranian security forces in the drug trade, including the intelligence apparatus, remains a less transparent issue.
    Conclusion

    President Karzai’s likely re-election in Afghanistan could bring about shifting circumstances for Iranian political influence in Afghanistan in the short-term. Karzai may choose to recalibrate the Afghan government’s relationship with the Obama administration, thus closing the gap that the Iranian government has recently exploited. The Iranian regime is potentially facing increased pressure after having dismissed U.S. and international efforts aimed at addressing its illicit nuclear program. It will thus have greater incentive to continue to exploit its influence in Afghanistan—whether through political or military related means—for the sake of undermining American and allied efforts there in the immediate future.

    There are issues that threaten Iranian influence in Afghanistan, including refugee expulsion, controversial religious outreach, and Iran’s support for insurgent activities inside Afghanistan. Senior Afghan officials, perhaps wary of compromising political and economic ties with Iran, have for the most part refrained from publicly denouncing such policies with any consistency, however. Local officials have shown less restraint in voicing their concerns regarding threatening Iranian behavior, but the sum of these aired differences are unlikely to significantly constrain Iran-Afghanistan relations.

    Iran’s influence in Afghanistan—through economic, political, religious, military, and socio-cultural conduits—is part of a concerted, long-term effort to establish clout with its eastern neighbor and is likely to persevere. Iran’s influence and relations with Afghanistan, at times contentious due to border issues, have been solidified by a close alignment of political interests over the past year. Iranian leaders have deftly exploited fragile Kabul-Washington relations to their political advantage by providing Karzai a public alternative to U.S. cooperation. The Afghan government under Karzai, eager to balance U.S. influence, has drawn itself closer into the Iranian sphere of regional influence and provided Iran’s leadership with unflinching political support.

    The outcome of the Afghan elections may affect Kabul’s independence from Tehran at the margins, depending on the makeup of the new government and its relationship with Washington over the next few months. A drastic shift away from growing Iranian influence in Afghanistan, however, remains unlikely.


    http://www.irantracker.org/analysis/iranian-influence-afghanistan-recent-developments

    x-x-x-x-x


    It may be propositionally possible to find a solution to the Afghan quandary without India, but our leaders will ensure that that is not so. Remember, we have a greater degree of shrewd, active and purposeful leaders than you do. ;-)

    I wonder if you're aware of the strategic coalescing of India and Iran's interests in the region, of the consulates at Zahedan and Bandar Abbas that openly operate as espionage centers - with the approval of Iran, of the fact that 80% of India's crude oil requirements come from Iran, of the fact that there is a specific body formed with the objective of counter-terrorism and regional stability, with specific reference to Afghanistan, of the fact that there is a comprehensive agreement agreed in February, 2010 to "combat terrorists emanating out of Pakisthan" *, of the fact that the (now completed) port at Chabehar and the (nearly finished) Zaraanj-Delaram highway will be used to 'enforce' India and Iran's strategic interests in the region, and of the fact that there is an emerging Indo-Russian-Iranian axis in Afghanistan.


    *See: http://www.india-server.com/news/india-iran-join-hands-in-stabilising-20538.html

    India, Iran Join Hands In Stabilising Afghanistan And Fighting Terrorism

    Last Updated: 2010-02-04T18:49:58+05:30

    [​IMG]


    With the London conference clearing a contentious proposal for reconciliation with the Taliban, India and Iran have decided to expand their cooperation in stabilising Afghanistan and to combat cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

    The volatile situation in Afghanistan and the regional situation figured prominently in discussions between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Iranian leaders during the two-day annual diplomatic consultations in Tehran that ended on Wednesday.

    Rao "also exchanged views with the Iranian side on the regional situation, including on Afghanistan, the menace of cross-border terrorism and other matters of regional and global relevance", the external affairs ministry said here after Rao returned home from Tehran on Thursday.

    Rao, accompanied by Y.K. Sinha, joint secretary (in charge of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan) in the external affairs ministry, held the seventh round of strategic dialogue with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Fathollahi in Tehran.

    Rao also called on Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Minister for Economy and Finance Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini.

    The two sides focused on the danger emanating from terrorists based in Pakistan to their security, an issue that was discussed in November last year between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Iranian counterpart in New Delhi.

    The two sides also discussed the transit route from the Iranian port of Chabahar to Afghanistan, which Iran and India have jointly developed. Besides, they spoke about a North-South rail link to provide better connectivity for Afghanistan to Central Asia.
    India and Iran share similar perspectives on the shifting situation in Afghanistan and are opposed to any power-sharing arrangement with the Taliban in that country.

    Although India grudgingly accepted the proposal endorsed at the Jan 28 London conference on reintegration and reconciliation with the Taliban, New Delhi continues to have reservations about the effectiveness of the proposal, an anxiety that is shared by Tehran.

    Iran, an influential player in Afghanistan due to its relations with Hazara tribes, did not participate in the London conference.

    The two sides discussed an entire spectrum of bilateral issues, including intensification of economic ties and the tri-nation gas pipeline that is embroiled in differences over the pricing of the Iranian gas and security of the pipeline.

    The next meeting of the India-Iran Joint Commission will be held in New Delhi soon.

    Rao also met Iran's point person on nuclear talks, Saeed Jalili, secretary, Supreme National Security Council and a close ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    This was the first high-level visit from the Indian side to Iran after India voted against Tehran in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in November last year over a secret uranium enrichment facility it was suspected of developing.

    Rao reiterated India's oft-voiced position that New Delhi respected Tehran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy provided it was within the purview of Iran's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    Rao's visit to Tehran coincided with increasing international pressure on Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapon aspirations.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
    GokuInd, DaRk WaVe and gogbot like this.
  16. gogbot

    gogbot Regular Member

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    we have been in Afghanistan Since the Invasion.

    surely you cant belive all those years of work can be sweeped away by the Politics of a few short months.

    Those video show what we have accomplished and our commitment to do more.

    Our Influence in Afghanistan is already entrenched.

    We have plans for energy and trade corridors, with the Afghans, Iranians and Russians.

    Also the fact that Indian trained officers make up a good chunk of Afghan troops cannot be changed.

    Nor the fact that we have High ranking officers stationed there to strengthened ties and cooperation.

    It still does not negate the fact that Afghanistan still wants our training assistance
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Rage i think pakistan gave up rigi to iranians just to palacate them and reduce USA's options so as to make usa totally dependent of pakistan for Afghanistan solution.Iran will surely prick usa but now i dont think so coz reconciliation is lead by karzai himself with active pakistan's cooperation.iran will have influnce on afghanistan but it is very small compared to pakistans on the majority pukhtoon taliban.only thing that i mightsee that northern alliance will be resurrected but i m not confident about it coz ahmad shah masood is no more.
     
  18. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistan may well have helped Iran capture Abdolamalek Rigi, indeed its tacit support seems probable, but that is still speculative for now, since the Iranians caught word of Rigi in Dubai, and the intelligence could well have come from anywhere else.

    But handing over Rigi is not the end of the Pakistani-Iranian oppugnancy. The Baluchi insurgents fighting Iran are distinguished from the Balochi outfits waging war on the Pakistani side against Islamabad by their staunchly religious character. They see themselves fighting a 'sunni war against a Shi'iite government'. As long as Pakisthan is majority sunni, Iran will see it suspiciously - that is a fundamental dissynchrony- just as it sees Saudi Arabia and other Arab states with disquietude.

    My reading of it is that Karzai operates under US instructions, and the present rapprochement with Pakistan is both temporal and rudimentary. In the long run, neither the US, nor Afghanistan, nor Iran, nor Russia, or for that matter any other power wants Pakistan to have undue leverage in Afghanistan. The US requires Pakistan to maintain tactical pressure on its side of the border and to secure the logistics end for its current offensive. Which is why, I believe, we've seen a spate of arrests of Taliban in recent weeks, upon US pressure. I find it difficult to believe that Pakisthan didn't know of the whereabouts or movements of top Taliban commanders, and that they decided to act only fortuitously.

    The Northern Alliance has alread been ressurected in some minimal way, despite the death of Shah Mahsoud. In the Afghan theater in 2002, Northern Alliance fighters were key agents of the United States. Until the Americans resurrected it, the alliance was a spent force sequestered in less than 10% of Afghan territory. But with active American help, air power, financing, intelligence, equipment, training and direction -- and U.S. Special Forces at its side -- the Northern Alliance played a key role in defeating the Taliban in Kunduz. They shot to prominence again during the 2009 August elections, , under the pseudonym the "United National Front", when they stood behind Abdoullah Abdullah and his unsavory friends from the North, including former Afghan Communist Party kahuna Mohamad Fahim and Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostam.
     
  19. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    Pakistan: winning over Tehran and Kabul


    According to the Iranian foreign minister, quoted by Press TV, this week’s visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Islamabad was related to plans for a trilateral summit between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The relationship between the three countries and potential influence on Afghanistan gets a lot less attention than the strained ties between India and Pakistan. But it’s worth watching closely for the way it can shape the regional competition for influence in Afghanistan ahead of an expected drawdown of U.S. troops in 2011.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Kabul this week, and shortly afterwards Karzai flew to Islamabad.

    Press TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying that while Karzai’s visit was “not directly linked” to President Ahmadinejad’s trip, it was related to a decision made during talks with the Iranian delegation about holding a trilateral summit in Islamabad. “I think based on the negotiation between Ahmadinejad and Karzai, he will also be in contact with President (Asif Ali) Zardari,” the Iranian foreign minister said.

    Pakistan had long been suspicious of Iranian influence in Afghanistan, but has been making efforts recently to improve relations with Tehran. Its ambassador to Tehran suggested last month that Pakistan had helped in the capture of Jundollah Sunni rebel group leader Abdolmalek Rigi, who Iran had said was based in its Baluchistan province.

    Karzai, meanwhile, after building a close relationship with India after the fall of the Pakistan-backed Taliban in 2001, made all the right noises in Islamabad about improving relations there. Islamabad says India has been using its presence in Afghanistan to destabilise Pakistan, particularly by backing a separatist revolt in Baluchistan (which operates separately from Jundollah) — a charge New Delhi denies. It looked sourly on Karzai’s close ties with New Delhi which it saw as underpinning a proxy war in Afghanistan between Pakistan and India which had spilled over from their long-standing dispute in Kashmir.

    Speaking in Islamabad, Karzai said he did not want any country using Afghanistan against another. ”The bottom line is, Afghanistan does not want any proxy wars on its territory,” he said. “India is a close friend of Afghanistan but Pakistan is a brother of Afghanistan. Pakistan is a twin brother … we’re conjoined twins, there’s no separation.”

    Karzai is keen to achieve some kind of reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban. But with Pakistan arresting Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other Taliban leaders, it has made it clear that any reconciliation will need its help.

    That puts it in a uniquely strong position to set the terms for any eventual political settlement with the Taliban – expected to include a requirement that India scale back its presence in Afghanistan. Getting Tehran on board in this rather complicated juggling act — if necessary by helping Iran crack down on Jundollah – would strengthen its hand further.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/03/13/pakistan-winning-over-tehran-and-kabul/
     

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