Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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The United States and its allied nations and governments [video shows flags of many Western countries fluttering in the air] had never thought that their forces equipped with advanced technology would fail in front of the mujahidin of Islam, that their soldiers will be killed and their armored vehicles blown into pieces. They could not even think of their soldiers being held in detention and siege. However, time has proved that Afghanistan has turned into a hell for the infidels [video shows coalition forces vehicles being blown up].
Paktika is one of the provinces where the heroic mujahidin have turned the earth into a burning hell for the infidel forces, and the Satanic forces have lost their senses. The mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate retained their strong presence in the cities, villages, and mountains of this province.
In short, for the first time, the mujahidin of Paktika even arrested a US soldier [video shows the detained US soldier in custody of Taliban and talking to camera] and presented him to the responsible officials of the Emirate like hunted game. He is still under the detention of the Islamic Emirate, enjoying all rights granted by Islam [video shows the detained US soldier taking sumptuous meal]. The Paktika-based mujahidin have repeatedly carried out rocket, suicide, and armed attacks against the bases and convoys of US and NATO forces [footage shows Taliban attacking a base from mountainous positions] and these attacks are still continuing.
Out of this fear, they are continuously conducting air surveillance of their main bases [footage shows a Chinook helicopter on the wing]. We can quote as an example the joint base of the invading forces in Giyani District of Paktika Province to which logistic supply have not been possible through land for the last two years [footage shows base with mortar-gun-wielding Taliban overlooking it from mountains]. The cordon of this base is some time tightened to such an extent that the forces cannot move even inside the base [video shows troops running for cover inside the base].
On the first of Ramadan of the present Islamic Year of 1431, dozens of mujahidin attacked the bases with heavy and light arms under the direct command of Maulawi Muhammad Sangin Fateh, the person in charge of jihad in Paktika. Cameramen of the Manba al-Jihad studio have filmed the entire attack and now we are authentically presenting some parts of this film to you. Let us show you with what a high morale and in what an organized manner the mujahidin are carrying out their attacks and how the infidels are facing siege and defeat [video slide reads: "The heroic attack of the mujahidin against the military base of the invading forces in Giyani District of Paktika Province". Other footage shows mujahidin gathering with jihadi songs in the background threatening the coalition forces to leave Afghanistan, saying that Afghanistan might turn into another Vietnam for them. A massiv e atta ck with guns and mortars rattling follows amid chants of "God is Great." Video also shows explosions taking place and clouds of smoke over the base, jet fighters and helicopters appearing and disappearing after targeting militant positions]
[Video slides read: "Caravan of Ghazis 9"; "From Jihadi Atomic Reactor." Other video slides show photos of Taliban fighters later described as suicide attackers with jihadi songs in the background]
[Video shows a verse of the Koran in Arabic with Pashto translation, with the voiceover citing that among the faithful are those who fulfilled their promise, which they made with God and they did not change their policy]
[Video slides show photos of different Taliban fidayee attackers with the target and outcome of their attacks. A video slide says Jaffar, a suicide attacker, attacked the joint base of coalition forces and Afghan police in Margha area, Barmal District, Paktika Province, and completely destroyed the base and killed a number of Afghan and foreign forces personnel.]
[Suicide attacker Jaffar] Today jihad is obligatory on all Muslim men and women. I call on every mujahid to become a fidayee and teach a lesson to infidels and crusaders so that they leave Muslim countries and never dare to attack and commit aggression against them. [video shows Jaffar using a telescope, long shot of a vehicle moving into a compound and exploding with a bang with chants of "God is Great" and a jihadi song in the background. The footage is repeated several times.]
[Video slide says Hanifullah attacked a convoy of coalition forces in Tanbu District of Khost Province and completely destroyed a tank and killed the US crew on board.]
[Suicide attacker Hanifullah] I became ready for this sacrifice only for the sake of God. We would have never reached our targets if some [intoxicating] injection had been administered to us. Dear Muslims, not only I but thousands of other youths have also become ready [to sacrifice themselves] against the repression that the United States has unleashed, killing innocent Muslims. I am sure that the mujahidin will grow in numbers and will also receive God's succor. One should not say that the drone strikes will eliminate the mujahidin. God willing, these attacks will increase the mujahidin, because the blood of innocent people and martyrs is being shed and mujahidin grow in numbers where the blood of martyrs is shed. [video shows Hanifullah boarding a vehicle, and seen off by aides. Video also shows control of explosive material near his driving seat. Further, video shows Hanifullah waving to his aides and driving away, a tank on the move, and a big explosion.]
[Hanifullah] I request my parents that they should thank God for it, offer thanksgiving prayers that their son sacrificed his life in His path. I pray for the victory of the mujahidin and the unity of Muslims.
[Video slide says Akbar Khan targeted a joint convoy of Afghan and coalition forces in Manduzai-Ismail Khel District of Khost Province and destroyed three vehicles and killed soldiers. In the background, a jihadi song is played, describing suicide attackers as atom bombs of Muslims.]
[Suicide attacker Akbar Khan] I call upon [Afghan] people to become ready for suicide attacks. If they cannot do that, they should help the mujahidin.
[Video shows Akbar Khan being seen off by aides, driving a truck, his vehicle going close to a convoy, and exploding.]
[Voiceover] The day when the infidel world committed aggression against our country, jihad became fard-e-ain [absolutely obligatory] for every Afghan Muslim. The infidel invaders want to continue their military and ideological aggression against our country for ever. In achieving this nefarious design, everyone in the military and civil departments of the government is acceptable to, and respectable for, them, who is loyal to them. The police and mercenary National Army, the National Security [Department], information, academic, a nd training centers, which are based on the infidel Western principles [video shows personnel of Afghan Army receiving training] are those organs, which are working advertently and inadvertently for implementing and defending the targets of infidels in military and ideological fields. They consider mujahidin criminals, who are the real sons of the land ∧ are the suicide attackers of the battlefront of Islam. They intend to capture and eliminate them.
Islamic and national principles, values, and customs and traditions demand that all should help the suicide attackers and other holy warriors in any way they can, so that they reach the enemies of God in a better way and blow off their skulls. They should personally take part in the ongoing sacred jihad and if some one opposes this sacred jihad [video shows Karzai with US officials and military commanders] he will be left with neither faith nor freedom.
We call upon the personnel of the police, the mercenary Army that if they really consider themselves Muslims, they should establish and consolidate contacts with the mujahidin and carry out crushing attacks against the infidel invaders and savage forces and their slaves, or provide chances to the mujahidin to mount such attacks. [video shows an Afghan solider being garlanded by Taliban]
The Islamic Emirate recognizes such youths as heroes and considers them worthy of appreciation. However, if they are standing obedient in front of the infidel aggressors, facilitate them in their mission, serve as hurdles in the path of the mujahidin of God, check suicide attackers and their explosive-laden vehicles and hand them over to the infidels, work as spies for the infidels, do not allow the real scions of their nation -- the mujahidin and the suicide attackers -- to reach their targets, they will certainly become the target of attacks by the mujahidin and the suicide attackers. The personnel at the Segai police post in south of the provincial headquarters of Khost were among those betraying the nation and Islam, who, due to their nefarious acts, confronted themselves with our attacks and the result was like that:
[Video slide shows photo of suicide attacker Hafiz Ihsanullah with the description of his targeted attack on the police post in Segai area of Khost, in which he killed and injured a number of policemen. Ihsanullah is shown armed with a Kalashnikov]
[Ihsanullah] It is a matter of pleasure to sacrifice oneself for Islam. The infidels have committed aggression against Islam, desecrated the Koran and shot at it, made caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, and occupied Muslim countries.
[Jihadi song in the background] O Infidels! You will certainly be defeated with the succor of God. O Mujahidin! Maintain your unity. God willing, you will succeed.
[Video shows Ihsanullah being seen off by aides, boarding his vehicle, driving toward a compound and exploding his vehicle.]
[Concluding video slide reads: "Send your ideas and good advice for further improving the quantity and quality of the film, "Caravan of Ghazis," and healthy criticism of it to the management of Manba al-Jihad [at] manba_ul_jihad@yahoo.com. With the hope of complete freedom of the country and restoration of supremacy of Islam, Manba al-Jihad, 8 Zilhaj, 1431, middle of November, 2010.]

[Description of Source: Shumukh al-Islam Network in Arabic -- Salafi-jihadist, pro-Iraqi insurgency web forum with a focus on global jihad; established in April 2007; served as official online dissemination point for Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging since late 2008; URL: www.shamikh1.net/vb]

Pakistan: Afghan Taliban Say Nasiruddin Haqqani Living Abroad, Deny His Arrest
SAP20101225118001 Islamabad The News Online in English 25 Dec 10
[Report by staff correspondent: "Haqqani's son arrested by Pak agencies?"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
PESHAWAR: Taliban sources and family members of Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani on Thursday denied reports that Pakistani security agencies have arrested Nasiruddin Haqqani, the elder son of veteran Afghan leader Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and an alleged fundraiser for the Haqqani network.
A section of national and international media, while quoting Pakistani intelligence agencies' sources, reported that he was captured a few days back. It said sleuths of the intelligence agencies took him into custody while he was travelling from Peshawar to North Waziristan Agency. Nasiruddin Haqqani is one of Jalaluddin Haqqani's several sons fighting the US-led forces across the border in Afghanistan. The US announced $5 million head money for Sirajuddin Haqqani in 2009 and also announced a reward for Nasiruddin Haqqani's capture. Some media reports termed his arrest as a great victory in the 'war against terror'. The UN in its report said Nasiruddin Haqqani was raising funds for the militant network to continue the fight against the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Taliban and family sources of Haqqani denied the reports and said he was at a secure place outside Pakistan. "He wasn't in Pakistan. He had no links with Pakistan's security agencies or the Pakistani Taliban. Like other members of his family, Nasiruddin is actively involved in the Jihad against the US-led occupying forces in Afghanistan," said a source close to his family requesting anonymity.

[Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English -- Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/]

Pakistan Daily: Reported Arrest of Haqqani Network's Leader 'Locked in Shadows'
SAP20101227114004 Karachi The Express Tribune Online in English 27 Dec 10
[Editorial: "Fathers and Sons"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
Media reports of the arrest of the son of the aging leader of the Haqqani network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, come at a time when there has been increased pressure from Washington on Islamabad to go after the North Waziristan-based group thought to be responsible for many of the attacks on US-led security forces in Afghanistan. Details coming in are sketchy, but it is thought the man detained is Nasiruddin Haqqani. Accounts as to where Nasiruddin is being held vary.
The Haqqani network marks the line of rift between Washington and Islamabad on policy against militancy. The Pakistani establishment had evolved a close working relationship with the network during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Haqqanis are said also to retain a friendship with Pakistan military elements and, unlike other Taliban or al Qaeda affiliated groups, choose not to launch attacks in Pakistan. Their assault on forces inside Afghanistan, however, has led to fervent demands that a military operation be conducted in North Waziristan. The Pakistan military has so far remained reluctant to venture into this territory.
It is possible that, recognising this, a direct bid to nab Haqqani was made from Afghanistan. The episode so far, like much of the war on terror, is locked in shadows. There have been suggestions that Nasiruddin had recently completed a visit to the Gulf to collect funds for the militant cause. This pipeline of money needs to be blocked off. It is now obvious the Haqqani network is in the centre of US and Afghan actions against terrorism. How this eventually latches in with Pakistan's own efforts is something that will be closely watched over the coming days as more information begins to emerge about the arrest of a key Haqqani network leader.
[Description of Source: Karachi The Express Tribune Online in English -- Website of a newspaper partnered with the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times. It is part of the Lakson Group, which includes Daily Express and Express News Television in Urdu and Express 24/7 Television in English. The group's media wing has no known political affiliations and operates as a moderate, independent commercial media organization. The newspaper claims its mission is to defend "liberal values and egalitarian traditions"; URL: http://tribune.com.pk]

Asia Times: 'US Bends to Pakistan's Wish'

CPP20110111715035 Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English 0012 GMT 11 Jan 11
[Asia Times Report by M K Bhadrakumar: "US Bends To Pakistan's Wish"; headline as provided by source]
The unscheduled visit by United States Vice President Joe Biden to Islamabad this week underscores Washington's embarrassment and anxiety that it stands excluded from a regional initiative on Afghan peace process that could be about to take off. The rapid sequence of events over the past fortnight has taken Washington by surprise.
There have been so many difficult moments in the US-Pakistani relationship through the past nine years since the US invasion of Afghanistan. But Biden's mission can only be compared with the visit to Islamabad by the then-US secretary of state Colin Powellin mid-October 2001. If the Powell mission was seminal to the US invasion of Afghanistan, Biden's mission may well turn out to be formative in sowing the germane seeds of peace.
The trail leading Biden to Islamabad began in Istanbul on Christmas Eve when, as part of Ankara's three-year old initiative, Turkish President Abdullah Gul hosted a fifth summit meeting of the trilateral forum comprising his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts Asif Zardari and Hamid Karzai. The Turks take their mediatory role very seriously and have indeed met with some measure of success in bringing Kabul and Islamabad closer together as neighbors - an endeavor in which the US has repeatedly failed. But then, Turkey's credentials cannot be easily matched.
A home for the Taliban
Turkey is an "ally" of the US, Russia and Pakistan and a long-lost friend of China; it has "normalized" with Iran and Saudi Arabia and is an active Organization of the Islamic Conference member; Turkey has a claim over the "Turkic" heritage of Central Asia; Ankara maintains good equations with various Afghan groups and kept a line open to Taliban leadership in the late 1990s; Turkey is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization country with an International Security Assistance Force contingent that acquitted itself well; and Turkey is a generous donor for Afghan reconstruction.
Turkish foreign policy has become extremely innovative and ambitious. Ankara worked hard to bring Kabul and Islamabad together and it now aspires to scale audacious heights in the Hindu Kush.
Turkey is willing to allow the opening of a "representative office" of the Taliban on its soil. Karzai says the idea came from "dignitaries close to the Taliban". At any rate, it figured in the tripartite summit at Istanbul and Turkey and Pakistan voiced support. Interestingly, Taliban have not so far disowned it, either.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutglu later said, "We are ready to meet these expectations at every level. Turkey is closely following each step to be taken. We are ready to perform in Turkey in any process sought by the Afghan government and we are also ready to contribute to processes that may be under way outside Turkey."
Just before Karzai left Kabul for Istanbul, he deputed the head of the Afghan High Council for Peace (HCP), Burhanuddin Rabbani, (a former president) to visit Tehran. Within days, Tehran also had another important Afghan visitor, Mohammed Fahim, key figure in the erstwhile Northern Alliance and currently first vice president. (Curiously, a veteran "Afghan hand" from Moscow, Viktor Ivanov, former KGB general who heads the anti-narcotic agency in Russia, also arrived in Tehran at the same time as Fahim.)
Karzai obviously sounded out the Iranians on his project kick-starting the intra-Afghan dialogue. But Tehran's stance appears to be ambivalent, though its stated position is consistently that the continued presence of US troops is aggravating regional tensions. The visit by Fahim suggests that Tehran is keeping its options open. The recent fracas over Iran's petroleum supplies to Afghanistan also suggests some friction between Tehran and Kabul. The powerful speaker of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) Ali Larijani is due to visit Kabul shortly.
Ahead of his trip to Tehran, Rabbani also addressed a major regional peace jirga (council) at Nangarhar convened by the government, comprising over 800 delegates drawn from various Pashtun-dominated eastern provinces where Taliban are active. Rabbani exhorted the Taliban, "This is your country. Afghanistan is your country. Of course, everyone makes mistakes. We need to work together to fix those mistakes."
The jirga decided that the Taliban's reintegration must be in line with Islamic values. "Whatever we do here will be based on Islam," Rabbani said. The jirga took a significant decision that in the reconciliation process Taliban must be given the latitude to "deal with their fellow Afghans rather than with [US-led] coalition forces".
Pakistani turnaround
Following Karzai's return from Istanbul, things have speeded up. Last Tuesday, Rabbani led a 25-member delegation to Islamabad at the invitation of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani. This signified a turnaround by Pakistan, which (and Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami) had been previously derisive about the HCP. Quite obviously, there has been some rethink in Islamabad.
In fact, Pakistani army chief General Parvez Kiani received Rabbani in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. The official press release said they discussed "matters of mutual interest". The fact that Kiani personally staked his prestige becomes very important.
The meeting in Rawalpindi signaled Pakistani military's endorsement of Rabbani's leadership role in any intra-Afghan dialogue. Far more important, however, it contained an unmistakable hint to Washington that with or without US involvement, a dialogue might well commence in a near future, Pakistan is going ahead with a regional initiative involving Karzai, as there is little time to lose, and it is in Washington's interest to be on the same page.
Pakistan has been critical of David Petraeus' surge strategy in Afghanistan and has refused to undertake operations in the North Waziristan tribal area despite repeated US urgings.
Karzai couldn't have made a better choice than Rabbani to spearhead the peace process as the latter has old links with the Taliban dating back to the jihad of 1980s. Pakistan's dealings with Rabbani go even further back to the mid-1970s predating the communist revolution. Rabbani is an Islamic scholar who has an appeal among the Islamic circles in Pakistan, especially the leadership of the Islam Pasand parties such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Rabbani belonged to the original "Peshawar Seven" during the jihad and had extensive dealings with Pakistani military and intelligence.
Rabbani is also a key Tajik leader heading the Jamiat-i-Islami and it is important to bring Tajiks on board any Afghan settlement. He is a veteran mujahideen leader enjoying wide networking with commanders like Jalaluddin Haqqani who are with the Taliban. Rabbani can be instrumental to putting up a bridge through which controversial figures like Jalaluddin could cross over to mainstream Afghan politics some day.
All-in-all, therefore, Kiani's decision to stake his prestige on Rabbani can be seen as a meaningful shift in the Pakistani strategy.
US fears 'exclusion'
The speed with which Kabul and Islamabad are pushing the proposal for intra-Afghan dialogue has taken the US by surprise. The US maintains that it is still premature to talk to the Taliban. Rabbani's mission to Islamabad, in particular, would have made Washington sit up. The US never took a real liking toward Rabbani due to his staunchly nationalist-Islamist streak, his off-and-on links with Iran and his virulent "anti-American" outlook, which he never cared to hide.
Washington senses "exclusion", while so much is happening. Ironically, it finds itself in the same boat as Tehran. The US acting special representative for Afghanistan Frank Ruggeiro's quick dash to Islamabad Thursday aimed at taking stock of the flow of events. Ruggeiro was shown full courtesies, including a meeting with Kiani, but Pakistan seems to have held the ground that talks must begin with the Taliban.
Swiftly following up on Ruggeiro's reccy trip, President Barack Obama has deputed Biden to forthwith proceed to Islamabad. Obama's choice of Biden makes careful study. Put simply, Biden has been arguing that Taliban do not pose any real threat to the US national security interests as such and a deal with them makes it possible to bring the war to an end.
Petraeus, on the other hand, hopes to intensify the military operations to degrade the Taliban to a point that they will crawl on their knees and sue for peace on US' terms. Petraeus is in it for the long haul whereas Biden is in great hurry.
There is widespread skepticism within the US security establishment over Petraeus' claim that his strategy is beginning to work. By nominating Biden to lead the mission to Islamabad, Obama seems to indicate he keeps an open mind.
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