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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. #41
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Report bad ads?

    Salaam

    Needs to be confirmed but if true





    Some positive news.





    The endless hardship



    Despite all the hardship they have endured they still have time to care for others in the Ummah.




    Poverty-stricken Afghanistan donates $1m aid for Palestinians

    Turkish Foreign Minister: "The Afghan people have greater need than the Palestinians...But they sent this money here [to Palestinians], forgetting their own hardship..."


    He further added: “This contribution and aid that the Afghan people gave will never be forgotten. The Palestinians will never forget the aid and support they were given.”

    Afghanistan’s ambassador, for his part, called Afghanistan’s stance for the cause of Palestine “strong.”

    “We Afghans face many economic problems and we’re struggling and fighting for a better future for our people. We’re aware of the difficulties that people of Palestine are facing,” said Sayed.

    “They need support and we should take steadfast measures to provide them with basic humanitarian aid and support.”

    He said the Afghan government considers Erdogan’s call on OIC member states to support the people of Palestine a “positive step.”

    Afghanistan also welcomed the OIC initiative for the establishment of a “Waqf Fund” to support Palestinian refugees.

    In his speech, the ambassador called on OIC member states as well as other countries to support the people of Palestine “in such a pressing time that they need help and support.”

    ‘Immense gesture’


    For his part, Krahenbuhl thanked Afghanistan for its “immense gesture” at a time that Afghanistan “faces so many challenges and has gone through so much pain, suffering and despair.”

    “It is something that will be written in golden letters in the history of UNWRA, as an organization. It means so much to us, as a message to the entire world,” he said.

    “This is something that we will carry as a message around the world to inspire others to stand firmly with Palestinian refugees, at a time when Palestinian refugees have often felt that they were forgotten by the world.”

    According to a UNRWA statement issued in January, the funding is needed to continue providing assistance to some 5.4 million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East and maintaining the agency’s operations at 2018 levels.

    Krahenbuhl said in January that a further $138 million would be required to provide emergency aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), while an additional $277 million would be needed to support the agency’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal.

    Last year, US President Donald Trump cut Washington’s annual funding for the UNRWA. The US had been the agency’s largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million each year – roughly a quarter of its overall budget.

    The UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 with the stated aim of providing aid and protection to Palestinian refugees in its five areas of operations: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...-palestinians/
    Last edited by Junon; 03-22-2019 at 09:49 PM.

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  4. #42
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    The reason why they have been able to resist the USA for almost 2 decades.






    Last edited by Junon; 03-22-2019 at 10:50 PM.

  5. #43
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Everything happens ultimately from Allah

    Afghanistan has seen no peace since 1979 (apart from few years lull between 1997-2001)

    I think all this death and destruction that has plagued Afghanistan for so long could be a karma from Allah as a consequence of a very sick evil thing going on in their country and culture.... I say 'culture' because it is very widespread in Afghanistan

    And this evil is men having homosexual relationships with boys and making boys dance as girls:

    https://renegadeinc.com/bacha-bazi/

    https://youtu.be/eM-xe6wHjnw


    https://youtu.be/RLUP7t32zEA

    I don't mean to shame Afghanistan, just pointing out what they need to change so that this war plague may be lifted

  6. #44
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: '150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us': Taliban fighters defiant in Afghanistan

    Salaam

    Another update, Trump being at his diplomatic best.





    Pakistan-US Cooperation ‘Has Rekindled Hope’ for Afghan Peace


    Pakistan said Tuesday its cooperation in facilitating ongoing peace talks between the United States and the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan has led to a “gradual warming up” in Islamabad’s turbulent relationship with Washington.

    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the remarks just days before Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Washington for his first meeting with President Donald Trump.

    Qureshi told a seminar Khan’s visit to the U.S. is aimed at seeking a “broader” bilateral engagement, although he acknowledged the Afghan peace process will figure prominently at the White House meeting set for July 22. He said that Trump’s invitation to Khan underscored the “inherent importance of the relationship” for both the countries.

    “It will, therefore, be appropriate to work for broader engagement from Afghanistan to bilateral issues, economic and trade cooperation to peace and stability in South Asia,” Qureshi stressed.

    It is widely believed that Trump’s invitation to Khan stemmed from recent “substantial” progress in months-long peace negotiations between the U.S. and representatives of the Afghan Taliban to find a political settlement to the 18-year-old Afghan war, the longest U.S. foreign military intervention.

    Islamabad takes credited for arranging the U.S.-Taliban talks that started nearly a year ago.

    “Pakistan has welcomed President Trump’s farsighted decision to pursue a political solution in Afghanistan, which in fact was an endorsement of our own position espoused for a long time,” Qureshi told a seminar in Islamabad.

    Qureshi insisted his government has been facilitating the U.S.-Taliban talks in “good faith” and as a “shared responsibility” to promote regional peace and security.

    “The convergence in Pakistan and U.S. polices on Afghanistan has rekindled hope for resolution of the protracted Afghan conflict that has only brought misery and despondency to the region,” the foreign minister stressed.

    Qureshi said that besides the “one-on-one” interaction between Trump and Khan, “there will be a restrictive meeting” where the Pakistani political and military leadership will engage with U.S. counterparts before the extended delegation-level talks are held.

    Pakistani military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the head of the country’s spy agency will both accompany Khan during the visit, officials said.

    Rollercoaster ties

    Pakistan’s usually rollercoaster relations with the U.S. had plunged to historic lows since Trump took office in 2017 and suspended all military assistance to the country.

    The American president has accused Islamabad of harboring militant groups U.S. forces are fighting in Afghanistan, despite having received billions of dollars in assistance, saying Pakistan has given Washington "nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

    Pakistan rejects the charges and maintains it has suffered tens of thousands of civilian and military casualties as well as and billions of dollars in losses to the national economy because of a militant backlash for joining the U.S. “war on terror.”

    Pakistan-India tensions


    Qureshi also Tuesday hailed an active role the U.S. played in defusing Pakistan's tensions with rival India in February when the two nuclear-armed neighboring countries came close to another war over the disputed Kashmir region.

    “We hope that the leadership of the two countries in Washington can agree on the imperative of resuming a sustained and result-oriented dialogue between Pakistan and India aimed at peacefully resolving all disputes. We are confident that this visit will help in ushering an era of stability and prosperity in South Asia and the broader region."

    https://www.voanews.com/south-centra...e-afghan-peace

    Edit -

    Last edited by Junon; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:37 AM.


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