Rigi met US, Indian envoys in Afghanistan before arrest

Sikander Shaheen:
ISLAMABAD – The presence of Jundullah’s top man Abdol Malek Rigi in Afghanistan, a day prior to his arrest, is seen as part of covert meetings between US and Indian diplomats with Taliban and some unidentified leaders.

This newspaper, earlier, first published a story on January 30 last and a subsequent story on February 7 that a series of covert meetings were taking place between US and Indian diplomats with Taliban leaders, however, the whereabouts and origins of these leaders could not be ascertained due to the lack of sufficient details and highly covert manner in which these meetings were arranged.

UN based sources in Afghanistan informed this scribe on Wednesday that they were frequently getting reports regarding the presence of top brass of some banned outfits including those jihadi outfits the chiefs of which had lucrative head-moneys and were involved in terrorist activities in this region. Although the exact details regarding the visits of Abdol Malek Rigi to Afghanistan at any specific venue are still required because of his “lack of facial familiarity and acquaintance” within the locals, yet his frequent covert visits remained under heated discussions in informed Afghan quarters lately.

The fact stands undisputed that CIA had very strong links with Jundullah and was actively backing its operations against Shiite Muslims in Iran as well as in different parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Stealthy visits of the banned militants in Afghanistan, off and on, have much to do with the incompetence of Afghan government and active collusion of US and India using Afghanistan as cross-border militancy card against Pakistan.

Just recently, the arrests of three top leaders of Taliban by Pakistani authorities were not welcomed by Afghanistan and India at all, and soon after these arrests that had been termed by Pakistani authorities as a major breakthrough in combating militancy, voices were heard from New Delhi and Kabul that the pertinent development was a major blow to ‘peace efforts’ and arrested brass was presumably willing for talks with Afghanistan government! This policy of cribbing from both these states reflects the malice on part of Afghanistan that blindly follows the dictates of US and its cronies to avail of every bid that undermines Pakistan’s dignity. Read more of this post

Lethal Nato bombing details leaked

A deadly airstrike in Afghanistan’ s Kunduz province last September did not comply with Nato’s rules of engagement, according to the military organisation’ s own investigators.

In a leaked document published by the German newspaper Der Spiegel this week, it was revealed that crucial information was withheld from US pilots by the German military, who ordered the attack that killed scores of Afghan civilians.

The newspaper says Nato investigators looking into the September 4 bombing, which claimed 142 lives, found that US fighter pilots were inappropriately ordered to attack two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban in northern Kunduz.

Civilians from the nearby village of Omarkhail were collecting fuel from the tankers when Nato jets were ordered to drop two 500 pound bombs on the lorries.

‘Going kinetic’

One of the US F-15 pilots, whose name has not been released but has been referred to as Dude 15, told Nato investigators later that he “had an uneasy feeling about everything”.

“Both of us could tell the ground commander was really pushing to go kinetic,” he said, using a military slang term for the release of bombs on a target.

Reports now say that the German commander on the ground withheld vital information from the pilots of the US jets before they dropped their bombs.

Der Spiegel obtained a secret Nato report on the incident, saying that Germany’s army knewat the time of the bombing at least one of the drivers of the hijacked tankers was still alive and at the scene.

When questioned, pilots were told all individuals on the ground were “insurgents” .

The classified report also stated that new Nato rules of engagement to limit civilian casualties were ignored by the German commanders.

‘Defeat ourselves’

Just four days before the deadly bombing, General Stanley McChrystal, the senior US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, sent an assessment to Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, saying that “we run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage”.

“The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily but we can defeat ourselves.”

“I lost six men from my family … we have nothing left but our memories. We cry for them and the children cry for food”

Bibi Sharifa, villager from Omarkhail in Kunduz, Afghanistan Read more of this post

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