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  Topics - Ahhangar
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16  General / General Discussion / Somon Air - New Airline from Tajikistan on: April 17, 2009, 11:45:51 AM
Somon Air - IATA registered - Dubai Istanbul Moscow Urumchi Dushanbe





www.somonair.com
17  General / General Discussion / Obama and three and half Pashtuns ! on: January 23, 2009, 06:26:15 AM
http://news.independentminds.livejournal.com/609953.html?thread=1#t416673

Obama ready to cut Karzai adrift
Posted by The Independent
Friday, 23 January 2009 at 12:36 am
Published: 2009-01-23 00:00:01
Author: By Jerome Starkey and Kim Sengupta in Kabul


"The Americans aren't going to determine the outcome of the election, but they could suggest to people they put their differences aside and form a dream ticket," said a senior US analyst in Kabul.

Mr Obama has already started getting to grips with the challenge of Afghanistan; he received a briefing on the coming American troop "surge" from General David Petraeus on Wednesday, his first full day in the Oval Office. Last night, Mr Obama appointed the veteran US diplomat, Richard Holbrooke, as his new special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The unofficial delegation to Washington was made up of three ex-ministers and a serving governor. Dr Abdullah Abdullah was the foreign minister, Dr Ashraf Ghani served as finance minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali was interior minister and Gul Agha Sherzai is the governor of the eastern province of Nangahar, where US troops are based. When Mr Obama visited Afghanistan in July he met Governor Sherzai in Jalalabad, even before he saw President Karzai in Kabul. "They are not going to blindly back President Karzai like the Bush administration did for so long," said John Dempsey, head of the United States Institute of Peace in Kabul. On the ground in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion in Helmand province is already becoming the symbol of the Americanisation of the war in the south. US forces have started arriving and will be joined by many more. Airfields are to be built to bring in transport and warplanes in preparation for a coming offensive with the dispatch of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

Karzai officials had hoped Hillary Clinton, now the US Secretary of State, would prove their ally in White House. But those hopes were dashed last week when she branded Afghanistan a "narco-state" with a government "plagued by limited capacity and widespread corruption" during her confirmation hearing.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president's brother, was named last October in leaked US intelligence reports as a major narco-trafficker. The allegations, vigorously denied by both men, are widespread in Afghanistan but, until then, Western officials had refused to corroborate them. But the leak was seen as a shot across Mr Karzai's bows from the Bush administration, to make him clean up his act and rein in his brother. The flurry of criticism suggests the international community is less than happy with his response. Mrs Clinton's remarks coincided with stinging criticism from Nato's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who said corrupt and inefficient government was as much to blame for instability as the insurgents. Writing in The Washington Post, he said: "The basic problem in Afghanistan is not too much Taliban; it's too little good governance."

Individually, Mr Karzai's rivals risk splitting their support base. Together, diplomats are optimistic they could win the election, expected next summer, and reinvigorate a jaded population. "We need to create a new momentum, like in 2001," said Haroun Mir, co-founder of the Afghanistan Centre for Research and Policy Studies. "Change will bring hope, because right now the momentum is with the Taliban."

The planning for new policies on Afghanistan has been going on for months by Pentagon and State Department staff in anticipation of Mr Obama's inauguration. One official said: "We have to come up with fresh innovative ideas on counter-insurgency, counter-narcotics, governance, development. Now they are drafting in people from other departments. There is no doubt we neglected Afghanistan after the Taliban fell but there is a worry that we may be trying to do too much, too fast now."

A slew of initiatives are on the way. They include the arming of local groups to fight the Taliban, in the way Sunni militias were used against insurgents by General Petraeus in Iraq.

US, British and Nato forces will also play a much more direct role in counter-narcotics operations in an effort to tackle Afghanistan's heroin trade which provides 93 per cent of the world's supply of the drug.

Some policy analysts insist it is impossible to blame the Afghan president for all his country's ills. They say the international community has been ineffective, often divided and international military effort was focused on catching terrorists, not quelling an insurgency for far too long.

British anger at Taliban patients

British soldiers complain that they are being forced to share hospital facilities in Afghanistan with Taliban fighters. Enemy combatants are treated at the Camp Bastion Field Hospital in line with the Geneva Convention. But personnel are objecting to the traditional war-time practice. "My friends... were waking up in the hospital to find Taliban in the bed next to them," one soldier said. "The last thing they want to see when they come round is the Taliban on the same ward. It's just not right."

The Ministry of Defence said it had not received any complaints.

The challengers: Who might replace Karzai?

Gul Agha Sherzai

A veteran of the wars against the Soviets, Mr Sherzai (whose name means "son of a lion") is a former governor of Kandahar criticised for human rights abuses. He escaped assassination in 2006.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah

Although half Pashtun, he is considered a leader of Afghanistan's Tajik population. He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2001 and served until 2006.

Ali Ahmad Jalali

An ethnic Pashtun and former colonel, Jalali joined the anti-Soviet resistance after the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979. He took US citizenship and spent 20 years broadcasting for Voice of America.

Dr Ashraf Ghani

An ethnic Pashtun, he studied in America, at Colombia University. He worked at the World Bank from 1991 to 2001, when he returned to Afghanistan for the first time in 24 years. From 2002-04 he was Finance Minister and oversaw the successful transition to Afghanistan's new currency.

18  General / General Discussion / Barak Obama - President of USA - Inaugeration - significance for our region on: January 20, 2009, 09:28:19 AM
Obama must redefine success in Afghanistan
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2009/01/20/obama-must-redefine-success-in-afghanistan/#comment-5608
By: Paul Taylor
Tags: General, Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Barack Obama, NATO, Paul Taylor, Taliban, The Great Debate

– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Barack Obama says he will make Afghanistan the central front in his fight against terrorism but the incoming U.S. president will have to scale back the war aims he inherits from George W. Bush and redefine success.

Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 to oust a Taliban government that was harboring al Qaeda militants blamed for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

His declared goals were to defeat the Taliban, create a stable democracy and promote economic development, but he turned his attention quickly to Iraq before the task was done.

Since 2005, a revived Taliban insurgency has made growing inroads against understaffed U.S., NATO and Afghan forces, while President Hamid Karzai’s ineffective government has been mired in corruption and a booming illegal drugs trade.

The most Obama can hope to achieve in a mountainous country that wore down British and Soviet invaders is probably an ethnic power-sharing pact, including tribes that now help the Taliban, in hopes of keeping al Qaeda at bay once Western forces leave.

That is far from assured and would require cooperation from a weak Pakistani government transfixed by tension with India.

NATO officials see 2009 as crucial to turning the military and political tide before some allies start to withdraw in 2010.

“The basic problem in Afghanistan is not too much Taliban; it’s too little good governance,” NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer wrote in a Washington Post article on Sunday.

“We have paid enough, in blood and treasure, to demand that the Afghan government take more concrete and vigorous action to root out corruption and increase efficiency, even where that means difficult political choices,” he said.

Yet despite disenchantment with Karzai, no alternative leader is in sight with a presidential election due in September.

PROSPECT REMOTE

Asked in a Reuters interview last July what would constitute success in Afghanistan, Obama said: “I think our goals have to be very modest but they will still be very difficult to meet. We should want a functioning Afghan government that can maintain its own security and territorial integrity.

“…Our highest priority is making sure that the Taliban and al Qaeda can’t continue to use that region from which to launch attacks around the world. If we have routed them and scattered them, that would be success,” he said.

Despite plans to send up to 30,000 additional U.S. troops to reinforce the 32,000 already in Afghanistan, of whom about half serve in the 50,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, the prospect of routing the Taliban is remote.

Without extra forces, the West risks “a stalemate situation where we are not losing, but also not winning,” says De Hoop Scheffer.

NATO casualties rose by 34 percent last year, fueling public and parliamentary unease in many allied nations. Long, vulnerable supply lines from Pakistan to land-locked Afghanistan are under attack.

Attacks on Afghan government property and personnel were up by 134 percent and civilian casualties by 50 percent.

The British military is gloomy about security in the southern province of Helmand, where it is in the front line.

The Taliban are gaining public support, partly due to anger over civilian casualties from NATO air strikes. Despite heavy losses, they seem to have no problem recruiting fighters.

Sensing that time is on their side, Taliban leaders see little interest in local reconciliation talks offered by Kabul.

Karzai, stung by the civilian toll and perhaps with one eye on the elections, has been increasingly outspoken in criticism of foreign troops, further undermining public support for their presence and aggravating mistrust with his Western backers.

On a visit to Berlin last July, Obama challenged NATO allies to do more, saying the United States and Germany had a stake in seeing NATO’s first mission outside Europe succeed.

But European allies are unlikely to send more troops, and NATO officials expect Obama to present a shopping list of requests for police training, financial and development assistance, as well as military equipment such as helicopters, to avoid a public failure at his first alliance summit in April.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the key to success lies in Afghan public support and “Afghanisation” of the war. That requires accelerated training of the Afghan army and police and enrolling some tribal militias as security forces.

The European Union could do more than its present paltry 200 police trainers. But after pledging to double that number, it is having difficulty finding volunteers.

Writing in the journal Foreign Affairs, veteran Pakistani expert Ahmed Rashid and U.S. Afghan specialist Barnett Rubin said: “The goal of the next U.S. president must be to put aside the past, Washington’s keenness for ‘victory’ as the solution to all problems, and the United States’ reluctance to involve competitors, opponents or enemies in diplomacy.”

They advocated a major diplomatic initiative involving India, Iran, Russia and China in a regional “contact group” to stabilize both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

General David Petraeus, who changed U.S. tactics in Iraq to roll back a Sunni insurgency, has advocated such a regional political approach in Afghanistan, and veteran troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke may lead that diplomatic drive.

But Obama has little time to find a more effective combination of military pressure and diplomatic incentives to avoid being ground down in Afghanistan.
19  General / Geopolitical Studies and News / Abdul Qayom Rahbar Kalakani leader of NUFA killed by Hekmatyar ? on: January 15, 2009, 04:54:13 AM
Book: Terrorism - Lawrence Howard  1992Terrorism - Lawrence Howard  1992

While terrorism is hardly a new phenomenon, terrorism by the state and its opponents reached new levels in the twentieth century. Drawing together veteran experts on terrorism with authorities in Islam, media studies, American history, and social psychology, Dr. Howard presents a volume which lends fresh interpretations to such major issues as the origins, the impact, and the appropriate personal and public responses to terrorism. The volume covers a wide range of relevant topics, from an examination of insurgency, counterinsurgency, and terrorism during the struggle for Mexican independence in the early nineteenth century, to an overview of the difficulties of creating a concerted policy toward terrorism within the European Community, and the possible connections between terrorism and guerrilla warfare in the future. Particular attention has been placed on examining the role of the media and military retaliation in either exacerbating or checking the prevalence of terrorism. As we come to recognize that the problem of terrorism can not be viewed solely through the lens of military policy, we need to rethink the concepts and assumptions of international security using the additional disciplines of cross-cultural studies, psychology, and history. This collection makes a major contribution by refocusing our thinking, toward an interdisciplinary approach and will be of value to policy makers, as well as those involved with military studies, social psychology, and international relations.


SEARCH INSIDE BOOK




-------------


I found out about a particular organisation in there called the National United Front of Afghanistan - Jabhai  e Mutahed Milli Afghanistan - once headed by Majid Kalakani and subsequently headed by his brother Abdul Qayom Rahbar Kalakani...... both assasinated - one by AMIN and the other by ISI/Hekmatyar.....

They were portrayed as Chinese Agents by Pashtun favouring Russians - and their Pushtun clients - and in general by other Pashtun nationalists -  in order to discredit their calls for a contitutional reform in Afghanistan.

Hassan Kakakar - in his book - portrays him as a bandit - and calls the other famous Kalakani - Habibulah - as another bandit.

Here is an extract from it - the blue comments are min:.

Quote
Among the pro-Chinese leftist groups SAMA, the most practical, was known to the public, while the rest were known primarily to their members. Majid Kalakani founded SAMA in late 1978. In 1979, in concert with other “nationalist groups,” SAMA forged a front, the  National  United  Front  of Afghanistan, or NUFA (Jabha-e-Mutahid-e-Milli-e-Afghanistan). Dominated by SAMA, NUFA was an urban guerrilla alliance. According to Khalid Duran,

[NUFA] outlined a clear program for the war of liberation as well as subsequent political and socioeconomic reconstruction. While NUFA declared itself free of any ideology, it defined itself as “national democratic.” The adherence to democracy was substantiated by a clear affirmation of universal suffrage and human rights, with full equality for women and minorities as well as freedom of worship, all within a federal state with far reaching autonomy for the various nationalities and language groups.[41]
Despite this proclamation, the public still heard the acronym SAMA, not NUFA.


SAMA’s significance was largely due to the adventurousness of its leader, Majid Kalakani, who was more of a social bandit than a leader of leftists.
Here Pashtunist Kakar attacks the significance of that party - and by default its goals of reform of the conceot of Afghanistan He was a teacher, and while a student he was alleged to have killed the principal of his school, for which he spent two years in prison. Known to his followers as Majid Agha and in the Western press as “the Afghan Robin Hood,” he had become active in his region as early as the first years of the 1970s. He came from the village of Kalakan, from where in the late 1920s the social bandit Habibullah captured the throne and became the ruler of the country for nine months.Here Kakar attacks the cause of all Kalakanis - as just another Kalakani bandit Majid Kalakani stood for armed as well as cultural and political struggle. He also valued constructive traditions, in particular the custom of opposing social injustice and observing the code of social morality by accepting risk with boldness and chivalry (’ayyari). This attitude, which distanced him from the dogmatic revolutionaries, brought him closer to the common people. An admirer of Kalakani writes, “Unlike the intellectual revolutionaries who look at the people from above, Majid Agha lived among them. The people felt him to be with them. He was knowable to the people. His language was the language of the people and his ideal the ideal of the people. Upto this point he thoughouly paints a picture that these elements were pro another foriegn power - the Chinese and that in the end the leader was just gunned down in Peshwar - leading you to think of them as not of any significance -

The suppression of the pro-Chinese elements shows the fate of revolutionary leftists in Afghanistan when unsupported by the might of a foreign power. Kakar - here attempts to leave the lasting impression that NUFA/SAMA was a forign sponsored group - hence his group did not survive.   But in reality - the articifical illegitimate concept of Afghanistan would not survive - if it were not the foriengers constantly sponsoring its upkeep and the killing of those indigneous groups whom replace it with something more representative and proper....but for KAKAR the Pashtunist it is far more apt to paint the illigitmate concept of Afghanistan as something natural and legitimate and anything questioning its very being as being foriegn sponsored and thus illegitimate...... this tactic has been used countless times by the Pushtun puppet regeim in Kabul and it's mouthpieces like Kakar and other Pashtunist intellectuals.... they are using it again today .... Karzai the biggest Puppet of all attacks Rabanis group ... Jabhaie Mutahaed Milli Afghanistan - which is incidently the same exact name of the Kalakani led NUFA -  as being the work of 'foriegn embassies'... all Pashtunist everywhere do their best to smear this group....especially the ones whom have associated themselves with SDP of Germany since the demise of the NUFA

But a more objective description of them is given the book Terrorism by Lawrence Howard ..... http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ctoPBr3UEwYC&pg=PA61&dq=kalakani   in which it describes them as being without support from the outside - and as essentially indigenous.... the leaders of which were assasinated by Amin in Kabul and ISI-Hekmatyar in Peshawar... ....... 

It says that the Social Democratic Party of Germany had choosen this group NUFA as a partner and invited its leader to Germany - but he was assasinated oon his way to the airport.......  it makes me wonder wheter the Afghan Mellat were also involved in these games since Afghan Mellat have tried very hard to close themselves to the Social Semocratic Party of Germany - presenting themselves as the proper social nationalists...... I just wonder..... it does seem a thread worth investigating....

IT makes my blood boil when I see the way KAKAR - the Pashtun chovanists - always is careful to protect the Pashtun centric view of the idea of Afghanistan - as something wholly ans unchangable... very clever it is and totally devoid of any sense of honour and respect of the truth......pure self interest.  To beat succh a spinless enemy - we must expose all of their snake like tactics..



Do any of you have any more info on the group lead by Majid Kalakani and subsequent to his death - by his brother - Abdul Qayom Rahbar Kalakani?   What happened to their party after the assasniation of their Kalakani brothers leadership?




Ahhangar

20  General / Geopolitical Studies and News / Afghanistan: Slicing Up a Traditional Buffer State: Regional Repercussions of th on: January 14, 2009, 02:33:22 PM
Here is a great article published on the eve of Massoud's take over of Kabul - hinting at the Tajik ethnic factor it represents and the reprecutions of that in the region...... it is not the whole article though....for that a subscription is needed....if anyone has this article in full or has access to it via their library/university/college - then make the effort to post the whole thing on here...



Afghanistan: Slicing Up a Traditional Buffer State: Regional Repercussions of the Mujahideen Takeover in Kabul

Section: MODERN THOUGHT / AFGHAN AFTERMATH
Author: Khalid Duran

Publication: The World & I Online

Issue Date: 12/1/1992

Size: 5,781 Words, 35,756 Characters

After the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afghanistan witnessed a war of liberation that led not only to the withdrawal of the Red Army but to the collapse of the Soviet empire as a whole. Nevertheless, the disappearance of the Soviet-installed regime, with the Soviet withdrawal in 1988, did not bring peace to this Muslim nation; on the contrary, it ushered in a process of ravaging dissolution and complex war that may well lead to the disappearance of the state of Afghanistan, analogous to the breaking asunder of Yugoslavia in the middle of a multidimensional civil war.

In April 1978, a successful coup by pro-Soviet army offices unleashed a multitude of centrifugal forces. Accompanied by much bloodshed and a total disruption of traditional values, this tragic event destroyed the delicate balance of power that had kept this nation of many nationalities together.


The fall of Kabul to an alliance of mujahideen from northern Afghanistan in April 1992 was brought about chiefly by General Dostam, a warlord of Afghanistan's small Uzbek minority. He commands an efficient tribal militia said to number ten thousand men.

In January 1992, Dostam and his elite troops were the central pillar of Dr. Sayid Mohammed Najibullah's communist regime. After switching sides, they became the pillar holding up the fractious mujahideen government, headed by the powerless mullah Sibghatullah Mojadidi. For the time being at least, Dostam eclipsed his partner in power, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the guerrilla leader idolized in some two dozen books and innumerable press reports.

Rival Cousins: Tajiks And Pashtuns

The fall of Kabul symbolizes, more than anything else, the ascendance of the Tajiks, long regarded as a minority under the heel of a majority of Pashtuns. (Note that he say '...long regarded as a minority... he does not agree with this assumption of Tajiks being minority compared to the Pashtus....he explains why further on in the article)

Both Tajiks and Pashtuns are branches of the Iranian family of nations, along with the Baluch in the south and the Kurds in the west. In their vast majority, all of these Iranian cousins are Sunni Muslims, which distinguishes them from the Shiite Persians. The Tajiks are said to have evolved as a separate nation, due to heavy racial mixing with Arabs who settled there after the Muslim invasions in the seventh and eighth centuries. ( Here he is again care to attribute these things to hersay - saying 'Tajik are said to be.... thoug I agree with him that those amongst US persian speakers whom value their sectarian religious idenities above everything else separate themselves from eveyone else...this goes for both Sunni and Shia... )

The Pashtuns, who speak a different language (though related to Persian), call themselves Afghans and have given their name to this country of many nationalities. Some of the non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan still prefer to call the country by its ancient name, Khorassan.

The Pashtuns inhabit mainly the southeastern regions, along the border with Pakistan. There are probably three times more Pashtuns in Pakistan, some 17-19 million out of nearly 120 million Pakistanis. Chauvinists claim that Pashtuns constitute 60 percent of Afghanistan's roughly fifteen million inhabitants; but the real percentage is no more than 34-35 percent, and Tajiks are just as many. They might even have a slight edge over the Pashtuns now. In the fifties, the demographic situation changed in favor of the Tajiks, and this is one reason why some of their radicals founded a liberation movement called Setam-E Melli (National Oppression), which stands for "struggle against the oppression of nationalities in Afghanistan by the dominant Pashtuns."

While there are a little more than five million Tajiks in Afghanistan, in Tajikistan there are a little less than five million. Another almost five million Tajiks live as minorities distributed over Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. In other words, today the chief country of Tajiks is Afghanistan, whereas ...

MISSING PART

.......to themselves, Afghans have usually found ways to get along with one another, despite their ethnic and religious differences.

The problem is the time factor. How long will it take for this conclusion to dawn upon the opponents? At the moment, it looks like it is too late for any such compromise, like Afghanistan is in for an all-out war, as a testing ground for competing regional powers.

Link http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:mIUFuYtwBNIJ:www.articlesinmagazines.com/MODERN_THOUGHT/Afghanistan_Slicing_Up_a_Traditional_Bu.htm+%22slicing+up+a+traditional+buffer+state%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=uk

-------------------------------------------------




A census was started under Taraki/Amin era - but was promoptly stopped/results hidden due to the fact that it was going to confirm the that the government propagated idea of a Pashtun majority was a fallacy - and even some of the people involved in the work were imprisoned and maybe executed....... there was many noises made under the Karzai package that a censuss will be carried out - but it was again quickly hushed up - when the facts about the previous attempt ( the Taraki/Amin ) started sufacing.  They are scared to take a proper survey....and they even still attempt to propagate the idea of a Pashtun majority and that the Nomad population of Pashtuns is something near to two million....which is again a false claim.  There is a constant effort to recruit Pashtuns from the other side of the border in order that they may remove non Pashtuns from their land - like the case of Behsud.

Tajiks are the biggest single group - and combined with other Persian speaking groups - and the fact that Persian is the lingua franca of Afghanistan's many different peoples - there is every justification to eject this false concept of Afghanistan from that land....but that is why the Pashtunists fear a genuine democracy from forming....and why they oppose a decentralised parliamentary system. They wish to change the dynamics and culture of the territory by using their artificial 'state instruments' - and inventing nonsense like 'national terms' and forcing Pashtu identities on everyone.... and trying their best to keep the international community from realizing this.

The will loose ..... how soon that happens depends upon us Tajiks and our unity and purpose to expose both nationally and internationally the illegitimate nature of the concept of Quasi State Afghanistan.

Ahhangar

21  General / The Study of the Concept of Afghanistan / Afghanistan: Slicing Up a Traditional Buffer State: Regional Repercussions of th on: January 14, 2009, 02:30:46 PM
Here is a great article published on the eve of Massoud's take over of Kabul - hinting at the Tajik ethnic factor it represents and the reprecutions of that in the region...... it is not the whole article though....for that a subscription is needed....if anyone has this article in full or has access to it via their library/university/college - then make the effort to post the whole thing on here...



Afghanistan: Slicing Up a Traditional Buffer State: Regional Repercussions of the Mujahideen Takeover in Kabul

Section: MODERN THOUGHT / AFGHAN AFTERMATH
Author: Khalid Duran

Publication: The World & I Online

Issue Date: 12/1/1992

Size: 5,781 Words, 35,756 Characters

After the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afghanistan witnessed a war of liberation that led not only to the withdrawal of the Red Army but to the collapse of the Soviet empire as a whole. Nevertheless, the disappearance of the Soviet-installed regime, with the Soviet withdrawal in 1988, did not bring peace to this Muslim nation; on the contrary, it ushered in a process of ravaging dissolution and complex war that may well lead to the disappearance of the state of Afghanistan, analogous to the breaking asunder of Yugoslavia in the middle of a multidimensional civil war.

In April 1978, a successful coup by pro-Soviet army offices unleashed a multitude of centrifugal forces. Accompanied by much bloodshed and a total disruption of traditional values, this tragic event destroyed the delicate balance of power that had kept this nation of many nationalities together.

The fall of Kabul to an alliance of mujahideen from northern Afghanistan in April 1992 was brought about chiefly by General Dostam, a warlord of Afghanistan's small Uzbek minority. He commands an efficient tribal militia said to number ten thousand men.

In January 1992, Dostam and his elite troops were the central pillar of Dr. Sayid Mohammed Najibullah's communist regime. After switching sides, they became the pillar holding up the fractious mujahideen government, headed by the powerless mullah Sibghatullah Mojadidi. For the time being at least, Dostam eclipsed his partner in power, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the guerrilla leader idolized in some two dozen books and innumerable press reports.

Rival Cousins: Tajiks And Pashtuns

The fall of Kabul symbolizes, more than anything else, the ascendance of the Tajiks, long regarded as a minority under the heel of a majority of Pashtuns.

Both Tajiks and Pashtuns are branches of the Iranian family of nations, along with the Baluch in the south and the Kurds in the west. In their vast majority, all of these Iranian cousins are Sunni Muslims, which distinguishes them from the Shiite Persians. The Tajiks are said to have evolved as a separate nation, due to heavy racial mixing with Arabs who settled there after the Muslim invasions in the seventh and eighth centuries.

The Pashtuns, who speak a different language (though related to Persian), call themselves Afghans and have given their name to this country of many nationalities. Some of the non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan still prefer to call the country by its ancient name, Khorassan.

The Pashtuns inhabit mainly the southeastern regions, along the border with Pakistan. There are probably three times more Pashtuns in Pakistan, some 17-19 million out of nearly 120 million Pakistanis. Chauvinists claim that Pashtuns constitute 60 percent of Afghanistan's roughly fifteen million inhabitants; but the real percentage is no more than 34-35 percent, and Tajiks are just as many. They might even have a slight edge over the Pashtuns now. In the fifties, the demographic situation changed in favor of the Tajiks, and this is one reason why some of their radicals founded a liberation movement called Setam-E Melli (National Oppression), which stands for "struggle against the oppression of nationalities in Afghanistan by the dominant Pashtuns."

While there are a little more than five million Tajiks in Afghanistan, in Tajikistan there are a little less than five million. Another almost five million Tajiks live as minorities distributed over Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. In other words, today the chief country of Tajiks is Afghanistan, whereas ...

MISSING PART

.......to themselves, Afghans have usually found ways to get along with one another, despite their ethnic and religious differences.

The problem is the time factor. How long will it take for this conclusion to dawn upon the opponents? At the moment, it looks like it is too late for any such compromise, like Afghanistan is in for an all-out war, as a testing ground for competing regional powers.

Link http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:mIUFuYtwBNIJ:www.articlesinmagazines.com/MODERN_THOUGHT/Afghanistan_Slicing_Up_a_Traditional_Bu.htm+%22slicing+up+a+traditional+buffer+state%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=uk

Ahhangar
22  General / General Discussion / Life in Tajikistan's 'death valley' on: January 12, 2009, 12:59:04 PM
Shocking report about large numbers of deaths due to TB in Tajikistan's southern province of Khalton - on the border with Afghanistan......  a small medical team could innoculate those people...such a waste of live.....please make an effort in trying to help these people.....



Life in Tajikistan's 'death valley'

By Rayhan Demytrie
BBC News, Tajikistan

VIDEO : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7758736.stm

Tuberculosis has been the blight of 36-year-old Mirzo Nosirov's life.

In the past four years he has lost 13 close relatives to the disease.

"The last to die were my daughter and my brother," he says. "I buried them on the same day."

Mirzo lives in the village of Karagoch, about 200km (125 miles) south of Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe. Almost every household here in "death valley" has a member of their family who is either dead or ill.

TB is rampant throughout the surrounding region of Khtalon, and is one of the biggest public health problems in the country as a whole.

A 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) report estimated that the infection rate was at epidemic levels - 204 cases per 100,000 of the population, compared with about 15 in western Europe.

Figures from the Tajik health ministry paint a less alarming picture. They suggest that in the same year there were just 75 new cases of TB.

But both agree that, since then, cases have risen.

Aid agencies claim the situation is especially bad in rural areas because they are facing more and more cases of TB which is resistant to multiple drugs.

Its resilience has made some locals sceptical that it is actually TB that is doing the killing.

"I personally don't believe it's tuberculosis. How would you explain the fact that it is mainly killing those who are under 30?" says Ostankulov Kholmat, who has lived in Karagoch all his life.

"It's never been as bad as this," he adds.

Another factor helping the disease to spread is a lack of knowledge about the dangers of infection. Local customs and habits include eating from the same dish and not isolating those who become infected - and many households are poorly ventilated.


Poor man's disease

The principal reason behind the spread of TB is poverty. In rural areas of Tajikistan few can afford to buy nutritious food and medication.

Mirzo says his afflicted family members all received treatment in the local hospital.

"But it didn't help, it only made them feel worse," he says.

The hospital has little to offer. It lacks electricity, central heating and running water.

"This is the main treatment area," says a nurse, pointing at two plastic drips standing in a dark corner of a dingy room.

Next to the drip is an old-fashioned basin with a plastic tray underneath.

Tajikistan's healthcare system has not undergone any major investment since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

According to the WHO's 2008 World Health Report, the Tajik authorities spend less than $100 (£67) per person on healthcare.

In a country where more than half of the population live below the poverty line, few can afford proper medical care.

Foreign aid

A number of international donors are supporting Tajikistan in its fight against TB. In July 2008 the German Development Bank allocated more than $3m to finance a TB project in the country.

One of the biggest aid agencies operating in the country is the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It has allocated almost $15m to Tajikistan between 2007 and 2012 to fight TB. Most of these funds go to the national TB programme.

"Since 2003 the Global Fund has approved funding of up to $40m to fight tuberculosis," says Saleban Omar, a programme manager for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which distributes Global Fund money in Tajikistan.

"As international donors, we can provide technical assistance and financial support," he says, while emphasising that the government still needs to address the problem fully.

Fresh graves

Tajikistan's health ministry says the government is aware of the problem and is treating the worst-affected areas. It claims the state is working on a special programme aimed at eliminating the disease by 2010.

In a written statement it even claimed the mortality rate had fallen and that those who died were mainly patients with chronic TB.

Back in Karagoch village, a group of men are emerging from a traditional Thursday ritual to remember the recently deceased.

They cannot explain what is happening in their village, but one man simply says: "Visit our cemetery and you will see many fresh graves there."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7773139.stm

Published: 2009/01/09 02:03:00 GMT
23  General / Geopolitical Studies and News / War Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan ‘Only a Matter of Time,’ Kazakh Expert War on: January 12, 2009, 12:52:06 PM
War Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan ‘Only a Matter of Time,’ Kazakh Expert Warns        
January 07, 2009

WINDOW ON EURASIA
Paul Goble

Vienna, January 7 – Both the situation along the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and political imperatives in their respective capitals mean that a serious military conflict between the two countries is “only a matter of time,” according to an analyst who serves as an advisor to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In an article posted online at the end of last week, Gul’nur Rakhmatullina, a senior scholar at the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies, says that tensions between the two countries and peoples are growing and threaten to break out into full-scale fighting at almost any time.

Among the causes, she says, are not only the disputes about the Tajik enclave of Vorukh inside Kyrgyzstan and about 70 places along the border but also about the influx of Kyrgyz migrants into southern Kyrgyzstan and access by one side or the other to water and other resources.

The Vorukh enclave, which resembles Nagorno-Karabakh in some respects, is a 130,000 square kilometer territory with more than 20,000 people, 95 percent of whom are Tajiks, is perhaps the most well-known and neuralgic of these conflicts. Administratively subordinate to Tajikistan’s Sogdian oblast, it is entirely surrounded by Kyrgyz territory.

In addition, the two countries disagree on the demarcation of the border between them. Tajikistan insists on using maps from 1925, which show portions of the southern part of what is now Kyrgyzstan as Tajik territory, while Kyrgyzstan argues that Soviet maps from the 1950s, which show those lands belong to it, be used.

And both these problems are compounded by demographic changes. Ever more Tajiks are moving into southern Kyrgyzstan, not only creating the basis for irredentist challenges including the absorption of territories around Vorukh but undermining Bishkek’s ability to control access to resources in that part of its territory.

These demographic changes, Rakhmatullina says, are now so great that Kyrgyzstan could, if ethnicity becomes the defining factor, lose from a third to a half of its Batken oblast to Tajikistan. At the very least, her argument suggests, Dushanbe would find many supporters for changing Tajikistan’s borders, and Bishkek would have great difficulty in defending its territory.

Conflicts between the two Central Asian countries have been simmering for some time. There were serious clashes in Vorukh-Tanga in 1982 and Matche-Aktatyr in 1988, and over the last two or three years, the Kazakh analyst says, there have been smaller fights between members of the two nationalities at various points along the border.

The most serious of these occurred in March 2008 in Batken oblast “when,” as the Kazakhstan expert writes, “more than 150 Tajik citizens led by the head of the administration of the Isfarin district invaded the territory of Kyrgyzstan and with the use of a bulldozer attempted to destroy a dam which was blocking the flow of irrigation water to Tajik territory.”

These border problems are likely to escalate in the near future because of the political situation in the two capitals, Rakhmatullina says. First, each wants to show its own population and the world that its country is not “a failed state” or at least that it is less so than its neighbor – attitudes that have often led to wars elsewhere.

Second, both governments have their own reasons for deciding that they need to move sooner rather than later, the Kyrgyz because of the expansion of Tajiks into the south and the Tajiks because of a calculation that if they do not move soon, then the Kyrgyz will succeed in enlisting international support to keep the borders where they are.

And third, Rakhmatullina says, both countries have been building up their forces and launching the kind of “information war” against the other, efforts that are likely to make it more difficult for elites to back down when they feel themselves threatened by real or imagined challenges from the other nation.

She concludes ominously: “Given increasing disorders in border territories and conflicts over the definition of borders, access to water and so on, the unilateral actions of Bishkek and Dushanbe without regard to the views of the other, points to the possibility of a real threat of interethnic armed conflicts.”

And those conflicts, the Kazakh analyst says, mean that “the question of the use of arms and the armed forces [and hence of a broader war between these two Central Asian countries] is only a question of time…”


---------------------------------



Scaremongering ?  OR realistic?

------------------------------------


I think such a conflict would be to the detriment of both Kyrgztan and Tajikistan and to the benefit of Uzbekistan and Kazakstan - both with an interest in the water resources of those countries' mountains.
24  General / General Discussion / BBC Persian-Language Service Channel Sets Launch Date14 January on: January 12, 2009, 12:46:12 PM
BBC Persian-Language Service Sets Launch Date


LONDON, January 8: On January 14, BBC World Service is set to launch its news and information channel for Persian-language speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere around the world.

 

BBC Persian TV is intended to reach consumers on a variety of platforms: radio, television, the Internet, mobile phones and handheld computers. Broadcast from the BBC studios in London, BBC Persian TV will be available for eight hours a day, seven days a week, from 5 p.m. Tehran time. It will be accessible to anyone with a satellite dish or cable connection in the region, via Hotbird and Telstar satellites. It will also be streamed live online on bbcpersian.com.

 

In addition to news and information, it will feature several original factual programs, such as a weekly youth show, as well as strands on music, arts and culture, science and technology and sport. A documentary showcase will highlight the best Iranian, Afghani and Tajik documentary making. The rollout follows last year's launch of BBC Arabic.

 

"The launch of BBC Persian TV is an event of major importance for the BBC and for audiences in the region," said Nigel Chapman, the director of BBC World Service. "Using the power of television, it will bring 'the world to its viewers', and thus meet the needs of audiences who tell us that they want more access to the BBC's high-quality news and information services. We want this BBC channel to set new standards in Persian-language television broadcasting. BBC Persian TV builds on our distinguished history of broadcasting in Persian and brings the best of the BBC's news and documentary programs to audiences."


-----------------------


Great news !   By its very existence - this channel will increase the Pan Persian feeling - raising the conciosuness of the masses about the all Persian speakers....even though it will have an agenda of its own - its primary aim will be to attract viewers....

It will be of great significance in the upcomming months - since Iran will be having an election aswell as Afghanistan - and major new polcicies will be implemented by the US in our region....

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25  General / General Discussion / 6th International Congress of World Teachers of Persian Language and Literature on: January 12, 2009, 12:38:50 PM
Anyone with info on this conference and the previosu five conferences - post them here....

-------

News article: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8710221079
 
Tajik Guests of Iran's Persian Literature Congress Arrive

TEHRAN (FNA)- Twelve Tajik scholars arrived in Tehran on Saturday to attend the 6th International Congress of World Teachers of Persian Language and Literature, which will be held at the University of Tehran on January 14 and 15.    

About 300 Iranian and foreign scholars are invited to the program of whom some will deliver speeches on different aspects of Persian language and literature, Tehran Times reported.

The foreign guests of the congress have been scheduled to have several meetings with cultural officials from Iran's Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.

Several trips to Iran's famous tourist sites have also been arranged for the guests.

In addition, the organizers plan to review the literature on the Iran-Iraq 1980-1988 war, known as the Sacred Defense, on the sideline of the congress, which will be sponsored by the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.

------------------------

Ahhangar
26  General / Tajik History, Culture and Civilization / Journal Paper: The Salience of Political Ethic in the Spread of Persianate Islam on: January 07, 2009, 08:59:49 AM
Dorood all,

Great Article ! Read it. (Though one mistake - the author cites Lazard about the background of the word 'Tajik'; claiming that the word Tajik is the Sogdian version of the word Tazi and generally applied to Iranian muslims) - Tajik is derived from Chino-Turkic and is a designation for Iranians/Aryans/Sassanians.


Abstract of paper:

Persianate Islam developed in close connection with the rise of independent monarchies and state formation in Iran from the last decades of the ninth century onward. Political ethic and norms of statecraft developed under the Samanids and Ghaznavids, and constituted a major component of Persianate Islam from the very beginning. When Islam spread to India under the Delhi Sultanate in the thirteenth century and to the Sultanates in Malaysia and Indonesia after the fifteenth, Persianate political ethic was one of its two salient components, Sufism being the other. The immigrating Persian bureaucratic class engaged in state formation for Indian rulers became the carriers of this political ethic, importing it in its entirety and together with symbols and institutions of royalty and justice. With the continued eastward expansion of Islam, Persianate political ethic and royal institutions spread beyond India into the sprawling Malay world.

Download full paper :  http://rapidshare.com/files/180722143/The_Salience_of_Political_Ethic_in_the_Spread_of_Persianate_Islam.pdf

My view is that Samanids are the father of virtually all Persianate societies - and that we ought to like other before us - hold it up as an ideal to be atleast matched and bettered upon in our government structures of the future.

Ahhangar

Ahhangar
27  General / Geopolitical Studies and News / Afghainstan the fallacy - cuture of our people - up comming elections - etc. on: January 07, 2009, 04:36:52 AM
A viewpoint from Pakistan - about Afghanistan.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008\11\01\story_1-11-2008_pg3_4..

analysis: Our northwestern neighbour —Salman Tarik Kureshi

We have been ruinously harmed, first by Afghanistan’s meddling in our affairs and then by the multi-dimensional backlash of our own intervention in Afghanistan. The best policy would be to sort out our own problems and leave Afghanistan to its own destiny

“Good fences,” wrote the poet Robert Frost, “Make good neighbours,” meaning thereby that it is wise to stay off your neighbours’ property and out of their affairs. Alas, this has seldom been true of the dealings between Pakistan and our northwestern neighbour Afghanistan.

Right back in 1947, Pakistan’s appearance on the world map was first recognised by the countries of the world — beginning with Britain and India and then the Soviet Union, which, it may by the way interest readers to know, had earlier supported the Pakistan Movement as the ‘national self-determination’ movement of Indian Muslims.

However, Afghanistan was the significant holdout that initially refused to recognise Pakistan. The Durrani monarchy went to the extent of opposing Pakistan’s admission to the United Nations and raised irredentist claims to the Pashto speaking areas of NWFP and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. A ‘Pakhtunistan’ flag was raised in Kabul, alongside the Afghan national flag, as early as September 2, 1947.

The particularly backward stretch of earth ruled by the Durrani kings — one of the two or three most backward countries in the world — was for a long time relatively unknown to the world outside the narcotic haze of the so-called ‘hippie trail’. Harry Truman’s notorious “Afghanistan — Bananistan!” comment exemplified the foreign affairs perceptiveness of many Americans at the time. The point is that our national neighbour seems no less an area of darkness in the minds of many of our countrymen today as in that of President Truman all those decades ago.

It is first necessary to appreciate that there are two quite distinct natural regions within Afghanistan, divided from one another by the great mountains of the Hindu Kush (“Indian Killer”) range and its spurs.

The Northern Plain, east of Iran and south of the Central Asian republics, is continuous with the Central Asian steppes; it has historically been known variously as Aryana (homeland of the ‘Aryans’ so important to Brahmin priests and European racists), Bactria to the Greeks and, as a province of Persia, Khorasan.

The Southern Plateau, mostly bordering Pakistan, is a semi-arid region of high plateaus, linked from the days of ancient Gandhara down to the end of the Moghul Empire with the history of what is now Pakistan.

The two regions of Afghanistan are ethnically differentiable, the south being predominantly Pashtun and the north having a Tajik majority; numerous smaller ethnic entities also exist in each region. The city of Kabul sits at a strategic location a little south of the passes that penetrate the Hindu Kush.

Contrary to popular belief, Afghanistan has been not exclusively been some kind of wild frontier territory. It was a centre for the creative, artistic splendours of ancient Gandhara and of the more recent Persian, Ghaznavid, Ghaurid, Timurid and Moghul empires. It has gifted the Muslim world such outstanding intellectual figures as Jalaluddin Rumi, Firdowsi and Jamaluddin Afghani, among many others.

It has always been a politically unstable zone. Contrary to the myth of Afghan unconquerability, it was divided or conquered by first one empire, then the other, until the rise of Ahmed Shah Abdali, whose descendants are known as Durranis. Ahmed Shah was elected in 1747, by a Loya Jirga at Kandahar, to succeed the Turcoman conqueror Nadir Shah, who had pillaged the Moghul Empire and conquered Iran and what is now Afghanistan.

Under Abdali’s less able successors, this kingdom lost its southwestern provinces to the Kajar Shahs of Iran and portions of its northern regions to Czarist Russia, leaving approximately the Afghanistan of today. Through the nineteenth century’s Great Games, there was continual external meddling in Afghanistan, successfully by the Punjab of Ranjit Singh, less successfully by the Russian Czars and the British Raj. Despite external meddling, the state entity of Afghanistan remained remarkably intact. This is in sharp contrast to each and every one of its neighbouring states.

The state of Afghanistan, as it took shape under the Durrani kings, did not possess any of the features of a nation-state. Geographically and culturally divided, it was — right up until the overthrow of Zahir Shah in 1973 — a monarchic state, centring at Kabul.

It was, and remains, ethnically multiple and socially atomised into sub-ethnic tribal groups. Amir Abdur Rahman, who mounted the throne of Kabul in 1880, writes of his countrymen, “Every mullah and chief of every tribe and village considers himself an independent ruler...The tyranny and cruelty of these men were unbearable. One of their jokes was to cut off...heads and put them on red hot sheets of iron to see them jump about...So you can easily understand what a desperate struggle I had with these people...(It) took me fifteen long years and very harsh measures before they finally submitted to my rule.”

The nineteenth-century Great Game kept Afghanistan as a buffer status between the Raj and the Czarist Empire. Not permitted to evolve naturally towards two or more nation-states, Afghanistan survived as a land-locked, closed basin. In grand isolation for nearly two centuries, the kingdom became confirmed in its backward status. Attempts at modernisation in the 1920s by Amanullah Shah were considered radical and were resisted by the mullahs and the local chieftains. The call for Jihad raised by Mullah Shor Bazar, materially and militarily supported by the British Raj, resulted in the overthrow of the king by the bandit Habibullah Khan (more popularly called Bacha Saka) in 1929.

The Pakhtunistan issue, a massive interference in the affairs of Afghanistan’s southeastern neighbour Pakistan, was given state support by King Zahir Shah, Amanullah’s grandson. In 1953, the King’s cousin Sardar Daud Khan became Prime Minister and a serious Pakhtunistan activist. But this very issue was to precipitate Daud’s downfall.

Running out of patience with Afghan agitation, Pakistan closed the border in August 1961. Afghanistan was thereby obliged to depend more heavily on the Soviet Union for trade and transit facilities. After Daud Khan resigned as prime minister in March 1963, the border was reopened by Pakistan in May.

Pakistan’s repayment of Afghanistan’s bad neighbourly policies began ten years later, after Sardar Daud overthrew King Zahir Shah and ended the Durrani monarchy. One of the beneficiaries of an amnesty declared by President Daud was Gulbadin Hekmatyar. Previously a student of engineering at Kabul University who was believed to have sprayed sulphuric acid on the faces of unveiled girl students, Hekmatyar had been implicated in the murder of a leftist student. After his release, he moved to Pakistan, where in time he was to become the most controversial of the Mujahideen leaders, accused of spending “more time fighting other Mujahideen than killing Soviets” and wantonly killing civilians.

In 1973, Hekmatyar was welcomed as an ‘asset’ by the intelligence service of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was uneasy because of Daud’s closeness with the USSR. Other Islamist figures, including Ahmad Shah Massoud, Burhanuddin Rabbani and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, were also taken up as Pakistani intelligence ‘assets’ at about this time. Periodic Mujahideen raids into Afghanistan commenced.

President Daud was overthrown by the ‘Parcham’ faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a cover-name for the Communist Party, in 1978. The Parchamis were later overthrown by the more extreme ‘Khalq’ faction, whose extreme leftist policies alienated the tribals and others. (Here I think he has missed the nuance that it was actullay the Khalqi wing of the temporary united PDPA of Afghansitan - led by Taraki and Amin - and then Amin himself killed the Khalqi Taraki to impose a more extreme Khalqi policy). These now began to support the Mujahideen. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, ostensibly on the invitation and in support of the PDPA government.

Afghanistan has now been at war for nearly thirty years. The Mujahideen, with American and Pakistani assistance drove out the USSR. As different factions of the Mujahideen battled over the spoils, the Taliban, nurtured in Pakistani madrassas from among Afghan refugee youth, took the country over with the help of Pakistani forces, the latter seeking a bizarre ‘strategic depth’ outside the sovereign territory of Pakistan. The international terrorist organisation called Al Qaeda exploited the Taliban’s hospitality and mounted spectacular attacks against the US, drawing the superpower now directly into the Afghan fray.

Today, the pseudo-democratic government of Hamid Karzai wields no authority beyond the city of Kabul and very little within. It had been the authority of the Durrani monarch, ruling through local chieftains, which had held the heterogeneous Afghan entity. Remove this authority — as Daud Khan did in 1973 and the Communists Tarakai, Amin, Karmal and Najibullah further confirmed after 1978 — and the raison d’etre for the state had also been removed.

Today, the king is no more the ruler; the centre at Kabul has failed to hold together. In place of the former backward-but-stable condition, there is anarchy, despite the illusion of control at Kabul. The country is a kind of political black hole, distorting those within and sucking in those outside. Even if order is ultimately restored without pulling much more of the larger political world into its chaotic entropy, Afghanistan could split into its geographically predetermined northern and southern portions.

To speak here of a ‘broad-based’ government is meaningless. The wily Emir Abdur Rahman took all of fifteen years to consolidate his authority. And that was more than 120 years ago, before the CIA intervention, the Soviet invasion, the ISI meddling, the murderous blood-letting between the Mujahideen warlords, the exploits of Al Qaeda and the whole dreadful legacy of the past three decades.

And what should a neighbour like Pakistan do? Well, we have been ruinously harmed, first by Afghanistan’s meddling in our affairs and then by the multi-dimensional backlash of our own intervention in Afghanistan. The best policy would be to sort out our own problems — including the war we are in denial about being ‘our’ war — and follow Robert Frost regarding ‘good fences’. Leave Afghanistan to its own destiny. Seal the border, physically fencing it if need be, and studiously avoid the possibly fatal mistake of once again involving Pakistan in Afghanistan’s affairs.

The writer is a marketing consultant based in Karachi. He is also a poet.





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What a great article - such a great understanding of the nature of the 'AFGHAN' entity that is its neighbor.

It clearly sets out the reason why the country cannot function currently as it did before - namely that the local chieftain - and I would add - the Sayyed - and Khojas and other religious trash that kept the population under the nominal control of the King - have all lost power and are totally gone.  Only the Mujadidis and Gailanis are still operating again...but their role is exaggerated.

Some of the Pushtunists are under the thinking that  - they ought to restore the system of ulama and other Saado and the like the put the population under control and keep them ignorant and stupid.  


The idea of AFGHANISTAN - as a nation state is an ILLUSION - a political trick to take the steal the rights and property of the people and to control them - as part of the game setup by the Imperial powers.

As the article says - the Persian and Persianate northern half of the country and the Pashtun south - need to be seen as two separate entities - as they will eventually split.   My take on it is that the sooner the north is brought under the unified control of the Tajiks - the sooner they can move to secure the areas in the south west and south - and to ultimately gain almost the whole of what is Afghanistan in their hands and control - we can't leave Kabul - Ghazni - Gardez - Lashkar Gah and even Kandahar in the hands of the Pashtun south - for those towns and cities represent the true border of the Khorasan entity.
28  General / Geopolitical Studies and News / Saleh Registani predicts civil war in Afgstan - if Arbakai are empowered by US on: December 24, 2008, 08:21:03 PM
Dorood all,

It is absolutely clear that these militias which will  be created will be in it with a mind set of maximum profiteering - especially against other tribes and other ethnic groups. If the US commits this mistake - the Afghan - Mellatis in government will have a militia - legitimized by government to direct fight against 'Anti Government Elements' - words which will be applied to most people whom oppose the ethnocerntrism of Kabul regeime.

Saleh Registani warned that in the past - these Arbakai were sponsored by the government, meaning British favourite Nader Shah, against the illegitimate government's opponents - namely Tajiks.

The Tajikan do need something around which to unite - could this be it?

Tajikan - you all need to be aware of the developments.

Ahhangar

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Afghans and U.S. Plan to Recruit Local Militias / U.S. plan for militias worries many Afghans

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/world/asia/24afghan.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

By DEXTER FILKINS

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taking a page from the successful experiment in Iraq, American commanders and Afghan leaders are preparing to arm local militias to help in the fight against a resurgent Taliban. But along with hope, the move is raising fears here that the new armed groups could push the country into a deeper bloodletting.

The militias will be deployed to help American and Afghan security forces, which are stretched far and wide across this mountainous country. The first of the local defense forces are scheduled to begin operating early next year in Wardak Province, an area just outside the capital where the Taliban have overrun most government authority.

If the experiment proves successful, similar militias will be set up rapidly across the country, senior American and Afghan officials said.

The formation of Afghan militias comes on the heels of a similar undertaking in Iraq, where 100,000 Sunni gunmen, many of them former insurgents, have been placed on the government payroll. The Awakening Councils, as they are known, are credited by American officials as one of the main catalysts behind the steep reduction in violence there.

But the plan is causing deep unease among many Afghans, who fear that Pashtun-dominated militias could get out of control, terrorize local populations and turn against the government. The Afghan government, aided by the Americans, has carried out several ambitious campaigns since 2001 to disarm militants and gather up their guns. A proposal to field local militias was defeated in the Afghan Senate in the fall.

“There will be fighting between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns,” said Salih Mohammad Registani, a member of the Afghan Parliament and an ethnic Tajik. Mr. Registani raised the specter of the Arbaki, a Pashtun-dominated militia turned loose on other Afghans early in the 20th century.

“A civil war will start very soon,” he said.


The plan for the militias, approved this month by President Hamid Karzai, is being pushed forward anyway, to help stem the deteriorating security situation here. The proposal to field what amounts to lightly trained gunmen reflects the sense of urgency surrounding the fight against the Taliban, who were removed from power after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but who have staged a remarkable resurgence in recent years.

American commanders say that while they would prefer to field Afghan Army and police forces, they are simply not available.

“We don’t have enough police,” said Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, the deputy commander of American forces in the country. “We don’t have time to get the police ready.”

One survey, by the International Council on Security and Development, found that the Taliban had established a permanent presence in 72 percent of Afghanistan, up from 54 percent a year ago.

In recent months, the Taliban have moved into the provinces around Kabul, including Wardak to its west. In addition to setting up the first local Afghan militias there, American commanders are sending several hundred American soldiers to the province, the first of which have already arrived. Wardak Province is bisected by the country’s national highway, which has been the scene of numerous ambushes of supply convoys by Taliban insurgents.

The plan for the militias coincides with the arrival of Gen. David H. Petraeus, who presided over the reduction in violence in Iraq and who has since become overall commander for American forces in Afghanistan and the rest of the region. The Americans are sending 20,000 to 30,000 troops over the next year, in addition to the nearly 70,000 American and NATO troops who are already here. President-elect Barack Obama has declared that he will redouble America’s efforts to win.

The formation of the militias is at least a partial answer to the question of how American commanders intend to wrest back the initiative from the Taliban over the next 12 months. While some elected officials in the United States have suggested that the Americans and Afghans might try to exploit fissures in the Taliban, possibly breaking off some groups that can be reconciled, the plan for the militias — coupled with the influx of fresh American forces — suggests that American commanders intend to squeeze the Taliban first.

American and Afghan officials say they intend to set up local militias of 100 to 200 fighters in each provincial district, with the fighters being drawn from the villages where they live. (Wardak has eight districts.)

To help ensure the dependability of each fighter, the Americans and Afghans are planning to rely on local leaders, like tribal chiefs and clerics, to choose the militiamen for them. Those militiamen will be given a brief period of training, along with weapons like assault rifles and grenade launchers, and communication gear, said Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister.

In Iraq, American commanders relied almost exclusively on tribal leaders to put Sunni gunmen at their disposal. But in Afghanistan, 30 years of war has left the tribes scattered and attenuated. American and Afghan leaders say they are instead trying to cobble together councils made up of a wider range of leaders.

American and Afghan officials say that they are confident they can keep the militias under control and that the militias can carry out a range of duties, like providing intelligence on Taliban movements that American and Afghan forces can act on.

“We don’t know when bad people move into town,” General Tucker said. “But the local people know. They know everything.”

One tribal leader from Wardak Province said that while the Taliban were deeply unpopular in his province, people were worried that local militias could make the situation worse.

In an interview, Mohammed Naim Haqmal, a leader of the Nuri tribe, said the Taliban controlled about 80 percent of Wardak Province — essentially everything except the centers of each district. At night, Mr. Haqmal said, the Taliban range freely, setting up checkpoints and laying bombs for American convoys traveling on the highway from Kabul to Kandahar.

But for all that, Mr. Haqmal said, the Taliban are unpopular in Wardak, mainly because their constant attacks prevent people from leading normal lives. Two months ago, Mr. Haqmal said, a group of villagers from the Jagatoo district rioted when the Taliban blocked a local road in order to stage an attack on some American forces. Taliban fighters opened fire on the villagers, killing five.

“The Taliban want to fight, and that causes problems for the people,” Mr. Haqmal said. “People just want to live their lives.”

Still, Mr. Haqmal said he was skeptical that the government-backed militias could succeed because the Afghan and American officials were bypassing the traditional leaders of the province. So far, he said, they had selected leaders in the community who lacked credibility with the local people. Moreover, Mr. Haqmal said he was worried that the militias would fail to receive proper support and guidance from the government, and end up starting tribal feuds with members of the Taliban.

“We already have the Afghan Army and police — they should stick with them,” Mr. Haqmal said.

A Taliban commander based in Wardak Province, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear that he would become a target, predicted that the government militias would find it hard to put down roots in the area, if only because the Taliban had already done so.

“We are living in the districts, in the villages — we are not living in the mountains,” the Taliban chief said. “The people are with us.”
29  General / General Discussion / Green energy creates impact in Panjshir on: December 20, 2008, 10:14:55 AM
Green energy creates impact in Afghan province

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20081130/NEWS01/811300379

By SGT. PAUL DAVID ONDIK
CJTF-101 PAO

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The lush valley reveals an area of austere beauty, a place being transformed into an enviable example of "green" energy production, and a model for not only a hopeful nation but perhaps the world.

Soldiers, government officials and journalists descended on Panjshir province, Afghanistan, Nov. 13, both figuratively and literally, for the grand opening of several developmental projects. One is a windfarm.

It may look unimpressive rising against a picturesque backdrop of snow-capped mountains crowned in mist, but it holds a key to the environmentally cutting-edge techniques being used in this most unlikely of places.

"The potential for the wind farm is 100 kilowatts," said Army Maj. Nicholas Dickson, the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team executive officer.

It may not seem like a lot of electricity to an American home, but the government center in Panjshir isn't using it for high-definition TV sets and game consoles.

This power generation and distribution system provides electricity, hot water and a septic system. It's a bargain at close to a million dollars.

The wind farm is only the beginning of the story.

Panjshir is close to 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources, Dickson said.

This wind farm, while small and seemingly isolated, contributes to a global energy revolution in wind power, an energy source that grew by 28 percent in 2007 alone. Wind power is the largest single generator of renewable energy worldwide, and it's growing.

Beyond the wind farm, the area relies heavily on micro-hydro electric power plants. These produce energy without the radical changes to the ecosystem that would result from a full sized dam, like the Dahla Damn in Kandahar province.

Dickson and Jeremy Richart, Panjshir field program officer for the United States Agency for International Development, describe the micro-hydros in Panjshir in terms of a waterslide. The main waterway is branched and the micro-hydro is installed, generating energy from the grade of the slope.

"The steeper the slope, the more power you get," said Dickson. He is only one of a coalition of troops working with the Afghan government to improve local lives.

On Nov. 13, Ahmad Zia Massoud, first vice president of Afghanistan came to speak for the grand opening of the Panjshir Government Compound, the wind farm and a bridge. Locals were not surprised to see him, he is from the area. His brother is Ahmad Shah Massoud, the legendary "Lion of Panjshir," who was a pro-western, anti-Soviet militant who became a national hero after his assassination by Al Qaida in September of 2001.

The first vice president shared a large multi-colored tent at the ceremony with Army Brig. Gen. James McConville, deputy commanding general — support for Combined Joint Task Force-101, which partners with the government not only in providing security, but also development. He made it clear that he considers Panjshir to be a very special place.

"(Panjshir) has security because the people have decided the enemies of Afghanistan are not allowed here," McConville said. "Now it needs development."



Quote
Afghan Security Forces watch over a new wind farm in Panjshir province, Afghanistan. These turbines provide electricity to the Panjshir Government Compound, which celebrated its grand opening Nov. 13. Panjshir, known as a model province, representing the future of Afghanistan, said Army Brig. Gen. James McConville, deputy commanding - support for CJTF-101. (Photo by Sgt. Paul David Ondik, CJTF-101 PAO)

Ahhangar
30  General / Geopolitical Studies and News / Dostum Says He Is Not in Exile in Turkey and Remains a Potent Force in Afghanist on: December 20, 2008, 10:10:44 AM
Dostum Says He Is Not in Exile in Turkey and Remains a Potent Force in Afghanistan

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 233
December 8, 2008 05:57 PM Age: 12 days
By: Saban Kardas


Rashid Dostum, the leader of ethnic Uzbeks in Afghanistan (BBC)

A Turkish newspaper has reported that Rashid Dostum, the leader of ethnic Uzbeks in Afghanistan, was flown to Turkey as part of a special operation arranged by the Turkish government. The report maintained that Dostum might be sent into exile by the Afghan government as a result of a secret deal to save him from the impending investigations into his involvement in the kidnapping and beating of political rivals (Vatan, December 3). Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Ozugergin confirmed that Dostum was in Turkey but denied the claims that he was under house arrest. He noted that there was no current judicial process against Dostum in Afghanistan and he was in Turkey to spend the Eid al-Adha (Kurban bayrami) with his family members who live in Ankara. “General Dostum is the honorary leader of a community with Turkic origins in Afghanistan… He may have some contacts in Turkey,” added Ozugergin (Today’s Zaman, December 5).

Dostum also spoke to members of the Turkish press denying the allegations. He thanked the Turkish government for its hospitality and noted that he would stay in Turkey after the holiday (December 8 to 11) and discuss the developments in Afghanistan with Turkish officials. Regarding his relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Dostum said, “He is our president and commander-in-chief, and I am his deputy. We have excellent relations. I met with him before coming to Turkey.” Dostum added that “Afghanistan is our home. Nobody can send General Dostum into exile. I am an important general” (www.cnnturk.com, December 4).

Dostum’s past ties with Turkey lie behind the fuss created over this latest trip to Turkey. Turkey has been a safe haven when he has encountered difficult times in Afghanistan in the past. A regional commander supporting the communist government during the Soviet invasion, Dostum brought together the predominantly ethnic-Uzbek militias in the Northern provinces and formed the Jumbesh-i Milli Islami (Islamic National Party) in Mazar-i Sharif after the Soviet withdrawal. Supported by Russia and Uzbekistan, Dostum’s well-equipped forces were part of shifting alliances during the civil war and later against the Taliban. Dostum pragmatically switched sides in response to changing balances of power and managed to survive the challenges of Afghan politics. Following the defeat of Ahmad Shah Massoud and fall of Kabul in 1996, Dostum emerged as a powerful force in the Northern Alliance (http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/northern_alliance.htm).

When Dostum’s ally Abdul Malik turned against him in 1997, allowing the Taliban forces to advance into areas under his control and briefly enter Mazar-i-Sharif, Dostum fled to Turkey and stayed there for three months. He returned to Afghanistan and joined the factions fighting the Taliban, serving as vice president of the defunct Afghan government. As the infighting within the Northern Alliance intensified in 1998, Dostum visited Ankara, seeking Turkey’s support. Turkey tried unsuccessfully to reconcile the differences between Dostum and Malik and unite the anti-Taliban opposition under one roof (Zaman, August 28, November 19, 1998). Dostum then settled in Turkey where he maintained his ties to the Afghan opposition.

Overall, Dostum was sympathetic toward Turkey and is believed to have enjoyed Turkish support. As an expression of his admiration for Turkey, he named his son Mustafa Kemal after Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkish state. In an interview, he particularly noted the support given to Uzbek groups by former Prime Minister and President Turgut Ozal and Former Prime Minister and President Suleyman Demirel. Their support had helped the Uzbeks survive difficult times during the civil war (Milliyet, June 27, 1997). He reportedly was unsatisfied with the support of subsequent governments, however. He told Turkish journalists that if he had received more economic and political backing from Turkey, he could have brought Northern Afghanistan under his control in 1996 and 1997 (Radikal, May 31, 2002). Some observers have speculated that the Turkish government of the time, led by Islamist Necmettin Erbakan, might, in fact, have been more inclined toward the Taliban ideologically, therefore refraining from supporting Dostum (Radikal, 15 November, 2001).

The fact of the matter remains: Dostum found a home in Turkey in those difficult times, although he could not obtain the full support he might have wanted. In April 2001 he returned to Afghanistan to join Massoud’s new campaign against the Taliban (Zaman, April 7, 2001). The launch of the Operation Enduring Freedom brought Dostum to forefront once again. His strategic decision to work with the American forces gave him a larger role in the interim Afghan government. Turkey’s collaboration with the U.S.-led international coalition against the Taliban also facilitated Dostum’s integration into the new Afghan political structure.

Turkey’s close ties with Dostum, however, have led to questions about Turkey’s neutrality toward different Afghan groups in the context of its involvement in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The Turkish government has insisted that despite its special ties with Dostum, the country did not discriminate between the various Afghan groups, and supported Karzai’s government (www.msnbcntv.com.tr, January 10, 2002). Dostum visited Turkey as the new government’s deputy defense minister in January 2002 and met with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and other officials. His entire visit was arranged by the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (Hurriyet, January 23, 2002). At the time, Turkey’s overt association with Dostum raised criticism that it would result in Dostum’s gradual marginalization in Afghan politics, as reflected in his exclusion from the Bonn Conference.

Dostum has occasionally been involved in factional politics and armed conflicts with rival leaders. He ran in the 2004 presidential elections and received 10 percent of the votes. Like other veteran commanders, he had problems adjusting to the new political setting, which in some cases put him in confrontation with the central administration. Karzai appointed Dostum as the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, which many deemed a titular position. In February 2008, after Dostum’s alleged involvement in the kidnapping of a political rival, Karzai suspended his post. Nonetheless, the peculiarities of Afghan politics did not allow Karzai to eliminate Dostum (Terrorism Monitor, April 17). In October Dostum made peace with his rival through the mediation of Karzai and other senior officials (www.quqnoos.com, October 27). With the Taliban resurgent and the 2009 presidential elections approaching, Dostum, given his stronghold in the Northern provinces and reputation as a fierce military commander and master of alliance-building, remains an important force in Afghan politics. Turkey also seeks a larger role in the region as the trilateral meeting it held last week seems to confirm (EDM, December 5). It will be interesting to see how Dostum’s return from Turkey will affect Afghan politics in the days ahead.



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This eternal scumbag - called Dostum - along with his animalistic uncivilized ( worse than Awghans)  Uzbek militia must be put down like a dog guilty of crimes.  This Laanati joined Hekmatyar and Taliban in allainces against the intersts of Tajiks - he would coordinate his atttacks against Massoud and Ismail Khan along with the Taliban.

The guy still hopes to take control of northern Afghanistan - and Turkey along with him imagines a strategic foothold there.

Turkey is an important country in the region - especially for us - in terms of the future trade routes to Europe - and thus whatever influence it cann garner in Afghanistan now - will be muliplied exponentially when  trade is increased and thus their direct leverage increased in our area. They are promoting Turkicshness - supporting Turkish schools - giving refuge and training to many your Uzbek and Turkomens with the hope of having them as assets for later on - it is all a presents a major threat presently and into the future.

Anything that is independent of the movements which are for the interests of the Persiante culture of Afghanistan ought to be eliminated.... espcially in the north of the country - where our Tajiks mostly reside.  From Badakhshan to Herat - we need it all under a stable Tajik government.

What are your views?

Ahhangar
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