MAP: AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN

Written by admin on Saturday, September 24th, 2016

we are out of office during the weekend

On our return on Monday we will publish our selection of articles.

Afghanistan and Pakistan

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IN THE NEWS: AFGHANISTAN’S HEKMATYAR GETS PEACE DEAL MIXED REACTION (SEPTEMBER 24, 2016)

Written by admin on Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Afghanistan’s Hekmatyar Gets Peace Deal Mixed Reaction
SOURCE: VOA
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thursday’s agreement opens a new chapter for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and whose fighters were once beneficiaries of CIA support. He was later accused of abuses during Afghanistan’s brutal civil war in the 1990s and designated as a terrorist by the United States in 2003 for his support of al-Qaida.

Political analysts say concerns over the warlord’s return to politics are legitimate, and much depends on how he acts going forward.

Michael Semple, an Afghanistan expert at Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, voiced optimism about the peace deal, telling VOA that Hekmatyar can play a positive role in Afghanistan if Hekmatyar distances himself from the political mindset of the 1980s and 1990s and embraces democratic change.

“In the period when Hekmatyar was one of the key stakeholders in Afghanistan, there was no genuine democratic politics; there was no guarantees for the rights of the population; the only way the people were able to conduct their politics was through forces, violence and often through conspiracies. Those are no longer necessary; they no longer offer a way for somebody to advance in politics,” Semple added.

To have a positive role in the political future of Afghanistan, Semple says Hekmatyar should “do politics without resorting to force.”

Old foes wary

Following the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, Hekmatyar attracted followers across Afghanistan to fight against a Russian-backed regime in the country, but also provoked tough opponents among other militant factions, who repeatedly clashed over territorial control.

In the past 15 years, however, most of the warlords who fought Hekmatyar during the civil war of the 1990s have gained high-ranking positions in the internationally-backed government in Afghanistan. Some of them still oppose him, and objected to signing a peace deal with him.
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IN THE NEWS: KABUL SEALS KEY PEACE DEAL WITH NOTORIOUS WARLORD (SEPTEMBER 23, 2016)

Written by admin on Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Kabul Seals Key Peace Deal With Notorious Warlord
SOURCE: VOA
Friday, September 23, 2016

Afghanistan’s unity government, after months of tense negotiations, has signed a long-delayed draft peace agreement with the country’s second largest insurgent group, led by a fugitive warlord with a history of war crimes and rights abuses.

The groundbreaking truce signed Thursday with the Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) faction comes amid hopes it might ease security challenges facing the war-torn nation and encourage other insurgent groups fighting alongside the Taliban to join the peace process.

This is the first peace agreement in the 15-year Afghan war the Taliban launched after it was ousted by a United States-led military coalition in 2001.

Hizb-e-Islami is led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar a longtime guerilla commander whose forces fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and later his militias battled the Taliban for control of Afghanistan during the brutal civil war of the 1990s.

Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar singed the accord with Hekmatyar’s chief negotiator, Karim Amin in a nationally broadcast ceremony.

The understanding will enable the fugitive warlord, a designated “global terrorist” to return to the national politics after years in hiding, allegedly in neighboring Pakistan.

While there has been no major opposition to the peace deal, a group of human rights activists took to the streets in Kabul to condemn Hekmatyar for committing past abuses

Addressing the ceremony, Atmar tried to allay those fears and assured critics the agreement does not contain any provision that would undermine progress Afghanistan has made to promote human rights, particularly women’s rights. He said that the insurgent group will announce a permanent cease-fire, cut ties to any terrorist group and halt its military activities.

In turn, the Afghan government, Atmar added, will be obliged to grant the group full political rights and will work for the removal of Hekmatyar’s name from the U.S. and the United Nations lists of designated foreign terrorists. The national security advisor also called on the Taliban to cease hostilities and join the peace process.
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IN THE NEWS: INDIA CLAIMS DIPLOMATIC VICTORY OVER PAKISTAN IN U.N. (SEPTEMBER 23, 2016)

Written by admin on Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

India claims diplomatic victory over Pakistan in UN
SOURCE: Afghanistan Sun (IANS)
Friday, September 23, 2016

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) India on Thursday claimed diplomatic victory over Pakistan at the United Nations amid deteriorating bilateral ties following the killing of 18 soldiers in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here that India was “sensitising the world” about how Pakistan was sponsoring terrorism.

“Our actions speak for themselves and you can see our actions are already delivering results,” Swarup said, a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif aggressively raised the Kashmir issue in his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The spokesperson said most countries have condemned Sunday’s terror attack at Uri near the Line of Control (LoC) — the de facto border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

“No one, and I mean no other country, at the UN has spoken on the subject Nawaz Sharif devoted 80 per cent of his time to,” Swarup said.

He said that, on the contrary, virtually every country has referred to terrorism as the main threat to international peace and security, a fact that Pakistan still remains in denial of.

“Four of the five members of the Security Council have also spoken and their statements are also available for everyone to see,” the MEA spokesperson added.

About Pakistan submitting a dossier against India to the UN, Swarup said there was no mention of such thing in the read-out given by the Secretary General’s Office.

“It makes no mention of the dossier. It does not talk about the Secretary General wanting to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, the Secretary General has very wisely said that this issue needs to be settled bilaterally,” Swarup said, adding that in addition there have been a flurry of bilateral statements issued in all the major world capitals condemning the Uri terror attack in the strongest terms.
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IN THE NEWS: TRIBAL LEADERS SAY I.S. REGROUPING IN AFGHAN-PAKISTAN BORDER AREAS (SEPTEMBER 21, 2016)

Written by admin on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Tribal Leaders Say IS Regrouping in Afghan-Pakistan Border Areas
SOURCE: VOA
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Afghan forces, aided by U.S. bombers, reportedly intensified attacks on remote mountainous IS positions Tuesday. More than two dozen IS fighters were killed in air raids in the Achin and Kot districts, according to a spokesperson for the provincial governor and the Afghan defense ministry.

Afghan and U.S. coalition forces recently cleared many areas of IS militants in a number of districts in eastern Nangarhar province. But IS has recaptured several remote villages in Achin and Kot, which border Pakistan, tribal leaders told VOA.

“The government has not built any check posts in remote areas that lie far from the district center, and people in those areas live under IS control,” Malek Kamin, a tribal elder in Achin, told VOA.

Malek Kateb, a Kot district tribal elder, said the areas that once were cleared of IS militants have come back under IS’s control after Afghan troops pulled back from the remote region. He added that around 250 IS fighters are present in the area. According to the tribal elders, IS militants are oppressing the local residents and limiting their movements.

Provincial officials say they are bulking up Afghan Local police forces to work under the ministry of interior to provide more enforcement and protect remote areas where IS is regenerating.

Afghan Local Police, with around 30,000 members across the country, mostly protect remote villages.

Efforts in Pakistan

The regrouping of IS in the border region is accompanied by a threatening IS presence in neighboring Pakistan where, despite the government’s previous denials, military officials say IS is attempting to establish a foothold.

IS claimed responsibility over the weekend for the assassination of three Pakistan military personnel in the northwestern city of Peshawar. The attack occurred days after the Pakistani military announced it had “forestalled” IS’s attempts to infiltrate Pakistan.
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IN THE NEWS: ABDUL NAWAZ BUGTI CALLS ON U.N. TO TAKE NOTICE OF CUSTODIAL KILLINGS BY PAKISTAN IN BALOCHISTAN (SEPTEMBER 20, 2016)

Written by admin on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Abdul Nawaz Bugti calls on UN to take notice of custodial killings by Pakistan in Balochistan
SOURCE: Afghanistan Sun (ANI)
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Geneva [Switzerland], Sept. 20 (ANI): Highlighting the issue of enforced disappearances and custodial killings by Pakistani Security Forces in Balochistan, Representative of the Baloch Republican Party at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Abdul Nawaz Bugti said that the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan requires immediate attention of the council.

He said in his speech that the military has intensified its operations against the civilian populace as well, adding that Dera Bugti and Naseerabad areas have been under continuous siege and attacks by Pakistani forces for weeks.

Giving an account of the rampant human rights violations there, Bugti said, “Gunship helicopters were used against civil populace resulting in killing of more 100 Baloch civilians, including women and children. 260 people, mostly women, have been abducted during the operations since 13 August.”

He added that a mass grave was discovered in Sui area where 12 dead bodies of previously abducted Baloch civilians were found.

He further said that on September 6, Pakistani forces besieged the house of a Baloch political activist Pirjan Baloch in Turbat and continued the siege for seven days, forcing the women and children inside the house to starve.

He said that the forces finally ended the siege only after abducting the activist’s wife along with her two infants.
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IN THE NEWS: U.S. AIRSTRIKE ALLEGEDLY KILLS 8 AFGHAN POLICEMEN (SEPTEMBER 20, 2016)

Written by admin on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

US Airstrike Allegedly Kills 8 Afghan Policemen
SOURCE: VOA
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Officials in Afghanistan said Monday an American air attack has killed at least eight policemen in a volatile central province.

The police personnel were guarding a security outpost on a main highway outside Tarin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan, on Sunday evening, regional Highway Police Commander Samunwal Rahimullah Khan told VOA.

“An airstrike killed one police officer and when seven others returned to the security post, foreign aircraft carried out another raid, killing all of them,” he said.

The Afghan commander denounced the attack and asserted there were Taliban posts in nearby areas with the white insurgent flag raised on them, “but we are unable to understand why Americans targeted our policemen.”

A U.S. military spokesman has confirmed an airstrike was conducted in Tarin Kot on September 18, saying it targeted “individuals” firing on Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

“We don’t have any further information on who those individuals might have been or why they were attacking ANDSF forces. U.S., Coalition, and Afghan forces have the right to self-defense, and in this case were responding to an immediate threat,” Brigadier General Charles Cleveland told VOA.

Tarin Kot is among several Afghan provincial capitals that have faced serious Taliban attacks lately.
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IN THE NEWS: INDIA SHOULD GIVE BEFITTING REPLY TO PAK, SAYS CONGRESS ON URI ATTACK (SEPTEMBER 19, 2016)

Written by admin on Monday, September 19th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

India should give befitting reply to Pak, says Congress on Uri attack
SOURCE: Afghanistan Sun
Monday, September 19, 2016

New Delhi [India], Sept. 19 (ANI): The Congress Party on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to give a befitting reply to Pakistan in the wake of the terror attack in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district and said that it would send a strong message to Islamabad, which would ponder before continuing to bleed India in the way it is doing.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said this is the acid test for everyone, adding India has the capacity to pass this test.

“I think there is not even a minority of one in India who feels otherwise than that India should give a befitting reply to Pakistan. The details of which are for the government to decide whether it is diplomatic coupled with military , coupled with economic, coupled with social international whether it is covert or overt, whether it is direct or indirect at a time manner and methodology of our choosing,” Singhvi told ANI.

“But clearly Pakistan must learn that it must pause to think not once, not twice, not five times but 10 times before it continues to bleed India in the way it is doing,” he added.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had earlier expressed shock and deep distress over the martyrdom of Indian soldiers in the dastardly terrorist attack in Uri.

Describing the “cowardly” attack as a “deplorable affront on our national conscience”, Sonia expressed hope that the perpetrators of this dastardly attack as also the forces behind them will be severely dealt with and brought to book.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi chaired a crucial security meeting at his official 7, Race Course Road (RCR) residence over the deadly terror attack in Uri.
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IN THE NEWS: DOZENS OF SOLDIERS KILLED IN MILITANT ATTACK AT INDIAN ARMY BASE IN KASHMIR (SEPTEMBER 19, 2016)

Written by admin on Monday, September 19th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Dozens of soldiers killed in militant attack at Indian army base in Kashmir
SOURCE: Afghanistan Sun
Monday, September 19, 2016

• The attack took place in the town of Uri
• Attack regarded worst ever since the beginning of militant attacks on Kashmir army bases in 1989
• 756 people have been hit in the eyes by pellets over the past 72 days

SRINAGAR, India – 17 soldiers lost their lives after the Indian army base in Kashmir suffered its worst militant attack since the beginning of militant attacks on Kashmir army bases in 1989.

The attack took place early on Sunday morning, the Indian army declared in a statement.

The gunfight lasted numerous hours and four attackers were killed.

The attack took place 102 kilometers from Srinagar, in the town of Uri.

The town falls close to the line of control of the disputed border between India and Pakistan.

According to a statement by the Indian army, a search operation of the camp ensued for many hours after the attack.

The militant group responsible for the attack has not been identified so far.

The attack took place at a very strenuous time for the India-controlled Kashmir region.

Since the beginning of militant attacks on Kashmir army bases in 1989, the attack on Sunday has been regarded as the worst of all.

India’s Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh called for an emergency meeting with his senior officials and announced on Twitter that he had postponed his visit to Russia and the United States in light of the attacks.

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said, “I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished.”
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IN THE NEWS: U.S. SENATORS QUESTION AID TO AFGHANISTAN AMID ‘RAMPANT CORRUPTION’ (SEPTEMBER 16, 2016)

Written by admin on Friday, September 16th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

U.S. Senators Question Aid To Afghanistan Amid ‘Rampant Corruption’
SOURCE: RFE
Friday,September 16, 2016

U.S. senators warned the Obama administration on September 15 that failure to address problems with corruption in Afghanistan could lead to a pullback in the embattled country’s $5 billion in yearly aid.

“I don’t know what the political will here in the United States will be to continue to support the Afghans in light of what is going on there,” said Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez said he supported the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in the past, but he could “have a totally different view” if the government in Kabul does not move more forcefully against corruption.

His comments came after a U.S. inspector general report on September 14 strongly criticized Washington for pouring billions of dollars into Afghanistan with so little oversight that it fueled a culture of “rampant corruption” and undermined the U.S. mission.

The United States gives Afghanistan about $5 billion per year, including about $4 billion in military aid and another $1 billion in civilian assistance, administration officials said. Beyond that, it also spends many billions more supporting American troops in the country.
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