Friday, 19 December 2014

WikiLeaks Releases Downbeat CIA Appraisal of Strikes in Afghanistan

WikiLeaks Releases Downbeat CIA Appraisal of Strikes in Afghanistan - US News
The internal agency report, released without official permission Thursday by WikiLeaks, analyzed the targeting of insurgent group leaders for capture or assassination by U.S. and other governments in various armed conflicts.
In Afghanistan, where the report said targeting emphasizes lethal attacks, government corruption, “endemic lawlessness” and the “egalitarian Pashtun structures” associated with the Taliban hindered the effectiveness of efforts, the report found.
“Senior Taliban leaders’ use of sanctuary in Pakistan has also complicated the [targeting] effort,” says the report, written by the CIA’s Office of Transnational Issues.

Belgium to close embassies in Afghanistan, Libya

KUNA : Belgium to close embassies in Afghanistan, Libya - Politics - 19/12/2014 
BRUSSELS, Dec 19 (KUNA) -- Belgium will shut down its embassies in Kabul, Tripoli and in several other European and African capitals due to budgetary restraint.
"Structural reforms are needed to enable the Foreign Ministry to continue carrying out its tasks in a context of budgetary restraint. This decision must be seen in the context of a broader effort of rationalisation of the diplomatic network, based on objective studies," Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders said in a statement Friday.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Peshawar School Attack - Some Background

Jason Burke with a thoughtful background to the horror attack.

Pakistan Taliban: a brutal tactic from a ragtag group feeling the pressure | World news | The Guardian
Since June, a new and very direct pressure has been applied to the TTP.The Pakistani military finally moved into the North Waziristan tribal agency, where dozens of groups threatening local, regional and international targets were based. The assault was seen as the climax to years of campaigning on the frontier, chasing militants out of successive strongholds.
More than a thousand fighters from the movement are thought to have been killed in the new push, as well as civilians.

Suicide bomber kills policeman, injures three in Kabul

Suicide bomber kills policeman, injures three in Kabul
Police forces were following the attacker’s vehicle on Thursday morning, as they suspected he was trying to enter the city, Hashmat Stanekzai, the spokesman for the Kabul provincial police chief, said.
“A suicide bomber was trying to enter Kabul with the intention of detonating explosives in a crowded part of the city,” Stanekzai said, adding that he blew up the explosives prematurely.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Report Confirms Fraud in Afghan Election

The report provides the fullest picture yet at the allegations of fraud that plagued the election, suggesting that more than 2 million votes - or about a quarter of total votes cast - came from polling stations with voting irregularities.
Reports of widespread fraud led to a political crisis pitting the campaigns of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah against each other after the preliminary results tilted dramatically in favor of Dr Ghani. Link

Pentagon chided over 'imprudent spending' on Afghan gem industry

Pentagon chided over 'imprudent spending' on Afghan gem industry | TheHill

SIGAR received information that the task force sent Afghan jewelers to gem training programs in India, Paris and Milan, Sopko said.

“Despite these expenditures, it is not clear to me that the gem industry programs produced any positive and lasting economic development or increased employment in Afghanistan,” he wrote to Hagel.

SIGAR is now asking the Pentagon to provide the names of officials who oversaw the task force’s spending and approved the programs.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Pakistan Taliban Claim School Massacre Was Retaliation

Guantanamo Prisoner Beaten 300 Times

UPDATE: Taliban Storm Pakistan School, Kill 95

UPDATE: Taliban Storm Pakistan School, Kill 95
Taliban gunmen stormed an army-run school in Pakistan today, killing at least 95 people including 82 children in one of the country's bloodiest attacks in recent years, officials said.
Witnesses described how a huge blast shook the Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar and gunmen went from classroom to classroom, shooting children.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Trillions Spent on Afghanistan and Iraq Debacles

Science, educational, and infrastructure programs are being cut while the government pours billions into Iraq and Afghanistan. I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline for government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings to be immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. Much like our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program, the Afghan war just continues on a mix of weak military commitment by the Afghans and an even weaker political commitment at home to the American people.

Pakistani Taliban Under Pressure?

Pakistani Taliban Squeezed by Afghan Revolt, U... by wochit

Les Talibans Revendiquent L'Attentat Suicide

Afghanistan : les talibans revendiquent l... by francetvinfo