Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Blow for Pakistan talks as Taliban negotiator pulls out
by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) Feb 07, 2014

Roadside bomb kills 8 Afghan soldiers: official
Kabul (AFP) Feb 09, 2014 - A roadside bomb ripped through an Afghan army vehicle in southwestern Afghanistan on Sunday and killed eight soldiers, officials said.

The vehicle was hit in the Dilaram district of Farah province, said defence ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi.

Mohammad Sarwar Sebat, the governor of neighbouring Nimroz province, told AFP the soldiers were transporting ammunition to Farah from their base in Nimroz when the blast struck them.

The governor said the remote-controlled bomb killed five soldiers and three officers.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but roadside bombs have been the weapon of choice for Taliban insurgents in their 12-year battle to topple the US-backed central government.

Afghan forces have been playing an increasing role in the fight against the Taliban as US-led NATO soldiers progressively pull out.

More than 50,000 NATO combat troops still in Afghanistan are due to leave by the end of the year, and will leave the huge task of providing security to local forces.

German FM urges Afghan leader to sign US troops deal
Kabul (AFP) Feb 09, 2014 - Germany's foreign minister arrived Sunday in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit and urged its president to sign a long-delayed security pact with the United States.

The Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which would allow some US troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 was approved by a loya jirga, or tribal assembly, last November.

But it hit the buffers when President Hamid Karzai made a surprise decision not to sign it.

More than 50,000 combat troops from the US-led NATO force are due to pull out by the end of this year.

But Washington is proposing that around 10,000 US soldiers are deployed from 2015 to train and assist Afghan security forces in their battle against Taliban militants.

NATO members and allies considering deploying troops after 2014 have been waiting on the US-Afghan pact to negotiate their own legal arrangements with Kabul for their forces.

"It is important that (the BSA) be signed immediately" for the maintenance of German troops in Afghanistan after 2014, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters.

He was speaking at a joint news conference with his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad Usmani after meeting Karzai in Kabul.

"Because we have our programmes for training (the Afghan forces) -- it is not an easy job," he said.

Karzai, who has ruled the country since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, has said that before he signs the BSA, the United States must foster a genuine peace process with the Taliban.

He has also suggested that a decision on whether to sign would fall to his successor, to be chosen in elections on April 5.

"Without doubt, the Afghan president is going to sign the BSA before elections if the conditions are fulfilled," Afghan Foreign Minister Usmani said during the press conference.

Most of the 3,000 German troops deployed in Afghanistan are based in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which Steinmeier visited earlier Sunday.

The German government decided last Wednesday to extend by ten months its military presence in the country until the end of 2014.

The lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, must still give its approval.

It was the first visit to Afghanistan by the Social Democrat minister since he entered the coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel that emerged from September's legislative elections.

Pakistan's fledgling peace talks with the Taliban suffered a fresh blow Friday as a negotiator for the militants said he would take no further part until the agenda included the imposition of Islamic sharia law.

The intervention from firebrand cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz comes a day after teams representing the government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) held a preliminary round of talks in Islamabad.

There has been widespread scepticism about the chances of the peace initiative achieving a lasting solution to the TTP's bloody seven-year insurgency.

Aziz, the chief cleric at Islamabad's radical Red Mosque, said Pakistan's constitution should be replaced by the Koran and the hadith, or teachings of the Prophet Mohammad.

"That should be the law in Pakistan and until the committee brings this point on the agenda I won't be part of negotiations," he told reporters on Friday.

He said he would remain part of the TTP's three-man delegation led by fellow cleric Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, unless told otherwise, but would not come to the negotiating table.

"I won't participate in talks until they include a clause about the imposition of Islamic law," he said.

On Thursday, the government and TTP negotiators, including Aziz, issued a joint statement agreeing to work within the framework of Pakistan's constitution.

But Aziz's move threatens to undermine the talks and the government side has already voiced doubts about the composition and authority of the TTP's representatives. The government delegation skipped an initial meeting on Tuesday citing confusion over the militants' team after two members pulled out.

Professor Ibrahim Khan, another member of the Taliban peace committee, told AFP they had yet to hold talks with the militants to discuss the next step.

Talks doomed?

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif surprised many last week when he announced he wanted to give peace talks another chance.

The start of the year has seen a surge in militant violence with more than 110 people killed, and an air force bombardment of TTP hideouts in North Waziristan led many to suppose a major military offensive was imminent.

The start of dialogue efforts have not brought an end to the violence. Just hours after Tuesday's abortive first attempt, eight people were killed in a suicide attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

No members of the TTP or government are on either negotiating team and analyst and author Imtiaz Gul said this made meaningful talks almost impossible.

"From the very beginning, it looked like an arduous process because of the lack of real TTP representation," he told AFP.

"If Aziz has spoken on behalf of the TTP then this means the process will possibly lead to nowhere."

Stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan is seen as important to neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led NATO troops are pulling out after more than a decade of war.

Washington has said it is watching the talks closely. It has long been pushing Pakistan to take action against militants using Pakistan's tribal areas as a base to attack NATO forces across the border.

Critics of the talks have warned Sharif's democratically-elected government risks ceding ground to the militants.

"Aziz wants to dictate the new constitutional parameters of Pakistan through his interpretation of religion," retired general Talat Masood, a security analyst, told AFP.

Thursday's joint statement said the scope of the talks would be confined to areas affected by violence and not extend to the whole country, but Masood warned the TTP would seek to extend their sphere.

"They want to retain their present hold on the territory that they have and want to continue expanding their influence in the country," he said.

In the past, peace deals reached with the TTP have quickly fallen apart, with the militants using the cessation of hostilities as an opportunity to regroup and re-arm.


Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Pakistan government, Taliban hold three-hour talks
Islamabad (AFP) Feb 06, 2014
Negotiators for Pakistan's government and the Taliban met for more than three hours Thursday in the first round of talks aimed at ending the militants' bloody seven-year insurgency. The two sides gathered in Islamabad for a preliminary meeting likely to chart a "roadmap" for future discussions, amid deep scepticism over whether dialogue can yield a lasting peace deal. Irfan Siddiqui, the ... read more

Israel to help India develop missile defense shield

Israel shoots down rocket fired from Gaza: reports

Israel to start Arrow 3 production although key test still to come

Raytheon resumes work on US Navy Air and Missile Defense Radar

Qualification Tests of GMLRS Alternative Warhead Continue

Raytheon receives contract for Ground Based Air Defense System for Oman

US warns Moscow of concern over cruise missile test

Longbow Missiles Demonstrate Littoral Attack Capability

Anglo-French accord covers development of drones

Israel's defense industry boosts UAV sales, eyes unmanned subs

US prepares for cyber warfare with mass production of 3D-printed drones

AUVSI Encourages FAA to Allow Limited Small UAS Operations

MUOS Satellite Tests Show Extensive Reach In Polar Communications Capability

Space squadron optimizes wideband communication constellations

GA-ASI and Northrop Showcase Unmanned Electronic Attack Capabilities

US Navy Accepts General Dynamics-built MUOS Ground Stations

Indonesia takes final delivery of BMP-3F vehicles

US military funds 'Mission: Impossible' vanishing devices

US Army and Lockheed Martin Complete Advanced Autonomous Convoy Demonstration

Northrop Grumman Delivers 100th EA-18G Airborne Electronic Attack Kit

Ecuador pulls out of regional mutual defense treaty

China's military rise forcing Asian defence splurge

Arms makers left frustrated as India awaits elections

Raytheon urges more transatlantic industry cooperation

Chinese insults show Philippines is right: Aquino

Xi touts Russia ties as first China leader at foreign Olympics

US vows to defend Japan against China

China offers Russia cooperation on Japan disputes: report

Physicists at Mainz University build pilot prototype of a single ion heat engine

Quantum dots provide complete control of photons

New boron nanomaterial may be possible

Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement