Showing posts tagged as "afghanistan"

Showing posts tagged afghanistan

16 Sep
Fears of unrest cloud Afghanistan as election dispute drags on | ALI M. LATIFI, SHASHANK BENGALI
As Afghanistan’s disputed presidential vote nears an uncertain conclusion, fears are mounting that post-election unrest could threaten the fragile political order that the United States has struggled for 13 years to help build.
Recent developments have raised questions about the ability of Abdullah Abdullah — the one-time front-runner who has alleged a conspiracy to rig the results against him — to pacify supporters if he, as expected, is declared the runner-up.
The concerns have increased as he has clashed with rival Ashraf Ghani over the details of a power-sharing proposal, brokered by the Obama administration, in which the new president would cede some decision-making authority to a chief executive from the opposing camp.
FULL ARTICLE (LA Times)
Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waeza/United Nations Development Programme/flickr

Fears of unrest cloud Afghanistan as election dispute drags on | ALI M. LATIFI, SHASHANK BENGALI

As Afghanistan’s disputed presidential vote nears an uncertain conclusion, fears are mounting that post-election unrest could threaten the fragile political order that the United States has struggled for 13 years to help build.

Recent developments have raised questions about the ability of Abdullah Abdullah — the one-time front-runner who has alleged a conspiracy to rig the results against him — to pacify supporters if he, as expected, is declared the runner-up.

The concerns have increased as he has clashed with rival Ashraf Ghani over the details of a power-sharing proposal, brokered by the Obama administration, in which the new president would cede some decision-making authority to a chief executive from the opposing camp.

FULL ARTICLE (LA Times)

Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waeza/United Nations Development Programme/flickr

3 Sep
Afghan turmoil threatens NATO’s ‘mission accomplished’ plans | ADRIAN CROFT AND MIRWAIS HAROONI
(Reuters) - NATO will declare “mission accomplished” this week as it winds down more than a decade of operations in Afghanistan but departing combat troops look likely to leave behind political turmoil and an emboldened insurgency.
The embattled country is also suffering a sharp economic slowdown.
NATO had hoped its summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday would herald a smooth handover of security at the end of this year from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghan forces. It then plans to cut back its role to a smaller mission to train and advise Afghan troops.
The 28-nation alliance had also hoped to celebrate Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power by inviting a new president to share the spotlight with U.S. President Barack Obama and the other 27 allied leaders.
Instead, NATO diplomats privately admit that the backdrop to the summit is the “worst case scenario”.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: U.S. Navy Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Jeremy L. Wood via Chuck Holton/flickr

Afghan turmoil threatens NATO’s ‘mission accomplished’ plans | ADRIAN CROFT AND MIRWAIS HAROONI

(Reuters) - NATO will declare “mission accomplished” this week as it winds down more than a decade of operations in Afghanistan but departing combat troops look likely to leave behind political turmoil and an emboldened insurgency.

The embattled country is also suffering a sharp economic slowdown.

NATO had hoped its summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday would herald a smooth handover of security at the end of this year from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghan forces. It then plans to cut back its role to a smaller mission to train and advise Afghan troops.

The 28-nation alliance had also hoped to celebrate Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power by inviting a new president to share the spotlight with U.S. President Barack Obama and the other 27 allied leaders.

Instead, NATO diplomats privately admit that the backdrop to the summit is the “worst case scenario”.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: U.S. Navy Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Jeremy L. Wood via Chuck Holton/flickr

2 Sep
LINK

Political vacuum in Afghanistan | All media content | DW.DE | 02.09.2014

Political vacuum in Afghanistan | Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

DW’s Reporter reports on insecurity as the political uncertainty in post-election Afghanistan continues.

COMPLETE VIDEO (Deutsche Welle)

27 Aug
Afghan forces battle for control of symbolic Kunduz province | MIRWAIS HAROONI
(Reuters) - Afghan security forces are battling the Taliban for control of the northern province of Kunduz, where insurgents are threatening to overrun the capital and terrorising residents who have fled to nearby districts.
The battle for Kunduz, as politicians wrangle amid a deadlocked presidential election in the capital, has special significance for people on both sides: it was the Taliban’s last stronghold before the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance drove them out in 2001.
The fighting in Kunduz reflects a broader trend of insurgent attacks across the country involving hundreds of fighters at a time.
Most Western troops are due to leave Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting, leaving a security vacuum some fear the Taliban could quickly fill as Afghan security forces grapple with maintaining law and order on their own.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/flickr

Afghan forces battle for control of symbolic Kunduz province | MIRWAIS HAROONI

(Reuters) - Afghan security forces are battling the Taliban for control of the northern province of Kunduz, where insurgents are threatening to overrun the capital and terrorising residents who have fled to nearby districts.

The battle for Kunduz, as politicians wrangle amid a deadlocked presidential election in the capital, has special significance for people on both sides: it was the Taliban’s last stronghold before the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance drove them out in 2001.

The fighting in Kunduz reflects a broader trend of insurgent attacks across the country involving hundreds of fighters at a time.

Most Western troops are due to leave Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting, leaving a security vacuum some fear the Taliban could quickly fill as Afghan security forces grapple with maintaining law and order on their own.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/flickr

19 Aug
Hundreds of Taliban fighters battle Afghan forces near Kabul: officials | AHMAD SULTAN
(Reuters) - As many as 700 heavily armed Taliban insurgents are battling Afghan security forces in Logar, a key province near the capital Kabul, local officials said on Tuesday, in a test of the Afghan military’s strength as foreign forces pull out of the country.
Militants have this summer mounted increasingly intensive assaults across several provinces, often involving hundreds of fighters, as the country braces to stand on it own feet militarily for the first time in nearly 13 years.
"There are some 700 of them and they are fighting Afghan forces for territorial control and they have also brought with them makeshift mobile (health) clinics," Niaz Mohammad Amiri, the provincial governor of Logar province, told Reuters by telephone.
The Taliban have dug-in in Logar, which lies about an hour’s drive south of Kabul, and nearby Wardak province to the west, in recent years. They have used the provinces - gateways to the capital - as launchpads for hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings on Kabul.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Alexandre Cadieux/NATO/flickr

Hundreds of Taliban fighters battle Afghan forces near Kabul: officials | AHMAD SULTAN

(Reuters) - As many as 700 heavily armed Taliban insurgents are battling Afghan security forces in Logar, a key province near the capital Kabul, local officials said on Tuesday, in a test of the Afghan military’s strength as foreign forces pull out of the country.

Militants have this summer mounted increasingly intensive assaults across several provinces, often involving hundreds of fighters, as the country braces to stand on it own feet militarily for the first time in nearly 13 years.

"There are some 700 of them and they are fighting Afghan forces for territorial control and they have also brought with them makeshift mobile (health) clinics," Niaz Mohammad Amiri, the provincial governor of Logar province, told Reuters by telephone.

The Taliban have dug-in in Logar, which lies about an hour’s drive south of Kabul, and nearby Wardak province to the west, in recent years. They have used the provinces - gateways to the capital - as launchpads for hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings on Kabul.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Alexandre Cadieux/NATO/flickr

12 Aug
Why a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan may be necessary | Adnan R. Khan
In a nation like Afghanistan, undergoing radical change, every decision seems to yield an array of what-if scenarios. Most recently, it was the Afghan presidential elections: What if the April 5 vote had produced a clear winner? Afghanistan might be celebrating the first popularly mandated transition of power in its history. Its new president would have signed the Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S., prompting NATO to do the same and ensuring some level of stability for the near term.
Instead, two rivals emerged with no clear winner. One, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, is a Pashtun, Afghanistan’s main ethnic group, concentrated in the east and south of the country. The other, Abdullah Abdullah, is considered a Tajik (though technically, he is half-Pashtun as well), who represents Afghanistan’s Persian-speaking north and west. They duelled in a runoff vote on June 14, the result of which should have been clear and binding. It wasn’t. Instead of preparing for a historic presidential inauguration, Afghans are now facing yet more uncertainty and security struggles. This week, a man dressed as an Afghan soldier opened fire at a military base outside Kabul, killing a U.S. Army major-general and wounding 14.
What’s little known is just how close Afghanistan came to total disaster. In the lead-up to the runoff vote, campaigning took an ugly turn: appeals to ethnicity became more frequent, dangerously raising tensions. The runoff vote was marred with allegations of fraud. Abdullah in particular cried foul, and threatened to set up his own parallel government after preliminary results showed Ahmadzai in the lead by a significant margin.
FULL ARTICLE (Maclean’s)
Photo: UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein/flickr

Why a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan may be necessary | Adnan R. Khan

In a nation like Afghanistan, undergoing radical change, every decision seems to yield an array of what-if scenarios. Most recently, it was the Afghan presidential elections: What if the April 5 vote had produced a clear winner? Afghanistan might be celebrating the first popularly mandated transition of power in its history. Its new president would have signed the Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S., prompting NATO to do the same and ensuring some level of stability for the near term.

Instead, two rivals emerged with no clear winner. One, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, is a Pashtun, Afghanistan’s main ethnic group, concentrated in the east and south of the country. The other, Abdullah Abdullah, is considered a Tajik (though technically, he is half-Pashtun as well), who represents Afghanistan’s Persian-speaking north and west. They duelled in a runoff vote on June 14, the result of which should have been clear and binding. It wasn’t. Instead of preparing for a historic presidential inauguration, Afghans are now facing yet more uncertainty and security struggles. This week, a man dressed as an Afghan soldier opened fire at a military base outside Kabul, killing a U.S. Army major-general and wounding 14.

What’s little known is just how close Afghanistan came to total disaster. In the lead-up to the runoff vote, campaigning took an ugly turn: appeals to ethnicity became more frequent, dangerously raising tensions. The runoff vote was marred with allegations of fraud. Abdullah in particular cried foul, and threatened to set up his own parallel government after preliminary results showed Ahmadzai in the lead by a significant margin.

FULL ARTICLE (Maclean’s)

Photo: UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein/flickr

11 Aug
Amnesty slams US’ ‘poor record’ of probing civilian killings in Afghanistan | Gabriel Domínguez
"Three days after the attack, the commander invited us to the base and said please forgive us … We said we won’t forgive you. We told him we don’t need your money; we want the perpetrators to be put on trial. We want to bring you to court." These are the words of Mohammed Nabi, whose 20-year-old brother Gul was killed, together with four youths, in a helicopter strike near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on October 4, 2013.
Mohammed is one of the 125 Afghan victims, family members and eyewitnesses to attacks which resulted in civilian casualties. He was interviewed by the rights group Amnesty international (AI) for its report Left in the Dark. The document, released on Monday, August 11 in Kabul, examines the record of accountability for civilian deaths caused by international military operations between 2009 and 2013.
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: The U.S. Army/flickr

Amnesty slams US’ ‘poor record’ of probing civilian killings in Afghanistan | Gabriel Domínguez

"Three days after the attack, the commander invited us to the base and said please forgive us … We said we won’t forgive you. We told him we don’t need your money; we want the perpetrators to be put on trial. We want to bring you to court." These are the words of Mohammed Nabi, whose 20-year-old brother Gul was killed, together with four youths, in a helicopter strike near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on October 4, 2013.

Mohammed is one of the 125 Afghan victims, family members and eyewitnesses to attacks which resulted in civilian casualties. He was interviewed by the rights group Amnesty international (AI) for its report Left in the Dark. The document, released on Monday, August 11 in Kabul, examines the record of accountability for civilian deaths caused by international military operations between 2009 and 2013.

FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: The U.S. Army/flickr

8 Aug
Divisions, Harsh Realities Plague Obama’s Afghan Surge | Catherine Maddux
When President Obama took office six years ago, among the many burdens he inherited were two costly and complex wars: Iraq and Afghanistan.
He campaigned hard against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, calling it the “wrong war” and made good on a promise to end American involvement. The White House touts that as a crowning achievement despite Iraq battling insurgency and sectarian strife.  
The other war — Afghanistan — has posed a different set of dilemmas for the president. 
​Just this week, Obama was reminded of the grim realities of 13 years of military engagement when a man dressed as an Afghan soldier killed a two-star American general, the highest ranking officer killed in combat since 1970, according to the Pentagon.
FULL ARTICLE (Voice of America)
Photo: The U.S. Army/flickr

Divisions, Harsh Realities Plague Obama’s Afghan Surge | Catherine Maddux

When President Obama took office six years ago, among the many burdens he inherited were two costly and complex wars: Iraq and Afghanistan.

He campaigned hard against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, calling it the “wrong war” and made good on a promise to end American involvement. The White House touts that as a crowning achievement despite Iraq battling insurgency and sectarian strife.  

The other war — Afghanistan — has posed a different set of dilemmas for the president. 

​Just this week, Obama was reminded of the grim realities of 13 years of military engagement when a man dressed as an Afghan soldier killed a two-star American general, the highest ranking officer killed in combat since 1970, according to the Pentagon.

FULL ARTICLE (Voice of America)

Photo: The U.S. Army/flickr

30 Jul
Taliban ‘gaining ground’ as Afghan audit drags on | Gabriel Domínguez and Srinivas Mazumdaru
The election audit comes at a critical time for Afghanistan as the international community winds down its combat mission and foreign aid dwindles. The successful completion of the electoral process, which has been marred by allegations of widespread fraud between presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, is therefore key to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in the conflict-ridden country. However, attacks by the Taliban have intensified recently, with dozens of assaults reported last weekend alone.
Moreover, on July 29, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s powerful cousin, a close ally of presidential candidate Ghani, was killed in a suicide bomb attack, deepening political strains. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In a DW interview, Graeme Smith, a senior Afghanistan analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), says there is no strong connection, so far, between the electoral crisis in Afghanistan and the rising number of insurgent attacks, but adds that the Taliban’s territorial gains are of symbolic importance as they show the militants’ ability to confront Afghan forces in face-to-face battle.
FULL INTERVIEW (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: U.S. Army/ flickr

Taliban ‘gaining ground’ as Afghan audit drags on | Gabriel Domínguez and Srinivas Mazumdaru

The election audit comes at a critical time for Afghanistan as the international community winds down its combat mission and foreign aid dwindles. The successful completion of the electoral process, which has been marred by allegations of widespread fraud between presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, is therefore key to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in the conflict-ridden country. However, attacks by the Taliban have intensified recently, with dozens of assaults reported last weekend alone.

Moreover, on July 29, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s powerful cousin, a close ally of presidential candidate Ghani, was killed in a suicide bomb attack, deepening political strains. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

In a DW interview, Graeme Smith, a senior Afghanistan analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), says there is no strong connection, so far, between the electoral crisis in Afghanistan and the rising number of insurgent attacks, but adds that the Taliban’s territorial gains are of symbolic importance as they show the militants’ ability to confront Afghan forces in face-to-face battle.

FULL INTERVIEW (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: U.S. Army/ flickr

8 Jul
Ghani’s win is ‘only a partial victory’ | Gabriel Dominguez
Aghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Monday, July 7, that former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai won the June 14 presidential election runoff poll with 56.4 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. His rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, came second with 43.5 percent of the vote. The turnout was reportedly more than eight million out of an estimated electorate of 13.5 million voters, much higher than expected.
The numbers and outcome might still change, however, when final numbers come out on July 22. The runoff vote had been widely regarded as a major step in the country’s democratic transition, as it comes at a critical time in the country as foreign troops prepare to leave in the coming months. But the vote has been marred by allegations of massive fraud.
In a DW interview, Graeme Smith, a senior Afghanistan analyst for the International Crisis Group, says any significant delay in the electoral calendar will it make it harder for the US and NATO to reach a deal to keep troops in the country after the end of the year. It remains unclear whether both the candidates will accept the final election results.
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr

Ghani’s win is ‘only a partial victory’ | Gabriel Dominguez

Aghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Monday, July 7, that former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai won the June 14 presidential election runoff poll with 56.4 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. His rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, came second with 43.5 percent of the vote. The turnout was reportedly more than eight million out of an estimated electorate of 13.5 million voters, much higher than expected.

The numbers and outcome might still change, however, when final numbers come out on July 22. The runoff vote had been widely regarded as a major step in the country’s democratic transition, as it comes at a critical time in the country as foreign troops prepare to leave in the coming months. But the vote has been marred by allegations of massive fraud.

In a DW interview, Graeme Smith, a senior Afghanistan analyst for the International Crisis Group, says any significant delay in the electoral calendar will it make it harder for the US and NATO to reach a deal to keep troops in the country after the end of the year. It remains unclear whether both the candidates will accept the final election results.

FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr