17 November 2018

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Thursday, 02 February 2012 15:07

US set to change its 'Afghan role' by 2013

Kabul, Thursday 2 February 2012

(BNA )The United States hopes to shift its military role in Afghanistan from combat to training during the second half of 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday.

But he said the US administration wanted to see all the NATO allies in Afghanistan — including France — “respect” a strategy adopted at a summit in Lisbon in November 2010, which calls for handing over security duties to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

“Hopefully by the mid-to-latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a train and advise and assist role, which is basically fulfilling what Lisbon was all about,” Panetta told reporters aboard his plane en route to Brussels.

“We all went in here together and we’ll all go out together, but we have to do it on the basis of a strong alliance and a strong commitment that was made in Lisbon,” said Panetta, who was due to meet NATO defense ministers in his visit to Belgium.

The NATO-led coalition this year needed to cement battlefield gains against the Taliban insurgency and to build on progress in strengthening the Afghan army and police, he said.

He said 2013 would be a “crucial” year for the final transfer of remaining areas to Afghan security forces.

“2014 becomes a year of consolidating the transition,” he said.

Panetta’s comments reaffirmed signals from President Barack Obama’s administration that after a decade of war, America’s military mission in Afghanistan will soon evolve into a supporting role with Afghan forces taking the lead in the fight against the Taliban.

It was unclear how the planned shift from combat to a mainly advisory role would affect planned troop levels for US forces.

With nearly 90,000 US troops now in Afghanistan, Panetta said that “no decision has been made with regards to the level of forces we’ll have in 2013.”

By the end of September, the number of US troops is due to drop to 68,000, following the scheduled withdrawal of a “surge force” that deployed in 2010.


“My hope is at that at this ministerial (in Brussels), we can discuss their decision and hopefully find a way to make sure we bring them back into the Lisbon strategy,” he said.

A senior US defense official told reporters it was possible that there was no serious gap between the French stance and NATO‘s timeline, depending on the precise details of what Paris planned.

 

Thursday, 02 February 2012 15:04

Taliban suffered big setbacks last year: NATO


 

Kabul, Thursday 2 February 2012

(BNA NATO insisted Wednesday that the Taliban has been weakened as the alliance downplayed the impact of a leaked report showing the insurgents confident of victory once Western combat troops leave in 2014.

"The Taliban have suffered tremendous setbacks on the battlefield in the last year, and we know that they've lost a lot of ground and they've lost a lot of leaders," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told reporters.

Support for the Taliban is also "at an all-time low," she said, adding that Afghan security forces, which are meant to take over from NATO troops by the end of 2014, are "getting stronger and more capable every day."

The spokeswoman said she would not comment on a classified document but she added that it was "basically a summary" of statements made by Taliban detainees during interrogations.


She repeated NATO concerns about safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

"The security of Afghanistan and Pakistan is closely linked together, which is why Pakistan has an important role to play," Lungescu said.

"But this is a problem that we must all tackle together because it affects our security, the security of our forces in Afghanistan, the security of the Afghan population and the security of Pakistan

Kabul, Thursday 2 February 2012

(BNA)

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would appear before the Supreme Court.

Awan added that the real court was the people and the PPP and Prime Minister would be successful in their eyes.

Prime Minister Gilani has been summoned by the Supreme Court on February 13 and will be indicted for contempt of court.

 Earlier the seven-member larger bench of the Supreme Court (SC) hearing Prime Minister Gilani's contempt case has ordered the prime minister to appear on February 13 for his indictment,.

Judge Nasir-ul-Mulk said there were grounds to proceed against Gilani, despite the government's insistence that President Asif Ali Zardari has immunity from prosecution while he is head of state.

"After the preliminary hearing, we are satisfied that prima facie there is a case for further proceeding into the matter.

"Adjourned for February 13 for framing charges, t he Prime minister is required to remain present in the court," Mulk said, reading out the order.

The SC issued the order after defence counsel barrister Aitzaz Ahsan concluded his arguments.

The bench comprising Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Athar Saeed is hearing the show cause notice served upon the Prime Minister in National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation issue.
 

Kabul, Thursday 2 February 2012

(BNA) Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Pakistan had no hidden agenda in Afghanistan.

Khar who has returned from her tour of Afghanistan to Islamabad  added that Pakistan would not back down from peace efforts in Afghanistan despite recent developments.

‘Both countries need to work together to achieve this objective’ she said

Afghan President Hamid Karza and foreign minster met: with Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar yesterday

During the meeting bilateral ties and the situation in the region were discussed.

Foreign Minister Khar informed the Afghan President that Pakistan would continue to cooperate for the prosperity of his country.

 Presiding  Karzai said Afghanistan wanted to enhance its relationship with Pakistan

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 12:21

President Karzai Meets Pakistan Foreign Minister

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Hamid Karzai met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Kehar this noon to discuss matters of mutual concern to the two countries.
BNA reported, the sides focused on issues including measures to further enhance the bilateral relations, the peace process and the threat of terrorism the two nations are facing.
The Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Rasoul, Deputy Minister Jawed Ludin and Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad Mohd. Umer Daudzai, were also present in the meeting.
Mrs. Kehar said her visit to Afghanistan demonstrates her country’s gesture of a goodwill aimed at bolstering the good neighborly relations.
Minister Kehar also conveyed to President Karzai an invitation to attend the tripartite summit of Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iran scheduled to be held in mid-February in Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Kehar vowed that her country was fully supportive of the Afghanistan peace process.
While recognizing the effective role that Pakistan can play for the peace process in Afghanistan, President Karzai said insecurity in Afghanistan and in Pakistan has inflicted great harms to the people of the two countries and have held back the two nations from progress.
President Karzai called the extremism in the region a harmful scourge that stands in the way of progress and stability and said it was imperative for the two countries to eliminate the roots of the problem and take practical measures in ensuring peace and security.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 12:19

Health Medical Center Opened In Kandahar

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kandahar (BNA) The health medical center of Maroof district of Kandahar province came under utilization yesterday. 
With activation of this medical center health problems of Maroof district and 10 other neighbor villages have been solved.  
Abdul Qayoom Pokhla head of public health department of Kandahar province said to BNA, this center has been constructed with the assistance of PRT of America stationed in that province. 
According to him, this center has 8 rooms and 16 medical personnel and serves 24 hours on child and mother care, surgery, vaccination and other diseases. 
In the inaugural ceremony of this center, Abdul Samad Dorani governor of Maroof district said that previously a medical clinic was established in that district and currently with activation of this center more people have access to medical services. 
Maroof district located in the southeast of Kandahar and has 200,000 residents. 
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 08:52

US to Sponsor Many Projects In Ghazni

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Ghazni (BNAS) The US ambassador to Afghanistan announced to complete several projects worth $30 million in southern Ghazni province this year. 
Addressing at a joint news conference with Governor Musa Khan Akbarzada in Ghazni city, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker said the US would contribute in the eras of health, education, training, agriculture and other projects in the province. 
A meeting of culture ministers from the Islamic countries selected Ghazni city as the Asian capital of the Islamic civilization for the year 2013 and vowed to support the province in 2013 celebration. 
Crocker said that both Afghanistan and the US were working on a strategic cooperation agreement, and pledged that the Americans would not leave the country alone and continue supporting beyond 2014, when all foreign forces are scheduled to withdraw from the country. 
“The peace process is under way and Taliban now that they have an exclusive address, it is for the Taliban to decide whether to negotiate peace or continue to fight,” the ambassador said. 
Governor Akbarzada welcomed the aid promise held out by the ambassador and said dozens of developmental projects would be launched immediately after the winter. 
He asked foreign aid agencies and the central government to give the province $ 20 million (987.4 million Afs) next year. 
Several multimillion dollar projects have already been executed by the US and the Polish provincial reconstruction Team (PRT) in the province. 
Former senator Maulana Abdur Rahman Hakimi also welcomed the US assistance and said the province had been neglected over the past decade and needed more attention.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:59

US assessing risks of Taliban transfer: Petraeus

Kabul, Wednesday 1, February

(BNA)  The Obama administration asked intelligence agencies for additional assessments of the risks of transferring five senior Taliban detainees to a third country as part of efforts to broker peace with Afghan militants, U.S. spy chiefs told Congress on Tuesday.

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee, the intelligence officials did not specify which country might be involved. But Reuters and other news agencies have reported that the detainees could be sent to the Gulf state of Qatar, which is acting as an intermediary in peace negotiations.

CIA Director David Petraeus said that analysts from his agency had provided the Obama administration officials with a more recent assessment - the last was done in 2009 - of the security risks of transferring the five Taliban leaders from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

If transferred, the five supposedly would still be subjected to detention or at least heavy surveillance.


"In fact, our analysts did provide assessments of the five and the risks presented by various scenarios by which they could be sent somewhere -- not back to Afghanistan or Pakistan -- and then based on the various mitigating measures that could be implemented to ensure that they cannot return to militant activity," he said.

Petraeus' statement came in response to questions from the committee's vice chairman and ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss, who has emerged as a leading Capitol Hill critic of the proposed transfer.

Chambliss said that any move to transfer the five specific Taliban detainees who are the focus of discussions within the Obama administration is likely to meet with opposition on Capitol Hill.

 

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:43

Pakistan helping Taliban: secret Nato report

Kabul, Wednesday 1, February

(BNA)  The Pakistani security services are secretly helping Afghanistan's Taliban, who assume their victory is inevitable once Western troops leave, a secret Nato document says, according to reports Wednesday.

The leaked "State of the Taliban" report -- seen by the BBC and The Times newspaper -- was compiled from information gleaned from insurgent detainees and was given to Nato commanders in Afghanistan last month, the media reports said.

It claims that Pakistan and its ISI intelligence agency are aware of the locations of senior Taliban leaders.

The BBC said the report was based on material from 27,000 interrogations of more than 4,000 captured Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives, plus other foreign fighters and civilians.

"Pakistan's manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly," the report was quoted as saying.

"ISI officers tout the need for continued jihad and expulsion of foreign invaders from Afghanistan."

The Times quoted the report as saying the Taliban's "strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact", despite setbacks in 2011.

"Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban," it said.

"Once (Nato force) ISAF is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable."

Kabul, which accuses Islamabad of supporting the 10-year Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, put relations on ice after the September murder of its peace envoy Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, which one Afghan minister blamed on Pakistani spies.

The US Department of Defense said it could not comment on the report but set out its fears about Pakistan and its influence in Afghanistan.

"We have not seen the report, and therefore cannot offer comment on it specifically," Pentagon spokesman George Little told AFP.

"We have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI and some extremist networks."

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "has also been clear that he believes that the safe havens in Pakistan remain a serious problem and need to be addressed by Pakistani authorities."

In its conclusion, the report said there had been unprecedented interest in joining the Taliban cause in 2011 -- even from members of the Afghan government.


The Times, in an editorial, said Pakistan was "actively hindering reconciliation" between the Taliban and Kabul.

"Islamabad appears to be engaged in a systematic effort to destabilise the Kabul government of (President) Hamid Karzai prior to the withdrawal of Western forces, and to assist those attacking and killing those forces.

"The ISI emerges from this document looking considerably more villainous, even, than the Taliban itself.

"The picture that is painted is very much one of a force that both expects, and is widely expected, to have a big stake in controlling the Afghanistan of the future

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) People’s satisfaction on police behavior was increasing, a survey held by the ministry of interior showed. 
“7.278 Afghans were interviewed in 34 provinces which shows 81 percent of them are satisfied of police functions and behaviors,” interior minister Besmellah Mohammadi told reporters. 
“74 percent of people respect police, 78 percent trust in their abilities and eight percent of them have positive opinion to the future of police,” Mohammadi said. 
Also, 58 percent Afghans have said they can get access to police in less than 30 minutes and police services have been improved. 
The survey indicates that 70 percent of 3,167 women interviewed have said police respects them. 
60 percent of the interviewed people have said that police helps them in the solution of their problems. 
The total number of police force reaches to 140,000 that about half of them are professional. 
Meanwhile, the ministry of interior had announced last year that 57,000 policemen are illiterate. 
The government decided to reintegrate the former Mojahedin in the framework of local police two years back. 
There are 11,000 persons now serving as local police ensuring the security of their respective areas.