Thursday 10 October 2013

Presidential runners and riders

Here is a complete list of registered runners and riders for next year's elections for President, listed in the chronological order of their registration:
1- Bismillah Sher
First vice president, Abdul Karim Ahmadyar
Second vice president, Sultan Hamid Sultani

2- Dr. Abdullah Abdullah
First vice president, Mohammad Khan
Second vice president, Mohammad Mohaqiq

3- Fazl Karim Najmi
First vice president, Mohammad Sabir Takmeen
Second vice president, Susan Hajati

4- Abdul Rabb Rasul Sayyaf
First vice president, Mohammad Ismail Khan
Second vice president, Abdul Wahab Urfan

5- Hashmat Ghani Ahmadzai
First vice president, Abdullah Bromand
Second vice president, Abed Nazar

6- Qutbuddin Hilal
First vice president, Enayatullah Enayat
Second vice president, Mohammad Ali Nabizada

7- Abdul Rahim Wardak
First vice president, Shah Abdul Ahad Afzali
Second vice president, Sayed Hussian Anwari

8- Del Agha Kohdamani
First vice president, Zalmai Hamraz
Second vice president, Toorpakai Azizi

9- Sayed Ishaq Gailani
First vice president, Zakaria Noori
Second vice president, Seema Ismati

10- Sarwar Ahmadzai
First vice president, Abdul Rahman
Second vice president, Kabir Quraishi

11- Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
First vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum
Second vice president, Sarwar Danish

12- Dr. Zalmai Rasoul
First vice president, Ahmad Zia Massoud
Second vice president, Habiba Surabi

13- Sardar Muhammad Nadir Naeem
First vice president, Taj Mohammad Akbar
Second vice president, Azizullah Puya

14- Hamidullah Qaderi
First vice president, Mohammad Arif Baraki
Second vice president, Humaira Haqmal

15- Daoud Sultanzoy
First vice president, Ahmad Saeedi
Second vice president, Kazima Mohaqiq

16- Qayum Karzai
First vice president, Wahidullah Shahrani
Second vice president, Ibrahim Qasmi

17- Gul Agha Sherzai
First vice president, Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi
Second vice president, Mohammad Hashim Zarea

18- Azizullah Ludin
First vice president, Abdul Rahim Karimi
Second vice president, Hamidullah Rahimi

19- Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi
First vice president, Hashmatullah Mujadidi
Second vice president, Ismail Qasimyar

20- Hedayat Amin Arsala
First vice president, Gen. Khudaidad
Second vice president, Safia Seddiqi

21- Salman Ali Doostzadeh
First vice president, Mohammad Yousuf Amin
Second vice president, Aziza Rahban Wardak

22- Farooq Azam
First vice president, Abdul Ghani Asalati
Second vice president, Ahmad Shah Payeezi

23- Khadija Ghaznawi
First vice president, Mohammad Qasim Fayezai
Second vice president, Khair Mohammad Barez

24- Nadir Shah Ahmadzai
First vice president, Faiz Mohammad Daqiq
Second vice president, Qadam Ali Khadim

25- Abdul Hadi Dabeer
First vice president, Sayed Ahmadullah Padshah
Second vice president, Mawlawi Nesar Ahmad Khair Andish

26- Noor Rahman Liwal
First vice president, Ahamad Jan Nazar
Second vice president, Rafiullah

27- Dr. Dawar Nadin
First vice president, Mohammad Hassan Safi
Second vice president, Husai Andar

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Marine generals sacked for Camp Bastion failings

When a small group of Taliban fighters cut through the fence and got into the massive Camp Bastion in southwestern Helmand province in September last year I wrote the following:
"The Camp Bastion night attack will go down as one of the most one-sided and audacious attacks in the history of modern warfare. Around 15-20 Taliban got into the base - home to 21,000 US and British soldiers - and proceeded to destroy six US Marine Harrier AV-8B jump jets, as well as damage many others. The cost to the Taliban, besides the deaths of its fighters, was probably no more than a few thousand dollars. The costs to the Coalition runs into hundreds of millions of dollars".

It has taken a year for the American military's most senior commanders to respond to the attack, but now they have done so. In what has been referred to as an "unprecedented" decision, the two senior American officers at the base have been retired from the service ie sacked.
Major General Charles M Gurganus and Major General Gregg A Sturdevant "did not take the necessary steps to ensure force protection," says the official inquiry, resulting in the deaths of two marines and injury to eight others, as well as massive loss of aircraft and equipment. Gurganus was commanding general of Regional Command Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and Sturdevant was commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. 
In announcing the decision, Marine Corps commandant General James F Amos said: "This is the hardest decision I've had to make as commandant of the Marine Corps. I'm not asking you to feel sorry for me, but Mark Gurganus and Greg Sturdevant were close personal friends of mine. I served with them for decades. They're extraordinary Marine officers who have served their country with distinction and honor for many years. But commandership is a sacred responsibility and the standard for general officers is necessarily high. In their duty to protect our forces these two generals did not meet that standard." Quite so. They were outwitted by a bunch of peasant guerrillas.

If you want to read the official US Army report into the attack, you can find it here.

The banality of modern warfare.

For the majority of people outside Afghanistan, the war has largely been forgotten. Operations are winding down, they say, there is talk of peace and, anyway, Syria is a much more pressing issue. In was in that context that I was struck by this news report I read yesterday. In itself, it appears to be nothing unusual - ANSF and Coalition forces killed a number of Taliban fighters overnight in what are termed "clean-up" operations. But look further down the report: "More than 550 militants have been killed and 250 arrested since the beginning of this month".

22 militants killed in Afghan raids in 24 hours: official
KABUL, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-two militants were killed in operations in Afghanistan, the country's Interior Ministry said Sunday morning.

"In past 24 hours, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), supported by the NATO-led coalition troops, conducted several cleanup operations in Nangarhar, Faryab, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Herat, Helmand and Nimroz provinces. As a result 22 armed Taliban were killed, 12 wounded and eight others were arrested by the ANSF," the ministry said in a statement providing daily operational updates.
They also found and seized weapons and defused roadside bomb, it noted.
The ANSF has intensified operations against Taliban and other militant groups recently. More than 550 militants had been killed and 250 arrested since beginning this month, according the figure released by the ministry.
In eastern Wardak province, seven Taliban, including a local leader Mawlawi Enhan, were killed in a joint overnight operation in Nirkh district, a provincial government spokesman told Xinhua.
The Taliban insurgent group has not made comments yet.

Every day, week-in, week-out, for months, if not for years, the Afghan defence ministry and the ISAF command have been reporting this level of casualties amongst the Taliban. Assuming that the figures are accurate, it is worth making a few points: first, generally these deaths are not occurring during firefights. They are usually as a result of night raids - where special forces arrive by helicopter in planned operations that are intelligence-led. The aim is to kill known individuals, preferably commanders and facilitators.
Second, seldom do these reports, which are issued on a daily basis, mention the collateral damage - the civilians who get in the way or the faulty intelligence that results in the wrong people being killed or captured. We just have the bland figures. Another month, another 500 or so people killed in Afghanistan.
Just in case you had forgotten the banality of modern, murderous warfare.