Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sinking Ships And Setting Suns

Last year more than 30,000 Afghans sought asylum worldwide, topping 2010's numbers by 25 percent - and those are just the recorded cases.  More than 45,000 Afghans are said to have illegally escaped into Greece alone.  Australia is another popular destination for asylum, though it is harder to pull off due to distance.
The current protests in reaction to news of the burnings of Korans at Bagram only underline to many Afghans just how quickly security can unravel and just how much uncertainty Afghans face in the future. More Here.

Discussion Clip - NATO House Of Cards Collapsing

This is a surreal discussion involving a number of fantasists. But it is a good barometer of how nobody in the US media, let alone the military, know what the goal is used to be in Afghanistan, if there is was one. 

No Worries In Afghanistan For 11th Year Running

Barking mad Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday said that the violence in Afghanistan would not affect the planned timescale for handing over the responsibility for providing security to local 'troops'. In a press conference in Washington, not Kandahar note, the secretary general denounced the killing of two US advisors at Afghan Ministry of Interior on Saturday afternoon.
"The very tragic events will not in any way affect the timeline of transition" for security from coalition to Afghan forces, Rasmussen said. 'The overall picture is of co-operation characterised by trust and confidence," he said. He spoke to BBC News (Radio 4) yesterday morning greeting them with 'Good morning, London', like a judge in the Eurovision Song Contest. There is dumb and there is NATO dumb.

The Call Of The Taliban

Drawn by money – and a desire to fight for freedom from the straitjacket of poverty they felt the Karzai government and its international backers had imposed on them – the family decided to throw in their lot with the Taliban four years ago. The men of fighting age joined a group that fought for the Taliban in the Pashtun Zarghun, Obe and Karukh districts of Herat province.
"We smuggled guns and other weapons and arranged suicide attacks against Afghan government officials and facilities," said Abdul Rachman, one of the former Talib fighters, a turbaned, portly man with a neat, moustache and beard. The suicide bombers themselves are Pakistanis or Kurds, he added. 


US Rearguard Spin On Crumbling Mission

Iran - No Israeli Warning To US?

The End in Afghanistan? Radical Change Is in the Air and the American Position Is Visibly Crumbling

The End in Afghanistan? Radical Change Is in the Air and the American Position Is Visibly Crumbling | World | AlterNet:

But NATO sees the bright side of the Koran-burning debacle.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

NATO Congratulates NATO On Koran Fiasco

I have been blogging and commenting daily since the Koran burning protests started, saying that it was only a matter of time before NATO said their actions/reactions were a positive sign. I was only joking but guess what?

Cordesman - The Death Of A Strategy

Cordesman should have entitled his piece 'Death Of Another Strategy'.

Even before President Barack Obama announced the new strategy, there was debate in Washington over cutting back on the initial “surge” of troops—whether there would be enough U.S., allied, and Afghan forces to clear and hold the key districts in a timely manner in a war that was already deeply unpopular.Moreover, in announcing the new strategy, Obama set the first of a series of political and arbitrary deadlines. The rationale was then the need to win domestic political support from a Congress with a Democratic majority, and the president was careful to say his deadline was conditions based. The fact was, however, that the new strategy triggered fears in Afghanistan and the region of a precipitous withdrawal, as well as expectations in the United States and the West, that soon began to make deadlines a key part of an exit strategy. LINK.

The Story Of Bagram

The U.S. liked the detention center so much, it decided to keep it for a while. Last month, it backed off a plan to turn Parwan to the Afghans, who it said weren’t yet ready to run the jail professionally. Then it signed a $35 million contract to expand it massively, building living quarters that can hold 2,000 detainees, double Parwan’s current size and dwarfing the approximately 180 detainees at Guantanamo Bay.That gargantuan size laid bare a truth that cuts against the Obama administration’s narrative of a war that’s winding down. The longer the U.S. fights in Afghanistan, the more detainees it will have to hold. And running a huge detention center is a complex task, with considerations that stretch far beyond avoiding torture. More here.

10 New Facts About Obama's Drones

10 Things You Didn't Know About Democratising Drones.

What Future For Peace Talks Now?

The Koran-desecration unrest and violence continues. Meanwhile the 'Peace Initiative' had already stalled says former ambassador, Omar Samad.
The Taliban agreed last year to establish an office in Qatar for preliminary talks between the U.S. and Quetta Shura emissaries as part of "confidence-building measures" that aim to secure the release of a handful of top leaders from U.S. custody in Guantanamo, and reduce U.N.-imposed bans on a number of blacklisted commanders in exile. It is not known what type of realistic quid pro quo, if any, is expected of the Taliban within that framework. Karzai, not too keen on the Qatar peace track, has grudgingly endorsed the Taliban office there as an "address," hoping that real talks would be held as part of a preferred separate process, whilst the Taliban insist that they will not talk to the Afghan government. Minister Khar, during a visit to the United Kingdom last week, complained that despite her government's intentions to help the process move forward, the message from Kabul was confusing because "Karzai was still unclear whether his government really wanted to negotiate with the Taliban in Qatar." LINK.

Afghanistan Public Protection Force

Want to join the Afghan paramilitary force? This advert won't help you much.
Afghanistan Public Protection Force:

Monday, 27 February 2012

Koran Riots - Internal US 'Debate'

This discussion on CNN is a barometer of just how facile the internal debate on foreign policy is in the US.

US Claiming 'Heightened Threat' As Koran Protests Rage

Day 7 Of Koran Burning Protests

“This attack is revenge against those soldiers who burned our Koran,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an email.

More than 30 people have been killed in protests and related attacks since the incident came to light last Tuesday, including four US soldiers.
Yesterday, demonstrators hurled grenades at a small US base in northern Afghanistan and the ensuing gun battle left two Afghans dead and seven Nato troops injured.

US Ambassador Ryan Crocker said that things were getting back to a 'more normal' situation.

Koran Desecration - Clinton Apologises For Obama's Apology

Incredibly stupid and insensitive questions and answers in this interview:

Sunday, 26 February 2012

L'Otan Personnel Repatriés

L'Isaf, force armée de l'Otan en Afghanistan, a décidé samedi de rappeler l'ensemble du personnel travaillant dans les ministères du pays, après que de deux de ses membres ont été tués dans une attaque contre le ministère de l'Intérieur. Lien ici.

Afghan MOI Killings - Clip

German Retreat From Taloqan

The presence of a small contingent of ISAF troops in Taloqan city, which never had full situational awareness on all of Takhar (especially not of the remote northern Rustaq, Chah Ab and Darqad districts and southeastern mountain areas of Chal, Namak Ab and Warsaj districts) was no guarantee for absolute stability. However, by using this strategic base, ISAF was able collect information to directly engage with the local population and to link up with the provincial administration. The resulting situational awareness as a form of protection for civilian actors of the mission as well as the maintenance of an early warning system for governmental and non-governmental organisations might not be visible at first glance. LINK.

US Base Attacked On 6th Day Of Koran-Burning Protests

US Soldiers injured by grenade thrown by protesters on Sunday. Death toll from demonstrations now at 28 

BBC News - Q&A: Foreign forces in Afghanistan

BBC News - Q&A: Foreign forces in Afghanistan:

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Koran Burning Protests - Video On 5th Day

CIA Pakistan Secret Cable Leaked

But the timing of Crocker’s cable — sent more than two months after that CIA strike — suggests that U.S. officials in Kabul have yet to see a shift in momentum or measurable impact. The U.S. efforts have been hampered by the group’s populated sanctuary, its close ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service, and diplomatic ruptures that caused pauses in the CIA drone campaign. READ MORE.

NATO Tipping Point?

Last year, at least 10 people were killed in Mazar-e Sharif after news reached Afghanistan of an extremist American pastor burning a Koran in faraway Florida.
US troop have been accused of deliberately burning Korans

There is quiet fury within the Afghan government towards the Americans at what one official calls their "brainless" behaviour.
They are making the "same mistakes as the Russians" says Afghan analyst Omar Safi - failing to respect the Muslim religion.

Another NATO [Whitewash] 'Investigation'

Koran Burning Protests Spread To Pakistan

To Afghanistan’s west, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami said the U.S. had purposely burned the Korans. “These apologies are fake. The world should know that America is against Islam,” he said in a speech broadcast live on state radio.
“It (the Koran burning) was not a mistake. It was an intentional move, done on purpose.”
Most Westerners have been confined to their heavily fortified compounds, including at the sprawling U.S. embassy complex and other diplomatic missions, as protests that have killed a total of 23 people, including two US soldiers, rolled into their fifth day.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Obama's Koran-Burning Apology Snubbed

Koran Rage Goes Into Fourth Day

Police sources say five separate groups are heading to different locations in Kabul, including Nato headquarters and the US Embassy. Some 300 people, mostly children throwing stones and armed with sticks, are heading towards Kabul's main military training centre, security sources told the BBC. Read More.
Late Update here

Years Of Murdering Afghanis,Iraqis, Vietnamese, Koreans Shames Every American

OpEdNews - Article: Ten Years Murdering Afghanis as before Iraqis Vietnamese Koreans Shames Every American:

German Army Abandons Base

BERLIN — German forces in northern Afghanistan have withdrawn early from a base in Taluqan because of anti-U.S. unrest over the burning of Qur'ans at a U.S. military base, an army spokesman said Friday.
Around 50 German soldiers pulled out of the base in the Afghan city on Thursday after about 300 people had demonstrated peacefully outside it, the spokesman said.
German forces had been due to leave the small base in Taluqan city, the capital of Takhar province, by the end of March, he said.
Any return to the base would depend on the situation, he added.
All the army's vehicles, weapons and munition have been carried away by the troops who transferred to Kunduz, about 70 kilometres away.
Three days of bloody demonstrations have killed 14 people, including two U.S. soldiers, forcing U.S. President Barack Obama to apologize over the Qur'an burning at the Bagram airbase, north of Kabul.
Germany has the third largest NATO-led force in Afghanistan behind the United States and Britain.

Read more:

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Afghanistan - Contractors and Miltiamen Shoot Down Koran Protesters

It is noticeable that some of the 'Afghan Police' (so described) shooting into the crowd in this clip appear to be westerners in civilian clothes. Even the Afghans look like militiamen. Is there no semblance of official order or authority anywhere in Afghanistan? 

The Big Lie in Afghanistan

OpEdNews - Article: The big Lie in Afghanistan:

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France to withdraw drones from Afghanistan

France to withdraw drones from Afghanistan - Afghanistan - France - RFI:

Afghan Protests - Live Blog

Horrific Conditions Of Displaced Afghans

About 400 people join the ranks of those living in slums each day, the report, Fleeing war, finding misery, said. In Kabul alone, as many as 35,000 displaced people live in 30 slums around the city.
At least 40 people have frozen to death in refugees camps around the country in what his been the harshest winter for 15 years. At least 28 of those were children. LINK.

Journalist Deaths In Syria

By Craig Murray.
The killings of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik are deeply sad, as are the killings of all those millions of innocents who have died in the conflicts of the last decade whose names do not get such global sympathy. That is not to decry the sympathy; the world needs more of it, not less.
The Assad rule of Syria is brutal and it would be good if it were to end. There is no doubt the indiscriminate nature of the bombardment of Homs is vicious and wrong. But the same was true of the NATO destruction of Sirte. The idea that the answer to such deaths is to intensify the killing to a more industrial scale is crazed. The deliberate escalation of civil war in order to back a new winning side to gain leverage over economic resources appears the new standard method of advancing the interests of ruling western elites.
The truth is that Gadaffi was awful, but the life of ordinary Libyans is no better for the war, death and destruction and there is no practical improvement in human rights – indeed an awful lot more arbitrary rule, rape, brutalisation and killing by armed militias.
Life in Iraq is materially still massively worse than under the awful Saddam Hussain. The doctrine of “liberal intervention” is a screen for resource grab. The fact its practical effects on the countries upon whose inhabitants the necessary death – or “creative destruction” in the words of imperialist propagandist Niall Fergusson – is rained, are the opposite of those claimed, is hidden by the media simply declaring “Mission accomplished” and moving on. The awfulness of everyday life today in Iraq and Libya is not shown.
I hope Syrians can save themselves from their own government, their own militias, and above all from the awesome death-dealing of NATO.

Koran Desecration Protests - Day 3

Mr. Karzai scheduled a hastily arranged meeting with members of both houses of Parliament on Thursday morning at the presidential palace and some 300 lawmakers arrived to participate, said presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi.
The fury does not appear likely to abate soon. Some members of Parliament called on Afghans to take up arms against the American military, and Western officials said they feared that conservative mullahs might incite more violence at the weekly Friday Prayer, when a large number of people worship at mosques.
“Americans are invaders, and jihad against Americans is an obligation,” said Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a member of Parliament from the Ghorband district in Parwan Province, where at least four demonstrators were killed in confrontations with the police on Wednesday. More here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Koran Burning Unrest Stoked By Protester Killings

The Afghan mess

The Afghan mess:

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Hans Blix On Iraqification Of Iran

New Statesman - The road to hell:

Anti-US Sentiment Rife In AfPak

Whatever the circumstances, there is no doubt that anti-US feeling is growing in the country after a series of appalling incidents.
Frequent visits by US officials to Pakistan have not diluted anti-American rage
Afghan civilians have been repeatedly killed in night raids by US special forces and mis-targeted bombings by US aircraft while a handful of US soldiers have been charged with deliberately killing Afghans and committing other atrocities.
A great deal of public anger and frustration is due to the lack of good governance and overwhelming corruption, which could see the collapse of Kabul Bank - the largest in the country.
The Americans are blamed by Afghans for tolerating the failure of the government to get its act together 10 years after 9/11 and for fuelling corruption by giving money to the wrong contractors.
In Pakistan the case of the alleged CIA agent Raymond Davis - coupled with an acute economic downturn, massive energy shortages, corruption and the blasphemy issue that has led to two senior officials being murdered - has also led to widespread anti-Americanism. LINK.

11 anti-American demonstrators shot in Kabul - Israel News, Ynetnews

11 anti-American demonstrators shot in Kabul - Israel News, Ynetnews:

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9 Afghan girls injured in Nato air raid: official - Emirates 24/7

9 Afghan girls injured in Nato air raid: official - Emirates 24/7:

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Koran Burning - Lame Apologies Follow On Stupidity

How Canada Is Complicit In Torture

Canada has a history of trading information with Asian governments often accused of using torture, including China, India and Thailand. Canada has signed official Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with each country and has other treaties in the works. What isn’t common is how a reporter for the Canadian Press was able to acquire such knowledge without the veil of “nation security” blocking the access to information request.
Could this be sloppy politics, or perhaps an administrative oversight in the management of sensitive political directives? After all, it isn’t every day that an individual member of civil society can prove that a sitting government is actively defending an uninspiring argument for the use of torture – one the government surely learned from a Hollywood script. Full story.

Failed, Failed, Failed

Pat Stogran – retired colonel, who led the first Canadian combat contingent in Afghanistan in 2002 and later served as Canada's first Veterans Ombudsman where he was a champion of better treatment for wounded soldiers speaks :-

WAS THE WAR WORTH THE COST? – 'Despite the heroic efforts of Canadian Forces men and women, and the great respect they deservedly won for our nation, our mission in Kandahar was definitely not worth the cost of over 150 Canadian lives lost and countless others destroyed by the fallout of war, let alone the tens of thousands of Afghan people and other coalition forces who have also been killed.'

WHAT WAS ACHIEVED? – 'Claims by ministers and mandarins of great accomplishments are impossible to verify. At best there is a thin veneer of progress concealing an Afghan society still tormented by smuggling, extortion, murder, intimidation and the narcotics trade. Kandahar will undoubtedly fall back into the hands of the Taliban. And because we demonized the Taliban as “murderers and scumbags,” Canada likely alienated itself from moderate factions and lost any credibility to possibly influence a peaceful transition to a more moderate form of government.'

Afghanistan's Karzai says speaks to Taliban every day: report - Yahoo! News

Afghanistan's Karzai says speaks to Taliban every day: report - Yahoo! News:

Why The West Should Stay Out Of Iran

John Baron is the Member of Parliament for Basildon and Billericay. A former soldier and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, he resigned from the shadow frontbench to vote against the Iraq war, opposed our intervention in Afghanistan, and was the only Conservative MP to vote against the Libyan intervention. Excellent article by him for the New Statesman HERE.

US Designs On Baluchistan and Pakistan

The resolution garnered no coverage in U.S. mainstream media on Feb. 17, the day Mr. Rohrabacher introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But it was quickly picked up by Pakistani media, which interpreted the move as part of a grand plan by the U.S. to dismember Pakistan.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., said in a statement in response to the bill that “provocations such as these will seriously impact the Pakistan-US relations.”
Then, on Saturday, Richard Hoagland, deputy U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, was summoned by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, which had this to say:
“Ambassador Hoagland was told in clear terms that the move in the U.S. Congress was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations and violative of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and recognized norms of inter-state conduct. He was asked to convey the serious concern of the Government of Pakistan to the U.S. Administration.” More here.

Children Killed By Cold Really Killed By The War

The 40 Afghan civilians, mostly children, belatedly being reported as killed by the weather were actually displaced civilians living under canvas. They were killed by the war and occupation.

Koran Burning - Mysterious NATO Apology

Protest Outside Bagram Airbase This Morning
Reports of the Koran burning have led to a large protest outside the US air base at Bagram outside Kabul.
Police told the BBC that about 3,000 people were taking part in the demonstration and that some elders have gone into the base to talk to Nato officials.
The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency has reported that the protesters have started a bonfire in front of the airfield.
In his statement, Gen Allen said that the investigation would examine whether troops at Bagram air base "improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans".

"The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities," the statement said but strangely omitted any further details. More

Monday, 20 February 2012

L'Election Présidentielle Yéménite Divise la Population

Un an après la révolte qui a embrasé le Yémen, la population doit se rendre aux urnes, le 21 février, pour élire son nouveau président. Un scrutin qui divise les électeurs, partagés entre espoir et désenchantement. Plus Ici.

Iranian Nuclear Weapons? - Who Has What?

Forgotten Victims Of Afghanistan

Scoring The War On Terror

The task of demonstrating the validity of COIN beyond Iraq fell to General Stanley McChrystal, appointed with much fanfare in 2009 to command U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Press reports celebrated McChrystal as another Petraeus, the ideal candidate to replicate the achievements already credited to “King David.”
McChrystal’s ascendency came at a moment when a cult of generalship gripped Washington. Rather than technology being the determinant of success as Rumsfeld had believed, the key was to put the right guy in charge and then let him run with things. Political figures on both sides of the aisle fell all over themselves declaring McChrystal the right guy for Afghanistan. Pundits of all stripes joined the chorus.
Once installed in Kabul, the general surveyed the situation and, to no one’s surprise, announced that “success demands a comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign.” Implementing that campaign would necessitate an Afghan “surge” mirroring the one that had seemingly turned Iraq around. In December 2009, albeit with little evident enthusiasm, President Barack Obama acceded to his commander’s request (or ultimatum). The U.S. troop commitment to Afghanistan rapidly increased. Read More.

RealityZone; A New Era ?: US General: "Iran a Rational Actor", but is US one?

RealityZone; A New Era ?: US General: "Iran a Rational Actor", but is US one?:

'via Blog this'

Afghan Singer Sarban

Warning. Sarban has a good voice but he may be bit flashy and extrovert for some of our readers. It is possible to be too happy  :)

Minerals Of Conflict

Bordering the restive tribal areas of Pakistan, Khost Province is home to a number of criminal mining syndicates, many of which specialize in the surface extraction of chromite.[13] In May 2010, the director of Khost’s mining department, Engineer Laiq, admitted the provincial government has failed to prevent the smuggling and illegal extraction of Khost’s chromite ore despite the presence of 300 armed security guards tasked with securing the mines.[14] Afghan security officials indicate these syndicates are small in number, namely a few large families, who smuggle the ore across the border to Pakistan where members of the Wazir tribe buy and trade the mineral to international customers. Analysts previously speculated that the illegal extraction of chromite in Khost amounts to nearly 20 million Afghanis ($413,907) per year, although the Afghan government believes it loses one million Afghanis ($20,695) in lost revenue from illegal chromite excavations in Khost each day.[15] Besides lost revenue, the Afghan government faces a growing threat from the merger between corrupt business elites and local criminal syndicates who outsource chromite smuggling operations and pay “protection” fees to members of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Haqqani network affiliates to ensure that the movement of illegally mined chromites reach market destinations in Pakistan without interference. MORE.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Iran Blockade - An Act Of War

Radio Afghanistan 4afghan Radio listen radio Afghan music Live TV Araiana TV Afghan Radio TV stream live Tv

Radio Afghanistan

Peace Talks Faltering

Karzai set up a 70-member High Peace Council two years ago, with Wafa as a member, to try and negotiate an end to the war, now dragging into its eleventh year.
It is meant to represent all ethnic and political alliances in a bid to reach out to the Taleban leadership, as well as convince grassroots insurgent fighters to join the government.
Wafa, however, questioned its effectiveness, and said its wide makeup actually made it difficult for the government to reach out to militant groups.
"I have told President Karzai and he promised that there would be repair of the peace council. I am not afraid to speak out, but it doesn't much bear fruit. There must be a review," he said in an interview.
"I think genuine people aren't part of the peace council, or there are individuals who the Taleban fought in the past or some communist baqaya (remains) in the council, because of whom the Taleban aren't interested in talks." Wafa, one of the Afghan government's most experienced bureaucrats, said a reorganization of the council could help kick-start talks in Qatar, where the Taleban has set up an office to build contacts with the United States, or elsewhere. MORE.

Iranian Warships In Mediterranean

Saturday, 18 February 2012

NATO Killing Of 8 Children 'Not Co-ordinated'

The spin-routines and self-justification statements from the various sides aren't co-ordinated either.
"We have assigned a delegation to talk to NATO why they didn't inform us of the operation," Mohammadi said, insisting that the number of civilian casualties caused by Afghan and NATO forces had decreased "considerably" due to 'good coordination', but the Kapisa incident was an exception.However, a NATO spokesman last week said the operation was jointly conducted with Afghan police in the area.According to a UN report a record number of civilians were killed in Afghanistan's decade-long war last year -- the fifth straight year the death toll has risen. Full story.

Pessimism Of US Defence Officials

What they say in their committees is at serious odds with what NATO/ISAF and the Pentagon put out for the soporific US public and the world.
Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee at its annual worldwide threat hearing, that endemic corruption and persistent qualitative deficiencies existed in the Afghan army and police forces, and these drawbacks were undermining NATO-led coalition efforts to extend effective governance and security.
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said that while the Taliban had lost ground in the last year, he was of the view that the Hamid Karzai government may find it difficult to survive if the U.S. steadily pulls out its troops and reduces military and civilian assistance. The only people who objected to the gloomy findings were Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of Western forces in the war, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
"Without going into the specifics of classified National Intelligence Estimates, I can certainly confirm that they took issue with the NIE on three counts, having to do with the assumptions that were made about force structure -- didn't feel that we gave sufficient weight to Pakistan and its impact as a safe haven, and generally felt that the NIE was pessimistic," Clapper said.
Clapper, who has served nearly half a century around U.S. intelligence, argued that it was only natural for intelligence analysts to see things differently than ground commanders.
"If you'll forgive a little history, sir," he said, "I served as an analyst briefer for Gen. [William] Westmoreland in Vietnam in 1966. I kind of lost my professional innocence a little bit then, when I found out that operational commanders sometimes don't agree with their view of the success of their campaign as compared to and contrasted with that perspective displayed by intelligence.
"Fast-forward about 25 years or so and I served as the chief of Air Force intelligence during Desert Storm," he said. "Gen. Schwarzkopf protested long and loud all during and after the war about the accuracy of the intelligence. In fact, it didn't comport with his view."
"Classically, intelligence is supposedly in the portion of the glass that's half empty, and operational commanders and policymakers, for that matter, are often in the portion of the glass that's half full," he said.
"Probably the truth is somewhere at the water line. So I don't find it a bad thing. In fact, I think it's healthy that there is contrast between what the operational commanders believe and what the intelligence community assesses."

Cutting Back In Afghanistan

Illustration from the Brookings Institute.U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking to reporters in Brussels, said the size of the future Afghan force will largely depend on "the funds that are going to be put on the table." The U.S. is looking for additional contributions from countries outside NATO, such as Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and Arab Gulf monarchies. There is serious disagreement about this within NATO.

Friday, 17 February 2012

AfPak, Iran Seeking Non-Interference

From the Press Trust Of India - 
The statement said the three countries “reiterated their full support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive process of peace and reconciliation” in Afghanistan.
Pakistan President Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured Afghan President Hamid Karzai that they would “extend full cooperation and stressed that any initiative in this regard must have authentic Afghan ownership”, the statement said.
Though the statement made no mention of the sanctions imposed on Teheran or reported Israeli threats to mount an attack on Iran, the statement said the three countries would not “allow any threat emanating from their respective territories against each other”.
They also agreed to “commence trilateral consultations on an agreement in this regard”, the statement said without giving details. Link.

US Cannot Hold Talks - Karzai

A Taliban spokesman said last week that the office in Qatar was opened at their suggestion.
But the Afghan President told the anchors and columnists that that the US cannot hold talks with the Taliban on behalf of his government.
Karzai is currently in Islamabad for a trilateral summit of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan being hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari. Read More.

Eurodrones - UK To Play Leading Role

Under the plan, Britain's BAE and the French planemaker Dassault – rivals in the battle for sales of the present generation of fighter planes – will be asked to collaborate in the creation of a prototype of a Star Wars-type, ground-controlled "fighter drone" by 2020. Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy are expected to present the project as proof of continuing – or revived – Anglo-French friendship despite last year's rift over tighter fiscal discipline in the eurozone. More here.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

'Peace' Talks 'Confirmed'

it is noticeable that attacks on NATO/ISAF by the Taliban have decreased since the start of February. It's possibly just an effect of the Winter, though.
Kabul was initially suspicious that direct contact between American and the Taliban would marginalise his own government, but Mr Karzai said he had now "reached an agreement" with Washington.Diplomats have cautioned that contacts are still at their earliest stages and talk of a peace process is beset by mistrust from all sides.Many Afghans and members of the international coalition fear the Taliban are insincere about seeking a political deal and have only talked of opening an office to boost their prestige, raise funds in the Gulf, or buy time as Nato troops withdraw.In the meantime a United Nations report last week said the number of Afghan civilians being killed in the conflict remains at a decade-long high. More.