Training offer to Afghan Army

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Dr Raja M Khan:

On January 26-27, 2010, the NATO’s Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Staff (CHODs) held its meeting in Brussels. Sixty-two chiefs of defence staff attended it from NATO as well as other troops contributing countries. As a coalition partner in the global war on terror, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, was also invited to participate in the meeting. During the meeting, General Kayani adequately highlighted the role played by Pakistan in the war on terror. Indeed, Pakistan lost over twenty five thousand innocent lives during last nine years, since the beginning of this war. The casualties of security forces of Pakistan are many times more than what the coalition and Afghans forces have collectively suffered in these years. General Kayani’s presentation on the Pakistan’s contribution indeed, removed the misperception of the NATO countries about the Pakistani role in the global war on terror. Sequel to this meeting General Kayani, briefed the foreign and domestic press about the outcome of the meeting in Rawalpindi. During the course of the meeting, he categorically said that, “We cannot wish for Afghanistan anything that we don’t wish for Pakistan.” Since Pakistanis desire peace, stability, and economic prosperity for their country, therefore, they ought to wish similar comforts for their brethrens of Afghanistan. Furthermore, three decades of war, factional fighting, and the internal instability in Afghanistan has brought us to the conclusion that, stability and peace in Pakistan is directly proportional to these factors in Afghanistan.
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NATO air strike kills 33 Afghans

Kabul—A NATO air strike killed at least 33 civilians, the Afghan government said on Monday, in the third such mistaken bombing raid in Afghanistan in a week and forcing another apology from a top US commander.

Four women and a child were among the civilians killed on Sunday when they were attacked after being mistaken for Taliban militants who are waging an eight-year insurgency to evict Western troops.

The top ground commander, US General Stanley McChrystal, apologised for the incident to President Hamid Karzai, who has repeatedly warned foreign and Afghan forces to take all measures possible to avoid harming civilians.

The air strike came days after NATO forces pressing a major offensive in the south killed at least nine Afghan civilians when a rocket slammed into a house—for which McChrystal also apologised.

A statement from the decision-making council of ministers, which is chaired by Karzai, condemned the latest incident as “unjustifiable”.

“Initial reports indicate that NATO fired Sunday on a convoy of three vehicles in Gujran district of the province of Daykundi, killing at least 33 civilians including four women and one child and injuring 12 others while they were on their way to Kandahar,” the statement said.

Sunday’s incident was the third mistaken NATO air strike in Afghanistan reported by Afghan officials in a week.

Last Thursday, a NATO bombing raid in the northern province of Kunduz killed seven Afghan policemen, according to hospital and government officials.

On February 15, NATO acknowledged that five civilians were killed accidentally and two others wounded in an air strike in southern Afghanistan. Read more of this post

US far from winning in Afghanistan: McChrystal

The commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, says the coalition forces are “not winning” the war in Afghanistan.

McChrystal made remarks at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Turkey.

He told reporters in Istanbul on Thursday that he does not believe the allied efforts in Afghanistan has “turned a corner.”

“I’m not prepared to say that we’ve turned the corner.”

“I still will tell you that I believe the situation in Afghanistan is serious,” McChrystal said on the sidelines of the Istanbul summit.

While US President Barack Obama was considering a troop surge last October, McChrystal had warned that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating and the coalition risked failure if it did not send more troops.

General McChrystal, however, claimed that US-led forces had made “significant progress” last year and set the stage for even more progress this year.

He noted that success in the war-weary country is something that is difficult to measure.

“This is all a war of perceptions. This is not a physical war in terms of how many people you kill, how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up,” said McChrystal. Read more of this post

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