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Message from the Military: Afghanistan Farce

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27 January 2014

UNCLASSIFIED//NONE
Ladies and Gentlemen:  Today's highlights:

Afghan Media

Afghanistan releases 37 of 88 prisoners from Bagram prison | Khaama Press

According to reports, the Afghan government has announced to release 37 out of 88 Bagram prisoners, who were marked as dangerous by United States. The decision was reportedly taken by Afghan Review Board, which was formed under a decree by president Karzai to review the cases of the prisoner held in Bagram jail. The US forces in Afghanistan following a statement condemned the ordered release of the prisoners. "U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has learned that under direction of the Afghan government, the Afghan Review Board, led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, has ordered the release of the first 37 of 88 dangerous individuals under dispute who are legitimate threats to security and for whom there is strong evidence or investigative leads supporting prosecution or further investigation."

Afghan Govt Orders Release of 37 of 88 Bagram Prisoners | Tolo News

The US government has condemned an ordered release of the first wave of 88 prisoners from Bagram prison, saying that more than 40 per cent of the prisoners who are set to go were involved in direct attacks against the US and Afghan forces. The Afghan Review Board (ARB), led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, has ordered the release of the first 37 of 88 from Bagram, which the US military categorised them as "dangerous". The US forces in Afghanistan has condemned the ordered release, saying 17 of the 37 released prisoners are linked to the production of IEDs and killing 11 Afghan forces.

US condemns Bagram detainees' release order | Wakht News Agency

United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) on Monday condemned the release of release of 37 detainees from Bagram jail, where the forces said they had evidences that they were legitimate threats to security. "(USFOR-A) has learned that under direction of the Afghan government, the Afghan Review Board, led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, has ordered the release of the first 37 of 88 dangerous individuals under dispute who are legitimate threats to security and for whom there is strong evidence or investigative leads supporting prosecution or further investigation", said the forces in a statement. This extra-judicial release of detainees is a major step backward in further developing the rule of law in Afghanistan. The ARB is releasing these individuals without referral to an investigative body or the Afghan justice system despite the fact that the U.S. has disputed these 88 cases, the statement added.

US condemns orders for release of detainees | Pajhwok Afghan News

KABUL (Pajhwok): The US military on Monday condemned the planned release of the first 37 of 88 dangerous individuals whom it called "legitimate threats to security". The US forces said it had learnt the Afghan Review Board (ARB), led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, had ordered the release of the individuals who should be prosecuted or further investigated.

Forty percent of the detainees had participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 57 Afghan citizens and security force members and 30 percent were involved in assaults wounding or killing 60 US or coalition members. The US said it had provided information and evidence on each of the 88 detainees. The disputed cases contain strong evidence of violations of Afghan law or investigative leads requiring review for prosecution.

Karzai Recent Remarks May Lead Country To Further Crises: Political analysts | Ariana News

A number of political experts have said that the recent remarks made by President Karzai regarding the current conditions of the country are having the effect of causing Afghanistan to go into political crisis. Last year was a tension-filled year between Kabul and Washington regarding the signing of the security agreement. Tensions have now gone into a higher level among the people of Afghanistan as many say that following the withdrawal of International forces from the country Afghanistan will fall back into a war battle-zone again, and insecurity will be ensured. Political experts believe that the recent statements of the president are against the thoughts and morals of the people of Afghanistan.  They say that his statements have "put negative impact on their minds."

Blasts Hits Jalalabad | Bakhtar News Agency (SIGACT 32, 27JAN14)

Few mints ago a blast hit Jalalabad capital of Nangrhar province. According to reports the blast occurred close to the medicine faculty of Nangarhar University. Gulestan Ghalib BNA reporter reported, the area was blocked by security forces and it was not allowed to reporters to enter the area. So far there is no any exact figure about the number of casualties of the incident. During the last three days, it is the 3rd explosions which shocked Jalalabad city.

Rebel commander among 10 killed in Nangarhar | Wakht News Agency

A Taliban commander along with seven other insurgents were killed and two others wounded, when the forces loyal to the Afghan government launched a series of operation in some restive districts of eastern Nangarhar province on Monday. A one-day operation was launched in Wazir district of the province late on last day, where joint Afghan security forces launched operation resulting in killing eight insurgents including two of their commanders and wounding two others, said police chief, Fazl Ahmad Shirzad. He said dead bodies of five insurgents had been handed over to tribal elders in Khogyani district of the province.

Afghan Government offer false photo as 'evidence' of 2014 airstrike: Times reports | Bokhdi News

A photograph the Afghan government distributed to back up its claims about civilian casualties in a US airstrike 10 days ago was actually a 2009 AFP photograph of a different funeral, a media investigation revealed Sunday. The presidential palace gave journalists a dossier compiled by a fact-finding team sent by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Parwan province to gather evidence on the airstrike on January 15. Among the 14 photographs in the dossier is an AFP image taken on September 4, 2009 of a funeral in Kunduz province after a US airstrike that destroyed two fuel tankers, killing at least 70 civilians. "We are taking this issue very seriously to find out who put this photograph in the dossier, which was made by several government departments," Aimal Faizi, spokesman for President Karzai, told AFP.

Nanagarhar citizens feed up with growing explosions | Wakht News Agency

People in eastern Nangarhar province said Monday they were fed up of a miserable life under which they are facing growing threat from suicide attacks and blast more allegedly being carried out by the insurgents. Some district residents and the Jalalabad citizens are in fear that the incidents could increase and threaten their life in the future, if not paid heed by the security forces. Over the last week, three blasts had happened in some parts of the city including areas in Farm Hadi, near the University Hospital, close to the provincial national directorate for security NDS office and Talashi (police checkpoint), where the resident are concerned critically for a possible future upsurge.

Logar election security claim spurned | Pajhwok Afghan News

Residents and provincial council members on Monday rejected the official claim of polling stations' security in central Logar provinces. Officials assured residents of tight security during the elections despite the fact that half of the polling stations were still under threat from militants, one public representative said. Mohammad Tahir Faizi, a provincial council member, told Pajhwok Afghan News security forces were unaware of the ground situation and made unrealistic claims regarding the law and order situation in the province. Farzana Shansab, another member of the provincial council, also expressed her reservations. She accused security forces of trying to hoodwink locals about the situation in the province.

Afghan Preconditions For BSA Stand Firm: Janan Muszai | Ariana News

The Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan declared that signing a security pact with the US was important, however, the treaty was not overly generous towards Afghanistan. The officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again insisted that the preconditions from the Afghan Government side still stand before the security pact can be signed. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Janan Musazai talked about the impact of overall security in the region, saying, "The continuation of the presence of NATO and the US beyond 2014 is not so vital as it is important for our country to have stability and security to progress and develop.  This stability and security is important for all of the countries in the region."

Rebels out to disrupt polls: ANA commander | Pajhwok Afghan News

KABUL (Pajhwok): Militants are using all possible tactics to disrupt the April presidential and provincial council elections, a security official said on Monday. Col. Gul Rahman Roshanfikar, the 201st Selab Military Corps commander in the eastern zone, said bomb and suicide attacks had witnessed a surge ahead of the polls. He told Pajhwok Afghan News Taliban's tactics would not work and security forces and Afghan National Army (ANA) were ready to ward off any threat. Kapisa, Panjsher and Parwan provinces and Sarobi district of Kabul are included in the operational zone under the Selab Corps. And so are Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces.

16 Taliban militants killed, 6 others injured in Afghan operations | Khaama Press

At least 16 Taliban militants were killed and 6 others were injured during coordinated military operations by Afghan national security forces. The interior ministry of Afghanistan following a statement, said the militants were killed or injured during joint military operations conducted by Afghan police, Afghan army and Afghan intelligence - National Directorate of Security (NDS) operatives. The statement further added that the operations were conducted in Nangarhar, Kunduz, Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, Paktika, Badghis, Helmand and Nimroz provinces of the country during the past 24 hours. The interior ministry in its statement also added that Afghan police forces discovered and seized 11 improvised explosive device (IED) from Kunar, Laghman, Jawzjan, Kandahar, Khost, Paktika, Fraha and Helmand provinces.

3 Insurgents Killed, 23 Arrested in Operations | Tolo News

Three insurgents were killed and 23 were arrested during a series of coordinated operations over the past 24 hours carried out by the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP) and National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Sunday. Two other insurgents were injured in the operations. "In past 24 hours, Afghan National Police conducted several anti-terrorism joint operations with Afghan National Army and NDS to clean some areas of terrorists and enemies of peace and stability of Afghanistan," the statement said. The operations were conducted in Nangarhar, Laghman, Kandahar, Zabul, Ghazni and Helmand provinces.

Wave of Attacks Raises Concerns | Tolo News

Kabul has witnessed several explosions and suicide attacks in the past couple weeks in a spell of winter security setbacks that have many worried as the April elections draw near and foreign troops continue to pack up ahead of their withdraw in December. In the past 10 days alone, attacks have occured in Kabul, Kandahar, Nimroz, Helmand and Nangarhar provinces. The most high-profile of the attacks was last week's assault on a popular Kabul Lebanese restaurant that left 21 dead, including 13 foreign civilians. Yesterday, two civilians were injured in a bomb blast in the Khair Khana area of Kabul. Earlier today, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near an Afghan National Army (ANA) vehicle on 3rd street of Kabul's Kart-e-Naw neighborhood. Four people including a woman were killed and 22 others injured.

Polls impossible if BSA not inked: Sherzai | Pajhwok Afghan News

KABUL (Pajhwok): Prominent presidential runner Gul Agha Sherzai on Sunday warned holding the April elections would be impossible if the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) was not signed with Washington. But President Hamid Karzai has linked singing of the crucial pact with a free and fair ballot, result-oriented peace negotiations with Taliban and a halt to raids on civilian homes. Addressing a press conference in Kabul, the former Nangarhar governor said: "I'm uncertain about elections in Afghanistan if the BSA is not signed."

US Presence Necessary But 10,000 troops insufficient: MoF | Ariana News

The US presence in Afghanistan is very important for the economic growth but the 10,000 troops possibly staying in Afghanistan after 2014 is not sufficient, said minister of finance. Talking in an event on "public private dialogue on investment incentive policy and its implementation" in Kabul, Hazrat Omar Zakhailwal said the continued presence of US troops in Afghanistan was necessary for the commitments of international community to Afghanistan. Referring to US decision of cutting the development aid to Afghanistan by 50 percent, finance minister stated the international aid to Afghanistan would ensure the world's security.

International Media

Planned Detainee Release Widens U.S.-Afghan Rift | Wall Street Journal

The Afghan government is preparing to release more than three dozen detainees that U.S. officials say are implicated in deadly attacks, a decision that sparked a strongly worded U.S. protest just as the White House contemplates a full withdrawal from the country. Late Sunday night, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan released a statement saying that an Afghan-led review board had ordered the release of 37 individuals from a detention facility at Bagram Air Field, a military base north of Kabul. Coalition officials say release would be a slap in the face: The 37 are among 88 detainees the U.S. has pressed to keep in Afghan custody. The military says it has strong evidence that many of them had directly participated in attacks that killed or wounded dozens of Afghan, U.S., and coalition troops.

As Afghanistan war wanes, ungoverned spaces remain | Politico by Philip Ewing

President Barack Obama's major foreign policy message in his State of the Union address on Tuesday is expected to be that 2014 will mark the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. But the president's pronouncement will come with a bitter irony: Even after a dozen years, more than $1 trillion and the loss of thousands of American lives, the basic danger that prompted President George W. Bush to invade not only remains but, many national security watchers argue, is more alarming than ever. The threat of terrorists using ungoverned spaces to target the U.S., one of the central rationales for launching the invasion of Afghanistan and the bid to dismantle the Taliban, remains a very present danger, with Syria, western Iraq and parts of Africa and Afghanistan itself all potential nightmares.

Afghanistan Exit Seen is seen as Peril to Drone Mission | New York Times

WASHINGTON - The risk that President Obama may be forced to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year has set off concerns inside the American intelligence agencies that they could lose their air bases used for drone strikes against Al Qaeda in Pakistan and for responding to a nuclear crisis in the region. Until now, the debate here and in Kabul about the size and duration of an American-led allied force in Afghanistan after 2014 had focused on that country's long-term security. But these new concerns also reflect how troop levels in Afghanistan directly affect long-term American security interests in neighboring Pakistan, according to administration, military and intelligence officials.

The concern has become serious enough that the Obama administration has organized a team of intelligence, military and policy specialists to devise alternatives to mitigate the damage if a final security deal cannot be struck with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has declined to enact an agreement that American officials thought was completed last year.

Obama's State of the Union talking points. No. 5: Ending the war in Afghanistan | Washington Post

State of the Union addresses during President Obama's five years in office have never had the question of America's place in the world as a centerpiece. This State of the Union will be no different given that it begins the last year Obama can plausibly expect real progress on his domestic agenda, at least when it comes to working with a divided Congress.

But on Tuesday night before a prime-time audience, he will be able to highlight a milestone in America's long post-Sept. 11, 2001, period of war and terrorism - a stretch of time he once called "a season of fear." The U.S. military's participation in the Afghanistan war - this nation's longest - will conclude at the end of the year.

Fort Campbell's Easy Company ends deployment to Afghanistan | The Tennessean

FORT CAMPBELL - As the 4th Brigade Combat Team stands just months from deactivation as part of an Army-wide realignment, it was appropriate that its most storied unit, Easy Company of "Band of Brothers" fame, was the group to complete its final mission in Afghanistan. The company returned home early Sunday morning with its battalion commander and the colors of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry "White Currahees."

Military brass, behaving badly: Files detail a spate of misconduct dogging armed forces | Washington Post

In this Washington Post story, embarrassing episodes of several high ranking military officials from all branches are highlighted.  The details were pulled from previously undisclosed files of military investigations into personal misconduct by U.S. generals and admirals. Along with about two dozen other cases obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, the investigations add to a litany of revelations about misbehaving brass that have dogged the Pentagon over the past 15 months and tarnished the reputation of U.S. military leadership.

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