US/NATO arming Afghanistan & Pakistan to the teeth

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Postby Gouda » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:58 am

More on US subsidizing the Pakistani "war on terror" effort via Richard Boucher's congressional testimony. He reveals that the Pentagon is the lead agency accounting for the expenditures, line items and "results". We know how the Pentagon deals with accountability and accounts in general:

US renting Pak army for $ 100 million a month
The Times of India link

WASHINGTON: The United States is paying around $ 100 million a month for the deployment of 80,000 Pakistani troops on its border with Afghanistan ostensibly for the war on terrorism, a key US official revealed on Thursday.

The money is meant to be "reimbursements" to Pakistan "for stationing troops and moving them around, and gasoline, and bullets, and training and other costs that they incur as part of the war on terror," US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, told a Congressional panel.

"That's a lot of money," Boucher admitted before the panel about what amounts to a $ 1.2 billion per year reimbursement. "I don't know if it comes to the whole amount of their expenses, but we support their expenses, yes."

In all, US aid to Pakistan is now close to $ 2 billion a year, according to figures provided by Boucher, the top U S diplomat for South Asia.

Besides, the $ 1.2 billion reimbursements, Washington also gave Pakistan an addition $ 738 million in 2006 in assistance programs, including $ 300 million in separate military aid.

The overall figure would put Pakistan on par with Israel and Egypt -- with a higher component ($ 1.5 billion) in overall military assistance -- as the top three recipients of US aid.

The Pakistan allocations are being met with deep misgivings and scepticism in Congress and strategic circles where there are growing demands on the Bush administration to tie aid for Islamabad's military to its performance and delivery in the war on terror.

"There are far more jihadists, extremist madrassas, Al Qaida operatives, Taliban safe havens and international terrorist training camps than Pakistani government officials are willing to admit. Is our current aid package, one in which we are providing at least 10 times more for military aid than for basic education assistance, in the best long-term interest of United States national security?" asked Congressman John Tierney, who chaired the hearing that for focused exclusively on the Pakistan question.

"And how do we in Congress justify to the American people writing checks for billions of dollars to a regime that may not be the partner against terrorism the United States needs it to be, but may actually be hurting national security interests of the United States and our allies?" added Congressman Christopher Shays, after some of his colleagues pointed out that Pakistan was host to the world's most wanted men like Osama bin Laden and A.Q.Khan.

Boucher maintained that the money was well spent and there was some accountability involved.

"Some of our money that we give Pakistan is reimbursements and so there is, you know, conditions that we pay for things," he said, later elaborating that "Pentagon is in charge of getting receipts and making sure they know how that money is being spent in the right places."

"If they didn't have the 85,000 troops in the border area, God knows what would be going on out there -- not anything we could deal with ourselves, I'm sure," Boucher added.

Still, law-makers remained sceptical of the Bush administration's Pakistan policy, even as the White House reviewed the situation in a special meeting on Thursday. Tierney urged the administration to ensure that the military support money went towards supplying equipment to fight terrorism, as opposed to bombers and submarines aimed at India.

But Boucher bluntly told the committee "we do try to do Pakistan with legitimate defensive needs, with its ability to patrol in the Arabian Sea," and finance equipment and reimburse expenses for the war on terror.
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Postby Gouda » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:06 am

Pakistan aid plan facing resistance - $300m requested for paramilitaries ... ce?mode=PF

By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff | July 22, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is struggling to get congressional approval for millions of dollars in aid to a tribal paramilitary group in the semiautonomous region of Pakistan where Al Qaeda and the Taliban have gained such a foothold that they have been able to launch destabilizing attacks on both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The $300 million plan to transform Pakistan's colonial-era Frontier Corps into a modern fighting force is a crucial piece of a new, $2 billion US-Pakistani counterinsurgency effort designed to wrest the region from extremist militants.

But this new funding request has run into resistance, in part because of congressional restrictions on aid to nontraditional military groups, and also because questions have been raised about whether the tribesmen who make up the Corps are friends or foes of the United States, according to congressional sources and US officials.

State Department officials say the Corps, an 80,000-member law enforcement force traditionally used for border patrol and antismuggling activities, needs a massive training program, communication equipment, vehicles, and night-vision goggles to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Until now, the US government has given the Corps only modest assistance for counternarcotic efforts.

Hundreds of Frontier Corps members have been killed or wounded in battles with militants in recent years, but there also are disturbing signs of conflicting loyalties inside the Corps. The group is led by experienced officers from the Pakistani Army, but its rank and file come from the very Pashtun tribes that have given the militants safe haven.

US soldiers in Afghanistan have reported observing some Corps members allowing Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters to cross the border at will and even welcoming them to rest at Corps guard posts. The Corps has also fired occasionally on the US-assisted Afghan Army. In May, a lone Corps member abruptly opened fire at a meeting with US and Afghan soldiers, killing an American and a Pakistani, and wounding eight others. He was killed in the shoot-out that ensued.

Daniel Markey, a Pakistan specialist who was a member of the State Department's policy planning staff on Pakistan from 2003 until January 2007, said the shooting was an "indication of the challenge that Pakistan will face in training the Frontier Corps."

"Sometimes their loyalties are uncertain," he said.

But State Department officials say bolstering the Corps, in tandem with a plan to distribute nearly $2 billion in development aid over the next decade, is the best strategy to rid the impoverished region of extremists and win the support of the tribes.

"We think this has the greatest chance for success," said a State Department official who asked that his name not be disclosed because he is not a spokesman. "There are some real advantages with working with the Frontier Corps. They are local, [so] they can identify who else is local and who is an outsider. They have extensive networks that would take us decades to develop."

The debate over funding the Corps comes amid a wider debate about all aid to Pakistan. The Bush administration has pledged strong support for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, but Musharraf's popularity has plummeted in recent months because of his dismissal of the country's chief justice and other actions that critics say are designed to keep him in power.

Musharraf, a general who came to power in a military coup, became a key US ally in the war on terror in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Before the attacks, Pakistan's government cultivated an alliance with the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, who had ancestral ties to the Pashtun tribes in Pakistan's border region. But after the attacks, Musharraf took sides with the United States, directing his intelligence agencies to help arrest key Al Qaeda suspects inside Pakistan and ordering his army into the tribal areas for the first time in Pakistan's history to search out Al Qaeda fighters.

The military incursion angered the fiercely independent local population. Last fall, after hundreds of Pakistani military casualties in that region, Musharraf announced a series of "peace agreements" with the tribes, withdrawing his forces to their barracks in exchange for a pledge by tribal leaders not to allow cross-border attacks on Afghanistan and not to shelter foreign fighters.

Markey said Pakistan used the peace deals to send operatives into the tribal areas to try to co-opt the Taliban militants and the tribal leaders, but that the strategy has been only "marginally effective." The latest National Intelligence Estimate concludes that Al Qaeda has regained its full strength in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Marvin Weinbaum , a former State Department intelligence analyst now at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, said the Pakistani attempts to reach out to militants in the tribal areas raised eyebrows in Washington, sparking a continuing debate about whether elements of Pakistan's intelligence services were renewing their old alliance with the Taliban.

In recent weeks, Musharraf ordered the military to return to abandoned checkpoints in the region, and militants declared the peace deals dead.

Some Pentagon officials also are frustrated with Pakistan, seeing an increasing number of attacks on US and Afghan soldiers by militants who use Pakistan's tribal areas as a base.

Last September, President Bush questioned Musharraf about the situation in the tribal areas during a White House meeting. Musharraf responded that he needed time to develop a comprehensive plan to win popular support through development aid.

Since then, the Bush administration has embraced Musharraf's new plan, pledging $750 million in development aid over next five years to the tribal region, in addition to Pakistan's pledge of $1 billion over the next decade.

Richard Boucher , the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, told reporters last week that Washington has also promised to help Pakistan fund its $300 million plan to reform the Frontier Corps, requesting $71.5 million from Congress this year for equipment such as communications devices, vehicles, and night vision goggles.

Congress has declined to fund the request because of insufficient details about how the money would be spent and worries about the Corps' loyalties, congressional aides said.

"There were concerns about who is the Frontier Corps -- what is this organization?' " said one adviser to Congress on South Asia who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

Administration officials have worked hard to allay these fears, arguing that while some Corps members might sympathize with militants among their fellow tribesmen, the main problem was that the Corps lacks the equipment and training to take them on, he said.

But a July 12 hearing before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs showed that some members of Congress remain skeptical about the billions in military aid that is already going to Pakistan.

"How do we in Congress justify to the American people writing checks for billions of dollars to a regime that may not be the partner against terrorism that the United States needs it to be?" Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, asked at that hearing.

Another problem with the funding request for the Frontier Corps is that Congress limits the kind of assistance that the Defense Department can give to a force that is not a part of a foreign military. The Frontier Corps is organized under Pakistan's Ministry of the Interior. But administration officials said they were optimistic that an exception would be granted.

Even if funding is approved, modernizing the Corps will be a challenge. Founded under British colonial rule, the Corps' history is scattered with stories of divided loyalties.

Chris Mason, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies, said the plan was an important attempt to counter the rise of extremists who have driven moderate tribal leaders out of the region. But he warned that it might not be enough.

"The radicals may have become so strong and so numerous . . . it may be beyond the ability of the Pakistani military to suppress them," he said.
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Postby Gouda » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:41 am

An interesting quickie from former humanitarian viceroy of Bosnia, Lord Paddy Ashdown:

International forces are unlikely to win their battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, risking a regional conflict that could match the magnitude of previous world wars, a former top U.N. envoy said on Wednesday. Lord Paddy Ashdown -- former United Nations high representative and European Union special representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina -- said failure by the NATO-led force would have far wider repercussions than any losses in Iraq.

He called for the appointment of a high-level coordinator to lead the foreign mission in Afghanistan.

"I think we are losing in Afghanistan now, we have lost I think and success is now unlikely," he told Reuters in an interview.

"I believe losing in Afghanistan is worse than losing in Iraq. It will mean that Pakistan will fall and it will have serious implications internally for the security of our own countries and will instigate a wider Shiite, Sunni regional war on a grand scale."

"Some people refer to the First and Second World Wars as European civil wars and I think a similar regional civil war could be initiated by this (failure) to match this magnitude," Ashdown added.

INTERVIEW-West won't win Afghan war says ex-UN envoy Ashdown
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Postby Gouda » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:01 pm

U.S. Is Likely to Continue Aid to Pakistan

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 — The Bush administration signaled Sunday that it would probably keep billions of dollars flowing to Pakistan’s military, despite the detention of human rights advocates and leaders of the political opposition by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the country’s president.

In Islamabad, aides to General Musharraf who had dismissed pleas on Friday from Ms. Rice and Adm. William J. Fallon, the senior military commander in the Middle East, to avoid the state-of-emergency declaration ? said they had anticipated that there would be few real consequences.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while the United States would “have to review the situation with aid,” she said three times that President Bush’s first concern was “to protect America and protect American citizens by continuing to fight against terrorists.”

“That means we have to be very cognizant of the counterterrorism operations that we are involved in,” she said. “We have to be very cognizant of the fact that some of the assistance that has been going to Pakistan is directly related to the counterterrorism mission.”

In Islamabad, aides to General Musharraf — who had dismissed pleas on Friday from Ms. Rice and Adm. William J. Fallon, the senior military commander in the Middle East, to avoid the state-of-emergency declaration — said they had anticipated that there would be few real consequences.

They called the American reaction muted, saying General Musharraf had not received phone calls of protest from Mr. Bush or other senior American officials. In unusually candid terms, they said American officials supported stability over democracy.
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Postby Gouda » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:10 pm

U.S. Aid to Musharraf is Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers

In fact, however, a considerable amount of the money the U.S. gives to Pakistan is administered not through U.S. agencies or joint U.S.-Pakistani programs. Instead, the U.S. gives Musharraf's government about $200 million annually and his military $100 million monthly in the form of direct cash transfers. Once that money leaves the U.S. Treasury, Musharraf can do with it whatever he wants. He needs only promise in a secret annual meeting that he'll use it to invest in the Pakistani people. And whatever happens as the result of Rice's review, few Pakistan watchers expect the cash transfers to end.

About $10.58 billion has gone to Pakistan since 9/11. That puts Pakistan in an elite category of U.S. foreign-aid recipients: only Israel, Egypt and Jordan get more or comparable U.S. funding. (That's only in the unclassified budget: the covert-operations budget surely includes millions more, according to knowledgeable observers.) While Israel and Egypt get more money, Pakistan and Jordan are the only countries that get U.S. cash from four major funding streams: development assistance, security assistance, "budget support" and Coalition Support Funds. Pakistan, however, gets most of its U.S. assistance from Coalition Support Funds and from budget support. And it's those two funding streams that have minimal accountability at best.

In Pakistan's case, the only oversight is an annual agreement, known as the Shared Objectives statement, whereby top State Department and Treasury Department officials receive from Musharraf deputies -- usually Prime Minister Shawkat Aziz -- an explanation of how Musharraf intends to spend the money. The agreement is reached entirely in secret. "A good question is what are the objectives we're basing this budget support on," Cohen says.

In Pakistan, the military runs not just the government, but major sections of the economy as well.
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Postby chlamor » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:13 pm

Bumping for later review.

This is largely ignored. Thanks for the info.
Liberal thy name is hypocrisy. What's new?
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Postby Gouda » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:14 pm

Thanks Chlamor. Like a lil' version of a cooperative research timeline, though missing a whole lot.

Today's update:

Brown: 'It's time to talk to the Taliban' ... 244696.ece

[Gouda: as we see earlier in this timeline, NATO and western forces, namely, the Brits have been talking to the Taliban for a long time,
directly and through their ISI and/or Afghan narcolord proxies...nevertheless, on with the dishistory.]

Today, the Prime Minister will announce a major shift in strategy on Afghanistan. Could it mark the beginning of the end of a bloody six-year war? Or is it just spin?

By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 12 December 2007

As the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 comes to a close, Gordon Brown is ready to talk to the Taliban in a major shift in strategy that is likely to cause consternation among hardliners in the White House.

Six years after British troops were first deployed to oust the Taliban regime, the Prime Minister believes the time has come to open a dialogue in the hope of moving from military action to consensus-building among the tribal leaders. Since 1 January, more than 6,200 people have been killed in violence related to the insurgency, including 40 British soldiers. In total, 86 British troops have died. The latest casualty was Sergeant Lee Johnson, whose vehicle hit a mine before the fall of Taliban-held town of Musa Qala.

The Cabinet yesterday approved a three-pronged plan that Mr Brown will outline for security to be provided by Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and the Afghan national army, followed by economic and political development in Afghanistan.

But the intention to engage Taliban leaders in a constructive dialogue, which Mr Brown will make clear in a parliamentary statement today, will be by far the most controversial element of the plan. A senior Downing Street source confirmed the move last night and one Brown aide who accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Kabul, said: "We need to ask who are we fighting? Do we need to fight them? Can we be talking to them?"

Senior government officials said it was an error to see the Taliban as a unified organisation rather than as a disparate group of Afghan tribesmen, often farmers recruited at the end of the gun, infiltrated by foreign fighters. The aim is to divide the Taliban's local support from al-Qa'ida and militants from Pakistan.

The shift of strategy will place the onus to deliver on Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, who will take the lead in opening discussions with Taliban leaders through provincial governors.

"Musa Qala was a good example of what we are planning – once the town was stabilised, people were ready to appoint judges, local police chiefs, start laying on services and putting in power lines," said the No 10 source. "But the Afghan government has got to demonstrate they can deliver an alternative strategy."

The dialogue strategy is the latest attempt by Mr Brown to distance himself from the military legacy of the Blair era and the hardline instincts of President George Bush. At the weekend, the Prime Minister made a surprise visit to Basra in southern Iraq and announced that the British handover of control of the region to local Iraqi forces would be completed within two weeks. British soldiers' combat role will then cease, as they move to an "overwatch" role, and retreat to Basra Air Station.

The determination to draw a line under the Bush-Blair years is threatening to heighten tensions between No 10 and the hardline neocons who still dominate the White House. The pace of the Basra handover has already caused dismay in hawkish Washington circles. The administration was also sceptical of the British deal with tribal elders that led to Musa Qala falling into the hands of the Taliban earlier this year and has also been pushing Britain to carry out an opium poppy eradication programme by spraying fields, a policy that Downing Street has said would drive farmers into the arms of the militants. But with Mr Bush in the final year of his presidency, his influence on events on the ground is waning.

There are also hopes that since the departure of hawks such as Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Department is prepared to accept change. "There has been full consultation with the White House, and they have been talked through all of this," a senior source at No 10 said last night.

Inside the heavily fortified walls of the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul, Mr Brown was given a fresh commitment by Mr Karzai to prevent parts of Afghanistan from returning to the control of the militants who led to the country being used as a training camp for terrorism before the attacks on the US in September 2001.

Mr Brown will tell Parliament today that President Karzai is prepared to commit Isaf-trained Afghan forces to build stability in places such as Musa Qala and to reinforce the gains by seeking political agreements with tribal leaders. Mr Brown will promise more taxpayers' money for economic development, including aid to farmers who cease to grow the opium poppies that supply 90 per cent of the world's illegal heroin. President Karzai also will be under pressure to build democratic structures in the formerly lawless regions, such as in Helmand province.

Downing Street aides admit that in the past Isaf forces have failed to secure parts of the country. One said: "We need to get to the position where the whole country has the same standard of security."

Conservatives reacted with scepticism to the idea of talking to the Taliban. Gerald Howarth, a Tory defence spokesman, said: "Sometimes you do have to talk with the enemy, but Gordon Brown has got to be careful he is not placing too much emphasis on doing a deal with people who are unwilling or unable to deliver."
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Postby Gouda » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:58 am

Revealed: British plan to build training camp for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan

By Jerome Starkey in Kabul
Monday, 4 February 2008

Britain planned to build a Taliban training camp for 2,000 fighters in southern Afghanistan, as part of a top-secret deal to make them swap sides, intelligence sources in Kabul have revealed. The plans were discovered on a memory stick seized by Afghan secret police in December.

The Afghan government claims they prove British agents were talking to the Taliban without permission from the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, despite Gordon Brown's pledge that Britain will not negotiate. The Prime Minister told Parliament on 12 December: "Our objective is to defeat the insurgency by isolating and eliminating their leaders. We will not enter into any negotiations with these people."

The British insist President Karzai's office knew what was going on. But Mr Karzai has expelled two top diplomats amid accusations they were part of a plot to buy-off the insurgents.

The row was the first in a series of spectacular diplomatic spats which has seen Anglo-Afghan relations sink to a new low. Since December, President Karzai has blocked the appointment of Paddy Ashdown to the top UN job in Kabul and he has blamed British troops for losing control of Helmand.

It has also soured relations between Kabul and Washington, where State Department officials were instrumental in pushing Lord Ashdown for the UN role.

President Karzai's political mentor, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, endorsed a death sentence for blasphemy on the student journalist Sayed Pervez Kambaksh last week, and two British contractors have been arrested in Kabul on, it is claimed, trumped up weapons charges. The developments are seen as a deliberate defiance of the British.

An Afghan government source said the training camp was part of a British plan to use bands of reconciled Taliban, called Community Defence Volunteers, to fight the remaining insurgents. "The camp would provide military training for 1,800 ordinary Taliban fighters and 200 low-level commanders," he said.

The computer memory stick at the centre of the row was impounded by officers from Afghanistan's KGB-trained National Directorate of Security after they moved against a party of international diplomats who were visiting Helmand.

A ministry insider said: "When they were arrested, the British said the Ministry of the Interior and the National Security Council knew about it, but no one knew anything. That's why the President was so angry."

Details of how much President Karzai was told remain murky. Some analysts believe Afghan officials were briefed about the plan, but that it later evolved.

The camp was due to be built outside Musa Qala, in Helmand. It was part of a package of reconstruction and development incentives designed to win trust and support in the aftermath of the British-led battle to retake the stronghold last year.

But the Afghans feared the British were training a militia with no loyalty to the central government. Intercepted Taliban communications suggested they thought the British were trying to help them, the Afghan official said.

The Western delegates, Michael Semple and Mervyn Patterson, were given 48 hours to leave the country. Their Afghan colleagues, including a former army general, were jailed. The expulsions coincided with a row within the Taliban's ranks which saw a senior commander, Mansoor Dadullah, sacked for talking to British spies. One official claimed the camp was planned for Mansoor and his men.

The computer stick contained a three-stage plan, called the European Union Peace Building Programme. The third stage covered military training.

Curiously, the European Union says the programme did not exist and there were no EU funds to run it.

Afghan government officials insist it was bankrolled by the British. UK diplomats, the UN, Western officials and senior Afghan officials have all confirmed the outline of the plan, which they agree is entirely British-led, but all refused to talk about it on the record. President Karzai's office claimed it was "a matter of national security".

The memory stick revealed that $125,000 (£64,000) had been spent on preparing the camp and a further $200,000 was earmarked to run it in 2008, an Afghan official said. The figures sparked allegations that British agents were paying the Taliban.

President Karzai's spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, accused Mr Semple and Mr Patterson of being "involved in some activities that were not their jobs."

The camp would also have provided vocational training, including farming and irrigation techniques, to offer people a viable alternative to growing opium. But the Afghan government took issue with plans to provide military training, to turn the insurgents into a defence force.

Afghan government staff also claimed the "EU peace-builders" had handed over mobile phones, laptops and airtime credit to insurgents. They said the memory stick revealed plans to train the Taliban to use secure satellite phones, so they could communicate directly with UK officials.

Mr Patterson, a Briton, was the third-ranking UN diplomat when he was held. Mr Semple, an Irishman, was the acting head of the EU mission. Officially, the British embassy remains tight-lipped, fuelling speculation that the plan may have been part of a wider clandestine operation.

A spokesman repeated the line used since Christmas: "The EU and UN have responded to inquiries on this. We have nothing further to add."

But privately, the UN maintains it had no role in setting up the camp. Meanwhile, Mr Semple's EU boss, Francesc Vendrell, admitted he had very little idea what was going on.

Yet the British ambassador, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, cut short his Christmas holiday to meet President Karzai and "spell out the Foreign Office paper-trail" which diplomats claim proves his government had agreed. They met twice, but it was not enough to stop Mr Semple and Mr Patterson being forced to leave.

Gordon Brown has also said Britain would increase its support for "community defence initiatives, where local volunteers are recruited to defend homes and families modelled on traditional Afghan arbakai".
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Postby Gouda » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:51 am

The Brits are setting up training camps in Afghanistan for the Taliban, while the US is planning to ...

US Personnel to Train Pakistan Military Officers in Counter-Insurgency Warfare

Along the border. Border training. Always interesting along the world's most bustling narco-terror corridors.

U.S. trainers will travel to Pakistan this year to teach military officials counterinsurgency techniques to aid soldiers along the Afghan border in the fight against al-Qaida and Taliban militants, U.S. officials said Sunday.

Who will win the battle: The US-trained Pakistanis, or the British-trained Taliban?

The training will also leave the Pakistani border force better able to cooperate with U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, a U.S. military official said.

Oh, I meant cooperate. I bet they will.

The U.S. trainers will primarily assist Pakistan military officials who will then do the actual training of the Frontier Corps, said Elizabeth Colton, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

The initial plans call for some 8,500 Frontier Corps members to benefit from the U.S. training, said the military official. Current plans call for the American personnel to be in Pakistan for up to two years.

The Pakistani army is having trouble dealing with the rising insurgency in part because the army is set up to defend Pakistan from outside invaders and not counterinsurgency warfare, the official said.

The military official said a report in the New York Times on Sunday saying up to 100 U.S. personnel would help train the Frontier Corps overstated the number involved. He said plans called for 22 trainers to travel to Pakistan.

The official refused to say what units the American personnel would be drawn from.
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Postby Gouda » Thu May 15, 2008 12:01 pm

UN: Foreign agents behind spate of Afghan killings

Fisnik Abrashi, Associated Press Writer

A U.N. rights official alleged Thursday that foreign intelligence agents were acting with impunity in Afghanistan and have taken part in secret raids that have killed civilians.

U.N. envoy Philip Alston said he was aware of at least three such recent raids in the country's south and east. He said no one was taking responsibility for the killings.

He did not name a particular country, but mentioned one raid in January that allegedly killed two Afghan brothers that was conducted by Afghans and personnel from a U.S. special forces base in Kandahar.

He said Afghan government officials have said the victims had no connection to Taliban insurgents.

"It is absolutely unacceptable for heavily armed internationals accompanied by heavily armed Afghan forces to be wandering around conducting dangerous raids that too often result in killings without anyone taking responsibility for them," Alston told reporters.

Alston is a special rapporteur of the U.N. Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions. He has spent 12 days traveling Afghanistan.

He said foreign intelligence agencies were operating with apparent "impunity" in certain provinces. He said such secret operations were "absolutely unacceptable."

"Based on my discussions, there is no reason to doubt that at least some of these units are led by personnel belonging to international intelligence services," he said.

"I am trying to encourage both the Americans and the Afghan government and others to take some of this seriously," Alston said.

U.S. military officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Alston said there had also been raids in the eastern province of Nangarhar — another hotbed of the Taliban insurgency and al-Qaida militants, where U.S. special forces and other American-led units operate.

"When the international military forces at whatever level are asked what they know about them (the raids), the answer sometimes is, 'I know nothing,' and sometimes 'It is interesting, I must inquire into it,' but usually 'Yes, it's a problem, I wish we could do something,'" Alston said.

He said so far this year, more than 500 civilians have been killed by various assailants, including Taliban militants, Afghan and foreign security forces and Afghan militiamen.

He accused Taliban and Afghan police of involvement in unlawful killings.
But he said there was no evidence that international forces commit widespread intentional killings in violation of international humanitarian law.
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Postby Gouda » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:04 pm

Top Marine sees shift to Afghanistan ... marines_dc

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Marine officer on Wednesday said he could reduce his 25,000-strong force in the former al Qaeda stronghold of Iraq's Anbar province to reinforce military operations against a growing Taliban threat in Afghanistan.


"The requirement right now in Iraq is much more about nation-building than it is fighting. And quite frankly, young Marines join our corps to go fight for their country," he said at a Pentagon briefing.

"It's our view that if there's a stiffer fight going on someplace else ... then that's where we need to be."
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Postby Gouda » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:03 am

* The Spring 2006 article which led off this thread,

US sets up £215m deal for Afghan arms - from Russia

American defence officials have secretly requested a "prodigious quantity" of ammunition from Russia to supply the Afghan army in case a Democrat president takes over in Washington and pulls out US troops.

The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Pentagon chiefs have asked arms suppliers for a quote on a vast amount of ordnance, including more than 78 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 100,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 12,000 tank shells - equivalent to about 15 times the British Army's annual requirements.

The Bush administration is said to want the deal because of worries that the next president could be a Democrat, possibly Hillary Clinton, who may abandon Afghanistan. White House insiders fear that Afghanistan could "drift" and consequently, they want heavily to arm President Hamid Kharzai's government before the 2008 US presidential election.

is revisited below with an article out a few days ago. The 'exit strategy' has been successfully pushed back by the the CIA and Pentagon from "arm them now in case a Democrat pulls us out" to: "increase our forces there WHILE continuing to overarm them" now that both candidates have assured their foreign war policy cooperation and signaled increased attention on Afghanistan. Possibly due to the fait accompli. Here, via AFP, they are 'advising' the next President for to make benefit the public record:

An expanding war in Afghanistan awaits next US president

AFP via Raw Story

Saturday November 1, 2008

An expanded US military involvement awaits a new US president in Afghanistan where the unfinished business of September 11 has flared over the past three years into a major insurgency.

A raft of assessments and reviews now underway in Washington point to a fundamental rethinking of the Afghan war.

But whoever is elected Tuesday will face choices on the size of the military buildup, how to strengthen the central government, how far to go in dealing with insurgent sanctuaries across the border, how to help stabilize Pakistan, and whether and how to reconcile with the Taliban, analysts say.

"In my view they are going to find in Afghanistan a situation that is dire and getting worse," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official with long experience in the region.

The momentum, he said, is now with the Taliban, which in the past year has expanded the battlefield from southern Afghanistan to the east and even to the outskirts of Kabul.

Unrest could spread to new areas this winter because of an acute food shortage arising from a drought, he said. The combination of hunger and bad security is "an explosive mix," he added.

"I think the question of getting additional forces into Afghanistan is one that is going to have to be made right away. There is very little room for extended policy review on this. This is a crisis that's immediate," he told AFP.

Both Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, and John McCain, his Republican rival, agree more US troops are needed, even at the risk of alienating Afghans with a larger, more intrusive military presence.

But it is unclear how many more troops ultimately will be required, or how soon they can be provided.

General David McKiernan, the top US commander in Afghanistan, insists he needs three more combat brigades and thousands of support troops -- up to 20,000 additional troops -- on top of a combat brigade being sent in January.

Currently, there are 32,000 US troops in Afghanistan, 13,000 of them in the 53,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

The Pentagon has said the additional troops must await further drawdowns in Iraq, however.

So, the next president will have to decide which comes first -- Iraq or Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's problems begin with security, but do not end there, analysts say.

The list includes corrupt, ineffectual government, an impoverished economy dependent on a flourishing drug trade, and an unstable, nuclear-armed neighbor that has allowed the insurgency to gain traction in border safe havens.

Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned earlier this month that "the trends across the board are not going in the right direction."

"It will be tougher next year unless we get at all these challenges," he said.

Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution, says both candidates are making "a viable, reasonable argument about US troop requirements."

"But the bad news is that neither one has said much about four-fifths of the problem. And what their vision is, what they would do," he said.

The reviews now under way, however, are seen as a sign that Washington is giving the situation serious attention, and that the incoming president will benefit.

"Getting policy toward Islamabad right will be absolutely critical for the next administration -- and very difficult," said Richard Holbrooke, writing in Foreign Affairs.

"The continued deterioration of the tribal areas poses a threat not only to Afghanistan but also to Pakistan's new secular democracy, and it presents the next president with an extraordinary challenge," he said.

But helping Pakistan deal with those problems will require a long-term effort, and a new president may not have the luxury of time if Al-Qaeda strikes the United States from its safe havens in Pakistan.

Likewise, US military commanders say their exit strategy in Afghanistan is an expanding Afghan national army and police.

But it will take four years to double the size of the Afghan army to 134,000, which will still be a small force for a country larger and more populous than Iraq.

With insufficient troops on the ground, the US forces have compensated with air strikes and cross-border missile attacks, which has led to strained relations with Pakistan and public outrage over civilian casualties.

Acknowledging they have no winning military solution, US military leaders in recent weeks have expressed support for efforts by President Hamid Karzai to open talks with the Taliban.
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Postby Gouda » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:24 am

AP Exclusive: Bush [i.e. Pentagon] study favors bigger Afghan army

7th November 2008

The Bush likely to recommend soon to the incoming Obama administration that the U.S. push for further expansion of the Afghan army as the surest path to an eventual U.S. withdrawal...


"What I would like to see, and, I think, what everybody would like to see, is the most rapid possible further expansion of the Afghan military forces, because this needs to be an Afghan war, not an American war and not a NATO war," Gates told reporters.

Under a plan adopted by the U.S. and Afghan governments in September, the Afghan army is to grow to 134,000 soldiers by 2014. The previous goal was 80,000, and the actual number in uniform now is about 67,000, according to Lt. Col. Christian Kubik, spokesman for the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan, which is responsible for training and equipping Afghan forces. The price tag for getting to the new target of 134,000 by 2014 is an estimated $17 billion, Kubik said.

Gates noted he has broad support for getting to the 134,000 goal quickly...

"It may well not stop there," he added

Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general, wrote recently after a July visit to Afghanistan that one of the keys to winning in Afghanistan is expanding the Afghan army to 200,000 soldiers.

"This needs to be an Afghan War" (!!!)
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Postby Gouda » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:27 pm

“[Maj Gen] Schloesser says that foreign fighters crossing the border are better trained and better equipped than ever before…”

This is quoted from a CNN Video report, November 10th, 2008.

Reporting from a remote mountain border military outpost, "CNN's Barbara Starr touches down in one of most dangerous areas in the Afghanistan war," and interviews Maj Gen Jeffrey Schloesser.

"Attacks are up 30%" over the last year.

Urgent Memo to Maj Gen. Schloesser: please read this thread, immediately.
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Postby the_last_name_left » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:51 pm

gouda - some interesting stuff on arming the 'stans.

in light of all that, what is your view on the existence of Al Qaida? I ask because most 911 conspiracy (which i no longer believe btw) is predicated on AQ being non-existent, or a false front, or a cia asset, or some such.

Yet here you are showing how USA is paying hard cash to pakistan to attack AQ. That's a funny thing to do if AQ doesn't even exist, or is merely an asset of CIA, or some such?

What I mean is, the info you post appears to validate the idea AQ is treated as a real threat by USA - which tends to contradict the idea of AQ being a CIA asset, 911 being an "inside job" etc?
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