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    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    French press braver than French Military

    World (as of 2/3/2008 1:36 PM)
    Taliban, al Qaeda in the shadows in eastern Afghanistan

    Agence France-Presse

    SHARAN, Afghanistan - Using tactics from executions to threatening late-night visits, the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies may work largely in hiding but there is no doubting their distinctive message.

    They exert "strong pressure" on locals to cooperate with them rather than with Afghan authorities and their international partners, says Nawab Waziri, head of the provincial council of Paktika on the border with Pakistan.

    Most crudely, "they chop off heads or hands," Waziri told AFP. Scores have been killed by the insurgents like that, sometimes on allegations of "spying" for the government or foreign military forces.

    But they also operate more clandestinely. "They come secretly to people in the middle of the night, masked, to tell them what to do," he said.

    "There are men who are Taliban in secret in the villages... They cover their faces and talk to people in other villages."

    Sometimes there are "night letters" -- written threats thrown into schools or near homes under the cover of darkness.

    Relatives of these secret operators never talk about them; even if one is killed, they keep quiet, said Waziri. "The Taliban who die are not identified by their families."

    Waziri, in his 40s, joined some 700 other influential men from Paktika at a shura, or traditional council, in the provincial capital Sharan last week to debate the insurgent threat.

    "I ask you all to not support al Qaeda and to help the government," national communications minister Amirzai Sangin told the impressive gathering of tribal chiefs, clerics and others.

    Paktika and another border province, Khost, are "gateways" into Afghanistan for "al Qaeda and of terrorism because their camps are just on the other side of the border," said the official, who had come from Kabul.

    After being driven from government in late 2001 by a US-led international coalition, some Taliban and al Qaeda took refuge in Pakistan's tribal zones.

    There they regrouped in extremist sanctuaries and training camps from which US and Afghan officials say they launch attacks into Afghanistan.

    A leading al Qaeda commander who led the terror network in Afghanistan was believed to have been killed just across from Paktika last week when a missile fired by a US drone hit his hideout in Pakistan's North Waziristan area.

    Libyan Abu Laith al-Libi, reputed to be one of Osama bin Laden's top five lieutenants, was one of 13 al Qaeda militants killed in the raid.

    Pakistan has seen a spike in insurgent violence this year; such attacks have been rising steadily in Afghanistan over the past two years, peaking in 2007 with around 140 suicide bombings and scores of attacks that left hundreds dead.

    Afghans living along the border see much of the violence, which many of them claim has a strong foreign element.

    "The terrorists are trained by Pakistanis who later help them come here," said Ahmadzai Wazir, a tribal chief from the frontier district of Barmal, who wore an imposing black silk turban.

    "These Uzbeks, Arabs, Turkmens launch missiles and bombs on Afghan villages," he says.

    But, said the governor of Paktika, 34-year-old Akram Khepelwak, last year was "much more calm than the others with the reinforced presence of the Afghan army alongside the international soldiers."

    "We are trying to convince the communities to help us block the routes of the terrorists. And there is more cooperation," he said on the margins of the shura.

    Waziri, the provincial council chief, insisted there was no real support among the villagers for the insurgents. The main reason for any collaboration is just "because they are scared," he said.




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    Blogger Ague said...

    I suppose the attack against the French military in the title of this post is pure gratuitous hate, corresponding likely to some kind of attempt at psychologically coping with the miserable performance of the US on all of its current strategical fronts ?!

    3:00 AM  
    Blogger gerald said...

    It has more to do with the French Military record, such as it is.

    And French cab drivers...
    An embarrassment in the GWOT
    Your press are there where is your military?
    Even the "French Foreign Legion" MIA


    3:18 AM  
    Blogger Ague said...

    Well, you won your independance with French assistance, I seem to recall.
    Also you came in at the very end in the two world wars (having almost no casualties in the first, something like 50 000 if I remember right, and not more than France in the second, around half a million), to reap the benefits (like islam came up when the Byzantine and Persian empires exhausted and destroyed each other), you neither won nor lost in Korea, you lost in Vietnam, the record of the 2 gulf wars is dubious (the first one served Wahabi saudi arabia, and the second one is a hell of a mess), Afghanistan is a mess too. Etc.
    Not that brilliant, I think.

    Besides, if France, and more broadly Europe, is militarily and strategically weak, it is largely because the US and the USSR agreed to debilitate and neutralize Europe (cf. support to the decolonizations, the Suez affair, etc.). And the present existence of NATO continues this dynamic of preventing Europeans to be properly martial.

    Who's the dude in your avatar?

    11:57 AM  
    Blogger gerald said...

    Hmm end of wwii?
    You mean the Normandy invasion?
    My father parachuted into France, so the french wouldn't be speaking German now.
    Some of the French casulties were from fighting Americans in Africa, when the French officers couldn't decide who's side they were on.
    the GWOT is in a wrap up phase, thanks to all the fine french troops fighting the terrorists, I salute them all.
    Yes NATO prevents you from fighting al Qaeda, once again its USA to the rescue.
    And french Wine/whine.

    Avatar: is a self defense expert, can't remember his name.




    2:07 PM  
    Blogger Ague said...

    Well, I'd rather France have remained colonized by the Germans (I'm a European patriot anyway, whomever can unite my continent I would support, be it the EU, France, Germany, Russia, or any other European power) than it be colonized by the Arabo-Muslims like is happening now (thanks to the US and USSR collusion to have us leave Algeria in no small part, as well as to the antiracist weltanshauung which the victory of the Allies over the Axis entailed too / without forgetting current US pressure in support of a preposterous integration of Turkey in the EU).

    And I'm pretty sure the casualties against the US were minimal. France lost 500 000 fighting men in the 3 week - if my memory serves correct - German conquest in 1940.

    GWOT : In the 90s, the GIA hijaked a plane to fly into the eiffel tower, and we stopped it. You can't say so much for your analogous attack can you ?
    And we're not the ones who trained and funded the jihadists, neither do we commit "propaganda by the deed" on its behalf (cf. the Irak war).
    Besides, our antiterrorist structure and personnel is widely known as excellent.

    If the US could take care of liberating its own business and leave the rest to those concerned, it would be nice.

    On the av : lol isn't it rather Kropotkine?

    2:26 PM  

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