Here We Go Again, Who’s Got The White Flag?

The Afghan government and the Taliban are holding not so secret secret talks and this time both Mullah Omar and Obama approve. The central question is, who’s trying to surrender to whom? I’ll bet it’s not Mullah Omar.

Mullah Omar backs Taliban talks with Karzai: report

Taliban leader Mullah Omar has, for the first time, backed secret high-level talks with the Afghan government to negotiate an end to the nine-year war, the Washington Post said Wednesday.

“They are very, very serious about finding a way out,” a source close to the talks told the Post, referring to the Taliban.

The Post cited unnamed Afghan and Arab sources as saying the talks were believed to involve representatives authorized by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Omar.

White House voices support for talks with Taliban

President Barack Obama supports recent attempts by the Afghan government to open peace talks with Taliban leaders, but still wants the insurgents to renounce violence and their support of al-Qaida, the White House said Wednesday.

However, press secretary Robert Gibbs said the United States was not taking part in any such talks. “This is about Afghanistan,” he said. “It has to be done by the Afghans.”

See also:
Taliban in talks with Karzai government
Taliban’s high command in secret talks to end war in Afghanistan
Taliban in high-level talks with Karzai govt
Taliban in ‘secret peace talks’ with Karzai
Could a deal with the Taliban end the war in Afghanistan?
Mulla Omar, US back Taliban talks with Karzai
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar ready for peace talks with the US
West losing war in Afghanistan: Mullah Omar
Taliban Leader: Victory Over US-NATO Imminent
U.S. `Supportive’ of Talks Between Taliban, Afghan Government, Gibbs Says
Obama aide: We support Afghan-Taliban talks, but aren’t participating
Afghan, Pakistan Talks Focus on Taliban Joining Peace Process, WSJ Says
Key players in the Afghan peace process
Peace Is Hell

Remember this? “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity”. What a difference a year makes. At this point, it’s painfully obvious that Obama is willing to sacrifice anything, everything, and anybody to lose the war as quickly as possible and throw Afghanistan under the bus, regardless of the future consequences and negative implications for U.S. national security. “I want an exit strategy” . . . “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”

/it’s inevitably only a matter of time now before we tuck tail and run, Karzai bails with his U.S. taxpayer funded multi-billion dollar golden parachute, and the Taliban are back in Kabul, executing women in soccer stadiums, just like the last ten years never even happened

In One Door And Out The Other

Your tax dollars, hard at work, heading for the airport, getting out of town.

Afghanistan: $4.2 billion in mysterious cash flown out of Kabul since 2007

THE “blizzard of banknotes” leaving Kabul airport is worse than originally feared, The Scotsman has learned, with at least $4.2 billion (around £2.8 billion) exported in cash over the last three-and-a-half years.

Congressmen in the United States voted to suspend $4bn in aid to the Afghan government last week, after media reports showed $3bn in cash has been flown out of the country since 2007.

US and British fraud investigators fear that most of the money leaving Kabul has been siphoned-off from international aid contracts, or made from the country’s rapidly expanding opium trade.

Documents seen by The Scotsman show that the Afghan Ministry of Finance puts the real figure at $4.2bn – at least $1.2 billion higher than previously feared.

“Our records show that $4.2bn has been transferred in cash through Kabul International Airport alone during the last three-and-a-half years,” Afghanistan’s finance minister, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, wrote in a letter to US Congresswoman Nita Lowey.

Ms Lowey, chairwoman of the aid appropriations sub-committee in Congress, has vowed not to send another dime to Afghanistan until she was confident “that US taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords and terrorists”.

Dr Zakhilwal’s letter acknowledges allegations that Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s government is “assisting or partaking in this fraud” but the minister hits back by pointing out that most of the money America spends in Afghanistan circumvents the Afghan government.

. . .

The sheer volume of cash couriered out of the country’s main airport is huge relative to Afghanistan’s gross domestic product which was just $13.5bn last year, and it easily dwarfs the amount of tax revenue collected by the government.

The figure doesn’t include cash exported from any of Afghanistan’s other international airports, which include Kandahar International, Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, and the main US base at Bagram, north of Kabul.

. . .

Afghanistan relies on a cash economy and there is no limit to how much money can be exported, as long as it is declared to customs. Official records show most of the money that was declared leaving Kabul since 2007 formed part of the traditional Islamic hawala system, in transfers to Dubai. The often informal nature of the hawala contracts, based on trust, honour and lender’s reputation, make the transactions almost impossible for financial investigators to track.

See also:
4.2 billion dollars have left Kabul airport: report
4.2 billion dollar worth ‘blizzard of banknotes’ have flown out of Kabul since 2007
Afghanistan minister rejects US corruption allegations
Afghan leader: Foreign contracts fuel corruption
Finance Minister Calls for Probe of Afghan Money Network
US freezes $4b of aid to Afghans
US cuts $5.6b Afghan aid amid graft charges
Afghanistan: US lawmakers block $4 bln in aid
Over $4 bn in cash flies out of Kabul

It looks like Karzai and his cronies have put together quite the U.S. financed retirement fund.

/no wonder it seems that Karzai doesn’t really care which side wins in Afghanistan, as long as he can make it to the airport to don his golden parachute

Who The Hell Are We Fighting And Dying For?

WTF?

Lawmakers Say Karzai Threatened to Join Taliban

Afghan lawmakers say President Hamid Karzai used a closed meeting to lash out at Western critics of his government, saying the Taliban would become a “legitimate resistance movement” if outside meddling in Afghan affairs continued.

The lawmakers say Mr. Karzai also suggested that he might join the Taliban if outside pressure does not stop.

According to several members of the Afghan parliament, Mr. Karzai made the comments during a private meeting with a group of lawmakers Saturday.

In an interview with BBC television Monday, Mr. Karzai said he stands by remarks last week blaming international embassies and organizations for fraud in the August 20 presidential elections.

The White House called Mr. Karzai’s remarks “troubling”, but said a planned meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Mr. Karzai next month in Washington is still scheduled.

See also:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai Threatens to Join Taliban
Karzai ‘threatened to join Taliban’
Karzai to lawmakers: ‘I might join the Taliban’
Karzai threatens to join Taliban
Karzai threatens to join Taliban
Is Karzai friend or foe to the United States?
AP Analysis: Karzai remarks risk US-Afghan rift
U.S. to Afghan Leader: Watch What You Say
News Wrap: U.S. Expresses Concerns Over Karzai’s Taliban Remarks
U.S. turns up the heat and Karzai smolders
Karzai says he’ll join the Taliban if UN keeps pressuring him
For U.S., Karzai proves to be a very troublesome ally
Afghanistan, a bottomless pit

Let’s see, so we’re propping up Karzai’s government and protecting him from the Taliban and he’s threatening to join the Taliban if we keep insisting that he actually do something about the rampant corruption in his government, is that about it? My, my, that’s certainly a helpful attitude. Do we have any real allies in the region?

/if we’re not careful, one of these days we could find ourselves literally fighting all sides just to physically get our troops out of Afghanistan

Classic Hammer And Anvil With Taliban In Between


‘Cobra’s Anger’ strikes Taliban

More than 1,000 U.S., British, and Afghan troops launched a major offensive in a key battleground of southern Afghanistan yesterday, only days after President Barack Obama unveiled a new strategy to end the war.

NATO said the offensive was designed to crush terrorists around a major town in Helmand in order to allow development to begin and civilians to return, key elements of Mr. Obama’s decision to deploy 30,000 new U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

About 900 U.S. Marines and sailors, British troops and more than 150 Afghan soldiers and police were taking part in Operation Khareh Cobra, or “Cobra’s Anger” in the valley of Now Zad.

Hundreds of Marines were dropped by aircraft into the north of the valley, while a large force of soldiers pushed northward from the town of Now Zad to sandwich the Taliban between the two forces.

“More than 1,000 ISAF personnel partnered with Afghan national security forces began a long-planned operation in northern Helmand province to clear insurgent forces from a key area,” the military said.

For the first time in Afghanistan, U.S. troops used Osprey aircraft — which have features of both a helicopter and a fixed-wing plane– to fly waves of Marines into the valley.

Also for the first time, combat engineers deployed the “Assault Breacher,” a tracked armoured vehicle built on a tank chassis. It was being used to clear a path through improvised minefields.

Major William Pelletier, from Camp Leatherneck in Helmand, told CNN the valley is “a major through-route” for transporting fighters and munitions from east to west and north to south. Terrorists have mined the region, and troops intend to provide enough security for the Afghan government and nongovernmental organizations to begin clearing the mines and roadside bombs so they can repopulate the town.

“So far, four Taliban dead bodies were left behind on the battlefield. But enemy casualties could be higher,” said Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Helmand governor, adding scores of mines and a cache of explosives were seized.

See also:
U.S. Marines advance in southern Afghanistan
US, British, Afghan Troops Push into Taliban Area
Marines Start Operation in Helmand Province
Marines, Afghans Launch Major Offensive
‘Cobra’s Anger’ unleashed in Taliban heartland
New Afghan push takes aim at militants
U.S., Afghan troops launch first major offensive after Obama’s announcement of troop surge
Militants killed, detained in new Afghan-US military operation
‘Cobra’s Anger’ making progress, say US Marines
‘Cobra’s Anger’ Offensive Sends Thousand U.S., NATO Troops To Afghan Valley
NATO takes on Taliban in south of Afghanistan
Marines Start Operation in Helmand Province
Monster mine-clearing tank goes to work in Afghanistan
ABV to protect combat engineers
Grizzly [Breacher]
Controversial ‘Osprey’ chopper makes debut in Afghanistan
V-22 Osprey
V-22 Osprey

/dusting off the old playbook, shades of Junction City