Monday, January 03, 2011

Taliban Fighters and the Haqqani's Appear Quieted in Afghanistan but don't count on it for long

For now NATO appears to be smoking the Haqqani's and have them on the run. I recommend reading this link! The deadliest group of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan "the Haqqani's" has not conducted a complex large-scale attack in the capital city of Kabul for seven months, its momentum stymied as elite American-led commandos have escalated raids against the militants’ bomb makers and logisticians. In the past three months alone, commandos have carried out 1,784 missions across Afghanistan, killing or capturing 880 insurgent leaders. Taliban Fighters Appear Quieted in Afghanistan

New and increased drone attacks come in Khyber, an area abutting Afghanistan’s Nangahar province, that’s been notably drone-free. It has become an area for militants fleeing military action in South Waziristan. They also bring the drone-strike tally for this year up to 113, more than twice last year’s 53 strikes. But those figures don’t begin to tell the whole story.

According to a tally kept by the Long War Journal, 58 of those strikes have come since September: There has been a drone attack every 1.8 days since Labor Day. “unprecedented since the U.S. began the air campaign in Pakistan in 2004.” (By contrast, in 2008, there were just 34 strikes.) Both Roggio and the New America Foundation have found that the overwhelming majority of this year’s strikes have clustered in North Waziristan: at least 99. About one-third of those operations were directed against the Haqqani network, a senior NATO official said.

That torrid pace of attacks should make it beyond debate that the drones are the long pole in the U.S.’s counter terrorism tent, even if the drone program is technically a secret. So called extremists have their equalizer "the IED" ours is the drone. The Pakistanis haven’t sent their Army into North Waziristan so it is up to our drones like it or not. While most Pakistanis remain ignorant of the strikes, those in the tribal areas live literally in their shadow, and register enormous discontent, approving of retaliatory attacks on U.S. forces.

There’s no official or universally accepted figure of how many civilians have died as a result of the strikes, but New America pegs it at around 25 percent of all fatalities. Long War Journal’s registry is more generous, claiming that 1,671 militants and 108 civilians have died in the strikes since 2006.

A United Nations report urged Obama to rein in the drones, restricting them to attacks on the senior most militants. He did the opposite. Most are against the drones but I am not as long as civilian harm is minimized or preferably negated. The new area we have been in is supposed to be used by militants only. I have to believe we are starting to hit the top of Al Qaeda and the Taliban where some in the ISI have strong bonds.

Anyway don’t expect Obama to heed that warning in 2011 either.Knowing our many discussions of late as to the ties between the Taliban, the Haqqani's, and elements in the ISI I am very concerned to find out they are in fact keeping elements who want to kill the Haqqani's from doing so and being so open about it so I thought we better discuss the ISI and the Haqqani's once again. These developments are not good! This really bothers me. I am not going to elaborate on the vile nature of Pakistan actively working against anti Taliban factions. That will be denied but it is fact!

I understand Mullah Omar is under control by elements of Pakistan's ISI and not allowed to roam too far. High level Taliban commanders are also being flown by NATO to Kabul in at least one instance and driven from Pakistan by NATO escort to Kabul to have these secret meetings with Hamid Karzai. They are so secret that mid level commanders deny these meetings are happening and vow to fight on period!

I think we are on to something here but it is all dead if we are not smart enough to include Pakistan in these meetings. The Taliban do not have safe haven in Pakistan for nothing. They were invited there and despite what we are told at the top level they are still protected. We are back to the Haqqani's as the key!

I believe the Haqqani's the ISI and maybe China who just built a railroad right through Taliban country are all protecting Bin Laden and nothing will get resolved without Pakistan playing a key role. I firmly believe they could kill the Haqqani's today if they wanted and put an end to this.

As you know, the US is increasingly taking matters into its own hands inside Pakistan. The Haqqani's network and their increasingly foreign fighters have become the main focus after 9 years of fighting. The Haqqani's Network's North Waziristan leadership -- usually called the Miram Shah Shura consists of a number of Haqqani's family members and closely associated long-serving commanders.

At the top of the network is Sirajuddin Haqqani's, who oversees the group's political and military activities and is the main liaison to the Mullah Muhammad Omar led Quetta Shura Taliban, the Taliban's leadership body (named for the capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province). He is also one of the network's liaisons to Pakistani Taliban figures and al-Qaeda.

He travels or should I say "did" regularly into Afghanistan to coordinate with field commanders and occasionally to Peshawar and South Waziristan to connect with militants there. Remember Bowe Bergdhal? There are many field commanders in Afghanistan, but turnover is high because many get killed or captured. The most prominent is Mullah Sangin, who is believed to be holding Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl a captured U.S. soldier and Zakim Shah the movement's shadow governor of Khost province.

Jalaluddin Haqqani legendary leader who fought the Soviets and his son, Sirajuddin who directs operations are increasingly the targets of drones and now manned NATO aircraft in Pakistan as the Pakistani's have been leery to go in the area for whatever reason. Many are being killed, I heard over 80 in a week with no civilian casualties.

I wish we would quickly kill the Haqqani's, both Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin and leave the rest to Pakistan as our invasion of their country even to kill Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters who were known killers of NATO forces may be the straw that broke the camels back.

I would hate to see this unite the Haqqani network with Pakistan against us. I think those in the ISI protecting Mullah Omar, the Haqqani's, Al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden and the lot can be persuaded to give them up and cooperate in working for peace with the Taliban if we cooperate with them this time. We must include Pakistan in these talks, they are the key. We must truly give peace a chance! This is a real tight rope act and I do not like the way this is developing!

We are getting closer hitting a nerve and I can finally see success if Pakistan and the ISI cooperate.

James Joiner
Gardner, Ma

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