what is happening in Mussa Qalla

December 7, 2006

Radio Salaam Watandar
By Zalmai Ahadi and Sanjar Qiam

“The Mussa Qalla fight in no way violates the agreement, the agreement holds firm despite some of the incidents that have happened so”
Said brigadier Richard Nugee, the spokesman for ISAF in a press conference in Kabul on Wednesday. Referring to the latest clashes between the insurgents and NATO troops in Mussa Qalla which resulted in more than 70 causalities.

“The recent incident south of Mussa Qalla is about 15 to 20KM away from the district center” Nugee added.

National Council representative from Helmand province Nassima Niazzi said the agreement is no longer in place and she added to the reasons “National council representative didn’t have any part in the agreement, and the agreement wasn’t transparent, and no insurance of peoples safety was made, and it wasn’t a substantial agreement, any agreement with above criteria wouldn’t last long in Afghanistan”

But the Helmand governor spokesperson says the agreement holds stiff and Mussa Qalla is open for people to go and come in safety.

Muheeddin Khan the spokesperson for Helmand governor added “we are trying to talk and negotiate with people and up until now the flow of traffic is normal. Security is firm in Mussa Qalla and there hasn’t been any incident which might cause the cease of the agreement. The people of Mussa Qalla have said if government is not holding to its word then we’ll leave our homes. At this moment the agreement is in place. There is nothing else – no problem”

Mattiaullah Khan who introduces himself as the ex-governor of Sangin district of Helmand was in Kabul a couple of weeks ago with another 260 representatives of Helmand, they were demanding the removal of Helmand governor, Dawod. He said about Mussa Qalla operation and displacement of residents.

“These people include 10-15 narcotic traffickers and have their own factories or those who has received cash from Taliban or are part of Taliban. NATO operation is a strike on Talibans sanctuary and it’s a good thing. Taliban were organizing there and they have been to establish nests there. Taliban has also had established opium refineries and Osama related Arabs were spotted in the district. Those who claim they will leave the area are not actually the residents; they are either Taliban or drug traffickers”

On the other hand Mallim Shah who claims to be former provincial chief of intelligence supports NATO operation, and claims there has been no harm to civilians in the operation.

“The battle took place in proximity of Landi Nawie called Lashkarak. Taliban were housed in two forts of 30 to 40 each. This place is where they were getting organized for operations. The presence of civilian in the area is a lie”

In the face of Mussa Qalla residence threat to leave their houses if any future operation take place and wide spread local discontent with the Helmand governor, Dawod, we asked general Nugee if NATO support and listen to local population.
“The bottom line is the president selects the governor, we support the president and the government of Afghanistan. And therefore if the president has selected the governor we’ll support him. We will support the president and the government in Mussa Qalla agreement”


NATO summit

December 4, 2006

“I am absolutely convinced that if we allowed Afghanistan to fall back into Taliban rule it would become a failed state again and a black hole for terrorism training,” Scheffer told the Daily Telegraph last week.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair used NATO summit this week to press his allies to do more in Afghanistan, where British troops are on the frontline of bloody fighting with Taliban insurgents. “The credibility of NATO… rests on us doing everything we can to help the people of Afghanistan in their search away from the Taliban,” he said, his message firmly in Riga summit.Blair has good reason to be worried: in recent months the death toll among British troops has surged upwards since they spearheaded NATO’s move into the south in the middle of the year, and more than 40 have now died. “I don’t believe there is an alternative but to fight this and to fight it for as long as it takes,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair told troops in southern Afghanistan last week.
This is while NWFP Governor Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai said “There will be no military solution, there has to be a political solution. How many more lives have to be lost before people realise it’s time for dialogue?”Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai has said that the British forces will never win in Afghanistan by military means, and that it should open negotiations with the Taliban. NATO was ignoring the realities on the ground, he said and added that the reason why Taliban numbers had swelled was because moderates were joining the militants. “Bring 50,000 more troops and fight for 10 to 15 years more and you won’t resolve it. The British with their history in Afghanistan should have known that better than anyone else,” the Dawn quoted Aurakzai as saying in an interview with Sunday Times reporter Christina Lamb. He added: “It is no longer an insurgency but a war of Pashtun resistance exactly on the model of the first Anglo-Afghan war. Then too (in 1839-42) initially there were celebrations. adding:
“A military mission alone will not succeed,” U.S. Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland said.”We must have security married to good governance and development, and that means the EU, U.N. and NATO working in harmony with Afghans,” she wrote on NATO’s Web site last week.Few and few Afghan children wave as foreign patrol passes dusty streets of Kandahar, and local men sipping tea in front of shops offer only a steely gaze, one of the tea drinkers said “foreign troops don’t know where they are and can’t tell a farmer from a militant.”
Although all 26 nations have troops serving with the mission, those in the southern front lines — mainly Canada, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands — are irked that others — primarily Germany, Italy, France and Spain — have restrictions limiting their troops to the relatively peaceful north and west.”Putting caveats on operations means putting caveats on NATO’s future,” NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

France and the United States hold fundamentally different views of NATO’s role. Paris is wary of what it sees as Washington’s attempts to use NATO to expand its influence at the expense of a more independent EU. Many blame continued tension between France and United States for the relatively limited ambition of the Riga agenda and expect more for the next summit in 2008, when there’ll probably be a new president in Paris, or the one after in 2009, when there will certainly be a new president in Washington.
“More and more capitals are reluctant to commit additional troops,” said French lawmaker Pierre Lellouche, who recently chaired a session of the NATO parliamentary assembly in Quebec.

“Afghanistan has become a test case for whether we can overcome the growing discrepancy between NATO’s expanding missions and its lagging capabilities,” NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at the summit. The outcome of the summit is more time for NATO to adjust its strategy and minimise the discrepancy but failure for Afghanistan where bloodshed is on the rise. A terror war doesn’t give you time like a summit does.