Obama sending More Troops to Expand Afghan War into Pakistan

 

By  A Khokar   28 November 2009

 

 

President Obama won’t unveil his plans for Afghanistan until next week, but military officials tell that he intends to escalate the war by sending up to 35,000 additional troops. Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the plan would include an exit strategy, but that’s little consolation for those who were expecting eventually a complete withdrawal of US-NATO forces from Afghanistan.

 

The addition forces would come atop a record 71,000 U.S. troops in the country now and would represent the largest expansion since the war began eight years ago.

 

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is likely to embrace the central thrust of General Stanley McChrystal’s report into the future of Afghanistan needed to develop a military and political “push” in his address at the opening Commonwealth session today being held in Trinidad and Tobago, says the daily Guardian.

 

Days before Barack Obama spell out US strategy in Afghanistan which is being dubbed in London a “McChrystalesque” approach to out line a move forward with a strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan to deal with the risk of al-Qaida and also to deal with the threat of the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan”.

 

 

In his landmark report, McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces, recommended a more sophisticated counter-insurgency strategy designed to reassure the Afghan people that NATO troops do not see themselves as occupying forces and that their primary task is to protect local people, and a surge of up to 40,000 US troops. It is learnt that NATO countries outside the US are prepared to commit an extra 5,000 troops.

 

In Pakistan, in order to eliminate Al Qaeda and dissidents of TTP (Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan) Pakistan Army is conducting its Operation Rahe Nijat in FATA area which is about to be completed soon very successfully. Pak army is likely to deploy its forces all along the Pak-Afghan border to guard and keeps a check on any returning dissident who earlier fled FATA during operation. Pak army troops might also have to confront the escapee groups of Afghani Taliban pouring into Pakistan that NATO forces intend to eliminate or drive all Taliban out of Afghanistan.

 

 

The purposed deployment of additional US-NATO troops of 35000 that most of them will be deployed in the eastern Afghanistan is likely to find Pak Army troops face to face opposing each other in a ‘Battle ground’ on Hindu Kush ranges. There are chances this confrontation may eventually turn into a new battle front in this area and battle is further drawn into Pakistan.

 

Needless to say that in order to prolong and justify the deployment of US-NATO troops along Pak-Afghan border; some new false pretexts are already being crafted. As usual the intrusive media news likes presence of Taliban’s Majlis Shura in Quetta Baluchistan and news of their commander Mullah Omer having formed a sanctuary in Karachi are already being circulated widely. This is another US tactical maneuver to under mine the successes of Pak army and keep them engaged in a ‘war of attrition’ in FATA area.

Link; Adab-Arz.co.uk

 

 

NRO Lands in the Valley of the Sinners

 

 

 

By  A Khokar   24 November 2009

 

 

When a society is found immersed deep in its self created curses and sins that the only way out may be that some Maestro like Nelson Mandela of South Africa emerges and pulls them out of the darkness’s. He makes them realize that their only way out is that they should very honestly repent for their sins—- and beg their people to pardon them that—- this may be the only recipe that they may come out clean and start afresh.

 

The sole idea of the doctrine of ‘Reconciliation through Justice’ initiated by man like Nelson Mandela in South Africa was that after a long struggle, he had won over the oppressing forces of Apartheid (white men) in his country—that they had discriminated the entire Black community for so long and today for his efforts and sacrifices the Blacks were free. They were in a position to crush the Apartheid or force them to quit South Africa. Having achieved an upper hand, the Black community has already started discrimination of whites and in vengeance they were feeling justified even carrying out atrocious acts, arson and looting of their past oppressors.

 

  Seeing that nation was at the brink of anarchy, the man decided to adopt a different route. He came forward and announced to pardon the Apartheid for their previous heinous crimes and all the sins committed provided they repent sincerely. He also extended the decree of pardon to all the Black excessiveness as well all the previous pillages and plundering of national wealth.

 

The entire nation in compliance bowed down their head in front of their leader Nelson Mandela— to repent and they earnestly admitted committing of past crimes. Accordingly a decree of ‘Reconciliation through Justice’ was issued and people were pardoned for their previous doings with the promise that they will not indulge themselves again and thus a National reconciliation was reached. This was a unique example and a recipe for all the nations who could come across such situations and have the urge to come out clean and start afresh.

 

 In Pakistan the situation was different. Here a military man; General Pervez Musharraf was holding the reins of government. For long eight years he had worked hard and readied this nation to accept a real grass root democracy and was anxious to see it coming back to his country. Even the fiercest of his foes were also appreciative of his visions, his plans and progresses made in the fields of national economy.

 

Keeping in view the peculiar feudalistic and ancestral polity found in Pakistan that all the major political parties are found dagger drawn. They are also infested with corruption, pillage and plundering of highest degree. Most of them had shifted their assets and booty abroad. Pervez Musharraf had his longings that how best he could bring these warring political parties back home into a refined politics and sees them working together.

 

He picked up Nelson Mandela’s recipe to give it a try for the required reconciliation in the country. But unfortunately the tide and times were not favouring him. He was daring but not a charismatic leader— rather he was bearing a label of dictator. Nation was although appreciative of his progressive deeds but was not really comfortable with him. He did not enjoy an aura of his personality like Nelson Mandela. Neither the politician nor the elites and public were ready to bow down with him to admit their previous sins committed against the mother land, nor were ready to accept him as their Maestro. He stood their alone by himself to achieve his set goals but at the same time he was also seen marching toward his exit gates.

 

The man who dreamt a dream and laid red carpets for the dawn of real grass root democracy in Pakistan, introduced a reconciliation in politics and brought the rivals to work together; rather than repenting their past sin and working together; the thankless creature the politician right after landing in the country they joined hands; betrayed the Maestro and evicted him.

 

Ironically in Pakistan the Nelson Mandela recipe could not be used to achieve ‘Reconciliation through Justice’. Any how ‘National Reconciliation Order’ did come but it was just taken as cosmetic puffing, and a hype, to use it— with specific aim to be applied for certain categories of peoples to clear their rout in— to come and grab the seat of power—- that they found Pervez Musharraf was ready to vacate for them. He was also found under immense pressure being applied by our American masters— to quit and hand over to the people of their choice i.e. Miss Benazir Bhutto and her cohorts.

 

What ever the sincerity that it was shown by Musharraf outwardly; the prime aim of this cosmetic ‘puff up’ of NRO remains to be the fact that it was to serve a few to come ridding on its wings —-and land safely….. And that they got it as planned.

When this was the aim——then what is this jugglery of words and useless exercise being carried out on media channels? And what is this finding of some high morale grounds by various rival political parties in their point scoring exercises and shuttling of NRO between courts of Law and Legislative Assemblies—when there are no moral grounds to win—- what so ever.

 

Ironically this alluded nation has already accepted those stooges; the NRO wing riders; their known sinners and masters of betrayal ——as their leaders then what is this bickering all about?

 

What a misuse of a sacred recipe of national reconciliation and wasteful exercise being conducted in this—– ‘Valley of the Sinners’?

 

 Links: adab-arz.co.uk

 

Zardari about to be dumped?

 

Pamela Constable’s article ‘For Pakistani president, goodbye to goodwill’ by the pro-Israel daily The Washington Post (November 16, 2009) suggests that the US-Zardari romance seems to be over – while blaming the “extremists” for all the current mess in the country.

According to Pamela, “military officials are unhappy over Zardari’s compliant relationship with Washington – while the poor and working-class Pakistanis blame government for protracted shortage of gas, electricity and staple food. They also feel increasingly unprotected, as suicide bombing has killed more than 350 people in the last two months.”

However, Pamela shy away from mentioning the close relations Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari and his interior minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan’s ambassador Haqqani has with the Jewish Lobby in the US.

The Pamela repeated the same old ‘democracy crap’, which has proved to be a sham after how Washington handled the democratic process in occupied Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, etc. “Zardari’s deepening unpopularity has put Washington in a bind because of its avowed commitment to bolster democracy in Pakistan after a decade of military rule. If he is forced from power, either on old corruption charges or through a collapse of the ruling coalition, analyst (belonging to CFR, S.I.T.E., or Daniel Pipes, etc.) said, Washington might have to deal with new leaders who are less friendly and no better able to solve Pakistan’s problems,” – which are created by Washington on the behest of Israel in the first place.

Pamela can be excused for not knowing that Pakistan’s all four military rulers (Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq, Yahya Khan, and Pervez Musharraf) were supported and protected by Washington. She, like CNN and CFR dude, Fareed Zakaria, and Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington (known as US ambassador in Washington), Husain Haqqani, is an ‘Islamophobic’. Haqqani in his book ‘Pakistan Between Mosque and Military’, writes: “From the point of view of Islamists and their backers in ISI, Jihad is on hold but not yet over. Pakistan still has an agenda in Afghanistan and Kashmir.” I wonder why Haqqani forgot to mention India and Israel from his list. According to some government insiders, Haqqani is about to be replaced by (princess) Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, the former ambassador to Washington.

Fareed Zakria in an article for the Jewish Newsweek (May 2, 2009), titled ‘Change We Can’t Believe In’ (frankly, most Pakistanis would give a damn what the anti-Islam Zionist dude believe), had advised Washington: “If Washington hopes to change Pakistan’s world-view (through the eyes of Israel Lobby), it will have to take much tougher line with the military while supporting the country’s civilian leaders (Zardari aka Mr. 10%, and other corrupt secularist politicians), whose vision of Pakistan’s national interests(???) is broader and less paranoid, and envisioned more cooperation with its neighbors.” I hope Zakaria could count Pakistan’s friendly Islamic Iran as Pakistan’s neighbor too!

With no leader of Dr. Ahmadinejad’s calibre, Pakistanis have no hope to be governed by some honest and nationalist leader in the near future. The people who make the list of future (‘US-Israel puppets’) to replace Asif Zardari include Gen. Kayani, Nawaz Sharif, and Gen. Musharraf or Washington might decide to send some US-Pakistan technocrat to become the third such prime minister of Pakistan.

 

From  Rehmat’s World

 

 

 

 

The Future is Looking So Good

 

By A Khokar        17 November 2009

  I think gone are the days; Jab Khalil khan fakhtaa uraya kartay thay. I mean to say our military has got no more appetite to come back and mount on this nation— when in the past they use to come with their heavy boots and whip lash of NAB in their hands, flogging and flailing —–that even the soorma of the soormas politicians they will show their rears and take the very first available flight to vanish in the thin air—some where abroad.

Any how military is no more there in government but country is going through some testing times. The bye gone military regime did one thing good that they paved the ways and laid red carpets on it for Miss Democracy to come walking. And hurray—- today we have got Miss Democracy in the country and is swinging a high swing with the free wheeling Media. Mammaji of democracy sitting in the court of law after shedding its old skin of ‘hypocrisy and abetting’ is seen all out now to render a full protection to guard its chastity.

So—now democracy is here, and we have got free media and the free Judiciary to guard it. The military Masha Allah is busy cleansing the bad eggs from our society and we can be sure that they are achieving the desired goals to finally evict the menace of terrorism from this country— where ever it is found. Successes are there. The terrorism is seen breathing its last.

But I hope this nation will also be able to say good bye to the adopted extremism—– from our society that our Mullah jee keeps on inculcating it — and remains busy day and night in brain washing to keep the masses in his clutches. That may be our next goal.

The future is looking good and bright. There will be— hunky-dory all over and peace and serenity all around. Pakistan is indeed the new land of opportunities; of dreams…… … those dreams of the peoples are now–coming true.

  I am loving it…!

 

India is Poised to Take over Af-Pak War Theatre

By A Khokar     16 November 2009

 Once again the US rhetoric of Quetta shura is in spin which indicates that US is now all out to push her Afghanistan war inside Pakistan. Pak government has expressed its ‘surprise’ at the latest volatile interview of US Ambassador Anne W Patterson and said that there was clearly a “huge disconnect” between Washington and the US Embassy in Islamabad.

This rhetoric of Quetta Shura from the US was very much expected and predicted that in the wake of Pak Army ongoing operation in FATA area and successes thus achieved that now it is matter of days only that it will be clear beyond any doubts that whether AL Qaeda is present any more there in Waziristan  or not. If at all Osama bin Laden is there he too will be captured or killed. This must mark an end of US original mission and plan of capturing Osama bin Laden in this area for which the entire ‘US war on terror’ was initiated.

In Afghanistan, it is said that practically 80 % of the land in Afghanistan is under the control of Taliban. Leaving aside some cities, Taliban are in full control of all the rural areas without any hindrance. US is even paying huge sums to the Afghani security firms escorting the transporting coveys of food, rations, utilities and arms and ammunition for NATO forces with in Afghanistan. These security firms are reportedly paying Taliban to allow them to run their business which happens to be a major source of funding for Taliban. In view of this it will be absurd to even imagine that Mullah Omer needs to be living along with his lieutenants (which form Mullah Omer’s Shura) in exile in Quetta Pakistan and stay some hundreds of mile away from their actual bases of command and operations.

 

 One can understand the nerve racking desperation of US forces high command that they could not attain the desired victory in their 8 years long operation in Afghanistan.

This is an open secret now that in the face of their defeat US command is looking for a face saving exit and they are trying their best to cut a deal with Taliban command and to give them the due share in Afghan government. Re-Election of President Karzai for another five years is yet another blow to the US plans.

 But Pakistan has to be very vigilant that although US are admitting that they have suffered a defeat in Afghanistan. But we are to experience a very abhorrent and a grim display of US character in this process that once again US  is likely to abandon Afghanistan leaving all— high n dry and hung in despair and anarchy.

Obama is showing his reluctance to send the additional 40000 troops as requested by General McChrystal. Reportedly the man fears that it may cause further escalation of war that US may not afford to undertake the huge intake of funding that may incur at this stage. Anyhow a batch of troops for training of Afghan Army and Police forces is being considered to be sent instead.

But on other hand this is already under consideration that in order to have a face saving exit; US can always ask India to take charge of the PAK- Afghan war theatre that India is since long longing for to be recognised as the local super power. India is already involved in most of the construction works like high ways, roads, construction of infrastructures and other buildings like schools, power plants, TV stations and universities etc in Afghanistan. India does have some eleven consulates established there and Indian Armed forces are already plying in Afghanistan in the name of the security of its work force. India is also in possession of Farkhor (Ayni) air base in neighbouring Tajikistan which is couple of miles away from Afghan borders across Yahsu River meant to sabotage China trade route in the north.

In the light of above it is being felt necessary and impending upon US and India to devise and bring up a turning point in the war theatre in order to avail an enabling pretext to undertake this new plan. The prevalent state of anarchy found in Pakistan has to be turned into utter chaos and mayhem by increasing the covert actions and consequently declaring the situation in Pakistan most volatile and grievous. To ablaze the war theatre further a full fledge war against Pakistan on some pretext or the other has to be launched.

It will be a new war, a face saving war to pull back US troops from Afghanistan and at the same time hand this war theatre to India and to enable the new proxy India to secure a potent Indian presence in Afghanistan on Pakistan western borders—— which is but eminent— signs are very much there.

Bloom where you are planted

 

By A Khokar 15 November 2009

  When the spring—- arrives, we anticipate and feel joyful about the re-birth of lush green plants and it is so exciting to watch them spreading their colours and their sweet smelling flowers— when they bloom in our court yards and the areas all around us. It never ceases to amaze one that how a plant that was seen totally withered out and left for dead can burst forth a few month later into new life.

 

Walk down any pathway you may find some plant even growing out of seemingly dead rocks. This particular phenomenon one find is very amazing that how anything can spring up from a rock which is dry and apparently lacking in soil and nutrients that are vital to a plant’s growth. It is worth pondering upon that if a plant which God made, can survive under the driest of circumstances then we too can bloom where we are planted.

 

Too many times one sees people saying to themselves that they would be more successful or happier in life, if only their circumstances were different but if we learn this that in whatever the state—- we must stay content. No matter the situation in our lives, we can grow and flourish when —we abide in God Almighty.

 

So let’s remember that if God can cause a lily to grow out of a rock, then He can allow you to bloom wherever you are planted.

 

***

How the U.S. Funds the Taliban in Afghanistan

On October 29, 2001, while the Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan was under assault, the regime’s ambassador in Islamabad gave a chaotic press conference in front of several dozen reporters sitting on the grass. On the Taliban diplomat’s right sat his interpreter, Ahmad Rateb Popal, a man with an imposing presence. Like the ambassador, Popal wore a black turban, and he had a huge bushy beard. He had a black patch over his right eye socket, a prosthetic left arm and a deformed right hand, the result of injuries from an explosives mishap during an old operation against the Soviets in Kabul.

But Popal was more than just a former mujahedeen. In 1988, a year before the Soviets fled Afghanistan, Popal had been charged in the United States with conspiring to import more than a kilo of heroin. Court records show he was released from prison in 1997.

Flash forward to 2009, and Afghanistan is ruled by Popal’s cousin President Hamid Karzai. Popal has cut his huge beard down to a neatly trimmed one and has become an immensely wealthy businessman, along with his brother Rashid Popal, who in a separate case pleaded guilty to a heroin charge in 1996 in Brooklyn. The Popal brothers control the huge Watan Group in Afghanistan, a consortium engaged in telecommunications, logistics and, most important, security. Watan Risk Management, the Popals’ private military arm, is one of the few dozen private security companies in Afghanistan. One of Watan’s enterprises, key to the war effort, is protecting convoys of Afghan trucks heading from Kabul to Kandahar, carrying American supplies.

Welcome to the wartime contracting bazaar in Afghanistan. It is a virtual carnival of improbable characters and shady connections, with former CIA officials and ex-military officers joining hands with former Taliban and mujahedeen to collect US government funds in the name of the war effort.

In this grotesque carnival, the US military’s contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes. It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. “It’s a big part of their income,” one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents.

Understanding how this situation came to pass requires untangling two threads. The first is the insider dealing that determines who wins and who loses in Afghan business, and the second is the troubling mechanism by which “private security” ensures that the US supply convoys traveling these ancient trade routes aren’t ambushed by insurgents.

A good place to pick up the first thread is with a small firm awarded a US military logistics contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars: NCL Holdings. Like the Popals’ Watan Risk, NCL is a licensed security company in Afghanistan.

What NCL Holdings is most notorious for in Kabul contracting circles, though, is the identity of its chief principal, Hamed Wardak. He is the young American son of Afghanistan’s current defense minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, who was a leader of the mujahedeen against the Soviets. Hamed Wardak has plunged into business as well as policy. He was raised and schooled in the United States, graduating as valedictorian from Georgetown University in 1997. He earned a Rhodes scholarship and interned at the neoconservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute. That internship was to play an important role in his life, for it was at AEI that he forged alliances with some of the premier figures in American conservative foreign policy circles, such as the late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Wardak incorporated NCL in the United States early in 2007, although the firm may have operated in Afghanistan before then. It made sense to set up shop in Washington, because of Wardak’s connections there. On NCL’s advisory board, for example, is Milton Bearden, a well-known former CIA officer. Bearden is an important voice on Afghanistan issues; in October he was a witness before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Senator John Kerry, the chair, introduced him as “a legendary former CIA case officer and a clearheaded thinker and writer.” It is not every defense contracting company that has such an influential adviser.

But the biggest deal that NCL got–the contract that brought it into Afghanistan’s major leagues–was Host Nation Trucking. Earlier this year the firm, with no apparent trucking experience, was named one of the six companies that would handle the bulk of US trucking in Afghanistan, bringing supplies to the web of bases and remote outposts scattered across the country.

At first the contract was large but not gargantuan. And then that suddenly changed, like an immense garden coming into bloom. Over the summer, citing the coming “surge” and a new doctrine, “Money as a Weapons System,” the US military expanded the contract 600 percent for NCL and the five other companies. The contract documentation warns of dire consequences if more is not spent: “service members will not get food, water, equipment, and ammunition they require.” Each of the military’s six trucking contracts was bumped up to $360 million, or a total of nearly $2.2 billion. Put it in this perspective: this single two-year effort to hire Afghan trucks and truckers was worth 10 percent of the annual Afghan gross domestic product. NCL, the firm run by the defense minister’s well-connected son, had struck pure contracting gold.

Host Nation Trucking does indeed keep the US military efforts alive in Afghanistan. “We supply everything the army needs to survive here,” one American trucking executive told me. “We bring them their toilet paper, their water, their fuel, their guns, their vehicles.” The epicenter is Bagram Air Base, just an hour north of Kabul, from which virtually everything in Afghanistan is trucked to the outer reaches of what the Army calls “the Battlespace”–that is, the entire country. Parked near Entry Control Point 3, the trucks line up, shifting gears and sending up clouds of dust as they prepare for their various missions across the country.

The real secret to trucking in Afghanistan is ensuring security on the perilous roads, controlled by warlords, tribal militias, insurgents and Taliban commanders. The American executive I talked to was fairly specific about it: “The Army is basically paying the Taliban not to shoot at them. It is Department of Defense money.” That is something everyone seems to agree on.

Mike Hanna is the project manager for a trucking company called Afghan American Army Services. The company, which still operates in Afghanistan, had been trucking for the United States for years but lost out in the Host Nation Trucking contract that NCL won. Hanna explained the security realities quite simply: “You are paying the people in the local areas–some are warlords, some are politicians in the police force–to move your trucks through.”

Hanna explained that the prices charged are different, depending on the route: “We’re basically being extorted. Where you don’t pay, you’re going to get attacked. We just have our field guys go down there, and they pay off who they need to.” Sometimes, he says, the extortion fee is high, and sometimes it is low. “Moving ten trucks, it is probably $800 per truck to move through an area. It’s based on the number of trucks and what you’re carrying. If you have fuel trucks, they are going to charge you more. If you have dry trucks, they’re not going to charge you as much. If you are carrying MRAPs or Humvees, they are going to charge you more.”

Hanna says it is just a necessary evil. “If you tell me not to pay these insurgents in this area, the chances of my trucks getting attacked increase exponentially.”

Whereas in Iraq the private security industry has been dominated by US and global firms like Blackwater, operating as de facto arms of the US government, in Afghanistan there are lots of local players as well. As a result, the industry in Kabul is far more dog-eat-dog. “Every warlord has his security company,” is the way one executive explained it to me.

In theory, private security companies in Kabul are heavily regulated, although the reality is different. Thirty-nine companies had licenses until September, when another dozen were granted licenses. Many licensed companies are politically connected: just as NCL is owned by the son of the defense minister and Watan Risk Management is run by President Karzai’s cousins, the Asia Security Group is controlled by Hashmat Karzai, another relative of the president. The company has blocked off an entire street in the expensive Sherpur District. Another security firm is controlled by the parliamentary speaker’s son, sources say. And so on.

In the same way, the Afghan trucking industry, key to logistics operations, is often tied to important figures and tribal leaders. One major hauler in Afghanistan, Afghan International Trucking (AIT), paid $20,000 a month in kickbacks to a US Army contracting official, according to the official’s plea agreement in US court in August. AIT is a very well-connected firm: it is run by the 25-year-old nephew of Gen. Baba Jan, a former Northern Alliance commander and later a Kabul police chief. In an interview, Baba Jan, a cheerful and charismatic leader, insisted he had nothing to do with his nephew’s corporate enterprise.

But the heart of the matter is that insurgents are getting paid for safe passage because there are few other ways to bring goods to the combat outposts and forward operating bases where soldiers need them. By definition, many outposts are situated in hostile terrain, in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The security firms don’t really protect convoys of American military goods here, because they simply can’t; they need the Taliban’s cooperation.

One of the big problems for the companies that ship American military supplies across the country is that they are banned from arming themselves with any weapon heavier than a rifle. That makes them ineffective for battling Taliban attacks on a convoy. “They are shooting the drivers from 3,000 feet away with PKMs,” a trucking company executive in Kabul told me. “They are using RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] that will blow up an up-armed vehicle. So the security companies are tied up. Because of the rules, security companies can only carry AK-47s, and that’s just a joke. I carry an AK–and that’s just to shoot myself if I have to!”

The rules are there for a good reason: to guard against devastating collateral damage by private security forces. Still, as Hanna of Afghan American Army Services points out, “An AK-47 versus a rocket-propelled grenade–you are going to lose!” That said, at least one of the Host Nation Trucking companies has tried to do battle instead of paying off insurgents and warlords. It is a US-owned firm called Four Horsemen International. Instead of providing payments, it has tried to fight off attackers. And it has paid the price in lives, with horrendous casualties. FHI, like many other firms, refused to talk publicly; but I’ve been told by insiders in the security industry that FHI’s convoys are attacked on virtually every mission.

For the most part, the security firms do as they must to survive. A veteran American manager in Afghanistan who has worked there as both a soldier and a private security contractor in the field told me, “What we are doing is paying warlords associated with the Taliban, because none of our security elements is able to deal with the threat.” He’s an Army veteran with years of Special Forces experience, and he’s not happy about what’s being done. He says that at a minimum American military forces should try to learn more about who is getting paid off.

“Most escorting is done by the Taliban,” an Afghan private security official told me. He’s a Pashto and former mujahedeen commander who has his finger on the pulse of the military situation and the security industry. And he works with one of the trucking companies carrying US supplies. “Now the government is so weak,” he added, “everyone is paying the Taliban.”

To Afghan trucking officials, this is barely even something to worry about. One woman I met was an extraordinary entrepreneur who had built up a trucking business in this male-dominated field. She told me the security company she had hired dealt directly with Taliban leaders in the south. Paying the Taliban leaders meant they would send along an escort to ensure that no other insurgents would attack. In fact, she said, they just needed two armed Taliban vehicles. “Two Taliban is enough,” she told me. “One in the front and one in the back.” She shrugged. “You cannot work otherwise. Otherwise it is not possible.”

Which leads us back to the case of Watan Risk, the firm run by Ahmad Rateb Popal and Rashid Popal, the Karzai family relatives and former drug dealers. Watan is known to control one key stretch of road that all the truckers use: the strategic route to Kandahar called Highway 1. Think of it as the road to the war–to the south and to the west. If the Army wants to get supplies down to Helmand, for example, the trucks must make their way through Kandahar.

Watan Risk, according to seven different security and trucking company officials, is the sole provider of security along this route. The reason is simple: Watan is allied with the local warlord who controls the road. Watan’s company website is quite impressive, and claims its personnel “are diligently screened to weed out all ex-militia members, supporters of the Taliban, or individuals with loyalty to warlords, drug barons, or any other group opposed to international support of the democratic process.” Whatever screening methods it uses, Watan’s secret weapon to protect American supplies heading through Kandahar is a man named Commander Ruhullah. Said to be a handsome man in his 40s, Ruhullah has an oddly high-pitched voice. He wears traditional salwar kameez and a Rolex watch. He rarely, if ever, associates with Westerners. He commands a large group of irregular fighters with no known government affiliation, and his name, security officials tell me, inspires obedience or fear in villages along the road.

It is a dangerous business, of course: until last spring Ruhullah had competition–a one-legged warlord named Commander Abdul Khaliq. He was killed in an ambush.

So Ruhullah is the surviving road warrior for that stretch of highway. According to witnesses, he works like this: he waits until there are hundreds of trucks ready to convoy south down the highway. Then he gets his men together, setting them up in 4x4s and pickups. Witnesses say he does not limit his arsenal to AK-47s but uses any weapons he can get. His chief weapon is his reputation. And for that, Watan is paid royally, collecting a fee for each truck that passes through his corridor. The American trucking official told me that Ruhullah “charges $1,500 per truck to go to Kandahar. Just 300 kilometers.”

It’s hard to pinpoint what this is, exactly–security, extortion or a form of “insurance.” Then there is the question, Does Ruhullah have ties to the Taliban? That’s impossible to know. As an American private security veteran familiar with the route said, “He works both sides… whatever is most profitable. He’s the main commander. He’s got to be involved with the Taliban. How much, no one knows.”

Even NCL, the company owned by Hamed Wardak, pays. Two sources with direct knowledge tell me that NCL sends its portion of US logistics goods in Watan’s and Ruhullah’s convoys. Sources say NCL is billed $500,000 per month for Watan’s services. To underline the point: NCL, operating on a $360 million contract from the US military, and owned by the Afghan defense minister’s son, is paying millions per year from those funds to a company owned by President Karzai’s cousins, for protection.

Hamed Wardak wouldn’t return my phone calls. Milt Bearden, the former CIA officer affiliated with the company, wouldn’t speak with me either. There’s nothing wrong with Bearden engaging in business in Afghanistan, but disclosure of his business interests might have been expected when testifying on US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. After all, NCL stands to make or lose hundreds of millions based on the whims of US policy-makers.

It is certainly worth asking why NCL, a company with no known trucking experience, and little security experience to speak of, would win a contract worth $360 million. Plenty of Afghan insiders are asking questions. “Why would the US government give him a contract if he is the son of the minister of defense?” That’s what Mahmoud Karzai asked me. He is the brother of President Karzai, and he himself has been treated in the press as a poster boy for access to government officials. The New York Times even profiled him in a highly critical piece. In his defense, Karzai emphasized that he, at least, has refrained from US government or Afghan government contracting. He pointed out, as others have, that Hamed Wardak had little security or trucking background before his company received security and trucking contracts from the Defense Department. “That’s a questionable business practice,” he said. “They shouldn’t give it to him. How come that’s not questioned?”

I did get the opportunity to ask General Wardak, Hamed’s father, about it. He is quite dapper, although he is no longer the debonair “Gucci commander” Bearden once described. I asked Wardak about his son and NCL. “I’ve tried to be straightforward and correct and fight corruption all my life,” the defense minister said. “This has been something people have tried to use against me, so it has been painful.”

Wardak would speak only briefly about NCL. The issue seems to have produced a rift with his son. “I was against it from the beginning, and that’s why we have not talked for a long time. I have never tried to support him or to use my power or influence that he should benefit.”

When I told Wardak that his son’s company had a US contract worth as much as $360 million, he did a double take. “This is impossible,” he said. “I do not believe this.”

I believed the general when he said he really didn’t know what his son was up to. But cleaning up what look like insider deals may be easier than the next step: shutting down the money pipeline going from DoD contracts to potential insurgents.

Two years ago, a top Afghan security official told me, Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, had alerted the American military to the problem. The NDS delivered what I’m told are “very detailed” reports to the Americans explaining how the Taliban are profiting from protecting convoys of US supplies.

The Afghan intelligence service even offered a solution: what if the United States were to take the tens of millions paid to security contractors and instead set up a dedicated and professional convoy support unit to guard its logistics lines? The suggestion went nowhere.

The bizarre fact is that the practice of buying the Taliban’s protection is not a secret. I asked Col. David Haight, who commands the Third Brigade of the Tenth Mountain Division, about it. After all, part of Highway 1 runs through his area of operations. What did he think about security companies paying off insurgents? “The American soldier in me is repulsed by it,” he said in an interview in his office at FOB Shank in Logar Province. “But I know that it is what it is: essentially paying the enemy, saying, ‘Hey, don’t hassle me.’ I don’t like it, but it is what it is.”

As a military official in Kabul explained contracting in Afghanistan overall, “We understand that across the board 10 percent to 20 percent goes to the insurgents. My intel guy would say it is closer to 10 percent. Generally it is happening in logistics.”

In a statement to The Nation about Host Nation Trucking, Col. Wayne Shanks, the chief public affairs officer for the international forces in Afghanistan, said that military officials are “aware of allegations that procurement funds may find their way into the hands of insurgent groups, but we do not directly support or condone this activity, if it is occurring.” He added that, despite oversight, “the relationships between contractors and their subcontractors, as well as between subcontractors and others in their operational communities, are not entirely transparent.”

In any case, the main issue is not that the US military is turning a blind eye to the problem. Many officials acknowledge what is going on while also expressing a deep disquiet about the situation. The trouble is that–as with so much in Afghanistan–the United States doesn’t seem to know how to fix it.

Aram Roston is an Emmy Award-winning investigative producer at NBC News and the author of The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi (Nation Books), from which this article is adapted.

Cut that Last Tree Branch where they Perch to Alight

By A Khokar         10 November 2009

The war on terror declared by USA after the incident of 911 was ultimately brought to our western borders under the pretext that US lead NATO forces were fighting Al Qaeda and were chasing this stateless organisation declared as enemy by United States that it was allegedly using the god forsaken territory of FATA in Pakistan as their sanctuaries especially the part of land called South Waziristan.

Pakistan has been unable to deny this fact that since long these sanctuaries as such were certainly available to the freedom fighters-Taliban of Afghanistan against foreign occupation. Ironically Taliban offered their full shelter and hospitality to the Al Qaeda elements as brothers in arms to come and use their sanctuaries.

At that time it was little known that the concocted pretext so hyped of ‘war on terror’ and chasing of Taliban as well as Al Qaeda was in fact  a cover plan to target the nuclear arsenals of Pakistan and debar the only Muslim Country in the world by declaring it that these nuclear assets were unsafe and quite vulnerable to the terrorists of Al Qaeda that they were poised to take over Pakistan and may endanger the security of the whole world.

To enlarge this pretext’s concoction, it was but essential that a potent subversive forces be raised with in Pakistan to destabilise this country and engages all such targets like Military installations, its Head quarters, the Military Institutions and also carry out the target killings to bring them on kneels. Sadly so American CIA with help of Indian RAW was able to buy out some of the traitors of this nation from the Hindu Kush ranges that they are the known enemy abettors. History tell us that all the invaders coming down from these ranges for the plans of India they invariably took them as the abettors on a price and thus local kingdoms enroute were made to fall that they love mercenary jobs for money. History is once again going to repeat itself that  present day invaders the American have again picked up the tag of their price and are successful in  hiring them to work against their own home land-Pakistan through a Tehrik named as Tehrik e Taliban of Pakistan.

Yes these perpetrators have been doing so in the past since ages and history is behind them but then there used to be docile and weakling Indian that they were the easily run over. This time these traitors are facing the Gallant Armed forces of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The coward Al Qaeda and TTP stooges are on the run since long. They are rounded up and caught up like sitting ducks.

The creation of TTP and their planned savagery has done enough damage but enough is enough. This traitor has to be taken out. Pakistan may not afford this menace on its soil  at all. It is but pertinent that not only the branches that on which they make their nests but the whole tree has to be rooted out. The dwellings and those head quarters of conspiracy, the epicentres are to be razed to the ground.

We may be rereading the history of these traitors—– when they abetted the invader Alexander (the Great) and assisted him to scale the formidable Pir Sar Pass of Swatt (then known as Massaga) and that after a pitch battle where even the women along with their Queen Cleophis (Kripa) also fought the invading Alexander to push him back but Swaat eventually fell. Alexander forces suffered heavy losses but after crossing Pir Sar Pass killed every living human soul—- the men, women and children all were massacred. Even the people who surrendered were also killed. In his remembrance Alexander built a big monument which is still intact and named it with the Greek name; Aoronos (a legendry Greek lake which is known for its curse that no crow may fly pass over it alive).

No wonder present day, Pakistan has to put up with such like mercenaries and hypocrites having the same old lineament and their same act of treason; which is still prevalent and commonly persuaded in the area by the people like Tehrik e Taliban. The acts of treason, greed and betrayal of their mother land for sake of perks and largess are their common practices as ever. For them the only change may be the change of flags of invaders.

Before this that it was too late that saviour of this nation— our Pak Armed forces chalked out a plan to undo the web of this deceit. Pak army under took this challenge and after the successful completion of phase one of operations in Swatt-Malakand, the second phase in South Waziristan to eliminate the menace of Al Qaeda and her cohorts is also progressing very well. Victory Insha Allah is in sight. Pak Army successes have simply eroded all the hopes of CIA and her collaborator (our arch enemy India). They are all baffled.

 

A sample of  acute desperation of American think tanks can also be seen in the New Yorker’s weekly magazine written by Seymour M Hersh “Defending the Arsenal—In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe?” Very sheepishly the man has floated yet an other idea that although Pakistani arsenal are well guarded and —— their arming codes are practically held by US forces (strange enough?) but still there is ample chance that Terrorist may raid some nuclear bunkers of Pakistan and may run away with nuclear bomb in order to explode and it may efface the entire western society. He has also come out with another cook up of an expected mutiny in the army against the higher command…!

What a concoction——–that this man is trying to pin it up—- to under mine the successes of Pak army; sadly he is bit late. Isn’t he?

 There is history in making to break the centuries old myths of this area of tyranny and deceit. A grand decision has been taken to eliminate the menace of these perpetrators once for all —so that all the peace loving Pakistanis may live their tomorrows peacefully and may hold their heads high in the International community.

 We will certainly make it sure that even the last branch of that tree is also cut ascender where these stooges perch to alight.

[Woh Shakh he na rahaey gee jis peh tera ashiana hey]

US Army: Fort Hood Gunman in Custody After 12 Killed, 31 Injured in Rampage

Fort Hood Texas: A US Army psychiatrist who reportedly feared an impending war deployment in Afghanistan is in custody as the sole suspect in a shooting rampage at Armored Training Centre, Fort Hood in Texas that left 12 dead and 31 wounded, an Army official said Thursday night.

The gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, first said to have been killed, was wounded but alive in a hospital under military guard, said Lt. Gen. Bob Cone at Fort Hood. He was shot four times, and was on a ventilator and unconscious, according to military officials. “I would say his death is not imminent,” Cone said.

Two other soldiers who were taken into custody for questioning were later released, Cone said. A female first responder who shot at Hasan also survived, contrary to earlier reports that she had died.

The rampage was believed to be the deadliest at a U.S. military base in history.

Soldiers rushed to treat their injured colleagues by ripping their uniforms into makeshift bandages. Officials have not ruled out the possibility that some casualties may have been victims of “friendly fire,” shot by authorities amid the mayhem and confusion at the scene, said a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that were under investigation.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said generals at Fort Hood told her that Hasan, a Virginia native and a Muslim, was about to deploy overseas. Retired Col. Terry Lee, who said he had worked with Hasan, told Fox News he was being sent to Afghanistan.

Lee said Hasan had hoped Obama would pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq and got into frequent arguments with others in the military who supported the wars.

Before Thursday’s shooting, Hasan reportedly gave away all of his furniture along with copies of the Koran to neighbours, KXXV-TV reported.

Video from the scene showed police patrolling the area with handguns and rifles, ducking behind buildings for cover. Sirens could be heard wailing while a woman’s voice on a public-address system urged people to take cover.

“I was confused and just shocked,” said Spc. Jerry Richard, 27, who works at the centre but was not on duty during the shooting. “Overseas you are ready for it. But here you can’t even defend yourself.”

Soldiers at Fort Hood don’t carry weapons unless they are doing training exercises.

Federal law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that Hasan had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed homicide bombings and other threats. The officials said they are still trying to confirm that he was the author.

One of the Web postings that authorities reviewed is a blog that equates homicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades.

“To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause,” said the Internet posting. “Scholars have paralled (sic) this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers.”

They say an official investigation was not opened.

Hasan was working with soldiers at Darnall Army Medical Centre on Fort Hood after being transferred in July from Walter Reed Army Medical Centre, where he had worked for six years before recently receiving a poor review.

Cone said the shooter used two guns, including a semi-automatic weapon. He added there was no indication they were military weapons.

The shooting took place 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the post’s Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers undergo medical screening before being deployed or after returning from overseas.

“We have a terrible, tragic situation here,” said Cone. “Soldiers, family members and the civilians that work here are absolutely devastated.”

Cone said the injuries “vary significantly” among the victims wounded in the shooting.

The shooter’s cousin, Nader Hasan, told Fox News that their family is in shock.

“We are trying to make sense of all this,” Nader Hasan said. “He wasn’t even someone who enjoyed going to the firing range.”

He said his cousin, who was born and raised in Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech University, turned against the wars after hearing the stories of those who came back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nader Hasan said his cousin, who was raised a Muslim, wanted to go into the military against his parent’s wishes — but was taunted by others after the terror attacks of Sept. 11.

A former neighbor of Hasan’s in Silver Spring, Md., told Fox News he lived there for two years with his brother and had the word “Allah” on the door.

She said the FBI interviewed her Thursday afternoon, adding she used to see a woman and a 3-year-old girl coming and going.

Authorities provided little information Thursday about the victims of the rampage at Fort Hood.

George Stratton’s son, George Stratton III, was five feet away from the shooter at the Soldier Readiness Center and suffered a gunshot wound to his left shoulder.

“He said he was there doing medical stuff and all of a sudden someone came through the door, walked behind the desk and just started shooting,” Stratton told FoxNews.com.

He said about 15 rounds went off and people started dropping to the floor.

“He peaked up over the desk and that’s when he was shot in the shoulder, and he just went down again. He said he saw one of his NCOs get badly shot,” Stratton told FoxNews.com after talking to his son in the hospital. “After he got shot he told me, ‘Dad, I got up, held my arm and took off running.’”

Stratton said his son was expected to be deployed to Afghanistan in January after going to basic training exactly a year ago.

“It’s pretty hard to believe something like this happened,” Stratton told FoxNews.com. “I think he’s probably had his fill of war already.”

President Obama called the shooting a “horrific outburst of violence” on members of the nation’s armed forces. “It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil,” he said

President Obama said his thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and families of the fallen.

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said they don’t know anything about Hasan, and condemned the shooting at Fort Hood.

The group issued a statement calling the shooting as a “cowardly attack.” They say no political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such violence.

The base and area schools were on lockdown after the mass shooting, and all those on the Army post were asked to gather for a head count, thought the lockdown was lifted Thursday night.

Covering 339 square miles, Fort Hood is the largest active duty armored post in the United States. Home to about 52,000 troops as of earlier this year, the sprawling base is located halfway between Austin and Waco.

Townhall.com

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Fort Hood Quick Facts

A 340 square mile installation (217,337 acres), Fort Hood is the only Cantonment post in the United States capable of stationing and training two Armored Divisions.

The rolling, semiarid terrain is ideal for multifaceted training and testing of military units and individuals. Fort Hood is “The Army’s Premier Installation to train and deploy heavy forces.”

In addition to the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood is also residence for Headquarters Command III Corps, 3d Signal Brigade, 3d Air Support Operations Group, 13th Corps Support Command (COSCOM), 13th Finance Group, 21st CAV Brigade (Air Combat), 89th Military Police Brigade, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, the Dental Activity (DENTAC), the Medical Support Activity (MEDDAC), U.S. Army Operational Test Command (USAOTC), and various other units and tenant organizations.

A Brief History

Fort Hood was named for the famous Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, an outstanding leader who gained recognition during the Civil War as the commander of Hood’s Texas Brigade.

The original site was selected in 1941, and construction of South Camp Hood began in 1942. North Camp Hood, located 17 miles to the north, was established shortly after the first land acquisition and the founding of the cantonment area.

South Camp Hood was designated as Fort Hood, a permanent installation, in 1951.

North Camp Hood became North Fort Hood and what is now West Fort Hood was formerly a U.S. Air Force Base. Both the airfield and the base were run by the U.S. Air Force from 1947 to 1952.

From 1952 to 1969, the facilities were run by the U.S. Army under the Defense Atomic Support Agency. It became part of Fort Hood in 1969.

Location

Fort Hood is adjacent to Killeen , Texas in the beautiful “hill and lake” country of the Great State of Texas.

Will US let Pak Army be crowned for Victory in Waziristan?

 

By A Khokar          02 November 2009

 

 After incident of 911 that US declared an all out war against terror in our region against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. There was the time when war was seen drawing nearer to our western borders that Al Qaeda was allegedly using our FATA territory as their sanctuaries. Reportedly Al Qaeda was carrying out their subversive activities inside Afghanistan and when they used to return back to our area—- in their hot pursuit, quite often US-NATO forces while chasing them  crossed over in Pakistan.

 

Musharraf as an ally in the war took the responsibility to deal with these sanctuaries of Al Qaeda and moved Pak army in the most inaccessable land in the world. Pakistan received some billions of dollars in aid to quell this evil present on our soil. On the face of it, knowing it to be such that Al-Qaida was present there; its presence was altogether denied in our press and Media. US–NATO forces as well as our government although knew it well but Pakistani public was consistently kept in dark. No effort what so ever was made to take the public in confidence or to form some sort of public opinion against this evil of Al Qaeda. This is the biggest hypocrisy and blunder [1] that Pakistan has ever committed. Later when Al Qaeda aggression escalated; our own Armed forces were asked to start a limited war against Al Qaeda in our own areas but some how the press which was calling itself a free press, probably at the behest of the government of the day picked it differently and we were lead to believe to call it a US war.

 

This gave birth to a unique national dilemma of ours—- to follow a dual faced policy to keep the public at home there by in dark as well as international Media in illusion of our hide and seek business against Al Qaeda. But time kept on fleeting against Pakistan very fast. At the same time Pakistan could not read the American designs or comprehend it well that a super power USA who had travelled all the way some seven seas to come across here and sat in our neighbourhood with the aim to debar this nation of our nuclear assets and disintegrate who is allegedly supporting Al Qaeda——- could  frustrate US designs so easily. Rather our dual policy resulted in keeping the phenomena of terrorism alive and thus provided a desired pretext to US to camp in our neighbourhood along our borders. Our strategy was certainly not working.

 

Mean while the reality of existence of Al Qaeda on ground has been taking its heavy toil and it was catching us up fast. CIA very successfully launched a decoy in shape of Tehrik e Taliban- in Pakistan (TTP) to destabilize Pakistan from with in that our intelligence services were also unable to counter their onslaught. Ultimately Pakistan scum to its dual faced policy. This has been the major blow and failure to the Pakistani adopted strategy and in no time the entire society was seen falling in the clutches of TTP ideology and at their mercy.

 

Consequently Pak Army was made to move in and they were able to eliminate the evil from one of the area of Malakand and Swaat. As a second phase against the main den of Al Qaeda and TTP an operation ‘Rah e Nijat’ is since in progress in South Waziristan to free the area of this menace.

 

Pakistan has kept hiding the presence of Al Qaeda on her soil. This gave a free hand to their off shoots like TTP and others a leverage to flourish and they have been getting stronger day by day. The Satan having stashed its pockets with US dollars was on loose in disguise as Islamic preacher using religion as weapon and was able to extend its influence in other areas also. The greedy, godless and profane Mullahs sitting in the madrassahs across the country provided them boarding and lodging in order to spread their doctrine and made available the vulnerable destitute youth, especially in rural areas to be recruited as fodder and to become their foot soldiers. While the government kept on sleeping on wheels the TTP supported by political forces like MMA and JUI-Fazlur Rehman were seen turning into monsters.

 

But now at last when the mega military actions against the monsters of this terrorism and the dens of Al Qaeda is on and victory is (God willing)—–but certain——- should we assume that US lead NATO forces will let Pak Army be crowned— alone for all this and they will keep on sitting there on their hunches idle? Will they simply pack up and go? Is that —– all?

 

This is trillion dollar question that US which has spent some trillions of dollars for last eight years on their Armed forces and their supporting groups—– to come invade Afghanistan and catch just one person—-Osama bin laden——- whose ragtag forces are now hauled up by Pak army and end is drawn so near;

 

Will US let Pak Army be crowned for Victory in Waziristan?

 

Link: adab- arez.co.uk

 [1]Lamhoun ney khatta ki hey;

     Sadioun ney Sazza paee