Muslim World News| Afghanistan

Muslim World News| Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, plan sought in Oct. for US exit

Muhammad ‘Abd al-Haqq


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has been ordered to submit a plan by mid-October for the initial withdrawal of American troops, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday. That plan may hinge in part on whether the latest surge in attacks continues through the holy month of Ramadan.

Commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders might leave their fighters in the country to try to regain lost ground during the Islamic holy period which begins Monday, rather than crossing the border to Pakistan, said Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman.

Mullen, who visited U.S. outposts along Afghanistan’s eastern border on Sunday, also said U.S. troops are making progress in their renewed campaign against Haqqani network insurgents in havens in Pakistan. And he issued another warning that Islamabad must step up its efforts to root out those militants.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Afghanistan, Mullen said Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate the combat, training and other requirements before presenting a detailed withdrawal plan.

Mullen’s comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, as announced by President Barack Obama.

“The next month will be very telling,” said Mullen, noting that often the Taliban leaders will travel back to Pakistan for Ramadan. It’s unclear at this point what they will do, or if there will be any decline in the fighting.

U.S. military leaders have said they plan to shift resources and perhaps some troops to the eastern border in the coming months, and Mullen said commanders he met with along the eastern border said the strategy is working.

“The overall goal has been to make it much more difficult for the Haqqani network to penetrate directly in what has previously been called this jet stream between Pakistan, right through Khost into Kabul, and it is more difficult,” Mullen said during a news conference shortly after he returned from the volatile border. “That will clearly continue to be the case.”

At the same time, however, a senior NATO military official said coalition forces will likely never eliminate the havens. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that instead the goal is to intensify U.S. efforts while building the Afghan forces so that they can take over the battle for their own security there.

U.S. officials have been pressing Pakistan to go after Haqqani militants and other fighters who routinely launch attacks into Afghanistan from Pakistan. But relations with Islamabad have frayed, particularly after the U.S. raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden. In recent weeks, the Obama administration moved to delay $800 million in aid to Pakistan, to put further pressure on the government, which has been reluctant to push into North Waziristan and go after the Haqqani network.

Acknowledging the ongoing frustration with Islamabad, Mullen said Sunday that the U.S. will continue to push for action, “but I would be hard pressed to tell you when it’s going to happen.”

On Ramadan, one Western official said that while Taliban leaders have pushed for an increase in violence through the holy month, information suggests there will be some spikes but that they don’t have the ability to carry off a sustained surge. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some leaders and fighters had already left Afghanistan to cross the border into Pakistan, but it is too soon to tell how many may stay.

Mullen, who arrived Friday in Afghanistan, met Saturday with commanders in southern Afghanistan.

He said that so far commanders are saying they are seeing some signs of improved security, but his comments came amid a series of spectacular deadly attacks across the south, including a bombing Sunday outside the main gate of the police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah. The suicide bomber killed at least 11 people in a city where Afghans had only recently taken control of security.

That attack comes on the heels of bombings in the southern province of Uruzgan that killed at least 19 people, and the assassination of Kandahar’s mayor.

The mayor was the third southern Afghan leader to be killed in the last three weeks.

There are nearly 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Under Obama’s troop withdrawal plan, 10,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, and another 23,000 by the end of next summer.

A key to the withdrawal is the ongoing effort to train Afghan forces so they can take control of their own security. Mullen said that while training remains a top priority, and commanders would like to accelerate it, it’s not clear how possible that will be over the coming months.

Via

The Washington Times Online Edition

Plan sought in Oct. for U.S. exit from Afghanistan

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Sunday during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, that the top U.S. commander in the war-weary country has been ordered to submit a plan by mid-October for the initial withdrawal of American troops. (Associated Press)Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Sunday during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, that the top U.S. commander in the war-weary country has been ordered to submit a plan by mid-October for the initial withdrawal of American troops. (Associated Press)

By Associated Press

8:36 p.m., Sunday, July 31, 2011

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has been ordered to submit a plan by mid-October for the initial withdrawal of American troops, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday.

That plan may hinge in part on whether the latest surge in attacks continues through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders might leave their fighters in the country to try to regain lost ground during the month, which begins Monday, rather than crossing the border to Pakistan, said Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

Adm. Mullen, who visited U.S. outposts along Afghanistan’s eastern border Sunday, also said U.S. troops are making progress in their renewed campaign against Haqqani network insurgents in havens in Pakistan. And he issued another warning that Islamabad must step up its efforts to root out those militants.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Afghanistan, Adm. Mullen said Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate the combat, training and other requirements before presenting a detailed withdrawal plan.

Adm. Mullen’s comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Gen. Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, as announced by President Obama.

“The next month will be very telling,” said Adm. Mullen, noting that often the Taliban leaders will travel back to Pakistan for Ramadan. It’s unclear at this point what they will do, or if there will be any decline in the fighting.

U.S. military leaders have said they plan to shift resources and perhaps some troops to the eastern border in the coming months, and Adm. Mullen said commanders he met with along the eastern border said the strategy is working.

“The overall goal has been to make it much more difficult for the Haqqani network to penetrate directly in what has previously been called this jet stream between Pakistan, right through Khost into Kabul, and it is more difficult,” Adm. Mullen said during a news conference shortly after he returned from the volatile border. “That will clearly continue to be the case.”

At the same time, however, a senior NATO military official said coalition forces will likely never eliminate the havens.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that instead the goal is to intensify U.S. efforts while building the Afghan forces so that they can take over the battle for their own security there.

On Ramadan, one Western official said that while Taliban leaders have pushed for an increase in violence through the holy month, information suggests there will be some spikes but that they don’t have the ability to carry off a sustained surge.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some leaders and fighters had already left Afghanistan to cross the border into Pakistan, but it is too soon to tell how many may stay.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

US commanders concerned about Ramadan fighting


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has until mid-October to submit a plan for the initial withdrawal of American troops, decisions that may hinge in part on whether the latest surge in attacks continues through the holy month of Ramadan.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders may leave their fighters in the country to try to regain lost ground during the Islamic holy period which begins Monday.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Afghanistan, Mullen said Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate the combat, training and other requirements before presenting a detailed withdrawal plan.

Mullen’s comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, as announced by President Barack Obama.

“The next month will be very telling,” said Mullen, noting that often the Taliban leaders will travel back to Pakistan for Ramadan. It’s unclear at this point what they will do, or if there will be any decline in the fighting.

A Western official said that while Taliban leaders have pushed for an increase in violence through Ramadan, information suggests there will be some spikes but that they don’t have the ability to carry off a sustained surge. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some leaders and fighters had already left Afghanistan to cross the border into Pakistan, but it is too soon to tell how many may stay.

Mullen, who arrived Friday in Afghanistan, met Saturday with commanders in southern Afghanistan. He was traveling in the east Sunday.

He said that so far commanders are saying they are seeing some signs of improved security, but his comments came amid a series of spectacular deadly attacks across the south, including a bombing Sunday outside the main gate of the police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah. The suicide bomber killed at least 11 people in a city where Afghans had only recently taken control of security.

That attack comes on the heels of bombings in the southern province of Uruzgan that killed at least 19 people, and the assassination of Kandahar’s mayor.

The mayor was the third southern Afghan leader to be killed in the last three weeks.

There are nearly 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Under Obama’s troop withdrawal plan, 10,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, and another 23,000 by the end of next summer.

A key to the withdrawal is the ongoing effort to train Afghan forces so they can take control of their own security. Mullen said that while training remains a top priority, and commanders would like to accelerate it, it’s not clear how possible that will be over the coming months.

Afghanistan hits back over U.S. aid spending report

ReutersBy Jonathon Burch | Reuters – Tue, Jul 26, 2011

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s government hit back Tuesday over a U.S. watchdog report on aid spending in Afghanistan last week, saying several assertions in the report were wrong and that future audits needed to be “more balanced and accurate.”

Afghanistan’s finance ministry said while it welcomed outside scrutiny, any funds that had been misused or ended up in the hands of insurgents were not the government’s responsibility because only a fraction of aid flowed through state coffers.

The ministry also said its relations with the current U.S. Treasury Attache had been “strained” over the past year and that it looked forward to resuming a “professional” partnership when an “effective” replacement had been selected.

The comments follow a report released last Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a watchdog created by U.S. Congress to scrutinize how U.S. aid money is spent in Afghanistan.

The finance ministry said it was “disappointed” that in the eight months spent in Afghanistan, the auditors “were unable” to meet with any senior finance ministry official.

“The government would welcome the opportunity to participate in future audits, strengthening Afghan capacity and resulting in more balanced and accurate findings,” the ministry said, adding that “several assertions … misrepresent the facts.”

In the report, SIGAR said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had banned U.S. government advisers from the central bank and that the atmosphere there had become “hostile” for U.S. officials training bank regulators and trying to uncover financial crimes.

The central bank has been at the center of controversy for months and its governor, Abdul Qadir Fitrat, resigned in June saying he feared for his life over his role investigating the collapse of Kabulbank, the country’s biggest private lender.

The bank handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in unsecured loans to a roster of the country’s elite.

The Afghan government called his resignation “treason” and charged Fitrat was partly responsible for the fraud scandal.

Fitrat, who chose to announce his resignation in the United States, said “high political authorities” in Kabul had undermined the central bank’s effort to investigate Kabulbank. The Kabulbank crisis has led to a suspension of IMF funds.

Tuesday, the finance ministry said the central bank “refutes that its environment is hostile to international advisers” and was seeking renewed support in implementing measures set by the IMF to strengthen its financial sector.

It said the government had recently written to the IMF’s new director, Christine Lagarde, asking for her “personal intervention” in technical support for the central bank “after international support had been fully removed.”

GOVERNMENT NOT TO BLAME

SIGAR also stated that Congress had appropriated over $70 billion since 2002 to implement security and aid projects in Afghanistan but neither country had done enough to ensure money was not siphoned off to militants or whisked abroad.

But Afghanistan’s finance ministry said of that $70 billion less than $2.1 billion had been channeled through the government and only $46 million had been used “at the discretion of the Afghan government,” representing 0.07 percent of all U.S. funds.

“Funds that are being misused, or channeled to support the activities of insurgent groups, are not the responsibility of the government,” it said.

Afghanistan relies on foreign aid for around 90 percent of its spending but many international donors are reluctant to channel aid through the country’s ministries because of a lack of capacity and rampant corruption.

Public sector corruption in Afghanistan is seen as worse than in any other country except Myanmar and Somalia, according to corruption watchdog Transparency International.

Karzai has acknowledged graft exists in his government but has said foreigners are also to blame.

(Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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2 Responses to Muslim World News| Afghanistan

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another copy and paste blog post? Yours,

    Admin note:I removed your name and the hyperlink. That type of thing is inappropriate for an Islamic site. That is your only warning. May Allah Guide you.

    • LOL
      If only you knew the methodology. Besides, how original can one be with facts?! My postings actually fit into a framework. Those who read the entire blog will understand what is going on and will recognize the narrative behind it. Anything constructive to say besides drive-by one liners? It is Ramadan right now, the holy month for Muslims…expect more of these “copy/paste” blog posts during this time. Right now I am about purifying my nafs. What are you doing?

      P.S. if you’re still convinced I’m just a copy/paste blogger read http://everythingislam.wordpress.com🙂

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