Article first published as Is Germany’s Security Protected in Afghanistan? on Blogcritics.
Imperial countries can rewrite war rules according to their wishes. Whatever they do to protect their imperial interests is justified, no matter how irrational they may be. Germany’s Foreign Minister says his country’s security is defended at Kunduz, Afghanistan, thousands of kilometres away from the German land.
A nation’s defence forces are generally stationed at strategic places of that country. Airports, Seaports, Capital cities, Commercial centres, naval bases, air bases, army bases and borders are some of such strategic places where troops will be stationed for defence purposes. Remaining troops will be stationed at barracks to be used at war times or for internal security purposes. They may be used to rescue civilians when natural calamities occur.
Strangely, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle outlined a different strategy for the defence of Germany. Speaking to German troops at the Kunduz base in Afghanistan when he arrived there along with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said that Germany was in Afghanistan to protect its own security. He said, “That is why this mission is right” BBC News reported quoting Associated Press.
Mr Westerwelle might have chosen some other context if he wants to boost the morale of his troops. Saying that Germany’s security is protected at Kunduz base located in another country is quite misleading, irrational and simply meaningless.
In one of the latest cables to be released by Wikileaks, senior UK Foreign Office official Mariot Leslie told US diplomats in September 2009 that Britain had "deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons".
In another cable seven months earlier, then-US ambassador Anne Patterson told Washington: "Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in the government of Pakistan facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon."
Another cable concerning a US intelligence briefing in 2008 said: "Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world."
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told Agence France-Presse news agency the fears expressed in the leaks "were misplaced and doubtless fall in the realm of condescension". He said they reflected "historical biases against Pakistan".
In the leaked material, Ms Patterson also said there was "no chance" of Pakistan "abandoning support for [militant] groups". The Pakistan government, she added, saw militant groups "as an important part of its national security apparatus against India". The US also expressed concern about tensions between the powerful Pakistani army and Mr Zardari.
Yahoo News | ANI | 25/11/2010
The plan by whistle-blower website Wikileaks to release millions more classified US documents will put lives at risk and damage national security, the US State Department has warned. The BBC quoted a spokesman as saying it would do harm to US international relations if the leaks contained diplomatic cables. The Pentagon said US military interests could also be damaged.
State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley, said the release of confidential communications was "harmful to our national security. It does put lives at risk. It does put national interests at risk". Crowley said that diplomatic cables involved discussions with governments and private citizens, and their release could erode trust in the US as a diplomatic partner.
"They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world," he said. "When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television or radio, it has an impact," he added.
He said the State Department had known for some time that Wikileaks had obtained some of its classified documents. A statement on the Wikileaks Twitter site said: "The Pentagon is hyperventilating again over fears of being held to account."
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has criticized the joint raids conducted by US and Russia forces. Drug laboratories have been raided in the joint operation. Hamid has said he had no prior information on the raids, which he called a violation of Afghan sovereignty.
Russian has been critical of coalition forces for doing nothing to tackle drug trade in Afghanistan. BBC reported on October 31 that 2.5 million Russians are addicted to drugs, mainly coming from Afghanistan. Russian involvement in raids is a sensitive issue in Afghanistan, since the end of Russian occupation 21 years back.
A Russian government official expressed surprise with AFP news agency, saying the interior ministry of the Afghan government has participated in the operation. On October 29, the head of Russia’s drug control agency said its agents had taken part in an operation on October 28 to destroy a major hub of drug production near Jalalabad about 5km from the Pakistani border. He said 932kg of heroin and 156kg of opium was destroyed along with a large amount of technical equipment.
BBC | 18 October 2010 | 17:19 GMT
Iran has for the first time taken part in high-level discussions on Afghanistan after the US said it had "no problem" with its participation. An Iranian representative joined the international "contact group" – which brings together the Afghan government, dozens of countries, NATO, the EU and UN – for the talks in Rome. It comes amid a renewed push to end the bloody nine-year Afghan conflict.
One senior US diplomat said Iran had "a role to play" in tackling the problems. "We recognise that Iran, with its long, almost completely open border with Afghanistan and with a huge drug problem… has a role to play in the peaceful settlement of this situation in Afghanistan," Richard Holbrooke – the US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan – told a news conference. "So for the United States there is no problem with their presence."
He said discussions would not be affected by the "bilateral issues" of Iran’s nuclear programme, which Iran says is for purely civilian purposes but the US insists is a cover for creating atomic weapons. Iran sent its special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Ghanazadeh, reported Associated Press.
NBC | 10/11/2010 | 11:10:37 AM ET
NATO is to investigate whether a grenade thrown by American military forces — rather than a Taliban bomb — killed a British aid worker during a rescue attempt in Afghanistan last week, an alliance spokesman said Monday. Linda Norgrove, 36, died Friday in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province during the raid and NATO initially said her captors had detonated a bomb as the soldiers tried to free her.
However, British Prime Minister David Cameron said General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, had contacted his office to say a review of events had revealed evidence indicating that Norgrove may not have died at the hands of her captors.
"That evidence, and subsequent interviews with the personnel involved, suggests that Linda could have died as a result of a grenade detonated by the task force during the assault," Cameron told a news conference at his Downing Street office. However, this is not certain, and a full U.S.-UK investigation will now be launched," he said.
‘Deeply distressing development’
Cameron said he had informed Norgrove’s family of the "deeply distressing development" and defended the decision to attempt the risky rescue mission. "I want to assure Mr and Mrs Norgrove that I will do everything I possibly can to establish the full facts and give them certainty about how their daughter died." Cameron said he took full responsibility for authorizing the operation. He said intelligence at the time suggested Norgrove was about to be passed "up the terrorist chain of command", placing her in an even more dangerous situation, meaning it had been urgent to act. "Ultimately the responsibility for Linda’s death lies with those who took her hostage."
BBC News | 6 October 2010 | 09:13 GMT
Gunmen in Pakistan have torched at least 10 oil tankers carrying fuel for NATO vehicles in Afghanistan in the latest such attack in recent days. A driver died in the ambush near the southwestern city of Quetta. The number of attacks on tankers has soared in the last week since one of the main routes into Afghanistan was shut by the Pakistani authorities.
The Torkham crossing was closed after three Pakistani soldiers died in a NATO air strike near the Afghan border. Islamabad has not yet said when the Khyber Pass crossing will reopen. In Wednesday morning’s attack, up to 14 gunmen in two pick-up trucks opened fire on the tankers as they were parked by the roadside on the outskirts of Quetta, said police.
BBC Urdu’s Ayub Tareen rushed to the scene after the ambush and was lucky to escape with scratches when one of the blazing fuel tankers exploded. The Lorries were thought to have been en route to a smaller border crossing into Afghanistan that still remains open.
The Pakistani Taliban reportedly said they carried out the ambush – the fourth attack on a NATO supply convoy in six days. Spokesperson Azam Tariq told the news agency AFP: "We will further intensify attacks with the intensification of US drone strikes on us." Unmanned aircraft have recently been targeting militants near the Afghan border on an almost daily basis.
Quetta’s chief of police operations, Hamid Shakeel said, "Gunmen came in two vehicles at daybreak and started firing. This created a stampede and people started running. "Then one of the vehicles went [inside the compound] and they sprinkled petrol on trucks and set them on fire." Mr Shakeel said that security for the trucks was the responsibility of local police while the vehicles were moving. But when they are parked at terminals, protection is the job of private contractors, he added.