Thursday, October 2, 2008

3 warlords lead Afghan uprising..

This is from the LATimes. (originally).
Note that all three of these leaders came to prominence in the war against the Soviets backed by the CIA. This is a fine example of blowback. Then they were heroes to be supported and egged on but now even though their ideology is unchanged they are dastardly terrorists. The article notes that there are as many as 14 disparate groups in the insurgency. There has been some attempts to convince some of them to support the government. There are already what are called reform Taliban in the government. Reforming simply means supporting the government!

3 warlords lead Afghan uprising
By Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — The escalating insurgency in Afghanistan is being spearheaded by a trio of warlords who came to prominence in the CIA-backed war to oust the Soviets but who now direct attacks against U.S. forces from safe havens in Pakistan, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.
Groups led by the three veteran mujahedeen are behind a sharp increase in the number and sophistication of attacks in Afghanistan this year.
And despite a flurry of U.S. airstrikes and million-dollar bounties on their heads, the Pashtun chieftains have been able to expand their networks, largely unmolested, from bases along the border of Pakistan.
The trio of warlords include Mullah Mohammed Omar, the former leader of the Taliban government in Afghanistan; Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Islamic hard-liner who briefly served as prime minister in the 1990s; and Jalaluddin Haqqani, a one-time Taliban Cabinet minister whose tribal group was behind some of this year's most brazen attacks in Afghanistan.
The three are generally not blamed for a surge of violence within Pakistan; instead, the warlords are generally seen as exporters of violence to Afghanistan.
The three warlords' organizations are arrayed in an arc along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. Haqqani and Hekmatyar have directed attacks in and around the capital, Kabul, and helped revitalize the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan, where U.S. forces are concentrated. Omar's influence is mainly in the Taliban heartland to the south, radiating outward from Kandahar.
"Because they don't hang their hats in Afghanistan, we really have got no options in terms of going after them," said Capt. Michael Erwin, an intelligence officer with a U.S. special-operations-forces group that served in Afghanistan in 2007. "If Americans can't get a guy like Haqqani or Hekmatyar, it's because they're deep into the FATA," the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan.
Most mercurial
Hekmatyar, who is based north of Peshawar in Pakistan, is the most mercurial of the three. As an engineering student at Kabul University in the 1970s, he was accused of throwing acid in the faces of women who did not wear the veil. He went on to become one of the most effective mujahedeen leaders in the war against the Soviets during the 1980s, leading a group that got millions of dollars in CIA funding.
Paul Pillar, former deputy chief of the CIA's counterterrorism center, described Hekmatyar as a "very ambitious, very strong-willed, vicious sort of guy. Unless he were directly, physically put out of commission, he is going to continue to vie for power."
Haqqani's group has been linked to brutal attacks over the past year including strikes that killed seven at the Serena Hotel in Kabul and 54 at the Indian Embassy. The group is also believed responsible for a coordinated attack in August involving at least 10 suicide bombers at a large U.S. military base, Camp Salerno, injuring three U.S. soldiers.
Haqqani, in his 70s, is believed to have ceded much of the operational control of his organization to his sons, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, 34. But to counter rumors of his demise, the tribal leader recently appeared in a video, stepping in front of the camera to proclaim, "As you see, I am still alive."
Haqqani has long-standing ties to Osama bin Laden, and his clan operates a network of madrassas and training bases in North and South Waziristan. The Haqqani network is considered a prime force not only in the recruitment of young men from Pakistan's tribal areas, but in funneling in fighters from Central Asia and Arab countries.
"Big T"
Mullah Omar, who is in his 40s and lost an eye as a young fighter in the campaign against the Soviets, remains a much more mysterious figure. Whereas Haqqani and Hekmatyar have appeared in videos and news footage, Omar's visage has been seen publicly only in a few grainy photographs.
U.S. officials said there were as many as 14 disparate groups taking part in the insurgency in Afghanistan. But Omar, believed to be based in Quetta, Pakistan, remains the spiritual leader of what U.S. officials often refer to as the "Big T" Taliban, the core group of tribes displaced from power in Kabul in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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