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Sins of Generations Past: Why the Iran Accord Makes Sense

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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a step in the right direction. The agreement takes place between Iran and six other nations, including the United States. It gives Iran approval to enrich uranium for civilian uses, while keeping in check its use for weapons development.

The agreement also lifts several sanctions off of Iran that were arguably not having the desired effects, while leaving more vital ones in place. Given the shaky recent history of Iranian relations with the UN, the agreement is a calculated and smart plan of action towards overall peace. Through this plan, Iran is not economically crippled under sanctions and international tensions with Iran across the rest of the international community are eased as well.

In recent years Iran has been under constant pressure from the international community over its enrichment of uranium and attempted development of nuclear capabilities. It’s possible that under such international pressure Iran could eventually have felt compelled to continue with its enrichment in secret. Thus, while the JCPOA is arguably not a complete non-proliferation agreement, it doesn’t need to be in order to be effective and ultimately ease tensions on all sides long-term. Over the past thirty years, for example, the U.S. has been concerned mainly with stopping Iran’s support for terrorism and enthusiasm for nuclear power. Negotiations were always less than successful one-on-one, leading to the U.S. imposing crippling sanctions, with support from the international community coming later. But concern still remained on whether or not Iran was attempting to develop nuclear capabilities. Iran, for its part, was struggling under economic sanctions and nearly paranoid of possible U.S. attack or direct intervention. After all, one only needed to look on a map and see that the U.S. had attacked the country to the left of Iran (Iraq) and had attacked the country to the right of Iran (Afghanistan). Thinking Iran would be the final piece in a three-piece jigsaw puzzle of hard power geopolitics was not an entirely illogical concern for Iranian authorities. It was part of President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ lest we forget. Any sort of military intervention, however, could have given Iran the legitimacy it needed for developing nuclear weapons in secret. Israel’s attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor and supposed involvement in the Stuxnet attack in Iran is an example of this. The bombing led directly to Iraq developing weapons further and Iran becoming more convinced than ever it needed the strength of nuclear deterrence in its corner. The smart emphasis should have been on diplomatic engagement and negotiations, however, not on covert military actions alone. And sanctions, quite frankly, only postponed dealing with the real problems and poisoned the diplomatic space. Thus, the consequential silence between Iran and the U.S. was drawn out by decades and Iran’s nuclear situation remained at best murky and uneasy. With this agreement, both sides can work away from violence, mistrust, and suspicion and towards engaged diplomacy instead.

Although the sanctions imposed were an attempt by the U.S. to hamper Iran’s economy, and thereby hampering its nuclear and military capability, it only seemed to hamper the former while igniting the latter. Iran’s economy indeed suffered greatly, but its supply of arms to Syria and terror factions all across the Middle East were not stymied at all. Iran’s nuclear aspirations seemed not to have been greatly affected by sanctions either: On March 16, 2014, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation Vann Van Diepen said Iran was still ‘very actively’ creating front companies and engaging in other activity to conceal procurements and that Iran’s activities had not changed since the old Joint Plan of Action (JPA) was agreed to. This implied that Iran had internal capabilities not dependent on trade that could continue nuclear research as well as develop conventional weapons and arm external groups, regardless of how severe sanctions became. In this way, the sanctions were not only NOT achieving their goal but perhaps even doing the reverse: hurting the people while giving them reason to support their own government instead of oppose it.

Bijan Khajehpour, a political and economic analyst who was imprisoned in Iran, noted in 2009 how the nation was disappointed that in previous P5+1 negotiations the sanctions against it were not eased. However these sanctions were imposed partly because of Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate and openly limit its nuclear development. Now those two problems seem alleviated. Another positive upswing of the JCPOA is that the U.S. is not required to abandon its current sanctions against Iran in total. This includes sanctions for alleged human rights violations and terrorism support. These sanctions will remain in place while various other sanctions regarding economy and trade will be lifted. Due to the oil embargo and banking sanctions, inflation in Iran rose nearly 50% in 2013. Unrest due to Iran’s rising food prices have also been on the rise. Across the board it has been the civilian sector which bore the brunt of the effects of such sanctions. And they are hard to justify with the lack of any evidence actually showing the intended goals of deterring nuclear and military capability, and ultimately deposing the theocratic regime, were even coming close to being accomplished.

Thus, the JCPOA lifts the sanctions that were having ill effects that outweighed any alleged positive results, while implementing a program that will more effectively allow the international community to monitor Iran’s civilian nuclear development and keep it in check. Also built into the plan is a ‘snap back’ measure: if Iran is found in violation of the agreement, then the previous sanctions would fall back into effect. This mechanism will last for ten years with the option to reinstate it for another five. If it is determined that Iran has violated its agreement, the five nations can take a vote to lift the resolution and Iran’s sanctions will ‘snap back’ within 30 days. It’s an effective deterrence measure, as it is in Iran’s best interest to not allow these sanctions to fall back into place. Its economy needs a chance to grow again. That is a far greater national security goal than trying to force its way clumsily into the global nuclear club. Thus, Iran’s cooperation is a chance for it to demonstrate compliance and a positive attitude towards the international community while being a fully responsible and engaged member of said community. This potentiality alone makes the JCPOA cause for buoyed optimism. It is a chance to create a new diplomatic space and conversation where the sins of generations past, on BOTH sides, don’t continue to constantly haunt the arena. And absolution of these sins was something long ago needed.

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Ethnic War a Newfangled Pakistani Forward-policy for Afghanistan

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According to the intelligence information, Pakistan’s ISI is trying to start ethnic and maneuvering war again in Afghanistan, of which distinct objective is to refurbish the age-old enmity between the Achakzai and Noorzai tribes in the southwest zone. Besides, they want to start an ethnic war among Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns across Afghanistan, and between the northern and southern directions, thus, the prominent leaders of the Taliban, who are led by the ISI, have been entrusted with the task. As in the east and north of Afghanistan, Pashtun Taliban militants are oppressing other Non-Pashtuns, raiding their homes; however, no high-ranking Pashtun Taliban officials are preventing them because the ISI network leads this strategy. In order to revamp a civil war in Afghanistan, score of influential figures have been summoned by the Pakistani military establishment. 

The latest examples are as follows: Two days ago, the Pashtun Taliban killed the former police chief and an influential tribal leader in Mandol district of Nuristan province, which caused many emotions against Pashtuns especially about southwest zone of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in order to afresh the years of hostility between the Noorzai and Achakzi tribes in the southwestern region of Afghanistan, the ISI network raised the issue of a mass grave by several leading Taliban militants, especially by the current governor of Kandahar province and Noorzai tribe leading leader, Haji Mohammad Yousef Wafa.

Qari Aslam Noorzai call for by Pak security forces

At a time when the former leader of the Noorzai tribe, the leading smuggler of drugs and heavy weapons in Central and South Asia, and the financial supporter of the first Taliban regime, Haji Bashar Noorzai was released from the US prison in Guantánamo. The Noorzai tribe once again became twice as strong and dominant in Afghanistan, especially in the southwest zone.  Resulting threats towards the Achakzai people, on the other hand, ISI has started rapid efforts to recommence the years of enmity between these two tribes.

Hajee Feyzullah Khan Noorzai meets Pak military Intelligence

Recently, Pakistan’s intelligence network ISI, with the help of some leading social media and high-ranking Taliban officials, has kept the issue of finding a mass grave in Kandahar province in the southwestern zone of Afghanistan broiling, namely by inducing  the blame-game. Meanwhile, local tribal leaders and residents of Spin Boldak district claim that such a grave is the grave of those who were taken out of their homes by the Taliban after August 15.  Since, they were connected to Achakzai tribe and on the other hand, they served in the security departments of the overthrown Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that is why the Taliban night raided their houses, and massively killed them.

Moreover, mass murdering Hazaras at their educational institutions via suicide bombing and meantime blowing up the worship places of Sufi-Muslims, who preach the non-violent form of Islam, while calling for De-weaponization and De-politicization of Islam.

Consequently, by applying such a forward-policy, Pakistan will achieve its fancied strategic-depth in Afghanistan, while subjugating the Afghan Nation.

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Pakistani Intelligence Agencies ignite Tribal Conflicts in Pak-Afghan Region

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According to the intelligence information, Pakistani intelligence community supported by some international rings want to once again spread dispute and disharmony among the tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan; subsequently the centuries-old evils and wars between the tribes will once more take a new color and become fresh. Recently, rumors of the discovery of a mass grave in Kandahar province in the southwestern zone of Afghanistan are spreading; the blame for this mass murder falls on the former police chief of Kandahar province and the former leader of the Achagzai tribe, General Abdul Razaq Achagzai.  In order to afresh raising the reaction of the Norzi tribe against the Ackzai and anew the evil and war between these two tribes. Even though the current governing body of Afghanistan is completely under the control of the Noorzi tribe, because most of the high-ranking leaders of the Taliban, including the leader of the Taliban, Sheikh Haibatullah, are related to the Noorzi tribe, so there is a greater threat posed to the Achakzi tribe.

Even now, in spite of such menaces, more than 6000 Achakzi families live in Kandahar province, whose members served in the security departments under the command of General Abdul Razaq Achakzi, a staunch opponent of the Taliban.  Currently, in such a tense situation that the Taliban administration has control over Afghanistan and the head of this administration is connected to the Nurzi tribe, the harsh criticism of General Abdul Razaq Achakzai’s mass killings is logical, which can cause international and internal outcries.  As a result, the major victims will be the youths and leading tribal leaders of the Achakzai tribe.

By the advent of Taliban on August 15, 2021, in the first four months, more than 600 youths and tribal leaders from the Achakzi tribe were killed in the southwest zone of Afghanistan, while applying night operations or raids by the Taliban. The most famous case happened to the family of Haji Fida Mohammad Achakzai in Spin Boldak district. Haji Fida Muhammad Achakzai, known as Haji Fida Aka, is a leading leader of the Achakza tribe of Spin Boldak district and had close relations with the family of General Abdul Razaq Achakzai.

 When Kandahar province fell to the Taliban before August 15, the two young sons of him were killed by the Taliban on the first night, unfortunately none of the Taliban officials took any action to prevent the tragedy. Nevertheless, this time, there is a plan going on at the international level to renew the age-old differences between the Achakzai and Norzai tribes, which the international media warmly supports.  If this time the internal differences and conflicts between the Achakzai and Norzai tribes in Afghanistan get sturdier, then it will have damaging effects not only in Afghanistan, but also, serious negative measures will be taken against the Norzai under the leadership of Mahmoud Khan Achakzai, the head of the Achakzai tribe, in the Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan.

In the meantime, the decision of the Pakistani government to hand over the Pashtun areas in Pakhtunkhwa provinces to the Taliban was approved and supported by the Nurzi tribe, conversely, this action of the Pakistani government was strongly condemned by Mahmoud Khan Achakzai and PTM leader Manzoor Pashtun.

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Afghan Zarqawi is shot dead in Panjsher valley of Afghanistan

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According to intelligence information, the leading Taliban commander Maulvi Habibullah Sheeran, who was known as Zarqawi, a resident of Zhrhai District, Kandahar Province, in the southwestern zone of the Taliban was killed in Panjsher battle.

Meantime, the intelligence report indicates, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, the general military officer of Panjshir and Andrab and the deputy of the Ministry of National Defense, was injured in Panjshir on Friday, September 16 at 3:25 p.m.

Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, who is considered one of the leading and influential war commanders in the southwest zone of the Taliban, has the support of about 4,000 low-ranking and high-ranking Taliban fighters. He is one of the Taliban military commanders who, during the first mobilization of the Taliban, formed the Taliban group with the support of Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid, the founder of the Taliban, and attracted hundreds of young men from Helmand province to the Taliban group.

When the Taliban came to power for the second time in Afghanistan, due to internal differences among the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir left the Taliban for a short time and went to his native Kajki district of Helmand province. However, due to the many efforts of the Taliban, especially Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir’s assistant and the current head of security of presidential palace  Mullah Mutaullah Mubarak, He joined the Taliban again and was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Defense.

Taliban leaders made more efforts to reunite Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir with the Taliban, because he was an influential military leader, and on the other hand, Taliban leaders were receiving reports that Mullah Qayyum Zakir wants to join ISIS against Taliban. Nevertheless, when he joined with the Taliban leaders for the second time, he was assigned the position of Deputy Minister of Defense, So, for a period, he cooperated with the Minister of Defense Maulvi Yaqoub as a military advisor in the Ministry of Defense.

 When the rumors of the fall of the northern part of Afghanistan were spread and the fighting between the NRF or the National Resistance Front and the Taliban in Panjshir and Andrab intensified, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, based on the special permission of Sheikh Haibatullah, Appointed General Military Officer of Northern Afghanistan. In addition, from September 9, under his leadership, a special military operation named Al-Fath began in Panjshir and Andarabs to clear and liberate northern Afghanistan from the fighters of the National Resistance Front.

As a result of the operation, from September 9th to September 16th, dozens of NRF fighters were also killed but the casualties of Taliban fighters are methodically shown below, although scores of Taliban fighters were destroyed.

  • The bodies of 60 to 70 Taliban fighters who were killed in the battle of Panjshir have been transferred to Uruzgan province.
  •  The dead bodies of 50 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Kandahar Province.
  • The dead bodies of 33 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Helmand Province.
  •  The dead bodies of 22 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Ghor Province.
  • The dead bodies of 11 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Takhar province.
  • The dead bodies of 6 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Kunduz Chahar Dara.
  •  The dead bodies of 12 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Zabul province.
  • The dead bodies of nine Taliban fighters have been transferred to Wardag Province.
  • The dead bodies of 10 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Dandi Ghori in Baghlan province.  

Last Friday, September 16, in the bloody battle, Mullah Qayyum Zakir, the military officer in charge of Panjshir and Andrab, was seriously injured and eight of his bodyguards, who were residents of Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, were killed. Mullah Qayyum Zakir was transferred to the 400-bed hospital in Kabul at 10 o’clock in the evening on September 16, and former Taliban doctor Atiqullah was invited to Kabul from Al-Khair Hospital of Balochistan province of Pakistan for treatment.

There is a bloody war going on in the north of Afghanistan and around 300 al-Fatih forces are going to Panjshir from Kabul tonight and may reach tomorrow. Meanwhile, in Vienna, the plan for the formation of a new military and political movement was announced in a three-day meeting of the anti-Taliban political officials of the former government of Afghanistan. Moreover, based on that military plan, after dividing Afghanistan into five major parts, the political and military leaders of each zone will start preparing their organizations against the Taliban, and they will use such political and military tactics as the Taliban used against the government of the Republic of Afghanistan during the last 20 years of resistance.

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