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  1. #1
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    '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan (OP)


    Salaam

    Another update on the situation in Afghanistan

    Rare interviews with militants shine light on resilient movement that resisted both Obama’s surge and now Trump’s ‘killing terrorists’ strategy

    Squatting on the floor, a brown shawl draped over his shoulders, the Taliban commander and his bodyguard swiped on their phones through attack footage edited to look like video games, with computerised crosshairs hovering over targets. “Allahu Akbar,” they said every time a government Humvee hit a landmine.

    Mullah Abdul Saeed, who met the Guardian in the barren backcountry of Logar province where he leads 150 Taliban militants, has fought foreign soldiers and their Afghan allies since the US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan when he was 14. The Taliban now controls its largest territory since being forced from power, and seems to have no shortage of recruits.

    By prolonging and expanding its military presence in Afghanistan, the US aims to coerce the Taliban to lay down arms, but risks hardening insurgents who have always demanded withdrawal of foreign troops before peace talks.

    In interviews with rank-and-file Taliban fighters in Logar and another of Afghanistan’s embattled provinces, Wardak, the Guardian found a fragmented but resilient movement, united in resistance against foreign intervention.

    Referring to Barack Obama’s surge, Saeed said: “150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us.” And an extra 4,000 US soldiers, as Donald Trump will deploy, “will not change the morale of our mujahideen,” he said. “The Americans were walking in our villages, and we pushed them out.” For the Taliban to consider peace, he said, “foreigners must leave, and the constitution must be changed to sharia.”

    Active Taliban footsoldiers rarely agree to meet western reporters. Men such as Saeed, who spoke without leadership permission, provide valuable insight into a movement that after 16 years in armed opposition remains largely an enigma.

    Arriving on a motorbike kicking up dust, Saeed and his Kalashnikov-carrying bodyguard, Yamin, were aloof at first but warmed as the conversation evolved. Saeed said that as the war has changed, the Taliban have adjusted, too. US soldiers now predominantly train Afghans, and have ramped up airstrikes.

    “It’s true, it has become harder to fight the Americans. But we use suicide bombers, and we will use more of them,” Saeed said. “If the US changes its tactics of fighting, so do we.” That change has meant ever-fiercer attacks, with large truck bombs in populated areas and audacious assaults on military bases.

    In April, Taliban fighters in army uniforms stormed a northern army academy and killed at least 150 soldiers in the biggest assault on the army of the entire war. This month, suicide bombers wiped out a whole army unit, ramming two Humvees packed with explosives into a base in Kandahar.

    As Saeed spoke, three young boys from the civilian family at the house where the interview took place brought tea. They giggled as they listened in on the fighters’ radio. Saeed spoke with a calm, professorial demeanour but his words brimmed with the anger of a man who has spent his adult life fighting a generation-long war, and lost 12 family members doing it.

    Pressed on the record-high number of civilian deaths in the war, he said the Taliban “make mistakes” and try to avoid harming civilians, but added: “If there is an infidel in a flock of sheep, you are permitted to attack that flock of sheep.”

    The Taliban was always outnumbered and technologically outmatched by its foreign adversaries, but is arguably at its strongest since 2001, threatening several provincial capitals. The movement, though, is divided, with some lower-ranking commanders backing rivals of the current chief, Mawlawi Haibatullah, or more radical outfits such as Islamic State. But rifts have not stopped the group from advancing.

    Saeed claimed: “10-15 people join the mujahideen [in Logar] every day, sometimes also policemen,” adding that mistreatment by government and foreign forces helps recruitment.

    “Many Taliban become suicide bombers after prison. Why?” he asked, describing how prison guards torture detainees by applying air pressure, beatings or electric shock to their genitals. After a detainee is released, he said, the shame is too much to bear. Such claims of government torture have been documented by the UN.

    While few in the international community think the war can be won militarily, the US shows little intention of reviving the dormant peace process. “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists,” Trump said when announcing his south Asia strategy. “In the end we will win.” Crucially, Trump has not established criteria for when US troops will be pulled home.

    In a separate interview in the beleaguered Wardak province, Omari, 23, who has six years’ frontline experience, told the Guardian he had considered leaving the insurgency and taking his family to Kabul. “But if the Americans come back to Wardak, I will fight them,” he said. Omari was less cavalier than Saeed about civilian casualties, which he said damaged the Taliban’s standing with ordinary Afghans, who have become more reluctant to shelter them.

    Yet, the two militants did agree on one thing: American soft power is as dangerous as uniformed soldiers, especially as US troops have dwindled in numbers. That belief materialised last year when militants, in a stunningly grisly attack, stormed the American University in Kabul, killing 16 students and staff members. In the capital, many regard the university as one of the pinnacles of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

    Though no group claimed responsibility for the attack, Saeed and Omari agreed the university posed a threat. “We should kill those teachers who change the minds of society,” Saeed said.

    Currently, the Taliban seem capable of upholding a slow-burning war, with the help of outside benefactors. After recent US pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militant sanctuaries, some Taliban fighters consider opting for another regional neighbour, Omari said: “Many Taliban want to leave Pakistan for Iran. They don’t trust Pakistan anymore.”

    Pakistan denies harbouring militants, but Saeed admitted receiving assistance from Pakistan, though he denied being under anyone’s thumb. “Having relations is one thing, taking orders is something else,” he said. “Every party, if they want to be stronger, need to talk to other countries. We should talk to Iran, and we should talk to Pakistan. Just like the Afghan government goes to India and China.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/31/150000-americans-couldnt-beat-us-taliban-fighters-defiant-in-afghanistan

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  2. #21
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

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    Salaam

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric H View Post
    Greetings and peace be with you Junon;

    I saw a programme on the BBC last night, they said about a 100,000 US troops have committed suicide since returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, that is about 22 every day. I can only think they saw things and did things that did not sit right with them.

    In the spirit of praying for justice for all people,

    Eric
    Yes its the same story replayed over and over.

    From Vietnam



    To Iraq/Afghanistan



    The purpose of war in this day and age.



    Theres an inevitability about it though .

    Last edited by Junon; 10-27-2018 at 01:53 PM.
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  4. #22
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Another perspective.

    Blurb

    What has 17 years of US invasion of Afghanistan done to the country and its people?


  5. #23
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Another update

    Afghan peace conference: India shares table with Taliban

    India, among other regional nations, is part of the Russia-hosted peace talks in Moscow to end the war in Afghanistan.

    India is participating in a Russia-sponsored peace conference with Taliban in a significant reassessment of its position on talks with the armed group that has waged an armed rebellion since 2001.

    New Delhi has sent former Indian envoys to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Amar Sinha and TCA Raghavan respectively, to attend the conference at the "non-official level".

    "India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country," India's foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

    "India's consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Government of Afghanistan," he said.

    Moscow said it had invited representatives from the United States as well as Iran, China, Pakistan and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

    A five-member Taliban delegation led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of its political council in Qatar, is also attending the talks in Moscow.

    Foreign policy analyst Manoj Joshi, who represents the Observer Research Foundation, said the talks in Moscow come at a time when the Taliban have steadily fortified their control in the Afghan countryside.

    "Essentially, India has bowed to the inevitable since the US, Russia, China and even the Afghan government have all indicated one way or the other that they are ready to talk with the Taliban," Joshi told Al Jazeera.

    "New Delhi is confident that the host Russians would not do anything which would be against India's interests. Also, in participating in these talks, India takes the view that since the Afghan government, through the High Peace Council, is present, there should be no problem," he added.

    The High Peace Council (HPC) is a government body responsible for reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

    "Element of seriousness"

    The Russian diplomatic efforts come weeks after newly appointed US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

    He will visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from November 8 to 20 in an effort to end the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.

    "There has been a shift in US policy - earlier, even though the previous administration spoke about a negotiated settlement, there was no concrete direction," Zahid Hussain, an Islamabad-based security analyst, told Al Jazeera.

    "For the first time now, the US is talking directly to the Taliban, which is also acceptable to the Taliban, as this was their demand from the outset. There has been some movement.

    "There is an element of seriousness from all sides."
    The US has said it will send a representative from its embassy in Moscow to attend Friday's talks.

    India's participation is a stark departure from its earlier position as it has never engaged in formal talks with the Taliban.



    Reconciliation efforts

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has previously proposed talks with the Taliban, saying it could be recognised as a political party if it accepted a ceasefire and accepted the country's constitution.

    The Taliban, which has been fighting the US-led forces since being thrown out of power in 2001, has generally refused to negotiate with the Afghan government.

    "Although the Afghan government is preparing to negotiate, many people are now blaming the government, particularly President Ghani," said Hekmatullah Azamy, acting head of Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Kabul.

    "They argue that successful peace talks mean a new interim administration which will be unacceptable to President Ghani," Azamy told Al Jazeera.

    In the meeting on Friday, members of the HPC said they are ready for talks with the Taliban without any preconditions.

    "The future of Taliban is a matter of serious concern for the group - both at the leadership level as well as for its rank and file," Azamy said.

    "Taliban often questions whether they are ready to become a 100 percent political group and whether they can survive mainstream politics.

    "Moreover, would the rank and file follow the leaders or will they join groups like Daesh (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group)."

    Taliban officials have set the withdrawal of all foreign forces, release of prisoners and the lifting of a ban on travel as preconditions for any peace talks.

    India had earlier refused to support a 2007 initiative of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai to engage the "good Taliban" in the peace process.

    "Some make a distinction between 'good Taliban' and 'bad Taliban' - I don't, because I've seen the Taliban, they have only one cult - the cult of violence," then foreign minister of India Pranab Mukherjee had said.

    The Taliban has inflicted a heavy toll on Afghan security forces in renewed attacks in recent weeks. At least 20 army soldiers were killed at a border outpost in western Afghanistan on Tuesday.

    More than 17 years after the US-led forces invaded the country and removed the Taliban, the war is intensifying. In recent months, violence has continued with mounting casualties on both sides.

    There have been several attempts in recent years to broker a settlement between the western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban without much success.

    "India's representatives are attending the talks in Moscow as part of efforts to bring peace and stability to the region. It's not switching tack but evolving assessment of ground realities," said a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker in New Delhi on condition of anonymity.

    "All efforts towards making peace, whether the US-led talks or Russia-led talks, will help. We will be there to observe," he added.

    According to Azamy, India is one of the important stakeholders enjoying friendly ties with Kabul. He says it is vital for New Delhi to be a part of peace talks, especially with the Taliban involved.

    "Without India's involvement, the outcome of peace talks could upset them or make them feel insecure. They want to be engaged and aware of the developments," he said.

    India has forged a close partnership with Kabul since the fall of the Taliban. It has engaged in infrastructure and welfare projects in the war-torn country worth millions of dollars earning goodwill from Afghans.

    It has also provided training to Afghan military personnel as well as donating military hardware as part of its policy to deepen military ties.

    "By attending the Taliban talks, India can get a voice in the outcome of the peace process, where it has none at present. It will try to coordinate with the Afghan government which it supports strongly," analyst Joshi told Al Jazeera.

    "Simultaneously, the process enables it to build ties with the Taliban, even if somewhat late in the day. India cannot ignore the fact that ground realities ensure that the Taliban will be in the Afghan governing structure in some form or the other."

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/sri-lanka-president-dissolves-parliament-deepening-crisis-181109170918447.html

  6. #24
    JustTime's Avatar
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Taliban is a Russian-Iranian project and it is clear they are being used the people who murder our brothers and sisters in Syria are the same ones who support the "heroic" Tribalistic-Nationalist Taliban Movement that is based in the "Muslim" Brotherhood stronghold of Qatar which we all know is a Trojan horse for the Safawi Rafida. The Taliban is a movement written in lies and designed to divide.
    '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan


    يا قافلة الخير
    "The Persian aggression against Iraq was a result of the arrogant, racialist and evil attitudes of the ruling clique in Iran."
    -Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid at-Tikriti -
    العراق جمجمة العرب ورمح الله في الأرض



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  8. #25
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Another update

    Go the hell home already

    The ranking commander in Afghanistan has publicly conceded that the Afghan war cannot be won.

    The Afghanistan war cannot be won militarily and peace will only be achieved through a political resolution with the Taliban, the newly-appointed American general in charge of US and NATO operations has conceded.

    In his first interview since taking command of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in September, Gen. Austin Scott Miller provided NBC News with a surprisingly candid assessment of the seemingly never-ending conflict, which began with the US invasion of Afghanistan in October, 2001.

    “This is not going to be won militarily. This is going to a political solution," Miller said. He mused that the Taliban is also tired of fighting and may be interested in starting to “work through the political piece” of the 17-year-old war.

    But it’s not clear if the Taliban is open to negotiations. Last month, a top Taliban commander told RT, in a rare interview, that the group’s leaders had no desire to negotiate with the Americans.


    https://www.rt.com/usa/442939-miller...-lost-taliban/


    Congratulations, it only took 17 years for the U.S. military to discover why Afghanistan is called "the graveyard of empires". That's some fine military intelligence at work there. Go the hell home. The invasion was bad enough, but the decision to try and occupy Afghanistan was reprehensibly stupid. No more wars without formal Congressional declaration.

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/11/g...e-already.html

  9. #26
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan 2020 Iran's puppet under the "Islamic" Emirate's rule IRGC is going to run the place, sick!
    '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan


    يا قافلة الخير
    "The Persian aggression against Iraq was a result of the arrogant, racialist and evil attitudes of the ruling clique in Iran."
    -Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid at-Tikriti -
    العراق جمجمة العرب ورمح الله في الأرض



  10. #27
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Oh dear, now China is getting interested in intervening in Afghanistan.

    Blurb

    Afghanistan has been a place of turmoil for decades. America and Russia have both had their turns in seeking their interests in the region. Now the rising Chinese power has it's turn. But what does China want in Afghanistan?


  11. #28
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Another update



    Taliban greets Pentagon's withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan with cries of victory

    "The 17-year long struggle and sacrifices of thousands of our people finally yielded fruit," said a senior commander in Helmand.


    News that the White House had ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan provoked widespread criticism that the move would kneecap efforts to broker a peace deal to end America's longest war.

    But there was one group on Friday celebrating the reports — the Taliban.

    Senior members told NBC News the news was a clear indication they were on the verge of victory.

    “The 17-year-long struggle and sacrifices of thousands of our people finally yielded fruit," said a senior Taliban commander from Afghanistan’s Helmand province. "We proved it to the entire world that we defeated the self-proclaimed world’s lone super power."

    “We are close to our destination," added the commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the group's leadership had prohibited members from talking to the media about current events. He added that all field commanders had also been told to intensify training efforts to capture four strategic provinces in the run up to the next round of talks between the U.S. and Taliban, which are expected in January.

    A Taliban leader in eastern Kunar province, Maulvi Sher Mohammad, said news of withdrawals should serve as a lesson to Americans.

    “The U.S. people and particularly its rulers should think about what they achieved by invading Afghanistan and by causing so many losses to the citizens of Afghanistan and wasting their own resources on this long war,” he said.

    The Pentagon declined to comment on the Taliban's claims.

    So far, the U.S.'s military campaign, along with billions in aid, have not succeeded in driving out the Taliban and other militants or making the country safe.

    In 2017, Afghanistan overtook Iraq to become the deadliest country for terrorism, with one-quarter of all such deaths worldwide happening there. And the number of civilians killed in the country reached a record in the first half of this year, with a surge in suicide attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, according to the United Nations.

    Despite years of fighting, only around 65 percent of the Afghan population lives in areas under government control.

    The U.S. plans for a withdrawal were due shortly after the new year, according to two defense officials and a person briefed on the matter. They cautioned that no decision has been made, but President Donald Trump wants to see options.

    The White House has asked the Pentagon to look into multiple options, including a complete withdrawal, the officials said.

    The Taliban sheltered 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and was toppled soon after the 2001 attacks. Since then, the militants have been trying to unseat the U.S.-backed government in Kabul and reimpose their strict version of Shariah. Successes on the battlefield coupled with a recent intensifying efforts to reach a peace deal led by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad have boosted the movement's confidence and power.

    Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Nations, has stressed he is "in a hurry" to secure an agreement, a sign of how eager the White House is to withdraw the 15,000 American troops remaining in the country.

    But reducing the U.S. footprint in Afghanistan would mean fewer U.S. air bases, and American firepower will be “less responsive and less available” for Afghan troops fighting Taliban militants, said Jason Campbell, a former senior Defense Department official and now a policy researcher at the RAND Corp. think tank.

    Plans to scale back the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan comes after Washington pressed NATO allies this year to keep troops in the country, and some governments — including Britain — agreed to expand their contributions following an appeal from Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned on Thursday.

    The news shocked and confused NATO allies and the Afghan government, at a moment when the United States is engaged in a major diplomatic push to try to launch peace negotiations.

    “The abruptness of this I think really hurts our credibility,” Campbell said.

    For Khalilzad, the move deprives him of his most effective point of leverage before negotiations even have begun in earnest, experts and former officials said.

    “It will have a devastating effect on peace negotiations,” said Seth Jones, a former adviser to the U.S. military now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

    “The challenge now the U.S. faces is how is it going to get the Taliban to reach an agreement if they can wait and expect a better outcome in the future if the U.S. continues to withdraw its forces?”

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/taliban-greets-pentagon-s-withdrawal-troops-afghanistan-cries-victory-n950811?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

  12. #29
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Trumps opinion.

    Blurb

    U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized U.S. generals for not defeating the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan after 19 years of involvement. Speaking to reporters at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump said the generals were given "all the money they wanted" and "didn't do such a great job in Afghanistan." The president questioned justification for the expense in a country thousands of miles away from the United States. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.







    A critical view

    Last edited by Junon; 1 Week Ago at 11:15 PM.

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