Taliban threatened Central Asia with friendship

The Taliban movement (banned in Russia) seeks to establish contacts with its northern neighbors – the republics of Central Asia

Uzbekistan was chosen first. The Taliban send congratulations to Tashkent, offer to revive the railway project and promise to support the “partners”. Will Uzbekistan become the first of the former Soviet republics to cooperate with the Islamic Emirate?

On Monday, representatives of the Taliban movement (banned in Russia as terrorist) once again  announced  the end of the war in Afghanistan. Although the resistance to the Taliban in Panjshir may  not be  completely suppressed , the radicals entrenched in Kabul demonstrate that the Taliban Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is transitioning to a peaceful life and is ready to build ties with its neighbors – if not political, then at least economic. Last Wednesday, the Taliban sent congratulations to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry   on the 30th anniversary of the republic’s independence. But the matter was not limited to protocol phrases.

A spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, Mohammad Suheil Shahin, confirmed the new regime’s interest in continuing infrastructure projects. According to Shahin’s statement, the Taliban are interested in two cross-border projects. Both were discussed as recently as July during a meeting between Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. But the latter, as you know, lost power and fled – and the Taliban inherited interstate initiatives.

The first project is the construction of a power line from the Uzbek Surkhan to the Afghan Puli-Khumri. It is known that Afghanistan depends on the supply of electricity from Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The project of the power transmission line “Surkhan – Puli-Khumri” is obviously beneficial for the Uzbek side. The line with a length of two hundred kilometers and a cost of about $ 110 million should increase the export of electricity from Uzbekistan by 70%.

The second project is the continuation of the railway from Tashkent to the Uzbek border town of Termez. The highway is planned to be extended through Afghan Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul to Pakistani Peshawar. The appearance of such a railway (provided that transportation and travel along it are safe) will mean the access of the Central Asian countries to Pakistani and Indian ocean ports.

Promise to “Uzbek partners”

Taliban spokesman Shahin assures that his associates, who have taken power in Afghanistan, will support the “Uzbek partners” in their endeavors. But judging by the actions of the Uzbek authorities, Tashkent is in no hurry to establish contacts with neighbors “across the river” (as the border between the republics of Central Asia and Afghanistan, passing along the Amu Darya and Pyanj rivers, was called in the past). The latest initiatives of the republic’s authorities are more likely associated with an attempt to protect themselves from the new masters of Kabul.

In early August, at a time when the Taliban were rapidly moving towards victory, the Uzbek army for the first time in a long time held joint exercises with the military from the countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – from Russia and Tajikistan.

On the one hand, Uzbekistan is likely to agree to continue the implementation of beneficial infrastructure projects, because “it has a desire to enter South Asia, Pakistan,” said the Kyrgyz political scientist Mars Sariev. “Pakistan, which traditionally has a very strong influence on the Taliban, also welcomes the position of Uzbekistan in this regard,” the expert noted.

“On the other hand, it should be noted that the strengthening of Pakistan’s influence on Afghanistan means the strengthening of the pro-Pakistani and at the same time the most radical Taliban faction – the Haqqani Network,” Sariev said. And this cannot but worry the republics of Central Asia, the expert said. According to experts, some factions of the Taliban will fight against IS * and its “branches”, but Central Asia fears further chaos in Afghanistan after the flight of the Americans.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

Recall that Afghanistan for a long time – in the 1990s and at least before the start of the American operation in this country – was the base for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU, banned in Russia), which participated in the civil war in Tajikistan, staged terrorist attacks in Kyrgyz cities, and in 1999 organized the invasion of jihadists through Tajikistan into southern Kyrgyzstan. On the basis of the IMU, the “Islamic Movement of Turkestan” was created (banned in the Russian Federation), which indicates the expansion of the claims of this terrorist group. In 2014, the IMU swore allegiance to the Islamic State *.

Recall that Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech at the Eastern Economic Forum noted that in the event of disintegration in Afghanistan “there will be no one to talk to.”

“And the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (banned in the Russian Federation), and what is there only in the territory of today’s Afghanistan, and all this threatens our allies and neighbors,

– pointed out the Russian leader. “And if you keep in mind that we have no visa restrictions, free movement actually across borders, this is very important for us, for Russia, from the point of view of ensuring our security.”

The recent participation of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan for the first time in a long time in joint exercises with the military from the CSTO countries – Russia and Tajikistan – was dictated not by an attempt to demonstrate strength, but by the desire to prepare for a potential attack by the Islamic Movement of Turkestan, which has always looked in the direction of Uzbekistan. the newspaper VZGLYAD Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs Leonid Kalashnikov.

Tashkent is afraid not only of the Taliban

“Tashkent is afraid not only of the Taliban,” the deputy stressed. There are other Afghan groups that are ready to conduct military operations against Uzbekistan on its territory if they are loyally treated in Afghanistan itself. Therefore, Uzbekistan wants to deepen military cooperation with such serious allies as Russia and Kazakhstan. He needs to interact with us and to supply military equipment by Russia, ”the deputy explained.

It is not surprising that now Tashkent remembered the role of the CSTO in protecting Central Asia from threats from the south. The Collective Security Treaty was signed in 1992 in Tashkent, but since the late 90s Uzbekistan has preferred to participate in the pro-Western GUAM union, rather than in the “pro-Russian” CSTO. But against the backdrop of the situation in Afghanistan, Tashkent may return to the status of a full member of the organization, Andrei Grozin, head of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan Department of the Institute of CIS Countries , suggested in a comment to the Sputnik Tajikistan news agency in July . The return of the republic to the CSTO would strengthen this military alliance – given that Uzbekistan spends the most on equipping and rearming its 70,000-strong army in the Central Asian region (up to 4% of GDP goes to defense spending).

Since Uzbekistan is also concerned about the vulnerability of the southern border, Tashkent will step up cooperation with Moscow through the CSTO, Sariev predicts. True, the official entry of the republic into the military-political structure should not be expected, since this is impeded by the restrictions prescribed in Uzbek legislation, the expert added. But we note that no confirmed reports of Uzbekistan’s plans to return to the “pro-Russian” CSTO have yet been received.

Tashkent is not interested in a quarrel with Kabul

On the contrary, at the end of August, official Tashkent took a step that could be interpreted as not entirely friendly towards Moscow (and, possibly, friendly towards Kabul).  

President Mirziyoyev officially declared 115 members of the Basmach movement, who were repressed in the 1920s and 1930s, to be fighters for national independence. Among them – the major leader of the Basmachi Kurbashi Ibrahim-bek, who attacked the Soviet republics of Central Asia just from the territory of Afghanistan, was captured by the OGPU in 1931 and shot. “The decision of Uzbekistan to rehabilitate the Basmachi who fought with the Bolsheviks in the 1920s is anti-Soviet and partly, of course, anti-Russian,” said Vladimir Lepekhin, director of the EurAsEC Institute.

According to Central Asian experts, Tashkent is now at least not interested in a quarrel with the new authorities in Kabul. For example, on August 31, the American  Wall Street Journal  reported that the authorities of Uzbekistan, to whose territory a group of Afghan military pilots fled, are asking the United States to take these pilots to third countries as soon as possible in order to avoid confrontation with the Taliban movement.

Uzbekistan is placed in conditions under which it is forced to take care of both protection from the Taliban and building relations with them in order to maintain its own benefit, experts say. Sariev believes that it is not Uzbekistan that is now in the most vulnerable position, but Tajikistan, given that Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in the early 2000s supported the forces of the leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Massoud, an ethnic Tajik.

“The Taliban can now close their eyes to the fact that Islamist groups, militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, ISIS * and Al-Qaeda (banned in Russia) will begin to infiltrate Tajikistan,” the Kyrgyz expert said.

Tajikistan cannot afford to try multi-vector game

Thus, Tajikistan, as a country that has staked on a losing force in Afghanistan and as a country bound by the CSTO obligations, cannot afford to try the multi-vector game, which is being played by neighboring Uzbekistan. But, according to Lepekhin, at present the former Soviet republics in Asia have no choice but to demonstrate their loyalty to the Taliban. “A big game is beginning: not only Uzbekistan, but any other Central Asian republic will be forced to cooperate with the Taliban,” the expert said.

GREATER ALBANIA PROJECT

GREATER ALBANIA PROJECT IS ACCELERATING AS KOSOVO’S STATEHOOD IS IN QUESTION

Clear indications have been made that there is a project for a Greater Albania and it is progressing ahead, especially as the world’s attention is focussed on and distracted by the coronavirus, Libya and Syria’s Idlib province. The ultimate goal of Albania was to absorb Kosovo and the Preševo Valley in Serbia, southern Montenegro, Epirus in Greece and western North Macedonia into a single Greater Albania state.

Although this may not be official policy of the Albanian Republic, it is ingrained into the Albanian mythos. However, this has now changed with the Kosovo-born Albanian Minister-in-office for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj and the Foreign Minister of Kosovo Glauk Konjufcameeting yesterday to discuss the establishment of common economic space for free movement of people, goods and capital between Albania and Kosovo, as well as sharing embassies around the world which so far only exists in the Australian capital of Canberra.

Cakaj said on Twitter about “the need to deepen cooperation between [Albania and Kosovo] and strongly support the coalition of Albanian political parties in [Serbia’s] Preshevo [Preševo] Valley” to the east of Kosovo. Although the tweet just emphasizes deeper cooperation between Albania, Kosovo and the Preševo valley, it was his comments to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that gives the biggest suggestion of a Greater Albania project being put into action. Cakaj said to the agency that:

“the borders between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Albania should not exist at all, they should be removed immediately and our countries should enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement and unhindered ability to deepen economic cooperation.”

Although it may seem like that Albania and Kosovo are making strong efforts for the Greater Albania project, it rather demonstrates their desperation as Kosovo continues to lose legitimacy and countries withdraw their recognition of the quasi-independent state that illegally broke off from Serbia in 2008. A total of 14 countries since 2017 have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo, meaning only 51% of United Nations members now recognize it. The usual norm in statehood recognition is that more and more countries overtime recognize the state, not withdraw recognition. If we look at the Israeli situation, since its founding in 1948, only five states have withdrawn recognition and 162 of the 193 United Nations member states recognize it. It is inevitable that with incentives from China and Russia more states will withdraw their recognition of Kosovo.

This brings a new question then. Has the failings of Kosovo actually accelerated the Greater Albania project?

The proposal by Finnish Nobel “Peace” Prize winning Marti Ahtisaari to establish an independent Kosovo and Kosovan identity has been an abject failure. Rather, Kosovo has taken on the Albanian identity openly with KosovoPrime Minister Albin Kurti, who is currently serving as the fourth Prime Minister of Kosovo since February 3 2020, not differentiating between nation and ethnicity as he sees Kosovo as an extension of Albania, despite the nation and the state not being the same. Kurti also does not recognize the flag and anthem of Kosovo, as well as the Kosovar identity.

As Kosovo continues to lose legitimacy, meaning the breakaway province could return back to Serbian administration, it is attempting to avoid this situation by merging Kosovo into Albania. It is for this reason that Cakaj says the borders between Albania and Kosovo should not exist at all and that they should both share embassies. As Serbia’s position has strengthened, Albania’s official support for Kosovo is an attempt to parry it and jointly formulate a strategy to achieve some success.

The broader goals of merging Albania and Kosovo are multiple – to confirm Kosovo’s independence from Serbia; to propagate the Greater Albania project; and to put pressure on Serbia as well as international states to challenge Belgrade’s foreign policy successes. The campaign cooperation between Albania and Kosovo demonstrates the attempts to raise the issue to a higher level and the desire to establish new mechanisms and measures, with the incumbent government in Pristina to implement a practical policy because all tactics so far have not yielded results and giving up is not an option.

Therefore, there is no reason why Serbia should give up its current policy of pushing states to withdraw their Kosovo independence recognition. Belgrade must maintain that Kosovo is an integral and historical part of Serbia. Belgrade’s efforts have produced results and the Serbian public demand results. Serbia should not accept any blackmail and demands from Kosovo or Albania, especially as it continues its project of reintegrating Kosovo. Only days ago, it was announced that rail links between Belgrade and Pristina will be constructed, something that does not even exist between Kosovo and Albania. Although Kosovo’s failings continue, it has also accelerated the Greater Albania project in an effort to prevent the reintegration of the breakaway province back into Serbia.

By Paul Antonopoulos
Source: InfoBrics

Taliban crosses the Rubicon with Tashkent meeting

Against the backdrop of strengthening Afghan-Uzbek ties, the Taliban pays a visit to Tashkent

The Taliban, against the backdrop of tightening Uzbek-Afghan relations, last week paid a landmark visit to Tashkent, heralding new regional stature for the militant group.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry on Saturday released a terse statement confirming the visit had occurred.

A Taliban delegation, led by the head of its political office in Doha, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, visited Tashkent and the two sides “exchanged views on prospects of the peace process in Afghanistan,” it said.

The Taliban has been more forthcoming with details.

A press statement said the five-day visit (August 6-11) took place on the basis of a formal invitation from Tashkent and talks were held with Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and the Special Representative of the President of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev.

The parties discussed the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country as well as “current and future national projects such as security for railroad and power lines,” the Taliban said in a press release.

The Uzbeks have previously engaged in direct dealings with the Taliban.

Kamilov himself is known to have visited Afghanistan and negotiated with the Taliban government in the late 1990s.

Irgashev, too, is a familiar face to the Taliban, having served as deputy foreign minister under Kamilov.

But this is the first time that a Taliban delegation has visited Tashkent for formal talks at the Uzbek Foreign Ministry.

No doubt, this is an extraordinary development. It significantly enhances the Taliban’s regional profile and standing and is precedent setting.

Growing economic ties

In the run-up to the Taliban visit, relations between Tashkent and the Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani have been exceptionally warm.

Bilateral exchanges intensified in the past year with Uzbek companies picking up lucrative contracts in northern Afghanistan.

The United States has actively encouraged such collaboration.

Washington backed the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan on March 27, sending US Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon to attend alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

It was patently intended as a Track 1.5 event to marshal some degree of regional consensus behind an “Afghan-led, Afghan-controlled” peace process, without preconditions.

President Donald Trump rewarded Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev with an invitation to visit the White House on May 16, a major coup for the Central Asian leader.

Indeed, things have been going splendidly well in the US-Afghan-Uzbek triangle.

Relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan were strengthened on July 9, when Uzbek Foreign Minister Kamilov paid a visit to Afghan President Ghani in Kabul.

They planned for a number of major investment projects, including a free trade zone spread over 3,000 hectares on the Uzbek-Afghan border, a $500 million railway project to connect Mazar-i-Sharif with Herat (linking northern and western Afghanistan), and the establishment of six textile factories in Afghanistan by Uzbek companies.

The Uzbeks make their foreign policy moves very cautiously and the Taliban meeting in Tashkent last week doesn’t signify a U-turn in the Uzbek policies toward Afghanistan.

Ostensibly, the Taliban visit follows up on an offer made by Mirziyoyev in March.

“We stand ready to create all necessary conditions, at any stage of the peace process, to arrange direct talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban movement,” Mirziyoyev said.

It is improbable the Taliban will accept Ghani as its interlocutor.

But to be sure, Tashkent closely coordinated with Kabul, as well as Washington.

US officials engaged in landmark direct talks with the Taliban in Doha last month, and a second round is expected in September.

Clearly, Washington has encouraged Tashkent to be a peace broker between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Consistent with the Uzbek style of diplomacy, Tashkent touched base with Moscow before the Taliban arrived, with Kamilov making a phone call to Lavrov on July 31.

The readout from Russian Foreign Ministry cryptically said the two ministers “exchanged opinions on topical bilateral matters and cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan on the international agenda.”

Counterweight to Islamic State

There is a dire necessity today for Tashkent to maintain a direct line to the Taliban as the security situation in the Amu Darya region bordering Uzbekistan is steadily deteriorating.

The growing presence of Islamic State-Khorasan in northern Afghanistan worries Uzbekistan. Its ranks have a preponderance of fighters drawn from the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has vowed to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Central Asia.

Meanwhile, Ghani’s ill-advised standoff with the Uzbek leader in Amu Darya, Rashid Dostum, has seriously destabilized the northern region.

Dostum’s yearlong exile in Turkey only worked to the advantage of Islamic State.

Ghani finally made peace with Dostum, going overboard and welcoming him back to Kabul last month in a grand ceremony.

But by then, the ground realities in northern Afghanistan had changed phenomenally.

The old stability that Dostum once provided as the protege of Tashkent, and then the Americans, has disappeared.

In sum, Dostum is today a freewheeling entity and no more the uncrowned king of the Amu Darya.

And it is the Taliban that has emerged as the most promising counterweight to the Islamic State-Khorasan.

In such murky situations, the Uzbek mind never loses clarity of purpose. Realism always prevails.

Tashkent sees the Taliban as a meaningful interlocutor for today and tomorrow on the Afghan chessboard.

For the Taliban, this is a game changer.

It has crossed the Rubicon in its long search for gaining international legitimacy.

Source: http://www.atimes.com/article/taliban-crosses-the-rubicon-with-tashkent-meeting/?utm_source=The+Daily+Report&utm_campaign=a9d939f599-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_13_01_32&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-a9d939f599-21552319

China’s latest move in the graveyard of empires

Beijing’s strategic priority is to prevent ETIM fighters exiled in Afghanistan crossing the Wakhan Corridor to carry out operations in Xinjiang

The latest plot twist in the endless historical saga of Afghanistan as a graveyard of empires has thrown up an intriguing new chapter. For the past two months, Beijing and Kabul have been discussing the possibility of setting up a military base alongside Afghanistan’s border with China.

“We are going to build it [the base] and the Chinese government has committed to help financially, provide equipment and train Afghan soldiers,” Mohammad Radmanesh, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, admitted to the AFP.

“We are going to build it [the base] and the Chinese government has committed to help the division financially, provide equipment and train the Afghan soldiers,” he added.

On the record, the Chinese Foreign Ministry only admitted that Beijing was involved in “capacity-building” in Afghanistan, while NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, led by the United States, basically issued a “no comment.”

The military base will eventually be built in the mountainous Wakhan Corridor, a narrow strip of territory in northeastern Afghanistan that extends to China and separates Tajikistan from Pakistan.

It is one of the most spectacular, barren and remote stretches of Central Asia and according to local Kyrgyz nomads, joint Afghan-Chinese patrols are already active there. True to Sydney Wignall’s fabled Spy on the Roof of the World ethos, a great deal of shadow play is in effect. Apparently, this is basically about China’s own war on terror.

Strategic priority

Beijing’s strategic priority is to prevent Uyghur fighters of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), who have been exiled in Afghanistan, crossing the Wakhan Corridor to carry out operations across Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China. There is also the fear that ISIS or Daesh jihadis from Syria and Iraq may also use Afghanistan as a springboard to reach the country.

Even though the jihad galaxy may be split, Beijing is concerned about ETIM. As early as September 2013, the capo of historic al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, supported jihad against China in Xinjiang.

Later, in July 2014, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh said: “Muslim rights [should be] forcibly seized in China, India and Palestine.” Then, on March 1, 2017, Daesh released a video announcing its presence in Afghanistan, with the terror group’s Uyghur jihadis vowing, on the record, to “shed blood like rivers” in Xinjiang.

At the heart of the matter is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or the New Silk Road, which will connect China with Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

For Beijing, the stability of one of its links, the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is seriously compromised if terror threats abound in Central and South Asia. It could also affect China’s sizable investments in Afghanistan’s mineral mining industry. 

The Chinese and Russian strategies are similar. After all, they have been discussed at every meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Afghanistan is an observer and future full member. For the Russia-China partnership, the future of a peaceful Afghanistan must be decided in Asia, by Asians, and at the SCO. 

In December,  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told diplomats from fellow BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) member India that Moscow favors talking to the Taliban. He said this was the only way to reduce the risk of terror operations emanating from Afghanistan to Central Asia.

The question is which Taliban to talk to. There are roughly two main factions. The moderates favor a peace process and are against jihadism, while the radicals, who have been fighting the US and NATO-supported government in Kabul. 

Moscow’s strategy is pragmatic. Russia, Iran, India, Afghanistan and the Central Asian “stans” have reportedly held meetings to map out possible solutions. China, meanwhile, remains an active member of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) promoting a peace deal and reconciliation process which will include the Kabul and the Taliban.

Beijing’s multi-pronged strategy is now clear. Ultimately, Afghanistan must become integrated with CPEC. In parallel, Beijing is counting on using its “special relationship” with Pakistan to maneuver the Taliban into a sustainable peace process.

The appointment of Liu Jinsong as the new Chinese ambassador to Kabul is significant. Liu was raised in Xinjiang and was a director of the Belt and Road Initiative’s $15 billion Silk Road Fund from 2012 to 2015. He knows the intricacies of the region.

Six projects

Even before Liu’s arrival, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, had announced that Beijing and Islamabad would extend CPEC to Kabul with six projects selected as priorities. They included a revamped Peshawar-Kabul highway and a trans-Afghan highway linking Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Of course, that would neatly fall into place with a possible Chinese military base in Gwadar port in Pakistan, the Arabian Sea terminal of CPEC, and one in the Wakhan corridor. 

Now, compare the Russia-China approach with Washington’s strategy. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy involves defeating the Taliban on the ground before forcing them to negotiate with Kabul. With the Taliban able to control key areas of Afghan territory, the Trump administration has opted for a mini-surge.

That may be as “successful” as President Obama’s much-touted 2009 surge. The US government has never made public any projection for the total cost of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

But according to the Dec. 8, 2014 version of a Congressional Research Service document – the latest to be made public – it had spent up until then, $1.6 trillion on the invasion and military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Which brings us to the question: Why does the US remain in Afghanistan?

After more than a trillion dollars lost and nothing really to show for it, no wonder all eyes are now on Beijing to see if China can come up with a ‘win-win’ situation.

Source: http://www.atimes.com/article/chinas-latest-move-graveyard-empires/?utm_source=The+Daily+Report&utm_campaign=cf93e2d669-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-cf93e2d669-21552319

Karzai warns Afghans and neighbors to resist ‘US agenda’

Karzai is confident that Afghans and regional stakeholders support his crusade against the “American agenda” in Afghanistan, which he describes as an attempt to create disharmony among nations

 

Three years since he left office, the presence of former president Hamid Karzai still lingers in the corridors of Afghan politics. The fact that he continues to live on the same street as the presidential palace also ensures that he remains keenly involved in matters of a nation at war.

It is at this humble but traditional home in Kabul that Karzai extends the courtesy of his hospitality to scores of Afghan leaders, ministers, tribal elders and international diplomats, on a daily basis. He meets with hundreds of local and international stakeholders, making peace and relationships that can influence the turn of regional events in Afghanistan’s favor, a country that he helped put back together with the help of US allies after the fall of the extremist Taliban regime in 2001.

However, today, Karzai is among the few prominent Afghan voices against the occupying US forces. He has strongly condemned the new Afghan strategy put forth by US President Donald Trump in late August. “The neighborhood is no longer an ally of the US in their war against terror,” he told us on a warm September afternoon at his residence in the capital.

Karzai is confident that not only Afghans but also regional stakeholders support his crusade against the “American agenda” in Afghanistan, which he describes as an attempt to create disharmony among nations in the region, such as India, Pakistan, Iran and China.

“If they genuinely want to fight extremism and terrorism, they cannot do it by creating rivalry here in this region. They cannot take one ally and create rivalries — that’s adding to the conflicts in Afghanistan,” he said, referring to Trump’s statement calling out Pakistan for harboring insurgents, while encouraging India to play a bigger role in Afghanistan.

However, this is not to say that Karzai doesn’t value international powers trying to foster peace in his country. On September 4, leaders of the five BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — called on Pakistan to end terrorism in Afghanistan and the region following Trump’s statement. 

Move to name terror groups was ‘important’

“BRICS was an important development,” Karzai said, hailing the statement by BRICS nations on terrorism emanating from Pakistan as a “significant development.”

“Naming terrorist organizations at BRICS was important for the countries that are really affected, like India, China and Russia. This is what we need — cooperating in this region against extremism and terrorism. Not the imaginations of the US played out in our region.”

Karzai dismissed Pakistan’s defensive reaction to the BRICS statement, saying that Islamabad lays some of the blame on Kabul. “Nobody believes Pakistan’s [excuse] blaming Afghanistan for providing terrorist sanctuaries,” he said.

“They know Afghanistan is not involved in that or has the capacity to do things like that. They must deal with this and not us,” he added, urging Pakistan to give up extremism. “We want Pakistan to recognize that playing with extremism is never going to help them.”

While Karzai remains critical of Pakistan’s role in regional security, he is also suspicious of Washington’s intention in condemning Pakistan. “President Trump’s strategy makes it look like [there are proxy wars in Afghanistan] and we don’t want that. We don’t want Afghanistan to become a battleground for rivalries, or a place where proxies fight,” he explained.

As the conversation moved more towards regional politics, Karzai expressed appreciation of India’s role in the development of Afghanistan. Karzai’s relationship with India goes a long way back – to his days as a student in Himachal Pradesh, evidence of which can be seen in his library, which boasts of a copy of the Indian constitution, which he has read and referred to several times during his years as leader of a new nation.

Karzai urged India to not be swayed by Trump’s policies. “My advice to India is that it should have its independent policy towards Afghanistan and not be influenced by Americans,” he said. “India should not ally itself with America’s objectives in Afghanistan because those objectives are not good for this region. They are surely not going to be good for India eventually.”

Having presided over the new Afghanistan for more than a decade, Karzai is no stranger to the consequences of proxy wars. “These rivalries will be played out in Afghanistan. Why should we be the ground where larger powers with their own interests create a war in which we die?” he said, noting the drastic increase in civilian casualties over the last two years.

‘India never interfered in our ties with Pakistan’

The former leader also dismissed talk of an India-Pakistan proxy war being played out in his homeland.

“During my government, India never interfered with our relationship with Pakistan,” he revealed, adding that Indian leaders Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi had both been considerate about Afghanistan’s sensitive position in the region.

“We spoke about these issues with India and at one point they even refrained from helping Afghanistan militarily because they said Pakistan may get irritated,” he recalled. “They were trying to avoid too much irritation for Pakistan; that’s what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told me.”

Despite this, Pakistan still appears to be concerned about Afghanistan’s growing affinity to India. “Pakistan, of course, constantly kept talking about India, [and it] especially has issues with the number of Indian consulates in Afghanistan,” he revealed.

As Karzai bid us farewell, he repeated his warning. “Tell India to not fall for the strategic games that the US is playing in this region. We want an Afghanistan-India relationship that is not impacted by the strategic interests of another power [that is well] away from us.”

Source: http://www.atimes.com/article/karzai-warns-afghans-neighbors-resist-us-agenda/?utm_source=The+Daily+Brief&utm_campaign=da61e3311e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_12&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-da61e3311e-21552319

SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) growing importance

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s role in global affairs continues to increase: the bloc has now focused on counterterrorism issues in the Eurasian “heartland” and the US and EU have to take this into account

The West now has no other choice but to take the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) into account, Alexander Dugin, political scientist and the leader of the International Eurasian Movement, told Radio Sputnik, adding that the SCO is by no means an equivalent of NATO.

On May 9 leaders of SCO member states signed a decree admitting India and Pakistan to the bloc.

The SCO is a political, military and economic alliance comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Belarus, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan hold observer status in the organization, while Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Armenia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka hold the status of dialogue partners.

“Today, new full members join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization…. The expansion of the SCO will undoubtedly contribute to ensuring that it will become more powerful and influential in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the SCO meeting in Astana on Thursday.

According to Dugin, the expansion of the SCO is yet another step toward the new multipolar world order.

“By bringing together the largest Asian powers, where huge economic potential is concentrated and considerable strategic forces, [the SCO] made a very serious step towards the institutionalisation of a multipolar world,” Dugin stressed.

The political scientist underscored, however, that the SCO is not an Asian version of NATO.

“The SCO was created not as an ‘Asian NATO,’ but as a Eurasian structure, which, in fact, opposes globalization,” he told Radio Sputnik. “NATO is dominated by one state, one ideology, while the SCO has brought together states and forces which belong to completely different civilizations with different ideologies and political systems. That shows that the SCO is a multipolar bloc.”

The SCO members also inked a convention on countering extremism and adopted a statement by the bloc leaders who pledged commitment to the joint fight against international terrorism.

According to Dugin, the West will have to take the SCO’s position into consideration, including its collective stance on counterterrorism.

“If the SCO works a consolidated position on countering terrorism — including Pakistan, which itself suffers from terrorism — then this will mean completely different conditions for the solution of the Syrian crisis. If the SCO says ‘no’ to some actions of the West, then this will have to be taken into account [by the US and EU],” Dugin said.

For his part, political scientist Rostislav Ischenko, president of the Ukraine-based Center for Systemic Analysis, called attention to the US and EU’s inability to cope with the terrorism threat in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“The helplessness of Europe has already affected the interests of the SCO member states. It is no coincidence that the current summit was almost entirely devoted to Central Asia’s security issue, given… the plans of radical Islamists to transfer their actions to this region,” Ischenko wrote in his op-ed for RIA Novosti.

“Neither Russia nor China could allow the gangs of terrorists being expelled from the Middle East to rampage on their borders and at the very center of their joint integration project,” the scholar stressed.

According to Ischenko, it is obvious that the upsurge in the terrorist activity in the Middle East and North Africa was prompted by irresponsible and myopic policies of Washington and its European allies.

“As a result of this policy, the EU has completely lost its influence in the Middle East,” the scholar pointed out. “Furthermore, Europe has found itself unable to protect its territory and its way of life from terrorist attacks and the rising tide of refugees.”

“The US is fighting for the opportunity to maintain its former influence in the Middle Eastern region at least to some extent. Those who make efforts to introduce proper order in the region are Russia (a founding member of the SCO), Iran (an SCO observer), Syria and Egypt (applied for observer status in the SCO), as well as Turkey (an SCO dialogue partner),” Ischenko wrote.

According to the scholar, Russia, its former Soviet allies and Asian states have become the driving force behind the Eurasian integration. For its part, the EU has yet to join the process.

In any event, one can’t deny that the role of the SCO is global affairs is growing at a steady pace.

Speaking to Sputnik China, Jia Lieying, an expert at the School of International Relations at Beijing Language and Culture University emphasized the importance of the ongoing integration process.

“The incorporation of India and Pakistan is the brightest moment of the recent summit,” Jia highlighted. “In the very beginning, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization included five states, in 2001 there were six. For 16 years the organization had not expanded. However, all these years India and Pakistan had been seeking to join the SCO.”

“Their accession will provide more opportunities for cooperation within the SCO framework, and it is especially worth noting that the expansion will facilitate the improvement of Indo-Pakistani and Sino-Indian relations. These states will be able to resolve the existing contradictions on the new platform. This will become a positive example for other regional organizations,” Jia stressed.

Source:

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201706101054515679-eurasia-russia-china/

 

The BND, CIA and Kosovo’s Deep State

 

It is all part of Anglo-American tradition through centuries – drugs, lies and genocides and all of that for a “good cause”. 

The only question is: When will the rest of the world unite and pluck the “Five Eyes”? 


By Tom Burghardt (Antifascist Calling)
When three officers of Germany’s foreign intelligence service the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), were arrested in Pristina November 19, it exposed that country’s extensive covert operations in the heart of the Balkans.

On November 14, a bomb planted at the office of the European Union Special Representative was detonated in downtown Pristina. While damage was light and there were no injuries, U.N. “peacekeepers” detained one of the BND officers hours after the blast when he was observed taking photos of the damaged building. Two of his colleagues waited in a car and acted as lookouts. The officer named these two colleagues as witnesses that he was in his office at the time of the attack.

That office, identified by the press as the “private security firm” Logistics-Coordination & Assessment Service or LCAS, in reality was a front company for BND operations. Its premises were searched three days later and the trio were subsequently arrested and accused by Kosovan authorities of responsibility for bombing the EU building. As a result of the arrests, the BND was forced to admit the real identities of their agents and the true nature of LCAS.

A scandal erupted leading to a diplomatic row between Berlin and Pristina. The German government labeled the accusations “absurd” and threatened a cut-off of funds to the Kosovo government. A circus atmosphere prevailed as photos of the trio were shown on Kosovan TV and splashed across the front pages of the press. Rumors and dark tales abounded, based on leaks believed by observers to have emanated from the office of Kosovo’s Prime Minister, the “former” warlord Hashim Thaci, nominal leader of the statelet’s organized crime-tainted government.

When seized by authorities one of the BND officers, Andreas J., demonstrated very poor tradecraft indeed. Among the items recovered by police, the operative’s passport along with a notebook containing confidential and highly incriminating information on the situation in Kosovo were examined. According to media reports, the notebook contained the names of well-placed BND informants in the Prime Minister’s entourage. According to this reading, the arrests were an act of revenge by Thaci meant to embarrass the German government.

But things aren’t always as they seem.

On November 29, the trio–Robert Z., Andreas J. and Andreas D.–departed Kosovo on a special flight bound for Berlin where they “will face a committee of German parliamentarians who have taken an interest in their case,” according to an account in Spiegel Online.

More curious than a violent attack on the streets of Pristina, a city wracked by gangland killings, car hijackings, kidnappings and assaults is the provenance of the bomb itself. In other words, why would German intelligence agents attack their own? But before attempting to answer this question, a grim backstory to the affair rears its ugly head.
An Agency Mired in Scandal

This latest scandal comes as yet another blow to the BND considering August’s revelations by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks that Germany’s external intelligence agency had extensively spied on journalists. Like their counterparts at the CIA, the BND is forbidden by law from carrying out domestic operations.

According to Wikileaks documents, journalists working for Focus Magazine and Der Spiegel were collaborators in a scheme by the agency to learn their sources as well as obtaining information on left-wing politicians, including Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) leaders Gregor Gysi and Andreas Lederer.

Indeed Focus Magazine journalist Josef Hufelschulte, code name ‘Jerez, wrote articles based on reports provided by the BND “intended to produce favorable coverage.” Wikileaks correspondent Daniel Schmitt and investigations editor Julian Assange comment that, “The document in general shows the extent to which the collaboration of journalists with intelligence agencies has become common and to what dimensions consent is manufactured in the interests of those involved.”

In November, Wikileaks published a subsequent document obtained from the telecommunications giant T-Systems. In addition to revealing two dozen secret IP addresses used by the BND for surveillance operations, the document provides “Evidence of a secret out of control BND robot scanning selected web-sites. In 2006 system administrators had to ban the “BVOE” IP addresses to prevent servers from being destroyed.” Additionally, Wikileaks revealed the “activity on a Berlin prostitution service website–evidence that intelligence seductions, the famed cold-war ‘honeytrap’, is alive and well?”

While the document does not spell out who was running the sex-for-hire website, one can’t help but wonder whether Balkan-linked organized crime syndicates, including Kosovan and Albanian sex traffickers are working in tandem with the BND in return for that agency turning a blind eye to the sordid trade in kidnapped women.

Kosovo: A European Narco State

When Kosovo proclaimed its “independence” in February, the Western media hailed the provocative dismemberment of Serbia, a move that completed the destruction of Yugoslavia by the United States, the European Union and NATO, as an exemplary means to bring “peace and stability” to the region.

If by “peace” one means impunity for rampaging crime syndicates or by “stability,” the freedom of action with no questions asked by U.S. and NATO military and intelligence agencies, not to mention economic looting on a grand scale by freewheeling multinational corporations, then Kosovo has it all!

From its inception, the breakaway Serb province has served as a militarized outpost for Western capitalist powers intent on spreading their tentacles East, encircling Russia and penetrating the former spheres of influence of the ex-Soviet Union. As a template for contemporary CIA destabilization operations in Georgia and Ukraine, prospective EU members and NATO “partners,” Kosovo should serve as a warning for those foolish enough to believe American clichs about “freedom” or the dubious benefits of “globalization.”

Camp Bondsteel, located on rolling hills and farmland near the city of Ferizaj/Urosevac,is the largest U.S. military installation on the European continent. Visible from space, in addition to serving as an NSA listening post pointed at Russia and as the CIA’s operational hub in the Balkans and beyond, some observers believe that Andreas J.’s notebook may have contained information that Camp Bondsteel continues to serve as a CIA “black site.” One motive for rolling up the BND intelligence operation may have been U.S. fears that this toxic information would become public, putting paid U.S. claims that it no longer kidnaps and tortures suspected “terrorists.”

When NATO partners Germany and the U.S. decided to drive a stake through Yugoslavia’s heart in the early 1990s during the heady days of post-Cold War triumphalism, their geopolitical strategy could not have achieved “success” without the connivance, indeed active partnership amongst Yugoslavia’s nationalist rivals. As investigative journalist Misha Glenny documented,

Most shocking of all, however, is how the gangsters and politicians fueling war between their peoples were in private cooperating as friends and close business partners. The Croat, Bosnian, Albanian, Macedonian, and Serb moneymen and mobsters were truly thick as thieves. They bought, sold, and exchanged all manner of commodities, knowing that the high levels of personal trust between them were much stronger than the transitory bonds of hysterical nationalism. They fomented this ideology among ordinary folk in essence to mask their own venality. As one commentator described it, the new republics were ruled by “a parastate Cartel which had emerged from political institutions, the ruling Communist Party and its satellites, the military, a variety of police forces, the Mafia, court intellectuals and with the president of the Republic at the center of the spider web…Tribal nationalism was indispensable for the cartel as a means to pacify its subordinates and as a cover for the uninterrupted privatization of the state apparatus. (McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p. 27)

Glenny’s description of the 1990s convergence of political, economic and security elites with organized crime syndicates in Western intelligence operations is the quintessential definition of the capitalist deep state.

In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott describes how the deep state can be characterized by “the symbiosis between governments (and in particular their intelligence agencies) and criminal associations, particularly drug traffickers, in the stabilization of right-wing terror in Vietnam, Italy, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and other parts of the world.” Indeed, “revelations in the 1970s and 1980s about the ‘strategy of tension,’ whereby government intelligence agencies, working in international conjunction, strengthened the case for their survival by actually fomenting violence, recurringly in alliance with drug-trafficking elements.”

Scott’s analysis is perhaps even more relevant today as “failed states” such as Kosovo, characterized by economic looting on an industrial scale, the absence of the rule of law, reliance on far-right terrorists (of both the “religious” and “secular” varieties) to achieve policy goals, organized crime syndicates, as both assets and executors of Western policy, and comprador elites are Washington’s preferred international partners.

For the ruling elites of the former Yugoslavia and their Western allies, Kosovo is a veritable goldmine. Situated in the heart of the Balkans, Kosovo’s government is deeply tied to organized crime structures: narcotrafficking, arms smuggling, car theft rings and human trafficking that feeds the sex slave “industry.” These operations are intimately linked to American destabilization campaigns and their cosy ties to on-again, off-again intelligence assets that include al-Qaeda and other far-right terror gangs. As investigative journalist Peter Klebnikov documented in 2000,

The Kosovar traffickers ship heroin exclusively from Asia’s Golden Crescent. It’s an apparently inexhaustible source. At one end of the crescent lies Afghanistan, which in 1999 surpassed Burma as the world’s largest producer of opium poppies. From there, the heroin base passes through Iran to Turkey, where it is refined, and then into the hands of the 15 Families, which operate out of the lawless border towns linking Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia. Not surprisingly, the KLA has also flourished there. According to the State Department, four to six tons of heroin move through Turkey every month. “Not very much is stopped,” says one official. “We get just a fraction of the total.” (“Heroin Heroes,” Mother Jones, January-February 2000)

Not much has changed since then. Indeed, the CIA’s intelligence model for covert destabilization operations is a continuing formula for “success.” Beginning in the 1940s, when the Corsican Mafia was pegged by the Agency to smash the French Communist Party, down to today’s bloody headlines coming out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, global drug lords and intelligence operators go hand in hand. It is hardly surprising then, that according to a report by the Berlin Institute for European Policy, organized crime is the only profitable sector of the Kosovan economy. Nearly a quarter of the country’s economic output, some <82>550 million, is derived from criminal activities.

Though the role of the United States and their NATO partners are central to the drama unfolding today, the BND affair also reveals that beneath the carefully-constructed faade of Western “unity” in “Freedom Land,” deep inter-imperialist rivalries simmer. As the socialist journalist Peter Schwarz reports,

Speculation has since been rife about the background to the case, but it is doubtful whether it will ever be clarified. Kosovo is a jungle of rival secret services. In this regard, it resembles Berlin before the fall of the Wall. The US, Germany, Britain, Italy and France all have considerable intelligence operations in the country, which work both with and against one another. Moreover, in this country of just 2.1 million inhabitants, some 15,000 NATO soldiers and 1,500 UN police officers are stationed, as well as 400 judges, police officers and security officers belonging to the UN’s EULEX mission. (Peter Schwarz, “Kosovo’s Dirty Secret: The Background to Germany’s Secret Service Affair,” World Socialist Web Site, December 1, 2008)

Into this jungle of conflicting loyalties and interests, international crime syndicates in close proximity–and fleeting alliance–with this or that security service rule the roost. It is all the more ironic that the Thaci government has targeted the BND considering, as Balkan analyst Christopher Deliso revealed:

In 1996, Germany’s BND established a major station in Tirana…and another in Rome to select and train future KLA fighters. According to Le Monde Diplomatique, “special forces in Berlin provided the operational training and supplied arms and transmission equipment from ex-East German Stasi stocks as well as Black uniforms.” The Italian headquarters recruited Albanian immigrants passing through ports such as Brindisi and Trieste, while German military intelligence, the Militaramschirmdienst, and the Kommando Spezialkrfte Special Forces (KSK), offered military training and provisions to the KLA in the remote Mirdita Mountains of northern Albania controlled by the deposed president, Sali Berisha. (The Coming Balkan Caliphate, Westport: Praeger Security International, 2007, p. 37)

But as Schwarz observed, why would the Thaci government risk alienating the German state, given the fact that after the U.S., Germany “is the second largest financial backer of Kosovo and ranks among the most important advocates of its independence.” Why indeed?

According to Balkan Analysis, the International Crisis Group (ICG) funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) and closely aligned with “liberal interventionists” in the United States, were instrumental in arguing that the United States and Germany, should guarantee “future stability,” by building up the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK), the KLA’s successor organization, into a well-equipped army. Towards this end, the U.S. and Germany, in addition to arming the organized crime-linked statelet, have provided funds and equipment for a sophisticated military communications center in the capital.

Speculation is rife and conflicting accounts proliferate like mushrooms after a warm rain. One theory has it that senior Kosovan politicians were angered by BND criticisms linking KLA functionaries, including personal associates of Thaci and the Prime Minister himself, with organized crime. Tellingly, Schwarz reports, this “is contrary to the position taken by the CIA.”

Is the affair then, merely a falling-out among thieves on how the spoils will be divided?

The CIA: Drugs & Thugs International

As noted above, U.S. destabilization programs and covert operations rely on far-flung networks of far-right provocateurs and drug lords (often interchangeable players) to facilitate the dirty work for U.S. policy elites and American multinational corporations. Throughout its Balkan adventure the CIA made liberal use of these preexisting narcotics networks to arm the KLA and provide them with targets. In their public pronouncements and analyses however, nary a harsh word is spoken.

According to the CIA, by any standard Kosovo’s economy is a disaster, but that doesn’t prevent the Agency from seeing “significant progress”!

Over the past few years Kosovo’s economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora–located mainly in Germany and Switzerland–account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo’s citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1800–about one-third the level of neighboring Albania. Unemployment–at more than 40% of the population–is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. (Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, November 20, 2008)

Needless to say, one unmentionable “fact” disappeared from the CIA’s country profile is the statelet’s overwhelming dependence on the black economy. I suppose this is what the Agency means when it lauds Kosovo’s transition to a “market-based system”!But as former DEA investigator and whistleblower Michael Levine, author of The Big White Lie, told B92, one of the wings of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was “linked with every known narco-cartel in the Middle East and the Far East”, and that almost every European intelligence service and police has files on “connections between ethnic Albanian rebels and drug trafficking”. And dare I say by extension, the CIA itself.

One bone of contention which could have led Thaci and his henchmen to seek revenge against his erstwhile German allies was a 67-page BND analysis about organized crime in Kosovo. As Schwarz noted the dossier, produced in February 2005 and subsequently leaked to the press, “accuses Ramush Haradinaj (head of government from December 2004 to March 2005), Hashim Thaci (prime minister since January 2008) and Xhavit Haliti, who sits in the parliament presidium, of being deeply implicated in the drugs trade.”

According to the BND report, “Regarding the key players (e.g., Haliti, Thaci, Haradinaj), there exists the closest ties between politics, business and internationally operating OC [organized crime] structures in Kosovo. The criminal networks behind this are encouraging political instability. They have no interest in building a functioning state, which could impair their flourishing trade.” (WSWS, op. cit.)

Haradinaj, an American protegee, became Prime Minister in 2004. However, he was forced to resign his post in March 2005 when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted him for crimes against humanity. Among other things, Haradinaj was accused of abducting civilians, unlawful detention, torture, murder and rape. Schwarz notes he was acquitted in April 2008 “for lack of evidence, after nine out of ten prosecution witnesses died violently and the tenth withdrew his statement after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt.” Talk about friends in high places!

Mirroring evidence uncovered by journalists and investigators regarding the control of the drugs trade by 15 Albanian crime families, the Berlin Institute for European Policy laid similar charges against Thaci, stating that real power in Kosovo is wielded by 15 to 20 family clans who control “almost all substantial key social positions” and are “closely linked to prominent political decision makers.”

According to Spiegel, when the BND operation was run to ground with the possible connivance of the CIA, its secret network of informants, instrumental to gaining insight into the interconnections amongst state actors and organized crime were compromised. The BND’s Department Five, responsible for organized crime wrote a confidential report linking Thaci as “a key figure in a Kosovar-Albanian mafia network.”

Department Two, according to Spiegel, was responsible for telecommunications surveillance. In 1999, the BND launched operation “Mofa99,” a wiretap intercept program that targeted high-ranking members of the KLA–and exposed their links to dodgy criminal syndicates and Islamist allies, al-Qaeda. The program was so successful according to Spiegel that since then, “the BND has maintained an extensive network of informants among high-ranking functionaries of the KLA and the Kosovar administration.”

Functionaries in possession of many dangerous secrets and inconvenient truths!

As researcher and analyst Michel Chossudovsky wrote back in 2001, among the “inconvenient truths” unexplored by Western media is the close proximity of far-right Islamist terror gangs and planetary U.S. destabilization operations.

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest has become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress has revealed how the US administration–under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake–had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment through the so-called “Militant Islamic Network,” of thousands of Mujahedin from the Muslim world.

The “Bosnian pattern” has since been replicated in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia. Among the foreign mercenaries now fighting with the KLA-NLA are Mujahedin from the Middle East and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union as well as “soldiers of fortune” from several NATO countries including Britain, Holland and Germany. Some of these Western mercenaries had previously fought with the KLA and the Bosnian Muslim Army. (Michel Chossudovsky, “Washington Behind Terrorist Assaults in Macedonia,” Global Research, September 10, 2001)

ast forward seven years and one can hypothesize that the BND, stepping on the CIA’s toes and that agency’s cosy intelligence “understanding” with Mafia-linked KLA fighters and al-Qaeda assets, would have every reason to sabotage the BND’s organized crime operations–not that the German military intelligence service’s hands are any cleaner!

While we may never know all the facts surrounding this curious affair, one thing is certain: the role played by powerful Mafia gangs as a source for black funds, intelligence assets and CIA “agents of influence” will continue. Administrations come and go, but like motherhood and apple pie the shadowy workings of America’s deep state is an eternal verity you can count on!
First appeared in Antifascist Calling. Thanks to Tom Burghardt and Antifascist Calling for covering this document. Copyright remains with the aforementioned. Contact antifascist-calling.blogspot.com for reprint rights.