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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:38 pm
by Gouda
Afghans and U.S. Plan to Recruit Local Militias
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/world ... .html?_r=1

By DEXTER FILKINS
Published: December 23, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taking a page from the successful experiment in Iraq, American commanders and Afghan leaders are preparing to arm local militias to help in the fight against a resurgent Taliban. But along with hope, the move is raising fears here that the new armed groups could push the country into a deeper bloodletting.

The militias will be deployed to help American and Afghan security forces, which are stretched far and wide across this mountainous country. The first of the local defense forces are scheduled to begin operating early next year in Wardak Province, an area just outside the capital where the Taliban have overrun most government authority.

If the experiment proves successful, similar militias will be set up rapidly across the country, senior American and Afghan officials said.

The formation of Afghan militias comes on the heels of a similar undertaking in Iraq, where 100,000 Sunni gunmen, many of them former insurgents, have been placed on the government payroll. The Awakening Councils, as they are known, are credited by American officials as one of the main catalysts behind the steep reduction in violence there.

But the plan is causing deep unease among many Afghans, who fear that Pashtun-dominated militias could get out of control, terrorize local populations and turn against the government. The Afghan government, aided by the Americans, has carried out several ambitious campaigns since 2001 to disarm militants and gather up their guns. A proposal to field local militias was defeated in the Afghan Senate in the fall.

“There will be fighting between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns,” said Salih Mohammad Registani, a member of the Afghan Parliament and an ethnic Tajik. Mr. Registani raised the specter of the Arbaki, a Pashtun-dominated militia turned loose on other Afghans early in the 20th century.

“A civil war will start very soon,” he said.


The plan for the militias, approved this month by President Hamid Karzai, is being pushed forward anyway, to help stem the deteriorating security situation here. The proposal to field what amounts to lightly trained gunmen reflects the sense of urgency surrounding the fight against the Taliban, who were removed from power after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but who have staged a remarkable resurgence in recent years.

American commanders say that while they would prefer to field Afghan Army and police forces, they are simply not available.

“We don’t have enough police,” said Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, the deputy commander of American forces in the country. “We don’t have time to get the police ready.”

One survey, by the International Council on Security and Development, found that the Taliban had established a permanent presence in 72 percent of Afghanistan, up from 54 percent a year ago.

In recent months, the Taliban have moved into the provinces around Kabul, including Wardak to its west. In addition to setting up the first local Afghan militias there, American commanders are sending several hundred American soldiers to the province, the first of which have already arrived. Wardak Province is bisected by the country’s national highway, which has been the scene of numerous ambushes of supply convoys by Taliban insurgents.

The plan for the militias coincides with the arrival of Gen. David H. Petraeus, who presided over the reduction in violence in Iraq and who has since become overall commander for American forces in Afghanistan and the rest of the region. The Americans are sending 20,000 to 30,000 troops over the next year, in addition to the nearly 70,000 American and NATO troops who are already here. President-elect Barack Obama has declared that he will redouble America’s efforts to win.

The formation of the militias is at least a partial answer to the question of how American commanders intend to wrest back the initiative from the Taliban over the next 12 months. While some elected officials in the United States have suggested that the Americans and Afghans might try to exploit fissures in the Taliban, possibly breaking off some groups that can be reconciled, the plan for the militias — coupled with the influx of fresh American forces — suggests that American commanders intend to squeeze the Taliban first.

American and Afghan officials say they intend to set up local militias of 100 to 200 fighters in each provincial district,
with the fighters being drawn from the villages where they live. (Wardak has eight districts.)

To help ensure the dependability of each fighter, the Americans and Afghans are planning to rely on local leaders, like tribal chiefs and clerics, to choose the militiamen for them. Those militiamen will be given a brief period of training, along with weapons like assault rifles and grenade launchers, and communication gear, said Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister.

***

Still, Mr. Haqmal said he was skeptical that the government-backed militias could succeed because the Afghan and American officials were bypassing the traditional leaders of the province. So far, he said, they had selected leaders in the community who lacked credibility with the local people.


__________________________________________________


The Afghan Scam
The Untold Story of Why the U.S. Is Bound to Fail in Afghanistan

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175019

***

In the does-no-one-ever-learn category: the latest American victory plan, announced in December, calls for recruiting and rearming local militias to combat the Taliban. Keep in mind that hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly donated by Japan, have already been spent to disarm local militias. A proposal to rearm them was soundly defeated last fall in the Afghan Parliament. Now, it's again the plan du jour, rubber-stamped by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:08 pm
by Gouda
More on the above...

US, NATO Forces In Advanced Plans To Create Citizen Militias In Afghanistan: Reveals Leaked Email

A leaked email acquired by the Huffington Post indicates just how far advanced the plans are to create local militias in Afghanistan.

A US-backed project called the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) has been established to help communities defend themselves against the Taliban. It has also been created with the hope that the communities then supply the US and NATO forces with important security information.

Surely, there is no better way to confirm that the national police, the national army and NATO forces combined are losing the war in Afghanistan than proof that they are creating citizen militias of untrained, armed men.

The email, which was marked as being highly confidential and not for public distribution, came from the office of the director of the Afghanistan National Security Office, which coordinates in-country security for international and national non-government organizations (NGOs) operating in Afghanistan.

It states that the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior made a secret presentation to a select audience about the establishment of tribal militias. The presentation covered "who will select them, who will control them, will they be armed & paid and what will they do."

Apparently the location of the first militias is secret, though the email does say "all eyes will be on Wardak" - a province in central Afghanistan for the pilot. (Date to be fixed).

NGOs have been concerned about the creation of militias - questions have been asked about how they will be controlled, directed and disbanded after their duties have been completed.

The confidential email then goes on to summarize parts of the meeting including points that all recruits must be between 25 and 45, fit, "non-drug using, no criminal record and actually be from the district they are recruited for. There is no overt tribal or ethnic dimension to selection. All recruits will be subjected to ... background check."

The citizen militia "will receive 3-week basic training including Values, Ethics, Police Law & Constitution, Use of Force, Human Rights and First Aid."

Each recruited member of the militia "will be equipped with 1 x Vz58 rifle (similar to AK-47), 90 rounds ammunition plus spare magazine.

Approximately 180 rounds per (militia member) will be kept as reserve ammunition at District Centre."

(Afghanistan has spent years trying various means of controlling the huge amounts of guns in the country - now they are giving them out).

The email stated that each militia unit "will be issued White Ford Ranger Vehicles marked 'APPF' and pay will start at "$100 pm rising to max. $250 pm for APPF Captain"

"APPF will have no legal powers of arrest and will only detain suspects for handover to uniform police" and their key tasks are listed as:

1. Protect the people
2. Protect key government facilities
3. Protect key government personnel
4. Protect critical infrastructure
5. Facilitate development
6. Disrupt insurgent activities

When thinking of ways out of the Afghanistan miasma, arming young, uneducated men with guns, as a "protection force" does not immediately spring to mind as a great way forward. What it does indicate, however, is the level of desperation that is now an undeniable feature of the war in Afghanistan.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:23 pm
by Gouda
Brief interlude...

STRATFOR Calls for Less Troops, More CIA Covert Ops in Afghanistan
So how can Mr. Obama reconcile the two goals of strengthening the American presence in Afghanistan while curbing Russian expansionism? The answer is to rely less on troops, and more on covert operations like the C.I.A. Covert operators are far more useful for the actual war that we are fighting (and they can carry their supplies on their backs). The primary American interest in Afghanistan, after all, is preventing terrorist groups from using it as a base for training and planning major attacks. Increasing the number of conventional troops will not help with this mission.


Pentagon Study: US should "pare" Afghanistan goals; Focus on U.S. military training of Pakistani and Afghan Forces
WASHINGTON – A classified Pentagon report urges President Barack Obama to shift U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, de-emphasizing democracy-building and concentrating more on targeting Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside Pakistan with the aid of Pakistani military forces.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has seen the report prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but it has not yet been presented to the White House, officials said Tuesday. The recommendations are one element of a broad policy reassessment under way along with recommendations to be considered by the White House from the commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, and other military leaders.

(...)

The Joint Chiefs' report advises a greater emphasis on U.S. military training of Pakistani forces for counter-terror work.

Pakistan's government is well aware of growing U.S. interest in collaborating to improve its military's muscle against al-Qaida and Taliban elements in the border areas. The topic has been broached repeatedly by senior U.S. officials, including Mullen.

The training efforts also would expand and develop the Afghan army and police force, while at the same time work to improve Afghan governance. The report also stresses that Afghan strategy must be driven by what the Afghans want, and that the U.S. cannot impose its own goals on the Afghanistan government.

(...)

"Afghanistan is the fourth or fifth poorest country in the world, and if we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of Central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose," Gates said, a mythology reference to heaven.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:28 pm
by Gouda
See Iraq...

GOA Report: Thousands of Missing, Un-tracked, Un-recorded Pentagon-supplied Afghan Arms

WASHINGTON — The American military has not properly tracked tens of thousands of weapons the Pentagon bought and shipped to Afghan security forces, leaving the arms at risk of being stolen or sold to militants, according to a federal report that is to be presented at a House panel hearing on Thursday.

American military officials failed to keep complete records on about 87,000 rifles, pistols, mortars and other weapons — about one-third of all light arms the United States sent to Afghan soldiers and police officers from December 2004 to June 2008, auditors from the Government Accountability Office found. Further, American military trainers kept no reliable records on 135,000 more weapons donated by 21 countries, including Hungary, Egypt, Slovenia and Romania.

The report, which will be presented at a hearing of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, also found that Afghan security procedures were so inadequate that weapons supplied to Afghan forces were at “serious risk of theft or loss.” A copy of the report about the Afghan forces was provided to The New York Times by a Congressional official who sought to underscore the seriousness of the issue before the hearing.

(...)

The auditors documented only small numbers of weapons that had been stolen, sold, or pilfered by deserters or that were otherwise unaccounted for, but with the Afghan National Army scheduled to nearly double in size to more than 120,000 troops over the next five years and other efforts planned to expand police forces, security experts say that the potential for lost or stolen weapons falling into the hands of militants could significantly increase.

In the rush to arm and equip allied forces, the Pentagon has stumbled before in putting safeguards in place to monitor weapons. The American military lost track of some 190,000 pistols and automatic rifles supplied by the United States to Iraq’s security forces in 2004 and 2005, government auditors determined.

In the Afghanistan report, the auditors concluded that, until June 2008, the military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of some 46,000 weapons the United States provided to the Afghans, making it impossible to track or identify any that might be in the wrong hands. Serial numbers for the 41,000 other weapons from the United States were recorded, but American military officials had no idea where those weapons were, the report found.

Auditors found that American trainers were not following their own rules. The military is not supposed to issue weapons to Afghan forces until it ensures that they have safeguards in place to track and secure the arms. But the auditors found that weapons were issued to Afghans even when there were concerns about — or evidence of — poor security at weapons depots and corruption by Afghan officials.

Re: US/NATO arming Afghanistan & Pakistan to the teeth

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:26 pm
by chump
Let's go shopping.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -arms.html

As protests crackdowns continue, West lines up to sell arms
British, European and US weapons manufacturers are participating in the region's largest arms bazaar, hoping for a share in the world's fastest-growing arms market.

By Praveen Swami, Diplomatic Editor 4:26PM GMT 22 Feb 2011

More than 80 British firms are represented at the ongoing International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, including BAE, Thales UK and Motorola UK. The firms are offering everything from weapons and communications equipment to parachutes and uniforms.

Lockheed Martin and L-3 communications from the US, France's Renault and Germany's Rhinemetall AG are among other major defence multinationals represented at IDEX.

Now in its 10th year, IDEA has attracted over 1,000 exhibitors this year, most of them from the United States, Britain, France and Germany. European governments have blocked sales of law enforcement equipment, like tear gas grenades, to some countries, but there are few restrictions on the sale of military equipment.

Facing budget cuts at home, western arms firms are desperate for a share of the lucrative Middle East market. "The post-financial crisis reality," said Herve Guillou, president of Cassidian Systems, a subsidiary of European aviation defence group EADS, "is that today it is clearly the Middle East that is seeing the biggest growth." Iran's growing military power has pushed Gulf states into their largest-ever military build up, making purchases worth £76 billion from the US alone in 2010. The largest acquisitions were made by Saudi Arabia, which is spending £41 billion on F-15 fighter jets and upgrades for its naval fleet.

The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait - along with Jordan will spend another £41 billion on defence in 2011, according to Frost and Sullivan, a research firm.

Libya and Egypt are among the states which have representatives at IDEX. Global Industrial and Defence Solutions, a Pakistani exhibitor, lists Libya as being among the "key customers of our products." Renault also issued a press release before the exhibition, saying it had contracted to supply military trucks to Egypt. Libya's al-Musallah magazine, which covers arms-trade related issues in the country, is also among the exhibitors.


http://www.idexuae.ae/
The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) is the largest defence and security event in the Middle East and North African region

Exhibitor list
http://www.idexuae.ae/page.cfm/action=E ... stID=1/t=m