Father of Taliban’ urges US concessions: Sami ul-Haq’s seminary may have a reputation as Pakistan’s premier “University of Jihad”, but these days the sharp-tongued cleric is more eager to talk peace than holy war.Known in Pakistan as the “Father of the Taliban” for schooling a generation of Afghan fighters at his Haqqania madrassa, Mr ul-Haq, a stern-looking preacher in his early 70s, has a unique perspective on the way the movement thinks.
A major salvo of US missiles on Wednesday destroyed a Pakistani Taliban base on the Afghan border, killing up to 18 militants including possible Al-Qaeda fighters, local officials said. Five US drones fired up to 10 missiles into a sprawling compound in the Baber Ghar area ofSouth Waziristan, killing 15 to 18 fighters in the deadliest such American strike in three months, the Pakistani officials said.
Survey of Afghans Indicates Security Concerns, Decline in Taliban Support: A nationwide survey of more than 6,300 Afghans found security remains a concern, but confidence in the Afghan government, army and police are high while support for the Taliban is waning. The U.S.-based Asia Foundation survey indicates that, despite a year of intense political gridlock, the Afghan government remains popular.
Seventy three percent of Afghans questioned are happy with central government performance – about the same as last year. Survey author Najla Ayubi says she was encouraged by the government’s perceived strengths.“Performance of government on education, health and security, improvement of the security, for me as an Afghan to look at the future of Afghanistan, it’s more optimistic rather than pessimistic,” she said.
Hamid Karzai tells loya jirga: no US military pact until night raids cease: Hamid Karzai has told a national gathering of Afghan elders that he will not sign a much-delayed military pact with the US until night raids by foreign forces come to an end, a demand that threatens to complicate the deal.In a fiery speech on Wednesday, at the opening session of a loya jirga, a grand assembly of more than 2,000 delegates held amid tight security, the Afghan president said continued US military and economic help beyond the end of the Nato combat mission in 2014 was vital to avoid civil war.
If the Taliban and Karzai want the night raids to stop the issue is in their hands. All they have to do is stop their attacks at least until we can get out. I think we are moving in the right direction, that is the only concession I can see necessary under the current conditions!