Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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Last month the US State Department added Sangeen to their list of specially designated global terrorists. The designation allows the US to freeze Sangeen's assets, prevent him from using financial institutions and prosecute him for terrorist activities. The State Department describes Sangeen as 'a senior lieutenant to Haqqani network leader Sirajuddin'. Sangeen is also the shadow governor for Paktika province in Afghanistan.
Nasiruddin Haqqani, also known as Dr Khan
Another son of the family, Nasiruddin, is thought to be the chief fundraising official of the group, operating across the Arab world, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to a couple of individuals who were in touch with the family before 9/11, Nasir is the son of Jalaluddin's Arab wife, which makes him an ideal person to raise funds from rich families from the Gulf.
Last year it was reported that Pakistani intelligence agencies arrested Nasir, popularly known as Dr Khan or Dr Alamgir, before freeing him.
According to Brigadier Saad, what makes the Haqqani network unique is its capability to improvise according to the situation.
"They appear to have remarkable abilities to adapt," said journalist Fida Khan. "They can disperse and then re-gather overnight," he added, "This makes them less vulnerable for penetration from outside and crackdowns."

[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]

Pashtun Tribal Leader Says Insurgents Fighting Karzai Government, Not West

EUP20110922085002 Frankfurt/Main Frankfurter Allgemeine in German 22 Sep 11 p 5
[Interview with Naqibullah Shorish, Pashtun tribal leader and negotiator of an Afghan Peace Jirga, by Marco Seliger, place and date not given: "'Everyone in the West Speaks With His Own Talib'"]
[Seliger] Mr Shorish, on Tuesday [ 20 September] a suicide bomber killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, the chairman of the High Peace Council in Afghanistan. What consequences does this have for the peace process?
[Shorish] What peace process? Burhanuddin Rabbani led the Peace Council created by President Karzai. As a mortal enemy of the Taliban he could not be a neutral mediator between the insurgents and the government. Rabbani's death is a tragedy but if he negotiated at all with the Taliban it was only with unimportant commanders. He did not speak with the truly important people.
[Seliger] Who are the truly important people?
[Shorish] They are in a four-person shura, the Taliban Shura. It has existed for about a year. Mullah Omar and Sarjuddin Haqqani, the father of Jalaluddin Haqqani, one of the military heads of the Taliban, belong to it.
[Seliger] These people are classified throughout the world as terrorists.
[Shorish] Which they are not in the eyes of many Afghans. The Afghans are above all disappointed by NATO because of the many deaths by bomb attacks and infringements like night raids, including in women's chambers.
[Seliger] You belong to the Afghan Peace Jirga but not to the High Peace Council. Why?
[Shorish] The Afghan Peace Jirga consists of representatives of the Pashtun tribes of the South and East but also Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmens, and Hazaras. We are united by rejection of the Karzai government. We cannot belong to an organization whose initiator is our enemy. The insurgents accept only neutral mediators between the government and themselves.
[Seliger] Who could this neutral mediator be?
[Shorish] The Peace Jirga or individual tribal leaders.
[Seliger] Who would the insurgents accept as an interlocutor?
[Shorish] NATO. The most important foreign troop suppliers are represented there. Entering into talks with Germans, French, or Italians should not be a problem.
[Seliger] But NATO and the countries you named are fighting on Karzai's side.
[Shorish] NATO supports a criminal, corrupt government that is rejected by most Afghans. In doing so the West is making a big mistake. I have come to Germany to explore for the Taliban the extent to which NATO would be prepared to consider a role as neutral mediator.
[Seliger] But the German Afghanistan representative Michael Steiner has supposedly been speaking with the Taliban for a long time.
[Shorish] Everyone in the West has his Talib with whom he is supposedly speaking. Most of these people have no influence, no contacts. Mr Steiner is speaking with the wrong ones.
[Seliger] And you are the right one?
[Shorish] The four-person Taliban Shura is a combination of the Quetta and Peshawar shuras. Its leader is Qayum Zaker, who spent several years in Guantanamo. Until recently Mullah Omar headed the Quetta shura. I know Qayum Zaker well. I can mediate talks with him.
[Seliger] You are the leader of some 3 million Pashtuns of the Kharoti tribe. How do you get along with the Taliban?
[Shorish] Some of my tribe members are fighting on the side of the Taliban. Many Afghans sympathize with the Taliban. As tribal leader I must have an open ear for everyone, including the Taliban. Most Kharotis were not Taliban before 2001 but became so later. Many have lost family members due to the American military actions, others feel their honor is violated by the nighttime actions of the Americans.
[Seliger] Are your tribe members also fighting against German soldiers?
[Shorish] Also against the Germans. We want all Western soldiers to leave Afghanistan. Their mission no longer makes any sense.
[Seliger] Would resistance to the foreign troops end if there were a different government in your country?
[Shorish] No. The Afghans will no longer tolerate interference from outside. As long as Western soldiers are in the country they will be fought by the insurgents.
[Seliger] Do you support the insurgency?
[Shorish] I am a member of the Afghan Peace Jirga, which has made it its goal to finally create peace in Afghanistan. But I fear the fighting will continue for a long time.
[Seliger] Why? The West wants to largely withdraw its troops by 2014.
[Shorish] The insurgency is directed against the Karzai government and its supporters. There are also countries in our neighborhood that are interested in a continuation of the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, India: Each has its interest group here that it exploits. We are very afraid of a new civil war.
[Seliger] How could it be prevented?
[Shorish] We need a national consensus that the Afghans want to peacefully resolve their problems, that they do not let themselves be used from outside.
[Seliger] The United States wanted to weaken the insurgents to the point they voluntarily come to the negotiating table. Now you are offering negotiations. It seems as if the Americans have achieved their goal.
[Shorish] Please, do not have any illusions. The Americans can send as many troops as they want, they will not force the insurgents to the negotiating table. The stronger the enemy the stronger the resistance. The Afghans do not want the Americans, they also do not want to negotiate with them.
[Seliger] Why do they not want to negotiate directly with the Americans?
[Shorish] The Americans say they do not want to talk with Haqqani, with Hekmatyar, with Mullah Omar. For them, these are terrorists who have killed Americans. But the Americans have also killed innocent Afghans. I believe the Americans are not in a position to pose conditions.
[Seliger] The Taliban need only wait until the end of 2014 when the West's troops are gone and they could take over the country. Why do they want to negotiate at all?
[Shorish] Because the people want peace now. They want the fighting to end.
[Seliger] And if a civil war cannot be prevented?
[Shorish] There are 8,000 Koranic schools in the Afghan-Pakistan border area. Young Taliban are being trained there. The supply of personnel is limitless. There are also many young men without future prospects in other neighboring countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They would also be sent to the war. The Afghan tragedy will not end so long as the neighboring countries pursue their interests here.
[Seliger] In the future there will be more than 400,000 soldiers and police officers in your country. Can you prevent Afghanistan plunging into chaos again?
[Shorish] We cannot afford this security apparatus. We have no money to pay these people permanently. And I do not believe the West will supply the Afghan army and police for decades. The Soviets also trained security forces during their invasion of Afghanistan. After their withdrawal, these forces fell apart quickly. It will be that way again this time.
[box] Between Labor Office and Taliban Shura
Naqibullah Shorish is the tribal leader of the Kharoti, with 3 million members one of Afghanistan's largest Pashtun tribes. In April of this year, 120 delegates of a tribal shura elected him to this office in Kabul. Shorish, born 57 years ago in Kabul, lived in exile in Germany after 1980. After the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops in 1979 he fled first to Stuttgart and Bonn and later settled with his family in Dusseldorf, where he worked as a case worker for the Agency for Employment. His employment suspended, for three years Shorish was on leave. He returned to Kabul in 2008 but regularly visits Germany.
The Kharotis' settlement area extends over large parts of Afghanistan but is concentrated in the southern provinces where the uprising against the Karzai government and the NATO troops is particularly strong. Kharotis also live in the Kunduz area, where in 2009 Naqibullah Shorish tried to mediate negotiations between NATO, the Bundeswehr, and the insurgents. After the air attack ordered by German Colonel Georg Klein on 4 September 2009 on two tank er trucks hijacked by the Taliban, Shorish halted his efforts. He is currently staying in Germany again. The Taliban Shura has asked him to establish contacts and sound out NATO's and the German Government's willingness to talk.

[Description of Source: Frankfurt/Main Frankfurter Allgemeine in German -- influential, independent, nationwide daily; leans right-of-center]

Article: Pakistans Reluctance to Take on Haqqani Group to Create Clash With US
SAP20110923128011 Islamabad The News Online in English 23 Sep 11
[Article by Shafqat Mahmood: Pakistan at a crossroads again]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
The Haqqani network is like a bone stuck in our throats: can't spit it out, can't swallow it. With the US pressure ramped up to a level where threats of military strikes plus boots on the ground are being trotted out, the Pakistani leadership is at a crossroads.
The choices with their pros and cons are anything but simple. Mount an attack on North Waziristan, where the Haqqani network allegedly has safe havens, and risk coalescing all Pashtun groups in Afghanistan against the Pakistani state.
This would mean actually turning all Afghan ethnicities against Pakistan because the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and others of the Northern Alliance already hate us. We have enough on our plate handling a tense relationship with India in the east. A hostile Afghanistan, with no one standing up for normal relations with Pakistan, would become a serious headache.
The impact of such a development in the war against militancy within the country could also be significant. The Pakistani Taliban are already creating enough trouble. If they get the support of the Afghan Taliban, who have so far kept a distance if not been actually discouraging, and of other armed groups in Fata, who have been neutralised so far, it would create a near insurmountable challenge.
The reluctance of the Pakistani leadership to take on the Haqqani network through a dangerous incursion into North Waziristan is thus understandable. But, this does create the risk of a possible conflict with the might of the US military.
I still think the risk of an outright invasion by the US of North Waziristan is a remote possibility. Even air attacks through warplanes are unlikely because they create more media noise than drone attacks. And just after bombing another Muslim country, Libya, the third in the last 10 years after Afghanistan and Iraq, the US is unlikely to risk more negative publicity globally.
Boots on the ground also seem unlikely because it is not enough to come in and do a hit and run. It would not damage anyone, other than Pakistan's sovereignty, which would have its own consequences. But if ground were to be held, it would mean heavy deployment in a difficult region for an indeterminate period. The US public is not ready for it and perhaps America's financial troubles make another long-term military involvement unfeasible.
Drone attacks can and will be ramped up causing far greater damage and civilian casualties but they will not solve the problem. So, the choices are not easy for the US either. It would much rather lean heavily on Pakistan and make it do something that it is unable to do.
It is understandable that all nations only look at their own interests. And the US interest in the Afghan game today is for Pakistan to become an active military partner and attack its enemies who are allegedly taking refuge on Pakistani soil. If this creates problems for it, than it is not the American's headache. They have to look after their own interests and not bother too much about those of others.
The intense US focus on the Haqqani group is surprising. Is this the only problem standing between it and victory in Afghanistan? The Haqqani network is important and has been for many years. It played a useful role in the war against the Soviets, with US support, and later controlled Paktika and Khost provinces of Afghanistan.
Yet, it was never in the forefront during the Taliban rule with Jalaluddin Haqqani holding a minor cabinet post dealing with tribal affairs. Even now, the overall control of the Afghan resistance against the US is with the Taliban leadership headed by Mullah Omar. The fighting in Helmand and other Afghan provinces that has been so troublesome for the Americans is led by the Taliban.
The Haqqani group plays an important role in particular areas, Paktika, Paktia and Khost and because of its proximity to Kabul has the capability to launch attacks in the Afghan capital. This is indeed v ery annoying for the Americans - and for the Afghans - but does it follow that this group is the only reason for US failures in Afghanistan?
Or indeed, is Pakistan's lack of action in North Waziristan the only thing standing between the US and victory? Any serious analysis of the issues the Americans face in Afghanistan would show that it is not so. Pakistan's involvement can be helpful but not decisive. In the process it would be seriously destabilised and would have to deal with grave problems long after the Americans have tired of the conflict and left.
In a rational world, it would be enough to make a solid argument for others to accept your point of view but this is a world of power camouflaged in plausible justifications to control the media narrative. Pakistan's argument will not be accepted because the more powerful interlocutor has the luxury to consider only its interests.
It is also useful in an election year in the US to have a scapegoat and blame whatever failures there are on it. Pakistan finds itself in this difficult position right now. It has little choice but to do something. There is of course the dangling carrot too because if one does the US bidding there are plenty of goodies in the shape of bilateral and multilateral aid. It is not easy to scoff at this in times of serious economic troubles.
The time may have come to lay down a principle. Make it very clear to the Afghan groups be it the Taliban or the Haqqani network that we can no longer afford to allow them to use Pakistan as a base to attack Americans or Nato and Afghan government troops. If they have to fight, they should do so from within Afghanistan. In other words, they should shift their bases, if they have any, out of Pakistan.
Sirajuddin Haqqani has already declared that his troops are based in Afghanistan and not Pakistan. To make this assertion visibly plausible Pakistan must occupy any of the ungoverned spaces as it did in South Waziristan. The time thus may have come to make a well publicised push into North Waziristan.
The impression that this area is not within Pakistani government control has to be reversed. The Americans will have to understand that militant groups in these areas who are cooperating with the Pakistani state will have to be tolerated, with the proviso that they will no longer go across the border to launch attacks.
This strategy is fraught with consequences but if carefully handled can navigate a middle path that can yield positive results. It is also time that the so-called terrorist sanctuary in North Waziristan is taken out as an excuse for the American failures in Afghanistan.
In return, we should also seek zero tolerance for Pakistani militants based in Afghanistan and of course complete normalisation, indeed positive returns for the continuing friendship with the US.

[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/]

AFP: US Drone Kills Three Militants in Pakistan
EUP20110923712001 Paris AFP (North American Service) in English 23 Sep 11
[AFP headline-"US drone kills three militants in Pakistan: officials"]
A US drone strike in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt on Friday killed at least three militants, security officials said.
Two missiles fired by the unmanned aircraft hit a house in the village of Khushali Turikhel, 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in the lawless North Waziristan tribal district, security officials told AFP.
"The US drone fired two missiles which hit a house. At least three militants have been killed," a Pakistani security official said.
The identities of those killed in the attack were not immediately clear but security officials said they were all local Taliban militants.
A security official and a local intelligence official confirmed the attack and the number of casualties.
Another intelligence official in Miranshah said there were reports that foreigners were among the dead, adding that the death toll could rise.
Although the United States does not publicly confirm drone attacks, its military and the CIA in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the unmanned Predator aircraft in the region.
North Waziristan is the headquarters of the Haqqani leadership and the main militant bastion in the semi-autonomous tribal belt.
The Haqqani network is considered the deadliest enemy of US troops in eastern Afghanistan. It was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani and is run by his son, Sirajuddin, both designated "global terrorists" by Washington.
The group has been blamed for some of the worst anti-US attacks in Afghanistan, including a suicide attack at a US base in the eastern province of Khost in 2009 that killed seven CIA operatives.
Around two dozen drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since elite US forces killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a suburban home near Pakistan's main military academy in Abbottabad, close to the capital, on May 2.
The raid humiliated Pakistan and prompted allegations of incompetence and complicity in sheltering bin Laden.
Pakistan is seen as a key ally for the United States in its fight against Islamist militancy, but relations soured after the bin Laden raid, which both countries say was carried out without Islamabad being warned.
Drone attacks are unpopular among many Pakistanis, who oppose the alliance with Washington and who are sensitive to perceived violations of sovereignty.
US officials have accused Pakistani intelligence of playing a double game with extremists, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, in order to exert influence in Afghanistan and offset the might of arch-rival India.
Washington's pressure on Islamabad to launch a decisive military campaign in North Waziristan, as Pakistan has conducted elsewhere in the tribal belt, has so far fallen on deaf ears.

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

Pakistan Article: South Waziristan Operation Must be Ended in Current Situation
SAP20110925127002 Islamabad Pakistan Observer Online in English 25 Sep 11
[Article by Saeed Qureshi: "Panettas warning to Pakistan"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
The newly appointed United States' Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has castigated Pakistan for not taking military action against the so called Haqqani group now braced against the NATO military combine in Afghanistan. In his hard-hitting statement, the American defense secretary displayed an overly aggressive posture that was loaded with dire consequences for Pakistan if she did not go by the dictates of the United States. Leon Panetta in his September 15 stunning dictation has sternly asked Pakistan to cut off her ties with the Haqqani network and help eliminate its leaders. He warned that if Pakistan did not comply, the United States will act unilaterally against the group.
Mr. Panetta's assertive statement can be termed as a veiled warning in that he implied that if Pakistan was reluctant to oblige the United States, then NATO would extend their fight to North Waziristan. They would not mind if it would be a grave infringement of the international law and violation of the territorial integrity of an ally. Unmindful of the sovereignty and national interests of Pakistan, America seems to be poised to bomb North Waziristan, a sector of FATA that has remained immune so far from the military operations of the Pakistan army. Pakistan army is already fighting in the South Waziristan to flush out the Taliban insurgents. Such a military onslaught by the United States and NATO might drag on for an indefinite period of time. It would, however, result in further undermining the already precarious security situation in Pakistan, because of incessant terrorism on her soil by the militants. Even the Haqqani group might join the militant Taliban in an unmitigated spree of vendetta attacks in the length and breadth of Pakistan. In the event of a full scale war that NATO and United States would launch, the terrorist attacks and suicide bombing on Pakistan's mainland would accentuate. Pakistan is already under unremitting terrorism from anti Pakistan Taliban, wreaking havoc all over and destroying its social peace and economy.
The United States considers North Waziristan-based Haqqani network run by Mualvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani to be a resilient adversary of United States and at the same time an ally of Taliban and pro-Pakistan. Presumably Pakistan has been reluctant to expand her anti-Taliban, military operations to North Waziristan because of the fond hope that in the event of American withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Haqqani group would protect Pakistan's interests in that war ravaged country. But of late, the group is reported to be operating from Afghanistan as it feels safer there than staying in the North Waziristan situated within the so called FATA (federally administered areas). Haqqani network is believed to be behind the series of brutal attacks that were launched against the NATO forces including the September 12, 2011 attack on the US Embassy and nearby NATO bases in Kabul that lasted for 19 hours.
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