The AfPak Reader

September 3, 2009

Narco-Terror in the AfPak

Filed under: Book Reviews,Diplomacy & Development,Narco-Terror News — huntingnasrallah @ 4:31 pm

Narco-Terror in the AfPak:  Catching up with Gretchen Peters
By: Gary H. Johnson, Jr.

The 2009 release Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda by Gretchen Peters provides Western readers with a stunning history of the AfPak region’s poppy cultivation and smuggling underground.  Gretchen Peters’ account examines why U.S. policy in Afghanistan has allowed a regional headache to morph into a global security nightmare.  After covering Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Associated Press and ABC News over the course of a decade, and conducting two years of intensive research, tracing the corrosive links of the heroin chain, Gretchen Peters states with certainty that “the union of narco-traffickers, terrorist groups, and the international criminal underworld is the new axis of evil.”  Seeds of Terror maps how the narcotics trade has shaped this transnational conflict, saved the Taliban from annihilation, given rise to infamous kingpins like Haji Juma Khan, and financed safe havens for the likes of Osama bin Laden.  

With the August 20th, mid-war, elections looming on the Afghan horizon, I caught up with Gretchen Peters to discuss the prospects and signs of success in the Obama team’s policy overhauls in the Afghan theatre.  Here are a few highlights of our exchange.

Gary H. Johnson, Jr.:  In late July, Special Representative to the AfPak Richard Holbrooke announced that he was no longer going to support the Bush policy of poppy eradication in Afghanistan.   Are U.S. policies moving in the right direction on the poppy front?

Gretchen Peters: I think US policy has taken a giant step in the right direction, but they may need to do some eradication at some point. Surveys indicate that most farmers will switch to different crops if the economic, security and market conditions are right, but not all farmers say they will. The international community and the Afghan government may have to do some eradication against those hold-outs, but the Bush administration plan to wipe out the entire crop would have been a disaster. I also think the Pentagon is smart to start targeting the traffickers, who are, after all, financing all this instability.


WDR AfPak Focus – Summer 2009 – Week 1

Filed under: Defense News,Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 6:36 am

These are the AfPak stories that caught the eye W. Thomas Smith, Jr. over at his excellent resource blog – World Defense Review – during the first week of summer. 

June 22, 2009
U.S. Tightens Airstrike Policy in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — The new American commander in Afghanistan said he would sharply restrict the use of airstrikes here, in an effort to reduce the civilian deaths that he said were undermining the American-led mission.

In interviews over the past few days, the commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, said the use of airstrikes during firefights would in most cases be allowed only to prevent American and other coalition troops from being overrun.


Defeating Political Islam – A Book Review

Filed under: Book Reviews — huntingnasrallah @ 5:22 am

Defeating Political Islam:  A Review
by: Gary H. Johnson, Jr.


Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War
Moorthy S. Muthuswamy, author
Steven L. Mitchell, editor
$25.00, 264 pp.

Moorthy S. Muthuswamy’s 2009 release Defeating Political Islam is a necessary primer for those seeking to understand the multiple-front jihads that have plagued India since the creation of Pakistan in 1947.  The tragic history of the ongoing Hindu genocide at the hands of political Islam is not yet a primary focus of jihad scholarship in the West.  Admirably, Muthuswamy’s critique of Islam’s recent political and militant advances in Southeast Asia recognizes the inherent weakness of both democracy and diplomacy in confronting a cohesive political ideology that indoctrinates its adherents with a “passion for conquest”. 

Historical context leaps off the page for jilted Western observers struggling to make heads or tails of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s November 2008 jihadi massacre in the port city of Mumbai; Muthuswamy sets the violent affair as but one spectacular atrocity in a decades long “Siege of India”. 

The central thesis of Defeating Political Islam is that the leaders of an “Axis of Jihad” made up of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan are actively, consciously, financing political Islam via the local, regional and international propagation of the “Islamic Trilogy”. 

Muthuswamy’s polemic is designed to instill a sense of grievance in nations and individuals assailed by the winds of jihadist terrorism; and, unflinchingly holds the Axis nations to account for their “crimes-against-humanity”. 

Steeped in statistical analysis, Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War is a deliberate challenge to the widely held notion that Islam is a religion of peace. 

For the independent terror trackers of this new cold war, Muthuswamy’s conclusions will be met with a mixture of criticism and agreement; however, what is undeniable is that his remarkable effort in the path of liberty has left over 600 reference points for those of us who are following in his wake in the as of yet still uncharted frontiers of a dawning intellectual revolution.

The Karen DeYoung File

Filed under: Journalist Chronicles — huntingnasrallah @ 4:41 am

Karen DeYoung always seems to have an inside scoop on the AfPak.  Here is a year ‘s worth of articles from this talented Washington Post Staff Writer.
Only a Two-Page ‘Note’ Governs U.S. Military in Afghanistan

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2008; A07

For the past six years, military relations between the United States and Afghanistan have been governed by a two-page “diplomatic note” giving U.S. forces virtual carte blanche to conduct operations as they see fit.


AfPak 2009 – Week 1 – Summer Notes

Filed under: Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 2:54 am

AfPak Summer 2009 Notes

Week 1 – Afghanistan

June 21, 2009
Two US soldiers were killed and six more were wounded during a rocket attack on the Bagram Air Base. The Taliban killed two policemen during an IED attack in Wardak province, three civilians during an ambush on a military convoy in Kunar province, and an imam in Nangarhar province who delivered funeral prayers to government supporters.
Posted by Bill Roggio on June 21, 2009 1:04 PM


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