Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers



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[Zaydan] How are the expenses of the resistance, the fighting, and your military movements and struggle financed? Where does the money come from?
[Jalali] Yes, a lot of money is spent on the mujahidin. This year, approximately $1 million. As for the money I spend in Kabul, I need about $300 a month, sometimes more than that. There is another source of money, and that is the booty taken by the mujahidin from their enemies. The weapons are the most important booty taken by the mujahidin from the Americans, for instance. The value of those weapons amounted to approximately $200,000. When sums such as these reach the mujahidin they benefit them a great deal. For instance, the salvo we fire at a tank costs us $50. Consequently, at a cost of $100,000 we can destroy scores of tanks and other armor. On the other hand, the enemy forces cannot operate with $100,000. Our expenses are not as much as the expenses of the Americans or the puppet government. Our expenditure is very little, but it is enough for us to achieve what we want.
[Zaydan] How is your relationship with Taliban-Pakistan?
[Jalili] I personally am in charge of Kabul. My entire time is devoted to arranging the capital's affairs. Personally, I do not have any connection with Taliban-Pakistan. The matter is within the powers of our leaders. It is the prerogative of our leaders to say whether they have any connection with Taliban-Pakistan or not. It is not within my area of specialization.
[Zaydi] Can you talk to us about your future plan for Kabul? What is your future plan in Kabul?
[Jalali] There are many maps of Kabul. Every time we carry out operations we gain in experience and our knowledge of the city improves. In 2009, we carried out 80% of he operations for which we had planned in Kabul. God willing, in the coming years, we will carry out 100% of the operations. With time, the mujahidin's experience of the region improves, and their knowledge of the weapons and how to use then is enhanced. It is very natural that the next operations in the future will be bigger and more frequent. We have important and detailed maps of the city of Kabul, and God willing, when we carry out our future operations, you will know about them, and the entire world will know about them, and it will see that they resulted in big losses among the ranks of the unbelievers. Premature disclosure of those plans is not appropriate. When you see with your own eyes what will happen in Kabul you will realize why I did not divulge my plans, and why I did not give the enemy the opportunity to improve their defenses.
[Zaydan] Honorable listeners. At the end of this interview we thank the commander of the Kabul Front of the Afghan Taliban Movement, Mr Saifullah Jalali. Thank you.

[Description of Source: Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic -- Independent Television station financed by the Qatari Government]



Asia Times: 'Osama Can Run, How Long Can He Hide?'
CPP20091214715029 Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English 1103 GMT 11 Dec 09
[By Syed Saleem Shahzad: "Osama Can Run, How Long Can He Hide?"; headline as provided by source]
"I believe that al-Qaeda can be defeated overall but I believe it is an ideology and he [Osama bin Laden] is an iconic leader, so I think to complete the destruction of that organization, it does mean that he needs to be either captured or killed, or brought to justice." -- General Stanley McChrystal, United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization commander in Afghanistan
"We don't know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is, if we did, we'd go get him." -- Robert Gates, a former US Central Intelligence Agency director and the current defense secretary.
ISLAMABAD - General Stanley McChrystal, as in the testimony quoted above to United States congressional committees this week, is unequivocal on the need to first roll back Taliban gains in Afghanistan as a prerequisite for the capture or elimination of Osama bin Laden and then the "ultimate defeat of al-Qaeda".
Apart from the difficulty of rolling back the Taliban, despite an additional 30,000 US troops surging into the country, US intelligence, as per admissions this month, are further away from catching bin Laden than they were eight years ago, when US forces notoriously let him slip through their grasp in the Tora Bora mountains.
There is little dispute that bin Laden and his close associates, including his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, move around in the vast and inhospitable mountainous territory that straddles the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; the porous border exists only as a line on a map.
"Intelligence reports suggest that the al-Qaeda chief is somewhere inside North Waziristan, sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border," US National Security Adviser James Jones said this week.
The US has a US$50 million bounty for the "capture, killing or information leading to the capture or killing" of bin Laden. This had been doubled from $25 million in 2007. He remains on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list.
Apart from one legal border crossing, 15 mountain passes are frequently used to travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan, by militants, traders, smugglers and innocent travelers. These paths originate in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and feed into the Afghan provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar, Nuristan, Khost, Pakita and Paktika.
It is this area that will become the stage for the next chapter in the hunt for bin Laden, with US forces on the Afghan side and Pakistan troops on the other. The theory is that al-Qaeda and its allies will be caught in the middle.
Interaction with generally well-connected militant sources leads Asia Times Online to believe that bin Laden, 52, is alive and healthy, despite a history of kidney trouble. Since the construction of a US base in 2007 at the intersection of the Afghan province of Kunar and Bajaur Agency in Pakistan, bin Laden is confirmed to have flitted from place to place on either side of the border.
He is definitely known to have spent time in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area, but all sources say that nowadays he is more often than not in Afghanistan.
Bin Laden has numerous safe houses and is protected by a strong network of diehards in the Pakistani tribal areas, in addition to an intelligence network on both sides of the border that has to date managed to stay a step ahead of both Western and Pakistani intelligence.
Top Taliban and other commanders adopt a similar pattern in avoiding the attention of unwelcome visitors. Even though a former Afghan premier, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is known to move around Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan, he remains at large. Hekmatyar also makes brief trips into the adjacent Pakistani regions of Chitral and Dir.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of legendary Afghan commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, runs the largest and most effective Taliban network in Afghanistan. He moves in the provinces of Khost and Paktia, and also in North Waziristan, always one step ahead of his pursuers - including drones.
Similarly, Ilyas Kashmiri, now one of al-Qaeda's most wanted men as he is intimately involved in defining and directing al-Qaeda's and the Taliban's struggle, moves between bases of operation in Pakistan and Afghanistan, never staying in one place for more than a night or two.
Not so fortunate was Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader killed in a drone attack earlier this year. He stayed only in the districts of Ladha and Makeen in South Waziristan and did not have other sanctuaries, making it easier to track him down.

The difficulty in trying to trace bin Laden is tha t he moves across such a broad area, and that, unlike even the Taliban, there is no defined target. Coalition forces have a broad idea of where the Taliban's command centers are and in which areas to expect resistance.


By comparison, bin Laden and his few dozen al-Qaeda deputies are shadows shifting across an endless landscape on which Taliban fighters, Pakistani tribal people and jihadi youths are more visible.
There is no recent credible first-hand information on when bin Laden was last seen. A few Taliban fighters who were arrested a few weeks ago could only share with their American interrogators what they had heard from their contacts - that bin Laden had moved between North Waziristan and South Waziristan.
It is safe to assume that he has not been in South Waziristan since the Pakistani military began major operations there about two months ago to take on the Pakistani Taliban. His most likely immediate destination would have been Khost, directly across the border.
Such speculation, though, has been around for years and bin Laden is nowhere nearer to being caught, let alone his chasers seeing his dust trail. Indeed, from the Pakistani perspective, their last verifiable sighting was in September 2003 near Bush Mountain in the Shawal Valley of North Waziristan. By the time the army arrived, he had long gone; all that was left were first-hand accounts of his having resided in the area.
All the same, the net might be getting tighter. Late on Thursday night, CBS News reported that a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone had killed a top al-Qaeda official in the Pakistani border area. Unnamed officials said the person killed was not bin Laden or Zawahiri, but that he was "one of the top five terrorists on the US wanted list", according to the report.
Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com

[Description of Source: Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English -- Online newspaper focusing on political and economic issues from an "Asian perspective," with over 50 contributors in 17 Asian countries, the United States, and Europe, and a branch office in Bangkok; successor of the Hong Kong/Bangkok-based print daily Asia Times that closed in 1997, it claims an average of 100,000 daily site visitors, with 65% of the audience based in North America, and 22% in the Asia-Pacific region; tends to be critical of the United States; URL: http://www.atimes.com]

Reported Drone Strike Kills 13 in Pakistan
EUP20091227674001 Paris AFP (North American Service) in English 0830 GMT 27 Dec 09
["US drone strike kills 13 in Pakistan: security officials" -- AFP headline]
A US missile attack that demolished a compound in Pakistan's tribal belt used by militants crossing into Afghanistan killed 13 fighters, Pakistani security officials said Sunday.
A US drone slammed two missiles into the building on Saturday in Saidgi village, seven kilometres (four miles) north of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, officials said.
"Taliban have recovered more dead bodies from the debris. We have reports that a total of 13 militants were killed and three injured," an intelligence official in Miranshah told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"One of the local commanders, Abdur Rehman, was also killed," he added.
The compound was used by local militants attached to the Haqqani network, which has attacked US troops in Afghanistan, said a senior security official.
Other security officials confirmed 13 were killed in the strike, including a local commander, but it was unclear if any foreigners were among the dead.
Mosques in Miranshah announced that Rehman was "martyred" in the strike and that his funeral prayers would be held in Saidgi, an AFP reporter said.
The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, which US officials say have killed a number of top-level militants.
At least three suspected US strikes in 10 days have struck North Waziristan, where Islamabad is under growing US pressure to take action against the Haqqani network and other extremists who infiltrate Afghanistan to attack.
Some US officials and regional analysts suspect Pakistan's top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, maintains ties to the group's leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, considering him a useful asset in Afghanistan.
In October, Pakistan sent about 30,000 troops into battle in South Waziristan, following a significant campaign to uproot homegrown Taliban from in and around the northwestern valley of Swat.
Although Pakistani troops fight militants across much of its semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border, North Waziristan has seen so far only limited air strikes and no major ground offensive.
But the district, along with other tribal areas of Pakistan, has seen a rise in suspected US drone strikes since US President Barack Obama took office and put Pakistan on the frontline of the war on Al-Qaeda.
Since August 2008, at least 69 such strikes have killed about 663 people, although it is difficult to confirm the identity of those killed.

[Description of Source: Paris AFP (North American Service) in English -- North American service of the independent French press agency Agence France-Presse]



BBC: Khost Bomber Video, if Authentic, Indicates Taliban's Reach
EUP20100110088001 London BBC News Online in English 09 Jan 10
["'CIA Bomber' Video Indicates Taliban's Reach" -- BBC News headline]
The Jordanian "double agent" who killed himself and seven American Central Intelligence Agency officials in Afghanistan's Khost province last month must have been very sure of the success of his mission.
"This... attack will be the first of revenge operations against the Americans and their drone teams outside the Pakistani border, after they killed the Amir [chief] of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baitullah Mehsud, may God's beneficence be upon him," he apparently said in a video broadcast released on Saturday.
The video shows the purported Jordanian suicide bomber sitting next to Baitullah Mehsud's successor and the new Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, and reading from written text.
Click here to view video
"We [the Jordanian himself and the Taliban, whom he describes as Mujahideen or the holy warriors] arranged together this attack to let the Americans understand that our belief in Allah... cannot be exchanged for all the wealth in the world," he says.
It would appear that he had already set the trap for the CIA agents at the time he made the video.
But is this really the man who carried out the 30 December bombing of Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, which is believed to be the nerve-centre of suspected US drone strikes into Pakistani territory?
The authenticity of the video is not yet established, neither is the identity of the man in the video - although the father of the accused Jordanian has said that the man who appears on the video is definitely his son.
The Americans say the Jordanian who killed the CIA officials in Khost was named Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.
But the man in the video introduces himself as Dr Abu Dujana al-Khorasani.
He also does not specify as to where "outside the Pakistani borders" he is going to carry out his revenge attack.
Some observers even suspect the video may have been doctored by the Pakistani Taliban - who are believed to have released it - to show their leader at the side of the bomber who greatly embarrassed both the American and Jordanian intelligence services.
Training camps
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the Khost attack, alongside similar claims by the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda.
All of them said that the attack was planned to avenge the 6 August 2009 killing of Baitullah Mehsud in a drone strike.
A Pakistani Taliban leader, Qari Hussain, who is known to run training camps for suicide bombers in Pakistan's Waziristan tribal region, near the border with Afghanistan, had in an audio message last week promised that they would soon release a video of the Khost bomber.
If the video is found to be authentic, then it apparently shows the level and the extent of collaboration between the al-Qaeda core, the Afghan Taliban and their Pakistani counterparts.
This is not to say that there has ever been any real divergence of views over ideology, tactics or strategy among these three entities.
Analysts say that the Taliban movement in Pakistan is essentially an offshoot of the so-called Haqqani network, which is an Afghanistan-focused organisation with close links to the al-Qaeda core and sanctuaries in Pakistan.
The network has deep reach inside Afghanistan and is believed to be behind several high-profile attacks in eastern and south-central Afghanistan, including Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
'Holy warriors'
An Afghan war veteran from the days of Soviet invasion, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is said to have carved out the Taliban sanctuaries in Waziristan through his close links with the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI.
Haqqani is now believed to be an ailing man, and the leadership of the network has passed into the hands of his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani.
The Haqqanis hail from Khost region, and have been based in the nearby Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan since the Soviet invasion in 1979.
In the post-9/11 period, the Haqqanis have organised Afghan resistance from three distinct bases in Pakistan's North and South Waziristan region.
The fighters in North Waziristan are led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, those in the western region of South Waziristan are led by Maulvi Nazir, while those in eastern parts of South Waziristan are led by Hakimullah Mehsud.
Over the years, the groups in North Waziristan and in the west of South Waziristan have struck peace deals with the Pakistani forces and have focused on Afghanistan.
The group led by Hakimullah Mehsud has, meanwhile, trained its guns on Pakistan.
T he strategy is in keeping with al-Qaeda's view that both Pakistani and Afghan governments are siding with the "infidels" and deserve the wrath of the holy warriors.
If found authentic, the video released on Saturday would show that any distinction between the militants of Afghanistan and Pakistan has no value beyond academic interest.

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]


'Shadow networks' in Afghan capital behind recent attacks - analyst


SAP20100122950060 Kabul Tolo Television in Dari 1730 GMT 19 Jan 10

"Shadow networks" in Afghan capital behind recent attacks - analyst


Political observer Razaq Mamun told a talk show on Tolo TV on 19 January that certain senior government officials and private-sector figures act as a shadow government in Kabul causing instability and enabling militants to enter the city. Political and military experts believe some privately-owned security companies cooperated with the militants who attacked Kabul on Monday 18 January.
Analyst Razaq Mamun believes a shadow government exists inside Kabul which includes high-ranking government officials, bank owners and other leading members of the private sector and privately-owned security companies, saying all these groups have caused social disorder, which paves the way for terrorists to easily enter the capital and conduct such operations. He accuses some so-called international thieves, who have founded private companies in Afghanistan and carry illegal weapons, have bodyguards and vehicles, of most urban crimes, saying the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul took place with the cooperation of so-called shadow networks.
General Hadi Khaled, former deputy minister of internal affairs, believes the recent terrorist attack in Kabul was probably an act carried out by the Taleban Council in Miramshah, Pakistan, and the Jalaloddin Haqqani's group, because these two groups are closer to Al-Qa'idah. He also thinks some regional intelligence bodies were involved in the terrorist operation
Political analyst Razaq Mamun believes a shadow government exists inside Kabul which includes high-ranking government officials, bank owners and other leading members of the private sector and privately-owned security companies, saying all these groups have caused social disorder, which paves the way for terrorists to easily enter the capital and conduct such operations. He accuses some so-called international thieves, who have founded private companies in Afghanistan and carry illegal weapons, have bodyguards and vehicles, of most urban crimes, saying the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul took place with the cooperation of so-called shadow networks.
Harun Mir, an expert in political issues believes the Taleban have become weaker than three months ago. He said "The Taleban were not able to enter any government offices during their attack yesterday [18 January] although there were several ministries and government offices in the area where they were operating."
Haqqani group operating with Taleban
He further says that one of the main problems of the Afghan government is that it does not have a clear definition of the Taleban. In his opinion, there are other different groups inside the Taleban, such as Haqqani's network, which organizes operations similar to the one in Kabul in which they attacked civilians, while Mullah Omar told the Taleban in a published message a while ago to avoid civilian casualties.
Although, the Afghan security forces' performance was good during the attack, it was crystal clear at the scene that they are not well equipped, says Khaled. He said "Some policemen did not have vests and helmets while none of the security forces had binoculars during the operation." According to Khaled, the Afghan security forces are still better than they were eight years ago, because they mainly included uniformed militias that received orders from individuals back then, while they are all governmental forces now.
Government officials support armed groups in capital
There are hundreds of small illegal armed groups in Kabul supported by some government officials, says Mamun. He says it is not clear what these armed groups, that work as security companies, bodyguards of some government officials and guards in privately-owned banks, really do, because their weapons and military equipment are similar to those of the national army and police. On the other hand, Khaled says the government is unable to reform security companies, because some of them are linked to major networks of power and the economic mafia inside the Republic of Afghanistan.
Regarding the President of Afghanistan Hamed Karzai's call for reconciliation, Mamun says the Taleban is an operative group which is controlled by different countries, including the US, the UK, Russia and particularly Iran and Pakistan. He says the Afghan government's efforts in terms of reconciliation with the Taleban will bring no results. Mamun also interprets Hamed Karzai's remarks during the terrorist attack in Kabul as meaning bigger internal and external risks threaten Afghanistan. According to Mamun, the meaning of internal threats is Mr Karzai's allies, ministers, security companies and economic mafia. He criticizes the government for not enacting any laws for the security companies.
Mir says Hamed Karzai considers his strategy of reconciliation as the legacy of his ten-year government, but the plan for negotiation with the Taleban is not practical. He also says if the Taleban continue their inhuman activities, they will have a similar destiny to that of the Hezb-e Eslami party of Golboddin Hekmatyar, which is not supported by the people anymore.
Talks with the Taleban will be futile unless the government enacts a strategy in which Afghans, regional countries, including the Arab countries, and the international community are included in it, says Khaled. He believes the slogans of reconciliation will not have any practical results for a long time even if there is a strategy developed for it. Khaled raises the necessity to conduct a security survey in Afghanistan which will clarify the need for a certain number of army, police and other security forces in each district and province of the country.
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