Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A True Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Is Trump's Only Hope - John A. Nagl

We cannot afford to quit. In the best two lines of his speech, President Trump laid out U.S. interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as is possible: “We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America. And we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us or anywhere in the world.”

Leaving Afghanistan would quickly result in the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, and the resumption of a safe haven for terror in Afghanistan, which cost us dearly on September 11, 2001. The United States cannot follow the Roman method of making a desert and calling it peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And so Trump, like Bush and Obama before him, chose a counterinsurgency strategy, not as his first choice, but as the least bad option available.

In a counterinsurgency campaign, one goal is to kill or capture terrorists, as the president proclaimed. But the primary objective is to build a local government that earns the support of its people by meeting their needs. The first purpose of a government is to take care of its people, so earning the support of the locals demands an Afghan army and police forces that can protect the Afghan people against the Taliban. The most visible sign of President Trump’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan will be the several thousand combat advisers that Secretary of Defense James Mattis will commit there over the next several months.

This strategy has been tried before, and it will work given enough strategic patience and sufficient resources. America’s exceptionally talented and committed all-volunteer force makes possible an open-ended commitment to this strategy, and President Trump avoided repeating President Obama’s mistake of telegraphing a time-limited American commitment to counterinsurgency. The sixteen-year war in Afghanistan, America’s longest, may only be half over—if we’re lucky. These wars take decades to win.

Finally, President Trump claims that he “studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle.” This is, of course, untrue; one of the easily conceivable angles from which he could have studied Afghanistan is from the ground, in Kabul and on the country’s mountainous border with Pakistan. I urge him to go to Afghanistan immediately—this week—to meet with his commanders and diplomats in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He will find brave Americans committed to his strategy, and determined to keep Americans safe, by conducting counterinsurgency in Afghanistan under the third president to order them to do so. - Read More

‘It’s a hard problem’: Inside Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan - washingtonpost

President Trump was frustrated and fuming. Again and again, in the windowless Situation Room at the White House, he lashed out at his national security team over the Afghanistan war, and the paucity of appealing options gnawed at him.

Five weeks later, at a Camp David summit, the commander in chief arrived at his decision. A president obsessed with winning has now settled on simply trying not to lose.

Trump decided to escalate troop levels, but only after protracted deliberations that deeply divided the administration. Lobbied by rival advisers, the president pinballed between his militaristic and anti-interventionist impulses. Impatient during classified briefings, Trump longed to reimagine U.S. policy in South Asia under his “America first” banner.

Ultimately, however, Trump took a more conventional route. He tilted toward the generals who now dominate his inner circle and had urged a large-scale troop expansion, although he did not opt for the tens of thousands of troops they advocated initially.

Years before running for president, Trump had a clear message on Afghanistan: It was time to get out. In 2012, he said the war was “wasting our money.” In 2012, he called it “a total disaster.” In 2013, he said, “We should leave Afghanistan immediately.” Trump continued his criticism of the war during the year and a half he campaigned for the White House.

But since becoming president, he has faced a different set of opinions. Defense Secretary Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both generals with extensive battlefield experience in Afghanistan, warned Trump about the consequences of withdrawal and cautioned that any move in Afghanistan would have ripple effects throughout the region.

One of the ways McMaster tried to persuade Trump to recommit to the effort was by convincing him that Afghanistan was not a hopeless place. He presented Trump with a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul, to show him that Western norms had existed there before and could return.

Another key voice in Trump’s deliberations — especially in guiding the president to make a decision in recent weeks — was John F. Kelly, the newly installed White House chief of staff. A retired four-star Marine general, Kelly had a deeply personal understanding of the stakes: His son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, 29, was killed there in 2010 when he stepped on a land mine while leading a platoon of Marines.

“Talking to generals, he realized, you pull out completely and this is what happens: You endanger lives, you endanger American interests, allies, troops, Afghanis who are our friends, and it’s not a stable government,” said a senior administration official. - Read More

‘It’s a hard problem’: Inside Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

راهبرد جدید آمریکا: استقبال افغانستان؛ انتقاد چین

اعلام استراتژی جدید آمریکا در قبال افغانستان، واکنش‌های زیادی به دنبال داشت که بیشتر آن مثبت بوده است.

دونالد ترامپ دوشنبه‌شب(۳۰ اسد/مرداد) در یک سخنرانی خطاب به مردم آمریکا راهبرد تازه خود را اعلام کرد و گفت ادامه مبارزه با تروریسم، کمک به دولت افغانستان و عدم تعیین جدول زمانی برای این مبارزه را در دستور کار دولت آمریکا قرار می‌دهد.

این استراتژی همچنین بر اعمال فشار بر پاکستان برای از بین بردن "پناهگاه‌های امن تروریستی" در خاک خود و مبارزه با تروریسم و تشویق هند برای کمک به تامین امنیت در منطقه و همکاری با دولت افغانستان تاکید می‌کند.

مقام‌های دولت افغانستان به‌طور کلی از این استراتژی استقبال کرده‌اند. محمداشرف غنی، رئیس جمهوری از دونالد ترامپ تشکر و قدردانی کرده است. دفتر آقای غنی ابراز امیدواری کرده که این استراتژی زمینه بهبود زیرساخت‌های امنیتی و اقتصادی افغانستان را فراهم کند.

محمداشرف غنی، رئیس جمهوری افغانستان که صبح امروز سه‌شنبه ۳۱ اسد/مرداد به ولایت جنوبی قندهار سفر کرده، گفته که آمریکا برای همسایه افغانستان پیام واضحی داده که دیگر نمی‌تواند به افراد و گروه‌های تبهکار پناه بدهد.

او افزود که پیام افغانستان نیز به پاکستان این است که با این کشور صلح پایدار می‌کند، اکنون پاکستان باید به ندای صلح افغانستان لبیک گوید تا افغانستان به ثبات برسد. - Read More

راهبرد جدید آمریکا: استقبال افغانستان؛ انتقاد چین - BBC Persia

Afghanistan war: Trump's allies and troop numbers

After months of speculation about how President Trump would approach Afghanistan, his new strategy for America's longest running war scrapped deadlines for withdrawal and didn't include any commitments on troop numbers.

He did, though, give the green light to sending more US troops to Afghanistan.

So Reality Check decided to look into which countries have a military presence in Afghanistan and how numbers have changed over the course of nearly 16 years of armed conflict.

Of any foreign country, the US has deployed by far the largest number of troops.

The majority of the American servicemen and women work with the Nato mission "Resolute Support", which comprises troops from 39 nations (full list at the end of this article), to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.

A recent official figure put the total number of troops involved in Resolute Support at 13,576.

The sizeable number of US troops not deployed with the Nato mission conduct counter-terrorism operations.

The Nato combat mission, which numbered more than 130,000 in 2011, ended in December 2014.

Some of the wealthiest Nato members, like France and Canada, no longer contribute troops. During a violent part of the war in 2011, with troop levels at their peak, the UK had 9,500 troops in the country. It now has 500 in support of the Nato train-and-assist mission 

Full list of countries and number of troops involved in the Nato mission in Afghanistan: - Read More, BBC

Monday, August 21, 2017

FULL SPEECH: President Donald Trump Addresses Nation on U.S. Policy in Afghanistan 8/21/17

WATCH: President Donald Trump Addresses Nation on U.S. Policy in Afghanistan - President Trump address on U.S. policy in Afghanistan and South Asia. - More

FULL SPEECH: President Donald Trump Addresses Nation ... - YouTube

Full Transcript and Video: Trump’s Speech on Afghanistan - nytimes

President Trump addressed the nation on Monday from Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Va., to lay out his military plans for Afghanistan.

Following is the full transcript of those remarks, as released by the Federal News Service.

I arrived at three fundamental conclusion about America’s core interests in Afghanistan. First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win.

Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists.

Third, and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world.

For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen.

America will continue its support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.

America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden.

The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress and real results. Our patience is not unlimited. We will keep our eyes open. In abiding by the oath I took on Jan. 20, I will remain steadfast in protecting American lives and American interests. 

In this effort, we will make common cause with any nation that chooses to stand and fight alongside us against this global threat. Terrorists take heed: America will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat. -  Read More

Full Transcript and Video: Trump's Speech on Afghanistan

For further coverage of his remarks, read more »

Donald Trump full address on Afghanistan strategy

U.S. President Donald Trump lays out his plans for the U.S. military's role in Afghanistan. - More

Donald Trump announced new strategy in Afghanistan

Watch: Trump's Speech On Afghanistan, Transcript And Analysis : NPR

I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the service members here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home. Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history.

American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield - for our nation and for our freedom. Through their lives, and though their lives were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality. By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose.

As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas, and we will always win, let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.

Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the American military, and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of September 11, and nobody can ever forget that, have not been repeated on our shores. But we must acknowledge the reality I am here to talk about tonight, that nearly 16 years after September 11 attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history - 17 years. I share the American people's frustration. I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly, lives trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations. That is why shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.

My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. In other words, when you are president of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusion about America's core interests in Afghanistan.

First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win.

Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.

Third and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states, whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict, and that could happen. - Read More

Watch: Trump's Speech On Afghanistan, Transcript And Analysis 

'We Are Not Nation-Building Again,' Trump Says While Unveiling Afghanistan Strategy

Trump Doesn't Want the Same Old Options from the Pentagon on Afghanistan - Daniel R. DePetris

What does a country do when its military has been fighting a conflict half-way around the world for over a decade and a half, supporting a host government so corrupted internally, disorganized politically, and at a very real risk of collapsing completely without continuous international military and financial support? The United States is in exactly that predicament with respect to its never ending mission in Afghanistan, a nation whose political leadership never misses an opportunity to quarrel with each other and make a mistake.

One can say a lot of things about how Donald Trump has conducted himself as president of the United States. His management of the Oval Office is less to be desired. His propensity to use escalatory rhetoric, like his infamous “fire and fury” comment directed at North Korea, oftentimes make a fragile situation worse.

But what you can't do is blame Trump for demanding additional options from his national security team for what to do in Afghanistan—even if one of those options involves outsourcing the war effort to former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince and his private army of ex special forces soldiers.

If salvaging the war in Afghanistan was easy, the policy debate would be have been over by now. U.S. Commander John Nicholson and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster would get their 4,000–5,000 additional troops, a more expansive list of targets, looser rules of engagement, and an unconditional amount of time to turn the country's security situation around. The United States, in effect, would be relying on the status-quo war strategy that Washington has followed for years; the only difference would be the amount of resources field commanders are able to tap into.

But, of course, Afghanistan isn't easy. If it were easy, Afghanistan would be the crown jewel of Central Asia.  Instead, the Taliban insurgency is the strongest it has ever been since the war began controlling or contesting nearly 40 percent of the country, whose pockets are flush with money made from taxing poppy farmers, and with a house across the border in western Pakistan that U.S. forces—and the Pakistanis themselves—can't or won't touch. To his credit, Trump doesn't want the same old options from the Pentagon, which is why he refused to sign on to McMaster's request for more troops earlier in the spring.

Erik Prince, the controversial CEO who built one of the world's most powerful private security contracting firms, is stepping into the breach and offering his own proposal. Through op-ed's in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, in television interviews on CNN and CBS, and with meetings with White House officials, the former Blackwater honcho is pushing for a wholesale privatization of the war.

While Prince has kept the details of his plan under wraps, what has been leaked out or released is quite similar to what McMaster has been advocating. The only difference, of course, is that contractors would be doing the job instead of U.S. troops. More than 5,000 contractors would do the training, advising, and equipping of the Afghan national security forces so the U.S. Army and Marine Corps could gradually withdraw their personnel from the mess that is Afghanistan. Prince's strategy would also include a private fleet of combat aircraft that would provide Kabul with a reliable logistical system to transport troops and equipment off the battlefield and wounded troops to hospitals—functions instrumental in a war zone but impossible for the Afghans to do on their own. The contractors would spread out across all of Afghanistan's ninety-plus battalions, working much closer to the fighting. So close, in fact, that Prince's men would formally be brought into the Afghan army, wear Afghan uniforms and take orders from Afghan commanders.

Could such a proposal work? Defense Secretary James Mattis, McMaster, and everybody who has studied or has first-hand experience with Blackwater's past track record in Iraq and Afghanistan—one that included massive misuse of taxpayer dollars, killing of civilians during convoy duty, drinking heavily while storing weapons and ammunition in their rooms, and stealing and crashing $180,000 vehicles into barricades on base—believe it's such a big mistake that Prince should be kicked off the White House grounds. 

Indeed, it's hard to argue why Washington should give Prince another chance when his employees ran wild and even threatened to kill a State Department employee performing an inspection. The September 2007 killing of fourteen Iraqi civilians at a traffic circle in Baghdad by Blackwater employees (this month, an appellate court ruled that three out of four Blackwater contractors who were convicted of manslaughter should be granted new sentences) is never far from people's' minds. If the Trump administration were to seriously consider Prince’s proposal, it would need to make sure that the mistakes and blunders of the past are nipped in the bud; there must be a series of accountability measures that reprimand, fire, or prosecute contractors who go off the reservation or commit abuses against civilians. There should also be a debate about whether U.S. taxpayers should pick up the $10 billion price tag for such an operation—if the mission is crafted to assist the Afghan army in the field, that is to the benefit of the entire NATO coalition and should therefore be financed be financed more evenly across the board.

Why the Afghan government would even allow contractors to embed with their soldiers after such a rocky history is anybody's guess. Deciding to do so wouldn't be a great political move for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose political support is already eroding due to series of terrorist attacks in Kabul. - More

نود و هشتمین سالگرد استقالل افغانستان - ولی احمد نوری

اصطالح استقالل مفهومی در برابر اصطالح استعمار و اسارت کشور استقالل چیست؟ اساسا و دولت بیگانه را می ً رساند، ولی نیروی پیدایش و رشد استقالل را نمی شود همواره با کینه ورزی زیر نام امپریالیزم و یا در مقابل فرد و گروه مخالف داخلی بکار برد، زیرا کینه توزی بیشتر ایجاد ضعف روانی می کند و عواطف بارور و مثبت ما را فلج و مسموم می سازد.

استقالل که همان به خود آمدن باشد، احتیاج به قوای مثبت و سازنده دارد و تنها با دوری خود از دیگران و دشمنی ورزیدن با دیگران حاصل نمی شود. درست است که ملت افغانستان در گذشتۀ تأریخی وهم درحال با دشمنان سر سخت داخلی و خارجی مواجه بوده که البته مبارزه با آنها یک تالش مداوم و ریشه ای را ایجاب می کند و جهت مبارزه سالم قبل از هر چیز نیرومند ساختن مردم بخصوص نیروی جوان کشور برای تفکر است. مردم فقط در اثر خود اندیشی و آگاهی است که به مفهوم آزادی، استقالل و رشد و ترقی اقتصادی، فرهنگی، سیاسی و غیره پی برده در ساخت و ساز کشور از دل و جان سهم می گیرد.

اینک با این تعریف مختصر نود و هشتمین سالگرد استقالل افغانستان عزیز را به همه هموطنان نجیب، با شهامت و عاشق آزادی در سراسر کشور دوست داشتنی ما افغانستان زیبا، مبارک باد عرض می کنم و به روان آن راد مردان بزرگی از این سرزمین باستان که پوز همه متجاوزان و دشمنان وطن را به خاک مالیده و از کشور شیران دور انداخته اند با افتخار رسم تعظیم دارم.

 جاویدان باد یاد اعلیحضرت امان هللا خان که برای حصول استقالل افغانستان قدم عملی گذاشتند و آرزو و درخواست رسمی و جدی پدر تاجدار شان را در مورد شناختن استقالل افغانستان که از پادشاه انگلستان نموده بودند در ساحۀ 1 عمل پیاده کردند.) ( و جاویدان باد نام نامی سپهساالر غازی جنرال محمد نادر خان و عساکر شیر صفت و سپاه جان نثارنش که در جبهات گرم جنگ و آتش و خون در " وانه و تل" در کوهـساران "خیبر" با ابر قدرت زمان که گویند آفتاب در سرزمینش غروب نمی کرد، برای حصول آزادی مردم افغانستان و استقالل کشور بزرگ ما جنگیدند و زن و مرد، طفل و جوان و سنگ و چوب آن وطن به یاد آن روز، روز شکست سپاه برتانیۀ کبیر و حصول آزادی و استقالل شان فخر می کنند و به خود و به آن راد مردان مبارز جنگ استقالل می بالند و این رویداد بزرگ تأریخی را به احفاد خود انتقال می دهند تا نسل های آینده از آن اندرز گرفته و انتباه گیرند تا از کشور نازنین و از آن میهن عنبرین، به خون و جان خود دفاع کنند، و به عقابانی که بیرق افغانستان آزاد را بر کوه پایه های خیبر به اهتزاز درآوردند بیاندیشند. - Read More
ولی احمد نوری 
نود و هشتمین سالگرد استقلال افغانستان مبارک باد

احسان الله مایار 
نود و هشتمین سالگرد جشن استقلال

آریانا افغانستان آنلاین Ariana Afghanistan Online: Hom

Trump Expected To Order 4,000 More Troops To Afghanistan

President Trump is expected to deploy about 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan and try to tighten expectations on its government and that of neighboring Pakistan, senior U.S. officials tell NPR.

Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech on Monday night outside Washington in which he announces his decision, which follows months of deliberation with top U.S. commanders, political advisers and even enlisted veterans of the nearly 16-year war.

Trump is not expected to include any end date to the stepped-up American presence, the way President Barack Obama did when he announced a surge in troops there.

When asked how long the U.S. presence could remain in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official responded, rhetorically, "How long have we been in Korea?"

U.S. troops have been posted south of the Demilitarized Zone since the end of hostilities there in 1953. U.S. forces have been fighting in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. - Read More, NPR

Trump Expected To Order 4,000 More Troops To Afghanistan

Live Coverage: Follow The Solar Eclipse - NPR

A total solar eclipse has made its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Fourteen states were in the path of total darkness. See highlights from the astronomical phenomenon’s journey across America below. The map reflects the time zone you’re in. -  Read More

Live Coverage: Follow The Solar Eclipse 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

At stake in US military efforts to stabilize Afghanistan: At least $3 trillion in natural resources

  • The U.S. has spent upwards of $700 billion on Afghanistan's war, and the Trump administration is hoping to recoup some of that via its vast mineral wealth.
  • An Afghan spokesperson told CNBC that Trump's attention to the country could be a 'strategic win-win' for both.
  • A recent study pegged natural resources in the country as worth at least $3 trillion, but the Taliban remains a key hurdle to any development efforts.
As President Donald Trump recently declared the U.S. is "getting very close" to a strategy aimed at turning the tide of Afghanistan's prolonged and bloody conflict, there's more at stake than just military victory.

The Trump administration is under increasing pressure to sway the course of the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers and left at least 20,000 wounded. "We must face facts; we are losing in Afghanistan, and time is of the essence if we intend to turn the tide," Sen. John McCain said this month, after announcing he would introduce a new Afghan strategy.

Since 2001, the U.S. has spent an estimated $714 billion in war and reconstruction in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) July report. That comes to about $3.9 billion a month to run the Afghan war.

Trump is seeking a military win in Afghanistan, but American efforts there may yet reap financial gains. Afghanistan possesses rare minerals crucial for industrial manufacturing, including copper, gold, uranium and fossil fuels — making the country ripe for development that can boost the economy and fund its reconstruction. In a partial survey conducted by the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the country's mineral wealth is estimated at $3 trillion, more than enough to compensate for the war's cost. - Read More, CNBC

نود و هشتمین سالروز استقلال افغانستان؛ گل گذاری بر منار استقلال

محمد اشرف غنی، رئیس جمهوری افغانستان امروز ۲۸ اسد/مرداد، در مراسم گرامی‌داشت از نود و هشتمین سالروز استقلال افغانستان بر پای منار استقلال در صحن وزارت دفاع این کشور گل گذاشت. - More

نود و هشتمین سالروز استقلال افغانستان؛ گل گذاری بر منار استقلال ...

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اشرف غنی: زمان تکمیل کردن فصل تاریخی شاه ‌امان‌الله است - BBC Persia

Trump says ‘decisions made’ on Afghanistan strategy - washingtonpost

President Trump on Saturday indicated his administration has settled on a course of action to move forward in the U.S. war in Afghanistan, but he offered no details a day after meeting with top advisers at Camp David.

The administration is weighing plans to send an additional 3,800 troops to Afghanistan amid concerns among military leaders that the international coalition and Afghan government forces are losing ground against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The United States has 8,400 troops on the ground, primarily to train and assist local forces as America's longest war grinds through its 16th year.

Trump met with more than a dozen aides, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at Camp David to discuss the administration's strategy in the region, including Pakistan and India.

The president did not make public remarks after the meeting. In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that Trump had been “briefed extensively” and was “studying and considering his options.”

Trump “will make an announcement to the American people, to our allies and partners, and to the world at the appropriate time,” Sanders said. - Read More

Trump says ‘decisions made’ on Afghanistan strategy

Thursday, August 17, 2017

UN rights experts warn new EU policy on boat rescues will cause more people to drown

17 August 2017 – The European Union's new policy on Mediterranean Sea rescues threatens life and breaches international standards, two United Nations independent human experts today cautioned.

“The EU's proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organizations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer.

“The solution is not to restrict access to international waters or firing weapons to threaten boats, as Libya has reportedly done repeatedly. This will result in more deaths of migrants at sea and is in contravention of the obligation to rescue people in distress,” the experts added.

The code – drawn up by Italy with support from the European Commission – aims to stop privately-operated ships ferrying refugees to safety in Italy from waters off the Libyan coast.

It is part of a new plan to support Italy and reduce the pressure of migrant arrivals.

Earlier this week, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, also had harsh words for the proposed change, saying the code of conduct and the overall plan “suggest that Italy, the European Commission and EU Member States deem the risks and reality of deaths at sea a price worth paying in order to deter migrants and refugees.” -  Read More

UN rights experts warn new EU policy on boat rescues will cause more people to drown

Opinions: A new, winning strategy for Trump in Afghanistan - washingtonpost

Stephen J. Hadley was national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

After 16 years of sacrifice in Afghanistan, President Trump is right to ask why we are there and what does it take to win.

The United States has vital national interests in Afghanistan. Since 9/11, preventing another terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland has remained our key objective. While the cost in lives and treasure has been too high, this objective has largely been achieved. But it has required a sustained U.S. troop presence, the active participation of our NATO allies and a close partnership with the Afghan government.

If the Trump administration now opts to draw down U.S. military forces, the NATO allies would go home and the Afghan state would likely collapse. The result would be a victory for the terrorists. It would undo the Trump administration’s recent success against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and provide the Islamic State a haven in Afghanistan from which to foment attacks on the United States.

Instead, the Trump administration can deliver another major blow against terrorism. The Islamic State and al-Qaeda seek to expand their presence in Afghanistan, but virtually none of the Afghan groups — including the Taliban — support them. They can be defeated in Afghanistan just as they are being pushed out of Iraq and Syria. This natural extension of the Iraq/Syria campaign would help consolidate the victory against the Islamic State. But it will require U.S. counterterrorism forces to continue operating alongside Afghan security forces.

The challenge will then be to preserve the victory and help the Afghan people stabilize their country so that the Islamic State and al-Qaeda do not return. This can be done with a political/diplomatic strategy that seeks an inclusive settlement among all Afghan political factions while creating a more legitimate, popularly supported government that addresses the conflict’s root causes.

There has been some progress. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is committed to reform. The Afghan defense forces are bravely fighting at tremendous cost. But the Afghan government must boost its legitimacy by broadening its base of popular support, fighting corruption and ensuring credible presidential elections in 2019. Continued U.S. support must be conditioned on these steps.

The big question is what to do about the Taliban. The answer: Test its interest in peace.

Defeating terrorist groups that threaten the United States does not include or require defeating the Taliban. The United States and NATO must make clear that they will fully support an Afghan-led political settlement involving all sectors of Afghan society — including the Taliban

To give the Afghan government, military forces and society the confidence to enter into such a process, the Trump administration should authorize the modest increase in U.S. and NATO troop levels  recommended by the local U.S. commander. The Afghan government can then credibly tell the Taliban that it will pay a heavy price for continuing to fight, but is welcome to participate in a political settlement.

This new strategy will require U.S. leadership in two additional respects. - Read More

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How Eclipses Changed History

Newton and Einstein had big ideas, but needed an eclipse to prove them. And scientists are still pursuing secrets of the universe one eclipse at a time. - More

How Eclipses Changed History

Trump to tackle Afghanistan strategy at Camp David | TheHill

President Trump is headed to Camp David on Friday, where he will meet with his national security team to discuss the strategy on the war in Afghanistan, the White House announced Wednesday.

Vice President Pence, who was in South America as of Wednesday, will cut his trip short so he can join Trump at Camp David.

Pence had originally been scheduled to return to the United States Friday afternoon but will leave South America late Thursday instead.

The administration is working to develop a new strategy for the 16-year war in Afghanistan, the nation’s longest conflict. The strategy is expected to include how the United States will address the neighboring country of Pakistan, and whether 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops are needed to combat the Taliban, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and al Qaeda in the region.

About 8,400 U.S. troops are currently in Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday told reporters at the Pentagon that the president is “very close” to making a decision on the strategy.
“We’re sharpening each one of the options so you can see the pluses and minuses of each one so that there’s no longer any new data you’re going to get. Now [he can] just make the decision,” Mattis said.

When asked whether the options included a plan to use contracted security forces in place of sending more troops, Mattis confirmed that it’s “part of the options being considered.”

“The president is open to the advice of the secretary of State and myself and the director of the CIA,” Mattis added.

Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince — the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — and DynCorp owner Stephen Feinberg last month offered proposals to White House officials to use contractors instead of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. - More

Trump to tackle Afghanistan strategy at Camp David | TheHill

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A 6,000-year-old Vimana found by 8 US Soldiers Disappeared in Afghanistan Cave?

According to several reports, in 2012 8 soldiers allegedly participated in a top-secret mission in the desert of Afghanistan. Inside a cave, a Vimana or at least parts of the vimana were found. - More

A 6,000-year-old Vimana found by 8 US Soldiers Disappeared in ...