Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers



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AFP: Leader of Haqqani Network Denies Killing Afghan Govt's Peace Envoy Rabbani
SAP20111003018001 Hong Kong AFP in English 0638 GMT 03 Oct 11
[AFP Report: "Haqqanis deny killing Afghan peace envoy: BBC"]
KABUL, Oct 3, 2011 (AFP) -- The operational leader of Taliban faction the Haqqani network denied killing the Afghan government's peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani, in an interview with the BBC released Monday.
Sirajuddin Haqqani also denied US allegations that the Haqqanis, blamed for a string of high-profile attacks on Western targets in the Afghan capital, were currently linked to Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI.
"We haven't killed Burhanuddin Rabbani and this has been said many times by the spokespersons of the Islamic Emirate," he said, referring to the Taliban.
Afghan officials blamed the Taliban for the September 20 turban bombing that killed Rabbani in Kabul, saying the killer was Pakistani and that it was plotted by the Afghan Taliban's leadership body, the Quetta Shura, in Pakistan.
However, no Afghan officials have specifically accused the Haqqani network over the killing. The network is considered loyal to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and has a seat on the Taliban leadership council.
President Hamid Karzai is reviewing his strategy for talking peace with the Taliban in the wake of the killing of Rabbani, who was chairman of the High Peace Council, his spokesman has said.
Haqqani said during the 1980s anti-Soviet resistance, mujahedeen fighters "had contacts with the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and other countries, but after the invasion by the Americans, there have never been contacts by intelligence agencies of other countries which could be effective for us."
He went on to claim that the United States and other countries had contacted the Haqqanis to try to persuade them to join the Afghan government, but accused them of trying to create "tension" among insurgents.
The group has "been contacted and are being contacted by intelligence agencies of many Islamic and non-Islamic countries, including the US, asking us to leave the sacred jihad and take an important part in the current government," he said.
The Haqqani network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a warlord who made his name during the 1980s fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, when he received funding from Pakistan and the CIA.
But his son Sirajuddin now effectively runs the network, which has been blamed for recent attacks including a 19-hour siege in Kabul last month that targeted the US embassy and international military headquarters.
The United States has recently stepped up pressure on Pakistan to tackle Haqqani rear bases on its soil.
The BBC, which posted the comments on its website, said it conducted the interview by submitting written questions to Haqqani, who then recorded an audio response.

[Description of Source: Hong Kong AFP in English -- Hong Kong service of the independent French press agency Agence France-Presse]


Asia Times: 'Afghans Skeptical US Will Change Pakistan'


CPP20111011715076 Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English 0737 GMT 06 Oct 11
[Asia Times Report by Khan Mohammad Danishju: "Afghans Skeptical US Will Change Pakistan"; headline as provided by source]
MINA HABIB, Afghanistan - Following public allegations by a top United States commander that Pakistani intelligence is backing a feared insurgent group, some Afghan analysts say they doubt Washington has the will to sustain the pressure on Islamabad to curb extremism.
The diplomatic storm broke out on September 22, when Admiral Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a senate hearing that the armed group founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani "acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency".
Mullen said there was evidence that the insurgent group, "with ISI support", mounted a September 13 attack on the US Embassy and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Kabul that lasted several hours and left some 24 dead, as well as a truck bomb attack two days earlier that killed four Afghans and injured 77 American soldiers in Wardak province.
He also said the Haqqani network was believed to be behind an assault on Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel in late June and a number of other operations.
Allegations that sections of the Pakistani administration, especially the ISI, have covertly backed the Afghan Taliban, or at least tolerated their presence in the country, have circulated for many years. But Mullen's statement was much more explosive since he accused the ISI of sponsoring devastating attacks specifically targeting US forces as well as their Afghan allies.
Pakistani officials expressed outrage at the suggestion. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani said the government was shocked at the US commander's allegations and totally rejected them. The charges "negate our sacrifices and successes in the ongoing war against terror", he said.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told al-Jazeera television the allegations were "unsubstantiated - no evidence has been shared with us".
On the impact this would have on Pakistani-US relations, she said, "Looking for scapegoats - blame games - will not help."
Without spelling out the ISI's relationship with the Haqqani group, the foreign minister pointed out that in the past the organization had been "the blue-eyed boy of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) itself for many years; I mean it was created by the CIA, it could be said".
Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani was commander of a mujahideen force regarded as particularly effective during the Western-backed war against the Soviets in the 1980s, and went on to ally himself with both the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The force has played an important role in the insurgency since 2001, allied with but distinct from the Taliban. Haqqani seems to have taken a back seat and handed over command to his son Sirajuddin.
The group operates out of the North Waziristan tribal area in northwest Pakistan, just over the border from Paktia, Khosta and Paktika, the Afghan provinces where the elder Haqqani has strong tribal connections and operated in the 1980s.
The Haqqani network, as the group is now known, has gained notoriety for its ability to mount complicated, daring and devastating attacks in urban areas, such as the incidents in Kabul mentioned by Mullen.
It has also been blamed for the recent assassination of Burhannudin Rabbani, the former Afghan president tasked with negotiating with the insurgents, although Sirajuddin Haqqani has denied this in a BBC interview.
President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly suggested that Pakistan rather than Afghanistan is now the prime source of terrorism, and the international focus should switch there.
Afghan analysts interviewed by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) felt Mullen's comments vindicated their long-held suspicions of Pakistan's true intentions.
Abdol Wahed Taqat, a former general and now a political and defense analyst, believes there is now a deep schism between the US and Pakistan, and that the latter country may be on the brink of meltdown.
"Fundamentalism has got out of control in Pakistan. And that si tuation does not favor the Americans," he said.
But many question whether Washington will sustain the pressure on Islamabad to break off ties with insurgent groups, as they suspect the bigger strategic relationship is too important to be put at risk.
Another political commentator, Ajmal Sohail, says tensions of this kind are a recurrent feature of US-Pakistani relations, but they are always overcome as both countries need each other so much. As an example, he cited the recent row over the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, which the Americans did not warn Islamabad about in advance.
"The relationship between the US and Pakistan is like that between husband and wife - they frequently fight, but then they reconcile," he said. "These conflicts are sporadic and temporary."
Jamshid, a student at Kabul University, argued that Islamabad had the upper hand in the relationship.
"In fact, Pakistan has blackmailed America. The US friendship with Pakistan is based on what America needs from Pakistan. And Pakistan understands this very well, so the US cannot say anything to it."
Others pointed to ways in which Islamabad could exert indirect pressure on Washington. A recent flurry of diplomatic visits to or from Russia, China and Iran - none of them close friends of the US - was intended to show that ultimately, Pakistan had other foreign policy options.
Jamshid predicted that Washington would back down in the row over Mullen's remarks. "I am sure the US will once again apologize, the terror networks in Pakistan will remain untouched, America will pay Pakistan another billion dollars for the privilege, and the war pursued by Pakistan will continue in Afghanistan," he said.
There are some signs that Washington is indeed taking a gentler line with Islamabad. While White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Haqqani group's safe haven in Pakistan and links to the security forces there were "troubling", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized the security cooperation and common interests of the two countries
"While it's not always easy, the United States and Pakistan have vital strategic interests that converge in the fight against terrorism, and Pakistan faces a very real threat," she said. "They have suffered far more causalities, civilian and military alike."
Meanwhile, the Washington Post quoted an anonymous Pentagon official as saying Mullen had overstated the ISI-Haqqani connection.
Despite several efforts to contact US Embassy officials, IWPR's Afghan reporters were unable to get a comment on these issues.
In Afghanistan, one of the side-effects of US-Pakistani diplomacy is to strengthen the widely held perception that the Afghan conflict is not only engineered by Pakistan, but is deliberately tolerated by Washington for the sake of bigger interests in the region.
"Afghans will no longer be deceived by the cat-and-mouse games played by America and Pakistan. Both of them are enemies of the Afghans," Kabul shopkeeper Abdul Shokur said. "Israel and Pakistan are America's pampered children. No matter what those pampered children want, America will accept it.
"The Americans are prepared to lose Afghanistan but they will never lose Pakistan. If America exerted real pressure on Pakistan, I am sure the war in Afghanistan would end within two days."
Khan Mohammad Danishju and Mina Habib are IWPR-trained reporters in Kabul.

[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]

Pakistan: Ten Militants Killed in US UAV Attacks in North, South Waziristan
SAP20111014127001 Karachi Dawn Online in English 14 Oct 11
[Dawn report: "10 militants killed in drone attacks"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
MIRAMSHAH/LADDAH: Ten militants were killed in US drone attacks on targets in North and South Waziristan on Thursday.
The attacks took place as Special US Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, arrived in Islamabad and held talks with civilian and military leaders.
In the first attack, two missiles struck a compound in Dandi Derpakhel area near Miramshah in North Waziristan, early in the morning.
Official sources said a commander of the Haqqani network identified as Jamil and three other militants were killed. They said the drone fired missiles when Jamil came out of the compound.
Members of Jalaluddin Haqqani's family and close relatives have been living in Dandi Derpakhel area since the start of the Afghan war. The group had set up a seminary in the area.
Another drone attacked an outpost of militants on a hill in Zeba mountains close to the Afghan border.
Sources said the militants were using the outpost to keep an eye on the movement of Nato and Afghan troops at their forward base in Machadad Kot area of Paktika province across the border. Two Afghan and four local militants were killed in the drone attack, sources said.
Agencies add: "Jamil Haqqani, an important Afghan commander of the Haqqani network was the target and was killed," a Pakistani security official said, adding that Jamil was working as a coordinator of the network in North Waziristan.
The official said the three other militants killed in the strike were Haqqani's fighters, guarding the commander in the compound.
Other officials said Jamil was not related to Jalaluddin, or his son Sirajuddin who now runs the network but that he was "very close to the top commanders, including Sirajuddin".
Meanwhile, a US official on Thursday confirmed that a top Haqqani commander had been killed in a strike in Pakistan.
"It's been confirmed that Janbaz Zadran, aka Jamil, was killed earlier today in North Waziristan, Pakistan," the official said, adding that his death "makes him the most senior Haqqani leader in Pakistan to be taken off the battlefield."

[Description of Source: Karachi Dawn Online in English -- Website of Pakistan's first and most widely read English-language daily promoting progressive views. Generally critical of military rule; URL: http://www.dawn.com]



Pakistan: Ten Including Haqqani Network Militant Killed in US UAV Attack
SAP20111014128005 Islamabad The News Online in English 14 Oct 11
[Report by staff correspondents: Haqqani militant among 10 killed in US drone strikes]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
MIRAMSHAH/WANA: Ten persons, including a member of the Haqqani network, were reportedly killed in two separate US drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency and South Waziristan Agency.
The first attack was reported in Danday Darpakhel village near Miramshah, North Waziristan Agency, on Thursday in which four persons were killed. The slain official, Jalil Haqqani, was described as a coordinator, logistics operator and communications officer of the Haqqani network, described by the US authorities as one of the most dangerous militant groups in Afghanistan.
Jalil Haqqani, said to be in his early 30s, was killed in acompound attacked by two missiles fired by a CIA-operated drone. The three other men killed in the strike were described as suspected militants.
An earlier report said a vehicle was hit in the missile strike and Afghan refugees were killed in the attack. However, subsequent reports said a house was struck and four men including Jalil Haqqani were killed.
Sources close to the Haqqani network, however, denied that the slain man, Jalil, was linked to the group while intelligence sources said Jalil had links to the Haqqani network, which is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of veteran Afghan mujahideen commander and former Taliban minister Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani.
Danday Darpakhel, a village sited seven kilometres away from Miramshah, has been repeatedly attacked by US drones. In an attack in February 2010, Muhammad Haqqani, a young son of Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, was killed while driving a vehicle. Another of his sons, Umar Haqqani, was killed fighting the US-led foreign forces in Khost province. In another drone strike in the past in Danday Darpakhel village where the Haqqani family lives, a sister of Jalaluddin Haqqani and some children and men were also killed.
In the other attack on Thursday, six persons were killed and three others sustained injuries when a US drone fired missiles at a vehicle and a house in Birmal tehsil of South Waziristan, tribal sources said.
Sources said the drone fired three missiles at the vehicle and the house in Zoba village in Birmal around noon. The attack by the CIA-operated drone left six persons dead and three others injured.
The drones kept flying in the area for sometime after the attack, which stopped locals from reaching the spot for rescue work. However, the injured were shifted to a nearby private clinic where their condition was stated to be serious.
Some sources said that all the dead were militants; four had links with the Mullah Nazeer-led group while two were from Afghanistan. After the incident, the local tribal elders held a meeting to condemn the attack.
Speaking on the occasion, Malik Muhammad Ali said innocent people were being killed in the drone attacks. "Drone attacks have created hatred against the US in the tribal region," he added.

[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/]



Pakistani Commentary Details Afghan Haqqani Network History, Leadership Roles
SAP20111011143002 Islamabad Daily Express in Urdu 09 Oct 11 p 13
[Special report: "Present and Past of Haqqani Network"]
Two years ago, Mayor of Kabul Hamid Karzai offered to Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani to make peace with the Afghan Government and become prime minister of Afghanistan. Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani rejected this offer and sent message to the so-called Afghan President that: "I do not want to become a puppet of the United States like you and I am not running behind the shots for money. This historic message reflects the great personality of Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani. The founder of Haqqani Network, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani was born in the Afghan province of Khost in 1950. He belongs to the Zardan Pashtun tribe. He gained his religious education and became a degree holder. Hence, he is called Maulvi, which is a respectable position in Islamic tradition.
Communism was being spreading through the Russians in the country when he completed his education. Because of this situation, Maulvi Jalaluddin stood against the communists and joined Hezb-e-Islami. This Islamic party was established by Engineer Golbuddin Hekmatyar in 1975 on the ideologies of Akhwanul-e-Muslimeen and Maulana Maudoodi. Maulvi Yunos Khalis, an important leader of Hezb-e-Islami, left the party and established his own [Hezb-e-Islami-Khalis] because of some differences when the Russian forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Maulvi Jalaluddin had also become part of the new party. During Afghan Jihad, this party had established its military headquarter in the Pakistani area of North Waziristan and fought against Russian forces in the eastern parts of Afghanistan, including Khost, Ghazni, Logar, Wardak, Paktika, and Paktiya Provinces.
Maulvi Jalaluddin, accompanied by thousands of Mujahidin, carried out an attack on Khost and captured it in 1985. Later on, Russian forces carried out several attacks on Khost, but they could not occupy it. In the final stages, Russian Army Commander Boris Gromov attacked with a full force and then Maulvi Jalaluddin evacuated Khost City and retreated according to his strategy.
Maulvi Jalaluddin belongs to a respectable family and he could have spend a life of luxury in Peshawar during the Afghan Jihad if he wanted to do so, but he liked to live in mountains like a true Mujahid and was fighting against the aggressors. Unfortunately, various Afghan parties started fighting against each other after the return of the Russian forces to their own country from Afghanistan in 1989. However, Maulvi Jalaluddin stayed away from this civil war and he accepted the Taliban government.
During the Afghan Jihad, the braveness of Maulvi Jalaluddin and his fighters had greatly inspired the Americans who were supplying arms and money to the Afghan Mujahidin. Because of this reason, he went to the United States and met with former President Reagan. He also met with Usama Bin Ladin and they became good friends in 1989. Usama Bin Ladin arranged a peace agreement between Maulvi Jalaluddin and the Taliban and then the Taliban appointed him as minister of tribal affairs. The situation changed in 2001, when the former guardian the United States carried out attack on Afghans and ended the Taliban government by force. The Americans offered a high post to Maulvi Jalaluddin in its puppet government, but he refused to shake hands with imperialist power. He started attacks on the American forces. Then, the friends of the past became the enemies of each other. The tribesmen of the Zardan tribe are living in the Pashtun Afghan provinces and North Waziristan. Hence, this area has been the headquarters of Maulvi Jalaluddin since 1979. He waged Jihad against the American aggressor from there. The United States become angry when Maulvi Jalaluddin inflicted heavy casualties on it. In his article in 2004, late journalist Syed Salim Shahzad said that the former Pakistani Government arrested Maulvi Sahib's brother Ibrahim and his son Ishaq from North Waziristan under the pressure of the United States. Then, Maulvi Jalaluddin was pressurized to give up the resistance, but he refused and instead his spirit of Jihad was boosted further. He rendered the sacrifices of two wives, sons, daughter, daughter in law, and nine grandsons, but his spirit of Jihad did not lessen.
With the passage of time, the activities of Maulvi Jalaluddin and his guerrillas increased in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Now it has become the major resistance groups in these areas. The United States is calling it the "Haqqani Network" and declaring it as the biggest enemy. However, the Taliban and the leaders of the Haqqani Network say that they are fighting against the Western imperialism under the leadership of Taliban Amir Mullah Muhammad Omar. Maulvi Jalalaluddin has now grown old and he has the status of spiritual guardian in his group, while his sons and close relatives, who are all young, are running the matters of the Haqqani Network; the most important among them is his son Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Sirajuddin Haqqani was born in 1973 (or 1977) and at the moment, he is head of the network, but his most links are with non-military matters. He holds talks with other groups and the Pakistani and Afghan Governments and controls the administrative matters of the network. All Jihadi groups in the area respect him as a true and sincere Muslim, and even all groups accept his words. He is a strict enemy of the United States and the Americans announced $50 million as the money on his head.
Mullah Sangin Zardan is head of military affairs of the network and he is a relative of Maulvi Jalaluddin. He is also the Taliban shadow governor in Paktika Province.
Burhanuddin, the son of Maulvi Jalaluddin, is helping Mullah Sangin in daily military matters. The United States has also declared them to be terrorists like other leaders of the network.
The fourth important leader of the Haqqani Network is Nasiruddin Haqqani, who is the son of Maulvi Jalaluddin. He is the son of the Arab wife of Maulvi Jalaluddin. Hence, he also knows the Arabic language. He collects funds for Jihadi activities in Eastern Central Asia.
According to military experts, at the moment, there are about 10,000 to 15,000 Mujahidin in the Haqqani Network. The biggest quality of the group is that its members become used to any situation very quickly. Another quality of the group is that they unite and disperse when they want and so it is very difficult to arrest the Mujahidin of the group. The United States claims that only the Haqqani Network is carrying out attacks on coalition forces and the government's installations in Afghanistan. According to the United States, the headquarters of the Haqqani Network is in North Waziristan. Hence, Washington is pressurizing the Pakistan Army to destroy them. Before the allegations made by the United States, Sirajuddin Haqqani announced that now the headquarters of the network was transferred to Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Army will never attack the Haqqani Mujahidin, even if the headquarters had been in North Waziristan. This is the reason the network is a friend of Pakistan despite the differences for the last 30 years. Now it has become a very strong group inside the Taliban. The friends of the Haqqanis will stand on the Pakistan-Afghan border if India unfortunately carries out an attack. In these circumstances, who will jump into the well following the line of the defeated powers despite knowing the entire situation?

[Description of Source: Islamabad Daily Express in Urdu -- Daily owned by Century Publications of the Lakson Business Group. The second largest daily after Jang newspaper with a circulation of over 120,000. Provides good coverage of national and international issues and follows moderate and neutral editorial policy.]
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