Tackle Taliban or we will … invade another country?
‘War is Peace!’
Hail Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize!
Pakistan (unlike Iran) has NUKES!
– Pakistan: Two More Bomb Blasts Kill at Least 43, 100 Dead in Five Days
THE Obama Administration is turning up the pressure on Pakistan to fight the Taliban inside its borders.
The US has warned Pakistan that if it does not act more aggressively, it will use considerably more force on the Pakistani side of the border to shut down Taliban attacks on US forces in Afghanistan, US and Pakistani officials said.
The blunt message was delivered in a tense encounter in Pakistan last month, before President Barack Obama announced his new war strategy, when General James Jones, Mr Obama’s national security adviser, and John Brennan, the White House counter-terrorism chief, met the heads of Pakistan’s military and its intelligence service.
US officials said the message did not amount to an ultimatum, rather it was intended to prod a reluctant Pakistani military to go after Taliban insurgents in Pakistan who are directing attacks in Afghanistan.
The Pakistanis interpreted the message as a fairly bald warning that unless Pakistan moved quickly to act against two Taliban groups they have so far refused to attack, America was prepared to take unilateral action to expand Predator drone attacks beyond the tribal areas and, if needed, to resume raids by Special Operations forces into the country against al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
One senior Administration official declined to go into details, but said that: ”I think they read our intentions accurately.”
A Pakistani official who has been briefed on the meetings said: ”Jones’ message was that if Pakistani help wasn’t forthcoming, the US would have to do it themselves.”
The security demands followed an offer of a broader strategic relationship and expanded non-military economic aid from the US.
Pakistan’s politically weakened President, Asif Ali Zardari, replied in writing to a two-page letter that Mr Jones delivered by hand from Mr Obama. But Mr Zardari gave no indication of how Pakistan would respond to the incentives, which were linked to the demands for greatly stepped-up counter-terrorism actions.
The implicit threat of not only ratcheting up the drone strikes but also launching more covert US ground raids would mark a substantial escalation of the Administration’s counter-terrorism campaign.
US Special Operations forces attacked al-Qaeda militants in a Pakistani village near the border with Afghanistan in early September 2008, in the first publicly acknowledged case of US forces conducting a ground raid on Pakistani soil.
But the raid caused a political furore in Pakistan. This saw the US back off what had been a planned series of such strikes.
During his review of strategy, officials said, Mr Obama concluded that no amount of additional troops in Afghanistan would succeed in a new mission if the Taliban could retreat over the Pakistani border to regroup and resupply. But the Administration has said little about the Pakistani part of the strategy.
■ An American at the centre of an international terrorism investigation has been charged with helping plot the 2008 rampage in Mumbai, India, that left 173 people dead, according to the US Justice Department.
David Headley, of Chicago, is accused of helping identify targets for a Pakistani-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose two-day attack on luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a Jewish community centre and a crowded train station brought India’s financial capital to a halt and shocked the world.
DAVID SANGER AND ERIC SCHMITT, WASHINGTON
December 9, 2009
Source: The Age
The endless war on terror:
– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’
Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.
Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.
The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.
The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.
– Top US commander in Afghanistan: The Taliban have gained the upper hand:
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)