Afghans wary of Karzai dealings
- 13 killed in Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD, June 2: As many as eight Taliban fighters and at least
five soldiers died in heavy clashes in Afghanistan late Tuesday,
the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported on Wednesday......(DPA)
U.S.-led forces kill 17 Taliban in Afghanistan:
U.S.-led forces backed by warplanes killed 17 militants in the
mountains of southern Afghanistan, the American military confirmed
today, the bloodiest battle with Taliban-led insurgents in almost a
Four Afghans killed in raid by Taliban guerrillas:
May 31, 2004
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Taliban guerrillas riding in a fleet of
vehicles shot up a government office in southern Afghanistan, killing
four Afghan soldiers, an official said yesterday. One gunman also was
The suspected Taliban militiamen swept into Musa Qala, a market town
150 miles southwest of the capital, Kabul, late Saturday and opened
fire on the government office with assault rifles and heavy machine
guns, the mayor, Mullah Amir Aghunzada, said.
Four of the 30 soldiers defending the compound were killed, and eight
others were wounded, Aghunzada said. One Taliban fighter was also
killed and four were captured, three of whom were wounded.
In an update on four U.S. deaths Saturday, an Army spokeswoman said
the four American soldiers died about 20 miles east of Qalat, the
capital of southeastern Zabul province.
"An explosive device detonated under the [Humvee] the four were
traveling in," spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michele DeWerth said. She gave no
An Afghan government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said the Humvee hit a mine in Zabul's mountainous Sorie district.
The toll was one of the worst for a single attack on the U.S.-led
coalition force since it entered Afghanistan to topple the Taliban
for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
Police officer killed in Kabul :
A police officer was killed as unidentified gunmen attacked his car
in the capital citylast night, a spokesman of Interior Ministry said
Afghans wary of Karzai dealings
President Karzai is alleged to have given cabinet posts to warlords
in exchange for support in upcoming vote. By Scott Baldauf
VOTE: Observers worry that a back-room deal could spoil positive
election momentum, including the participation of women as shown in
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN The elections in Afghanistan are still months
off, but recent dealings between top power brokers have fed a growing
perception among ordinary Afghans and Western diplomats alike that
the result is a foregone conclusion.
Over the past few weeks, President Hamid Karzai - lauded by the US
government as a defender of democracy - has held a series of meetings
with top military commanders famous for their defeat of Soviet forces
and for running a murderous four-year government after that.
Presidential spokesmen call the talks an effort at ensuring a stable
election process, free of intimidation. Critics - and even the
commanders themselves - say the talks were about something else, a
deal to promise key cabinet posts to warlords in exchange for their
support of President Karzai's candidacy.
The unwitting appearance of an inside deal with hated warlords is
bringing back old cynicism here about politics, and is sending
signals that Afghanistan may not be heading toward a peaceful,
progressive future after all.
"People will regard this as a hidden deal, and a hidden deal at this
juncture would not be good for the country," says Wali Masood,
brother of the former Northern Alliance supreme commander Ahmed Shah
Masood. "If you want to start a democracy, you go to the public with
a team and an agenda, and let's see if the people vote for you or
Free elections had been touted as the turning point where ordinary
Afghans could start to map their own future. That was the idea at
least when Afghan leaders and UN mediators met in Bonn in December
2001 to decide on a political blueprint for the war-torn nation.
The latest round of talks between Karzai and the commanders was
Wednesday night. They could not be happening at a worse time, says
one Western diplomat. "People are motivated by this election. The
number of registered voters is increasing, the number of women voters
is increasing and higher than expected," he says. "But now, there is
a fear among people, and they need reassurance that they are not
being taken for a ride."
What makes all this more confusingis that all the participants of
these talks have a different view of what has been decided.
Mujahideen commanders, for instance, say they have been promised 50
percent of the cabinet posts, including the most important ministries
of interior, defense, justice, and finance. Karzai spokesmen insist
that there is no "deal," except that the commanders agree to support
the election process and Karzai's candidacy.
"It's not a negotiation, really," says Javed Luddin, presidential
spokesman. "The commanders said they thought they would rather
support the president, ... and stand alongside the president rather
than against him."
Mr. Luddin says that jihadi commanders - including Abdul Rab Rasool
Sayaaf, Defense Minister Mohammad Fahim, Vice President Rashid
Dostum, Herat Governor Ismail Khan - tried to unify behind a single
candidate of their own to confront Karzai, but could not set aside
personal rivalries to compromise on a single candidate.
"Elections should be a unifying step rather than a dividing step,"
adds Luddin. "If these forces felt left outside or feel threatened as
they face inevitable defeat, they could resort to a dangerous
agenda," including armed rebellion.
Commanders have different story
But sources close to the commanders say that it was Karzai who came
to them, and who agreed to give half of the cabinet posts to former
"In my view, Karzai has lost the trust of the people," says Abdul
Hafiz Mansour, a member of a party allied with the commanders. "Mr.
Karzai [has] tried to have power in his hands. We don't want only one
person to have power. We want our country to have power."
And far from voicing support for Karzai, Mansour says the commanders
demanded that Karzai fire some Afghan expatriate "technocrats,"
including the ministers of finance and interior. The commanders also
demanded that the government stop calling them "warlords" and
stop "working against the rules of Islam." Mansour adds, "They
haven't mentioned they would support Karzai in the election at all."
Western community wary
For the time being, Western diplomats and UN representatives have
avoided commenting, but privately some diplomats voice concern that
the process of democracy could be derailed by the impression of a
Vikram Parekh, senior analyst for the nonprofit International Crisis
Group, says the big problem is that any deal could have a
destabilizing effect because inevitably somebody will be left out.
"Somebody is going to feel shortchanged," says Mr. Parekh. "I don't
think that we ever had a chance of a free and fair election here,
certainly not in the absence of a trained national police force,
without adequate peacekeepers in the provinces, without international
monitors in the provinces."
"The best we could expect was the veneer of legitimacy," adds
Parekh. "But now the cynicism of the people is tremendous."
US aircraft bomb southern Afghanistan
KABUL, May 29: American aircraft bombed southern Afghanistan for the
second time this week after two US soldiers were injured in a clash
near the border with Pakistan, the US military said on Saturday.
The American troops were wounded in a firefight on Thursday night
near Shkin in the border region, US military spokesman Lieutenant
Colonel Tucker Mansager told a press conference in Kabul.
"We had two coalition casualties in the engagement that led up to us
using ordnance down there," Col Mansager said.
The clash and bombardment took place in rough terrain about 230
kilometres south of Kabul in Paktika province.
It was the second time this week the 20,000-strong US-led coalition
has called in an air strike in southern Afghanistan.-AFP
Taliban fighters killed in US raid:
Tuesday 25 May 2004, 22:46 Makka Time, 19:46 GMT
Taliban continue to resist Western forces in the country
At least 20 suspected Taliban fighters have been killed in US air
strikes in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials have said.
The US military in Kabul could not confirm the attacks on Tuesday. If
confirmed, the losses would be among the largest suffered in a single
battle by the Taliban.
In June last year, 40 Taliban and seven Afghan soldiers were reported
killed in clashes in the south of Afghanistan, although no US
aircraft were involved.
Khan Muhammad, a corps commander in the southern city of Kandahar,
said Afghan forces had been engaged in fierce clashes with suspected
Taliban near the town of Spin Boldak, which lies on the Pakistani
"There has been fighting going on between Afghan forces and the
Taliban," he told Reuters. "They called in US support."
Taliban had harboured al-Qaida
fighters blamed for 11 September
He said 20 Taliban had been killed and that fighting continued. A
second Kandahar official, who asked not to be named, said at least 28
Taliban had died.
A spokeswoman for the 20,000-strong US-led force in Afghanistan
hunting remnants of the Taliban militia ousted by a US invasion in
2001 said she had no comment on the report.
"For security reasons, we can't disclose any details," she said.
Taliban had harboured al-Qaida fighters believed to have been behind
the September 2001 attacks on the US. They continue to resist Western
forces in the country and the US-backed government.
More than 700 people have died in violence in Afghanistan since
August, most of it involving clashes with fighters.
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