Monthly Archives: April 2017

Gandhara Podcast: Taking Stock After The Afghan Base Massacre -Gandhara

Bullet holes are seen on the wall of a mosque at an A mosque inside the Afghan military base where Taliban assailants killed scores of soldiers on April 21.

The repercussions of a Taliban massacre of more than 130 Afghan soldiers at an army base in northern Afghanistan last week are being felt widely.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani moved swiftly to sack the top leadership of the Afghan security forces as his administration scrambles to deal with the fallout from the bloodbath in Mazar-e Sharif in which 10 Taliban attackers tricked their way into the 209th Corps headquarters, Camp Shaheen.

In the ensuing shooting spree and firefight that went on for hours on April 21, the militant killed scores of soldiers. Most were offering their Friday prayers at the base’s mosque. Some were killed as they ate lunch in a dining hall. The attack is considered one of the worst against Afghanistan’s army…. Read More on Gandhara

Taliban Unleashes ‘Spring Offensive’ in Afghanistan -VOA News

Bullet holes are seen on the wall of a mosque at an Afghan military base where Taliban attackers last week killed scores of soldiers in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, April 25, 2017.

The Taliban has unleashed its annual so-called “spring offensive” in Afghanistan, saying it will mainly target U.S.-led foreign “occupation” troops to force them to quit the country.

In a formal announcement released Friday, the Islamist insurgency claimed “Operation Mansouri” went into action early Friday morning across all 34 Afghan provinces.

It explained the offensive has been named after Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed by an American drone last year.

“These operations will involve conventional attacks, guerrilla warfare, complex martyrdom (suicide) attacks, insider attacks, and use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to achieve their objectives,” said the statement by the Taliban’s so-called leadership war council.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh dismissed the insurgent announcement as just another name … Read More on VOA News

Badakhshan’s religious scholars call for principles of peace to be institutionalized –

FAIZABAD – Addressing residents of Badakhshan in a televised roundtable debate, religious scholars emphasized the critical importance of institutionalizing the principles of peace at all levels of society, from the social to the political.

“There is no doubt that peace is a value of Islam,” said Mawlawi Tajuddin Noori, a member of the National Religious Scholars’ Council for Peace, speaking in the debate broadcast from Faizabad, the provincial capital of the northeast province of Badakhshan. “Islam insists on peace,” he stressed.

Also speaking in the debate was Mawlawi Muhibullah Sharifi, a religious leader who highlighted the important role Afghanistan’s scholars can play in advancing peace. “Religious leaders are the successors of the prophets, and their role is very important in peace-building and conflict-resolution in their families, communities and… Read More on

International support to peace in Kunduz and across the country remains essential, says UN envoy — Reliefweb

KUNDUZ – The United Nations will do its utmost to support peace efforts in Kunduz and across Afghanistan, said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan in meetings with government officials, civil society and media professionals today in the restive northern province.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), discussed recent security developments, elections and peace efforts with Governor Haji Asadullah Omarkhel and Kunduz leaders in a daylong visit to the province.

The security situation in Kunduz has remained tense throughout the past year, after the provincial capital was briefly overtaken by the Taliban in late 2015. The capital was attacked again in October 2016.

“The United Nations stands with the people of Kunduz and is firmly committed to backing all efforts that lead to peace,” said the UN envoy. “The international community is highly aware of the challenges the people of Kunduz have faced, and remains steadfast in backing the people of Afghanistan in… Read More on Reliefweb

Is It Time for America and Afghanistan to Part Ways? — The National Interest

It is unlikely that Trump will withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but he should reevaluate America’s role in the country.

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for such a long period of time that it’s almost become a ritual for a new administration to take a bottom-up, comprehensive look at America’s war strategy during its first two months on the job. The movie has been repetitively played over the last decade and a half: the generals running the war are ordered by the new president and his national security adviser to assess whether the plan is working; the generals conduct the review, which usually concludes with the commanders requesting more U.S. troops on the ground; and the administration (with varying degrees of resistance) eventually provides the commanders the authority and resources that they have forwarded to the White House. President Obama was a bit of anomaly in this regard. He did, after all, set a timeline for troop withdrawals that the Pentagon wasn’t especially pleased about. But even Obama authorized nearly fifty thousand additional American troops into… Read More on The National Interest

Talks on Afghanistan — The News International

As expected, the third round of talks under the Russian-sponsored initiative to find an amicable solution to the conflict in Afghanistan failed to make any headway. However, this time the Central Asian States also attended the moot along with China, Pakistan, Iran, India and Afghanistan.

The US, which was invited by Russia to be a part of the dialogue, declined the offer, saying that the motives of the talks were not clear. Afghanistan has also been expressing its weariness about Russia’s attempts to woo the Taliban. The Taliban, who had earlier welcomed the Russian move, reportedly threw a spanner in the works by withdrawing their support to the dialogue.

The spokesman of the Taliban told Voice of America that: “We cannot call these negotiations…a dialogue for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. This meeting… Read More on The News International

Using MOAB can exert positive but limited effects on the Afghan peace process– Global Times

On April 13, the US military dropped “Mother of All Bombs” on an Islamic State (IS) cave complex in Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) is a large-yield bomb touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal. The bomb is highly destructive. Its explosion is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT and the blast radius can be up to 1.6 km.

The US military’s action made MOAB the largest non-nuclear weapon  ever used on the battlefield. As it was used for the first time, the extremist group in Afghanistan didn’t have any preventive measures, and thus, guaranteeing the US’ success in the attack. It is reported  that 36 IS militants were killed.

The use of MOAB has attracted worldwide… Read More on Global Times

Pakistan ready to work with US for Afghan peace –The Nation

ISLAMABAD – Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi on Tuesday said that Pakistan was ready to work with the United States for peace in Afghanistan.

In a meeting here with Laurel Miller, US Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the SAPM noted that the visit by US National Security Advisor Lt General H R McMaster provided a good opportunity for both sides to reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship and to engage in a meaningful conversation on exploring ways and means to promote peace and stability in the region and beyond.

Fatemi was assisted by Tehmina Janjua, foreign secretary and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The SAPM underscored the important role that the strategic dialogue has played in facilitating mutually-beneficial cooperation between the US and Pakistan.

He also elaborated on the policies and initiatives taken by the government to create a better security environment and to achieve economic…. Read More on The Nation